aka Monsters from Mars, Monsters from the Moon

Phil Tucker has achieved a reputation second only to the great Ed Wood as a creator of really bad drive-in era films.

The title character of Robot Monster, Tucker’s most infamous flick, has achieved pop-icon status.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Phil Tucker

Written by Wyott Ordung

Cast:

George Nader as Roy
Claudia Barrett as Alice
Selena Royle as Mother
John Mylong as The Professor
Gregory Moffett as Johnny
Pamela Paulson as Carla
George Barrows as Ro-Man
John Brown as Voice of Ro-Man
Stock Footage as the prehistoric beasts

Premise:

Aliens apparently destroy most of the human race, and the few survivors fight to remain alive. Slurpasaurs occasionally wander through the film.

High Point:

The stock footage. Mostly, Tucker took from Hal Roach’s One Million BC (though some actually comes from the 1925 production of the The Lost World!) Stock footage from this film has appeared more times than I can name, mostly in bad drive-in films of the 1950s and early 1960s. You may never have seen this movie, but if you’ve watched blown-up, slo-mo’d lizards with fins glued on them battle it out in valiant attempts to convince the audience they are dinosaurs, then you’ve likely seen highlights from One Million BC. Rarely has it been so gratuitously used as in this film, but it’s always fun to see.

Low Point:

The Ro-Man’s ponderous speeches. It’s absolutely impossible to take an actor seriously when he’s dressed in a fat gorilla suit and a diving bell helmet with bunny ears.

However, the fact that the alien costume consists of a fat gorilla suit and a diving bell helmet with bunny ears constitutes the primary reason why people know this film.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6.

Effects: 2/6. The dinosaur effects are fun, but they stole them from other movies. The film’s other effects consist principally of a bubble-making machine.

Story: 2/6. I must raise one point in defence of this film. Many, many reviewers claim that far too many events occur between Johnny’s fall and his revival. The movie actually explains this apparent discrepancy in time. It’s a shoddy explanation, to be sure, but the film includes it. Apparently, many reviewers failed to watch Robot Monster to the end.

Of course, the fact that so many reviewers couldn’t stay to the end of a film scarcely more than an hour in length doesn’t really amount to a glowing recommendation.

Acting: 3/6. At one point, the Ro-Man scoops up Pamela Paulson, and she visibly assists by throwing her arm around his back. The Ro-Man’s voice acting is just horrible.

Production: 2/6.

Emotional Response: 2/6.

Overall: 2/6.

In total, Robot Monster receives 15/42.