Eegah! (1962): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

“Eegah!” is one of those special kinds of god awful genre films that was engineered specifically to make a rock star in to a bonafide movie star. It didn’t work too well for Arch Hall Jr. whose entire presence in Arch Hall Sr.’s sci-fi thriller revolves around singing, and mugging for the camera. His dad tries to work around Junior’s inherent lack of acting ability and it just—doesn’t work. At all. You can see the cracks come through as the film progresses, and even at ninety minutes, it’s a test of endurance.

After Roxy Miller (Marilyn Manning) encounters enormous caveman Eegah (Richard Kiel) while driving down a remote Palm Springs California road (seriously), her writer father, Robert (William Watters), heads out to the desert to prove his daughter’s claims are true (No, really). Once there, Robert is knocked unconscious and trapped in Eegah’s cave. When Roxy and her boyfriend, Tom (Arch Hall Jr.), come to rescue Robert, Eegah grows fond of the girl and refuses to let her leave.

One of my favorite moments of “Eegah!” is when Roxy is considering going back to Eegah despite the fact that he’s a caveman. It’s never verbally expressed, but there’s a Tarzan and Jane sexual dynamic there that the script just doesn’t take advantage of. Is she attracted to the gap toothed caveman over her goblin faced boyfriend? Is it Stockholm Syndrome? In either case, by the finale it pretty much drowns out the uncomfortable incestuous tension between Roxy and her dad. “Eegah!” is chock full of padding and filler, as it does everything it can to fill the feature film status.

There are musical numbers, endless establishing shots, and bizarre scenes of Eegah walking around and terrorizing people. There’s even a drawn out sequence where Roxy shaves his beard off (sans filler, “Eegah!” is probably a merciful fifty minutes in length). When the movie looks like it’s winding down, Arch Hall just keeps delivering droningly boring scene after boring scene. This Arch Hall vehicle is best viewed with a lot of beer, and immense patience. Even as riffing material, you may find yourself hitting the forward button.

The new Special Edition release of “Eegah!” (limited to a 15,000 copy run) comes with the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” season five episode of “Eegah!” where they riff on the movie. It’s a hilarious episode and makes the experience so much easier to endure. There’s also a seven minute interview with MST3K creator and comedian Joel Hodgson who discusses the film, and finally a thirteen minute interview with star Arch Hall Jr.