Universally derided as one of the worst movies ever made, Robot Monster tells the frightening tale of earth’s invasion by “Ro-Man”, a killer robot from Mars – designated XJ-2.
Ro-Man unleashes a cosmic ray that wipes out all but eight humans who survive because they have ingested a newly created antibiotic that makes them immune to the lethal powers of the evil alien.
Initially, Ro-Man is hell-bent on destroying the last remaining humans – but his mission is partly undermined by his own feelings of doubt and even love.
Through a video transmitter (equipped with a very efficient bubble-making machine), he admits to his leader (“Great Guidance”) that for the first time in his life he feels unsure of himself. His superior responds, “You sound like a human, not a Ro-Man!”.
Ro-man really loses sight of his duties when he falls for Alice (Claudia Barrett), a fetching and brainy earthling. Knowing his weakness, Alice sees an opportunity to save the last humans on Earth.
But Great Guidance intervenes and zaps Ro-Man, deploying the Cosmic Tube Ray to materialise prehistoric reptiles – partly stock footage from One Million BC (1940) and Cyclonic Vibrations cause an earthquake (stock footage from Invasion, USA (1952).
Unfortunately, producer/director Phil Tucker’s budget ($16,000) came up a little short when it was time to create the “terrifying” alien invader, so he improvised by costuming his creature in a gorilla suit and deep-sea diving helmet with stuck-on antennae.
Filmed in glorious black and white (mostly in Bronson Canyon and Carson’s Canyon – part of the urban recreation area Griffith Park in Los Angeles) over four days and made in “Tru-Stereo” 3-D, you’ve gotta see it to believe it!
Ro-Man the Monster
George Barrows (suit)
John Brown (voice)