Robot Monster / Monsters From the Moon (1953)

Robot Monster / Monsters From the Moon (1953)

“I cannot — yet I must. How do you calculate that?”

An alien named Ro-Man plots to kill the remaining six Hu-Mans on earth — a mother (Selena Royle), her professor-husband (John Mylong), their two young children (Gregory Moffett and Pamela Paulson), their grown daughter (Claudia Barrett), and Barrett’s boyfriend-scientist (George Nader) — who are protected from his death ray by a neutralizing serum. But when Ro-Man falls for Barrett, he finds his annihilation impulses in conflict.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Aliens
  • Science Fiction
  • World Domination

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this “laughably lousy sci-fi film, made for $20,000 in LA’s Bronson Canyon” “gets more ludicrous as it goes along” — then he spends the rest of his review detailing exactly how inept it is, and essentially dismissing it as outright dreck. Other online reviews (see links below) provide a more detailed skewering, combined with admiration for all the many ways in which the film presumably deserves its bad-movie cult status: Richard Scheib notes that “the cheesiness of its ineptitude provides… an enormous degree of sheer entertainment value”, while DVD Savant argues that it is actually “very entertaining” and will “bring a smile to anyone’s face”. A redeeming perspective of sorts does emerge near the end, when we learn exactly what the entire adventure has been based on, and many aspects — including the jarring incorporation of “stock footage” such as “a lengthy sequence of prehistoric monsters fighting taken from One Million B.C.” — come into somewhat clearer focus. Watch for the infamous “ending in which Ro-Man emerges from a cave three times in succession (the shot is repeated)”, which “may have inspired Edward D. Wood” when making Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Countless ludicrously bad elements

Must See?
Yes, once, simply for its cult infamy. Maybe it’s the type of film that grows on you (and most definitely requires a bad-movie-appreciating crowd to enjoy).



One thought on “Robot Monster / Monsters From the Moon (1953)

  1. A once-must, at least, as an enjoyably bad movie that has surprises in enjoyably bad ways.

    First, the other bad news: At a little over an hour (with an intermission!! 😉 ), the film feels longer (which is usually never a good thing) – but that may partly be because it is so talky and the audience is then spending time absorbing a lot of nonsense. The nonsense of it all starts off at a gallop early on. Just when you think nothing is making any sense, however – fear not! – Nader offers up an explanation for everything that has been stumping us early on. Of course, his explanation is a different kind of nonsense but at least everything from then on starts falling into place, sort of.

    One of the weirdest things about this movie is that – oddly – it seems to mean well as entertainment. It’s kind of like a story being told by a storyteller who doesn’t tell stories very well – but is genuinely trying his darnedest to keep your interest.

    Some of the dialogue is terrible – well, a lot of it is. But some of it also suddenly works in a sort of endearing way (if that’s possible). And, considering it’s a dumb movie, the visual and sound effects are not all that terrible (for the budget).

    Biggest shock here is the score – what the hell is Elmer Bernstein, of all people, doing here?! ~and actually gracing the film with a score that really does enhance the film (if that’s possible)?

    Sometimes bad scripts are actually improved upon through bad acting – cause there’s just no other way to do them ‘well’. You couldn’t have something like this performed by top-drawer actors. That would *really* be weird.

    Fave fun bits of dialogue:

    Ro-Man (robot voice): Is there a choice between a painless-surrender death and the-horror-of-resistance death?

    And this playful exchange:

    Johnny: I think you’re just a big bully, picking on people smaller than you are.
    Ro-Man (robot voice, of course) Now I will kill you.

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