Film / Track of the Moon Beast

Track of the Moon Beast is a horror movie about a somewhat boring professor of archaeology named Paul, who becomes slightly less boring when he's struck by a radioactive fragment of moon rock during a meteor shower, causing him to transform into a lizard monster when under the light of the moon, because of something about Native American gods.

Hoping to save Paul are his Love Interest Kathy and fellow professor and Magical Native American Johnny Longbow. Hoping to save the movie is an out-of-place musical performance of a song called "California Lady." Can either of them succeed? Probably not.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Tropes present in this film:

  • Artistic License Biology: The picture of the T. Rex in the biologist's office wouldn't convince a 4-year-old.
  • Artistic License Nuclear Physics: Everything surrounding the "explanation" of the radiation from the meteor, mixed in with some Artistic License Astronomy.
  • Artistic License Paleontology: It's claimed that the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex is the Komodo dragon. It's not. In fact, literally the only thing linking them together is the fact that both are reptiles—beyond that, they couldn't be any more different. The Tyrannosaur is, no joke, closer to a chicken than to a Komodo dragon.
  • Basement-Dweller: Paul lives with his mother at age 24, and Kathy feels he's a very lonely man, his clear friendship with Johnny Longbow notwithstanding.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Paul realizes that not only does he become an uncontrollable lizard, but also that the meteor fragment that transforms him will eventually kill him, he tries to kill himself presumably in the hope of Dying as Himself.
  • Big "NO!": Kathy shrieks it when she realizes Paul's fate is inevitable.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Johnny's archery skills.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: After Longbow and his students play a prank on Paul at the movie's start, Kathy goes on to explain the prank and how they came up with it in excruciating detail. She even starts describing his reaction to the prank. Inaccurately.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • "Moon rock? Oh, wow."
    • Also, the prank, in which Johnny Longbow's students surprise Paul with a mask and a loud scream. From their excruciatingly drawn out explanation and apologies about how they "got more of a reaction than [they] bargained for" you'd think he must have had some sort of epic freak-out. His actual response? Mild confusion.
  • Dying as Yourself: When he finds out that he not only turns into a murderous lizard man, but he's going to burn up and die in due time anyway, Paul tries to find several ways to kill himself. He fails each time and ultimately dies as a murderous lizard man.
  • Failed a Spot Check: A pair of cops obligingly just keep staring in the exact opposite direction from where Paul is sneaking up on them.
  • Fan Disservice: A good look at the drunken bowler's asscheeks.
  • Fanservice: Say what you want about Paul, but he's got a great body. He spends roughly 1/3 of his screentime topless.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: A radioactive meteorite fragment reacts with leftover lizard DNA from when Native American gods created mankind to turn Paul into a lizard creature. Or something.
  • Imagine Spot: Paul has a fantasy of getting into the mountain lift and jumping out of it while it's in the air.
  • Large Ham: Johnny is maybe slightly softer-spoken than your average ham, but he still has his occasional moments of Chewing the Scenery.
  • Leitmotif: The stereotypical theme for Johnny Longbow.
  • Lizard Folk: Paul becomes one.
  • Made of Iron: Paul jumps off a ski lift, plummets several stories, falls on rocky ground, and inexplicably comes out no worse for wear. Actually averted. It was an Imagine Spot with him considering doing so.
  • Mister Exposition: Longbow, especially his endless lecture on the Indian legend late in the film.
  • Notable Original Music: "California Lady"
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The basic concept is there - exposure to the moon causing a person to change into a half-beast. The explanation of how and why, however, is... bizarre, involving Native American deities, radiation, and a gross misunderstanding of biology.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Johnny Longbow becomes our hero by default once Paul turns into a lizard.
  • Sex Equals Love
    Paul: Do it because we love each other...
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: So after all this it turns out Paul can't be cured, and he dies. The end!
  • Shout-Out: The drunken bowler's murder on his own doorstep is a homage to The Leopard Man.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Paul's lizard. We're shown a shot of its cage busted open after Paul's first rampage, but it's unclear whether the lizard escaped, Paul killed it, or if it's a poorly handled Red Herring.

"Moon rock? Oh, wow."