Robot Monster

Year Of Release: 1953
Running Time: 62 Minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Phil Tucker
Writing Credits: Wyott Ordung
Filming Location: Bronson Caverns, Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, Carson's Canyon, California, USA

Starring: George Nader, Claudia Barrett, Selena Royle, John Mylong, Gregory Moffett, Pamela Paulson, George Barrows

Tagline: Incredible! Unbelievable! Told the untamed way! In intriguing 2-D!

Alternate Titles:
Monster From Mars (1953)
Monsters From the Moon (1953) (USA: TV title)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
When this film came out, it was so universally scorned and derided by reviewers that director Phil Tucker found it impossible to get any further work in the film business at all. Depressed and dejected, and believing that his acrimonious relationship with the film's producers resulted in their blackballing him in the industry, he attempted suicide by shooting himself. He missed. Phil Tucker died on the 30th of November 1985.

Rogue Reviewers Round Table Review: June 2002
Review Topic: "Get Your Freak On! - Monsters Need Love Too"

Cast Of Characters
Ro-Man: It's a dude in a gorilla suit and a space helmet. I don't even know what more to say.

Roy: He's George's assistant. He has a serious love/hate relationship with Alice. He also walks around through the last half of the movie with no shirt on. I guess back then he was pretty studly.

Alice: Oh my god! I kept praying the monster would kill her. If she spent as much time trying to figure out some way to stop Ro-Man as she did aggravating Roy and being a general pain in the butt, they'd have all gotten out alive.

Martha: Seems like all she does is bitch at Johnny and wander around like she's helpless. She's really not much help.

George: He can come up with a vaccine to cure all the ills of mankind, but he can't seem to find a way to get Alice to shut the hell up.

Johnny: He's a kid. That's it. He looks like a kid, he acts like a kid, he sticks his tongue out at the monster. 'Nuff said.

Carla: She's Johnny's little sister and the youngest of the family. She's not overly bright and she doesn't say much. That's probably a good thing. Wouldn't want another Alice running around ten years from now.

The Plot
Fearing that the humans had become too intelligent and fearing a future attack, the Ro-Man's launch a pre-emptive strike against the Earth. All life is destroyed except for one small family of survivors. Can they find a way to defeat this seeming indestructible horror from the depths of space? Will the monster Ro-Man find love with the human girl Alice? Will dinosaurs roam the earth again? Will this movie ever make any sense? Just wait and see...

What The Hell???
1. Johnny and Carla stumble upon the professor and his assistant working in a cave. They have a nice little chat with them until Alice and her mother Martha come along and find them. You see, Johnny and Carla were supposed to be taking a nap. After a little chit-chat, Alice and her mother take the kids back to where they were having a picnic. Now as I look at the spot where they have the picnic laid out, I'm thinking to myself, "Who the hell would want to have a picnic there???" The ground is covered with really big rocks, and when I say big, I'm talking about baseball to basketball sized and bigger. The grass, what little of it there is, is dead and the ground looks as hard as the rocks that are covering it. All in all, it looks like the side hill of a rock quarry.
2. The other thing about the above scene, is that after they get back to their picnic, they actually start eating the food. Now weren't they just complaining to the kids just a few minutes earlier about how they had promised to take a nap right after the picnic? They were complaining because the kids didn't take a nap, and yet in this scene now we see that they hadn't even had the picnic yet! How bad does it suck to get chewed out for not doing something that you said you would do before you've even had a chance to do it?!?! These kids are gonna grow up seriously confused.
3. So the scene changes and the picnic is over and they're all four laying on the ground taking a nap. How the hell could anyone possibly sleep on that horrible looking hard, rocky ground? What is this, the friggin' Flintstones???
4. Apparently Johnny couldn't sleep, because he got up as soon as everyone else dozed off and headed on back to the cave where he met the two nice archaeologist dudes. As he got to the cave, lightning flashed, the screen had some really spiffy negative image effects, Johnny hit the ground, and a big ball of sparks fell out of the sky. No wait! That's not a ball of sparks! That's a giant dinosaur sized lizard that dropped out of the sky onto another giant dinosaur sized lizard! Now they're fighting! Oh the humanity! I'm just completely lost at this point. Let's unpause the movie and see what happens next...
5. Ok, one of the giant dinosaur sized lizards is a baby alligator with a big fin glued onto it's back. The other giant dinosaur sized lizard looks like a gila monster. While they're fighting, there's a scene cut in of two triceratops fighting. I don't know what the hell that was about because they cut right back to the lizards again. The alligator won by the way.
6. Johnny wakes up and there's suddenly two pieces of space machinery at the moth of the cave. One of them is spewing bubbles all over the place. Oh my god! We've been invaded by Lawrence Welk!!!

7. So Johnny gets up and sees the alien equipment and all the bubbles and everything, and pays absolutely no attention to it. All he does is get up and go over to the cave wall where he starts brushing it with a little brush like the archaeologists did. It takes a bunch of those spiffy negative effects coming out of the cave to even get this kids attention. I notice there's a lot of rocks in this movie, most of which seem to be in Johnny's head.

8. So Johnny runs up and hides around the edge of the cave mouth, and what do we see come out of the cave? Why, it's none other than Doug McClure! You may remember him from such films as The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot, and the ever classic, At The Earth's Core. No, I'm sorry. It's not really Doug McClure. I just wish it was. Actually it's a guy in a gorilla suit and a space helmet. Maybe though, if I pretend it's Doug McClure in the gorilla suit, the Robot Monster will seem way cooler!
9. After the Robot Monster comes out of the cave, he walks over to one of the pieces of alien equipment. It's a view screen! And look who's on the other side, why, it's Vincent Price in a gorilla suit with a space helmet! Again, sadly, it's not actually Vincent Price, thought it would be really sweet if it was! Actually the funny part of this is that the Robot Monster is talking to his leader back on their home planet. The leader has several Jacob's ladders around him throwing electricity around, and there's bubbles flying all over the place as well. Where the hell are all these bubbles coming from?
10. So apparently, the Robot Monster came to Earth because the Earth was the only inhabited planet they could find and they saw the humans as rivals. The humans had mastered atomic energy but not the cosmic ray. Everywhere the Robot Monster pointed his cosmic ray, buildings, nay, whole cities crumbled. At first the people of Earth thought it was their other human enemies and they launched atomic missiles and destroyed one another. It was only after they had nearly destroyed each other that the humans realized who their true enemy was. But it was too late. The humans that were left were wiped out. Now, somehow the two archaeologists along with Johnny and his family, slept through an alien attack and a nuclear war, and now apparently, they're the only people left on Earth. They must have had Chinese food for lunch at that picnic. It always knocks me right the hell out too. I don't know where the two archaeologists were during all this.
11. The great one tells Ro-Man that there's still a few people left on Earth. Apparently there's still eight people left alive. Now I'm sorry, but I only count six. Now I'm just confused. Ro-Man walks into the cave and disappears. Ok cool, but now Johnny takes off and runs back to this messed up house where the archaeologist George and his mother are waiting for him. They explain to him what happened and that the only reason they survived is because George and his sister alice devised a way to reflect the cosmic rays and that as long as they stay within the barrier they set up, that Ro-Man wouldn't be able to see or hear them. So...when the hell did all this happen?!?!? Where was I????? Weren't these people just on a friggin' picnic????
12. WAIT A MINUTE!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE????? Now Johnny is telling them that he saw Ro-Man at the cave. He was painting his picture on the cave wall of Ro-Man, just the way they saw him on the viewer screen so that if they did wipe out the human race, there'd be some record of what happened. WHERE THE HELL DID ALL THIS COME FROM??? I am so freakin' lost now it's not even funny. What viewer screen??? Arrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh!!!! Now Johnny walks away and Alice calls George "Dad". So in the last maybe six minutes, the human race has been wiped out, Johnny's got a new dad, they set up house in this messed up old building, Alice is probably hooked up with Roy the younger of the two archaeologists, they devised a cosmic ray reflector, and Johnny's mom is still bitching at him. Nice to know at least some things never change.
13. Ok I give up. I just freakin' give up. Ro-Man appears on the viewer screen and says that he senses that there are only five humans left and that if they show themselves, he promises them a painless death. They realize that Roy is probably dead now and start talking about him. Apparently Roy left because he and Alice used to fight. George says, "I would have never developed the serum without him." WHAT SERUM??? Again let me say... WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM??? Alice says the trouble with him is that he wouldn't admit that she was good in her field. So she drove him out to face the Robot Monster alone just because of that? Now that's just seriously cold blooded. Six people left on Earth and she sends one to his death. They should throw her out and let Ro-Man bust a cap in her.

14. Apparently Roy fixed this viewscreen before he left. I'm not sure where they got that, but somehow Ro-Man figured out that they had it because now he's feeding them images of the destruction of the Earth and telling them how he destroyed everything and everyone.

15. Why exactly does Ro-Man have the voice of a 1930's radio mystery show narrator? I think it would have been funnier if he talked like Pee Wee Herman.
16. Another thing I don't get is, if Ro-Man can detect the presence of humans, then why the hell can't he detect people hiding around the edge of his cave? First Johnny did it and now Roy and Ro-Man walks back into the cave totally clueless. Yes, Roy is alive by the way. I still think someone should bust a cap in Alice though.
17. Look at this. I'm only sixteen and a half minutes into the movie and I'm already up to #17. I can see this review is gonna take all night.
18. Ok Roy shows up back at the house. He starts explaining a few things that I've been clueless about up to this point. Apparently the serum that George was talking about earlier was a serum that he had been working on to cure all the illnesses of mankind. Now wait a minute, isn't he supposed to be an archaeologist? Anyway, so he developed this serum with Roy's help and tested it on his family, Roy, and two other guys. The serum counteracts the effect of the cosmic ray that Ro-Man uses to kill people. That's why they're all still alive. Alice is offended because she thinks Roy is saying that the shield she developed for them isn't worth much. Someone SERIOUSLY needs to bitch slap this woman. These are the last people alive on the Earth and she's throwing ego and attitude everywhere.
19. Apparently there's a space platform in orbit with a whole garrison in it that wasn't destroyed by Ro-Man. So Roy got together with the two other guys that we haven't seen yet and they gathered enough fuel to launch a rocket ship there with enough serum to immunize the whole garrison. Gee, they must be really talented to launch a rocket with just the three of them. Now if NASA could only figure out how to do that, the space program's budget could be reduced dramatically just from the personnel cutbacks.
20. So they're trying to rewire this view screen they got from god knows where so that they can use it to contact the garrison on the space platform without Ro-Man detecting it. They want to let them know they're coming so they don't think it's Ro-Man and destroy the rocket before it even gets there. Alice is in charge of the modifications and we see a close up of the wiring and components, and her soldering them with his giant soldering iron. I mean this thing is like a baseball bat. Basically, anyone who knows even the slightest bit about soldering would know that it's worthless. But does that stop our Alice? Why, no sir! She holds it in her hand like a dagger and is touching stuff all over with it. Too bad it's not hot and it's not actually melting any solder. I'm sure Roy would point this out to her, but he probably doesn't want any more of her lip.
21. Ro-Man detects the rocket taking off and the absence of two of the humans and he and The Great One destroy both the rocket and the space platform. The space platform was funny. It was a toy rocket tied to a string flying around in circles with sparks coming out of the back.
22. They get the screen reconfigured to talk to Ro-Man. While they're talking to him, George says that Martha has been his wife for 23 years. I'm still trying to figure all this out.
23. I just realized, these people are the last people on Earth. They're living in a ruined building with no toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, or toilet paper. They look pretty good for for people with no way of keeping clean. I'll bet the air is gettin' pretty ripe around there though.
24. Ro-Man insisted that he be allowed to talk to Alice alone. He felt that only she would understand. Alice insisted on going, but the rest of them tied her up so that she couldn't get away. Johnny ran off on his own to meet the monster without anyone seeing him. Somebody should put a leash on that kid.
25. So Johnny meets up with Ro-Man. Ro-Man tries to kill him but his ray has no effect. Ro-Man pumps Johnny for info about the serum and Johnny spills the beans big time. What a blabber mouth that kid is.
26. Man, it must have been hotter than the center of the sun in that gorilla suit.
27. When Johnny comes marching home again, his parents are glad he's alive. Wait till he tells them what he did. They're gonna kill him.
28. Roy and Alice caught up with Ro-Man but then had to hide from him. For some reason it takes Ro-Man forever to wander around in the hills on his way back to his cave. While they're hiding, Roy starts gettin' frisky with Alice. At first she rebuffs his advances, but then she's all over him like a cat in heat. Then all of a sudden they're laughing and smiling and doing all kinds of pantomime while happy music plays in the background. This movie has me so in shock that I may never recover.
29. I just realized something else. Where are these people getting electricity from?
30. Now Roy and Alice show up back at the house and want Gordon to marry them. Reminds me of the quote from Army of Darkness, "First you wanna kill me. Then you wanna kiss me." Oh god, not they're performing the wedding ceremony. They didn't even get to say I do. Gordon just went off into this prayer and then declared them man and wife. Johnny asked them where they're going on their honeymoon. The first thing that comes to my mind is divorce court.
31. If there was a nuclear war like they said, then how come there's so much vegetation? Wouldn't everything have died in a nuclear winter?
32. Ro-Man just captured Carla. Apparently he strangled her to death. Bummer...
33. More pantomime with Roy and Alice now until Ro-Man comes out of the bushes and beats the snot out of Roy and captures Alice. Ro-Man sure moves quick for a guy in a gorilla suit.
34. Ro-Man is packing Alice and she starts talking to him like he's some kinda big strong studly man. She starts pumping him for information which he gives her like a big dumb dork.
35. Roy makes it back to tell the family that Ro-Man has captured Alice, and then he falls down dead! I guess they were running out of money and had to cut the cast down even smaller than it already was. So that's two down now. Who's next?
36. Ro-Man gets Alice back to his cave and then stats puttin' on his Mac Daddy routine. He grabs her hands and wants her to scratch his belly and rub his nipples. It's just like havin' a puppy, ain't it Alice?
37. WOO HOO!!!! Ro-Man just bitch slapped Alice to knock her out because the Great One was about to appear on the viewscreen behind him. She dropped faster than the ratings of a CBS sitcom.
38. So Ro-Man goes out to find the family to kill them. He doesn't want to kill Alice as he has fallen in love with her. He tries to come up with an excuse for not killing her, but all this does is anger the Great One. When the time comes to go out and find the family to kill them, he leaves Alice behind at the cave. He finds Johnny out in the ravine and strangles him to death, and then the Great One kills him for disobeying orders and not killing the girl. Now the Great One is going to kill the rest of the humans himself. So just when Ro-Man finally finds love, the Great One has to ruin it for him. Isn't that kinda like messin' around with your girlfriend and having your mom walk in on you? Then again, I guess your mom wouldn't kill just wish she would have by the time she gets done with you.
39. The Great One unleashes cosmic rays that brings forth all sorts of pre-historic life to devour what's left of the humans. We're then treated to all kinds of stop motion dinosaur scenes that look cheap even for a movie like this. Now we get to see the gator and the gila monster fighting again too. Yes, it's the exact same scene from before.
40. Oh man!!!! Now it all makes sense. Johnny fell down and cracked his head on a rock. The whole thing was just a comatose dream conjured up by Johnny's childish imagination. That just explains the while thing. I'm really ticked off though. None of this damn movie made any sense and I had to suffer through the whole thing just to find out that it was all a dream. I feel like I've been ridden hard and put away wet.

Best Quote

"I'm bossy? You're so bossy you oughta be milked before you come home at night."

- Roy reacting to Alice telling him that he's bossy. - (Reviewer's Note: I'm so in shock from how disjointed this movie is that I can only think of two words...bitch and slap.)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Robot Monster
Ro-Man gets chewed out by the controller and then spends a few quality moments trying to figure out this crazy little thing called love.

The Conclusion

Ok, I'm not too proud to admit that I spent most of this movie completely baffled, which is pretty obvious by the sheer number of items in the What the hell??? section. To say this movie was disjointed would be an understatement to end all understatements. From the very beginning, this film made very little sense, it was edited poorly and even included one serious editing mistake towards the beginning of the movie.  This is all in addition to the fact that the story itself was confused from the get go.

The character of Alice was supremely unlikable and the kids, Johnny and Carla, were just brain dead. Still, now that it's over, I look back on it and realize that although I would normally give a movie of this caliber a bat rating, I just can't bring myself to do that to this one. I don't know if it was the cheeseball monster or the funky story or all the goofy things that were going on, but some part of this movie grabbed me by the throat and made me like it. Not love it, but like it enough to give it a decent rating.

I think I probably would have enjoyed this movie a lot more had it not been written as a dream sequence. I spent the whole movie just baffled as to how we got from Johnny hanging out in the cave with a couple of archaeologists, to all life on the planet being destroyed except for them and a Robot Monster that spends all his time creeping around, trying to score with Johnny's sister. I think maybe if I watched it again, knowing what the ending is, I could actually enjoy the movie a lot more than I did the first time through. That's why I went ahead and revealed the ending above. So that you can watch it and not sit around wondering "Why?" and "How?" throughout the whole movie like I did.

This movie is cheap, cheesy sci-fi from the early 50's, and for what it is, it is actually rather fun in its own way. There were parts that were so nonsensical that I had to just laugh in bewilderment, and when I say laugh, I mean really laugh. It was funny. After spending a lot of time reflecting on this film, I think I'm going to have to give Robot Monster...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 2½ Bees!

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