There’s certainly no consensus among film buffs as to what kind of horror is truly scariest. Some prefer the supernatural horror of Stephen King. Others prefer the intellectual spookiness of Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Serling. There was a crowd for the is-it-a-movie-or-not horror flick “The Blair Witch Project,” while others like the flat-out gorefests of “Friday the 13th” or “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Then there’s the people who think that real terror is two gorillas from the moon wearing diving helmets and wreaking genocidal havoc on Earth. For those five or so people, we present “Robot Monster.”
As is often the case with these movies, the title is completely misleading. There are no robots in this movie, and the so-called “monster” doesn’t do anything truly monstrous except kill a little girl, which maybe earns him the name “Robot Registered Sex Offender.” (Ok, he kills billions of people, but that happens before the movie starts, sort of.)
Our non-robot semi-monster is Ro-man, played by a guy in a gorilla suit wearing a diving helmet with antennae. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the costume makes Ro-man look really chubby, and his secret base consists of some broken-looking radio equipment and something called the “Billion Bubble Machine,” which, as you might guess, sits there and makes bubbles. Sea monkeys and bubbles- now there’s terror.
Ro-man’s strategy to conquer Earth comes right out of the Joe Stalin playbook- kill everybody as fast as you can and bam, you’re in power. With the awesome power of the “gorilla suit with diving helmet” death ray, Ro-man kills every living thing save for a small band of eight humans.
These hu-mans, as Ro-man calls them, are led by a cranky immigrant called The Professor; I’m not sure if he has a real name. He has a wife, a voluptuous adult daughter named Alice (whose nipples show through her shirt the entire movie), an annoying younger daughter named Carla who only wants to play house, even when Ro-man is strangling her, and an ultra-annoying little cracker of a son named Johnny who never shuts up EVER. There’s also Roy, the Professor’s assistant who has a crush on Alice, and two other assistants who we never see cause Ro-Man kills them right away.
Ro-Man is told by executives at Sea Monkey HQ that the remaining humans should be killed. But the wily Professor has rigged up an electric field that disrupts Ro-man’s sensors, so he can’t find them. Instead of leaving well enough alone and living in their protective little bubble, the Professor decides to fight Ro-man, and winds up killing most of his family in the process. His brilliant strategy is to arrange a meeting with Ro-man even though this will give away their location and thus their safety. Fortunately for the humans, Ro-man is easily bamboozled and doesn’t take the bait.
Meanwhile, Alice and Roy, being the only non-related humans of childbearing age left, decide to tie the knot, with the Professor officiating. Everybody’s happy for a brief, flickering moment, and then these two wads go on a honeymoon about four feet from Ro-Man’s bubbleworld base. Little sister Carla drops by with a wedding present and Ro-man helps himself, strangling her. Next to go is Roy, who, despite his strapping physique and lack of shirt, can’t beat a fat gorilla who probably can’t see too well through his helmet. Ro-man kidnaps Alice and falls in love with her, and the Professor fears for her life.
Fortunately there’s little Johnny, who happens to be a strategic mastermind (maybe from all those hours of playing Magic: The Gathering?). He devises a plan where he’ll distract the incredibly dim-witted ape long enough for the Professor to rescue Alice. It works… until Ro-Man’s boss back on the moon finds out. Boy is he mad! He blows up the whole world, rendering the whole stupid rescue plot null and void. But not quite. See, there’s a super-cliche secret ending that I won’t give away, because it’s literally so bad that you wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it yourself. Naturally, it has a lot to do with little Johnny.
With weak dialogue and a plot that mostly features various characters walking around for no logical reason, “Robot Monster” is a classic 50’s sci-fi B-movie, and we had a blast watching Ro-man, possibly the least scary villain of all time, battling humanity to satisfy the bloodlust of his bubble-loving sea monkey people. Actually, if these humans were the last ones left, I’m not sure who we’d be rooting for… probably whoever would shut Johnny up faster.