If this movie stayed on task and was solely about the wondrous odyssey of a giant sheep and his befuddled and alcoholic owner, you would have had a classic on your hands. However, the bulk of the movie deals with (for no apparent reason) a crooked mayor named Silverdale. Mayor Silverdale babbles endlessly about recreating and keeping the past alive in his town and uses this as a reason to refuse to sell mining leases to Barnstable who represents a powerful mining company. As fascinating as all this non-wheeling and dealing is, I paid my money to find out exactly what the hell a Godmonster was!
The morning after sheep herder Eddie had visions about sheep, Professor Clemens and his easy hippie assistant, Mariposa, show up at Eddie’s sheep farm to check on him. They find him hiding under a bunch of hay next to a gigantic sheep embryo.
Clemens immediately pulls out his mutant-sized portable tape recorder and starts babbling about what a gigantic embryo he’s found and how important it is. They load it up (it just looks like a really big, bloody, malformed cow pie) in the specially designed incubator he carries around in the bed of his pickup for just such occasions and head back to the Indian Flats Research Center.
At the lab, Clemens continues his diatribe about various gases and giant sheep and the movie frequently cuts back to him so that he can dole out more information about the area and why there’s a giant sheep embryo in his lab. He talks about how miners used to speak about a strange and terrible prehistoric beast that roamed deep in the mines and that it was most likely bunk except for the strange fossils that Clemens has found.
He takes Mariposa deep into one of the mines and all this nasty orange gas comes out and chokes her out. Clemens rescues her and once they are up to the surface, he continues explaining about how all this gas down there must have been from the dead prehistoric creature. He then theorizes that the gas seeped into the grazing lands of the sheep. Once the sheep ate some of this contaminated stuff, a mutant baby resulted. Really, it’s your archetypical mutant baby origin story.
Barnstable is still trying to get some mining leases and decides to try and cozy up to the locals by hanging out and being “one of the guys.” This is where that dastardly sheriff puts his nefarious plan into action. He convinces his dog to act like he’s been shot by Barnstable during one of the shooting events that’s going on. This will get the town really pissed at Barnstable and no one will want to deal with him then.
The plan goes off without a hitch and they even have a funeral for the dog in a church with a little casket! Don’t worry about Rover though, he’s okay – the sheriff sent him down to stay with relatives in Albuquerque!
As you can imagine, the townspeople are completely mortified by this terrible turn of events (they all loved the sheriff’s dog!) and they refuse to even answer the door when Barnstable comes around to try and buy up mining leases. I love a fake dog funeral as much as anyone, but when are we going to see a giant sheep attack?
The Godmonster is eventually unleashed and once on the warpath, it is a sight to behold. The filmmakers went with the “guy in a giant sheep suit” with this one and the result is the ugliest, cruddiest looking giant sheep you’ve ever seen. It lumbers around on its hind legs and one of its front legs is really shorter than the other (which hangs limply down) and sometimes it emits a noxious orange gas!
The Godmonster runs off into wilderness with Mariposa following it. It is at this time that she tries to talk to the Godmonster and begins dancing with it, but Eddie gets jealous and throws a rock at it and the Godmonster runs off to terrorize some kids and blow up a gas station.
Finally, Clemens and the mayor join forces to capture the Godmonster alive. This involves the ridiculous scene where a bunch of cowboys circle the sheep and lasso it to the ground. The Godmonster is put in a cage and driven out to the town dump where the mayor makes the exciting announcement that the sheep is going to be put on display as a tourist attraction!
The mayor also announces that he went ahead and sold the town out to Barnstable’s boss. The town revolts and throws trash everywhere! Some people are chased by cowboys and the truck with the Godmonster on it is pushed down a mountain of trash where it explodes, thus tragically ending the Godmonster’s brief run as a giant-monster threat.
I thought I did pretty well following the barnyard shenanigans of this movie, but I really don’t have any idea what was happening at the end. Who was doing what to whom and why? This whole business with the mayor and Barnstable, was alternately boring and confusing, serving to distract from a good story of a giant sheep run amok.
The liner notes provided with the Something Weird DVD allude to the fact that this is a cautionary tales about ecology or pollution or racist mayors and fake dead dogs, but I still don’t know what the movie was trying to tell me. Is progress good? Or bad?
The mayor is obviously a bad guy, but he represents an anti-progress view, at least until he suddenly sells the town out at the end. Was it about pollution and too much waste? And what did any of it have to do with a prehistoric monster’s farts creating a giant sheep?
I’ll confess that I sat in rapt attention throughout most of the film, mainly because I wasn’t sure if I was really seeing what has happening and also because I was giddy with anticipation over the much-promised giant sheep! The film’s fatal flaw though was not enough Godmonster and his ferocious farting and way too much real estate bickering between guys in ugly cowboy outfits.
© 2014 MonsterHunter
3 thoughts on “Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973)”
I haven’t seen this movie, and I am wondering how Godmonster stacks up as a dancer vs the other famous rubber suit monster dancers, like Godzilla and Gorgo. (It was Gorgo, wasn’t it, whom a little British kid thought was dancing? Or was it a Japanese kid who thought Gappa was dancing?)
Now you’re going to make me go and watch Gorgo again and then hunt down a copy of Gappa. I am pretty sure that Gamera never danced or did a slow jam with anyone.
This week I watched the US copy of “Gappa,” “Monster from a Prehistoric Planet.” I liked it, but no dancing. It must be Gorgo who dances in the searchlights.
Gamera does gymnastics in the full Japanese version of “Gamera vs Guiron.”