The Mangler (1995)
Watched June 4, 2009
There's a laundry folding machine possessed by a demon from Hell.
Other than a few pretty cool death scenes, there's really not much to recommend about "The Mangler".
I stated way back in my "Critters IV" review that some day I would watch "The Mangler". It's been on my DVR since August of 2005, almost four years! Well, yesterday, I finally watched "The Mangler". I probably should have deleted it 2 or 3 years ago, and saved future me some of his time.
Y'know, with a plot line as stupid as a possessed laundry machine, you think the film would basically just be a comedy. But it's not... other than a delightfully over-the-top performance by Robert Englund, the subject matter is kept pretty deadly serious, and that's just dumb as hell. It's almost as if everyone involved actually thought a possessed laundry machine could be scary. Damn it, Tobe Hooper. I like you for making the first two "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies and "Poltergeist", but if this is the best you can churn out anymore, please just retire.
The film follows around a cop, played by Ted Levine from "Monk", who is trying to find out what's going on. I think Levine is about as good as he could be in his part, but his dialogue is pretty awful most of the time and the fact that he has to keep completely serious about a possessed washing machine is ridiculous. And every other word out of his mouth is "fuck" or some other 4-letter word which is pretty unnecessary. I'm fine with bad language, but here it's just distracting and annoying.
So, basically, the only pro we're left with is you get to see an old lady devoured by a washing machine. That scene is just great. I know it's kind of in bad taste, but that was just hilarious. Oh man, I'm a bad person. Anyways, you get a couple more folding-machine-involved death scenes, but for the most part, they're just the same thing as the one with the old lady, which is disappointing. None of them hold a candle to the one with the old lady, though. Again, I'm a bad person.
Robert Englund also gives an alright performance as the owner of the laundry machine factory, and is the only one that seems to be having the least bit of fun with the premise. However, his character is more annoying than funny, so that kind of ruins it.
And that's just about all I have to say about "The Mangler". The film might have been a cult classic if Hooper realized that a possessed laundry machine wasn't scary in the least and tried to make it a campy comedy. But noooo. He has to be all serious the entire time. And what's with the film being 105 minutes long? It could have easily been ninety minutes or less. Grr. Overall, the film definitely shouldn't have spent four years on my DVR, in fact, it shouldn't have ever even been recorded. But now I know, and I'm passing on my knowledge to all you readers that don't exist. Solely because of the old lady being devoured by a laundry machine scene, the film doesn't get an abysmal 1-chainsaw rating, instead I'll give it a still pretty bad:
2 out of 5 chainsaws (PRETTY BAD, SKIP IT)