Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oogah, oogha Eegah!

Eegah, 1962, 90 minutes, directed by Nicholas Merriwether (Arch Hall Sr.) Starring William Watters (Arch Hall Sr.), Arch Hall Jr., Marilyn Manning, Richard Kiel, Ray Dennis Steckler. Color. Schlock-Meter rating: ******* out of 10 stars.

Eegah is a rotten movie. Let’s make that clear right away. So why does it merit 7 stars. Because it’s so much fun to watch (and laugh at). The plot involves a prehistoric ageless giant (Richard Kiel, who later gained fame as “Jaws” of the James Bond films) who invades Palm Springs. This giant has the hots for Roxie, a pretty, adult woman (Marilyn Manning) who “acts” in the movie as a teen queen. Her boyfriend is an ugly 16-year-old kid named Tommy (Arch Hall Jr.) who sings with no talent. Hovering around is Roxie’s dad (Arch Hall Sr.) and some talentless extras.

The acting is worse than anything Ed Wood ever did. The direction is pathetic. You feel pity for the ugly Arch Hall Jr., who as star is being asked to carry a film. He fails. There’s no sparks between this ugly runt and his supposed girlfriend, and that’s not surprising since she must be five years old than him. Marilyn Manning also can’t act. When the caveman “Eegah” has her trapped in a cave with rape on his mind, a smile never leaves her face and she cracks tasteless jokes. One can understand her interest in the 7-foot-plus Kiel, since he’s a far better catch than Tommy.

In the end, when Eegah invades Palm Springs, grunting and bellowing for his Roxie, he attracts less attention than a middle class matron window shopping in Beverly Hills. Extras smirk as Eegah “chases” them through old motels and dingy restaurants. Eventually, a cop, bored with the whole act, shoots Eegah at a pool party, killing him.

Yet, Eegah is worth a rental, and the MST3K version is a scream. It’s so bad it’s funny, and viewers find themselves drawn into the movie, waiting for the next scene of bad dialogue, inept acting, poor singing, horrible special effects and mediocre editing. In fact, this film grossed over a million dollars in the 1960s and was a big hit on the drive-in circuit, according to Arch Hall Sr.

--Doug Gibson

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