Eegah, released in 1962, would have remained a justly forgotten movie had Mystery Science Theater 3000 not come along. It provided the basis for one of the show's funniest and most beloved episodes. As such, the film has entered that dubious club of cinematic atrocities people love to watch and ridicule, alongside Plan 9 from Outer Space and The Room. The Film Detective has a new special limited edition Blu-ray release of Eegah with bonus features and a 4K restoration that will further extend its legacy.
The plot, to the extent that there is one, revolves around teenage rock musician Tom (Arch Hall, Jr.) and his girlfriend Roxy (Marilyn Manning) encountering a seven-foot-tall prehistoric caveman whom they dub “Eegah.” The caveman is played by Richard Kiel, long before he became one of the most memorable James Bond villains, Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. At first, Roxy is terrified of him. Eventually, though, she senses something tender inside. And he is definitely interested in stealing her away from Tom.
Eegah has a lot of the elements viewers normally associate with “so bad, it's good” fare – clunky dialogue, stiff performances, choppy editing, and cheap-looking sets that are not even remotely convincing. What makes it truly notable is the utter bizarreness of certain scenes. In one, Roxy enters the caveman's lair and seductively shaves him. I guess it's just a coincidence that she has access to the necessary supplies. Then again, watching Eegah eat the shaving cream is disgusting enough to distract from that.
Later, the caveman makes his way into Los Angeles, where he stares longingly at women's clothing in a store window, terrorizes the patrons of a fancy restaurant, and attacks people at a pool party where Tom's band is playing. The sheer ineptitude with which director “Nicholas Merriwether” (a.k.a. Arch Hall, Sr.) stages these scenes renders them hilarious, albeit unintentionally. There's no artistry, no suspense – just a series of weird moments that increasingly contain the suggestion that a caveman millions of years old wants to hook up with a teenage girl.
Obviously, you have to enjoy this sort of thing (which I do) to find Eegah worthwhile. This is a fascinating relic of the '60s, when cheaply-produced drive-in fare was in abundant supply.
The bonus features on the Blu-ray are perfect. First, you get the MST3K episode in its entirety, so you can watch the movie and then watch how the show skewered it. You also get an interview with MST3K host/creator Joel Hodgson, who talks about the famous Eegah episode and its aftermath, including some regret that he may have hurt the feelings of the people who made it. Another interview features Arch Hall, Jr. He discusses his father's directorial career, as well as his thoughts about the way his film became a cult favorite. Hall has some fun stories from the set, too.
There are only 1,500 copies of the Eegah Blu-ray available. Fans of crazy-bad cinema will certainly want to get their hands on one.
Click here to order from Amazon.com.
Eegah is unrated. The running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.