Sunday 13 September 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 49 Eegah

Movies from the 60s seem to, on the whole, have been pretty shitty. Tonight's feature doesn't veer off any form for beaten path in any way, except for casting an absolute legend well before his prime, in the title role. I'm sad to say, casting Kiel did very little for this particular movie, that turned out to be so boring, that I experienced an out of body séance, looking down on myself watching this movie, and felt the boredom transcend time and space. Here is the full disclosure for you to, perhaps, experience the same as me. Please read on and be bored to death by a review of...

Eegah sees himself for the first time. Coincidentally also the first time Richard Kiel sees his own reflection. Is he mad or happy? You decide.

Eegah (1962)

The concept here is unsurprisingly simple. A teen girl encounters a prehistoric caveman. People laugh at her story. Then the caveman turns out to be real, and is immediately killed because why the hell wouldn't humanity kill him right away? The poster and synopsis for the movie suggests it's a lot more exciting than it is. There are promises of a rampage and something written in blood. Those words are all blatant lies. No rampage is gone on, and the only thing written in blood, was the manuscript drenched in the blood flowing from the eyes of anybody unfortunate enough to read it. I think the crew of this film, if indeed there was a crew involved, had to have worked with only a few pages of the script (if indeed there was a script involved) at a time, because more than that would've surely killed, or at least caused grievous bodily harm to, somebody. From boredom. Anyway, here is the plot, if you are still conscious enough to comprehend it.

Arch Hall Sr. is surely proud to call this guy his son. Weirdly enough, Arch Hall Jr (pictured) stopped acting in 1965 but then has a single credit to his name in 2014. Are the Halls coming back to Hollywood? We can only hope. 

Roxy is a young sprightly girl, who... well I don't really know much else about her. None of the characters are fledged out in any way, so she is just Roxy, a girl. We meet her driving up to 'the club' where she passes by her, possibly, boyfriend Tommy who is working as a gas station attendant. They trudge through the most wooden exchange captured on celluloid, before she drives on. On the dark road, she encounters Eegah, a giant prehistoric caveman, who lives in the desert caves next to whatever city this takes place in. Eegah has lumbered off by the time Tommy drives up to Roxy, who has fainted, and of course doesn't believe her story. She tells her dad who may or may not own the club they were driving to at dinner. He doesn't believe her either. Some other dude is at the table and makes snide remarks about Roxy's story and is being a total dick to her all of which is largely ignored by her dad and boyfriend. Her dad, even if he's not really sure about the whole caveman story, because who the hell would accept that at face value really, decides to fly the fuck out into the middle of the desert, to look for Eegah. Obviously he goes alone, with nothing but a camera, a jaunty jungle explorer hat and what appears to be a bag of toiletries. Because no gentlemen should appear unclean even after 24 hours in the desert. Unacceptable. Eegah shows up in a threatening manner, and the dad trips and falls on his back managing to break his collar bone. He later claims he tripped over his camera, even if it was around his neck. But whatever.

I'm surprised, and a little disappointed, that dad didn't bring a manicure kit and perhaps a small surgeon's kit to set that bone straight. Some people just don't prepare that well. 
Roxy meanwhile plays in the pool while Tommy sings and plays a lame love song (singing a capella, but still the soundtrack features a full band). The phone rings. It's from the airport. The helicopter dude who dropped dad off has issues with the helicopter, and can't go and pick him up again. Roxy and Tommy drive out in, what Tommy claims to be, a dune buggy. We are treated to a drive around in the desert shouting weeeee montage, that was pretty pleasing on the whole. Of course Tommy eventually decides that he should go off looking for dad alone, and Roxy is promptly abducted by Eegah (after fainting again for the thousandth time). She is carried to the cave, where dad is sitting with the flimsiest fucking bandage around his arm. He is still surprisingly mobile, despite that broken collar bone. Eegah introduces his family to Roxy and dad. His family consists of a bunch of mummified ancestors, that Eegah talks to like they were still alive. Dad explains all this to Roxy with incredible insight, considering he and Eegah share no common language nor do they communicate in any direct way. Eegah eventually leaves, to hunt or something, and dad feels desolate. Roxy suggests she could shave him, and that would make him feel better. She proceeds to do just that in what is no doubt the worst display of shaving I have ever seen. A five year old would have a better grasp of foam distribution and shaving directions. Just the fact that he had a fucking shaving kit with him into the desert to begin with boggles the mind. Eegah returns and Roxy shaves his full beard off too to ward off the obvious rape scenario looming in the distance. Eventually she lures Eegah outside, just as Tommy happens to be passing by. They all escape, and proceed to throw a party at the club. Tommy sings with his band, then starts dancing with Roxy. For no reason and with no explanation at all, his base player has his eyes on Roxy and starts fighting Tommy. Meanwhile Eegah has wandered down into the city, looking for Roxy, and of course he makes his way to the party. Mild commotion breaks out, and Eegah is eventually shot by the police. The end.

Caveman rape - walking the fine line between horror and clinically interesting. Those hands though... damn. 
This film was made by a dude called Arch Hall Sr. and Tommy was played by Arch Hall Jr. leading me to believe this movie was possibly made specifically as a vehicle to propel Arch Hall Jr. to B list stardom. Whether it succeeded or not I cannot say. Looking over Archie Junior's IMDb track list leads me to believe his career was rapidly dwindling even before it had really gotten started. Arch Hall Jr. looks... well he looks like a doofus whose idea of looking smart is eating a lemon and squinting his eyes. A few times during this movie Arch plays and sings. At least it looks like he does, but I think he's supposed to be playing and singing alone, but what we hear is a full band. It's wildly confusing, because usually when you hear a full band, there is a full band around. But it might be an optical illusion.

Tommy's dune buggy. It was explained, that he had water in his tires for traction. Then we saw them drive around, with studio recorded 'weeeees' on the sound side. 
What isn't an optical illusion, is the magnificent Richard Kiel. Here in an absolute young version, long before iron teeth and Happy Gilmore, his 7'2 frame lends itself well to playing a prehistoric caveman. Sadly for Richard, this movie is a piece of shit that doesn't in any way support his immense acting talent, even if he hadn't polished it quite smooth yet. Richard isn't given any lines per se, but he is asked, I think, to talk in caveman all the time he is on screen. This is wildly fucking irritating. Some times it doesn't sync up with the film, and it drove me apeshit. That being said, watching this dude pick up Roxy, even if she IS a petite woman, like she was a small twig was fascinating. He shakes her around at the almost but not quite rape scene, and it looks ridiculous. What was also ridiculous were Richard's ancestors. What the fuck kind of crazy shit is that? I understand that humans have always worshiped or kept alive the memory of their dead, either in denial or to revere, but keeping the corpses in your place of residence, even if mummified, just isn't OK. The smell would be out of this world.

Fighting over Roxy guys... there is sweet music to be played, and cavemen to be dealt with. So primitive!
Besides all the aforementioned quasi-qualities, this movie features the standard B100 package: weird cuts, scenes that are completely unnecessary for the story, plot holes, wooden acting, shit that just does not make any sense at all in any conceivable context. Like bringing shaving gear on a trip, a solo trip no less, into the desert looking for a prehistoric caveman. I get that it's merely an instrument so that Roxy may shave Richard Kiel's fake beard off, in order for them to have a weird Stockholm Syndrome moment. But really? A shaving kit. In a bag going into the desert? It's so far removed from a sensemaking reality, that even Westboro Baptist Church would frown at it. Interestingly Arch Hall Sr. played the key role of 'Dad' himself and probably had the scene written in, so he could have Roxy manhandle his face with a razor. Something we've all dreamed of, I'm sure. It's safe to say, that whatever his intentions were, they failed. Even if he aimed for making a crappy film with no redeeming features, he failed. Because Richard Kiel. It's funny that all these movies share the same faulty characteristics. I mean I get that's why they are on this list, but it's like there is film school where people go and learn the fine craft of moviemaking. And then behind the academy, there is a cardboard pillow fort, where you go for one 60 minute class, 10 minutes of which are spent on the extreme basics of movie making, and 50 minutes of which are spent on learning how to raise money from people who think Steven Seagal is the snow capped peak of the acting catalogue.

Eegah's great grandfather, possibly, did not approve of Roxy as a potential mate for Eegah. She was too frivolous. He is old school, great grampa Eegah is. 
I had a pretty decent headache going when I started watching this film. I realized half way through the movie, that I was clenching my jaw and it was making the headache worse. I tried to fight it, but the movie kept pulling me down. It's been 6 hours since I watched it at the time of writing, and I'm still trying to ease up my jaw every ten minutes. Watching this felt like swimming through a lake of barbed wire with an armful of squiggling puppies.


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