Space Cadet

A radioactive alien terrorizes Chicago, or parts of Chicago where no one else is actually seen. Monster a Go-Go didn’t have money to show people. Or action. Or story. Or acting.

When major studios dump a new Transformers movie onto screens, the internet reacts with primed, “worst movie ever” declarations. Consider that phrase though. Transformers movies show a level of competence and craftsmanship, whether the end product works or otherwise. A Monster a Go-Go falls below schlock, tolerance, and acceptability. “Worst” is a loaded term, if only because it’s colliding with Bill Rebane’s first outing as a director – of which he didn’t finish.

Truly, Monster a Go-Go IS that dull

Smashing together Cold War radiation fears and space race culture, Monster a Go-Go limps along, loosely connected between scenes, most incoherent. The basis is typical b-grade sci-fi material, worn out by 1965, if less so in 1961 when this project first began life. Even the basic plot construction is here, from the clueless police investigating deaths, the scientists considering defensive options, and the attacking military. It’s the identical paranoia exploitative cinema makers used throughout the ‘50s, crushed under the disastrous, zero budget, student film-esque end product.

For its key action scene, in which troops chase after the creature, the camera sits near the ground. Night cloaks the activity as men fire their guns, their target unseen, themselves lost in shadow. For a finale, Monster a Go-Go concocts an idiotic twist so there doesn’t need to be an actual ending. It was cheaper that way.

As Monster a Go-Go uses a litany of generic cliches to trudge through its stories, the responses deserved equal flatness. Like, “Monster a Go-Go is a new generation sleep aid.” Or, “They filmed it in their neighbor’s basement!” Neither statement is incorrect in this case, no sarcasm intended or earned. Truly, Monster a Go-Go IS that dull, and the laboratory set looks everything like a domestic cellar. Ed Wood tried. He showed ambition against odds. Monster a Go-Go doesn’t display any enthusiasm other than being a bottom bill placeholder.

Monster a Go Go Blu-ray screen shot

Video

A battered print greets viewers, but considering the conditions in which Monster a Go-Go came to be, that’s not unexpected. The persistent vertical scratches represent the messy production.

That aside, it’s generally well preserved. Grain maintains consistency, encoding enough to handle things. It’s even naturally sharp, keeping detail in focus, certainly beyond previous discs.

Contrast flickers a touch; it’s slightly blown out in the highlights too. Still, Monster a Go-Go creates some depth and a little dimensionality, bland gray scale noted but not a killer.

Audio

Opening with a pure ’60s groove, the audio is equivalent to the recording played back on a stereo system purchased at a thrift store with years of rubber rot affecting the speaker. This assumes it’s possible to even hear the dialog, which at times is so low, the lines become lost to time. Distorted piano keys pierce the limits of human tolerance. Some background noise on the set and/or static is an improvement.

Undoubtedly, that’s no fault of Arrow, and kudos to Arrow’s subtitle team for picking up most of it. DTS-HD or not, this is rough.

Extras

Sharing a disc with another Rebane flick Invasion from Inner Earth, bonuses specific to Monster a Go-Go include a Rebane interview that runs near 11-minutes. Then, Kim Newman chats about Rebane in general in a 15-minute segment.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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