2.2/10
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74 user 24 critic

Track of the Moon Beast (1976)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1 June 1976 (USA)
A young man is transformed into a hideous "moon beast" due to a meteor fragment lodged in his body.

Director:

Richard Ashe (as Dick Ashe)

Writers:

Bill Finger (as William Finger), Charles Sinclair
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Cast

Cast overview:
Chase Cordell Chase Cordell ... Paul G. Carlson
Leigh Drake Leigh Drake ... Kathy Nolan (as Donna Leigh Drake)
Gregorio Sala Gregorio Sala ... Prof. John 'Johnny Longbow' Salinas
Patrick Wright ... Police Captain McCabe
Francine Kessler Francine Kessler ... Janet Price
Timothy Wayne Brown Timothy Wayne Brown ... Dr. Sutton
Crawford MacCallum Crawford MacCallum ... Dr. Lawrence
Jeanne Swain Jeanne Swain ... Caroline Harris
Alan Swain Alan Swain ... Sid Harris
Tim Butler Tim Butler ... Budd Keeler
Fred McCaffrey Fred McCaffrey ... Dr. Rizzo
Gary Kanin Gary Kanin ... The Newscaster
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Storyline

Professor "Johnny Longbow" Salina, a man who really knows his stews, introduces Paul Carlson to the practical-joking Kathy Nolan. Paul and Kathy seem to hit it off rather well but, during a meteor storm, a meteorite fragment strikes Paul, burying itself deep in his skull, which has the unpleasant side-effect of causing Paul to mutate into a giant reptilian monster at night and go on murderous rampages. It turns out that this sort of thing has happened before, when Professor Salina rediscovers ancient Native American paintings detailing a similar event many centuries ago. Kathy, however, still loves Paul, and tries to save him. Written by Leo L. Schwab <ewhac@best.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Rising Moon Creates A Monster

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Track of the Moonbeast See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The climax of the movie was shot along historic Route 66 just outside of Albuquerque, NM. See more »

Goofs

When Johnny is in the x-ray room explaining the mythology, he is obviously reading his lines, as one can see his eyes moving back and forth line by line. See more »

Quotes

[looks at the glowing moon rock]
Kathy Nolan: Moon rocks? Oh, wow!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie has no ending credits at all, not even the traditional 'the end' title card. The final scene just fades to black. See more »

Alternate Versions

For its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1999 some scenes were edited from Track of the Moon Beast. Most notably a scene of Johnny Longbow and his students examining a mysterious "flaw" in one of Kathy's photographs from the museum is cut. See more »


Soundtracks

California Lady
Written by Frank Larrabee
Sung by Frank Larrabee
See more »

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User Reviews

 
'California Laaaadeeee, Won't you shorten your dress for me???" - Tom Servo
24 April 2005 | by lemon_magicSee all my reviews

My mom used to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". She said this approximately 356 times a week, which helped make me the man I am today. (Thanks, Mom!) So I'll start out with some nice things to say about TOTMB.

Paul and Kathy are a nice looking couple. Paul looks good with his shirt off, kind of a Chippendale dancer physique, and Kathy has spectacular legs. The director realizes this and exploits it for everything he can get.

The guy who plays "Johnny Longbow" has a nice screen presence and a good, sonorous voice. Even saddled with a lugubrious, windy character who makes long, boring speeches, he is the most watchable thing in the film.

The script tries to work in some potentially interesting Indian stories and myths into the film - in real life, Indian lore does exist about the trickster god "Coyote", and some of it is funny as hell. Plus, the idea that there was another moon beast sometime in pre-history whose presence was recorded in ancient scrolls adds just the least little bit of resonance to the story.

Oops. That's about all the good things there are to say.

On the other hand, the blonde is a massive sinkhole of suck. She's not a bad actress, she's the "Anti-Actress". She only delivers effective readings of her lines by accident. 60-70% of her lines are stiff, flat, stilted, or just plain jarring to the ear. You can't believe the director let her get away with these takes, or worse, that these were the best takes they could get from her. She barely sounds like a human being. And there are times when the director, makeup people, and costumers conspire to make her look like a total skank on camera. It makes me wonder: how did she get this part and who did she anger during the course of the film? Did she stop sleeping with someone, and part of their revenge was to make her look like a 45 year old Las Vegas hooker?

"Paul" isn't much better. He's a chunk of beefcake who looks good with his shirt off, but he can't carry a film because he speaks in a dull monotone and shows absolutely no facial expressions that I can see. In a more modern era, with different lighting and film stock and camera angles, he might come across better, but here he's just a Ken doll who goes through the motions. See Malibu Action Ken ride his motor cycle! See Ken pose shirtless! See Ken clutch his head and act dizzy! See Ken wear pajamas and lie on a diagnostic ironing board! See Ken turn into a walking lizard and tear people apart like bread sticks!

And as usual with films like this, no one has any idea of how to pace a scene, or carry the story forward. My favorite example of this is the 2nd scene, where Johnny Longbow and Kathy explain and explain and explain and explain and explain their unfunny practical joke to Paul for what seems like the entire afternoon, while the camera stays frozen like a Jim Jarmusch master shot and all the actors stay rooted to the ground in an awkward chorus line as if they were tent pegs. The whole movie is like this.

There are even more bizarre story-telling choices in other spots. For instance, take the scene where Paul goes to a folk music concert with his new girlfriend and Johnny, only to come down with a case of the vapors. The rest of the scene is a montage alternating between the three folkies on stage singing their drab little stripped-down Eagles song, and Kathy and Johnny putting Paul to bed to the strains of "California Laaaaaadeeeee". This makes no sense at all. What are you trying to tell us, Mr. Director? That the band kept on playing even when Paul had to go home sick? (I think we all assumed that would be the case). That Kathy is Paul's "California Lady?" (But we know literally nothing about her history or origins, and the whole movie takes place in New Mexico). That you filmed some concert footage of some unknown band and got the rights to use their song and by GOD you were going to get your money's worth? (Then why not have Paul get sick near the end of the song, or have something interesting happen at the concert while the song plays, and let the frigging band have their little moment in the sun?) To top things off, Kathy wears the most alarmingly skimpy dress in the history of cinema for this scene, along with a completely different hair style - she displays so many acres of flesh that it completely distracts the viewer from whatever the heck the film is trying to say during the scene.

In summary: Ugly, dull, badly paced, badly shot, badly constructed story, with a mostly talentless cast playing cardboard characters. But I've seen worse. It gets a couple of points for Johnny Longbow, for the great legs on the blonde, for trying to add some depth and mood to the story with Indian lore, and for not trying to be anything more than a drive-in style B movie.


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