A Brief Word About Blogging:
If you’re anything like me (and I’ll assume that if you aren’t, you’re at least trying to be), you never miss a chance do a little web-browsing whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s such a great diversion and, thanks to mobile devices and smart phones, there really isn’t any excuse NOT to be online, ever, regardless of what you’re doing! Why, just the other day I was able to stream most of this week’s movie Robot Monster while driving to work. And while I unfortunately wrecked my car in the process by allegedly careening into a small Brazilian restaurant, I was (up until that point) having a very pleasant commute indeed.
My point is this: these days there’s rarely a reason we have to just be bored. So if you ever happen to have a few moments to spare (e.g. while you’re at a stop light, or if you’re on cruise-control, or you’re waiting for the driver’s side airbag to fully deploy) I urge you to read and comment on any of the inspired, insightful articles found here on Schlock Therapy. I don’t get paid to write this stuff, so my only compensation is knowing that my blog might be somebody’s brief intellectual detour on the way to his/her favorite porn site.
But you didn’t come here for a lecture did you? You’re here to read about movies. So I’m going to get off my high-horse for a moment, and step onto this slightly-less-high soapbox to talk about Robot Monster. If you’ve ever heard of this film, you have probably also heard that it’s considered to be one of the worst movies of all time. However, this is completely inaccurate and unfair: it is by no means “one of the worst”…it is hands-down THE worst, period. To rob it of this distinction is, quite frankly, a crime and I’m not going to stand for it anymore.
Who is Robot Monster?
Strictly speaking, the title character, “Robot Monster” is neither a robot or a monster at all. He’s really just a sad, misunderstood, plus-size visitor from outer-space. His sole purpose just happens to be the complete and final disintegration of the human race, but you shouldn’t be so quick to judge him. My guess is that his anger stems from a traumatic childhood. An examination of his bizarre anatomy reveals that he is obviously the child of a Teletubby and Chewbacca the Wookie (please refer to diagram A). Two such parents would very rarely see eye-to-eye (mainly because of their height difference), which probably made for a volatile home environment. Add to that a confused sense of racial identity, and you have a recipe for an intergalactic sociopath. I, for one, can easily sympathize, having been raised by parents who could never agree on which type of ethnic of food we should have delivered. Those of you who didn’t have to grow up under such difficult circumstances may not be able to identify with Ro-Man’s issues.
Death Rays and Dinosaurs
As the story begins, we learn that an alien civilization has all but destroyed the planet earth with a weapon of immeasurable power known as the Calcinator Death Ray. This weapon is essentially a big laser, but also has the inexplicable ability to summon dinosaurs. (It seems that the director had access to some footage from The Lost Continent and was determined to shoe-horn it into his movie whether it made sense or not. Which it didn’t.) The only survivors of the apocolypse are a family of 5, a young and often shirtless man named Roy, and 2 other men (whose names I don’t recall but it doesn’t matter because we never see them and they blow up in a rocket anyway). These 8 people are, God help us, the last hope for avoiding humanity’s total extinction.
Enter, the Robot Monster. He has been sent to earth with orders to eliminate these 8 survivors and make way for his civilization’s imminent invasion.
Sounds like a simple enough task for a superior being with a death ray right? Wrong! The father of earth’s last household is also a scientist, and a brilliant one at that judging by his vaguely eastern european accent. He has created an experimental (and Non-FDA approved I might add) anti-biotic which just so happens to makes his family members immune to: the common cold, the flu, and of course Death Rays. *Side effects include poor acting, stilted dialogue, and dead-end movie careers. Because of this immunity, the Robot Monster (or Ro-Man, as the humans call him) pledges to kill them by “physical means”. And by this he means choking them to death with his bare, fuzzy, ape-hands. It seems odd to me that a scientifically advanced individual like Ro-Man wouldn’t have a more sophisticated backup plan. At least something a little more efficient than manually throttling all his victims one-by-one — but who am I to second guess the tactics of a space-gorilla in a diving helmet?
Poor Robot Monster is ultimately unable to follow through with his objective because he falls in love with the scientist’s lovely daughter, and thus can’t bring himself to destroy her. He is so taken by her, in fact, that during one unexpectedly risque scene he attempts to tear the top off her dress! His clumsy attempt barely even reveals her collar bone, however, so don’t expect anything too…um…exciting here. When Robot Monster’s boss learns of his affection for a human girl he is furious, and presents him with an ultimatum. Ro-Man must kill the woman immediately or be destroyed. And in a fleeting moment of existential introspection he cries, “I must…but I cannot! At what point on the graph do ‘Must’ and ‘Cannot’ meet?”
At what point, indeed, my dear misunderstood Robot Monster? At what point indeed?
*Please see diagram B for the solution.
I don’t want to spoil the “surprise” ending to the movie, but here’s a hint: the whole movie was just a boy’s bad dream… Actually I guess I did kind of spoil it there. Okay, forget what I just said and enjoy this heartwarming clip: