The Mangler (1995) ⭐1/2
Directed by Tobe Hooper
The Mangler is a 1995 Tobe Hooper adaptation of a short story by King. It revolves around a possessed laundry press that crushes people into very bloody - yet nicely compact - fleshy messes. It won a record fifteen Academy Awards, each of them accepted in person by the possessed laundry press himself. Admittedly, watching a fifty-tonne demonic laundry machine waddle up the Oscar steps was unusual for the time, but has since been called a pivotal moment in the equity movement. The otherwise momentous occasion was marred only by Meryl Streep getting crushed at an afterparty. She’s since been nominated for sixteen post-crushing Oscars.
Deciphering between fact and fiction in the above paragraph may be harder than you expect, as the plot of The Mangler is truly hard to believe.
Robert Englund (of Freddy Krueger fame) plays villainous laundry service bossman Bill Gartley. His performance is so over the top that it’s hard to describe. I’m not sure what Englund was going for here, but cartoon character instantly comes to mind. Ted Levine is decent as a raincoat-clad detective trying to figure out why screaming women keep getting eaten by the laundry press. The rest of the cast is well….screaming women. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It really is tough to review this film. All indications are that it’s not good, but there’s a certain whacked out B movie charm going on that I don’t hate. The idea of a feature length film about murderous factory equipment sounds like cheese heaven. I almost wish Tobe Hooper and gang had went even more ridiculous; maybe modeled it after a Troma flick. Instead, the film seems to somewhat take itself seriously, I think. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There have been retrospective reviews asserting that The Mangler is an underappreciated gem; it's ludicrous story a metaphor for the stifling perils of capitalism. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We’re not buying it. It stinks.