The Godmonster of Indian Flats

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Fredric Hobbs

REVIEWED: 10-20-97

Richard Marion, E. Kerrigan Prescott, Karen Ingenthron, Steven Kent Browne, & Stuart Lancaster

The Godmonster of Indian Flats first seared the cerebellums of audiences during a very short theatrical run in 1973, then gathered dust until Something Weird Video truly lived up to their name and unearthed it. This is one severely twisted movie indeed. Let's see if I can keep this straight... a pregnant sheep is infected by an orange gas from an ancient mine shaft in a Nevada desert town, then gives birth to what appears to be a pulsating raw brisket. The rather slow-witted shepherd boy (Marion) hands the embryonic mutant over to the neighborhood mad scientist (Prescott), where he puts it in a glass incubator and nurtures it to maturity, while dictating into a shoebox-sized cassette recorder. Meanwhile, there's some lengthy, lengthy exposition involving an out of town carpetbagger (Browne) who comes to town representing real estate interests and tries to sell hunting leases. Not being too partial to strangers, the mayor (Russ Meyer regular Stuart Lancaster) frames him like a Jackson Pollock print and hands him over to the fat slob of a sheriff, who in turn serves him up to the local vigilante committee. They prepare to lynch him, but he gets away. The only tie-in between all this and the monster is that when the deputies find him at the mad scientist's pad, they shoot tear gas inside, which pisses off the monster enough that it breaks out, wrecks the lab and starts shambling off across the desert (no wonder, it was probably pretty bored by that time). This is where things get out of control. Picture Sesame Street's Snuffleuphagus with Joe Camel's face, ratty fun-fur on its body, one very short arm and one ridiculously long, dangling arm, walking on its hind legs and tottering around the wasteland. It crashes a tea party of little girls, makes friends with the mad scientist's assistant Mariposa (Ingenthron), and is eventually rounded up by the posse. The mayor declares that he wants to make money off of "the damaged mongoloid beast" and puts it on display at the city dump. As weird as this all sounds, the movie is actually quite a bit more bizarre than I can describe. The director had to have been trying to make a Big Statement about Greed and Commercialism, but it's submerged like a U-boat in the berserk plot. Lancaster is at his most bombastic as the crazed mayor of the tourist trap old-west town (actually Virginia City, Nevada) and takes his role so seriously that he wears Victorian-era clothes all the time as befits his position, while uttering such pithy prounouncements as, "Time will be the final judge of all deeds!" All I'll tell you is that it eventually builds up to a finale that defies all description. Invite some of your more straitlaced friends over, and listen closely as their synapses sizzle while they gape in slack-jawed incredulity and wonder what the hell planet this was made on. "Make them all paaaaaay!!!!" Truly stupefying.

--Jerry Renshaw

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