Track of the Moon Beast (1976)

A collision with the moon knocks loose some moon rock fragments, which fall to earth in a meteor shower.  A tiny fragment lodges itself in a young man’s skull, so when the moon is out, he becomes…

A lizard man.

…What, you thought I was going to say “werewolf”?

However, lizard man or not, this is basically a werewolf movie, with most of the familiar elements, only mildly changed to fit the SF storyline, and transposition to the deserts of New Mexico.  In fact, I think the changes related to the geographic change may be more sweeping and significant than those of the change of genre.  Instead of that same “gypsy” poem that’s been used in virtually every wolfman movie ever made (but was invented for the Universal original), we get a few references to an Indian legend about Lizard and Coyote, and a vague reference to such a lizard creature appearing in the distant past.

The supposedly scientific elements actually contribute very little here — we get a bit of talk about energies and the legendary fate of the lizard creature in the old story provides a vital clue for destroying the modern creature (using, of all things, a bow and arrow!).  It never ends up with the mixture of the supernatural and the scientific that the trailer seems to be promising, preferring instead to give us some sort of “rational” explanation for everything.

I will note that the whole notion of moon rocks causing madness and violence was used with far greater effect in an old episode of Gerry Anderson’s UFO, only without the resort to lycanthropy, lizard men, or bodily transformations.  But, of course, that wasn’t the point here.  After all, this is a werewolf movie, in disguise.

With such a threadbare story, it should come as no surprise that this is basically a pretty threadbare sort of movie.  It is a bit slow, a bit talky, and has one of the worst creature suits ever seen outside of a Larry Buchanan movie. Which is actually pretty close to the level of this film, although only a few of Larry’s films were quite this good.

Not that that is saying much.

So let’s face it.  This is a MST3K movie, and a Mill Valley Fifty Movie box set movie.  It’s biggest interest is its novelty value.

So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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