Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Wot Coulda Been Anime

George Barrows as the beast of Revelation strikes
in Robot Monster. 1953 Photo credit: Astor Pictures

                                         Another Wot Coulda Been Anime


                                                                     Jay Agan

     The last family on Earth fights a desperate struggle for survival against an alien "horde" composed of a single invader. Hilarity ensues when the Ro-Man turns out to be George Barrows wearing a gorilla suit & space helmet! Name of the film: Robot Monster! A Phil Tucker masterpiece guaranteed to bring on the laughs. The reviews it got back in 1953 alledgedly drove Tucker to attempt suicide. Just watching it may get you to thinking the same. Fer instance:

     Familiar stock footage from One Million BC, Flight to Mars & other oldies to pad it out.

     An epic "battle" scene straight out of DBZ (Just kidding!), where the heroine is obviously giggling over her perilous predicament.

     Atrocious philosiphizing about how "must" & "cannot" be existentially reconciled. Think of all the screwy pop philosophy/dialogue that comes up in so many anime. ("People die when they get killed." How profound!)

     A "near rape" scene that has you going ..... "What the ..... ?"

     Special effects consisting of flashes (Uh, oh ..... "The Pokemon Effect"!), electrical buzzes, negative exposure photography, & lots & lots of ..... BUBBLES!

     Maybe they could have the Sailor Moon & Dragonball folks collaborate on this one.

     Most critics & discriminating viewers were really down on this one when it was released. While the incredible cheesiness & under the top quality are more than obvious, I cannot help but wonder (Spoiler ahead!): It turns out in the end it was only a kids' fever dream. A fellow on the Classic Horror Film board once remarked about this film on how the "production values" of a lot of his dreams/nightmares were pretty sparse. Same for me. It could be the ultra schlockiness of this flick was intentional & nobody got the "joke". Instead it's on us.

     By the way. The composer of the "opressive" music for this film is Elmer Bernstein. I find it hard to believe this is the same guy who wrote the compositions for DeMilles' The Ten Commandments. If so, a classic case of "from the depths to the heights."

     "You can not escape me ..... Hu-man! ..... Very well ..... I will recalculate ..... Your death will be In-De-Scri-BABLE! Fool ..... hu-mans! There is no escape!"

Robot Monster trailer & commentary here.

Hell & High Water: A Movie Wot Coulda Been Anime here.

Go to Main Page here.

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                                                Article copyright © 2-3-2011 Jay Agan

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