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File:Robot-monster 319.jpg


"I cannot - yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do 'must' and 'cannot' meet? Yet I must - but I cannot!"
Ro-Man XJ2

A 1953 B-Movie, released in 3D, by Phil Tucker, Robot Monster is one of the most famous So Bad It's Good sci-fi films ever made. Simply put, it is about a family having a picnic in California and meeting an evil alien invader: the nefarious Ro-Man, who has used a special Death Ray to destroy all humans. But the family survived by taking a special serum invented by their scientist dad.

Using his amazing advanced galaxy-conquering technology -- you can tell, because it emits soap bubbles at moments of high drama -- Ro-Man must find a way around their defenses. The kicker is the Big Guy's also struggling with unforeseen human desires... oh, did we mention the scientist's nubile daughter? Not to mention her hunky lab assistant boyfriend, annoying younger brother and... Yeah, you figured? OK then.

So far, so run-of-the-mill. It could even be argued that hey, as compared to, say, Manos, this thing has an actual plot (though not a good one), also a soundtrack involving the onscreen actors speaking in their own voices. But no other classic bad movie can boast of Ro-Man, the titular "Robot Monster". Quoth the film's then-twentysomething auteur, recalling the inspiration (and, not incidentally, budget) behind his lead character: "I know George [Barrows] will work for me for nothing. I'll put him in the gorilla suit, put a [diving] helmet on him, and it'll work!"

Well... no. At least, not in the way he intended.

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King recalls seeing the movie as a kid, and says that he felt it was "art of quite a high nature". It was also John Carpenter's favourite film when he was a child.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.


Robot Monster provides examples of:

  • 3D Movie
  • Acting for Two: George Barrows as both Ro-Man and Great Guidance. It makes for some pretty cheesy fun, given that both characters have several conversations together but look almost exactly alike and have the exact same voice.
  • After the End: It's explained that much of movie takes place after Ro-Man has (almost) completely wiped out human civilization.
  • All Just a Dream.
  • And You Were There
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Carla, Johnny's younger sister.
    • Johnny himself is this too.
  • Apocalypse How: Starts off as a Class 3a, thanks to the the effect of the Calcinator Death Ray. Later upgraded to a Class X, as the Great One gets pissed off at Ro-Man's failure to kill the humans and unleashes a "Q-Ray" which completely destroys the planet.
  • B-Movie: And how!
  • Bullying a Dragon: Johnny taunts Ro-Man from an apparently safe vantage point.

 Johnny: "You look like a pooped-out pinwheel!"

Ro-Man: "I will destroy you!"

 Ro-Man: "I am ordered to kill you. I must do it with my hands."

Alice: "How is it you're so strong, Ro-Man? It seems impossible."

Ro-Man: "We Ro-Mans obtain our strength from the planet Ro-Man, relayed from individual energizers."

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