Eegah (1962) (part 1 of 3)
Things start out with a pointless shot of a desert, which fades into the opening credits. These are made up of words painted on mummified corpses, with smoke and flowers around them. It’s all just as weird as it sounds. Also, any hope I once had of this movie being good at all is destroyed when two of the titles go out of focus for a few seconds. That’s never a good sign.
After that, we cut to a very badly lit street. A woman walks out of a store and gets into her very dainty Bug-Eyed Sprite. This is our heroine, Roxy Miller. She’s played by Marilyn Manning, doing the old “thirty-something playing a teenager” trick. Steve McQueen and Tom Cruise could pull it off, but she doesn’t have a prayer.
Roxy drives to a gas station, where her boyfriend Tom works. This is Arch Hall Jr., doing the same trick Manning is, and he would later co-star with her in The Sadist. The most notable thing about him is his god-ugly face, which defies description. Picture a slightly less wrinkled James Cagney with Tina Turner’s hair, and you’ll get maybe half the picture. They have a short discussion about how she just bought a bathing suit that never becomes important. In fact, this whole scene is pretty much useless. After Roxy leaves, Tom overfills a car’s gas tank, making his employer yell at him. Get used to these lame attempts at comic relief, because there’s quite a few of them.
Roxy, some ways down the road, slams on the brakes when she sees a shadowy figure in front of her. It gets in the headlights, making her faint at the sight of… Eegah, as played by Richard Kiel. Kiel later became something of a star purely because of his enormous size, but this early in his career he had to stoop to parts like this. It’s very depressing to think about, so I recommend you don’t. In a scene that takes at least twice as long as it should, Eegah examines the car. Finally he honks the horn, waking up Roxy so she can scream. This startles him into preparing to smash up the car with his club, briefly raising my hopes that the movie will be over before it begins. However, Tom comes to the rescue, with his headlights somehow frightening Eegah off. You’d think Eegah would be used to headlights by now, but the plot needs to proceed somehow. I presume that Tom got fired for the overflowing incident, as he got there awfully quick and we never see him at the gas station again. By the way, Tom is driving a very spiffy ’62 Corvette that predictably turns out to be the very best thing about the movie. Showing it this early and never again was not a wise move. Roxy starts screaming again, but this time forms some coherent words about seeing a giant. This is quite a feat, considering she has to look at Tom’s face the whole time.
Now we segue into a scene that is pretty much required in films like this, where teens try to convince skeptical adults to believe their outlandish story. Here Roxy is explaining things to her dad, Dr. Robert Miller, and some other guy that we never see again. Robert could easily have been given his lines, so why is he here? Anyway, Robert points out that Roxy couldn’t possibly have expected him to believe her, which is a pretty good point. Her response is, “Why not? It’s the truth!” Man, she is so full of herself. By the way, Robert is played by Arch Hall Sr., the film’s director (working under two psuedonyms, “William Watters” for his “acting” role, and “Nicholas Merriweather” for his “directing” role). That’s right, he cast Manning as his character’s daughter, and his son as her boyfriend. I wonder how he explained that to them? He calls Eegah a monster, prompting Roxy to say he’s not a monster, but a giant. I’d think that giants would also be considered monsters, but what do I know?
After the other guy leaves (what was he doing there again?) Robert quotes the Bible to explain the possible existance of giants: “There were giants in the earth, in those days.” I’m not an avid Bible reader, so I’ll just have to trust it’s a real quote. Still, I’m sure it’s completely taken out of context. Roxy and Tom head outside, where she laments that even Tom doesn’t believe her. Tom tells her he does in fact believe her, and bets his Elvis LP on it [!]. The scene ends with Roxy bizarrely calling Eegah “cute”.