Robot Monster (1953)

If you could pick one single movie which fueled the bad sf/horror movie cult popularized by The Golden Turkey Awards and ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ then ‘Robot Monster’ would be it. Ed Wood’s ‘Plan Nine From Outer Space’ is probably better known to mainstream audiences, especially since Tim Burton’s fantastic Wood biopic, but ‘Robot Monster’ is just as good/bad, and the image of a lumbering goon in an over-sized gorilla suit with a diving helmet and antenna has become an iconic symbol of z-grade sci fi. Even people who don’t know Ro-Man’s name recognize his likeness and giggle. ‘Robot Monster’ isn’t as inept technically as Wood’s worst movies (especially his astonishing ‘Glen Or Glenda’), but the script is as dumb as they get, the actors are wooden at best, and the not-so-special effects are laughable. What really makes this movie legendary is the “robot monster” himself, Ro-Man (George Barrows). You can help smirking every time you look at him, and when he pontificates on life and love the movie enters a new dimension of trash par excellence. And just dig that bubble machine and the unexpected (and totally irrelevant) use of stock dinosaur footage! Plus a score from (can you believe it?) Elmer Bernstein. ‘Robot Monster’ is a movie I never tire of watching. I still get a big kick out of it every time I see it. To say that it is absolutely essential viewing for anybody interested in cult movies is the understatement of the century! ‘Robot Monster’ is after all the movie that gave the world the term “psychotronic”. Long live Ro-Man and all who smirk at his awesome calcinator death ray!