Track of the Moon Beast

July 24, 2016 at 11:25 pm (6 Heads, Track of the Moon Beast) (, , , )

Track of the Moon Beast – 1976 – United States

While watching a meteor shower, a mineralogist named Paul is struck by a hurtling rock. The rock (from the Moon) lodges in Paul’s brain. Every night when the Moon appears, Paul transforms into a humanoid lizard and goes on a murderous rampage. Paul’s friend Johnny Longbow keenly investigates the murders. Johnny is an anthropology professor, champion archer, Native American, and all-around great friend. Plus, he makes a delicious stew. Upon discovering Paul’s condition, he collaborates with the world’s top neuroscientists to find a cure. When Paul proves incurable, Johnny kills him with a handmade arrow of Moon rock.

Johnny Longbow is the best part of Track of the Moon Beast. He is funny, handsome, erudite, and gracefully handles tense situations. Paul is a stud who never wears a shirt, but he is also pathetic. Realizing his condition, he attempts suicide in a fit of self-pity (“I want to die looking like a man, not like a monster.”). He also lives with his mom and has a lizard named Ty (short for Tyrannosaurus). Somehow, Paul (not Johnny) gets to have a romance with a foxy newspaper photographer. He later attacks her during his transformation.

Track of the Moon Beast is set near a Native American reservation in New Mexico. Johnny compares Paul’s fate to a (totally fake) Native American legend about a killer humanoid lizard. Some more (and accurate) Native American culture and mythology would have been nice, as would more scenes in the picturesque New Mexico desert. Johnny is not played by an actual Native American, which is a shame.

Track of the Moon Beast’s monster looks like a cross between a dinosaur, an alien, and Gill-Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). When he dies, he disintegrates in a burst of neon light.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. A country band at a bar performs a catchy song called “California Lady”.

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