Cast: Robert Englund, Ted Levine
Synopsis: From the sick and twisted mind of Stephen King comes the story of a possessed industrial laundry press that has a taste for human blood. I’m really not making this up. This film actually exists.
One thing that Stephen King does very well is that he takes images and scenes that stood out to him in his childhood/youth and twists them into something macabre and then places them into his stories. King got the idea for his short story The Mangler when he worked at an industrial laundry press in college and was forced to work with the heavy machinery. The short story is bizarre but really quite good. Even when dealing with ludicrous concepts, King manages to inject touches of working-class realism into his stories. The film adaptation, however, lacks a lot of the gritty charm that the short story had. There are many of King’s short stories that are cinematic but this is not one of them. I think Tobe Hooper took on something of an impossible task when he signed on to direct this movie…I mean, there are only a small handful of ways you can make a stationary object seem threatening. At times, you get glimpses of King’s horrifying vision but for most of the time it’s just a bundled mess.
One thing that doesn’t work very well is Robert Englund’s appearance as a crippled-demon-rapist-thing. It’s not so much terrifying as just really disturbing and completely unnecessary. Also, why was there is kid locked in the refrigerator which suddenly became possessed and why is everybody still working at the laundry press and putting their hands in the machine when they just saw it eat one of their friends? This movie raises a lot of inane questions but doesn’t seem to do much about answering them. In a lot of ways, it’s quite a frustrating watch. On the one hand, I really wanted to like this movie because it’s such a weird concept but it didn’t really offer much in the way of a good time.
There are some recognizable people in this movie, including Ted Levine who plays Captain Stottlemeyer in Monk (great show but not quite as good as Murder, She Wrote). Those of you who aren’t fans of Monk might be more familiar with him in Silence of the Lambs where he sticks his dick in-between his legs and dances to the epic tune that is ‘Goodbye Horses’ by Lazzarus. Watch that movie instead! It’s much better and Levine puts in a more convincing performance.
In brief, I’d advise you to stay away from this movie. Read the short story instead: it’s scarier and has better pacing. This movie is really drawn out. They should have just shown the one death and then left it at that because making a full 90 minute movie about a rogue industrial laundry press just seems kind of silly.
- In my notes I wrote: ‘ooh hot geeky hipster guy,’ but I don’t remember who that could be. At least there was SOME eye candy in the movie.
- WHY ARE THEY STILL STICKING THEIR HANDS IN THE MACHINE!!??
- Why does the demon have mechanical legs and is the implied sex in the bath tub really necessary?
Definitely one of the worst Stephen King adaptations, and that’s coming from someone who’s seen a lot of them. You can do much better so just keep jogging on and listen to me when I say don’t go sticking your hands into faulty machinery.