Classic Movie Posters Gallery
The Robot Monster (Astor Pictures, 1953) Style A One Sheet (27″ X 41″)
In my last post, I reviewed a toy inspired by this movie. As I was writing that review, I did quite a bit of research on this film and thought it worthy of being this week’s installment in our Classic Movie Poster Gallery.
This 1953 science fiction romp is frequently cited as one of the worst, or at least silliest, movies ever made. Twenty-five-year-old writer/director Phil Tucker made Robot Monster in four days for an estimated $16,000. Most footage was filmed outdoors in Bronson Canyon, the site of innumerable motion pictures and TV settings, including It Conquered the World (1956), Earth vs the Spider (1958) and in more recent times, Army of Darkness (1992) and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (2001).
Robot Monster ’s budget was so low , Tucker couldn’t afford a robot costume as intended, so he hired his friend George Barrows, who had made his own gorilla suit, to play Ro-Man; Tucker then added the space helmet.
Robot Monster ’s special effects include stock footage used from 1940’s One Million , 1951’s Lost Continent, and Flight to Mars. Also spliced into the film is view screen footage with a brief appearance of the Rocketship X-M (1950) spaceship boarding; a matte painting of the ruins of New York City was also included from Captive Women (1952).
In spite of the minuscule budget and garage sale monster costume, the 3-D in the film is considered well-crafted, according to Jeff Joseph, organizer of the World 3d Film Expo in Hollywood. “Robot Monster is actually well-shot,’ he says, “and the 3-D is spectacularly good.”
This film flopped at the box-office, grossing $1,000,000 and received extremely limited distribution. As a result, the posters are quite rare. Further impacting scarcity and value, most theaters didn’t show the movie in the intended 3-D and the majority of posters have been restored where “3-D” was marked out or taped over with paper.
While not astronomically valued, the rarity of this poster would lead me to believe that it will continue to increase in worth over time and could be a good investment.
A couple of these posters are listed on eBay, starting at $2,000. I couldn’t find any recent auctions for this poster to benchmark values against, though Heritage Auctions has sold other poster styles from this film in recent years, including:
Half-Sheet (22″ x 28″) VF Sold for $1,553 in 2009
Banner (24″ x 82″) FN+ Sold for $1,793 in 2012
This is another example of a really great poster for a really bad movie. I love how much they’ve crammed into this poster — including love scenes, space ships, battling “dinosaurs” and even added a skull-face to Ro-Man to ramp up the fright. Never mind that he doesn’t have a skull face in the movie, or that the iguana / “dinosaurs” appear for less than a minute. Truly a poster from a different era and a great example of over-the-top, B-movie pop art at its finest.