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Lobster Man from Mars

     "Yes, of course ... super-heated di-oxygenated hydroxide applied externally to the exoskeleton!."

--  Professor Plocostomos' hair-brained scheme   


--  Clueless Jack   

     "We'll throw hot water on him."

--  Professor Plocostomos' simplified hair-brained scheme   




Gonzoid Cinema




"In the name of the U.S. Army, I order you to surrender! Now scuttle out with your claws up!"


Watch it!



Sights &
Lobster Man
from Mars 
  Stanley Sheff
  Stanley Sheff
  Bob Greenberg
  Steven Green
  Eyal Rimmon

Attack of
the Thing
that Came
from Outer

Lobster Man from Mars

I Was a Teenage Zombie for the F.B.I.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera

I Woke Up Early the Day I Died


We open in the bedroom of young Stevie Horowitz (Dean Jacobsen), an aspiring filmmaker -- judging by all the equipment and props he has crammed in there, whose just finished the last edit on his first film: a science-fiction epic that he believes will be his ticket to Hollywood fame and fortune. However, his constantly nagging mother doesn't agree with this pie-in-the-sky assessment ... Taking his prized film to the office of J.P. Sheldrake, Horowitz tries to bluff his way into to seeing the big time movie producer. As fate would have it, Sheldrake (Tony Curtis) is at that very moment getting some terrible news from his accountant. Seems his studio made too much money last year and now Uncle Sam wants his share to the tune of about $4,000,000 in taxes. Unfortunately, all of Sheldrake's money is tied up in bad investments, mostly ex-wives, but his accountant has a plan. If they can somehow take a large monetary loss during this fiscal year, the books will even themselves out. Sheldrake loves the idea, but loses faith when told there are only six days left to find such a turd-burger to bomb at the box-office. Thus, faced with financial ruin, the producer prepares to hurl himself out the window but is interrupted when his secretary buzzes in, asking if he'd like to take a look at something called Lobster Man from Mars.

That ludicrous title alone spells box-office disaster to Sheldrake, and it sounds exactly like what he needs to save his hash from the IRS. And so he happily grabs Horowitz and hauls him into the nearest screening room, where everyone settles in as the images flicker to life ... When the credits for the film roll up, accompanied by a James Bondian Diva belting out a ballad about Martian lobsters, revealing it was written, produced, scored, F/X'd and directed by Stevie Horowitz, Sheldrake's Cheshire grin stretches from ear to ear.

Horowitz's magnum opus opens on the planet Mars, where a narrator (Dr. Demento) informs us that H.G. Wells was right: there really are Martians, who live underground on the angry red planet. At heart a peaceful race, the Martians are faced with an impending crisis: their oxygen is about to run out. So, the Martian King (Bobby "Boris" Pickett) consults Brain X, which looks like a big lump of poop stuck in a jar, about what they should do. Now, Brain X talks in a kind of helium-flavored B-Flick jive, punctuated with lots of klaatus, baradas and niktos, but we still get the gist of his speech and his answer is simple: they'll just have to steal all of Earth's air. To accomplish this, the Martian King will send his best agent. He's big, nasty, and reeks of rotten fish. For he is the dreaded Lobster Man (S.P. Nemeth). But when charged with this all important mission, the monster refuses to go -- until the King points out that he can eat as many Earthlings as he likes while there. That seals it. And before you can say "Hu-mans is finger-licking-good" the Lobster Man hops aboard his flying saucer. But before he putters off, the King orders him to take Mambo along to help. (Who's Mambo? You'll find out in a sec, but I guarantee you're gonna love him.) With that, the sparkler is lit and the wobbly spacecraft sputters across the galaxy towards an unsuspecting Earth.

Speaking of Earth, we switch venues and focus on a large convertible driving down a lonely road. Here, the narrator chimes in a warning that these unwary travelers are doomed to meet a sinister fate. Inside the car, John and Mary (Anthony Hickox and Deborah Foreman), a young and wholesome couple, talk excitedly about Johnny's new job, working for his uncle Freddy. Suddenly, the car seizes up and stalls out. And their consternation turns to astonishment when their attention is drawn skyward, where a flying saucer wobbles overhead ... Following it's erratic trajectory until it disappears over a nearby hill, when the craft falls out of sight, the car magically starts back up. Intrigued, our heroes decide to investigate. Following the smoke, they find a large cave and deduce the ship must have crashed somewhere inside it (-- and all you savvy B-movie veterans out there should instantly recognize the cave in question, as it used to belong to Ro-Man the Robot Monster). Here, the fiendishly naive couple spy some strange, glittering tracks around the entrance but decide to head into the cave anyway, where they find the UFO. Knowing they'll need proof, or the authorities will never believe them, John heads back to the car and gets his camera out of the trunk. And while he takes several shots of the otherworldly craft, a lobster-clawed POV crawls into the opened trunk and closes the lid.

Unaware of this stowaway, John and Mary stop at a roadside cafe looking for a phone. After calling the authorities, John is patched through to Colonel Ankrum (Fred Holliday), the head honcho of the 13th Army's Military Intelligence Domestic Division for Unexplained Phenomenon. Listening to the excited report, Ankrum angrily calls John a crackpot before hanging up on him. Overhearing John's phone call, a world-weary private investigator named Sledge (Tommy Sledge) watches as the couple leaves. The man obviously fell straight out of a Hammet or Spillane novel and landed right on his head as he lays on the tough, hard-boiled dick metaphors a little too thickly, drawing worried stares from everyone else in the cafe -- Sledge even has to turn down his jazzy theme muzak when the operator can't hear him while he tries to phone his secretary. Finally getting through, he announces his plan to tail those youngsters, hoping to cash in on their find, somehow.

Meantime, John decides their best course of action is to contact his Uncle Freddy. And once they get the pictures developed, and with his uncle's backing, the authorities will have to believe them then. Unfortunately, this plan is derailed for a bit when their car suffers a blow out. Limping to the nearest gas station, the owner promises to replace the tire lickety-split. He also points them to the nearest photographer, but warns it will take at least a whole day to process the film. After the couple leaves with the directions to the nearest hotel, the grease-monkey opens the trunk to swap out the spare -- but gets an unwelcome surprise instead! Seized by a giant claw, the victim is yanked into the trunk, where he is quickly devoured. Now on the loose, the Lobster Man enters the cafe and turns a nasty looking weapon on the occupants and pulls the trigger -- and when the smoke clears, all that remains of the victims are a couple of smoldering skeletons.

Later, in their hotel room, John and Mary watch a special report about the attack on the cafe. Believing Martians were behind the attack, reporter Dick Strange interviews noted astronomer, Professor F. Plocostomos (Patrick MacNee). But the Professor's answer to every wildly speculative question is a succinct no; it would be impossible, he insists, for Martians to come to Earth because, according his theory, the only life on Mars are Giant Martian Clams. Well, it urns out this crackpot is actually John's Uncle Freddy. And with that revelation, Sledge steps out of the closet, blurts some more hard-boiled chatter, and then goes back in. Elsewhere, the gas station owner, whom I thought was dead, tries to eat sandwich, but only manages one bite before his chest bursts open, allowing a couple of cackling Martian bat-creatures to worm their way out of his innards, who then flutter off into the night until zeroing in on the local Lover's Lane, where the creepy critters run several sorties, attacking several unsuspecting couples.

The next morning, John and Mary are disappointed when the pictures they took come back blank. And though John insists it was the radiation from the ship, Mary openly wonders if he forgot to take the lens cap off. (John really isn't the brightest bulb in the world.) Retrieving their car from the still not dead mechanic, the couple head over to Professor Plocostomos' Institute. On the way, though, the car becomes possessed and runs itself, and them, off the road. And when they get out John and Mary are confronted by something definitely not of this Earth!

Fleeing from this deadly menace, the Lobster Man sics Mambo on them. Now, Mambo looks like a gorilla sporting some silver moon boots, topped off with an antenna-adorned deap-sea diving helmet for a head, and this familiarly looking robot monster quickly catches up with his prey. As the villain mercilessly pounds on John, Mary comes to the rescue by pulling the monster's air hose loose. Having escaped the clutches of these Martian no-goodniks, the couple presses on and finds the Professor. When told about the Lobster Man, Plocostomos is thrilled that his Clam theory was fairly close -- as the Martians are apparently crustaceans. Asked if he knows how to stop them, Plocostomos is quick to respond that he just found about the monster not five minutes ago, so how the hell should he know? He does put in a call to Ankrum, but discovers the Colonel has left to investigate the alleged crash site.

Switching to the cave, Ankrum sends his detail, consisting of one man, into the cave to flush out the Martians. Watching the soldier enter the cave and disappear, Ankrum soon hears a firefight deep within before the soldier stumbles back out, falls to the ground, and disintegrates, leaving the familiar skeletal remains.

Then one of the cackling bat-creatures attacks Ankrum, who swats at it with his pistol. (Try firing the damn thing, Colonel Knothead!) Quickly wising up, Ankrum draws a bead and blows it out of the sky. (He must have hit the wire holding it up.) And as a tinny, Moog version of Patton's theme kicks in, Ankrum celebrates this great victory over the Martian scourge before he quickly retreats. (USA! USA! USA!) Taking the bat creature's corpse to Plocostomos, the men send Mary off to the kitchen to make some tea while they study the remains. (They have a habit of sending Mary off to the kitchen whenever she asks a very pertinent question.) Ankrum just wants to flush the thing down the toilet and be rid of it, but Plocostomos believes the creature must be preserved and studied, and even postulates that isn't even dead and is currently regenerating itself. Regardless, Ankrum still insists that they flush first ask questions later. But, the creature comes back to life, settling this great debate. It quickly takes flight and starts attacking. And while the others try to beat it down, the creature zeroes in on John. Once again, Mary saves his hash, inadvertently this time, when the bat crashes into her tray and is covered in hot tea, which, very messily, causes it to disintegrates all over the floor.

Not only has Mary saved John, again, but she has also saved mankind, according to Plocostomos. When the others don't get it, the Professor pops in a tape that shows a cook putting a lobster into a pot of boiling water. John, bless him, is still confused, but Ankrum swears he can get four crack divisions armed with pots of boiling water with only one phone call. But fearing they won't be able to keep the water hot enough to do any significant damage that way, Plocostomos has a better, albeit more convoluted, plan. Now, to be more convoluted than 10,000 men armed with hot-water bottles must be something special, right? Well, how's this: Herr Professor wants to lure the Lobster Man to the Throckmorton mansion, a haunted house, located near several hot springs. Once they get him there, they can toss him in and let nature take its course. (Now bring on the drawn butter!)

Ankrum doesn't really like the idea but agrees to gives them six hours to try before he sends in the hot-water brigade -- and some artillery. Unfortunately, the other Martian bat was spying on them and relates the plan back to the Lobster Man, whose been busy raiding the showers of a nearby girl's dormitory. Anyways ... Rumored to have a working torture chamber somewhere behind it's walls, Plocostomos gives John and Mary a quick and contradictory haunted history lesson behind the Throckmorton mansion that doesn't make a lick of sense. Upon arrival, the butler lets them in and introduces them to the last of the Throckmortons (Billy Barty!), who leads them in a séance as he tries to channel the spirits of the house. Here, things start flying around the room but we quickly find out it's a scam, with the butler making it all happen from a secret room. Luckily, the objects only bounce of John's [empty] head. But while the butler keeps throwing switches, Mambo sneaks in and knocks him out. Meanwhile, the Lobster Man breaks in next and uses his ray-gun on Throckmorton. The others retreat, but only the men make it outside, where Ankrum and his stock footage army wait to bomb the house. Not realizing that Mary is still trapped inside, currently wrapped up in the Lobster Man's tentacles (-- and since when do lobsters have tentacles?), the order is given and the house is obliterated. When John finally realizes that Mary was still inside, Ankrum consoles him, saying she died for her country. Then Sledge shows up, from out of nowhere, and points out some glittering footprints leading away; so, unless the Lobster Man walked backwards to this bonfire, he escaped. With that notion, John holds out hope that Mary got away, too.

Back at the cave, the Lobster Man convinces Mary that he fled Mars because of the invading Bunny-Men from Neptune, and how he only wants to be left alone in his cave. He even lets her go so she can bring the others back for a friendly lunch. To be lunch, that is ... When the others find Mary, she tells them about the Lobster Man's sob story. But the Professor doesn't buy it, and then, incredibly -- make that incredulously, makes a connection between Neptunian Bunny-Men and the Martian plot to steal Earth's air supply. (If that happens how are we supposed to make love out of nothing at all?) With his deception-shtick foiled, the Lobster Man and Mambo put their atmosphere-machines on auto-suck and go out to eat. They attack our heroes and commandeer Ankrum's jeep, but the aliens have a little trouble driving a stick. This gives the Earthlings enough time to escape and find another vehicle. As the monsters give chase, they all pass an entrance sign for Yellowstone National Park -- and I could probably stop ye review right now because I'm fairly faithful that we all know how this old movie is going to end. But, since we're almost done, I'll stick with.

When the Earthling's jeep overheats, forcing them to stop, Plocostomos concocts yet another hair-brained plan ... Using Mary as bait to sucker the Martians in closer, the men manage to direct the boiling water out of the radiator and spray it all over Mambo, who dissolves into an even bigger mess than that bat-critter. Alas, they've run out water, forcing them to flee from the wrathful Lobster Man. And as he closes in on Mary, they both run past a sign pointing toward Old Faithful. Realizing where she is, the ever resourceful girl tries to lure the monster closer to the geyser before it erupts. Nearby, John realizes it's still two minutes before the geyser pops off again and offers himself up as a better meal than the chicken-legged and flat-chested Mary. When the Lobster Man counters, saying Mary is only an appetizer, John checks his watch again, thinking the geyser should have erupted by now. Alas, he realizes too late that his watch has stopped again, and the last thing John hears is a deathly cackle before the Lobster Man blasts him with his ray-gun. 

A horrified Mary watches as John disintegrates. Undaunted, she manages to lure the Lobster Man to right on top of the geyser before it finally erupts and, caught in the wash, out main monster makes the grandest mess of them all ... When the villian finally stops bubbling, Plocostomos console Mary over her loss. Ankrum, meanwhile, states the geyser got him. But it wasn't the geyser, the Professor insists, the Lobster Man just got too crabby. (Wanh-wahn-wahn-wahahahahahn.) Sledge puts in a final appearance, too, but his speech is interrupted when John's skeleton starts to glow, and the power of the cheese-dick ending puts right everything the Lobster Man wronged as everyone who fell victim to the mad Martian is magically resurrected. And as the young couple embrace, the narrator assures us they all lived happily ever after.

The End

When the lights come up in the screening room, Sheldrake happily agrees to take on Horowitz's *ahem* "unique" film, and sends the boy genuis to his accountant to sign the proper papers. Thinking all of his problems are solved, Sheldrake could never conceive that Lobster Man From Mars would become a monster hit. Sheldrake is ruined, and Horowitz takes over the studio and starts to work on Lobster Man at the Circus.

The End

Lobster Man From Mars was a film that took two weeks to write but ten years to film. The tandem of Stanley Sheff and Bob Greenberg originally had the idea back in 1979, when they both worked on The Orson Wells Show. It was Wells himself who inspired the title, a reference to his old War of the Worlds broadcast that he always called The Lobster Man from Mars Show. For almost a decade Sheff and Greenberg tried to get their script produced but the financing always fell through. In the meantime, Greenberg helped with Bruce Kimmel's production of another sci-fi parody, The Creature Wasn't Nice a/k/a Naked Space. (The title change was either to cash in on star Leslie Nielson's Naked Gun films or Kimmel's earlier The First Nudie Musical.) Finally, a solid investor put up some money and filming commenced at last. And the budget increased when a deal was cut for the film's video rights, based solely on some completed footage -- so the film had already made a profit before it was even finished.

The film is a throwback but is still chock full of anachronisms. Is this supposed to be the '50s? Sledge has his funny moments but rightly seems out of place. Sheff, who was producing a comedy special with Sledge at the time, felt the comedian was so funny that he just had to get him in the film. Truthfully, if they would've just altered his PI shtick ever so slightly, and geared it more towards a morally draconian narcotics officer, from the Juvenile Delinquent movies of the same time period, he might have fit in better but that's just picking a nit. Beyond that, this homage is spot on with its characters, clichés and crappy special effects. You can see the wires used to animate the bat creatures, and that really is a sparkler jammed into the UFOs tail pipe. The only thing that was missing was a visible zipper on the Lobster Man's suit.

And if the film has one fault, it would probably be trying to stuff too many references/sub-genres in. It's already difficult to pull off these pastiche and parodies of old sci-fi and monster movies. The built in audience for these things can be tricky and hard to please. Most of us are pretty easy, though, if the film's heart is in the right place, and this loving homage to all those gonzoidal, budget strapped epics won me over rather easily.

All the B-flick references in this movie would take a while to list but here are the most obvious: Colonel Ankrum is in reference to actor Morris Ankrum, who always played the General in these things. There are nods to Robot Monster [Mambo and the cave], It Came From Outer Space [the glittering foot-prints] and Invasion of the Saucer Men young couple find a UFO but no one will be believe them]. And Throckmorton's séance is right out of Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls, and there's a hint at Roger Corman's Poe films, with its haunted history and mention of a torture chamber. Brain-X is a nod to Invaders From Mars, and his jive talk is derived from The Day the Earth Stood Still. The Martian bats were inspired by It Conquered the World and its autopsy is straight out of The Thing From Another World. And the monster's gruesome demise is a combination of Fiend Without a Face and Day of the Triffids. But the film probably owes the biggest debt to Teenagers From Outer Space for the skeltonizing gun. I mean, maybe the Lobster Man is a distant cousin of the Gargan? They're both crustaceans after all.

Put all those gooey and tasty elements in a blender and punch puree, and you'll probably wind up with either a real big mess or, if you're lucky, you'll wind up with something as entertaining as Lobster Man From Mars.

Posted :: 10/10/10

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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