There are times where I do love my movie shopping list that I made based on a YouTube video, which you can watch here if you want, because it gives me such gems as today’s movie. Let’s face it, how many monster movies are out there where the monster is a guy in a gorilla costume with a diver’s helmet on his head. Naturally, a movie this cheaply done is something that I just had to buy so that is exactly what I did. Let’s see just how bad of a decision I might have made as I watch Robot Monster.
The plot: Johnny and his little sister Carla are playing in the hills when they come across two archaeologists, the Professor (George) and his assistant Roy, who are examining rocks in a nearby cave. As George and Roy talk to the two children, Johnny and Carla’s mother Martha and sister Alice come get the children, saying that they were supposed to take a nap after their picnic lunch. When Johnny wakes up from his nap, he heads back to the cave and finds George and Roy have left when a sudden lightning storm renders him unconscious, while elsewhere in the world, giant monsters kill each other and explosions occur. When Johnny regains consciousness, he finds some equipment near the mouth of the cave and some flashing lights coming from inside, which causes Johnny to hide. Johnny sees a giant alien called Ro-Man approach the equipment and use it to contact his leader, the Great Guidance. Ro-Man explains how he wiped out all of humanity from the Earth, allowing it ready to be colonized by his people, but the Great Guidance tells him that 8 humans are still alive and Ro-Man says he will find and kill them. When Ro-Man heads back inside the cave, Johnny returns to his home, which is the remains of a house, where he lives with his Martha, Alice, Carla, and George (who apparently married Johnny’s mother). George and Martha chastise Johnny for leaving the house, saying the wires that surround the structure are the only thing that keeps Ro-Man from finding and killing them. Suddenly, their view screen activates and Ro-Man speaks with them, saying that they are the last 5 humans on Earth. Hearing this, Alice gets upset when she believes that Roy is dead, while Ro-Man taunts them with images of how the other humans were killed before vowing to kill them as well. Meanwhile, Roy is actually at the cave and sees Ro-Man speaking to the Great Guidance, questioning if there really are 8 humans, as he only saw 5. Roy returns to the house, where everyone is happy to see him alive, and he explains that he was at the cave and figured out how they managed to survive. George had managed to make a cure for all diseases and he tested it on his family, Roy, and two other men and Roy tells them that they are the only people left. Roy tells them that the other two men are taking vials of the serum to the Space Platform, which had been spared from Ro-Man’s attack, and George says that they have to warn them as Ro-Man could find them when they launch. Alice and Roy work on fixing the view screen so they can communicate with the other survivors but are too late, as Ro-Man appears on the screen and shows them the rocket and Space Platform being destroyed, leaving the 6 of them the last survivors. Trying to figure out a way to beat Ro-Man, Alice and Roy fix the view screen and George uses it to contact Ro-Man. George tries to appeal to Ro-Man’s sympathies and spare them but Ro-Man refuses at first, then asks Alice to meet with him at some ruins, as he says he will talk with her alone. After ending the communication, George and Roy refuse to let Alice leave to meet with Ro-Man but while they are arguing, Johnny sneaks out and heads to the ruins himself. When he gets there, Ro-Man is surprised to see him and Johnny explains that Alice isn’t coming, then asks why Ro-Man hates them. Ro-Man explains that humans were getting too intelligent and his people couldn’t take the chance of humanity attacking them so they decided to attack first. Ro-Man attempts to use his calcinator ray on Johnny but it has no effect on him. When Johnny unwittingly explains about the serum, Ro-Man says he will calibrate the ray to take the serum into effect and Johnny, realizing his mistake, rushes off to warn the others. Roy and Alice head to the ruins to look for Johnny but are forced to hide when they see Ro-Man approaching them and as they are hiding, they end up kissing. Meanwhile, Johnny makes his way back home and apologizes for telling Ro-Man about the serum. When Alice and Roy return, they tell George that they want to get married and ask that George perform the ceremony and George happily agrees. Back at the cave, Ro-Man reports to the Great Guidance on the human’s immunity to the calcinator ray and the Great Guidance says to use physical force if necessary in order to kill the remaining humans. Back at the house, George marries Alice and Roy but as they joke about where to go for their honeymoon, Carla leaves to go pick some flowers for Alice. Carla leaves the house to give Alice the flowers but as she heads back home, Ro-Man catches and kills her, then reports back to the Great Guidance on her death. Ro-Man attempts to convince the Great Guidance to allow Alice to leave, as he has developed some feelings for her but the Great Guidance tells him to kill all the humans. Ro-Man sets out and finds Alice and Roy, who are kissing in a field, and attacks Roy, eventually pushing him off of a cliff, before grabbing Alice and carrying her back to his cave. George and Martha go looking for Carla and after finding her body, bury it and after they finish, Roy appears and tells them what happened to Alice before he dies. Johnny comes up with a plan to lure Ro-Man out of the cave so they can free Alice and they contact Ro-Man and tell him that they want a quick death and where to find them. In the cave, the Great Guidance orders Ro-Man to kill Alice but Ro-Man refuses. Johnny calls out Ro-Man and Ro-Man goes to kill him, allowing George and Martha to free Alice. As Ro-Man strangles Johnny, the Great Guidance kills Ro-Man, then summons dinosaurs and earthquakes to kill off the last of the humans. Suddenly, Johnny is woken up by Roy, and it is revealed that the whole thing was a dream Johnny had when he was knocked unconscious. Martha and Alice invite Roy and George to have dinner with them and they accept but as they leave the cave, the spectral image of Ro-Man appears to come out of the cave and seems to head out after them.
Robot Monster was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the majority of the critics all seem to believe this is a bad movie but several said it was entertaining because of it being so bad. The film was almost entirely shot at Bronson Canyon in California, though the scenes involving the dinosaurs and giant reptiles were taken from One Million B.C. (1940) and Lost Continent. The movie made $1 million off of a $16,000-$50,000 budget, but due to the negative reaction it received, director Phil Tucker attempted suicide but failed.
Man, this is one ridiculous movie but it can be fun to watch. The acting is honestly nothing special, with nobody really standing out, though Gregory Moffett’s (Johnny) interaction with Ro-Man was pretty funny at times. The story was honestly a little weak. I mean, I did like the dream aspect, as unoriginal as it might be, but the actual events within the dream just seemed weak. The special effects were laughably bad but that is what makes this movie fun to watch. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination but it can be fun to watch.
Rating: 2 out of 5