24 July 2006

MST3K (205)

205 - Rocket Attack U.S.A. (w/ The Phantom Creeps, Chapter Two: Death Stalks the Highway) - Outside of, say, film class projects, this has got to be the most inept film I've ever seen. It's the Cold War. A spy has to infiltrate deep into the Soviet Union. His mission: stop Russia's only ICBM before it gets launched at the United States. His contact: a beautiful double agent. How do you mess that up? You make sure nothing exciting ever happens, force the spy to hide in a closet, and pepper the movie with the most annoying alarms sounds you can possibly find. That's how. Sweet Boney Maroney, this movie was painful to both eye and ear.

The guys have fun with it as best as they can. They start strong by Cold-War-izing the credits by adding "…as the commie rat" and "…as the commie scum" and the like after people's names. I also loved their consternation over the incredibly poor service at the restaurant the spy goes to. I hope he tipped less than 10% there. I'm not a fan of the Charlie McCarthy host segment, but the civil defense game show was great. I got all answers right before the bots did.

I take back the nice things I said about Phantom Creeps. Already in chapter 2, it's clear that it suffers from the same problems that Cody did. Nothing really happens in this chapter and it ends with a car going over a cliff. Same old stuff. For the love of Renfield, at least use that awesome robot for something other than moving heavy masonry!

Ahhh! Servo's head is deformed. Medic! As soon as that's fixed, we'll be all set. We've got Frank, we've got Servo's real voice, we've got a proper iris on the hexfield viewscreen and we've got the very first stinger this episode. In fact, you couldn't not invent the stinger after watching the lethargic blind man state "help me" randomly towards the end of the movie. That scene is quintessential stinger material.

Strangely enough, I dreamt that there was a nuke falling towards the US last night. I haven’t had one of those dreams since the Cold War was still cooking back when I was a kid. I knew I was watching this episode today, but I didn't know it involved a nuclear bomb. Weird. (6/10)

film d. Barry Mahon (1961)
short d. Ford Beebe & Saul A. Goodkind (1939)
mst d. Jim Mallon (27 Oct 1990)

[I'm selling some MST3K stuff on eBay this week, including the hard-to-find DVD for MST3K: The Movie. Check out my auctions if you're interested.]