Robot Monster (1953) Bayview Blu-ray Review



Bayview’s brand new restored Blu-ray edition of Robot Monster goes above and beyond the call of duty in bringing the film to high definition.

“No, Johnnie – the armies of the entire world tried and failed. We have thrown everything we had at him, but he is impervious!”


Following a cosmic apocalypse, some survivors are menaced by a space gorilla!


A slam-dunk gagfest, Robot Monster is bound to make someone a happy camper, but I’m not too fond of it. Shot in Bronson Canyon where many other post-apocalyptic wasteland pictures were made, it takes place not too long after the entire human race was annihilated by a race of Ro-Men, who are ridiculous looking men in gorilla suits with plastic diving helmets with shaky antennas attached. Only one Ro-Man did all of the damage, but he gets his orders from the Guidance Ro-Man, who beams transmissions via a dinky sci-fi apparatus on a wooden table situated near a cave where the Ro-Man conqueror hangs out. The Guidance Ro-Man is furious that there are still eight surviving humans left, and when the earth-bound Ro-Man (who is ridiculed by a character as being a “pooped-out pinwheel”) fails to get results, the Guidance Ro-Man kills two of the men as they are flying through the air in a rickety rocket ship. The other six survivors (who survived the apocalypse because the father figure is a scientist and devised an antidote to the Ro-Man’s method of destruction) are basically a complete family unit: father, mother, older daughter, two young children, and a handsome male outsider who is handy with wires. The entire movie consists of slow interludes of the Ro-Man wobbling his clumsy form from one end of the canyon to the other in search of the family. The family meets up for dinner (not leaving out grace), performs an impromptu wedding for the daughter and the handsome hunk (father says, “The whole damn town will turn out!”), and the mischievous children get separated and even try to foil the Ro-Man on their own.

Infamous for being an Ed-Wood-style sci-fi junker, this is just silly fun. Scenes of apocalyptic destruction (stock footage from other films) are impressive, but stock footage inserts of raging dinosaurs completely baffled me. Some of the dinosaur footage goes on far too long and has no place whatsoever in this movie. Originally released in 3D, I can just imagine how disappointed I would have been as a child in the 1950’s if I’d seen this at a theater. Phil Tucker was the director, and Elmer Bernstein was the composer.

Bayview’s brand new restored Blu-ray edition of Robot Monster goes above and beyond the call of duty in bringing the film to high definition. The 3D version has been restored, and they’ve added over two hours of bonus features, including a commentary, and a plethora of material that only true fans of the film will appreciate. I’ll give Bayview points for all the work that went into this release, but there are so many other titles out there that deserve the same kind of treatment but will never receive it.