Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973)

Before he made his first movie — Troika — in 1969, Frederic Hobbs was an artist who went from the traditional to a whole way of presenting art, creating parade sculptures that took art from the museum to the people. That’s when he figured it out — to get the people to see something as art, you should hide it in a film. He also created the films Roseland and Alabama’s Ghost before this one. And honestly, nothing can prepare you for this.

Imagine if David Lynch made a 1950’s nuclear warning monster film. But before you go see it, you get in a car crash and suffer a really bad concussion. Cool. Then, someone spikes your Icee with a dose of LSD that would cripple Owsley “Bear” Stanley. You now have a very, very small idea of just how crazy things are about to get.

There are two stories happeninghere: a scientist is trying to crack the code on a mysterious sheep-like creature while a conservative landowner fights being bought out by prospectors. All in Virginia City, Nevada, which was once the richest city in America after the silver and gold rush. The mines went dry, the people went away and the only people left are tourists staring at a dead husk.

I have to tell you, you’ve never quite seen a creature quite like the Godmonster. At once it appears to be the most real and yet fakest creature ever seen on the silver screen. It very well could be one of Lovecraft’s ancient ones for all I know, as it saunters and stumbles and falters across the frame, scaring children at birthday parties and blowing up gas stations.

There’s also a subplot with a fake dog funeral. Don’t ask me how any of this ties together, because all of it has blown my mind sky high, like a Jigsaw song from 1975.

Imagine a movie where the creature doesn’t do a single thing until more than one hour into the run time of a movie under ninety minutes, all while the nonprofessional actors can’t act and the professional ones chew scenery like they’re the godmonsters of the fringe festival.

I get real down sometimes when I think the world could be a better place than it is. The Godmonster of Indian Flats proves to me that somewhere out there, at some time, in some corner of the cosmos — let’s say a drive-in that smells like skunk weed and MD40 — some brave souls had no idea what the actual fuck they were getting into when it started playing. That fact makes me happy, imagining people driving away before the movie even ends, telling their friends and family that they suffered their way through a movie where a lamb emitted smoke and gave his life so that an entire town could die. There aren’t enough stars in the galaxy and every reality ever to properly review this movie. I’ll have to go back to college to invent some kind of formula so that my fragile mind can try and quantify it.

You can get this on blu ray from the amazing and astound folks at Something Weird and the AGFA. It’s also on Amazon Prime, if you’re brave. Or stupid. But probably you should be both.

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