Eegah was brought into the public eye by Mystery Science Theatre 3000 back in 1993, on what has become a classic episode of the show. A pre-Bond Richard Kiel stars as a giant caveman who harasses a young woman and her boyfriend. It was designed to be a vehicle for director Arch Hall Sr.’s son, Arch Hall Jr., whose performance as a hot and hip musician here is one of the most lampoon-worthy bits of acting ever put on screen. There are worse movies: Eegah is just the right level of terrible and genuine that schlock requires to be fit for group-panning revival. Is this new restoration worth owning for the film itself? Not unless you’re into some seriously campy horror.
Never fear, however: The MST3K cut is a special feature, as well as new interviews with Hall Jr. and MST3K host Joel Hodgson. The MST3K cut is the much more enjoyable route to take here, so I’m glad they included it.
Although Eegah may not be worth watching on its own, this package is a fun way to engage with the culture of B-movie pans as we’ve moved into a more cynical era of criticism, where things are nitpicked to hell and the denizens of film Twitter tends to launch into war-footing when a film disappoints or underwhelms them. Meanwhile, schlock is made with the express purpose of being terrible — whether by laziness or in hopes of garnering attention. Watching Eegah, which is a movie made with selfish but clear intent and to the best of its creative team’s limited abilities (and then MST3K‘s gentle but loving ribbing), is a nice reminder of what it means to find films that are so bad they’re good. Schlock is best when it isn’t choosing to be schlock; front-row ribbing is best when it’s done out of affection for a film rather than the intention of getting attention through negativity.
This region-free release is limited to 1,500 copies.