• R, 1 hr. 46 min.
  • Horror
  • Directed By:
    Tobe Hooper
    In Theaters:
    Jun 1, 1994 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 17, 2004
  • New Line Home Entertainment

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The Mangler Reviews

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WrenchLT
WrenchLT

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2011
Probably Tobe Hooper's goriest film... and his most bizarre too! Having a demonically possessed clothes-presser is a unique sight to behold. I thought it was good fun - ridiculous, but enjoyable. Robert Englund and Ted Levine are always good to watch.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2009
"And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic mills? "

William Blake, "Jerusalem", 1795

"We all have to make sacrifices!" --from the Mangler-screenplay, 1995

Coming from Stephen King's 1978 collection of shorts, "Night Shift", Tobe Hooper brings us his very different-take: a parable of 19th Century, proprietary-capitalism and the nightmare of the American-workplace. This film is what labor-conditions were 100-years-ago, and what they could easily become again if we aren't too-careful. Since the discovery of a slave-sweatshop in El Monte, California a few-years after the release of this film, it isn't so fantastic. Maybe some of us were too-comfortable to "get" this film in the Clinton-era. Most people don't get this film at-all, even just watching it on its surface-levels. It's a real hoot! Yep, you can watch it with a beer, and you can watch it with an open-mind thinking about its deeper-meanings, or you can do both. And--shocker!--ALL of them are FUN.

Tobe Hooper has said for-decades he wanted to do comedy, and he comes close here, which helps this film from being too-oppressive. Ithink Hooper understood the story better than Stephen King--it seems King worked in a clothes-pressing plant like this one in the 1960s, which gave-rise to it, but Hooper has always struck me as politically-radical in his approach-to-horror. The best horror usually has a real subversive-edge, and this is what makes this a good one. Sure, it's hokey, but it has its tongue firmly-planted in its cheek, it is jokey. It also has some sub-themes in the lines, "There's a piece of me in that machine--and a piece of it in me." It speaks well of how people are spiritually-contaminated by our system. The disease is greed.

If it wasn't for Ted Levine ("Buffalo Bill" in Silence of the Lambs) as the bedraggled town-cop John Hunton, Robert Englund would literally steal-the-show here. Tobe uses some great low-shots and wide-angle lens compositions (ala "Citizen Kane") that lend the film a great comic-book look, and make Englund shine as a despicable-villain. The irony is, mill-owner Gartley is also a victim of the machine, even robbing him of the ability to walk. He's also half-blind, which makes-sense. The characters are pretty well-drawn, and we learn that Detective Hunton has some baggage left-behind from the death of his wife in a car-accident, years-earlier. The town is run like a virtual-dictatorship by Gartley, who basically represents the "robber-barons" of the 19th century (as well as today), completely-uncaring about the safety and welfare of his employees. A man who has lost his humanity. Sound familiar?

Eventually, an accident occurs where the niece of Englund's character spills her own blood on the "Mangler", a clothes-press that must be 100-years-old. Another shop-employee spills her belladonna-laced antacids into the guts of the machine, and it begins taking-victims...and parts. Oddly, all the people Bill Gartley "owns" (the Mayor, the Police Chief, Doctors, etc.) have missing-fingers. Of course, the premise of a demoniacally-possessed machine is fantasy, which is what makes the story a parable, but it's fun. Over-time, Detective Hunton finds that the Gartley dynasty has been-sacrificing their own young to the infernal-machine for a century, and now they're "spreading-the-love". Don't all employers? Some require the blood of a virgin!

So, people have been wrong about this one. It's a minor-classic of a bad-decade for horror. The genre has its fallow-periods where interest isn't as-high, and 1995 wasn't exactly a banner-year for horror-buffs. And quit-comparing every film a director does to their most well-known ones, it's emotionally-retarded. This is a solid horror-film, and if it had been presented in the proper-context, would have been better-appreciated. The short-story is good, but this is better, and Stephen King sure isn't Edgar Allan Poe or Lovecraft ferchrissakes. The New Line DVD is great, it has a perfect widescreen-transfer, and even includes the gore that was cut with split-screen comparisons to the theatrical-version. A great horror-film, and a respectable one for Tobe Hooper. Now you can all go and rewatch the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"--just don't touch-yourself so-much this time. We all have to make sacrifices, after-all. Ignore the other reviews, those people are snobs.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 2, 2007
One of those Stephen King adaptations which is weak and wretched to watch. Even Robert Englund (Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street) as a cruel machine shop foreman couldn't save this movie from the blockbuster bin of forgotten horror flicks. There are some nasty gore moments, but nothing to get too worked up over.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2007
worst movie ever. should have never been made
David S

Super Reviewer

July 1, 2012
Truly terrible film that's falls under the banner of being so bad it is almost funny. Almost. England is playing it for laughs but Levine seems to be tackling it as if it's a Shakespeare tragedy and the combination really doesn't work. The short story by King is fun but there's no way there's enough here for a film and Hooper doesn't seem to have a clue how to tackle the material. Some very gory moments (unlike Hooper's classic Texas Chainsaw) and the whole thing has a TV movie feel to it. Avoid at all costs.
jim222001us
jim222001us

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2007
I forgot I even seen this in the movies! or that I seen it at all actually.
rodjeckrich
March 19, 2013
A laundry press machine kills...and that's really it. Some decent well crafted cinematography Hooperness is marred by a few examples of horrible acting on a few really bad actors but Robert Englund is gold in this. The Mangler suffers from stupidity with it's premise but that was pretty much evident from the get go. Why have an actor in makeup playing an old photographer? I'd cut about 15 to 20 minutes from this and it would be more of a guilty pleasure, which it is for me to a large degree. Ted Levine is a great puzzling actor with his distinctive voice. I don't have the line exactly accurate but one thing that Levine says which makes this more of a charmer than a piece of crap. "Yeah I'll just go over and knock on here door. Hello, there is a demonic spirit possessing a laundry press are you a virgin?" or something like that.
April 11, 2010
Strange as hell. Tobe Hooper is a hit or miss kind of director, and this film falls right in between "hit" and "miss". Stylistically it sticks out as his most original, looking like it was going for abstract, Terry Gilliam style, and the death and gore was entertaining as well. I have no idea what Tobe was smoking when he made this but I dont want any cuz it might kill me. Not for anyone but the truly adventurous horror fans
Ken D

Super Reviewer

February 7, 2010
Horrible movie. Ted Levine and Robert Englund do the best that they can with this horrible movie. Too bad Stephen King can't find better people to write movies for his stories.
ladysjay
October 9, 2009
This movie was absolutely disgusting. I loved it. It made me so sick to my stomach within the first 15 minutes, and I fought hat nausea for the duration of the film. Lots of blood, lots of gore, plus ROBERT ENGLUND! How can it go wrong? Also, I noticed one point when Robert Englund's character said, "I'm a man of my word." I couldn't help wondering if Heath Ledger was channeling this character when he played his role as The Joker.
indiephan
May 31, 2009
A killer laundry machine. I have worked for many years operating sheet metal machinery, and was fortunate that I was never a victim of THE MANGLER !!!
firstamb
July 9, 2008
Tobe Hopper directs this grizzly horro flick set in a dark factory where a machine eats people and grinds them up. Charming. Heh.
cjgmborsut
June 2, 2007
Once again, Robert Englund sure can act like a creepy man! (Or, at least I hope it's acting. Haha.)
Tinderbones
June 3, 2006
Low-brow and low on budget, this is the mess that results when an attempt is made to stretch a feature film out of a short story. Honestly, does a story about a haunted piece of laundry equipment sound like it could plausibly be stretched into something watchable for 90 minutes? (And forgive the usually superb Ted Levine, please. We all make mistakes.) Just don't make the mistake of watching this movie.
November 7, 2013
Dreadful film with almost no redeeming features. Like so many other ill-conceived King adaptations, this suffers from a very poor rework of the source material.. Not even Robert Englund can save this Mangled turkey.
October 23, 2013
Definitely one of the silliest set-ups for a horror movie featuring a dream team of horror icons including Buffalo Bill, Freddy Kruger, and the director of the original Texas Chainsaw about a demonic laundry press machine pocessed by a virgin eating carnivorous demon. The plot was based on a short story by Stephen King that translates just as silly when I read it. That being said I believe the Manger is one of those cases of a movie so miss paced and ridiculous that it actually entertains on some level unintentionally. The fact that this thing spawned not one, but two sequels is even more flabbergasting considering the original bombed so badly. Can't help but feel that Robert England's character and his foreman was a play on Mr. Burns and Smithers.
March 13, 2012
Movie about an evil industrial laundry folding machine. Obviously dumb but fun early 90's horror.
Jake
April 15, 2011
You would of thought that a Tobe Hooper film with Ted Levine would make for a good movie but no you get this mess of a movie. Most of it is illogical, lots of crazy people around, a lot of dumb people about also, bad special effects, cheesy script and bad acting from most of the cast make this an almost so bad its good picture.
JoshuaS
January 1, 2009
No one expects a masterpiece from a film based on the work of [i]Stephen King[/i] (I love his books but his film adaptations fall flat most of the time), but no one expects it to be [b]this[/b] bad. Yet it was, [i]The Mangler[/i] has been billed as compiling three masters of horror, [i]Stephen King[/i], [i]Robert Englund[/i] of [i]Freddy Kruger[/i] fame, and Tobe Hooper, who's one hit wonder somehow got him career even after the rest of his numerous fuck-ups, this is one of them. [i]The Mangler[/i] is one of the most painful films I have ever sat through in my entire life, literally, and I sat through [i]Resident Evil[/i]:[i] Apocalypse[/i], [i]House of 1000 Corpses[/i] and [i]Battlefield Earth[/i].

This dreck comes from one of [i]King[/i]'s many short stories, an infinite library of possibilities and potential wasted on inept filmmakers such as Tobe Hooper. I think [i]King[/i] probably wrote this one night when he was blazed off his ass because it goes something like this, there is this possessed laundry machine, that [i]decides [/i]to kill people, by sucking them in and crushing them to death. Yeah, this screams quality stuff. Then the local detective has to figure out how to destroy it (and its disturbed, demonic master played by Robert Englund, with horrific relish, notice the wording with horrific, not a good thing) along with his long haired, new age sidekick, I almost want to call him Tonto and I don't know why...

But the topping on the cake, *spoiler warning for the next paragraph, in case you still are reading this review in actual hopes I'll give you a reason to waste your time on this trash* is the chase scene, [i]with the machine[/i]... yes, actual chase scene, and this isn't like a washer and dryer type laundry machine that resides in your home, this is a washing machine the size of a fucking house residing in a mill for christ sakes! And it chases these people! CHASES!! *end of spoiler*

The "special effects" are anything but special, the best part is when one of the characters is ripped in half of all things by the giant running laundry machine, because then we know we won't have to hear his ongoing rambling for the next seven minutes of the movie. That is another thing, the screenplay feels like it was written by a monkey banging on a type writer for half an hour, Jack's many papers reading "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." had more substance, quality and grace then anything in this movie. The "plot" is incoherent and lackluster, I have been able to swallow bullshit from a movie before but when the plot added witchcraft to its long list of dribble ideas my eyes glazed over. The last straw that broke this camels back? The acting, if you could call it that, is merciless. Even the characters who do no talking do more work here then the people who have lines.

Worst film ever made? If not, its pretty damn close to it. There is no redeeming quality in this movie, not a single reason to subject yourself to it. What's worse, it made two sequels. The third I stopped watching about thirteen minutes into it, the second I actually enjoyed, only on the fact that it was so incredibly awful it actually entertained in that way, of course, it still wasn't as bad as this, its predecessor. Will I ever watch this movie again? No. Why? Cause I have better things to do with my life then sit through this film, like count the stands of hair on my head or pop a zit.
Ricky M.
December 31, 2008
One of the better Stephen King Adaptations
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