I wanted to give Eegah: The Name Written in Blood the benefit of the doubt. I had seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 release and thought it was a decent enough movie. Obviously, Joel and the Bots will provide some additional laughs, but unlike many MST3K movies, Eegah looked like one that was capable of standing on its own two feet.
Oh, was I wrong.
Eegah is a terrible movie. I had memories of a movie that had a certain charm to it. The ‘Monster Mash’ type opening is hokey and fun enough to attract young kids. Eegah (played by Richard Kiel of James Bond fame) actually turns out to be a likable character. The main character is a complete geek, but he also brings a beach movie silliness that ensures the plot never gets too heavy. There is even a cute love story.
If it sounds like innocent fluff someone could put on the background that’s because it’s what it should be. Instead, Eegah takes an already paper thin plot and makes it entirely unwatchable. Arch Hall Jr. gives the worst performance as Tom Wilson. Tom is the lead romantic interest. His look is an odd mix of Elvis Presley and surfer boy that is more frightening the titular caveman.
His girlfriend and her father (played, by Arch Hall Sr, ironically) do better, but that is not saying much. Junior has set the bar so low that actors with some of the worst chemistry in movie history are missed when they are not on screen. Adding to the poor performance are the awful musical interludes. Eegah was never supposed to be about the music. The songs are there to be a nice little interlude but nothing memorable. The problem is they are awful. Tom being a popular singer is more unbelievable than a seven foot caveman roaming the desert.
The movie also never turns the corner from bad to so bad it is good. Eegah is far from the worst story ever committed to film, but it is also not worth anyone’s time. The acting is horrible without ever being laughable while the music is not awful enough to warrant another listen. Quite simply, there is no reasonable excuse a person can give to watch it.
Clearly, The Film Detective knew Eegah was not good enough to market on its own reputation. (The Film Detective is a distribution service that restores classic movies and television shows. They also specialize in cult classics, so it is not surprising this 1962 gem would be in their archives.) The limited edition Blu Ray release is filled with great extras. The 4K restoration is well done and there is also an interview with Junior.
MSTies will love this release. There is an interview with creator Joel Hodgson. The stories of what they crew went through when putting together an episode of MST3K tend to be interesting, especially with fan favorite episodes. Eegah is no different. Rounding everything out is the classic MST3K with Eegah. Over two decades later, the jokes are still funny. A few are dated, but nothing that will ruin the viewing.
Eegah is an awful movie. It is not even worth watching for curiosity’s sake. Thankfully, the limited edition release from The Film Detective has the perfect workaround. By including interviews with Arch Hall Jr and Joel Hodgson, the release will already pique interest. Adding the complete 1993 Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode makes this a wise purchase.