Reviews

Monster A-Go-Go (1965) + Psyched By The 4-D Witch (1972)

For the last few years, I’ve held the weight of guilt on my shoulders.

When first viewing Monster A-Go-Go, a deadened cosmic fever from parts very unknown, and Psyched By The 4-D Witch, a skillful lesson in how sex isn’t always the best policy, my body was racked with fury. How dare you, Monster A-Go-Go, for forcing me into a dead sleep nearly seven times in 68 minutes? And how dare you, Psyched By The 4-D Witch, for causing me to recoil in horror at the sight of a bulbous, curiously-shaped nipple. I was worked up. My time could’ve been better spent watching The Weird World Of LSD again. Or so I thought.

Three years on and I’ve watched Monster A-Go-Go, in its entirety, four times. The 4-D Witch has stood in the wings, offering her unappetizing sex as a convenient chaser. After years of nagging and tugging, the three of us have reached an intimate pinnacle, as well as an interesting conclusion. Trash films don’t devolve. People do. Since both films were probably sourced at random from an anonymous, perverted Mad Libs collection, this point rings true.

“You’ve never seen a picture like this — thank goodness!” When H.G. Lewis fortified Bill Rebane’s unfinished Terror At Halfday with that tagline (and a few extra scenes), his intelligence was proven once again. Monster A-Go-Go was born. Frank went to space. His tiny spaceship crashed. Frank is now a giant! So, he stomps around the barren landscapes of Wisconsin and downtown Chicago, interrupting sunbathers, turning blood to powder, and causing scientists to ponder the universe. Monster A-Go-Go turns boredom into an art form. Men with big foreheads talk to women with cigarettes. A couple makes it to second base. A car breaks down. These are the things which will put you to sleep. Yet, there’s a distinct gratification in this experience. The stretches of silence, grainy midnight investigations, spooky bursts of electric organ, determined narration¬†— inebriated charm is always present. You just have to find it.

Zits. A killer wig. Home movie footage of a junior college campus, the beach, and “Chinatown.” The phrase “fantasy fuck.” Lots of colored lightbulbs. Yes, this is Psyched By The 4-D Witch! Cindy, who can’t seem to reach a proper climax, is repeatedly visited by her “sexual witchcraft” ancestor, Abigail. Abigail helps Cindy seek sexual harmony through sexual fantasies involving masturbation, a “homo,” a rubber snake, her aunt Fannie, and a dead body. Towards the end, Cindy rakes leaves as her brother runs around with plastic fangs. The screen appears nearly pitch black during most of this sequence. I don’t know who director Victor Luminera is, but one thing’s for sure: this guy was ON FIRE. Told entirely through hilariously poor narration, Psyched leans more towards a weekend goof-off than an intentionally bizarre classic. It’s basically a crude jumble of overlapped Super 8 footage, spiked endlessly with basement psychedelic effects and the hilarious censoring of the word “fuck.” There’s quite a bit of nudity and suggestive sex, but you won’t want to see any of it. 20 minutes of fascinating clumsiness, 60 minutes of hippy-doubting humanity. It is a winning combination.

The narrator in Monster A-Go-Go states, “Fate and history never deal in ‘IFs’!” How true. From the lower depths of Chicago’s Wabash Avenue to the campus of an anonymous California junior college, I owe Misters Rebane, Lewis, and Luminera a stout apology. They’ve created two films that are clearly incomprehensible, yet special. I have a feeling they’ll accept.

Monster A-Go-Go and Psyched By The 4-D Witch cannot be recommended to anyone under any circumstances. Yet somehow, like many films in Andy Milligan‘s arsenal, this odd combination leads to bliss over time. Lots of time. Do as you must.

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