Folding my arms in a manner as if to say, entertain me, you insignificant bag of cinematic trash, I sat down in front of Godmonster of Indian Flats with the lowest of expectations. Preparing to laugh at the sheer stupidity that was about to be unfold before my very eyes, I was shocked when the film, written and directed by noted sculptor Fredric Hobbs (Alabama's Ghost), turned out to be an intelligent satire about the ills of an ill-conceived society. Oh, you mean it's one of them monster movies that imply that it's humanity, and not the giant slimy/hairy, or this film's case, flocculent creature, who is to blame for everything that is wrong with the world? I guess. But this film tackles race relations, greed, fascism, tyranny, groupthink, and the burgeoning surveillance state. Wow, that sure is a lot of topics for one film to cover. Whereas most mutant killer sheep movies seem content to point the finger at pollution, this one has many fish to fry. Didn't it annoy you that the mutant sheep plot seemed secondary to the one about the black guy who was trying to buy land in and around Virginia City, Nevada? Are you kidding? That's what made the film so weirdly appealing. You think you're watching yet another mindless movie about an upright mutant sheep with an excessively elongated right leg, but in reality, you're getting a surprisingly thoughtful lesson on how power ultimately corrupts. Did you say, "uptight mutant sheep"? If so, why is the mutant sheep uptight? Was it raised Catholic? Ha, ha, very very funny. You know I said "upright." In order to give the mutant sheep at the centre of this
wool hair-raising enterprise a more menacing appearance, the effects wizards in charge of creating the creature have it walk upright; as supposed to walking on all fours. And judging by the genuinely terrified looks on the faces of the kids whose afternoon picnic is interrupted by a giant upright mutant sheep, they made the right decision.
Shooting the picnic scene in the middle of the day was also the right decision. Of course, most directors of these kinds of movies try to avoid filming in daylight, because, you know, the light of day is usually unkind to special effects (every flaw is magnified). However, and I think most sane people will agree, that the sight of a giant upright mutant sheep staggering across a neatly trimmed lawn on a sunny day is way more effective than hiding your creature in the shadows of the dark.
While I like the sound of a giant upright mutant sheep movie with a social conscience, does Godmonster of Indian Flats have anything else to offer? Whatever do you mean? You know, does it have something for us perverts can latch onto? This movie poses deep, philosophical questions and all you can think about is your crotch? You disgust me. Just kidding, your query makes perfect sense. I mean, who wants to watch an overly earnest movie about a giant upright mutant sheep that doesn't feature some shapely distractions for all the sleazoids out there? I know I sure don't.
Does Carolyn Beaupre play Windy? Who? The alluring pickpocket (in the period accurate floozy duds from the late 1870s) who distracts Eddie (Richard Marion) the sheep farmer with her shapely gams long enough to steal his slot machine winnings? The only reason I ask is because I want to make sure I give the right actress credit. It's definitely not Erica Gavin, as she plays the woman we briefly see at a bar in Reno. It might be Evalyn Stanley, but... ahh, stupid credits. Well, whoever she is, she provides the film with its first genuinely sexy moment.
Stealing, like I said, the slot machine winnings Eddie the sheep farmer won in Reno when he wasn't looking, Windy, a Virginia City prostitute who works for Madame Alta (Peggy Browne), stuffs the cash in her cleavage. Noticing that his money is gone, Eddie the sheep farmer puts two and two together, and figures that the leggy enchantress in the reddish lacy hose must have stole his winnings. Since Eddie is not a local, Sheriff Gordon (Robert Hirschfeld) doesn't believe the fur-vested sheep farmer in the cowboy hat. And neither does Philip Maldove (Steven Kent Browne), the mayor's right hand man, who has his goons rough up Eddie before throwing him out.
Sympathetic to Eddie's plight, the town's resident scientist, Professor Clemens (E. Kerrigan Prescott), drives the mildly beaten Eddie home. Dropping in a heap in one of his sheep pens, Eddie proceeds to have these weird hallucinations involving flying sheep and gold dust.
Curious to see how he's doing, Prof. Clemens and his lovely, and, as we'll soon find out, flaky assistant Mariposa (Karen Ingenthron), pay Eddie a visit the following morning. Finding him underneath a pile of hay, they also discover a half-formed sheep embryo laying next to him. Putting it in his truck, Prof. Clemens, along with Mariposa and Eddie, take the half-formed sheep embryo up to his lab in Indian Flats.
While Prof. Clemens, who thinks this could be a huge scientific breakthrough, starts to grow embryonic sheep in his lab, the mayor of Virginia City, Charles Silverdale (Stuart Lanchaster), is busy refusing the offer given by Mr. Barnstable (Christopher Brooks), the emissary for a rich landowner from New York, to buy up land in the area.
Soon, after much dilly dallying, the land deal and mutant sheep subplot converge with one another. But not before we have a fake dog funeral, an attempted lynching, a Cognac-infused frame job, a wild west gun fight demonstration, and a pie eating contest. Don't forget the scene where Madame Alta eavesdrops on a private moment between Eddie and Mariposa in the town's cemetery. Okay, I won't. It turns out that Madame Alta is a fortune teller and she uses what she heard at the cemetery to her advantage during her Mariposa fortune telling session.
And judging by the look on Mariposa's face, she was deeply impressed with Madame Alta's clairvoyance. But before you call Mariposa a rube for falling for the oldest fortune teller trick in the book, check out the way she communicates with the giant upright mutant sheep.
When most of us see a giant upright mutant sheep roaming the countryside, our first instinct is to run in the opposite direction. On the other hand, Mariposa isn't most people. That's right, when the giant upright mutant sheep breaks out of the professor's lab, Mariposa runs after it. Wearing a yellow dress, which is apt, since the giant upright mutant sheep owes its existence to yellow phosphorus, Mariposa catches up with the wooly beast and attempts to not only have a conversation with it, she tries to get it to dance with her.
As martial law is declared in Silverdale County, the film's satirical bent becomes more apparent. But don't worry, there's plenty of giant upright mutant sheep action as well. If you were a newly free giant upright mutant sheep, where would you go first? My thoughts exactly. Heading over to a picnic being held by a small group of children, the giant upright mutant sheep crashes it in classic giant upright mutant sheep style. If I had to summarize my thoughts on Godmonster of Indian Flats, I wouldn't, the movie is about a giant upright mutant sheep. But in some ways it's about so much more.