Lobster Man From Mars

**1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Got no money? Want to make a hit film? Seen The Producers? Then, like the producer in this film, you might think that investing in a bad movie is a good move - or, like its directors, you might gamble on telling that story again. Lobster Man From Mars wears its low budget on its sleeve. This never looks as clever as it hopes but, largely by accident, it still succeeds in entertaining.

The Lobster Man of the title (played by S.D. Nemeth) stars in the film within the film. He's been sent from the dying red planet to steal Earth's air but finds himself distracted by a pretty girl (Deborah Foreman), much to the chagrin of her sweetheart (one-time next big thing Anthony Hickox, now best known as the director of Hellraiser III). Much running about ensues, largely because the only way anybody can think of to kill him is by cooking him. There's also a man in a gorilla suit. Taking the piss out of hastily assembled Fifties B-movies is usually tedious - not to mention mean-spirited - but this film largely gets away with it. It has a frenetic energy that gives it a character of its own. Sheff doesn't quite have the skill to hit his targets and his film is much more endearing as a result. The problem he's left with is that the framing story, necessarily slower paced, is unable to compete.

With its cheerfully incoherent Eighties take on Fifties clich├ęs, this is a film with real appeal to B-movie fans despite its effort to parody the genre. It's also an interesting curiosity for fans of Tony Curtis, who swore he only did it for the money, playing the bad guy out to rip off Dean Jacobson's naive young filmmaker. Nobody comes out of it looking their best but one can only maintain so much dignity in the company of an eight foot crustacean. The monsters, perhaps becaue of their cheapness, have lots of character, and Nemeth succeeds in imbuing his Martian with the pathos essential to the genre. As he stumbles around waving his pincers, there are moments when one gets the impression he can't actually see out.

The thing about good genre work is that it generally ages well. The scenes in the studio here were unimaginative to begin with and look still weaker now, but if you skim past them to what seems to be the film Sheff really wanted to make all along, you'll find that it retains the power to delight.

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2012
Share this with others on...
A tax dodging producer thinks a young filmmaker's terrible B-movie might be just what he needs.
Amazon link

Director: Stanley Sheff

Writer: Bob Greenberg, Stanley Sheff

Starring: Deborah Foreman, Dean Jacobson, S.D. Nemeth, Anthony Hickox, Tony Curtis, Bobby Pickett

Year: 1989

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: US

Festivals:


Search database: