The Mangler Film Details
Overview: A laundry-folding machine has been possessed by a demon, causing it to develop homicidal tendencies.
Review: The Mangler is set in the small town of Riker’s Valley in Maine where Wiliam Gartley (Robert Englund) owns & runs the Blue Ribbon Laudrey plant where a worker named Adelle Frawley (Vera Blacker) is killed when she is pulled into the huge sheet pressing mangler, detective John Hutton (Ted Levine) is sent to investigate but it seems at first like a unfortunate accident but becomes suspicious when he feels that Gartley is using his power & influence to cover it up. Then a young boy is found dead in an icebox that had come from the laundry plant, together with his neighbour & friend Mark Jackson (Danial Matmor) who is also an anthropology student Hutton digs deeper & comes to believe that the giant mangler is possessed by a demon who Gartley & the other rich & powerful people in town had sacrificed their own daughters to on their sixteenth birthdays. Together the pair decide to perform an exorcism… This American, Australian & South African co-production was directed by Tobe Hooper this was based on a short story written by Stephen King & originally published in his Night Shift collection published in 1977 which I have not read but by all accounts is enjoyable enough, the films runs for over an hour & forty minutes so the script obviously has to add to the original short & it does so by introducing a sacrificial subplot in which some of the townspeople sacrifice their own children to the demon possessed mangler for wealth & prosperity but that contradicts King’s original story & the film itself as elements of King’s story still remain. The Mangler starts with the dropping of the pills containing the Hand of Glory into the mangler & the young virgin cutting her hand spilling her blood on the mangler which is how it’s supposed to come to life in the first place but the back-story about the sacrificial offerings indicates that the mangler was possessed already so how do you work that one out? Despite the confusion I did actually quite lie The Mangler, it’s something different if nothing else & the sheer silliness & absurdity of a huge laundry press possessed by a demon from hell is amusing in itself, like King’s original the script is played totally straight which I thought was alright. While not the most coherent film ever & it can drag a little in places overall I liked the originality on show here, the character’s are OK with Hutton making for a sleazy by likable anti-hero & Gartley is a bizarre villain. I really can’t say I hated The Mangler but at the same time it’s far from perfect, the significance of the pills is a bit hard to grasp & the talk of demons & exorcisms does get a little dry & dull at times. Tobe Hooper has often been called a horror master & has made some good films but his career has been sliding downwards for a long time & is now pretty much relegated to low budget direct to video or made for television crap, while The Mangler isn’t his best effort it has some nice creative touches which don’t always make sense but I’ll take them anyway. I love the look & feel of the film, it has an anachronistic feel to it as it’s set in contemporary times but the laundry plant is a dark pit full of old machines & steam pipes letting gas off & an old newspaper photographer with an camera from the 40’s, the mangler itself looks suitably menacing & I think the production design is excellent right down to the villain with his leg braces & sinister office or the spiral stone staircase that leads down the grimy sewers. There’s some good gore but it’s not as plentiful as maybe I would have liked, a couple of people are mashed & squashed in the mangler with various limbs being seen to be crushed & the flattened remains seen later on, a guy has his arm cut off, someone is folded & squashed like a sheet & someone is ripped in half. There’s some silly scenes here though, that guy being attacked by a possessed icebox is daft & the huge mangler monster at the end isn’t in it enough. Apparently filmed in London, Los Angeles & South Africa, co-produced & co-written by the notorious Harry Alan Towers. I’m not sure what sort of budget this had but it looks to had some money spent on it & it looks better than I expected. The acting varies, Levine is alright but looks a bit drunk throughout while Robert Englund hams it up like you wouldn’t believe as the bad guy (he’s never done that before has he…). The Mangler isn’t a film for everyone, those who liked the King short story probably won’t like it, fans of Hooper’s other films probably won’t like it & general audiences probably won’t like it but I did like it & those looking for something different in the horror genre might like it too. Followed by two unrelated sequels, the absolutely dire The Mangler 2 (2002) about a computer virus & the much better The Mangler Reborn (2005) which returns to the original killer laundry press idea.
Country: South Africa, United Kingdom
Duration: 106 min
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Also known as: The Mangler,Maglownica,Пресата,Děs v prádelně,La presseuse diabolique,Luunmurskaaja,Στα γρανάζια της φρίκης,Alianza macabra,To Mangkalo,A mángorló,The Mangler – La macchina infernale,La machine infernale,El triturador,Sta granazia tis frikis,Mangler, o Grito de Terror,Presa,Mengene,Давилка,A Máquina Mortífera