While driving through the desert, a teenage girl is frightened by a seven-foot giant which appears in her path. After escaping, she returns to the site with her boyfriend and her father in an attempt to find the giant. They do, and it proceeds to terrorize them and the rest of Palm Springs, California.
Arch Hall Jr. ... Tom Nelson
Marilyn Manning ... Roxy Miller
Richard Kiel ... Eegah
Arch Hall Sr. ... Robert Miller (as William Watters)
Clay Stearns ... Band Member
Bob Davis ... George
Deke Lussier ... Band Member
Ron Shane ... Detective
Addalyn Pollitt ... George's Wife
Director: Arch Hall Sr.
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
The great thing about "Eegah!" is that it's memorably awful. Even for a bad film, there's something so unique in the dopiness of this strange tale about a caveman loose in the arid wastes of Palm Springs that it really lifts "Eegah!" up to the level of Ed Wood, Gamera, and the film version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band." Once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. There are many good films you can't say that about.
Richard Kiel, who went on to play a terrific villain in the best James Bond film of the 1970s, "The Spy Who Loved Me," stars as the misunderstood Neanderthal who falls in love with the daughter of famed adventure writer "Robert I. Miller." Like many great men, Dr. Miller is a maze of contradictions, wearing a pith helmet and khaki bush jacket along with black socks and carrying a tiny man-purse. He also installed two mini-ovens in his den, handy for TV snacking.
While trying to take a scintillating photo of a dead campfire, Dr. Miller is surprised by the lumbering giant, who takes him to a cave made of obvious canvas and filled with badly-carved mannequins supposed to be his long-dead kin. It's left up to Dr. Miller's daughter Roxy and her boyfriend, musician and dune-buggy enthusiast Tommy Nelson, to save him. But the horny caveman has other plans for racy Roxy.
Tommy is played by Arch Hall Jr., the other actor in "Eegah!" people remember. Unlike Kiel, it's Hall's performance in this movie that made him famous. He's not exactly repulsive by real-world standards, but his face really sticks out on a movie screen, like Michael J. Pollard crossed with Alfred E. Newman. To make matters worse, he wears his hair in a ridiculously exaggerated greasy blond pompadour and is presented in the film as something of a teen idol, fawned over by the ladies and prone to engaging banter like: "Wowsy wow wow!" It's hard to believe that director Nicholas Merriwether thought this bug-eyed scrub could carry a tuning fork let alone a tune, until you discover Merriwether was the alias of one Arch Hall Sr. (who also played Dr. Miller.)
Giving away more is a disservice. You really have to see the film for yourself. There are many bad films out there, but only one "Eegah!" Even the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 couldn't improve on this one, though they tried. Sure, they picked up on one absurd line, "Watch out for snakes," and it's now a catch phrase for those of us who have been "Eegah!-ed." But focusing on just that one line is so wrong, like just thinking "Rosebud" when someone mentions "Citizen Kane." There's so much else going on here, and for once Joel and his 'bots seemed at a loss.
You can't get angry at a film that fails on so many levels. It's like a reverse tutorial in cinematic competency. It's just good these guys found work making movies rather than in nuclear fission.
Really bad music, bad acting, bad dialogue, but all bad in an enjoyable way, like the phony fight scenes by the pool and the way Roxy pretends to cut Kiel's fake beard while her father murmurs creepy encouragement from the sidelines. Bad films are fun to read about, but they are rarely fun to watch the way "Eegah!" is.
Ah, a serene night, your girl camped out on a bed roll on your tricked out dune buggy, a horny prehistoric giant (talked about in Genesis none-the-less) on the prowl for your girl, and not a care in the world. You pull out your guitar and sing an ode to Veronica, and that guitar plays bass, percussion, and even whistles. Strange I never actually heard guitar in any of his songs.
This is just a sample of the so-bad-it's good campiness available in Eegah. But unfortunately there is just as much so-bad-it-reeks that I can't give it more than 3 stars. I actually thought it was over when the unfortunate trio escaped from the cave. Man was I mistaken, there was another excruciating stretch of film with Eegah in the modern world. And don't get me started on Arch Jr., he can thank whatever god that smiles down on him that Sr. is in charge. How else would this hack get to be the "Elvis" of this movie. "I swear on my stack of Elvis Presley LP's" there are few worse performances in cinematic history.
So in review - this movie is not as bad as the bottom 100 ranking leads you to believe, but nowhere near masterpiece theater. Is entertaining though with a bunch of smart-mouthed friends and lots of beer.
* Filmed in Bronson Canyon, a cave complex in the hills above Hollywood where Robot Monster (1953) was filmed. Eegah's cavern is Ro-Man's headquarters seen from a different angle.
* Marilyn Manning was Arch Hall Sr.'s secretary at the time of filming.
* Arch Hall Sr. claimed that he came up with the idea for this film after meeting 7'2" Richard Kiel.
* According to Arch Hall Sr., film opened at a drive-in in Omaha, Nebraska and took in $15,000 at this one engagement. This was equal to what he had spent to produce the film.
* Arch Hall Sr. once said, "It was always sort of a subject of laughter that the darned thing did so well."