Tobe Hooper as all horror fans know is the man behind the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Robert Englund is the man under the Freddy Krueger makeup, and Steven King is the world’s premier horror writer. When you combine the three you get 1995’s The Mangler. The film when it came out however was not promoted as I just painted it. In fact all the ads basically just promoted that Englund was in it, as Freddy was still a top commodity in the horror world even though his series had come to an end. In fact that was all that was really pushed about the film. They should have plugged it as the oddball movie it is.
The Mangler is not the name of a serial killer, no it’s a laundry press, but it’s a possessed evil laundry press that sits next to an evil possessed ice box. Robert Englund plays Bill Gartley, he owns these evil pieces of machinery. He owns the town laundromat and when his niece Sherry cuts herself and gets blood on the Mangler it seems to awaken the evil. It actually ends up killing multiple people who come in contact with it. Of course when people begin getting killed the police are notified and come to investigate. John, the local cop brings his brother Mark in to help with the investigation. See Mark specializes in the occult and the two soon realize that the Mangler is possessed
Normally I would stop here as to not give any spoilers, but in this case I must give a few. See it turns out that the Mangler became a tool of evil when the townspeople feed it Deadly Nightshade, which is an ingredient in the town’s antacid. So this evil antacid made the machine evil and the town elders, including Gartley decided they would sacrifice there virgin daughters to the Mangler on their 16th birthdays. By doing this they would become rich and powerful. No about the time they figure this all out the Mangler comes to life and begins hunting them down.
Sound insane, well it is. In fact it just sounds plain dumb when you read it, but it’s actually pretty cool. The acting is first rate, the practical effects used in the gore scenes are great and very over the top bloody. The atmosphere is dark and sets the tone perfectly. The score is great, and the sheer insanity of the plot is really quiet fun. My only issue with the film is it’s played too straight. When dealing with evil machinery powered by evil antacids it should be campier in my opinion.
It had its basic VHS release and DVD release but those were always the R-rated version. No thanks to the great people over at Scream Factory we are finally getting an uncut print. And it looks great. The video and audio are fantastic. It even has the usual special features.
NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative Of The Uncut Version Of The Film
NEW Audio Commentary With Co-Writer Stephen David Brooks
NEW Hell’s Bells – An Interview With Actor Robert Englund
Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Definitely one to check out if you’re a horror fan looking for a fun time, or if you say it years ago and want to re-watch it. It spawned two sequels and has developed a pretty significant cult following over the years. It definitely is one to see.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars