Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monster Crap Inductee: Robot Monster (1953)

Monster Crap Inductee: Robot Monster
Worst Costume EVER!!!!

Folks, in the history of this site, I have reviewed some pretty bad monsters and oh yes, some of these monsters did suck. In January, I was ready to write about the worst of the worst. The worst costumed monster I had ever seen. Unfortunately, at the last minute, I lost my copy of that movie. Well, when cleaning out my car, low and behold I find my copy of that movie. I don’t care how many monster costumes have zippers on them or whatever; there is nothing that beats the absolute lunacy of this monster costume. Now when you first hear the title Robot Monster, you wouldn’t think the monster could be so horrible. But after you look at this, you must be thinking three words. WHAT THE HELL

One-ah, Two-ah, Three-ah, Three Words. *Laughs*

I agree with you Count. Now if you don’t believe it could be that bad, well I give you a picture of the monster in question.

Yeah, it’s horrible. In fact, it was so bad that in a book called the Golden Turkey Awards, it won for The Most Ridiculous Monster in Screen History. Well, there is a sad back-story to this costume. This was in fact not the original costume idea (thank god for that). But the original costume would not work (costs screwed him) so they had nothing. The actor playing their monster, George Burrows, had a gorilla costume and a space helmet. Because of the fact that they had nothing, they had to go with the bad costume.

Now to be fair, there have been worse films than that. Plan 9 From Outer Space probably comes to mind.

There is one bit of good news though, and that is this film is shorter than most films are. And because of that, we should begin this induction immediately.

We begin this induction with the credits which have a backdrop of some comics. Yes, as you may have noticed this is another black and white movie. And as you could tell in the poster, this movie was originally released in 3D. While 3D movies are kind of entertaining, I must warn you those glasses kind of make you look like a nerd.

Also, you might notice in the credits that they paid for an automatic billion bubble machine. I say this because the cost of it probably was one of the reasons they couldn’t get the monster suit they wanted. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I think it would be pretty easy to choose the monster suit over the automatic billion bubble machine. But hey, maybe Phil Tucker likes bubbles a lot, I don’t know.

I also must ad that the music was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who was a protégé of the famous Aaron Copeland

And while he may have been young, if you have being a protégé of Aarom Copeland on your resume, you might get some jobs.

Anyway, we get to the film and we begin with a young boy, Johnny with a toy gun and toy spaceman helmet. Anyways, he finds his sister and says that she is disintegrated, meaning dead. Now she isn’t really dead because this is all pretend. The sister, Carla, his not really interested in playing this game and wants to play house instead. She said he promised and of course, like any normal kid, he ignores her and continues their game of spaceman. Anyways, the two of them meet up with two paleontologists, the Professor….

And a guy named Roy. Anyway, Johnny continues to play and asks what the two guys are doing here. The Professor tells him that they are checking on cave drawings done a really long time ago, probably by cavemen…..

Anyways, we see that the sister Alice and the mother (who has no name other than mother). They chastise the two lads for leaving the picnic table and take them with them so they can take a nap. We obviously see that Roy is smitten with Alice. They get back to the picnic table and we might want to notice that they don’t mind having a picnic near a bunch of rocks. We also find out that Johnny wishes to have a new father around the house. Unfortunately, they won’t mention the old dad or anything like that. Johnny also wishes that he were a scientist who makes rocket ships.

After a scene fade, we see the family taking a nap near the rock formation, which I must add seems kind of uncomfortable. Johnny wakes up and decides to take off somewhere. Anyways, when the boy hears thunder, he slips and falls on his hands, before realizing that to make it seem like he hurt his head, he would have to land on his head and does so. Anyway, we see a light coming down and then for some unknown reasons, dinosaurs fighting amongst each other.

Anyway, Johnny wakes up and we see the billion bubble machine and we see that the cave has some new stuff. Johnny sees flashing lights coming out of the cave and we finally meet the monster that will haunt this film…..Ro-man.

He goes on a message television and tells his boss, Great Guidance, who looks too much like Ro-Man. In fact, it is the exact same costume. Great Guidance berates him for being 14 minutes late and Ro-man explains the gravitational pull was stronger than expected.

Ro-Man reports that he has destroyed life on the planet Earth and like any villain, describes in great detail how he did it. Unfortunately for him, Great Guidance says that he still has life on Earth…about 8 people left. He tells Ro-Man to find and destroy them. Meanwhile, Johnny goes back to his house and finds that it is in ruins. However, his family is still alive and things have changed a lot. The Professor is now his father as he married his mother as Roy and Alice are engaged and in love. He explains that Alice and the Professor created a serum that allowed them to survive Ro-Man’s deadly rays. Let me just explain that his mother and his sister Alice have very same dress. The Professor explains to Johnny that the armies of the world failed so they can’t kill Ro-Man. After the mother takes Johnny to get some water, Alice tells the Professor that they might be the last people on Earth, to which the Professor refuses to believe. As the mother joins them, their TV screen buzzes and Ro-Man appears on the screen. He tells them to surrender and they will only suffer a painless death. Alice gets emotional in thinking that Roy is dead. While this emotion happens, Ro-Man shows them what happened to the rest of Earth.

We go into the house and there is a noise outside. We find out that Roy is still alive. Roy explains why they are still alive and says that the serum cures all disease deflects the ray. Roy says that two others besides him are still alive and plan to use a rocket to get to the space station. They try to build a communication machine which they can communicate with the other two survivors without Ro-Man using. We then see a montage of Alice and Roy trying to create that machine. They fail and once again Ro-Man calls them. He revealed that he found out about their two friends rocket ship and destroyed it and the space station. He shows them the footage of it getting destroyed. Ro-Man goes on a rant talking about that their chances for survival are negative and they should decide about what kind of death they want. He is giving them all one hour to surrender and die quickly. Carla asks her mom why he doesn’t like people, to which the mom replies that she does not know. The mom sends Carla inside for some rest and tries to reason with the Professor to do something about Ro-Man’s situation.

The Professor takes his wife’s advice and tries to reason with Ro-Man to let them survive. He shows them individual shots of his family. He shows him first his wife to which Ro-Man says she should die because she is responsible for creating humans. He reveals each of his three children. He shows his son Johnny and Johnny sticks his tongue at him. Stupid Johnny, if you really want to survive and reason with them, you don’t taunt the monster. The Professor reveals that his people are cold to kill children. Ro-Man responds by calling humans savage barbarians. The Professor shows his assistant Roy, who helped him create a serum that would wipe out all disease. And suddenly without reason, Ro-Man falls him love with Alice and asks to see her again. Ro-Man agrees to talk to Alice, but he wants to talk to her alone. The Professor is against that idea since he is the leader, but then Ro-Man tries to then reason with the Professor by saying if he speaks with Alice, he will find room for him. Alice agrees to speak with him alone and Ro-Man tells her that he will meet her at some old ruins near two dry rivers.

Of course, after this transmission, the family ties up Alice so she doesn’t meet with Ro-Man. Talk about a loving family. While the family is tying Alice up, Ro-Man goes to the ruins for the meeting. While we are watching this, I must add that Ro-Man moves like Baloo the bear…..

Also, they realize that Johnny has gone off again. Roy says that he and Alice will go search for him to which Alice reluctantly agrees to go along with. The Professor says that he will shoot up a flare if Johnny returns. Johnny decides to talk to Ro-Man himself. Johnny meets Ro-Man and this infuriates Ro-Man, who asked to meet Alice alone. Johnny asks what Ro-Man had against him and Ro-Man responds with a reasonable answer. He says that humans were getting too intelligent and they might have attacked him so his people decided to attack first. Johnny calls Ro-Man a bully, saying he is picking on people smaller than him. Ro-Man then decides to kill the young boy, but his death ray can not kill the boy. The boy taunts him with this stupid quote.

Johnny: You look like a pooped out pinwheel

Of course, Johnny is also stupid enough to reveal that the serum is keeping them alive to which Ro-Man decides to tell him that he will recalibrate the ray so it will counteract the serum. He tries to catch the kid, but he is slow so he doesn’t even get close to catching him. Maybe Ro-Man should look at losing some weight.

After not being able to catch him, Ro-Man tries shaking his fist at the kid as if he was old guy mad at some young punk. Roy and Alice are looking for Johnny and they try to hide when they see Ro-Man. Johnny is still running and gets back to the hiding place. The boy blames Ro-Man for getting him into releasing the information on the serum, but everyone watching this movie knows that he blabbed out the information without any help. Seriously, Chris Jericho should come on the screen and say….

Would You Please......Shut THE HELL Up!!!!

The Professor consoles little Johnny and tells him to not worry as it will be a tough for him to counteract the serum. You know, it would have been tougher for him if he didn’t know what was counteracting the death ray. The mom wishes it was all over and Carla, who hasn’t gotten a clue about the situation, says that when it is, can she borrow one of her neighbor’s dolls. They say yes, as if they pity her stupidity.

We move on to a solar flare in the sky for some reason and then we see move back to Roy and Alice. Roy decides that he is getting frisky and wants to make out with Alice right here, right now. They decide to get it on and of course we see Ro-Man walking back towards his cave. We see Roy and Alice go back to the human hideout. Roy reveals that he and Alice want to get married. At the cave, Ro-Man calls Great Guidance and tells him the reason they have not destroyed all the humans yet. There is a small ceremony for the wedding.

Roy and Alice leave to celebrate as Carla follows for some reason.

Roy and Alice go for a walk as Carla catches up with them. After she gives them some flowers, they tell her to go home. She tries to go home, but is seen and met by Ro-Man.

She tells him that her daddy won’t let him hurt her. Stupid, stupid girl….daddy is nowhere to help you. Ro-Man then says we will see about that and grabs her. We then see Ro-Man go back to the hideout (noticeably without Carla) and contacts Great Guidance. Ro-Man tells Great Guidance that he has killed the girl through strangulation.

He tells them that he will kill four more to which Great Guidance corrects him as saying five more. Ro-Man then tells Great Guidance that he meant four and would like to have one to which they could use in case of an emergency. This does not make Great Guidance happy and chastises him for trying to change the plan.

Great Guidance tells Ro-Man to destroy all of them and leave none alive.

Meanwhile, Roy and Alice are making out and seem to be prepared to get it on, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Ro-Man. Ro-Man attempts to kidnap Alice and a fight breaks out between him and Roy. He beats Roy pretty badly and takes Alice with him. I must say that this is a pathetic fight. Back at the human’s hideout, The Professor and the mom decide to look for Roy, Alice, and Carla. They find Carla, but they find her dead. We go back to Ro-Man as he still has Alice and Alice really is not putting up much of a fight.

The Professor creates a grave and buries Carla in it. He adds a tombstone as well to say that someone died here. Johnny has joined them and really starts regretting not playing House with her enough.

Roy comes in which says that he is still alive and dies as he tells the Professor that Ro-Man has her. Johnny comes up with the idea to distract him while the Professor and the mom save Alice. Johnny comes up with the idea of saying that we don’t want to fight with him anymore and wish to give up. Ro-Man finally gets to the cave with Alice and tries to hit on her. He is about to rape her when he gets a call from his monitor. He then tries to tie her up, but after that takes too long, he just knocks her out as he goes to answer his monitor. It is the Professor and the mom calling him. They have decided to give up and take the quick death. He accepts reluctantly and says to meet him at the mountains.

After leaving that message, he goes back to Alice and it seems she is tied up now. For some reason she seems to have tied herself up, but by the way she is tied up, that is almost a physical possibility.

This movie really screws that part up and it is a real easy fix as you add a scene where he does this. But they didn’t so we get this mistake.

He goes to check on her again, but he gets another call from his monitor. This kind of reminds me of when I am taking a nap and get three consecutive calls. It really annoys me. Anyway, the call is from Great Guidance who knows he has Alice, but has not yet killed her. He is not happy and threatens Ro-Man death if he doesn’t. Great Guidance wonders if Ro-Man wants to be human, which he say he wants to be, kind of. Great Guidance gives him the orders one more time and leaves while Ro-Man ponders his dilemma.
Outside, the Professor, Johnny, and the mother are on a hill. The Professor and the mother give Johnny a gun and seem to be symbolically wishing him luck. Back inside, Ro-Man tells Great Guidance of his dilemma, but during this, Johnny calls Ro-Man out. Great Guidance tells Ro-Man to kill Alice and Johnny. Ro-Man replies by saying that he won’t kill Alice, but he will kill Johnny. He turns the monitor off and asks Alice not to hate him for what he is about to do. He leaves to kill Johnny as the Professor and the mom come in to save Alice. The Professor destroys the radio for Great Guidance. Great Guidance checks his screen and sees that Ro-Man is going after Johnny. Great Guidance believes Ro-Man hasn’t killed Alice so this makes him mad. While Ro-Man is strangling Johnny, Great Guidance sends his death ray to Ro-Man and kills him. Great Guidance then has a different voice and announces that he will destroy all of Earth. He shoots his lasers out and we see those scenes of dinosaurs fighting again for some reason

But the end result is the same as Earth is destroyed.

Or is it? Turns out it was all a dream from little Johnny when he bumped his head. Everything is back to normal, no one died, and the whole Ro-Man experience never happened. Johnny talks about his strange dream and they all laugh. The mom asks the Professor and Roy to join them for dinner. Carla asks Johnny if he will play House with her, to which he says okay to. Everyone leaves the cave as we see an image of Ro-Man appear three consecutive times. And that ends this abysmal movie.

Now for some interesting aftermath, Selena Royle (who plays the mom), was cited in a government book as a communist sympathizer which was completely untrue. Since she refused to appear before the House of Un-American Activities and since this was the 50s, she was black balled from Hollywood. She tried to restore her image, but was only able to make one more film and two TV appearances before her death in 1983. It was so bad that she had to move to Mexico. She did write a few cookbooks and books about Mexico, which were pretty successful. One of her books was aptly called “The Gringa’s Guide to Mexican Cooking”. A very sad tale indeed.

Another sad tale would be about the director of this film, Phil Tucker. Even though this film was bad, it did pretty well as a cult classic. But Phil Tucker had a huge dispute with the film’s distributor and he rarely got to see any of that money at all. Phil Tucker tried to kill himself, but failed. It has been a long and untrue rumor that the film’s quality but let the record show that the film’s poor quality was not the case. He was also blacklisted like Selena Royle from Hollywood, although he did make several other movies. Sadly he died in 1985.

One more interesting note is that the film’s composer, Elmer Bernstein won an Academy Award for composing the music to Thoroughly Modern Millie and is best recognized for doing the music for the Magnificent Seven and the remake of Cape Fear. The fact that he was gray-listed (not blacklisted, but kept off many projects) for his left-wing beliefs, he was able to have a remarkable career until his death in 2004.

Now I wish to say that this movie is pretty bad. In fact, it was so bad, I am really more than willing to overlook the fact that it is a cult classic and say that this is a genuinely bad movie. However, I do wish to say that the more I have researched this movie, the less hatred I have for the people who made this movie as they probably experienced worse problems than I will probably ever had. But the end result is that the monster in this movie is bad and laughable at the same time. So in the end, please…..if you don’t have the enough funds…..don’t do the movie.

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