A psychic freakout…in Trans-Etheric Vision
While NASA is working the kinks out of their entries in the space race, astronaut Frank Douglas discovers that, instead of loose women and corvettes, his stint as a space stunt pilot will result in a painful trip to the Monster a-Go Go. When his minuscule capsule crash lands, he transmogrifies into a freakishly tall Mr. Greenjeans impersonator with hunks of bread dough clinging to his overly high, but still fashionably endearing, cheekbones. Naturally, he rampages across the Chicago suburbs, irradiating everything and everyone into an interstellar prune. Meanwhile, scientists argue about journal entries and have round after round of martinis with anchovy stuffed olives (TWO anchovy stuffed olives). [Editor's Note: Mmm…anchovy stuffed olives.] A rogue researcher captures this jolly gangrene giant and keeps him in a storeroom for a few weeks. Frank the freak decides a road trip to downtown Chi-town is in order and makes a bee-line to Marshall Fields for Frango Mints. And then he just disappears.
When poor undersexed Cindy gets a mental mind meld from her ethereal plane relative, Abigail, a nymphomaniac sorceress from Salem, it's not long before she is sent on a series of stock footage inner space intercourse escapades which leave her Psyched by the 4-D Witch. While Moby Grape's electric chocolate banana fantastic slide show illuminates the screen, our overheated heroines discuss witchcraft, the elusive "fantasy f**k," and shift between spheres of consciousness and archival freak out footage. Soon, Cindy grows weary of having the greatest metaphysical climaxes in the world, and worries that Abigail may be warping her value system (never mind her privates). That is when the otherworldly shag hag decides to seek her revenge, and turn Cindy's brother into one of the most dreaded creatures of the night: the sexual vampire!
If Monster a Go-Go feels like a failed cinematic aptitude test, it is because a couple of random movies were indeed bashed together like square pegs into round plot holes. Bill Rebane, later to win universal raspberries of ridicule for his under-baked Giant Spider Invasion, tried to craft a mangled monster from another planet style movie. Instead, he merely created a huge debt that resulted in the film being shut down. Enter Goremeister Herschel Gordon Lewis, who took Rebane's remnants, added some scenes of people eating, drinking, smoking, and discussing semi-important stuff, and added a voice-over narrator to try to make sense of the mess. And it almost worked. For a few moments, real life vertical curiosity Henry Hite is truly ghoulish. That is, until the camera settles on him for longer than five seconds. Instead of filling in story gaps, Lewis leaves them dangling in the breeze, hoping a good air bath will rinse out the ridiculousness. About the only good thing in the film is the zombie stomp theme song, whose driving bass mimics the throbbing in your temples from trying to decipher what the Sputnik is going on here. No matter how it was created or the resulting pseudo coherent continuity of the film, Monster plays like a disjointed carnival sideshow, complete with an oversized human stick figure and various other non-acting human oddities.
Psyched by the 4-D Witch, on the other hand, is some sort of surreal masterpiece. Part poorly made home porn film, mostly bizarre sequences of colored lights, double exposed/framed filler material, and absolutely unbelievable compositions of fake lashed eyes and dragon puppets, it tells its tale of sexual sorcery in narration, musical cues, vague read-what-you-want-into-it imagery, and faux fornication. Witch is the reason we go to the movies; it offers an experience unlike any other. It is a film so absolutely nutty that it is brilliant. Credited to Victor Luminera (the IMDb lists this as his only credit), it wavers between fever dream and mental food poisoning, painting sex as a psychic, psychedelic and psychiatric experience. Images and themes seem random and haphazard. On close inspection, there is a method to their cluttered mise-en-scene cacophony. Adding to the unreal atmosphere is the soundtrack. It mixes Wagner with Ravel, adding its acid rock roof raiser theme song every few minutes to induce true aural frenzy. There is no dialogue, only voice-overs by all the characters. And then it goes one step further: 99% of the curse words and sexual references are removed in odd, disorienting edits. Thoughts are left incomplete, graphic descriptions suffer from "sentence interruptus," and the experience devolves into a perverse episode of Match Game '74. It's the ultimate in audience interaction and participation, and it makes Psyched that much more engaging.
Just when you think they cannot top themselves, Something Weird Video pulls another magical, maniac mix out of its digital hat and comes up with an extraordinary, must have DVD. The transfer quality, while shoddy in parts and filled to the full screen with defects, actually adds to both movies, making them feel like transmissions from another dimension. The trailers wet one's cult cinema appetite with potential must sees like Psycossissimo (a foreign farce billed as a comic Psycho!) and the Pat Boone starring vehicle The Horror of It All. Along with archival shorts, and a gallery of exploitation art, SWV presents another insane slice of sordidness called Driving Miss Daisy Crazy. At almost 40 minutes, it plays like the highlight reel from a long lost Doris Wishman urban grimewave sleaze film, filled with sex, nudity, and pointless shots of people not talking. Daisy is the icing on what is already a super sloppy dessert of pastry faced monsters and candy colored carnality. Just like the eastern philosophy of yin and yang, Monster a-Go Go / Psyched by the 4-D Witch offers that rare bipolar dichotomy between black and white bleakness and hyper hued hysteria. It's kind of like watching a sad clown vomit, only much more disturbing. And delightful.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
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