Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Cinema - All Hail the Ro-Mans

Phil Tucker's Robot Monster (1953) is a far better bad movie than Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.

More bubbles, for one thing.

The plot, for what it's worth: A family is on a picnic and the little boy gets conked with something and has a dream. It's post-apocalypse America, and only seven humans are still alive: the professor, his wife, the daughter, a stray hunky guy, and the little boy. Plus two men in a space station, who don't really figure into it.

The villains are the Ro-Men, robot monsters from another galaxy (similar to the present membership of the Democratic National Committee). They are easily identifiable, sporting gorilla suits with fake metal helmets (and antennas). It is a somewhat improbable combination for a robot monster, but the bubble machine that doubles as a communication device (and occasional Death Ray) distracts from the sartorial oxymoron.

Long story short, the Ro-Man on earth falls in love with the daughter and the brave family vanquishes him. And then the kid comes to and, by golly, it was just a dream.

We're talking cute girl in tight sweater in the middle of the apocalypse. Ro-Man in gorilla suit and unconvincing helmet. Excellent bubble machine (listed in credits). Rabbit ear antennae, the better to communicate with outer space. (Take that, stupid Federal Communications Commission.) Short.

I award Robot Monster four coils for bubbles and an air of cheerful Cold War nonsense today's auteurs would do well to study.

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