Lobster Man from Mars

Director: Stanley Sheff
Screenwriters: Bob Greenberg

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


Self-described as “the only comedy that combines seafood and science fiction” (go figure), Lobster Man from Mars is a rousing, accomplished send-up of 1950s sci-fi films, populated with cheap, tinny monsters, brave men, innocent women and eccentric scientists. It’s actually a film-within-a-film, beginning when a studio mogul (Tony Curtis), in need of a tax write-off, gives a break to a seventeen-year-old wunderkind filmmaker.

This boy genius comes up with a film opus that’s unique, to say the very least. Mars, the angry red planet, is running out of air and sends the dreaded Lobster Man to steal Earth’s atmosphere. A young couple discover the creature’s crashed spaceship, and are pursued by the monster to the safety of their eccentric uncle, Professor Plocostomos.

The monster, by now, has left a trail of smoking human skeletons in his wake. But the Professor devises a scheme to have him boiled alive in a hot spring. Typically the plan goes awry with the bumbling help of the U.S. Army, but a wild climax ensues in Yellowstone National Park. Lobster Man from Mars is a harder film to pull off than one might think, succeeding where other attempts have fallen into sophomoric humor. It is, in fact, a polished, wacky satire, mocking all the marks of its silly genre with keen efficiency and loving wit.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]