But to me, you're just a goon!"
In 1965, director Herschell Gordon Lewis needed another movie to round out a double-feature with Moonshine Mountain. So he bought Bill (The Giant Spider Invasion) Rebane's unfinished Terror at Halfday, added a couple of extra scenes, some new dialogue, some narration, and voilà: Monster a-Go Go was born. (The birth was illegitimate, as Lewis did not deign to put his name on the movie, instead crediting himself by the pseudonym "Sheldon S. Seymour.")
The plot, such as it is, is that an astronaut has gone missing after crash-landing in suburban Illinois. At the same time, a monster that looks suspiciously like the lost spaceman (and is highly radioactive) has been terrorizing teenagers and scaring the pants off of the locals. Scientists work to study the monster, but he escapes into the Chicago sewers, only to disappear suddenly.
This film provides examples of:
- Blatant Lies: Anything the narrator says.
- Bloodless Carnage: The horribly mutilated corpses are in fact completely intact.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Maybe? As with so many things in this movie, this is never elaborated on.
- Gainax Ending: There was no monster. This chain of events is also never explained properly, making what was supposed to be a Shocking Swerve turn into a huge Plot Hole.
- Jerkass: Dr. Carl. Talks to the wife of the mission's pilot about how well a mission went when the pilot didn't come back alive, instructs a mother not to tell her son that his stepfather is dead, and inexplicably disappears before doing anything useful. And he promised the kid they'd go out for milkshakes before vanishing while the kid is out of the room. Considering the quality of this movie, vanishing from it might make Dr. Carl a Karma Houdini.
- Last-Name Basis: The Logan brothers.
- Leave the Camera Running: The "climax" of the film is just an endless series of shots of trucks driving around, people running cable, and the like, with no dialogue or plot to speak of. Considering we don't see any of the main characters in most of the shots, it's highly likely they just took a bunch of Stock Footage and used it to pad out the runtime.
- Mind Screw: How the climax happened is not only never explained, but handwaved by the narrator at the very end.
- Never Trust a Title: There is a very very very brief moment of go go dancers at the very beginning, but you have to imagine anyone not making out with their girlfriend at the drive-in felt profoundly ripped off.
- No Ontological Inertia: When the monster just disappears suddenly all the characters tracking it seem to immediately forget what they were doing, and the narrator even describes them as "puzzled men of courage"
- Nothing Is Scarier: Used very poorly. Nothing at all is, it turns out, a huge letdown.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Absolutely every moment that had the slightest potential for awesome.
- Plot Hole: Plenty of them, due to the incomplete nature of the film. Very little of what's going on is explained properly, and attempts to explain it just end up posing more questions than they answer.
- Sensory Abuse: The film's score consists mainly of sparse, jangly Scare Chords played on a Fender Rhodes and amplified to distortion; it's atonal, harsh, and probably meant to be creepy, but just gets annoying after a while. The composer/musician responsible is uncredited, perhaps out of to shame.
- Space Clothes: On the monster. Inexplicably.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Used to Hand Wave about why one Dr. Logan is similar to his brother that disappeared without a trace from the earlier part of the plot (in reality the same actor filmed several years apart and having changed a lot in the meanwhile).
- Wham Line: Not in a good way.Narrator: As if a switch had been turned, as if an eye had been blinked, as if some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension, suddenly, there was no trail! There was no giant, no monster, no thing called "Douglas" to be followed. There was nothing in the tunnel but the puzzled men of courage, who suddenly found themselves alone with shadows and darkness! With the telegram, one cloud lifts, and another descends. Astronaut Frank Douglas, rescued, alive, well, and of normal size, some eight thousand miles away in a lifeboat, with no memory of where he has been, or how he was separated from his capsule! Then who, or what, has landed here? Is it here yet? Or has the cosmic switch been pulled? Case in point: The line between science fiction and science fact is microscopically thin! You have witnessed the line being shaved even thinner! But is the menace with us? Or is the monster gone?
- What Happened to the Mouse?: About half the characters disappear about halfway into the movie. One of them, Dr. Logan, is replaced by his brother, Dr. Logan, who is the same actor with a different haircut. The reason for this is because Lewis attempted to complete the film several years after Rebane abandoned it; the new characters replace the old ones whose actors were unavailable, and the same actor playing his original character's brother was on account of the actor being available but having drastically changed his appearance in the interim.