He Watched It Sober.

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Robot Monster

a/k/a Monsters from Mars

a/k/a Monsters from the Moon

     "Very well. I will recalculate. Your deaths will be indescribable. Foolish hu-mans. There is no escape from me."

-- Agent XJ-2: Robot Monster     

 

     

Reviews:

Gonzoid Cinema

 

 

Buzzkillers!

"Now I shall kill you."

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

 

Watch it!

AMAZON

DVD

 
Sights &
Sounds:
Robot
Monster
(1953)
 Three Dimension Pictures /
 Astor Pictures

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Canned
Insanity:
The Films of
Phil Tucker.

Dance Hall Racket

Robot Monster

Tijuana after Midnight

The Cape Canaveral Monsters

 

Gentle reader, the last review of Octaman really took its toll on our reviewer, and in the aftermath, since he wouldn't even speak to us for almost a week, we finally approached him and asked what it would take to snap him out of this seemingly perpetual funk.

His answer was terrifyingly simple -- or simply terrifying:

"Ro-Man."

God help us all.

Ah, Robot Monster, Phil Tucker's magnum opus. Hee-hee-hee. I get giddy just thinking about it. And now I'm going to give it to you in all it's moronic glory:

We begin in True Stereo Three-Dimension -- or so they tell us, but on the tube it comes off a little flat -- and as the opening credits roll over some forgotten sci-fi pulps of yore, you may already be noticing that the film's score is sounding a little too good to be in a film like this. And there's a pretty good reason for that, as well. It's pretty common knowledge these days that Elmer Bernstein composed the music for this gonzoidal classic, and you can hear the talent that would eventually produce the themes for The Great Escape, Animal House, and my personal favorite, The Magnificent Seven

If you think about it, though, underrated musical scores are not that uncommon in these old sci-fi potboilers. Max Steiner, Les Baxter, and Albert Glasser's Sousa-esque scores immediately comes to mind. Now back to the review!

Our film proper begins with young Johnny (Gregory Moffet), decked out in his best Tom Corbett space gear, scouring the countryside for invading aliens to disintegrate with his trusty atomic bubble gun. But the only target he can find is his little sister, Carla (Pamela Paulson -- who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tina Youthers), and after he disintegrates her with extreme prejudice, the siblings continue to play until they come upon a cave where two archeologists are trying to excavate a primitive painting off the wall. Threatened with being blown to smithereens unless they identify themselves (-- that kid's soo darn cute), while Roy (George Nader) quickly surrenders, the Professor (John Mylong) lectures Johnny on the wonders of peaceful coexistence. Unable to decipher the old man's ever-changing accent, Johnny quickly agrees to end all hostilities and holsters his atomic bubble gun.

After the kids get a quick history lesson on the primitive beings that used to inhabit the caves, Johnny is so impressed that he no longer wants to be a Space Ranger but a scientist with a phony European accent. When their mother, Martha (Selena Royale), and older sister Alice (Claudia Barret) show up looking for them, once the pleasantries are out of the way, Johnny quickly tries to ingratiate Roy with his older sister. Eventually, since it's nearing lunchtime, the family leaves the archeologists to their work. Choosing what appears to be Hell's Half Acre for their picnic spot, before they dig out and dig in, Mom reminds the younger kids that they promised to take a nap right after lunch. As Johnny grumps over that, he then, rather bluntly, asks if he's ever gonna have another dad -- and quickly narrows Mom's playing field down to anyone who's a scientist, preferably with that same phony European accent. When lunch ends, each family member pulls up a rock and goes to sleep. Time passes, and Johnny is first to wake up, and armed with his trusty side-arm, returns to the cave but finds it deserted. Suddenly, the screen flashes to negative a few times, causing Johnny to fall several feet. And as the kid gets a nasty face-burger while planting his head into the ground, our film quickly dissolves into sheer insanity (-- Wohoo! --) as more lights pop and flash, and a series of earthquakes rock the world, reducing massive cities into piles of rubble. Springing out of this chaos,  two claymation triceratops try to hump one another, and a familiar Dimetradon (-- played by an alligator with an attached dorsal fin) battles a Tyrannosaurus Rex (-- a monitor lizard) to the death, leaving the audience to boggle and ask -- WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!

Wait for it...

Waking up with a new pair of pants and shirt, Johnny holsters his atomic-gun and takes up a can of paint; and we also can't help but notice that the cave is now filled with some *snicker* hi-tech equipment. On one side, there's a communication device, deviously camouflaged as a cardboard box, and on the other side, mounted on a table, a surplus World War II radio belches out a ton of bubbles. Quite the surreal scene. Meanwhile, brush in hand, Johnny moves to paint until there is another, massive energy discharge, closer this time, so he heads for cover. Once he's clear, from out of the depths of the cave stalks one of the greatest screen menaces of all time: Agent XJ-2 -- known to his enemies as Ro-Man the Robot Monster -- the ultimate instrument of destruction from the Planet Ro-Man!

Now I know our Robot Monster looks suspiciously like a gorilla with a TV antennae adorned deep-sea diver's helmet for a head, but think about it for a second. Maybe it's camouflage. Did you ever think of that? Didn't think so. And as our internal goof-o-meter redlines, careens out of control, and augurs itself deep into the earth, let's get back to the review!

Waddling over to his communicator, Ro-Man (George Barrows in the suit, and voiced by John Brown) puts a call through to his boss, the Great Guidance (also Barrows and Brown). Talking in a bizarre, minimalist techno-babble, Guidance scolds his agent for reporting in late. Ro-Man blames Earth's gravity for the inconvenience, and as their conversation continues, Guidance reports they've found no other forms of life in the universe, meaning the Earth was their only rival for galactic supremacy -- stress on the was. At first, through dubious subterfuge, Ro-Man managed to get the world-powers to basically nuke themselves to death, and after the atomic fallout settled, he then revealed himself to mop up what was left, and by then it was far too late to stop him. Reporting that the Earth is now completely free of the hu-man plague, since he killed them all off with his trusty Calcinator Death-Ray, Ro-Man gets another earful from his boss as he points out a massive error in his calculations: turns out there are eight hu-mans still running loose, and since his boss is not amused with this miscalculation, Ro-Man guarantees that he will complete the mission faster than you can correlate a vector.

After hanging up, Ro-Man adjusts his *snicker* sensors and then returns to the back of the cave. Once he's gone, the eavesdropping Johnny hightails it home; home being the basement of a bombed-out house encircled by a series of electrical wires. Now remember, our reality has shifted a bit. Family wise, things are relatively the same except now the Professor really is Johnny's dad and both parents verbally tan his hide for wandering outside the electrical jamming barrier of the house -- seems that's what all the wires are for, and if they go outside the perimeter, Ro-Man can detect them. 

Damn. That's some bubble machine.

When Johnny warns that Ro-Man is just a stones throw away in a nearby cave, his Dad can hardly believe this horrible coincidence. (Neither can I.) We also find out that the Professor was one of the world's greatest scientists, who created a super immunity serum that he field-tested on his entire family. Wow. Noodle the ethics on that one for a second or two. But dad wasn't the only genius in the family because the electric screen was eldest daughter Aliceís creation. 

I'll pause to point out that the genius gene pool seems to have dried up for Johnny and Carla, though. Not exactly the brightest bulbs in the world. Man, a lot of asides in this review...

Pondering their options, all the last family on Earth can come up with is one conclusion: unless they can find Ro-Man's weak spot, they're doomed. (When Alice brings that point up, a bright, red light goes off on our foreshadow-meter.) One other, lingering hope the Professor clings to is that there has to be others who managed to escape Ro-Man's detection, who can help with Earth's resistance. One head slap later, Alice reminds him there's still an entire garrison of troops aboard the orbiting Space Platform. The only problem is, they can't communicate with them for fear of discovery. Almost on cue, their communicator kicks on. Hoping it's the Space Platform, to their horror, Ro-Man materializes on the vid-screen.

Computating only five hu-mans, and not the expected eight, Ro-Man assumes the Guidance made an error, adjust accordingly, and then informs the final five that they're the only hu-mans left, and if they surrender, promises a quick and painless death. To help them decide, he cues up some footage of those who chose not to go quietly. As the others watch, Alice doesn't take the census news very well because it means Roy is dead. Sure, they squabbled a lot, but deep down, she really cared for big lug. Seeing enough, when the Professor tells the tin-pot invader to go and suck on it because they will never capitulate, an enraged Ro-Man promises them all a horribly painful death, and punctuates this threat by hanging up without paying for the charges. Despite her husband's flash of bravado, Martha thinks maybe they should reconsider his offer; but the Professor defiantly states that if Ro-Man wants them, he can calculate them. (Whatever the heck THAT means.)

Meanwhile, over at the cave, we discover the reports of Roy's demise have been greatly exaggerated, as he's currently spying on Ro-Man, who's making another call to his boss and reports that his visual circuits are breaking down since he only observed five hu-mans. Growing more annoyed by the second, Guidance quickly gives his agent a remedial course on "reduction, correlation, and elimination of errors." There are EIGHT hu-mans left, not five, and before hanging up, he gives Ro-Man only one more Earth day to complete the mission or he will be sentenced for failure!

Back in the basement, when the Professor and Alice hear someone approaching, fearing it's Ro-Man, prepare for the worst. But to their relief it's only Roy, and Alice is so overjoyed that he's still alive they spend the next five minutes bitterly sniping at each other. Happy to see her too, Roy also brings more good news: Jason and McCloud are still alive, too. 

Who are they? Believe me, it won't matter in about five minutes...

Figuring out that it was the Professor's super-serum that immunized them from Ro-Man's Death-Ray, they also managed to scrounge up enough fuel to launch a rocket to the Space Platform, loaded with enough serum to immunize the entire garrison, and then they'll all kick a little Ro-Man ass! When Alice asks if they contacted the Space Platform, to let them know they're coming, Roy says they couldn't risk it, fearing Ro-Man would've detected their signals. Worried that those on board might think the rocket was sent by Ro-Man and destroy it, Alice is sure they can rewire their communicator so the alien invader canít detect it -- if Roy will take orders for a change and help.

Next comes a long -- albeit hilarious -- scene of two pairs of hands working in tandem on some machinery, and all the while, Alice and Roy continue to bicker, wasting two whole days, and accomplish absolutely nothing. Well, at least they tried.

I think my favorite snipe is when Roy claims that Alice is "so bossy, she has to be milked when she comes home." Man, these tinkering scenes are so chock full of innuendo and double-entendres that Freud would have a field day with this crap. When is a soldering tool not a soldering tool? I'll leave that up to you. Now back to the review, hu-mans!

When Ro-Man calls again, now heís even more confused because there are six hu-mans instead of five when there should be eight -- and to think: this guy conquered the world. Depressing, isn't it? Talking instead of thinking, Alice blurts out that he still doesn't know about Jason and McCloud -- but I think he does now, toots. However, Ro-Man gloats that he already detected the rocket launch and shows them the play by play as Guidance first blows the rocket -- played deftly by a V2 rocket, out of the sky. And then he shows them the Space Platform -- played not so deftly by a plastic model with a sparkler shoved up it's butt, swinging in an erratic circle. That gets blown up, too, but luckily, the very visible hand holding it is left unharmed. 

Declaring they have no hope and surrender is the only solution, Ro-Man gives them one hour to decide before signing off.

Okey-dokey then, you're probably shouting "Now wait a second!" at the top of your lungs by now. Ro-Man had only ONE Earth day to complete the mission. Then the hu-mans  spent TWO days working on the communicator. THE HELL? Well, I guess if the Ro-Men canít count, can we really expect them to be able tell time? Back to the review, foolish hu-mans!

Devastated by this turn of events, after the family weighs their ever dwindling options, Martha thinks they should try and appeal to Ro-Man for mercy. The Professor agrees, thinking they can reason with him. To do this, though, they'll need to rewire the communicator to his frequency. 

Oh god, not again!

I assume another two days later, when the communicator at the cave activates, Ro-Man quickly waddles out of the darkness to take the call. Tuning in the vid-screen, he is angered that it's the hu-mans who got him off the pot.*

*  You, like me, may have probably noticed by now that Ro-Man spends quite a lot of time at the back of his cave. And it was at this point I finally deduced what was really going on back there. I canít prove this scientifically, but I think the back of the cave is the *ahem* "little Ro-manís room." Seems our hero came to Earth, drank the water, and the rest is history. Think of it as Montezumaís Revenge on a galactic scale and keep your eye out for toilet paper stuck to his foot.

Ordered to state their business, the Professors announces once again that they will never give up and humanity will survive (-- and Iím proud to be counted amongst the cockroaches of the galaxy.) Asked what exactly do the Ro-Men have to fear from hu-mans, to this, we get the standard reply that we're too self-destructive and canít handle tampering in godís domain ... blah blah blah etc. etc. Stymied on that front, the Professor then appeals to Ro-Man's hu-manity and introduces the family, but the Ro-Man isn't all that interested until the defiant Alice takes her turn in front of the vid-screen, demanding peace with honor, and when they try to move on to Roy, Ro-Man demands to see Alice again. 

And those of you who can see where this is obviously going, please raise your hands. Everybody? Good.

It appears that our Ro-Man is getting some biological urges that he canít quite compute, and these urges are starting to cloud his Ro-Man logic: This program has performed an illegal action and will shut down ... He cannot calculate it, or verify why, but is willing to allow what the hu-mans call "a hope." Willing to face the wrath of the Great Guidance, Ro-Man will consider integrating these hu-mans into "the plan" if Alice will have a palaver with him -- alone, he typed ominously. She agrees to meet him at the fork in the river, but Roy and the Professor will have none of that. Even though Alice logically pleads itís their only hope, they physically restrain her from leaving. And while they tie her up, Johnny manages to sneak away during the mayhem to replace Alice at the negotiations.

We then get some of the funniest repeating transition scenes as Ro-Man walks endlessly up and down the same hill. And if you listen real close, you can almost hear the director yelling at him to keep moving until he moves out of the frame...

Once the Professor realizes that Johnny is missing, Roy volunteers to go and look for him. Alice agrees to help, too, it they'll untie her. And as those two go and search for the little miscreant, Ro-Man goes up the hill, Johnny makes his way to the meeting spot, and then Ro-Man goes down the hill, and while he and Alice continue to look for Johnny, Roy nonchalantly removes his shirt. This sequence of events then repeats itself about five times until...

...Waiting for A-lice, Ro-Man is very perturbed when Johnny shows up instead, and when the kid mouths off, he bluntly states: "Now I will kill you." (Yay.) But when he tries to fry him with the Calcinator Death Ray, Johnny is unaffected. (Boo.) Alas, humanity is lost when Ro-Man tricks Johnny into revealing the source of his immunity, and then he gloats that it will be easy to adjust the C-Ray and kill them all -- and since I donít think it involves counting, I believe the Earth really is doomed this time. 

Way to go, kid.

While Johnny runs crying home to mama, Ro-Man goes back up the hill, where Alice and Roy just happen to be. Quickly they hide when hearing Ro-Man's approach, and manage to escape his detection amongst the thickets. After the alien passes, Alice rises to continue the search for her idiot brother, but Roy grabs her and pulls her back down for the obligatory romantic interlude. Instead of rockets and trains going into tunnels, we get shots of Ro-Man going up and down the hill, and while the haunting melody of the love theme from Robot Monster plays, Roy professes his love to Alice -- and it would be an even more touching scene if Roy wasn't so noticeably bleeding from his ear ... As Ro-Man goes up another the hill -- wait, never mind, same one -- Johnny returns to the bunker and fesses up to his colossal blunder. To consoles him, the Professor offers that it won't be so easy for Ro-Man to counteract the serum. Still, he must be punished, and for dooming all of humanity, Johnny is sent to bed without supper. 

Apparently lost, Ro-Man goes back down the same hill. Again. Meanwhile, back in the thicket, the two lovers embrace, then kiss, and then go for a roll in the bramble. Then, in a long tracking shot, we watch Ro-Man speed-waddle the last one-hundred yards back to his cave -- and this scene is really funny if you yell "Potty-emergency!" at the top of your longs as he hustles along. Cranking up the communicator, he calls his boss and excitedly reports in why the C-Ray didnít work. Giving him a big "Yeah, so?" Guidance also warns his minion that his day is half-up and to get on with it -- or else. With time running out, Ro-Man forgoes the recalibration of the C-Ray and shambles off toward that hill again. Sometimes, a Ro-Man just has to get his paws dirty.

Can you strangle the kid first? And waitasecond ... Half a day?

Upon returning to the bunker, Roy and Alice immediately ask the Professor to marry them. Thinking thatís a splendid idea, the Professor warbles the wedding march and will act as preacher; Johnny stands up as best man, and Carla -- oh yeah, Carla -- serves as the maid of honor. In the middle of the service, the Professor pauses to ask the Almighty to intercede on their behalf. (Just say "Man and wife!") When the ceremony ends, Roy kisses the bride, and after they leave for their honeymoon, Carla realizes that Alice didnít have any flowers for the wedding and sneaks off to find some.

Elsewhere, Ro-Man goes up the hill ... You get the idea.

Managing to catch up with the newlyweds, Carla gives Alice a nice bouquet. Thanking her, they send her back home -- but on the way, the girl runs right into Ro-Man. And while Carla claims that her daddy wonít let him hurt her, the Robot Monster replies "We'll see about that..." while grabbing her in a bear hug as the screen fades to black...

We quickly cut to Ro-Man calling his boss again, and as he brags about strangling the little girl, and reports he only has four more left to kill, Guidance -- who is really getting upset with his mathematically incompetent henchman -- points out his error. Again. There are FIVE - (5) hu-mans left to be killed. Not four. And at this point Ro-Man postulates that maybe they can keep one of the hu-mans alive to study -- e'yup, Ro-Man has fallen for A-lice hard. Accusing him of heresy for trying to alter "The Plan" Guidance orders Ro-Man to kill them all or face the consequences of failure.

His internal conflict/resolution circuits taxed to the limits, Ro-Man sets out to do his masters bidding and manages to catch Roy and Alice out in the open. After a brief struggle, he dispatches Roy and carries the girl off. To her credit, Alice pitched in during the fight -- and sharp ears can hear her verbally unsure and un-scripted "Oh-God!" as Ro-man picks her up and carries her off. Meanwhile, when the Professor finds Carla's discarded body, that proves to be the last straw for poor Martha. As she breaks down sobbing, the Professor tries to console his wife and encourages her not to give up as he carries his daughter's body back to the bunker for burial.

Not giving up either, while he carries her back to the cave, Alice manages to trick Ro-Man into revealing his external power source -- but this vital revelation will have absolutely no consequence on the film whatsoever. Back at the bunker, as the family puts the finishing touches on Carlaís grave, the memorial is interrupted when the mortally wounded Roy stumbles into the clearing, announces that Ro-Man has captured Alice, and then expires. Rallying the troops, Johnny comes up with a plan to rescue his sister: first they'll call Ro-Man and pretend to surrender, and then Johnny will use himself as bait to lure Ro-Man out of the cave, allowing Mom and Dad to rush in save Alice.

Oh yeah, this is gonna end in tears.

Meanwhile, Ro-Man has managed to haul Alice all the way to his cave without having a stroke. Upon arrival, he professes his love for her rather haphazardly. asking "Suppose I were a hu-man, would you love me like a man?" She resists, and as he starts pawing at her, ripping her top and exposing her shoulders, the lecherous Ro-Man tries to take it further until his communicator starts ringing. Snatching some rope, he begins to restrain A-lice but quickly gives up and just knocks her unconscious. Kicking the communicator on, the Professor appears onscreen and states that Ro-Man has won, they surrender, and if he wants them, to come and get them. But Ro-Man says heís busy and to call back later, and after hanging up, turns his lustful attention back to A-lice -- who for some inexplicable reason has gone and tied herself up!

And from now on, whenever an intergalactic invader, giant monkey, or any other kind of monster, inexplicably falls in love with an Earth hu-man in a movie reviewed on this site, it will be referred to as another sad case of Ro-Man's Syndrome.TM Foolish hu-mans! Go back to the review!

Moving toward A-lice with a lusty, groping paw leading the way, the communicator interrupts again, but this time, itís the Great Guidance and his patience is at an end. To make it worse, Ro-Man begins to question the Ro-Man logic: "Why canít we be like the hu-man ... to laugh and want? Why are these things not in the plan?" The boss will have none of that, though, and orders Ro-Man to kill the girl, and then the others. But with his circuits fusing, Ro-Man soon goes into vapor-lock, stuck in an eternal loop, repeating, "I must ... But I cannot" over and over again.

Meanwhile, leaving his Mom and Dad behind, Johnny marches off to meet his fate. Presenting himself to the malfunctioning Ro-Man, a watching Guidance still insists that his agent kill the girl first, and then the boy. Asking A-lice to forgive him for what he must do, Ro-Man defies his master and shuffles off toward Johnny. Seizing the moment, her parents rush in, and while Martha unties her, Dad smashes the infernal bubble machine. Seeing all of this, Guidance then watches in disgust as his malfunctioning minion disobeys his orders for the last time, and while Ro-Man throttles Johnny to death, his boss passes final judgment for failure, stating, "If you want to live like a hu-man. You can die like a hu-man!" Turning the Calcinator Death-Ray on his former agent, Ro-Man takes a direct hit and quickly crumples over and dies right next to Johnny. 

And we then slowly realize that not one, but TWO kids under the age of ten bite the big one in this film.

Fed up by this unforeseen circumstance, the enraged Guidance goes on another rampage, bombarding the Earth with deadly cosmic rays and who knows what else. And as the world is once more rocked by massive earthquakes, and while two claymation triceratops try to hump one another, a Dimetradon and a T-Rex battle to the death and -- Omigod ... I think the movieís starting over! As Guidance continues to rain down death and destruction, we suddenly here someone calling Johnnyís name as the screen ripples until we focus back in on the original reality, with Johnny lying unconscious near the cave entrance. Calling out that he's found the boy, who has a nice bump on his noggin from the fall he took, Roy checks him over as the others catch up. Johnny is happy to see that they're all still alive, and a relieved Martha invites the archeologists to come and have dinner with them. They agree and the cave is abandoned.

Luckily, the total destruction of Earth was all just a bad dream -- and you were there. And you. And you were, too.

Or was it!

The soundtrack turns ominous and -- Oh, no! -- the Great Guidance stalks out of the cave. Not once. Not Twice. BUT THREE FRIGGIN' TIMES!

Goodnight folks, I surrender.

The Ever Loving End

A legend amongst the B-movie brethren, I think Robot Monster definitely needs to dethrone Plan Nine from Outer Space as the quintessential B-movie watching experience. Whereas Plan Nine grinds to a halt in spots, there are no dull moments in Robot Monster, which brings the cheese, non-stop, from start to finish. In fact, this is one of my favorite films of all time, engraved into the bedrock of my top ten somewhere between The Abductors and Singing in the Rain.

Of producer/director Phil Tucker I can only paraphrase Dan Aykroydís character, Dr. Ray Stantz, in Ghostbusters: Either [the director] was a genius, or a certified whacko. For the record, I think he's the former. Of screenwriter Wyatt Ordung, who would go on to direct Roger Corman's first feature, Monster from the Ocean Floor, all I can ask is What possessed you to write a screenplay where a kid dreams about a post-apocalyptic future, and whose subconscious calls for his entire family to be brutally massacred and his sister to be bound and molested by a robot ape?

Tucker was only twenty-five when he shot the film in just four days around the familiar sights of Bronson Canyon, but he'd already cut his directing teeth by helming several other projects, including the Lenny Bruce vehicle, Dance Hall Racket. And while he should be championed as a pioneer in low-budget filmmaking, the entire production was brought in for under $16000, instead, Tucker and his most infamous creation has been lampooned over the years -- mostly for failing to deliver the monster promised in the title, and the sheer hilarity of what he substituted in its stead. Since Tucker couldn't afford a true robot costume, he hired George Barrows and his gorilla suit, who played every other gorilla that Bob Burns didnít play back then. I've also heard and read rumors that he actually had one built but it couldn't handle the rigors of filming, fell apart, and all he could salvage was the head, which eventually wound up in the film. And with a timely assist from Jack Rabin, whose optical skills helped smooth out all the 3-D kinks with all the stock-footage stolen from the original One Million B.C., Lost Continent, and Flight to Mars, this ambitious independent film, once you consider the circumstances in which it was made, was released to fairly positive reviews, garnered a nation-wide release, and brought in well over a million dollars on its initial run. In fact, the well-rumored reports of Tucker's suicide attempt after the film's release was not due to a critical dubbing, but a bout of depression after the distributor screwed him out of his share of the profits.

Sadly, if they'd just changed the damn title, over the ensuing years, the film would probably be remembered more reverently than it is. Still, for whatever reason, the film deserves its legendary cult status, even though it's nowhere near as bad as its dubious reputation would imply. And if taken at face value, as a child's blunt trauma-induced delirium, then I say it's friggin' brilliant.

If it isn't obvious yet, I truly do love this movie; it is so right in its wrongness that one can only boggle as it plays out and transcends into something truly remarkable -- the ultimate gonzoidal monster-movie classic. There's just something about the Shakespearean sincerity when our hero, Ro-Man, tries to profess his doomed love for the Hu-man A-lice, that one can't help but feel sorry for the big lug. Take a look for yourself:

 

Kind of hits you right [thumps chest] there, don't it. So much so that I'm surprised no one has ever tried to combine those elements, the Bard by way of Barrows and Brown, into one form yet:


"Hath not a Ro-Man eyes? Hath not a Ro-Man hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same Calcinator Death-Rays, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Hu-Man is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? At what point do these two ideals connect on the graph? Why can this not be in the plan?!? Therefore if we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. We cannot. But we must. For if a Ro-Man wrong a Hu-Man, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Hu-Man wrong a Ro-Man, what should his sufferance be by Hu-Man example? Why, revenge; a revenge most indescribable. Fact: the villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. Foolish hu-mans. There is no escape from me!"

-- The Merchant of Ro-Man, Act III Scene I

I'm telling ya, it would have been beautiful.

Honestly, this is the toughest review Iíve ever had to write because no matter how hard I try, I canít shake this film. And as I tried to write the plot synopsis, Iíd get a few words typed up before images of Ro-Man wandering up and down that same hill would filter in my mind's-eye and I would start to giggling.

Recovering, I would try again, but then Iíd think about all the hi-tech equipment: the million-bubble bubble machine; the sparkler driven space platform; the Calcinator Death-Ray -- with its two settings of painless surrender death, or horrible resistance death -- and I would burst out laughing.

And then I hit the floor, gasping for air in a fit of hysteria, when I thought of Ro-Man and the Great Guidance arguing in a train-wreck of techno-babble that would've made even the most hardened Trekie's head explode.

And then, with all the pathos of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, as Ro-Man once more professes his love for A-lice, I must now crawl away from the computer before MY head explodes.

Seek this movie. Find this movie. Watch this movie. And you will love this movie, too. Trust me.

Robot Monster (1953) Three Dimension Pictures :: Astor Pictures / EP: Al Zimbalist / P: Phil Tucker / AP: Alan Winston / D: Phil Tucker / W: Wyott Ordung / C: Jack Greenhalgh / E: Merrill White / M: Elmer Bernstein / S: George Nader, Claudia Barrett, Gregory Moffett, John Mylong, Selena Royle, Pamela Paulson, George Barrows

Originally Posted: 12/02/00 :: Rehashed: 05/23/09

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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