Godmonster of Indian Flats
WANTED! Have you seen this sheep?
Year of Release: 1973
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 89 minutes (1:29)
Director: Fredric Hobbs
Christopher Brooks ... Barnstable
Stuart Lancaster ... Mayor Charles Silverdale
E. Kerrigan Prescott ... Prof. Clemens
Peggy Browne ... Madame Alta
Richard Marion ... Eddie
Karen Ingenthron ... Mariposa
Robert Hirschfeld ... Sheriff Gordon
Steven Kent Browne ... Philip Maldove
Gaseous vapors from an ancient mine cause the birth of a huge squealing embryo, which is taken to the laboratory of a local mad doctor where it grows into a monstrous 8-foot mutant sheep. Got that? An 8-foot mutant sheep! Meanwhile, the racist mayor of an historic Wild West tourist town attempts to thwart the efforts of a black man buying real estate by attempting to lynch him! Plans go awry, however, when the giant, wool-covered Lamb from Hell escapes from the doctor's lab and starts waddling across the countryside. Spewing an orange phosphorous gas, the semi-prehistoric GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS terrifies the population, blows up a gas station, and even "dances" with a deranged hippie chick until it's lassoed by cowboys. The mayor then startles everyone by putting "the damaged mongoloid beast" on display as "The 8th Wonder of the World!"
Godmonster of Indian Flats, the movie that brings whole new meanin' to the term "sheeple." An Australian friend of mine told me that this flick was originally one of those "scared straight" movies they make you watch after you've committed some kinda terrible transgression, cept it only ever saw a release in New Zealand until some weirdo over here bought it thinkin' we might just be screwed up enough to appreciate it. I believe 'im too, cause there's a LOT of lonely, desperate guys down in New Zealand, an sometimes that makes for a pretty dangerous combination out on the farm. The wheat's tall an the sheep always keep your secret, if ya know what I mean an I think you do.
An speakin' of folks who can't stop puttin' things where they don't belong, what the heck's the deal with these people who always need a place to "temporarily" store random junk? It's never *little* stuff either, it's always somethin' like a Soloflex that they're gonna start workin' out with the moment they get into a place with the 15' ceilins necessary to set it up without accidentally shatterin' all the light fixtures, or a waterbed frame that they *fully* intend to use once they get the hole in the mattress patched. These people are hoarding beyond their means, an it's a real problem. You can always spot 'em at a yard sale too, cause about half an hour before shut down time they'll be putterin' around fakin' interest in little trinkets until everybody else's cleared out, an then they'll go up to the guy runnin' it an say somethin' like: "if you're just lookin' to get rid of that swimmin' pool I'll haul it off for ya for free," like they're doin' the guy a big favor or somethin'. Sometimes it works an sometimes it don't, but what never changes is the fact that they have no place to put whatever it is. These people aren't even flippers generally; they *legitimately* believe they're gonna use the pool table with 3 of its legs missin' "as soon as they have time to work on it." Never mind that there'll never BE time, cause they're constantly searchin' the classifieds for more crap they don't need.
I dunno if I've ever mentioned my garage before, but if not that's cause I'm pretty sure I don't actually own anything in it. I've got a mini-fridge from an old camper trailer that belongs to Billy Hilliard sittin' in there beside a big screen TV that Cleave Furguson's sure just needs a new circuit board, even though the TV's been sittin' in there so long that the country the TV was made in don't even exist anymore. Over on the other end I got Sadie Bonebreak's Honda Fat Cat that she's gonna pick up just as soon as Dick Buford gets enough time to repair the blown head gasket, although you can't actually SEE the bike cause it's underneath approximately 300 tarps that Skunky Hernandez was supposed to use to line the bottom of the pond he dug at the Grime-Time, an this isn't even countin' the 17 boxes of old Christmas tins, commemorative Lord of the Rings Burger King goblets, back issues of Weekly World News, an God knows what else Bambi Pankins left in there after we broke up 7 years ago, an the excuse is always "it's just until I get my new HUD approval" or "once the kids get out on their own," or until the jackass they're sleepin' with divorces his wife an they can move in with 'im. Half the time these things NEVER happen, but even when they do there's always some new excuse like "well, I *was* gonna come get my matching set of authentic Inuit Indian kayaks, but the wife decided to turn the basement into an office," an at some point you wanna explode just to leave ulcer shrapnel all over these things they couldn't possibly live without, but will never use. Seriously, I've had it. I know you guys're readin' this too, so here's the deal: I want my garage back, an if it ain't cleaned out by next week I'ma have a yard sale an give it away to one of those skulkin' little weasels who're still hangin' around at sundown, an don't think for a minute that I won't. I'm takin' back control of my life right here an now, so you'd better get this stuff outta here, like yesterday. An I don't wanna hear no sob stories about DHS takin' your kids away again after they found 'em sleepin' in the shade of that Pontiac Bonneville you've got up on blocks in the front yard either. YOU get rid of it, or I'LL get rid of it.
There, that feels a whole lot better. Sorry I hadda get off on that but... wait, what were we talkin' about before I... oh, right, The Godfather of Foal, now I remember. You've really gotta see this thing to believe it, I'ma try to tell you about it here shortly but that's just no substitute for actually seein' it. It's pretty much Prophecy meets Gunsmoke, only with approximately 347 new plot developments bein' shoveled on every 30 seconds that make it harder to sort out than an Ozark Mountain genealogy chart. So with that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the most tantilizin' revelations this bastion of wisdom has to share. First, your average junk drawer contains everything you need to make a respectable Gypsy costume. Second, you may garner marginally less respect if you pin your sheriff's badge directly to your wife-beater. An third, when a woman says "don't be frightened, I've been following you all the way from the glory hole," it's likely to have precisely the opposite effect.
Butcha know, the thing I was really struck by watchin' this flick is the fact that even the animal kingdom's path in life is preordained by superficial extremes. They're really no different than people in this regard. Let's look at the human condition first - both our most attractive AND hideous end up rich and/or famous, thanks to the varying subgenres of exploitation TV (Kardashians occupy one end of the chart, an the Duggars the other), while us plain, average folks slave away makin' somebody more exceptional than us wealthy. Same deal in nature; the cutest animals get plucked from the herd an stuck in pettin' zoos where they're pampered an fattened by obnoxious tourists, while the ugliest ones end up immortalized in carnival sideshows, an the run-of-the-millers get hacked up into Sloppy Joe fixins. Until now you probably wouldn't have believed it, but bein' plain is actually worse than bein' repulsive, cause *nobody* notices or remembers ya. So it should come as no surprise that plastic surgery an methamphetamine have become so popular in this shallow society of ours, cause each one can be an effective means of draggin' yourself towards either the upper or lower end of what I like to call the "significance spectrum," thus reducin' the likelihood of languishing forever in cultural obscurity. Course, most of us can't afford these kinda frills an end up in an endless cycle of workin' just to pay the rent every month with no hope of upward OR downward mobility, an generally waitin' around for the inevitable day when we're of no further use to society an dumped out to pasture in the nursin' home. At least there's a quick endin' for an average animal, a *person* on the other hand normally goes through life completely oblivious to their station, only to wake up one day an realize they're pushin' 50 with a gaggle of kids still livin' in the house they're about to lose due to its upside down mortgage, even though the last thing they remember before wakin' up that mornin' is goin' out for drinks with the wife at age 23, an bein' left to wonder just what in the HELL happened in between. Feelin' depressed yet? Yeah, sorry about that, but I kinda hadda do it to keep you from leavin' in the middle of this upcomin' plot summary.
The movie begins with this sheep-herder in a coyote hide vest (Eddie) hitchin' a ride into Reno where he wins enough "free trip through the 97 cent buffet line" tokens to last the rest of his life, only he immediately gets shystered by this guy who looks like he's been workin' the Bonanza on Ice show over at Karl's Silver Club an ends up ridin' to Virginia City with a car fulla slut machines. See, what the travel agents never tell ya is that once you get past all the flashin' lights, spinnin' tumblers, blarin' "jackpot" sirens, free drinks, an scantily clad waitresses, Reno's kinda dull. So the group motors on over to The Itchy Poon Saloon where a hooker takes Eddie's wad without even havin' the decency to remove his pants first, an when he tries fightin' back this sheriff with Andre the Giant sideburns throws 'im out on his ass so hard that he can start collectin' monthly advertisin' checks for the permanent Skoal tattoo on his right butt cheek. It's prolly just as well, cause all the hookers look like Courtney Love durin' the last half hour of The People vs. Larry Flynt anyway. Then Eddie gets picked up by the local anthropology professor (Clemens) an driven back to his sheep ranch, but when he hops into the corral to pick out his date for the evenin' he starts hallucinatin' an seein' somethin' that looks like a wind chime from Leatherface's Arts an Craft Supplies swingin' toward his face while the sky turns red like God's tryin' to process nekkid pictures of Raquel Welch without overexposin' the negatives. Fortunately, Eddie's got this goofy Torgo-esque vibe about 'im that gives Clemens the urge to come check on 'im the following day, but when he an his lab assistant (Mariposa) return they find 'im hidin' under a pile of hay like a ranch hand who's been harvestin' wild oats with the farmer's daughter. Then they realize *why* he's hidin' an just about fertilize their drawers when they spot this disgustin' heap of placenta an cranberry sauce pie fillin' that the doc soon recognizes as a "half formed embryo, possibly the result of cross fertilization." Thankfully Eddie dropped outta preschool to pursue his dream of securin' a spot on the Olympic Booger Flickin' team, so he doesn't catch Clemens' insinuation an helps 'em haul the octopottamus fetus out to the doc's laboratory where it slowly matures into what looks like a scone that fell on the floor of a bakery an got swept under the checkout counter 19 years ago. Meanwhile, in town, a contract negotiator (Barnstable) is tryin' to buy up chunks of Virginia City an start importin' sin by the truckload so all the old codgers'll be forced to sit out on their porches at dusk an talk about how things just aren't the same as when they were kids.
Trouble is, the Boss Hog lookin' mayor (Silverdale) refuses to even discuss the matter cause he's sunk zillions of dollars into makin' the place look like 1846, an countless hours trainin' 'imself to pronounce his 'i's as 'u's so's to sound like an authentic Virginian confederate. In other words: this guy takes his historical recreation society duties *very* seriously. Elsewhere, Eddie an Mariposa're headin' out to Sheriff Muttonchops' compound that looks like the kinda place you'd expect Alex Jones' key demographic to occupy (we're talkin' the "goin' outta business sale" at Radio Shack in here) to buy 88 miles of coax so they can steal cable from the Vegas Hilton, after which they end up at this fancy rock jack that was erected to memorialize the brave men who were slain in battle by mutant killer bunny rabbits the year before, an proceed to make the sign of the triple-dipped waffle cone. Then Miraposa an Clemens head into this mine shaft where the doc finds a buncha mutated Matastasaurus Rex fossils, only while he's fartin' around on his Big Dig a buncha mustard gas starts seepin' up through a fissure in the tunnel until Mari the canary crumples up like a pair of dirty underwear in the bottom of the laundry basket an the doc hasta lug 'er outta there. But while that's goin' on, Barnstable's in town enjoyin' the annual Shriners parade an tryin' to target shoot old whiskey bottles with redneck cabaret floozies danglin' off 'im like dingleberries off a matted cat, til the sheriff gets his dog to lay down an play dead so he can claim one of the bullets ricocheted an sent 'im to the big Petco in the sky. This is absolutely diabolical, cause now everybody in town hates Barnstable like a two-year-old hates nap time an refuse to even look at 'im when the town gathers at the chapel to send Dead Rover on over to the other side. So Barnstable peddles around town tryin' to talk business but eventually gives up when it becomes apparent that nobody wants to deal on the black market (I guess all things considered, the guy's pretty lucky these people don't try auctionin' 'im off to the highest bidder to compensate the sheriff for pain' an sufferin'), an he eventually ends up in Madam Alta's whorehouse where Silverdale's #1 flunkie (Philip) comes in drunker'n Sean Spicer 20 minutes after a press briefing an just about shoots Barnstable before Alta 86s 'im for tryin' to take up valuable stool space when he's already sloshed.
Cept a coupla days later Philip has a change of heart an invites Barnstable over to his tastefully decorated Budget Inn suite an offers to help 'im schmooze Silverdale into sellin' off his property, but Barnstable's so disgusted by Phil's Comey-esque lack of loyalty that he refuses an next thing you know Phil grabs 'imself up a bottle of club potion #9 an busts it over Barnstable's head an then shoots his own arm so it'll look like he was just standin' his ground when he shattered a bottle against the back of the other guy's skull. Then Phil has Barnstable locked up an Barnstable's so P.O.'d that he starts croonin' like Louis Armstrong singin' Italian Operas until Phil's secret society goons show up at the jail an drag 'im off to Indian Flats to hang 'im like a cowboy hat on an elk antler in a country western bar. Fortunately, Madam Alta just happens to be cruisin' out that way in 'er pimpmobile while all this's goin' on, an Barnstable manages to unleash some heavy duty shitkickery an do the Superman dive into 'er car while the O-KKK corrallers chase 'em down to Clemens' laboratory. Cept the doc won't let 'em in cause they're afraid Alta's got some hitherto undiscovered crotch cootie that might infest his leper sloth, an of course by now The Mild Bunch is up on the hill firin' tear gas into the sunroof of the lab til it fills up with so much smoke that it looks like a hospital waitin' room from 1946, which makes the giant inebriated mutant packrat *very* upset. Phil's goons done goofed this time, cause it ain't long before things start goin' all Night of the Sheepus once the critter busts out of his cage an starts turnin' extras into bumpkin pie fillin' an eventually escapin'. Course now Miraposa's worried about it cause it ran off without a jacket before half of its fur could grow in, an so she tracks it down an starts waltzin' with it like we're suddenly watchin' David Lynch's directorial audition tape for the Shari Lewis & Lambchop show, until Eddie comes along an hucks rocks at it like a 4-year-old tryin' to shoot a regulation sized basketball an scares it off. Then the Walmart tornado alarm starts blarin' an the town goes into quarantine while the cranky Joe Camel on chemotherapy hobbles around town like a stump-legged duck until it makes its way to a gas station, only when it finds out about the gas shortage goin' on it gets so mad that it ninja kicks the pump off its foundation an chases the attendant around til he drops his blow torch an makes Citgo boom. Gonna stop the summary here, but this flick's far from over, an features one of the craziest, most bizarre endings in the history of film. So since I wouldn't be able to do it justice even if I tried, let's just call it a day.
I don't even know what the hell to say about this one, other than Something Weird has yet again exceeded my expectations. There's absolutely no way drugs were not involved in the making of this film - matter of fact, I'm pretty sure you can actually spot where they're beginning to take effect and wear off throughout the course of the movie. Godmonster of Indian Flats hasta be the single blackest comedy in the history of film, cause this thing is so unbelievably stupid, yet played so unwaveringly straight, that it makes Motel Hell look like Pee Wee's Playhouse. I've seen a lot of movies where the monster is really more of an afterthought added in to give the movie a little added kick (Roger Corman did it with some regularity years ago), but despite all its problems, Godmonster seems unmistakably calculated in terms of the emphasis (or rather, the lack of it) placed on its creature. I wouldn't say that the minimal screen time was a *good* decision, but it certainly looks to be a conscious one that was made before shooting ever started, and that was adhered to throughout. The subplot involving the monster is absolutely that: subplot. The crux of the movie is all about the old man clingin' to the past and the real estate negotiator tryin' to acquire the city piece by piece at the behest of a big wig mining operation back east, with the monster being completely and unashamedly gratuitous, yet purposefully deliberate. There's actually so much subplot goin' on with the mayor and all the quirky townspeople that it's a little hard to keep track of everything, and unfortunately, a lot of it's pretty damn boring if we're bein' completely honest. It certainly has its moments, like the scene where the town holds a funeral (complete with miniature casket) for the supposedly dead dog, as well as the scene in the jailhouse where Barnstable's singin' at the top of his lungs to annoy the sheriff who's sittin' at his desk in a sleeveless white tank top with his badge pinned to it eatin' his dinner, but at the end of the day it's essentially got the same storyline as Ernest Goes to Camp, only with a radioactive mutton monster on the loose. It goes without saying that all the scenes involving the monster are hilarious, but it doesn't actually escape the laboratory until about an hour and ten minutes into the movie, when it really should have done so at around half an hour in. Frankly, the running time is about 20 minutes longer than it ought to be, and trimming it down would have certainly simplified the plot a bit, but observations like that seem to miss the point, because on its most basic level, I'm pretty sure the director really was trying to make an honest-to-God feature length movie that could be shown in theaters (and not just drive-in theaters where they'd regularly show flicks that were only 1:03 long). I can't find anything *anywhere* indicating that Godmonster actually got a theatrical release, but surely to heck it must've been released *somewhere* before Something Weird released it on VHS. Either way, you've just gotta see it to believe it, cause there's nothin' that I or anyone else can say to adequately describe this little slice of schizophrenic cinema.
Well, this is it, no turnin' back now; time to take a big ole whiff of the monster's naturally occurin' mustard gas cloud and find out if it makes any more sense while high on Agent Orange fumes. The plot, at least the "main" plot, is very old, very dull, and very predictable (up until the climax at least). Furthermore, the creature's origin device is one of the most implausible examples of bad movie science ever scripted, despite being highly entertaining by virtue of the fact that the director treats it as though it makes perfect sense, and... with enough drugs, maybe it does. I realize that grading this flick based upon its technical merits is like complaining about the continuity in a dream, but it's still necessary to keep the score grounded at least somewhat in reality. The acting is better than expected from pretty much everyone who joins the cast after the first seven minutes. Richard Marion and particularly Karen Ingenthron aren't what you'd call talented, although the scene where Marion bursts up outta the pile of hay is pretty goddamned funny. Christopher Brooks is pretty decent (despite the fact that he speaks and acts just like Howard "they call me Mr. Tibbs" Rollins from In the Heat of the Night), and Stuart Lancaster definitely brings a much needed touch of professionalism to the role of Mayor Silverdale (before goin' completely apeshit in the last two minutes, in what hasta be the tour de force scene of Godmonster). Robert Hirschfeld's also pretty good as the slimy, redneck sheriff, and Steven Browne does an alright job with the role of the sycophantic, borderline pitiful Philip.
Here's who matters and why: Christopher Brooks (Space is the Place, Alabama's Ghost), Stuart Lancaster (Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, The Loch Ness Horror, The Brain Machine), E. Kerrigan Prescott (The Fiend Without a Face, Alabama's Ghost), Peggy Browne (Alabama's Ghost), Richard Marion (Child's Play 3), Karen Ingenthron (Alabama's Ghost), Steven Kent Browne (Alabama's Ghost), Terry Wills (Child's Play 3), Evalyn Stanley (Alabama's Ghost). Inexplicably, Robert Hirschfeld managed to survive havin' this on his resume and went on to land the role of Leo Schnitz on Hill Street Blues.
The special effects are actually the only area where the movie's budget really shows (the IMDB estimates $135,000, and probably only overshot the actual amount by... oh, I dunno $100,000) because the Godmonster is probably on the top ten list for worst movie monsters of all time. The strange thing is that it's elaborately bad, by which I mean it has a disproportionately long, limp arm, and a really small, hairless head attached to a bipedal frame. So it's pretty clear that some *thought* actually went into the design, even if no money did. There's really nothing else to mention as far as the effects, but the monster is bizarre enough to give most B-movie fans suitable cause to tune in. The shooting locations are interesting enough, with the majority of the film being shot in Virginia City, Nevada, less the opening sequence that was filmed in a casino in Reno (real subtle transition too when the hayseed first enters the casino and it's completely empty, only to be surrounded by people seconds later when the slot pays off). Pretty good saloon though, nice lookin' rural Main Street on display during the parade, and let's not forget about the garbage dump, which somehow manages to be the perfect setting for the film's conclusion. The only real tacky set is the doctor's laboratory, which looks to have been somebody's redecorated rec room. The soundtrack seems to be no less out of place than the Godmonster itself, with some of the music being rather calm and utilizing woodwind instruments, only to periodically shift gears entirely and move toward that really cheesy science fiction themed stuff that sounds like a radio bein' moved up and down the dial between channels without ever actually findin' one. Then it turns around and breaks out into choral singing outta nowhere and reverts back as suddenly as it began, leaving you to wonder what in the hell just happened to prompt the change in tone to begin with. Some of the science fictiony stuff isn't that bad, and sounds similar to some of the music from the original Twilight Zone, but in general nothing makes sense. With the exception of Robert Hirschfeld who went on to act in the TV series Hill Street Blues, the composer might actually be the most successful guy involved in the movie, having done the soundtracks for many of Dennis Ray Steckler's junk, as well as Russ Meyer's Mudhoney, and the immortal Eegah. Overall, the goofball monster just doesn't make up for how boring the primary plot is, and while the movie's definitely really weird and worth watching (once), the truly entertaining parts are severely outnumbered by a lotta dull crapola. So be sure to check it out, but don't go payin' too much for it.