Every once in a while I get a film that requires no introduction, but here is one anyway. This is ROBOT MONSTER, one of the few movies to appear on virtually everyone’s “worst films of all time” lists. Even if you haven’t seen it, there can be no doubt of its pop culture prevalence over the past few decades. In the eighties “Ro-man” was the co-star of the “You Might Think” music video by The Cars. In the nineties it was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater, and, more recently, it was featured heavily in a nexus 7 Google tablet commercial.
The quasi stardom of Ro-man the half ape/half diver over the years into a type of cult fame almost approaching that of “Robbie The Robot” honestly confounds even me, truth be told; especially when I know that the only reason for the distinctive look of this particular movie monster was the fact that there wasn’t enough of a film budget to make a decent creature outfit so they paired up a gorilla mask body with a diving helmet. Still, ROBOT MONSTER is somehow beloved and remembered fondly, even though it, for me, just sitting through it is a most tedious undertaking.
I suppose the film starts out normal enough; the eight human survivors of an alien induced apocalypse living down the block from a cave where “Ro-Man” the destroyer of mankind waits. Despite the fact that he committed utter genocide, relations between the two camps are pretty amicable, all things considered. Ro-man often talks to the remaining humans on the giant two-way communicator screens and seems genuinely awestruck with their continued survival against all odds, so much so he even offers them a painless death if they surrender at once. Of course the pesky humans in this film have other ideas and they constantly trick and toy with the doddering moon ape until later in the film where “Ro-man” murders one of the survivors (a little girl) with his bare hands and runs off with the only human female of childbearing years all so she can thrash about in his grasp as the love interest in all bygone monster movies must do at some point in the running time ever since the filming KING KONG.
I know what you are probably saying, that doesn’t sound so bad, if anything it sounds pretty typical for what viewers have come to expect from Sci-fi pulp, it is then I must remind you that in the case of this film, the devil is in the details by that I mean the little nuances of this little film are so bad they are almost evil.
For one thing, “Ro-man” is a clumsy hulk who can kill people with his mere touch and yet he quarrels with his overlord boss over what looks like an elaborate ham radio setup and one of his cave devices does nothing but produce bubbles. This is never explained. I could accept this, if “Ro-man” at least had kind of an aqua theme to his character like THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, yet here it just looks complete clown show. Other problems abound, at one point filler footage is used to simulate the earth under the effect of “Ro-Man’s” death rays and it is just footage of dinosaurs from older movies that makes less than no sense whatsoever. I suppose if they wanted to explain what really killed the dinosaurs, this explanation is as good as any, yet it does little to explain how every last man woman and child on the planet was killed with a single button press and the sole survivors live close to “Ro-Mans” cave and yet he simply cannot find the means to eradicate them. This makes you hate “Ro-Man” not because he wiped out most of the human race (that didn’t bother me) but because as a bad guy he is a combination of a preachy, seemingly all-knowing villain spawned from the age of technology gone wrong and yet he is a stumbling fur suited buffoon who can barely outrun a small child. Picture Agent Smith from THE MATRIX mixed with one of the Banana Splits and you pretty much get an idea of how easy this character is to dread properly as a harbinger of doom should be.
What rating do you give a film like this? Do you personally believe that a work of media can be so bad it can be good, almost unintentionally, subversively? Some people do, but as someone whose free time is consumed with all manner of shit film sent to me by people who tell me every disk they give me is “potentially” the next “BLAIR WITCH” I don’t personally set too much a premium on films such as this that were so bad that the director actually tried to kill himself. I give it one skull because unless you are a collector the only reason you want to own this film is to fully understand what most film critics think a zero skull film should looks like. If this seems paradoxical, perhaps illogical you are right. But Ro-Man would have wanted it this way, foolish human!
As for special features I have a complaint. The use of the original movie poster on the packaging of this suggests that this version will be in 3D as the original film was, as do certain of other Cheezy Flicks titles. It is not. I really hate things like that. Also included are some intermission time short subjects and some Cheezy Flicks trailers. The actual disk of the film actually mistakenly read “Monster Robot”. Perhaps it is all these things and more?