Release Date(s)1973 (July 10, 2018)
Studio(s)Independently Produced (AGFA/Something Wierd)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: C-
- Audio Grade: C
- Extras Grade: D
Godmonster of Indian Flats may not be the worst monster movie ever made, but it comes pretty close. This 1973 film is set in Nevada near the site of the old Comstock lode, the first discovery of silver ore in the United States. A rancher discovers a huge mutated sheep embryo. It’s quickly taken to the secret lab of Dr. Clemens (E. Kerrigan Prescott) and his assistant, Mariposa (Karen Ingenthron). Clemens discovers that the old mine emits vapors that may have caused the mutation. It also might be the origin of a local legend about a monster. Clemens puts the creature in an incubation chamber and, soon after, it grows into an eight-foot, deformed beast. Not surprisingly, it escapes.
There’s also a parallel plot about a businessman (Christopher Brooks) who’s out to buy up land in order to make an eventual fortune, and the movie somehow turns into a modern-day Western about halfway through to add yet another layer of bizarreness.
Director Fredric C. Hobbs has cobbled together a disjointed movie made on a next-to-nothing budget and inept at every turn. The cast are third-rate actors who can’t deliver a line properly. After too many drinks, Eddie (Richard Marion) resorts to cliché actions to suggest he’s pie-eyed – slurring his speech, walking unsteadily, looking blankly around him. There is no attempt at subtlety.
When we first see the living embryo, it looks like a large, pulsating dinner roll. It’s reminiscent of The Blob, with a viscous coating designed to disgust. When it’s fully grown, however, the sight boggles the mind. Looking like a combination of a sheep, a bear, a horse, and a Tyrannosaurus, the beast is more laughable than fearsome. Clearly, it’s a man in what looks to be a very uncomfortable, hot suit. The head is expressionless, and though it never moves, Hobbs keeps cutting to it as the creature grunts and roars. A low budget is understandable, but thinking this excuse for a terrifying monster would frighten audiences is the height of hubris.
Low-budget horror films can be entertaining, but they need at least passable acting. Godmonster of Indian Flats doesn’t even fall into the category of “It’s so bad, it’s funny.” It’s just bad.
To add sorely needed production value, Hobbs incorporates a few crowd scenes composed of locals, a posse on horseback tracking the monster, a gas station explosion, and angry townspeople attacking the caged monster, just like the villagers in those Frankenstein movies did back in the 1940s. Hobbs must have been proud of his horse riding extras. They actually circle the monster like Indians circling the wagon train in vintage Westerns.
The new Blu-ray release is a 4K scan from the only surviving 35-millimeter theatrical print. As with many films of the 70s, the color has a yellowish hue and appears faded, likely because the print used for the scan has degraded. This is most noticeable in opening and closing reels, where many scratches are visible. Throughout the film, there are specks of dirt and general signs of wear. A lot of day-for-night photography is used, drenching the screen in blue. In one scene, with two actors speaking as they ride in a convertible, the features of the men often disappear into total blackness. Dialogue is overlaid in long shots, which gives the sound an echo-like quality. The actors’ awful line readings don’t help matters. Aspect ratio is 1.33:1. Original aspect ratio: 1.85: 1.
Bonus materials on the Blu-ray release include the bonus movie The Legend of Bigfoot, monster trailers, and two shorts – Strange Sightings, a dull pseudo-documentary about flying saucers with actors who speak like robots, and White Gorilla.
- Dennis Seuling