Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MONSTER A-GO GO - SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION

The movie that the MST3K crew considered the worst film they ever skewered, Bill Rebane's (and Herschel Gordon Lewis') MONSTER A-GO GO (1965), has just been favored with a 45th Anniversary Special Edition DVD from Synergy Entertainment.

The plot of the film is nigh-incomprehensible, but goes something like this: an American astronaut returns to Earth and crashes in a field, irradiated and mutated into a 10-foot giant (in reality, a 7'6"-tall sideshow attraction named Henry Hite). The gaunt, towering creature goes on a rampage of sorts, while the authorities attempt to capture or kill him.

Director Bill Rebane (THE GREAT SPIDER INVASION) began filming a "serious" science fiction movie called TERROR AT HALF DAY in 1961. There were financing problems from the start, and eventually the money ran out, with roughly 80-85% of the footage shot. A few years later, Rebane sold the footage to notorious exploitation filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis (BLOOD FEAST, 2000 MANIACS), who shot a few additional scenes, added a bit of narration, and released it as the second feature on a double bill as MONSTER A-GO GO. An infamously awful film, the movie has had a long and inexplicable afterlife, beloved by bad movie aficionados and MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 fans.

It really is a horrible flick. Just awful. Even at a short 70 minutes, the movie is a slog to get through, with long, talky, badly-shot sequences that just go on and on, and virtually no action, culminating in one of the most aggravating non-endings in the entire history of cinema. So why would anyone want to watch it - or, worse, own it on DVD? I really couldn't imagine...  but I admit that I'm keeping mine.

Previously released on DVD some years ago by Something Weird Video, the new, "Special Collector's Edition" disc from Cultra/Synergy Entertainment is a pretty decent package, all things considered. The full-frame, 1.33:1 transfer is decent if a bit dark at times, showing only moderate age-related damage and dirt/debris. The mono audio is muffled but adequate. Special features include an audio commentary by director Rebane and Synergy's Joe Rubin. There is also a brief on-camera interview with Rebane, conducted by the aforementioned Rubin. Two early-60s shorts directed by Rebane, DANCE CRAZE and TWIST CRAZE are included, along with a still gallery and the original theatrical trailer. The best supplement is a 22-page booklet insert that contains an extensive retrospective article on the film, reprinted from Scary Monsters magazine.

If you are a fan and/or collector of truly horrid cinema, this Cultra/Synergy DVD is probably the best edition of MONSTER A-GO-GO you're likely to find, and it's priced at around ten bucks.

BUY: Monster a Go-Go