Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Robot Monster

An alien being (a man in a gorilla costume and dive helmet) destroys humanity. Most of humanity anyway. All except eight people. But the man in a gorilla suit has orders to wipe these folks out too. Why? Oh, who knows, I think it was explained, but it was never really clear.

Ro-man, the guy in the gorilla suit, is a Ro-man from planet Ro-man, and he's currently holed up in a cave in Griffith Park. His only equipment seems to be a reel-to-reel tape deck and a bubble machine (Automatic Billion Bubble Machine provided by N. A. Fisher Chemical Products Inc. according to the credits.) He also has a calcinator death ray, though we never see it, that he used to wipe out the other 2 billion earthlings.

Six of those eight surviving humans are living behind a nearby electric fence. This fence somehow manages to keep them off Ro-man's radar. I guess his alien bubble machine technology has some flaws in it. I assume then that all the cows survived the holocaust.

The six consist of The Professor, his wife (she doesn't get a name), their daughter Alice who happens to be a top-notch scientist, and her two siblings: a young boy named Johnny (of course) and a little girl named Carla. Also on site is frequently shirtless research assistant and love interest for Alice named Roy. It occurred to me, even if they managed to defeat Ro-man, there wasn't enough genetic material in this pool to repopulate. (The other two survivors aren't seen, but are said to be aboard a toy rocket that is briefly shown.)

Not that I am too confident they'd be able to defeat Ro-man: Their primary mode of defense is crouching behind a wall. But perhaps I am putting too much thought into this. After all, this is a movie about a guy in a gorilla costume and dive helmet.

When Ro-man discovers the humans are impervious to his death ray (way to go, Johnny), he decides to kill them the old fashioned way, with his bare gorilla hands. Maybe they'd be safe if they stayed crouching behind that wall, but no, they have to wander out into Bronson Canyon. I guess Alice and Roy couldn't consummate their marriage with Mom and the Professor so close. And Carla, well, she's got flowers to pick.

But the one thing Ro-man wasn't counting on: The feminine charms of dear, sweet Alice. And it seems love can soothe the savage beast, even one in a gorilla costume and dive helmet.

Not that any of this matters. There is a ridiculous "twist ending" that sets everything on its head, and sort of explains why nothing before it made much sense. It doesn't really help the film though. And whatever drama there may have been (there wasn't any) is ruined by the final two minutes.

Directed by Phil Tucker • Unrated • 1953 • 64 minutes

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