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Image Entertainment presents
Robot Monster (1953)

"Your death will be indescribable!!"
- Ro-Man (George Barrows)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: October 18, 2000

Stars: George Nader, Claudia Barrett
Other Stars: George Barrows, Pamela Paulson, Selena Royale
Director: Phil Tucker

Manufacturer: Warner Advanced Media Operations
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:02m:35s
Release Date: October 10, 2000
UPC: 014381870329
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ DB-B+ C-

DVD Review

Robot Monster begins with its opening credits superimposed overthe image of various comic book covers. A fitting image, considering the truly pulp and comicnature of the film. On second thought, was there ever a comic book or pulp fiction SOutterly ridiculous? Robot Monster has been somewhat lost in the mists of cinematic time,except one point in the 80s it received a brief upgrade in cult status. While directors like EdWood, Roger Corman, and Bert Gorden seem to have had the monopoly on "bad films" from the50s and 60s, Phil Tucker's Monster predates most of their work, and certainly created anew level of bottom-of-the-barrel.

Monster opens with a family having a nice picnic in an unspecified, mountainous area. Ina nearby cave, two scientists are busy doing various archeological things—or so they claim. A fewminutes later, after a brief montage of giant lizards fighting (actually caymans with taped-onfins), we are thrust several decades into the future. The family and the scientists now livetogether in a ruined building and the nearby cave has been taken over by Ro-Man: a fiendish,extra-terrestrial villain (a man in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet on his head and cheeseclothover his face) who has killed off all of the human race, except these people. We then learn thatthey have managed to protect themselves from Ro-Man by surrounding their abode withelectrical wire. Ro-Man's boss, The Great Guidance, finally tips him off that there are morehumans on the planet, and that he must destroy them. However, when Ro-Man discovers a foxy female amongthe group, his plans turn awfully perverted and he no longer cares about conquest.

This has to be one of the lowest budget pictures ever made, especially when considering the fact that there are no sets, just 2 or 3 outdoor locations, used repeatedly . Groups of discarded sound equipment and a TV antenna serve as Ro-Man's equipment, and aconstantly active bubble machine is supposed to be...who knows what. Most of the major specialeffects are stock footage (many ripped from other sci-fi movies of the period) and, in perhaps themost laughable sequence in the entire film, the Earth's "space platform" is a toy rocketwith a sparkler out its end—you can even see the hand and stick holding it up! As a film monster,Ro-Man is perhaps the most giggle-inducing 'fiend' ever to set foot on celluoid, making disasterslike Horror At Party Beach seem elaborately well funded.

The ill-conceived dialogue is a riot. Ro-Man makes weird threats ("I am ordered to kill you, I must do it with my hands!") that heusually follows up with a waving fist. The film is every bit as enjoyable as other, more famousmovies of equal stupidity. In fact, this disaster was original filmed in 3D! I actually rememberonce, as a child, watching a marathon of 3D movies on TV; Robot Monster was amongthem. At the time, the awe-inspiring ridiculousness of the movie didn't occur to me, sincemost older movies seemed similar. Much older now, however, I have a new appreciation for thisepic of anti-filmmaking.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Although age has added a lot of scratches and grain, the overall transfer is impressive and free ofany digital aggravation of the source problems. Everything is very sharp and clear; black level isgood considering the constant outdoor scenery. The DVD does not replicate the 3D effects ofthe original print, but I wouldn't be too disappointed about it since the 3D enhancement addednothing to this movie.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is amazingly clear and fluid. A single channel mono mix is used here, and it carries a lotof good bass and high-end material. Some kind of restoration had to have been applied here, because the musical score (by cinematic legend Elmer Bernstein) really sounds like new,as does most of the audio. Yes, now you too can hear lines like, "Destroy the Hu-Man!" inexcellent fidelity.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Plan 9 From Outer Space, Destination Moon, Jailbait, and more..
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There is an original trailer presented here, as well as trailers for Image's Ed Wood collection. Myonly suggestion is that some kind of essay about the film should have been included. As it is, though,I'm not too disappointed with the lack of features.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Rumor has it that director Phil Tucker had such a hard time getting back into the film industryafter making Robot Monster, he made a failed attempt at suicide. That somehow seemssadly fitting to this baffling attempt at sci-fi adventure. Recommended for a fun night of moviebashing.


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