Sunday, July 17, 2011

Robot Monster: Terrible Movies #159

Netflix has made the extremely unpopular decision to raise their prices to coerce their customers into not receiving DVDs in the mail. I'm cool with that. I'm 100% in favor of moving forward into a future of streaming any movie you want at any time. Sadly, that future has not arrived yet. So I've changed my Netflix plan to the streaming only option, and returned the Invasion Of The Neptune Men/Prince Of Space DVD although I haven't watched both movies. Netflix promptly shipped me Robot Monster. Clearly, something is amiss. However, that isn't going to stop me from watching it. Robot Monster is one of those mythic white whale movies, one I've heard about but never actually seen, and it usually sits near the top of many Worst Movies Ever lists. I realize I could easily have gone to one of those huge big box retailers and bought the DVD, but that would include going out into public among people and venturing into a big box retailer and that sounds an awful lot like effort. So let's watch it, shall we? It's going to be epic!

It all starts to go downhill with the opening credits. They've given credit to a bubble machine. Really. Here's a clip:

After some wooden acting, the child actors occasionally look into the camera, then take an unconvincing nap. For some reason, there's stock lightning, reptile wrestling, and nonsensical stop-motion animated dinosaur footage. Choppy editing and camera jostling ensues, then a guy in a gorilla suit wearing a poorly made papier-mache space helmet appears making hand gestures that don't sync up with the voice-over narration. Here's a clip:

It's oddly reminiscent of this:

In order to have a post-apocalyptic look, sets consist of a ravine, a cave, a dilapidated garage missing most of the walls even though a perfectly good house is just up the hill, and a wrinkled backdrop. Plot devices include an anti-biotic immunization serum that protects against death-rays and the common cold, a violin bow, and soldiering irons in close-up. Special effects include crappy super-imposition and confusing rocket ships dangling from strings, and if you look closely enough, you can see a guy obscured by smoke but illuminated by a sparkler hold a rocket-ship on a stick. It's at the 24:25 minute mark. No clip? Dammit! Well, trust me, it's awesome.

So, the guy in the gorilla suit tiptoes up and down a hill several times and no one knows why. There are many inexplicable cutaways, cast closeups, and fades. Again, no one knows why. Suddenly, the guy in a gorilla suit comes lumbering over a grass-covered hill in a slow-motion rampage and the blades of grass move hypnotically in the breeze, and it looks similar to the poetic cinematography that Terrence Malick might direct if Terrence Malick directed crappy movies. After more cruddy plot stuff happens, including a grimly WTF sort-of denouement, the movie ends with a cliched cop-out.

Overall, one of the very worst movies I've ever seen, and probably in the top ten. It's so crudely inept that it's almost avant-garde, like a nonsensical Dada-esque piece of performance art. Highly recommended if you like stuff that sucks. Here's the baffling trailer:

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