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Track of the Moon Beast

1976

A young man is transformed into a hideous "moon beast" due to a meteor fragment lodged in his body. (from IMDB)


Track of the Moon Beast is a 1976 in film horror film, directed by Richard Ashe and written by Bill Finger and Charles Sinclair.
The story revolves around a mineralogist being hit in the head by a meteor, which turns him in to a moon beast.

Plot


Mineralogist Paul Carlson (Chase Cordell) is struck by a lunar meteorite while observing a meteor shower. Lodged in his brain, the meteorite causes him to transform into a strong and vicious lizard (the titular "moon beast") whenever the moon comes out. In his lizard form, Paul loses all traces of his human self and goes about killing people at random. While human, Paul is subject to spells of dizziness and nausea, causing his girlfriend Kathy Nolan (Donna Leigh Drake) and friend and former teacher Johnny Longbow (Gregorio Sala) to become concerned.
Eventually it is shown that Paul is the monster, and deduced that the meteorite fragment in his brain is the cause of his transformations. Plans are made to remove it from his skull, but the NASA brain surgeons realize, after another X-ray and Johnny remembering some Native American legends documenting similar phenomena, that the meteorite has disintegrated and will eventually cause Paul to self-combust. When Paul learns of this, he escapes into the desert, presumably to kill himself so he will not cause any more harm. Kathy, Johnny, and the local law enforcement follow him, and Johnny shoots him with an arrow made of the original meteorite, which causes him to explosion.

Cast

  • Chase Cordell as Paul G. Carlson
  • Leigh Drake as Kathy Nolan (as Donna Leigh Drake)
  • Gregorio Sala as Prof. John 'Johnny Longbow' Salinas
  • Patrick Wright (actor) as Police Captain McCabe
  • Francine Kessler as Janet Price
  • Timothy Wayne Brown as Dr. Sutton
  • Crawford MacCallum as Dr. Lawrence
  • Jeanne Swain as Caroline Harris
  • Alan Swain as Sid Harris
  • Fred McCaffrey as Dr. Rizzo
  • Tim Butler as Budd Keeler
  • Gary Kanin as The Newscaster
  • Frank Larrabee as Lead Singer
  • Joe Blasco as The Moon Beast

Production

Track of the Moon Beast was produced by Ralph T. Desiderio and written by Bill Finger.< name="Miller 2010" />

Release

Track of the Moon Beast was released to theatres on June 1, 1976.< name="RT staff 2013" />

Home media

Track of the Moon Beast was first released to DVD in 2001 by American Home Treasures on the DVD compilation Classic Creature Movies II (Creature / Track Of The Moon Beast / Snowbeast).< name="worldcat 2013-1" /> It has since been released as part of several DVD compilations of public domain movies, including; Chilling Classics 50 movie pack by Mill Creek Entertainment in 2005,< name="worldcat 2013-2" /> 50 Fright Classics by Emson in 2006< name="worldcat 2013-3" /> and Drive-in Classics by St. Clair Entertainment Group in 2007.< name="worldcat 2013-4" />

Reception


Critical Reception


Influence

The film was featured in a Season 10 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fodder for mockery included, but was definitely not limited to, the "brain-dead" expression of the lead actress, the "horrible" dialogue, and the suggestive name and unctuous nature of the character "Johnny Longbow", whom they repeatedly er to as "Johnny Longbone".
The scene in which Johnny names ingredients in his stew quickly became a running gag and one of the writers' favorite moments from the series. Writer Kevin Murphy (actor) stated that his world-weary sigh of "onions..." made Johnny Longbow one of the "best" characters they've ever encountered.
Another popular part from the episode was when Michael J. Nelson had an entire host segment about The Band that Played California Lady, performed in the voiceover style of VH1 Behind the Music, which was a made up band that had a song called California Lady in the film.

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Category:1976 films
Category:1976 horror films
Category:American science fiction horror films
Category:Natural horror films
Category:English-language films
Category:Films featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes
Category:1970s science fiction films
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