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Copyright 1953 Three Dimensional Pictures Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 19 September 2009 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Roy - The dashing young man who can't stand Alice, but loves her more than anything else in the world. Killed by Ro-Man.
  • Alice - She lucked out by inheriting her mother's fashion sense (instead of her mother's looks). Presumed dead.
  • Johnny - Brat kid who is not scared of big, hairy blokes. Put him in prison for a few years, then we'll see if he is scared of big, hairy blokes. Also presumed dead.
  • The Professor - His arms are almost as hairy as a gorilla's, but he is a brilliant scientist who developed a vaccine that protects the inoculated against every virus, bacteria, and death ray! Presumed dead.
  • Mother - The Professor's wife, she of the white lumpy back. Probably, possibly, almost certainly dead.
  • Carla - Johnny's sister, who should have listened when her father gave her the "Never talk to strange Ro-Men" speech. Strangled.
  • Ro-Man - Take one overweight gorilla suit, and add what appears to be a diving helmet with TV antenna attached to it. Presto! Instant science fiction monster!
  • The Great Guidance - The mighty leader of all Ro-Men.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

This has got to be one of the most jaw-dropping bad movies ever made. The title monster really is a big guy wearing an even bigger gorilla suit, with a deep-sea diving helmet and antenna providing a science fiction bent to the get-up. There are not many other celluloid creatures that can compete with Ro-Man's sheer preposterousness. In concept, he is the perfect b-movie monster.

Countless comedy acts and late night movie hosts would love to use something like Ro-Man to lampoon the genre, but this film effectively emasculates them. They cannot parade a similar costume across the set to make fun of low budget creature features. It has already been done, and by one of the very movies that they want to put down! Showing off a diving-helmeted gorilla becomes a homage to b-movies, rather than a parody.

What I am saying is that Ro-Man is the stalwart guardian of bad movie monsters. Bless his heart.

Before we get started, I want to warn you that almost all of this movie is a dream. Johnny, Alice, Carla, and Mother are out having a picnic together when the young boy discovers a pair of scientists who are researching cave art. Roy and the Professor are delighted to meet Alice and Mother, while Johnny is fascinated by the potential for adult males interacting with his otherwise estrogen-laden family (I am assuming that Mother is a widow). Just about everybody is better off after the separate groups meet. Except...except for Carla; she is still stuck playing "space rangers" with Johnny, and now that her older sister and mother have found men, they are oblivious to the little girl's needs.

Carla must be about seven years old; it was high time for her to discover that life is unfair.

Everything that I just described is "real" - in comparitive movie logic. Sometime after Alice and Mother turn into loving man-limpets, the little boy's hallucination commences. Then the script really takes off! A table with a bubble machine appears at the mouth of the cave, and Ro-Man emerges from the black hole. In the blink of an eye, humanity is wiped out by Ro-Man's destructive forces. Only a handful of people (including Roy, Johnny, Alice, Carla, Mother, and the Professor) seem to have survived the coming of the space gorilla.

In Johnny's dream, Mother and the Professor are now man and wife. It's funny how kids pick up on that sort of thing.

People have been trying to wipe each other out for thousands of years. We are amazingly difficult to get rid of, even more so than roaches. Even after a World War, there ends up being more of us than when we started. Heck, sometimes I am thwarted at getting rid of my in-laws, and there are only two of them. How exactly did one Ro-Man eradicate more than two billon pesky human beings? Ah-ha! He used the calcinator death ray! The lethal beam nearly annihilated the human race, and now the space gorilla is actively looking for a way to get rid of the last few left.

He has to kill all of us. If not, the few left will breed like cockroaches.

The Great Guidance is Ro-Man's mentor and superior, and the two have multiple conversations that border on the inexplicable. Even though at least half of the things that the Great Guidance and Ro-Man say are indecipherable to me, the dialog is still priceless. "You sound like a hu-man, not a Ro-Man. Can you not verify a fact?" and "At what point on the graph do 'must' and 'cannot' meet?" are two of my favorites. That is some darn fine b-movie discourse. Anyway, the leader of Ro-Men tells Ro-Man that the human race needs to become extinct in a hurry. Ro-Man leaves his bubble-saturated cave and starts walking around.

...and walking...

...and walking...

...and walking...

Do you get the idea? As if Ro-Man meandering is not enough, most of the surviving humans also decide to leave their dilapidated safe house. Now everybody is out, wandering around. What is funny is that the entire cast is strolling around in the same little valley, yet Ro-Man and Hu-Man barely cross paths. The alien does encounter Johnny, but only on account of the little brat seeking out the hairy brute. Alice and Roy barely avoid a close encounter by hiding behind some bushes.

What should be painfully obvious to the audience is that Ro-Man needs the calcinator death ray to kill 99.9% of his enemies. Physically locating and strangling a handful of survivors can take months. Just imagine if a thousand people survived the calcinator death ray! They would probably be able to reproduce faster than Ro-Man could kill them. Which brings me to my next point about "Robot Monster." If you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of being chased by Ro-Man, your only hope of avoiding destruction is by walking away at a leisurely pace. Nearly any mobile person should be able to escape Ro-Man by walking away. You do not have to move quickly, briskly, or lickety-split. Just walk away.

Should you break a sweat while walking away from Ro-Man, you are probably going too fast.

The surviving humans use a viewscreen that Alice built/repaired to talk to Ro-Man. All that does is allow the furry mutant to demand that they surrender so that he can painlessly kill them. The exception to this is Alice. There is something about her that intrigues the space gorilla. Something stirs within him; he wants to "talk" with Alice. He might even be in love. That illogical love interest is poorly placed, because Alice is in love with Roy, and they get married in an impromptu ceremony. Alice and Roy getting married is a horrible idea! We do need them to repopulate the Earth; just not right now. If Alice gets pregnant, she might not be able to walk fast enough to escape from Ro-Man.

Following the ill-conceived wedding, Carla encounters Ro-Man while she is out playing flower girl. The shaggy horror walks up to the little girl, grabs her, and then carries her off to be strangled. Nix one Carla from the remaining roster of humans. After that, Ro-Man sneaks up on Roy and Alice. The young bride is carried off by the amorous creature from outer space, and Roy is mortally strangled (he does not die right away from being strangled; it finally hits him that he should be dead after he runs back to warn the others).

There is nobody left to carry on the human race who is not related! The end of the world suddenly looks a lot like West Virginia.

Now that he has Alice, Ro-Man is at a complete loss of what to do with her, but before he can figure out how the whole love/lust/hate human thing works, the Great Guidance gets angry with his plebe's human pandering. The Great Guidance destroys Ro-Man, brings back the dinosaurs to devour everyone on Earth, destroys the dinosaurs with earthquakes, and finally he blows the planet to smithereens just to make sure that, at long last, the people are all gone.

I supposed that should just about do it.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • In the old days, if you wanted to meet women, you went to a cave.
  • Space gorillas require an atmosphere of at least 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and 45% bubbles to survive.
  • Improperly applied, algebra can result in genocide.
  • Lightning causes some really weird stuff to happen.
  • Dinosaur is Latin for "stuff glued on lizard."
  • Space gorillas emit deadly gamma radiation.
  • Lumpy women should not wear tight, backless halter tops.
  • Antibodies can protect you from deadly cosmic rays.
  • The only way that a woman can escape danger is if she is picked up and carried away from it by a man.
  • "Must" and "cannot" are hard to express using only calculus.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - The food must have been poisoned!
  • 6 mins - What in the heck is going on? Why is there a caiman with a sail on its back? Now there are stop motion models wiggling! Back to the lizards! Ahhhhhh!
  • 8 mins - Johnny was wearing pants; now he's suddenly wearing shorts.
  • 14 mins - So, you want him to appreciate you for your mind?
  • 24 mins - If you look closely (or even not-so-closely), you can see the hand of the person who is holding the stick that the rocket is attached to.
  • 32 mins - Guy in a gorilla suit walking up a hill.
  • 34 mins - What Roy fails to realize is that he is the last eligible bachelor on Earth. He does not need to impress Alice.
  • 38 mins - Guy in a gorilla suit walking down a hill.
  • 39 mins - You know, if you take the thumb to forefinger circle as meaning anus, this scene is downright raunchy...
  • 55 mins - Alice must have tied herself up. That girl is all kink.
  • 61 mins - "Roy, did you notice that the ages of these two single women are extremely convenient for the pair of us? I mean, what are the odds?"


  • Carla: "Am I dead?"
    Johnny: "You're disintegrated!"
    Carla: "Good, does that mean we can play house now? You promised..."
  • Ro-Man: "Calculate your chances! Negative, negative, negative. Is there a choice between a painless surrender death, and the horror of resistance death? Show yourselves!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note robotmonster1.wav Johnny: "I was in the cave painting these pictures the way we saw them on the viewer screen."
Alice: "Why were you doing that Johnny?"
Johnny: "So, in case he did wipe out the human race there'd be some record of how it happened."
The Professor: "Go on, go on!"
Green Music Note robotmonster2.wav Ro-Man: "I need guidance, Great One. For the first time in my life I am not sure."
Great Guidance: "You sound like a Hu-Man, not a Ro-Man. Can you not verify a fact?"
Ro-Man: "I meshed my LPI with the viewscreen auditor, and picked up a count of five."
Great Guidance: "Error! Error! There are eight."
Ro-Man: "Then the other three still elude me, and all escape detection by the directional beam. Is it possible they have a counter power?"
Great Guidance: "And if they have? Reduce, correlate, eliminate error - is this not the law?"
Green Music Note robotmonster3.wav Alice: "If I only had a decent assistant who could take orders, instead of trying to be the boss."
Roy: "I'm bossy? You're so bossy you ought to be milked before you come home at night."
Green Music Note robotmonster4.wav Johnny: "I wanted to find out what you had against me."
Ro-Man: "You are human. Your people were getting too intelligent. We could not wait until you were strong enough to attack us. We had to attack you first."
Johnny: "I think you're just a big bully, picking on people smaller than you are!"
Ro-Man: "Now, I will kill you."
Green Music Note robotmonster5.wav Ro-Man: "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!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliprobotmonster1.mpg - 6.0m
Ro-Man finds Roy and Alice canoodling, and does what movie monsters do to smoochers. Alice tries to run away, but she trips. Of course she trips. If she walked away from him, he'd never catch her.

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