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Directed by Phil Tucker (1953)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Oct 24 2007
A few thousand years from now, when humanity is long gone and the ruins of our civilization are strewn about the landscape, visitors from another world are going to start excavating everything, trying to learn as much about the third rock from the sun as they can. It will only be a matter of time before these alien archaeologists discover our vast libraries of film. If I had one wish, it would be that Robot Monster is the first film they find and watch. Robot Monster is the greatest bad movie in the history of cinema and a perfect example of how freaking awesome American cinema can be when it royally screws up.
The plot is perfect: a small band of human survivors are hiding out from Ro-Man, an evil space alien in the form of a gorilla wearing a diving helmet. Ro-Man has single-handedly destroyed every human on earth with a badass death ray. The survivors have figured out a way to hide from Ro-Man by rigging up some electrical cord and tinfoil, and live in relative peace about thirty feet away from Ro-Man's cave. When Ro-Man is threatened with execution by his superior officer for not destroying the final 8 humans, Ro-Man rededicates his efforts to destroying them. Unfortunately for him, he finds out that the human scientists have created a serum that prevents all disease, therefore rendering his death ray ineffective. Things get more complicated when Ro-Man's gorilla hormones go into overdrive and he can't help but want to mate with Alice, the obligatory hotness of the family. Will Ro-Man live with Alice happily ever after? Will he be murdered by his superior? More importantly, will the dinosaurs stop fighting each other long enough to intervene?!
I can't even begin to describe the sheer awesomeness of Robot Monster
. Here's a sampling of some of the themes noticeable in the narrative: Cold War Commie hysteria, bubbles, "I must, but I cannot!" meta philosophy, shirtless muscle-bound scientists, pre-marital sex, marriage after pre-marital sex, honeymoons on a hill, brothers who want to have sex with their sisters, child murder, bestiality, monsters punching women, annoying-brat-who-reveals-weakness-to-Ro-Man, SCIENCE!, Bronson Canyon Adventures, a hand holding up a rocket ship as it flies, post-apocalyptic chaos, Nuclear Family propaganda, freedom of choice for monsters, unexpected deaths, Intermissions and Freudian sex fantasies.
Did you get all of that? That's just the short list. Robot Monster
defies just about every single cinematic rule ever. At just over an hour, it is the most illogical movie in the history of movies. One example is, while hiding from Ro-Man who is only a few feet away, Roy woos Alice in the weeds nearby and then bangs her. When the coast is clear, they head back to the rest of the family and even the little kids know what they've done. They immediately get married and decide to leave the house for a honeymoon, even though Ro-Man is still running around the hills trying to murder them. That's the coolest shit ever
. And I don't blame Roy at all. If I had the opportunity to repopulate the world with Claudia Barrett, I'd probably forget about everything as well.
Ro-Man is also one of the greatest monster in cinema history. Sure, it's a little strange to see a gorilla running around in a diving helmet, but he has this sweet death ray that can destroy space platforms and rockets with the greatest of ease. He's got the swell video transmitter that allows him to communicate with the family that is living only 30 feet away! It's certainly not his fault that they've got some extension cords and tin foil making them invisible. I mean, the dude just destroyed the entire world with a death ray, he certainly wasn't considering what tin foil might do. And don't forget, Ro-Man not only murders kids and leading men, but he also beats women, has philosophical debates with himself that would make Socrates cream his toga, and rips the clothes off hot 50's women. Not only that, but apparently his species has control over stop-motion dinosaurs and crocodiles with bony scales glued to their backs!
Below the surface, Robot Monster
is particularly creepy. Spoilers ahead, but when the end reveals that the entire film was a dream of the little boy Johnny, you'll wonder just what the hell is wrong with him. I mean, dreaming about your older sister banging sweaty, shirtless scientists seems a little odd to me. I wonder what Frued would say about that? In any event, Robot Monster
is the finest piece of bad cinema, ever
. Ed Wood has nothing on this Phil Tucker opus. Now, it's time for me to go have my own dreams about Claudia Barrett...
"I must, but I cannot!"
10 / 10
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