Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Revenge of Ro-Man!

   I wake up one morning and an idea hits me of remaking ROBOT MONSTER as a good movie! I got to thinking about it, and there could be a fun project in there somewhere....

    Let's go all-out. Color, scope, 3D. A sequel set around 1963. Johnny, the lad from the first film, is now a young man with a loving wife. He is starting to have recurring nightmares, the same "Ro-Man" nightmare he experienced as a child. The dream is reoccurring with such frequency that John is starting to wonder about his mind. Moreover, details of the dream include national security, as John has a job at a missile base where the top secret "space platform"is being constructed. 

   Once in orbit, the platform will act as an early warning device for atomic attack from other nations, as well as any incoming threats from space. John has been having this dream since childhood, long before he became involved with the actual platform (which was destroyed by Ro-Man in the dream). The base psychiatrist finds nothing mentally wrong with John, although his superiors are amazed to find that the dream contains information John couldn't know.

   Meanwhile, an object falls in the hills, and a survey team is sent to investigate. To their shock, they do not find a crater, but find a cave (the familiar Bronson Canyon locale of the first film, and hundreds of others). Moreover, their communication equipment isn't working due to peculiar bubble-like objects that are issuing from the cave. The men investigate, but are attacked and killed by Ro-Man, who has set up shop in the cave!

   John's wife Pamela tries to make him relax, and see if he can't learn something from his dream. Maybe he's been missing something in the dream which is the key to ending it. John dreams again, but the visions are different, and include the violent demise of the survey team. Ro-Man even speaks to John in his dream, explaining that they share a psychic link. Ro-Man is here to start invasion proceedings which will ultimately make it possible for his race to capture earth women to act as breeding stock! Step one involves capturing some sample earth-women and making it possible for the first invasion ships to arrive before the platform can be completed. John awakes, but believes his visions to still be fantasy.

   The radar station which tracked Ro-Man's landing dispatches another team to find the survey team. Finding nothing, they make a check of local bases. In the infirmary, John (leaving the doctor's office) is asked if he has seen the men being sought. Shown a picture, and knowing the faces from his nightmare, John isn't sure how to respond. 

   Ro-Man, meanwhile, is abducting women from the Beverly Hills area. Among the women to go missing is an actress. Another nightmare shows John the women being held prisoner in Ro-Man's cave. He later sees the paper and recognizes the actress from his dream. This doesn't convince Pam that anything is afoot, as John could have seen the woman's face in magazines, movies, or television. When John looks deeper into the paper and also recognizes the other missing women, Pam starts to think there might be something larger happening.

   Knowing he must do something, but unsure what he could do, John and Pam go over the details of the new dreams to find a clue. If he could destroy the radar/communications shield (the bubble-machine), the authorities would know of Ro-Man's location and move in. John, knowing the location, heads out with an explosive device. Pam doesn't like it, but John makes her promise to stay put because he knows how powerful Ro-Man is and he doesn't want her hurt. Reluctantly, she agrees. Still nervous about John's plan, Pam goes to John's superiors and tells them to follow him out to the cave (telling them that John has suffered a breakdown, knowing they'll know otherwise when they see Ro-Man). The brass have no reason to doubt Pam's concern for her missing husband and a jeep is sent to find him.

   John finds the cave and heads in. Back at the base, Pam is getting antsy and realizes John might need more help than the two men already sent. She steps out "for air" and eyes the main gate. In a desperate move, Pam steals the General's car and crashes the gate, thus forcing the MPs to give chase. The jeep arrives at the cave but the men see nothing (John parked away from the cave and camouflaged it from Ro-Man), and they find their radios don't work. Ro-Man attacks and kills them before sensing John's presence and following him into the cave.

   John has found the women and set them free, and they stick close to him as he finds the bubble machine and sets the explosive in place. The women find their way blocked from escape when Ro-Man appears and attacks. John opens fire, and Ro-Man responds with his Calcinator Beam, which in reality doesn't kill humans, but does confuse and irritate them. Not wanting to fire for fear he'll hit one of the girls in the confusion, John rushes Ro-Man, and manages to hurt Ro-Man when they smash into a stand of equipment.

   The women manage to escape and pour out of the cave as the authorities show up. Ro-Man regains his feet and sees John unconscious from the battle before turning to reclaim the escaped women. The soldiers are trying to understand what the women are saying, but can't really follow until Ro-Man emerges from the cave and starts to attack. Bullets have no effect on him. John comes to during all this and rushes out behind Ro-Man, who tosses around soldiers like dolls.

   John finds Pam, now being targeted by Ro-Man, and moves to shield her from harm. The bomb goes off and Ro-Man runs back to the cave. Grenades are thrown, causing the cave to cave in just as the monster reaches the opening. After a ton of rubble falls and obscures the scene, John no longer feels the connection to Ro-Man.  The nightmare over, John and Pam embrace.

   An added plus, since the original film was scored by none other than Elmer Bernstein (!), there are some rich stock musical cues that can be worked into the soundtrack. 

   The only problem is, how would you advertise it? Anyone familiar with the original film would be expecting a spoof of some sort (and the flick was so wacky, who wouldn't expect a follow-up to be comical?), while audiences not familiar with the first film would have no frame of reference. You advertise the follow-up as a comedy and people would be expecting something other than what they'd pay their hard-earned money to see. Advertise it as a straight science fiction piece and you'd be laughed off the screen before the trailer has time to unspool! 



  1. Rock your reading MY mind. I often fantasize about remaking bad movies into good ones with out straying to far from the source. My movie of choice is Queen of Outer Space. I also toyed with the idea of commissioning you to do a Baker version of the very picture you have posted in your article.

    1. I figure an image almost exactly the same would go on the poster. Ro-Man may look goofy, but he certainly is iconic!

      I've considered doing a series of movie-monsters-with-girls drawings, actually, but the time involved negates an ongoing series. A commission piece on the other hand is a whole other story!

  2. What would you charge for such a piece? You can e-mail me at