GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS provides social commentary & a mutated sheep

Oh, my flipping lord. The American Genre Film Archive has once again dove into the Something Weird vault to clean up and release another stylistic mashup to turn your mind inside out. In this case, it’s 1973’s Godmonster of Indian Flats, whose plot summary barely does it justice:

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the petting zoo! From the singular mind of infamous artist Fredric C. Hobbs (ALABAMA’S GHOST, ROSELAND), this is the story of an eight-foot-tall toxic sheep monster that blows up gas stations, smashes crooked politicians, and terrorizes stoners.

In the words of BASKET CASE filmmaker Frank Henenlotter, “Get the straight jackets ready!” From the surreal “wild west” locations to the outrageous monster effects and the infamous scene where the Godmonster crashes a childrens’ picnic, this is easily the most inexplicably deranged creature feature in the history of forever.”

Bill Gibron’s 2006 piece on Godmonster for Popmatters does a far better job of delving into the deeper meaning of Hobbs’ film, describing it as “loaded with symbolism, counterculture ideology and some of the oddest ducks this side of an irradiated game preserve.” However, it’s worth noting that the film is, for the majority of its running time, a deeply-felt treatise on political and capitalist corruption, masquerading as a movie about a monster birthed from poisonous gas from deep below.

As per AGFA’s wont, the Blu comes with a bonus feature, scanned in 2K. This one is the classically bad fake documentary, The Legend of Bigfoot, which — to be completely honest — I was almost as excited to see as Godmonster itself. The version on Prime is pretty beat up, so it’s nice to see it cleaner and clearer, even if it’s a whole bunch of hooey.

Director Harry Winer left most of the filming to the movie’s focus, Ivan Marx, who was a noted nature photographer. So, even if the movie’s Bigfoot sequences look like a guy wandering around in a fur suit, the vistas of the Pacific Northwest look fucking amazing. Plus, the opening features a Siamese cats carrying wolf pups in its mouth, so that’s worth seeing, just to coo over the overwhelming cuteness of it all.

Further bonuses are a collection of shorts from the vaults: “Strange Sightings,” which might be the most boring UFO documentary I’ve ever seen; “School Bus Fires,” which comes about a hair’s breadth from being a how-to for budding arsonists; and “White Gorilla,” the sole fictional, as opposed to documentary short. It’s pretty old and features terrible costumes. I love it very much.

The AGFA releases are turning into the most enjoyable blind buys out there. If you see one, get it. There will be two movies to watch, and they’ll look great, and they will kind of let your mind melt.

Godmonster of Indian Flats is available Tuesday on Blu-ray from Diabolik.

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek
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