Psychedelic Cinema Double Feature

Tonight is psychedelic cult classic movie night.

Both of these are fairly low budget music films. The first is Sun Ra’s Space is the Place (1974).

Sun Ra Space Is The Place
Musician and space age prophet Sun Ra decides to bring the Black race to a new planet in outer space. He travels back in time to the 1940s and plays cards with a pimp for the fate of planet Earth’s African Americans. (It doesn’t make any more sense watching the movie.)

The special effects of his space ship and of the Earth’s destruction look like something you’d see on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact, Space was intentionally created to pay tribute to the low-budget sci-fi films of the 50’s and 60’s. Great things can come out of a low budget movie, and 82 minutes of the spaced-out sound of Sun Ra And His Year 2000 Myth Science Arkestra are as good a reason as any to produce a film.

Sun-Ra-Space-Is-the-Place-SoundtrackThe official soundtrack LP to Space is the Place

The second movie – the Monkees’ Head (1968) involves a similarly non-linear plot. The fun loving made-for-TV musicians run around and interact with Honey I Shrunk the Kids style props. It’s truly puzzling what the film is actually about. In fact, IMDB offers the following sentence as it’s entire entry on Head:

“The Monkees are tossed about in a psychedelic, surrealist, plotless, circular bit of fun fluff.”

Monkees - Head poster
When Head premiered it was a total flop. Fans hated it, because they were expecting to see a ninety minute episode of their favorite TV show. In a sense the film achieved exactly what the Monkees were trying to do – shatter their MTV boy band image and replace it with something more adult and experimental.

The Monkees - Head SoundtrackThe Monkees – Head soundtrack w/mirror cover art

If you watch Head for nothing else, watch it for Frank Zappa’s magical cameo appearance… or like the rest of the Monkee fans, for the “Porpoise Song.”

Frank Zappa offers words of wisdom to Davy Jones.

Thankfully, both Space is the Place and Head are available for viewing on the Web.

Published in: on January 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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