Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 4/8/2012...
This film was flawed from the start. It's hard to really describe when or where this film becomes a cinematic train crash. Robert Englund's performance is so over the top that it's impossible to take him seriously. When the viewer has to fight the urge to laugh whenever your villain opens his mouth in a "serious" horror film you have a major proble. Ted Levine sleepwalks through his performance. When the Mangler transforms into a satanic monster and begins running after people the film becomes a total joke. I would suggest watching it after having a few drinks.
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Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 05/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Mangler's not one of the more popular King adaptations. The inspiration for King's story most likely was how nasty it would be if someone actually got caught in one of those steam irons. It certainly would be a horrific scene, but as nasty as that is, it's not a concept you can really make a feature film around. That's probably why King wrote it as a short story. Stretching the short story into a feature length film requires much more plot to be added(the short story may have had a half hour worth of film material, tops). Alot of folks who bash this film usually have something along the lines of...."With the talent involved, how could it be this bad?"...to say. Well, most horror fans have a hard time admitting to themselves that since Texas Chainsaw, Tobe Hooper has become increasingly schlocky as the years go by. We all know it, we just don't say it. Englund hasn't always made the best stuff, and not every King story is a winner. In The Mangler, Hooper is trying to actually make the film scary. The tone is much more serious than subject matter like this should be. Sure, the first scene where the machine claims it's first victim is effective, but by the time you reach two grown men performing an exorcism on a laundry folder, and then having the machine turn into a Lovecraftian monster, it's just too damn silly. So why the four stars? Well, I actually do enjoy this movie quite a bit. If you want to view this with the intention of getting your pants scared off, it'll fail. If you view The Mangler as drive-in fare, it's fun. It's got some nasty gore, an over the top villain played by Robert Englund, funny lines(both intentional and unintentional), and the film is actually shot very well. As others have stated, the acting is hammy, particularly in Englund's case. However, certain mention should go to Ted "wasn't she a great big fat person" Levine. The film is practically a showcase for Levine's odd performance. Is he being campy and over the top? Is he serious and coming off as goofy? It's hard to tell for sure, but he's always amusing and never boring to watch. I think the guy's actually a good actor and it was cool to see him in a leading role. If this were made today, it'd be Orlando Friggin' Bloom or some other schmuck that's mistaken for a good actor. My disappointment with this dvd is that it's the theatrical R-rated version. One of the special features shows a split-screen comparisson of the R and unrated versions. Why the hell not just put those snippets back in the movie? Especially in these days where studios are so "unrated" hogwild. I'm surprised we didn't see an unrated version of Happy Feet when it csme out on dvd. I used to have a vhs copy of this movie, and it was the unrated version with the extra nastiness. So, I know it can be done. The deleted bits are quick gore shots that actually do enhance the scenes and make them much nastier. But anyhow, I do actually think this is a pretty fun movie...depending on how you look at it,that is."
Definitely one of Tobe Hooper's worst
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 09/26/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Legendary Texas Chainsaw Massacre creator Tobe Hooper directed this adaptation of a Stephen King short story for New Line Cinema, and sadly, it doesn't work at all. The last time the names Hooper and King were in the same sentence together was when Hooper crafted the classic, original Salem's Lot mini-series, but there's no magic here like there was before. Maybe it's because the story itself wasn't one of King's better ones, or maybe Hooper didn't put everything into it. The story revolves around a cop (Silence of the Lambs' Ted Levine) assigned to investigate strange and grisly murders, all of which point to a laundry press which appears to be posessed. The owner of the factory (Robert "Freddy Kruger" Englund) seems to not be concerned about any of this, and by the time revelations are made, you probably won't care. The story has it's share of faults, while Hooper's direction is uninspired. There's some nice gore, and Levine and Englund are good, even though it's hard to seperate Englund from his infamous role as a horror icon. All in all, the Mangler may be worth seeing if you're a fan of Tobe Hooper or Stephen King, but don't expect anything special out of it."
Believe it or not this is a near miss.
Chadwick H. Saxelid | Concord, CA United States | 08/07/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With a great looking mechanical monster and a plot that expands Stephen King's little horror story (but does not adequately explore its expansion), Tobe Hooper's The Mangler is a near miss. The movie needs more than a little editorial tinkering, cutting to be precise. Far too many scenes, if not all of them, run far too long, passing the point taken and are you stretching this boundaries and plunging right into DO SOMETHING ELSE ALREADY territory. Nonetheless, when The Mangler is in action and revealing its demonic personality the movie is, more or less, worth sitting through. Englund is a hoot as well, firmly embracing Vincent Price's lay on the ham with relish acting philosophy. Worth at least one viewing."
Folds, Spindles---& Mutilates! 2 1/2 stars!
Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 10/16/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"How could you possibly go wrong with a movie forged by the Holy Trinity of Terror: the inspired, deranged, ghoulish minds of Stephen King, Tobe Hooper, and Robert Englund---particularly when the subject of "The Mangler" is a demon-possessed industrial laundry machine ravenous for human flesh and blood?
Short answer: you can't! If your local coin-op laundromat is closed for the night, it's certainly worth your while to take your dirty clothes over to the old Bartley mill and get 'em steam-pressed.
For your time and blood money, here's what you get out of this tasty little nugget of pure bloody stupidity. SEE---
*A REAL villain---certainly not your boring, ordinary old serial killer from central casting, but a demon-possessed 19th century steam-belching industrial press laundry machine (the Hadley Watson #6, naturally). This mass murderer means business: rather than just stabbing or shooting its victims---how mundane!---it folds, spindles, and mutilates them, then considerately folds and presses them!
*The great Ted Levine (who played Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs") woefully miscast as a small-town Maine police detective and hero of the movie! Levine slurs every line in that trademark cross between a gargle and a whine, and I would burst out in laughter every time he talked. Funny stuff! While Levine was investigating the messy death of the portly pill-popping Mrs. Frawley, I kept waiting for him to say "oh yeah, I remember, she was that great big fat person".
*Daniel Matmor as a sort of poor man's Tom Conti, who proposes to "read Leviticus" to the demon laundry machine and engages in a scenery-chewing contest with Robert Englund and the Machine. The Machine wins.
*And of course, Robert Englund himself, cackling insanely, cracking that corporate whip, and waddling about in a kind of combination crutches-lower body exoskeleton like some a demon-possessed version of Lionel Barrymore's Old Man Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life"!
There's a lot of material thrown into "The Mangler"---you've got the demonic laundry machine, belladonna pills, virgin blood, ancient sacrifice, the town's power-mad aristocracy, even a contract between Englund's insane old tycoon and the Hadley-Watson #6--- served up with some nice directorial panache and stylish camera angles by Tobe Hooper. But that said, "The Mangler" isn't about viewing-for-comprehension: this is high-octane garbage, served up with a fine helping up gore and with a side-order of extra-rare gore. Did I mention "The Mangler" is gory?
Levine, despite being stamped forever as the cross-dressing serial killer Jame Gumb in my mind, is actually pretty funny to watch as the lead---you laugh at him, not with him---and he puts some rough miles on a Jeep Cherokee. Datmor plays Watson to Levine's Holmes, and overacts ferociously to the scripture-quoting finish. Englund does his snarling, drooling, leering, cackling thing, evidently has the time of his life, and gets a good tailor in the bargain. Loved the ascot and smoking jacket!
Tobe Hooper keeps up the pace, throws in some moody interiors, cobbles together a pretty ferocious man-eating laundry machine (all stamped Industrial Revolution gears and pressed black metal---brrr!), and keeps up an onslaught of mayhem as workers get pulled into the presser and you start wondering about the damage this is doing to the mill's profit margins.
Moral of the Story #1: If you want to run a profitable and worry-free industrial laundry business, it's probably not a good idea to build it around a Demonic Laundry Machine.
Moral of the Story #2: If you absolutely *must* have the Demonic Laundry Machine in your business, then don't let the virgin mill-worker bleed into the press of the Demonic Laundry Machine.
Moral of the Story #3: If you're a 16-year-old virgin mill-worker, you probably shouldn't work for Robert Englund, and at the very least you should stay far away from the Demonic Laundry Machine.
Is this a horror classic? Absolutely not. Is it enjoyable, bloody, unapologetic, trashy fun, and will you get your clothes back on Monday in time for work? You betcha! Throw this sick puppy in the hopper and let's get to pressing laundry---we're on the clock, and time is money!"
It held my interest
Mark | Madison, Wisconsin | 10/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this movie. It was different than what is out in theaters now and it is different in movies in general. I also thought that the acting was good and the special effects were good as well. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone that likes horror movies."