Eegah! (also known as Eegah: The Name Written In Blood) is a 1962 horror film starring Arch Hall Jr., Arch Hall Sr., Marilyn Manning and Richard Kiel in the titular role.
One night after shopping, Roxy Miller (Marilyn Manning) is driving home through the California desert when she nearly runs her car into Eegah (Richard Kiel), a giant caveman. She tells her boyfriend Tom Nelson (Arch Hall Jr.), and her father, Robert Miller (Arch Hall Sr.), about the giant. Her father, a writer of adventure books, decides to go into the desert to look for the creature and possibly take a photograph of it. When he fails to show up at his designated pickup time, Tom and Roxy go into the desert looking for him. Roxy is soon kidnapped by Eegah and taken back to his cave while Tom searches for her. In Eegah's cave, Roxy is reunited with her injured father, who tells her that he has begun to communicate with the caveman and has even developed a theory as to the creature's astounding longevity. When a frisky Eegah expresses what seems to be romantic interest in Roxy, her father, fearful that the creature may kill them both if he is rebuffed, suggests she put up with as much of it as she can bear. Eegah never tries anything too explicit, though, and Roxy even ends up giving him a shave before the pair is able to escape thanks to Tom subduing Eegah. Crushed, Eegah follows them back to civilization, and a final confrontation ensues during a pool party where Eegah is gunned down by the police.
After the financial success of his first venture into the drive-in/juvenile delinquency genre, The Choppers, Arch Hall Sr. was able to fund Eegah!, a starring vehicle for his son, Arch Hall Jr., who had some success with songwriter Alan O'Day on the rock and roll/blues scene in Los Angeles. Seeing Arch Hall, Jr. as a potential Elvis Presley superstar in the making, he made the movie a combination of schlock-horror and youth comedy, with a little bit of beach party film in the mix and plenty of songs for his prodigy to belt out.
Eegah! never made any real impact on cinema until it was included in the Michael Medved book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, written in 1978. This earned it a cult film status for its sheer awfulness, which continues to this day. A clip from the movie appears in the opening montage on Something Weird DVD releases, and it was mocked by Elvira in a 2010 episode of her Movie Macabre show. That same year it was also mocked by talking skeleton Nigel Honeybone on Australia's the Schlocky Horror Picture Show. The film's greatest claim to "fame" was being the feature of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, ensuring that it would be remembered for generations to come for all the wrong reasons. A scene of Arch Hall Sr. uttering "Watch out for snakes!" from offscreen in what was obviously dubbed in after filming became a minor pop-culture meme. Not only did it become a Running Gag on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in episodes after the film aired on that show, it was also referenced on The Office and used as the closing line of The Rick Emerson Show.
"Watch out for Tropes!":
- Artistic License Religion: The dad mis-attributes a Bible verse (Genesis 6:4) as Genesis 4:32, which is nonexistent.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Hall Sr.'s dubbed in caveman speech includes a healthy chunk of Navajo words.
- B-Movie: No one involved in the production had any doubts to what they were making, and milked the camp for all its worth. They even attended the premiere in full costume, with Kiel hamming it up in his caveman outfit. Arch Hall, Sr. told Medved everyone involved had a fun time on set, despite the audio issue (during a good chunk of the desert scenes, the AD pressed "play" instead of "record", requiring ADR, including the infamous "Watch out for snakes!")
- Bittersweet Ending: Eegah is killed by the police in the end, and Roxy cries. That's about it.
- Cool Car: Tom has an awesome ride. And his tires are filled with water!
- Damsel in Distress: Roxy, repeatedly. If Eegah is anywhere near, expect her to pass out and get hauled around so someone can save her.
- Excited Show Title!: "Eegah!"
- Have a Gay Old Time: Tom enthuses to Robert about his band: "We really swing!"
- Improbable Weapon User: While Eegah first uses a club, he drops it in favor of using a poolside ladder during the end.
- Instant Waking Skills: Roxy is able to snap out of unconsciousness pretty fast after being deposited in Eegah's cave. She also has a knack for Monster Fainting as well...
- Love Triangle: Eegah wants Roxy, who really isn't interested, though she shows signs of sympathy and concern for him; she only has eyes for her boyfriend Tom.
- During the last act at the party, one of Tom's bandmates gets a friend to 'jump in' for him and play guitar with the band while he dances with Roxy (who frankly doesn't seem to even notice he's there!). This annoys Tom enough to get another friend to 'jump in' for him (why they have two substitute guitar players standing around is not explained) in order to cut in and dance with Roxy himself, much to displeasure of her original harasser. This takes up about two minutes screen time before Eegah crashes the party. (Almost everyone at the party looks slightly relieved.)
- Mars Needs Women: Eegah's infatuation with Roxy. The poor guy hasn't seen a woman in centuries.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Even if he's some other kind of pre-human besides a Neanderthal, there's no way Eegah's species lived in the deserts of southern California.
- Neutral Female: Roxy. The closest she gets to an action scene is her shaving two people.
- The Nose Knows: Eegah manages to track Roxy from the desert, through town, and to a party by scent using the scarf she left in his cave.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: What does punching Eegah in the gut do? A whole lot of nothing.
- Rape as Drama: A good chunk of the film revolves around whether or not Eegah will eventually succeed in forcing himself on Roxy. Sometimes diverts into Black Comedy Rape when Roxy's obvious revulsion is mined for laughs.
- Say My Name: Tom calls Roxy's name many times while searching her.
- Screaming Woman: Mostly averted with Roxy, she doesn't scream... she just faints at the slightest scare.
- Styrofoam Rocks: The "rocks" on the set. Not to mention the "rocks" that are actually just canvas hanging off of walls.
- Totally Radical: Subverted. Tom uses normal language, even for the 1960s, but Robert acts like he's talking like a hepcat. A good example of this is when Robert is utterly baffled by Tom's casual reference to his car as his "wheels". This is a fairly common figure of speech called a synecdoche, in which a part (in this case, the wheels) is used as a stand-in for a whole (the entire car), or vice versa, but Robert reacts as if Tom is speaking another language.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one looks twice at the 7-plus foot tall caveman until he pushes a guy into the pool.
- Verbal Tic Name: When Roxy asks Miller if Eegah is Eegah's name, he says he thinks so because that's what he says most often.
- Word Salad Lyrics: The songs, such as this winning line, "Vitamins are good they say, and so's a calorie."note