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Museum meets menace of astral assassins on First Friday

DOWNTOWN RALEIGH — Join us for an incredible, unbelievable story told the untamed way … and shown in intriguing 2-D … when “Robot Monster” launches an attack on common sense at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday, October 7 at 7pm. Free.

A giant Ewok in a dime-store space helmet?  No, it's Robot Monster!The evil alien Ro-Man Extension XJ-9 (“Ro-Man” for short) destroys nearly every human on Earth with his “calcinator death ray,” leaving only an oddly ray-resistant family of five and a few stragglers. Lucky for them Ro-Man develops an “illogical attraction” to the eldest daughter, giving them at least an opportunity at escaping their doom. Unlucky for us, this only prolongs the movie, considered one of the worst sci-fi flicks ever made. 

“Robot Monster” (1953) stars George Nader as Roy, who is also illogically attracted to Alice. Nader won the Golden Globe award in 1955 as Most Promising Newcomer (not for his work in this movie however). He had decent roles in decent movies for a few years in the late ‘50s but soon abandoned his acting career to avoid scandal over his romantic relationship with Rock Hudson (both were under contract with Universal Pictures). Nader eventually turned to writing, and his 1978 novel “Chrome” broke major ground as the first sci-fi thriller to have a homosexual theme.

The soundtrack was inexplicably composed by Oscar-winner Elmer Bernstein, who also composed scores for “The Great Escape,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “The Ten Commandments.” Ro-Man the monster is played by George Barrows, a friend of the director (Phil Tucker) who also brought his own gorilla suit. You can blame Tucker for adding the helmet to the costume. Oh, and keep an eye out for the Automatic Billion Bubble Machine by N.A. Fisher Chemical Products, Inc.

You can watch the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq9IKsH9BXg – just remember, the worse the movie the better the fun!

The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to sit still for a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music, this month featuring Museum Curator of the Blues Steve Harvell. Or visit the Museum’s newest special exhibit, “Our Expanding Oceans,” which features dozens of hand-dyed silk batiks from Mary Edna Fraser that illustrate major elements of global climate change, from melting ice sheets to rising seas (5-7pm, free). Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30pm) for artists from Seagrove’s Bulldog Pottery who will have new works on display October 7-30 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, located at 11 West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Visit us online at naturalsciences.org. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday, 12-5pm. General admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.