The Mangler

1995, R, 106 min. Directed by Tobe Hooper. Starring Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor, Jeremy Crutchley, Demetre Phillips.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 10, 1995

Adapted from the short story by Stephen “Bad Film Adaptations of My Work Only Make Me Stronger” King, this pointless exercise in tweaking the suits at the MPAA ratings board serves only to show how much gore filmmakers can once more indulge in without fear of reprisals and/or lengthy cuts to their work. And Hooper, erstwhile wunderkind behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, proves once and for all that he's the Michael Cimino of horror films. A tale of demonic possession in an industrial laundromat, The Mangler comes across as flat as the hospital linen its evil, hulking Steam Ironer and Folder puts the business to. It's all set design and bloody effects, and while that might have been just fine during the early to mid-Eighties splatter movie boom, it's just plain boring now. Englund, of Freddie Krueger fame, is laughably over the top as the laundry's corrupt owner, a horribly scarred, paraplegic maniac intent on working his sweatshop employees to death, literally. Ted Levine (best known as serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs) is police officer John Hunton, a man with a predictably haunted past and a beery, “piss off, I'm a cop” attitude. If you can get past the creepy feeling of watching Buffalo Bill as a good guy, you'll note that Levine's performance is the film's only saving grace, poorly written though the part is. Perhaps it's time for Tobe Hooper to hang up his light meter. After a string of disappointments culminating in this silly waste of time, it's hard to care if horror's golden boy carries on or not. Forget The Mangler. Go do your laundry instead.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Tobe Hooper
The Spine Tingler
The Spine Tingler
Horror pioneer and first-time novelist Tobe Hooper plays with the medium and metafiction in 'Midnight Movie'

Louis Black, Aug. 12, 2011

Monster Movies
Monster Movies
Tobe Hooper on his new film, 'Djinn'

Louis Black, Aug. 12, 2011

More Tobe Hooper
Tobe Hooper, R.I.P.
Tobe Hooper, R.I.P.
Remembering The Texas Chain Saw Massacre director

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2017

'Eggshells' Is an Austin Time Capsule
'Eggshells' Is an Austin Time Capsule
Tobe Hooper presents 'Eggshells' on Tuesday night with Louis Black

Marjorie Baumgarten, July 7, 2014

More Tobe Hooper Films
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 25, 2001

The original is a spectacularly spooky film about a host of ghosts that get hold of a 5-year-old girl. ...

Nov. 29, 2023

More by Marc Savlov
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
The Prince is dead, long live the Prince

Aug. 7, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022


The Mangler, Tobe Hooper, Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor, Jeremy Crutchley, Demetre Phillips

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle