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Cult Classic Movie
Ro-Man, an alien that looks remarkably like a gorilla in a diving helmet, has destroyed all but six people on the planet Earth. He spends the entire film trying to finish off these survivors, but complications arise when he falls for the young woman in the group. Love that bubble machine! (Written by Ray Hamel for IMDB).
The handful of human survivors (8 not 6 as mistakenly reported by Ray Hamel above) have survived the desolation of humankind because they are immune to Ro-Man's death ray. Science, mankind's greatest friend, saved them with an experimental antibiotic serum developed by the scientist in their group, The Professor. Pledged to kill all humans, Ro-Man must resort to destroying the survivors by physical abuse such as strangulation and throwing people off of cliffs.
The mission is clear, All Humans Must Die, but will Ro-Man have a crisis of conscience? Will he be seduced by the whiles and charms of the damsel Alice?
All Humans Must Die
In the tradition of great, cult-classic science fiction movies of the 1950's, aliens invade the Earth with a purpose to obliterate all human life from the globe. But when the killer-gorilla (heh, it's funny because it rhymes) develops affections for one of the earth-chicks, his boss, the Great Guidance, is displeased and decides he needs to take charge of the mission himself. Naturally, as any good boss would, he assails the survivors with mighty earthquakes and savage prehistoric dinosaurs.
Alien invasion, killer monkey diver beasts, angry bosses, dinosaurs, earthquakes, all kinds of mayhem, this movie has it all.....but does it also have a twist ending? You'll have to watch to find out.
Killer Alien Beast
Robot Monster is a movie that has received both accolades from adoring fans and criticisms from it's detractors. The detractors have always puzzled me because I have never understood what their expectations were heading into this movie. Sure it has goofs and continuity errors and some cheap special effects but those just add to the charms of this movie. I mean, if you are watching a movie about a space alien that looks like a gorilla in a goofy helmet, what do you expect? Oddly, many of the complaints were aimed at the look of Ro-Man. To me, he is the most charming and entertaining part of the whole experience. He has classic one-liners such as “I am ordered to kill you. I must do it with my hands” and "What are you doing here alone, girl-child?" He also tries to get busy with Alice to explore his newly discovered sexual arousal. Now that's just good story telling right there.
This movie is just plain fun and it's still being talked about over 60 years later. It has a well-earned cult following of loyal fans and even has whole books dedicated to it. The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way) and Robot Monster Diaries. It grossed $1,000,000 during its initial release, more than 62 times its original investment. Any film maker could be proud of that accomplishment.
Director Phil Tucker
According to the Medved brothers' book "The Golden Turkey Awards", director Phil Tucker attempted suicide after the release of this film due to the overwhelmingly negative critical reaction it received. He put a gun next to his head and pulled the trigger. He missed. Phil was having a run of lousy luck apparently. After the movie was released, he and the film's distributor quarreled so fiercely that, legend has it, Phil was never paid and treated embarrassingly shabbily.
Phil may not be remembered as one of the greatest directors as all time but he will always be remembered for making this one film and that's a lot more than most film makers can say. Robot Monster and the rampaging alien, Ro-Man, have provided movie goers countless hours of fun and enjoyment.
Phil was only 25 years old when he made Robot Monster and managed to shoot it in just four days and for only $16,000. A true lesson in making low-budget movies effectively and getting the most bang for your buck by using stock footage and matte paintings from other movies with a minimum of locations to create memorable story telling.
Must & Cannot
Robot Monster was shot almost entirely in and around the famous Bronson Cave that you will probably recognize as the iconic batcave from the legendary TV series from the 1960's starring Adam West. The cave itself is actually a short tunnel that, once you walk through it and emerge on the other side, you can clearly see the lauded Hollywood sign. I have been to the cave myself and I can promise you that it is well worth the visit. Bronson Caves is located in the southwest section of Griffith Park, thus is easily accessible from Hollywood.
Bonus Tip: If you have eagle eyes you can even see some neighbors watching the film crew shoot the movie!
Many of your favorite movies and TV shows have been filmed there including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), John Wayne's magnificent The Searchers (1956), The A-Team, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Gunsmoke, Star Trek, Combat! Rawhide, Wonder Woman, White Zombie (1932), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), one of my personal favorites Army of Darkness (1992) with Bruce Campbell and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001) a movie I drove from Phoenix Arizona to San Diego to watch.
What's Your Favorite Scifi Movie?
Robot Monster Miniature
Ro-Man A.K.A George Barrows
George Barrows, who also played an ape on the wonderful, Bill Bixby TV series The Incredible Hulk, as well as the appreciated Wild Wild West and the beloved The Man from U.N.C.L.E, F Troop, the hailed Batman series, Rawhide, Maverick, and many, many others did an admirable job of bringing Ro-Man the gorilla-alien to life.
Surprisingly, Barrows actually built the gorilla suit he used in Robot Monster, Gorilla at Large, and other films. The suit is currently in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
I have had this DVD in my collection for years and I enjoy it every time I watch it. Even the DVD cover is entertaining bearing splash-messages like IN INTRUIGING 2-D and TOLD THE UNTAMED WAY. No collection is really complete for real movie fans without adding Robot Monster to it. Get yours today and own this wonderfully entertaining treasure.