31 Monsters in 31 Days: Robot Monster

If the idea of a monster portrayed as a gorilla in a space helmet doesn’t fill you with delight, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Directed in 1953 by Phil Tucker–in just three days, according to legend–ROBOT MONSTER is a perennial favorite in the “So Bad It’s Good” sweepstakes. Shot entirely outdoors without anything resembling a proper set, starring a cast just professional enough to not let their amusement/embarrassment show, and a special effects display cribbed from earlier, not much better films, it satisfies just about every craving a bad-movie aficionado has. (It even has something for good-movie buffs, an early score from Elmer Bernstein!)

But the film’s true asset is its titular monster. Ridiculous in appearance, spouting portentious dialogue amid a blizzard of space-age bubbles, the Ro-Man has been the butt of many a film-goer’s joke, probably starting with the projectionist who first threaded a print. Yet it’s kept ROBOT MONSTER in the public consciousness for over fifty years; not bad for a $16,000 boilerplate sci-fi film with a no-name cast.


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