THE MANGLER, from acclaimed horror director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), based on the short story from Stephen King, pits man against machine in a grotesque horror film that is just as bizarre as it is entertaining. The film stars Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs, The Hills Have Eyes), Daniel Matmor (Homeboyz II: Crack City), and Jeremy Crutchley (Doomsday).
Based on King’s short story, this white-knuckle thriller follows a cop (Ted Levine) as he investigates a series of grisly accidents…and uncovers a deadly town secret that has been hidden for years – a terrifying entity that threatens to destroy everything in its path. With time running out and a young girl’s life in the balance, he races to destroy the beast before it’s too late!
Man, was this film a wild ride! Prior to watching it a few weeks ago, I knew very little about the film’s premise, though I had heard it being mentioned here and there within the horror community. There’s a lot about this movie I ended up loving; however, there was also a fair amount of moments that left me scratching my head in wonder. Essentially what we are dealing with here is a possessed laundry press, and honestly, kudos for the creativity. Owned by Bill Gartley (Englund), the Garley’s Blue Ribbon Laundry service begins to have problems after Gartley’s niece cuts herself on the lever of the laundry press. As blood drips onto the machine it becomes apparent that this is the catalyst for the machine becoming possessed. What follows is a series of brutal slayings intertwined with the supernatural.
As I’ve talked about many times, I love that Scream Factory continuously puts out films that I haven’t had the chance to watch, as it opens my eyes to new and old horror films. When I think of Tobe Hooper what obviously comes to mind is Texas Chain Saw but I’ve been enjoying watching his more off-beat films as of late. THE MANGLER isn’t perfect, in fact, it’s far from perfect, but there were definitely things about the film that I found enjoyable. Most notable was Robert Englund’s portrayal of Bill Gartley, the monstrous owner of the Laundromat, as well as Ted Levine who plays the detective looking into the deaths. Both their characters were so over-exaggerated, with Englund being almost unrecognizable as a hybrid human/robot (due to his mechanical limbs), but in a way, that kept me fascinated and glued to the screen.
As for the kills themselves, they are most certainly bloody, so gore-hounds will find a lot to love with this film. Regardless of if you like this movie or not, you kind of have to give props to Hooper, and more importantly Stephen King, for coming up with creative ways to kill people via laundry press. My only issue came from the supernatural aspect as I kind of felt that was shoehorned in to explain why the laundry press was acting the way it was. I, personally, would have liked it to have been kept vague but I understand that the majority of people want to know how it all originated, but for me, I would have rather kept the mystique going.
Overall, I found that I really enjoyed the film for the most part. It’s definitely a departure from Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre which is something that I really appreciated. Honestly, it’s just a weird movie that has some incredibly bizarre scenes and a robotic Robert Englund, so how can you not enjoy that aspect of it? If anything, I can see why this film has become a cult classic and I look forward to showing it to some of my unsuspecting friends in the future. If you want to pick up a copy, head on over to ShoutFactory.com and order yours now!