The Mangler (1995)

the mangler poster 1995 movie stephen king
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10


Not even so-bad-it-is-good

Movie Info

Movie Name:   The Mangler

Studio:   Allied Film Productions

Genre(s):   Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):   March 3, 1995

MPAA Rating:   R

the mangler exorcism machine

Pretty much just like The Exorcist…

When the blood of a young woman named Sherry Ouelette (Vanessa Pike) seems to awaken a darkness in a laundry press, people begin to die.  While the laundry manager Bill Gartley (Robert Englund) seems to ignore the string of violent deaths, Officer John Hunton (Ted Levine) and his friend Mark Jackson (Daniel Matmor) suspect that the machine is cursed and possessed by a demon.  The mangler needs to be fed and Gartley’s niece Sherry could be its next meal unless John and Mark act fast.

Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Mangler is a horror B-Movie.  The film adapts the 1972 short story by Stephen King which first appeared in Cavalier magazine and later was collected in Night Shift in 1978.  The film was widely panned by critics and a financial failure at the box office.

I never wanted to see The Mangler.  The short story was along the lines of other Stephen King stories where a “normal” item is possessed and turned into a killing machine (like Christine).  The fact that the movie was a short story also posed problems because it would be hard to pull a full story from it…and watching The Mangler, you see why.

the mangler robert englund lisa morris vanessa pike

We’re going to feed you to the machine…for some reason or other

The Mangler is pretty awful.  The story is paper thin (with the mangler being used as a sacrifice by Bill Gartley) and multiple people just falling into it.  The inanimate mangler (which transforms into a monster at the in the film) is really not that threatening…just stay away from it.  I don’t know how many people in the movie just would accidentally rest/lean on a giant press…leading to death.  At over an hour and a half, it is far too long to tell such a boring (and unfrightening) story.

The cast is also pretty weak.  Ted Levine doesn’t seem to know what to do as the troubled officer trying to stop the machine and his friend played by Daniel Matmor is just irritating.  Sherry (the good girl who is supposed to be sixteen) is a pretty poor female lead.  There is a weird sub-story with Jeremy Crutchley as a dying mortician which adds time to unnecessarily long story.  I’m not sure what Robert Englund was trying for as his ancient, perverted laundry owner.

the mangler possessed refrigerator ted levine

Oh no! A possessed refrigerator!

The film is really cheap looking, but I don’t know what they could do with the movie to make it more expensive or better.  The gore, the horror, and the scares aren’t very terrifying…they are being pursued by a giant machine that for most of the movie is locked down (there is also the threat of a refrigerator…the horror, the horror).

The Mangler is just bad.  It is overacted, overwritten, and poorly made.  The film probably should have never existed and only exists with Stephen King’s name.  The Mangler is entirely laughable and has no jumps…but it is just bad and doesn’t reach into the so-bad-its-good range. Despite being a failure, The Mangler started a franchise.  It was followed by The Mangler 2 in 2002.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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