Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 3" (1986)
A kids' cartoon with zombies straight out of Heavy Metal. (7/10)
d. Ray Lee
Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 4" (1986)
Ronald Reagan probably wanted to give Tendril a medal. (7/10)
d. Ray Lee
Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 5" (1986)
Man, Auger needs to go into some counseling or something. (7/10)
d. Ray Lee
Watched with Chef Gregory Jay ~250 miles north of home base. Gave Jones Soda Spider Cider a try. Though it only tastes vaguely like apple cider, it was not bad. Another drinkable flavor. Chef declined to eat any of the orange-filled Halloween edition Oreos, revealing that he dislikes food with artificial coloring. I explained that the Dr Pepper he was drinking wasn't naturally brown. "Shaddup," was his good-natured reply. The next morning, he complained that the Inhumanoids theme song was stuck in his head all night. Probably was the food coloring.
30 September 2006
Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 3" (1986)
29 September 2006
Tales from the Crypt: "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" (1990)
Not another killer doll story... waitaminute, this is frickin' hilarious. (8/10)
d. Richard Donner
Carnivàle: "Babylon" (trailer)
Guinea Pig 4: Mermaid in the Manhole (trailer)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: "The Shaving" (2003)
Silent Hill (2006)
Very respectful of the excellent game series, though the long exposition scene was not the best way to present that information. (7/10)
d. Christophe Gans
Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 1" (1986)
Giant monsters smashing the hell out of San Francisco was something Saturday mornings needed. (7/10)
d. Ray Lee
Inhumanoids: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 2" (1986)
The mantle is not liquid-hot magma, but, rather, huge diamonds. (7/10)
d. Ray Lee
Watched with Chef Gregory Jay ~250 miles north of home base shortly after smoking a Clint Eastwood-style cigar over a camp fire.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Attack of the Giant Leeches" (1992)
[A Year on the Satellite of Love] (8/10)
d. Jim Mallon & B. Reeves Eason & Joseph Kane & Bernard L. Kowalski
The Munsters: "Tin Can Man" (1964)
I was just worried Eddie was going fall out of the back of the Koach; is there a seatbelt in that thing or what? (7/10)
d. Earl Bellamy
28 September 2006
406 - Attack of the Giant Leeches (w/ Undersea Kingdom, Chapter One: Beneath the Ocean Floor) - This is one of those pleasant surprise episodes. The movie was much better than I was expecting. It has the title and the look of any generic, '50s mutant monster picture. Yeah, the leeches do look a little ridiculous. Maybe a lot ridiculous. But that scene where the leeches drag their victims into the cave and start sucking on their necks... it was strangely horrifying (for what it was). The leech-wounded corpses floating in front of the underwater camera were not something I was expecting in '50s horror, either.
The riffing was nicely laugh-worthy. In a reverse of the typical MST episode, I think the riffing got stronger as the movie progressed. "I don't remember Liz being dead with giant hickies on her face." The same could be said for the host segments, which range from a welcome Superman II reference ("You will bow down before me, son of Jor-El") to another excellent song ("A Danger to Ourselves and Others").
See, this is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. Everybody's enjoying their coffee in the "Dreams" host segment just fine. There's sugar and cream and everything. There was also the potential for danger. Gypsy and Crow would be OK with their appropriately-colored coffee cups; it's Joel and Servo you have to worry about. Should Joel grab the wrong, red cup... eww! Bot backwash! Then again, maybe accidentally drinking from a robot's coffee cup gave Joel magically psychic powers. He dreams that Crow and Servo end up living in a duplex together. Though he didn't see the fact that they would also be living with the guy who dressed as one of the Holo-Clowns, that's pretty accurate.
The serial was the only weak part of this episode. I don't know why they're trying this again after both previous dalliances with serials fell flat on their faces. This particular episode wasn't so bad because the first half of it did not take place in the realm of villains in silly costumes. At the Navy base, we get to laugh at "Crash" as he first wrestles like an ape and then swings like a monkey to rescue an annoying kid. As soon as the episode gets to Atlantis, however, it's obvious it's going into tedious, incomprehensible Commando Cody territory.
"Then folks started payin' for their groceries with old cars. Nothin' you could do about it." (8/10)
film d. Bernard L. Kowalski (1958)
short d. B. Reeves Eason & Joseph Kane (1936)
mst d. Jim Mallon (18 Jul 1992)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Being from Another Planet" (1992)
[A Year on the Satellite of Love] (8/10)
d. Jim Mallon & Tom Kennedy
Tales from the Crypt: "Four-Sided Triangle" (1990)
So, are all TftC episodes about adultery, or what? (6/10)
d. Tom Holland
Halloween II (1981)
Slides by on its predecessor's good will, but pretty inept by itself. (6/10)
d. Rick Rosenthal
Halloween 2 Extended Interviews (2003)
Halloween 2 Panel Discussion at the H25 Convention (2003)
Horror's Hallowed Grounds: Halloween (2005)
Fun stuff; I wish I got the Horror Channel. (8/10)
d. Andrew Kasch & Sean Clark
The Munsters: "Lo-Cal Munster" (1964)
Fred Gwynne didn't seem to be his usual, high-spirited self this week. (6/10)
d. Norman Abbott
27 September 2006
405 - Being from Another Planet - Woo-hoo! This is the closest thing to a Halloween episode MST3K has produced so far. There were the evil Tragic Moments FigurinesTM from the Mads. The movie itself was about a mummy-alien killing people. Most of all, there was the classic "Mad Scientist Laboratory" gag with the peeled grapes for eyes and cauliflower for brains. I dig how Joel gets nutty and chomps onto the brains/cauliflower. Very Return of the Living Dead.
During the end credits, Servo claims that this movie is worse than any of the previous experiments that Crow and Joel rattle off (except that it ties with Fu Manchu). No way. Did Kevin really think so? Judging from his book, he might've, but I think this was just a way to plow through the credits without resorting to making fun of people's names again. To me, this is no where near the bottom. In fact, this is exactly the kind of crap that I enjoy watching on its own. It has the excellent James Karen from The Return of the Living Dead, the criminally under-used Austin Stoker from Assault on Precinct 13, and its music was composed by Richard Band, who created the catchy theme for Re-Animator (among many others).
Also, I think I saw a nipple during the obligatory "girl takes a shower in the middle of a horror movie" scene. Due to the hazy quality of my DVD-R-sourced-from-VHS-sourced-from-fuzzy-cable, it's really hard to be sure. And maybe Servo's head was in the way. But, dammit, I paused and used slow-mo to double-check.
Susie: "I'm sorry, did I startle you?" Crow: "No, that's why I wet myself." Joel & Servo: "Aww-oh..." I was surprised that I got more laughs out of the riffing from this episode than I have from any all season. Maybe it was because I was pleased with the movie selection? Other reviewers are pretty indifferent or downright dislike this ep. I dunno. I thought the bits where Crow and Servo were scared to death of the green boiler room shots were hilarious.
"Smells like mummy meat in here." (8/10)
film d. Tom Kennedy (1982)
mst d. Jim Mallon (4 Jul 1992)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Teenagers from Outer Space" (1992)
[A Year on the Satellite of Love] (7/10)
d. Kevin Murphy & Tom Graeff
Halloween (Commentary by John Carpenter, Debra Hill & Jamie Lee Curtis) (1994)
John and Debra have plenty of interesting nuggets and there's rarely a spot of silence. (8/10)
d. John Carpenter
On Location: 25 Years Later (2003)
Halloween Panel Discussion at the H25 Convention (2003)
Halloween: Unmasked (1999)
OK for a brief documentary, but doesn't cover much beyond what was said in the commentary. (6/10)
d. Mark Cerulli
Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest (2003)
A little bit of new footage and info, but padded with far too many movie scenes. (7/10)
d. Steven Smith
26 September 2006
404 - Teenagers from Outer Space - From the title to the flying saucer's design to the jumpsuits to the rayguns to the giant monster, this is the quintessential '50s sci-fi movie. Coming out at the end of the decade, it's a Road House-like decade-capper for its genre. Given the pure, '50s goofiness it contains, it's pretty entertaining to watch on its own.
Betty: "Grandpa was so exhausted, he fell sound asleep with all of his clothes on." Joel: "And then he soiled himself." My favorite riffs from this ep were those directed at the nine-fingered grandfather. I'm pleased to see he returns in a couple of the Ed Wood movies coming in later seasons.
Aww... what a rip. An alien pulled up to the SOL in a super-boss skull ship, but the visitor was just a skeleton that immediately collapsed. Where's Mike, man? We haven't had a visit from him in ages. They made up for it in the last host segment. The fashion show of coveralls with duct tape trim was great, even if some of Joel's poses were extremely disturbing.
This episode sports a couple of behind-the-scenes firsts. It was Mary Jo Pehl's first show as a writer. Little did she know, five years later she'd take over as the main villain. This was also the first episode of the cable era not directed by Jim Mallon (well, not counting 324 in which he shared a credit with Mike). I don't think that I can detect either person's influence on this episode. It doesn't seem any different from the last one, to me. Maybe one of the newbies was to blame for the first host segment being out of order (it references stuff in the movie that we hadn't seen yet)? Anyway, not noticing any differences during these personnel switcheroos is a strength of the show. More on that when 513 rolls around.
Weird. There's a music cue ~52 minutes into the episode that sounds really familiar. During the scene in which Thor is almost passing out on the operating table, the music sounds very similar to that played when Mills learns "what's in the box" at the end of Se7en. They both use that "tweee-EEE-tweee-EEE" screechy violin sound with some scary bass notes underneath.
"Wait until you see my tongues." (7/10)
film d. Tom Graeff (1959)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (27 Jun 1992)
25 September 2006
403 - City Limits - "He's got a Picasso boob... platter on." Not a bad show. I'm partial to post-apocalyptic movies. This wasn't a particular good example of that genre, but it was filled with complete doofuses riding bikes. JatB had their fun with it. I do have to admit, I've never see an evil-bad guy offed by a desk before.
C'mon guys... having two identical host segments back-to-back is cheating. Yes, their list of funny super hero ideas is plenty amusing. Sure, throwing a couple more on the pile in the following segment was even more amusement. It was also pretty disappointing. Host segments are the much-needed break from the movie. I look forward to them. What are the guys gonna do next? Will Crazy Joel return? Maybe we'll get another song? Perhaps it's time for a visit from Mike? A goofy reenactment of a scene from the movie is always welcome. With all of that potential floating in the air, it was a bummer for it to collapse into "oh, more of the same."
The best part about the "Oh, Kim Cattrall" host segment isn't the song itself. It's the fact that Kim herself randomly discovered this song playing on TV.
"I was in my hotel room and was channel surfing. And what do I hear but my own name being sung by a small golden man. And it just went on like that. I yelled for my boyfriend to come in and see this. We were just in shock. A few minutes later, one of my lesser accomplishments came on: City Limits. I called my publicity agent and asked him if Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a real show. He said yes. I called my florist and had an odd request: to send a bouquet of flowers to a Crow T. Robot. It went to a place called Eden Prairie. Later on, Trace and I met and corresponded. And that is how Mystery Science Theater 3000 came into my life." (from misties.com)Why didn't anyone mention this awesomeness in the ACEG entry for 403?
"Hey, who invited the stinky guy? Smells like Pussy Nibbles®." (7/10)
film d. Aaron Lipstadt (1984)
mst d. Jim Mallon (20 Jun 1992)
[written whilst enjoying a Number 1 at Flim Flam]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: "The Giant Gila Monster" (1992)
[A Year on the Satellite of Love] (7/10)
d. Jim Mallon & Ray Kellogg
The Munsters: "A Walk on the Mild Side" (1964)
How did Eddie get changed back to normal size? (6/10)
d. Norman Abbott
The Munsters: "Rock-a-Bye Munster" (1964)
I remember as a kid watching Herman think the toy Frankenstein was his newborn baby and being extremely disturbed. (8/10)
d. Norman Abbott
Tales from the Crypt: "The Sacrifice" (1990)
Michael Ironside could read Stephen King's laundry list and be interesting, though the rest of the show ain't too special. (6/10)
d. Richard Greenberg
Tales from the Crypt: "For Cryin' Out Loud" (1990)
Yeah, I'd beg to be killed if Sam Kinison's voice was yelling in my ear all day, too. (7/10)
d. Jeffrey Price
The Munsters: "Pike's Pique" (1964)
Perfectly establishes Lily, Herman and Grandpa's personalities. (7/10)
d. Seymour Berns
24 September 2006
402 - The Giant Gila Monster - Ostensibly, this is not a good movie. The titular monster is never photographed correctly and just looks like a regular lizard walking through brush. The close relationship between the sheriff and the town's tow truck driver is inexplicable at best. Still, the film has a charm that makes it endearing. I think part of the reason for this is that it was an independent film made in Texas. This sets it apart from the typical, '50s monsters pictures filmed in Hollywood by the studios. It has a completely different feeling. Kind of down-home. I like it.
"Huzzah, my butt, you satin-suited, Tolkien-reading loser!" Can Frank do wrong? It seems unlikely. Watching Frank beat the hell out of punching bags painted like Renfest rejects is strangely satisfying. I see they are also finally crediting him as "TV's Frank." I guess after two years on the air, he's earned that appellation.
The host segment with the "knee up" montage was brilliant.
Chase: "I carried you in there and I sat on you until you fell asleep." Joel: "Oh, wow." There was more energy in the riffing in this episode compared to the last one. This is just a better movie choice for the guys to dig into, I think. Actually, all of the Munsters riffs (you know, because of the old school hot rods) has put me the mood to watch an ep or two right now. Time to cut this short.
"Mmm, nice uvula." (7/10)
film d. Ray Kellogg (1959)
mst d. Jim Mallon (13 Jun 1992)
Near Dark (trailer)
The Curious Dr. Humpp (trailer)
Scanners: "Head Explosion"
Creepshow 2 (1987)
"Old Chief Wood'nhead" is poorly constructed, "The Hitchhiker" is average, but "The Raft" is one excellent piece of horror. (6/10)
d. Michael Gornick
Beware! Children at Play (trailer)
Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood (trailer)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror 07-1: The Thing and I"
Masters of Horror: "Cigarette Burns" (2005)
I really wanted to be blown away, but the story isn't anything special and parts felt inauthentic. (6/10)
d. John Carpenter
Dead & Breakfast (trailer)
Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (trailer)
Killer Condom (1996)
Had its funny bits and was a pretty original idea for an AIDS metaphor, but drags on for far too long. (5/10)
d. Martin Walz
Tales from the Crypt: "The Thing from the Grave" (1990)
Again, you can see the ending coming thirteen miles away, but the zombie makeup was very nice. (6/10)
d. Fred Dekker
Tonight's proceedings were joined by C and fed by the unbeatable, though expensive, Pizza House. Pizza and french fries covered in bacon and cheddar cheese were enjoyed by all. Afterwards, the candy drawer was employed.
I taste-tested my first of the Jones Soda Halloween 2006 Limited Edition soft drinks. They released seven flavors this year. Four of them are in mini-cans and are flavors aimed at kids. Three of them are in glass bottles and seem to be for adults to mix with alcohol. I went for a glass bottle of Lemon Drop Dead Soda tonight. It's drinkable, unlike some flavors from last year. I would describe it as liquid lemon-flavored Pez.
Here's my watchin' box, decked out for Six Weeks of Halloween:
23 September 2006
401 - Space Travelers - I bet Film Ventures was really kicking themselves for already using up the title Stranded in Space when they got the rights to this one. Worse, that title didn't even make sense for the prior movie. The guy was stranded on Earth's sister planet. Space didn't figure much into it. Space Travelers isn't terribly descriptive of this film, either. Yeah, I guess they're technically traveling in space, orbiting Earth. That's not really the important part of the movie's plot, though.
At any rate, I think this is my least favorite Film Ventures movie, Academy Award-winning, well-liked-by-the-general-public though it may be. The pace is a little plodding and, in this post-Apollo 13 world, it's a little redundant. Plus, Rocketship X-M did it better and with a ballsier ending.
Wife: "Oh, there's one more thing..." Joel: "I'm buying a... oh, I guess it can wait till you're dea... I'm mean down." Once again, the "insensitive clod" riffs are my favorite. The guys have ample time to play with these during the long, long scene in which each wife talks to her doomed astronaut husband for the last time. Wife: "They want to give you something." Crow: "A headstone."
The host segments in this episode were just OK. The list of inventions that the space program has given us and the rocketship sketch were both densely written and clever. Not laugh-out-loud funny, though. I was pleased to hear SPACOM! get a mention as a NASA invention, though. The final segment was another one of those in which knowledge of a before-my-time actor is a requirement to enjoy it. I've no idea who Tony Franciosa was. I probably should. As a horror fan, I really should get around to watching Argento's Tenebre someday.
"Oh, Gene Hackman. He's good in anything, you guys." (6/10)
film d. John Sturges (1969)
mst d. Jim Mallon (6 Jun 1992)
The Munsters: "Pilot: My Fair Munster" (1964)
Good choices all around not to continue in color or with the boring Phoebe. (5/10)
d. Norman Abbott
The Munsters: "Munster Masquerade" (1964)
Probably a good choice for an introductory episode, but not that exciting. (6/10)
d. Lawrence Dobkin
The Munsters: "My Fair Munster" (1964)
Grandpa's love potion = classic Munster hijinx. (7/10)
d. David Alexander
Tales from the Crypt: "Three's a Crowd" (1990)
I knew what the ending would be immediately, but its extent got me to laugh in surprise. (7/10)
d. David Burton Morris
- 23 Sep-26 Sep: one - two - three - four
- 27 Sep-03 Oct: five - six - seven - eight - nine - ten
- 04 Oct-10 Oct: eleven - twelve - thirteen - fourteen - fifteen
- 11 Oct-17 Oct: sixteen - seventeen - eighteen - nineteen - twenty - twenty-one
- 18 Oct-24 Oct: twenty-two - twenty-three - twenty-four - twenty-five - twenty-six
- 25 Oct-31 Oct: twenty-seven - twenty-eight - twenty-nine - thirty - ---
I love Halloween. Falling in the heart of autumn, Halloween smells of harvest foods, shivers of cool days, and sounds of dry leaves rustling in the wind. Traditionally, it marked the point in the year when the veil separating our world from the spirit world was the thinnest. In modern American culture, this is the time of year during which everyone feels free to celebrate the horror genre. Little old ladies hang ghosts from their trees, children dress as bloody-fanged vampires, grocery stores stock plastic severed heads, and normally mundane sitcoms air quirky, spooky episodes.
As is obvious from my choices of chronocinethon subjects, horror is my favorite genre. I love that it gets its own holiday (eat it, sci-fi). In recent years, I've extended this horror holiday from one all-too brief day into a six-week celebration of movie and candy consumption. From the Autumnal Equinox to Samhain, I watch nothing but horror movies (with the exception of MST3K episodes this year).
For the 8th year in a row, I will be watching Halloween on October 31st. Outside of that, I don't have a set movie schedule. Friends and spouses will influence movie choices during their occasional participation. Things I may watch include:
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
- Amazing Stories: "Mummy Daddy"
- Blade series (3 movies)
- Friday the 13th Part ?? (on October 13th, of course)
- From Dusk Till Dawn series (3 movies)
- Halloween series (8 movies, 1 commentary, 35 documentaries)
- Jaws series (4 movies)
- Masters of Horror (11 episodes)
- The Munsters (70 episodes, 2 movies)
- Poltergeist series (3 movies)
- Puppet Master series (8 movies)
- Sleepaway Camp series (3 movies, footage from an unfinished 4th)
- Sleepy Hollow
- Tales from the Crypt (starting with 2.05: "Three's a Crowd")
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre series (6 movies)
- Zombi series (5 movies)
But, there is -- unseen by most -- an underworld.
A place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit...
22 September 2006
Goodbye, season three.
Season three was the best so far. That's encouraging. On an episode by episode basis, there isn't a steady incline of improvement, but the guys are getting better year by year. Though not a huge leap over season two, s3 sports better movie selections, generally funnier riffing and some classic host segments. It could've used more Pod Peoples and less Gameras, however.
I didn't like the Sandy Frank episodes as much as I was hoping to. I was expecting the Frank episodes, using the full power of the ComCen-era MST team, to obliterate the memories of the KTMA versions. That didn't really happen. There is no doubt that the host segments in the s3 version blew those from the KTMA episodes completely away. The "Tibby" song, "T.G.I.Tokyo," the not-for-kids "Arts and Crafts" segment, the "Gamera" song and the Gamera schematic are all indispensably classic bits. The riffing on the Frank episodes, however, wasn't the best of the season. It was nice to have all three of the guys consistently in the theater this time, but I felt like they didn't have as much to say about the Frank films as they did with other episodes this year. I still wish the utterly bizarre Frank movie Humanoid Woman would've made it to this season. I'd've gladly traded that one for the utterly boring Mighty Jack.
On the other hand, I discovered that I'm a dedicated Film Ventures International fan. Cave Dwellers, Pod People, Stranded in Space and the Master Ninjas (along with non-FV movies Daddy-O and War of the Colossal Beast) were my favorite episodes of the year. FV's randomized credit sequences are so cheezy and cheap, you've got to love them. Pod People is the first episode I've encountered that I can't wait to re-watch once my "Year on the Satellite" is over with.
What happened to the hexfield viewscreen? It was installed last season and was constantly visited by Mike. There were only a handful of visitors this year; the thing's probably rusted shut from disuse, now. Mike's visits were such a highlight for season two, it was disappointing to lose them. Hopefully he'll return more often in the next season and half, before he gets commandeered as the new host.
I've only seen one season 4 episode (that I remember), which was Rhino's release of Manos. It'll be all new to me. S4 also coincides with my Six Weeks of Halloween celebration. It looks like there are plenty of '50s horror movies in season four that will fit right in.
- Total Length
- 38 hours, 55 minutes, 58 seconds
(97 min average for 24 episodes)
(26 min average for 1 special)
- Years Spanned
- Shorts Years Spanned
- Time to Watch
- 43 days
- Time to Broadcast Originally
- 239 days
- Turkey Day Episodes
- 18 (75%)
301, 303, 306, 307, 309, 310, 311 (28 Nov 1991)
312, 317, 320, 321, 322 (26 Nov 1992)
308, 313, 318, 319 (25 Nov 1993)
306, 311, 315, 316, 321 (24 Nov 1994)
- MST Hour Episodes
- 14 (58%)
301, 302, 303, 306, 307, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 317, 319, 320, 321
- Total Film Ventures Films
- 301, 303, 305, 322, 324 (21%)
- Total Sandy Frank Films
- 302, 304, 306, 308, 310, 312, 314, 316, 318 (38%)
- Total Sequels
- 301, 304, 308, 312, 316, 318, 319, 323, 324 (38%)
- Total Movies That Are Really TV Episodes
- 306, 310, 314, 318, 322, 324 (25%)
- Total Episodes with Joel's Goatee
- 307 (4%)
- Black and White to Color Ratio
21 September 2006
324 - Master Ninja II - (aka The Master: "State of the Union" + The Master: "Hostages") Season three ends with a bang; MN2 is even better that part 1. In fact, the first part -- episode "State of the Union," I suppose -- had Mitchell-level riffing accompanying it. It felt really good to bust out laughing after the torture of 323.
I never got tired of Crow's impression of the mush-mouthed Timothy Van Patten. "Bleh bla bleh bla..." As a rule, it seems like mercilessly poking fun at movie characters with speech impediments is a path to guaranteed success. At the same time, Crow does a helluva George C. Scott impression, too.
I was going to snap a screenshot to post here because the image was so funny, but I see the guys beat me to it with this ep's stinger. The Master seems to be a little too fond of The Hamster. I'm never going to be able to watch The Good, the Bad and the Ugly the same way again.
In response to a letter, the guys name their favorite movies:
- Servo: Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970)
a biker picture by the director of Superman IV.
- Crow: The Castle (1971)
the depressing Kafka story filmed in German.
- Joel: Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
man vs sentient computer.
Frank -- in addition to calling himself "TV's Frank" -- uses his end-of-episode time to pimp an old show called The Second Hundred Years. I get the feeling this was Frank Conniff speaking and not TV's Frank. Why not use his power as bit player on a small-time cable show for the good of all? It's too bad his pleas to ABC didn't work (this show isn't even on DVD fourteen years later). It sounds pretty cool.
"Oh, excellent, Master Dipstick. That's $50,000-worth of merchandise, Lee." (8/10)
film d. Alan Myerson & Ray Austin (1984)
mst d. Jim Mallon & Michael J. Nelson (25 Jan 1992)
19 September 2006
323 - The Castle of Fu Manchu - I'm trying to decide which was worse: Mad Monster or this 97 minutes of agony? MM, at least, had the germ of a good idea in it (werewolves vs Nazis). In this one, the evil-bad guy wants to turn the entire ocean into ice. Wha? I don't care what kind of supplies you have stashed in a castle basement, the rapid mass-extinctions from such an event are eventually gonna bother you, too. Why don't you try to extinguish the sun, while you're at it?
Who is this Fu Manchu guy, anyway? Based solely on the cereal premium seen in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, I thought he was supposed to have long fingernails? All right, Internet, you greatest collection of information the world has ever seen, show me what gives. Searching... Okay, so he's a party animal. He enjoys tasty vittles at reasonable prices. And he discovered a cool-looking fish. Hmm. Here, I thought he was a piece of outdated sinophobia best left to the dust bins of pop culture.
Petrie: "Thank you, Curt. It's very kind of you to come." Joel: "Well, I didn't mean to but the new seat covers and all..." See what you did, The Castle of Fu Manchu? You made Joel make the bluest joke ever seen on MST3K! Our innocent, precious Joel has been corrupted. Jess Franco has that sleazy effect, I suppose. Normally, I'm all for sleazy effects, but, based on this and the last Franco movie I saw, I'm never watching anything from this guy again.
The guys began by giving the riffing the old college try, but they ran out of steam halfway through. The host segments were similarly lacking in umph. The Mads' invention is based on a reference to a show cancelled 24 years before I existed, and, I'm loathe to say, even Frank couldn't save it. The remaining host segments all lament how crappy the movie is, which gets old. All in all, just a hair better than the official MST3K low point.
"Er, right, sir. I'll put 'im in the dumpster." (5/10)
film d. Jess Franco (1969)
mst d. Jim Mallon (18 Jan 1992)
18 September 2006
17 September 2006
322 - Master Ninja I - (aka The Master: "Max" + The Master: "Out-of-Time Step") Some war veterans roam the countryside in a suped-up van righting things that once went wrong. It's the The A-Team without all that welding. I love wandering do-gooder shows: The Incredible Hulk, Quantum Leap, hell, I even get a kick out of the syrupy Highway to Heaven.
Joel: "You know everyone's gonna know he's a ninja if they play that theme every time he comes in somewhere." Lee Van Cleef as a ninja? Sold. I don't care what kind of weenie sidekick they hook him up with. Lee Van Cleef going apeshit and destroying a bar? I'd buy that for more than a dollar.
This was a fun episode. I liked the movie selection. The riffing was funny. "Pop-Up Books for Adults" is actually a good idea for an invention. There was "goofy take on the movie" host segment in which the bots ninja-fight, which is always welcome. And, the "Master Ninja Theme Song" is hilarious. What an honor to have your letter read during such a performance!
Weird. I definitely remember watching "The Van Patten Project" host segment back in the day. I don't remember anything else from this episode, though. It's nice that I've forgotten so much, I suppose. All of these episodes are like new to me.
The funniest part of the episode -- the part that had me randomly cracking up throughout when I thought about it -- was an accident. With the unmistakable sound of ripping Velcro, Crow's net spontaneously falls off his head around the 35-minute mark. "Ouch," he says as Joel rubs his bald head. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the slapdash nature show contributes scads to its charm. Jim Mallon could've yelled "cut," but, instead, Crow happily riffs the remaining ten minutes without his hair. Excellent.
Another contest? I don't think they've announced any winners to the last dozen of these things (okay... just two: "Kenny, What Gives?" and "Other Ways to Snuff Gaos"). What gives? Okay, all right. Ideas for 'chucks? Easy. Trumpy-chucks.
"Hey! I bought that chair and you're gonna use it!" (8/10)
film d. Robert Clouse & Ray Austin (1984)
mst d. Jim Mallon (11 Jan 1992)
15 September 2006
321 - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians - Santa Claus conquers the Martians... with love! And toys. And wackiness! I think I've got a new Christmas tradition. I can't wait to force this one on the family for Xmas '07 (unless 521 is even better). Outside of marathons, this is the first holiday the guys have celebrated since Crow was frozen. I wish they'd do it more often. It's fun. I like seeing the SOL decked out for the season. It makes for a nice change of pace for the show.
Santa: "Well, we've never disappointed the kids, yet." Joel: "Except for the poor ones." Knowing that "A Patrick Swayze Christmas" was in this episode was the main reason I rented Road House a few months back. Woo-hoo, I was able to catch all of the references! Yes, yes it was funny.
The main evil-bad guy looks like Trapper John v.1 and he does a nice job with his part. He's got the evil-bad guy diction matched with a nicely booming voice. Trying to explosively decompress both Santa Claus and two little kids, however, seems a tad too evil for a children's movie like this. How about a Martian ray that takes away Santa's special powers? That might a level of evil more appropriate.
After a season full of references, I finally broke down and looked up where "there's something wrong on Saturn 3" came from. It's from the movie Saturn 3, shockingly enough. Dammit, Netflix doesn't have it available. Now I'll never find out what's wrong.
As I read each ACEG entry for the episodes that I watch, I've come to discover that I hate the ones written by Paul Chaplin. Too much malice, not enough funny. "Dropo in particular is a mincing little creep." C'mon, man. Dropo rules.
"Smoking is good for you. Ho, ho ho." (7/10)
film d. Nicholas Webster (1964)
mst d. Jim Mallon (21 Dec 1991)
14 September 2006
320 - The Unearthly (w/ Posture Pals + Appreciating Our Parents) - It was a war to keep my eyes open. This was partially due to being tired, but the entire episode didn't help, either. This is the most boring experiment since 103.
The two shorts were incredibly tedious. Perhaps coming fresh from Mr. B Natural will skew your expectations for these things, but I don't think that was the problem. Both had impossibly dull narration over unbelievably dull subjects. I'd have thought that some nuggets of ironic joy could be gleaned from the shorts' exhibitions of square '50s culture, but that didn't even get me to grin.
The movie was in the same, crappy neighborhood as the aforementioned Mad Monster. There's a mad scientist. He's got some potentially nifty ideas. The gland thing reminded me of my fondness for From Beyond. The execution of the story was terrible. This film could hardly be called a horror movie. It was mostly just people walking around the same couple of rooms in a house.
The poor source material wasn't enhanced very much by JatB. None of the riffing got me to laugh at all. The host segments were ho-hum. I liked Frank's tears over his pet gerbil -- now trapped in a giant pill for Dr. F's invention exchange -- and I liked the overly complex Mousetrap game spoof. That's about it, though. A song or a visit from Mike would've been very welcome here.
Hard to believe Rhino actually chose this one on purpose for a box set. Anyway, time to get some sleep.
"Uh, mind if I skip dinner? I'm a bit off my food." (5/10)
film d. Boris Petroff [as Brooke L. Peters] (1957)
short 1 d. ?? (1952)
short 2 d. Ted Peshak (1950)
mst d. Jim Mallon (14 Dec 1991)
13 September 2006
319 - War of the Colossal Beast (w/ Mr. B Natural) - Joel-as-Buzz (worried): "You've seen me do everything?" Mr. B Natural, the Pod People of shorts. This short is one of the earliest memories of MST3K I have. In fact, I think it was the first bit of MST3K I saw that really made me laugh. It still has that power, even though I've seen a half-dozen times since then. The tears were welling up in my eyes as I watched the guys recoil in horror from the man-lady sprite from Hell.
I'm liking the B.I.G. movies. I look forward to them, which is something I cannot say for the Sandy Frank and Corman flicks. WotCB, like Earth vs. the Spider, is plenty entertaining. When the titular beast finally makes his first appearance, he sort of jumps out from behind a mountain, revealing his newly disfigured face. It was an effective shot. I can easily imagine '50s audiences jumping and screaming in their theater seats. The exposed skull makeup is pretty good, too, for the time. I wouldn't mind wearing that getup for a Halloween costume.
Scientist: "Dr. Richardson, how's the examination coming?" Crow: "My nurse fell down his throat!" The riffing was solid this time out. Gone is the confused frustration from 318; the guys know what this film is and they tear into with precision. The host segments, while not Pod People-hysterical, were also very solid. We get real inventions this time with a pair of food-shooting weapons. Joel goes goofy again with his "KTLA announcer of the future" shtick. Mike makes a return as a good-natured colossal Glen. And, incredibly important philosophical ground is covered during the Crow-Servo "Mr B: Man or Woman?" debate.
"He's crying for his mother. Her name was AHHHHG!" (8/10)
film d. Bert I. Gordon (1958)
short d. Phil Patton (1957)
mst d. Jim Mallon (30 Nov 1991)
12 September 2006
Turkey Day '91 - Ah, comforting Turkey Day. For this pseudo-Thanksgiving, I ordered myself some chicken tacos, nachos and award-winning no. 4 salsa, and washed it down with a couple of beers. While it's not exactly Grandma's mashed potatoes and turkey, it was all good.
MST3K's very first special is, appropriately enough, a celebration of the holiday they premiered on. It was also a brilliant idea. A day off from work spent lounging around the house with a belly full of good food, laughing with your family over a seemingly endless supply of bot-produced comedy. Good, clean fun. I am not at all surprised that the tradition continues to this day.
My favorite bit is Dr. F, unseen to us, remote-exploding the Underdog balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This balloon happens to be Frank's favorite and its fiery demise causes him to break into Frank-style hysterics as the carnage unfolds. Consoles Dr. F.: "He must die so we may live."
Though it doesn’t premiere for another year, they must have shot the documentary This is MST3K around this time. The three "Making Of" segments look to be from the same footage. I wonder why they sat on it for so long after this?
My one complaint is about the guests. Plant Guy from 309 -- sorry Kevin -- is just lame. Gerry and Sylvia don't have anything to say or do. There is only Jack Perkins to brighten up the party. It's not really BBI's fault. They hadn't created very many non-Mike guest characters at this point. It's too bad 319 didn't air earlier. We could've had sexy Mr. B. join the fun this year.
The line-up for the marathon was pretty solid. Personally, I probably would've swapped out 206, 203, and 202 for other selections. Robot Holocaust would've been nice. I'm surprised one of the Gamera movies didn't make the cut, either.
28 Nov 1991
00:00 206 - Ring of Terror
02:00 301 - Cave Dwellers
04:00 203 - Jungle Goddess
06:00 202 - The Side Hackers
08:00 201 - Rocketship X-M
10:00 205 - Rocket Attack U.S.A.
12:00 306 - Time of the Apes
14:00 207 - Wild Rebels
16:00 309 - The Amazing Colossal Man
18:00 213 - Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
20:00 303 - Pod People
22:00 310 - Fugitive Alien
29 Nov 1991
00:00 204 - Catalina Caper
02:00 307 - Daddy-O
04:00 311 - It Conquered the World
"These are Potato Buds. This is a turkey baster. Be careful." (8/10)
mst d. ?? (28-29 Nov 1991)
11 September 2006
318 - Star Force: Fugitive Alien II - (aka Sutâurufu: "Episode 3" + Sutâurufu: "Episode 4") Meh. Outside of the song medley, in which we get a professional, full-on reprise of the "Forklift" song, this episode didn't do too much for me. I did get one solid laugh from the movie riffing. Cap'n Joe: "One thing that Halkin didn't teach you is to fight as dirty as he does, which is the reason why you'd better take some Earthlings along." Joel: "Because we're basically scum."
There was also a world record for references lost on me during the host segments. I never like it when that happens, as it always feels like a waste of a segment if I'm scratching my head most of the time. From the bots' philosophical discussion of puppets, I was only familiar with around half of them. I've no idea who/what Topo Gigio, Kukla and DC Follies were/are and am only vaguely aware of what H.R. Pufnstuf and Señor Wences were. It was the same with the bots' ideas for combining evil people. Crow scored an over-my-head hatrick with his suggestions of Tom T. Hall + Roy Clark + Donna Fargo. Frank apparently likes the myseriously named Tom T. Hall, so that might mean he's good people.
We're also back to the non-invention invention exchanges. Foam noses and giant heads... not inventions. Joel does look appropriately goofy in his head, though. The following segment, however, was truly inventive. Servo's head exploding inside the theater -- after he ominously complains of not feeling well for a few minutes while the characters on screen also get sick -- was unexpected and very amusing. The host segment does borrow from 314's "Joel is Dead!" prologue, but it still works.
I do really enjoy the particular copy of this episode that I own. During this era, Comedy Central had Penn Jillette interrupt the end credits with his announcements about what show was next. Sometimes this would trample over a joke, as with 307's multiple false endings. Fans complained, as they should've. This episode contains his infamously condescending reply:
"You're at Comedy Central and you've been watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. You know, here at Comedy Central, we've been somewhat concerned lately about the little tempest brewing in the teapot of some of our "Love Theme"-loving viewers' heads. We're starting to get a little worried about you guys. Don't you realize we that have to tell our viewers what's going on on the network or they'll channel-surf their way straight to CNN and then what? Comedy Central will turn turtle and Mystery Science Theater will go down with the ship. Think about that. No more Fugitive Alien III. No more War of the Colossal Beast. No more Daddy-O. Here at Comedy Central we love our viewers, but in order to truly love someone, one must first learn to love one's self. So, coming up next, watch Pepsi's A-List, the half-hour of top, professional comedy hosted by the inimitable Richard Lewis. Keep it right here, true comedy lovers, at Comedy Central."If you're curious, I got my copy from here.
"You like my fort? Made it out of refrigerator boxes." (6/10)
film d. Minoru Kanaya & Kiyosumi Kuzakawa (1978)
mst d. Jim Mallon (16 Nov 1991)
317 - The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (w/ The Home Economics Story) - Slightly better than Teenage Cave Man, even if it does use the same locations and dogs. The titular sea serpent model was actually pretty cool-looking. Corman had a Viking-style ship made? And it really floated and stuff? Color me impressed. There wasn't a lot going out outside of people walking around, but JatB helpfully do their best to ease that pain. The beardless Vikings who spare the lives of their enemies for no reason are pretty ridiculous, though.
"Iowa State College: the high school after high school." If there isn't an ISU campus store selling a T-shirt with this on it, there really should be. If there isn't an ISU women's studies class dedicated solely to this short, color me surprised.
Servo: "I'm beginning to think the world would be a better place without waffles." With that, Crow transforms into Willie the Waffle, the wonderful, whimsical, wisecracking waffle, who describes the nightmare of a waffleless world. Wow, eight years before they ever got the chance to use it in the show, here's a reference to A Case of Spring Fever. That's a helluva wait after discovering the joys of a springless world. They even beat The Simpsons by four months with this parody ("Come back, zinc!"). Also, I will pay for the rights to use Jo-Jo Waffleberry's as a restaurant name.
"The five pound potty? She had a big breakfast." (7/10)
film d. Roger Corman (1957)
short d. ?? (1951)
mst d. Jim Mallon (26 Oct 1991)
10 September 2006
09 September 2006
316 - Gamera vs Zigra - Yuasa-san must have a love affair with submarines and UFOs. Three out of the last four Gamera flicks have involved one or the other or both of those things. And, children, the mischievous scamps, are always managing to steal or stowaway on them. The Gamera Universe is in dire need of child-proof sub/saucer locks.
Speaking of the last Gamera movie, I wonder if BBI watched that one? Sandy Frank skipped it for some reason, so it wouldn't have been a part of the group of his films they bought the rights to. However, it involved an x-ray of the inside of Gamera, not too unlike the Gamera diagram from this episode's host segment (though the x-ray did not show a spiral staircase anywhere). In fact, the children in the aforementioned stolen submarine travel inside of Gamera, Fantastic Voyage-style. I can verify that Joel's information about the game room is way off. I think I did see a lonely guy with a bunch of cats in there, though.
"Hi. My name is TV's Frank and I am a Stooge-aholic." The credits still don't identify him as such, but this is the first time Frank's future full name has been used. This language was just a part of the infomercial-style spin they put on the invention exchange, as Joel describes Crow as "TV's Crow, the lovable, wise-cracking robot." They must've liked that prefix for Frank's name. I'm curious to see if they use it again in 317.
Moon Lady: "Even the earthquake of Sanriku Island was only about magnitude thirteen-and-a-half." Crow: "Which is also the IQ of Sandy Frank." Shot of the ocean during the "The End" credit. Servo: "I sure hope Sandy Frank gets a burial at sea." JatB are getting mean with the old guy. It used to be that they just would indicate that he enjoyed defecating on his metacarpus. Again, I'm not surprised he hated the show.
My last KTMA repeat, my last Gamera movie and my last kaiju eiga. I can't say that I'm disappointed. I thought I'd really enjoy the Japanese giant monster movies. In theory, they sound like super-good fun. Guys in rubber suits fight with each other in slow motion as they step on exploding models of cities. Awesome. In reality, there's only so much fighting and model-stomping that can be done before it gets boring. The remaining 80 minutes have to be filled with something else. That something else invariably involves annoying Kennys and ham-handed lessons about the environment. Still, I'm going to Netflix the modern Gamera trilogy and see what that's all about.
"Somebody get me a gun. I'm gonna shoot this coward." (6/10)
film d. Noriaki Yuasa (1971)
mst d. Jim Mallon (19 Oct 1991)
06 September 2006
315 - Teenage Cave Man (w/ Aquatic Wizards + Catching Trouble) - Like the last episode, everything was keen except for the actual movie. Luckily, there were two entertaining shorts to eat up some time before the painfully tedious Teenage Cave Man arrived. The script was incredibly self-important, packed to the gills with speeches and lengthy epilogue-expositions. The writing was far out of sync with what Corman was actually filming. Given that, I'm not surprised the equally self-important M. Night ripped off a bunch of its concepts for the equally lame The Village.
Hey, the alligator with the fin glued to his back from Robot Monster is back! He's still wrestling that poor lizard. Why can't they make up and play nice? Dr. F and Frank managed it.
"Bear cubs can't mess you up much…" "Mess you up"? Is that really a professional film narrator phrase? I think the screams of those poor bear cubs will haunt me off to sleep tonight. I'm with Joel: Catching Trouble makes me "deeply ashamed of my race right now." Man, I am glad it's not the 1950s anymore. As many troubles as there are in the world right now, it's always nice to see that we've progressed.
I'm a fan of the rainy day theme running through JatB's host segments. It's more of that comfortable, down-home charm that makes MST3K what it is.
Rainy Day Epicacs (sic)
- chocolate milk + pickle juice
I'd give this a day in court. A little sweet, a little salty, some milk fat mixed with brine… it has potential.
- circus peanuts + warm strawberry Quik + a punch in the stomach
Foregoing the assault, I've got to try this. I wouldn't be surprised if the Japanese already have this in vending machines.
- Lucky Charms + cherry NyQuil
A great idea for the next time I come down with a cold. Thanks, Joel!
- blue cheese with a steak garnish
Blah! Puke! Few things are worse than moldy cheese. Gag!
- Snickers bar + honey mustard nougat
I like Snickers. I like honey mustard. I don't see a problem.
Factoids about this week's letter: it looks like the stuntman who wrote it was Bruce Paul Barbour, who's been in tons of cool movies. If you pause on the Still Store shot of the letter, you can see in the far-right lower corner that he recommends the guys check out Eegah. Good pick, Bruce! Wonder if they gave him a finder's fee?
"I hope they emptied that bear first." (7/10)
film d. Roger Corman (1958)
short 1 p. Rod Warren (1955)
short 2 d. ?? (1950)
mst d. Jim Mallon (9 Nov 1991)
03 September 2006
314 - Mighty Jack - (aka Maitei Jyakku: "Episode 1" + Maitei Jyakku: "Episode 13") This movie is the result of a transcontinental game of editor telephone. Mighty Jack started life as a thirteen episode TV series in Japan. Presumably, these thirteen hours of TV all made sense together. Sandy Frank bought the American rights, threw out the middle eleven episodes and called it a feature film. Not only did eleven hours of plot development get tossed, but, as Sandy is wont, he had the film dubbed as poorly as possible. That alone made for a jumbled mess, but MJ wasn't finished there. Next, BBI bought the broadcast rights from Sandy for their little puppet show. In order to squeeze in the host segments, even more footage was cut out. Less than 90 minutes remained of what used to be a 650-minute story. It's a wonder anyone can watch the result and not have their head explode.
The confusion takes its toll. I don't think the guys really knew what to do with this movie, even though this is their second stab at it. The riffing is barely there this week and I sensed a lot of missed opportunities. It's an improvement over K14, but not by much.
The host segments, on the other hand, were universally excellent. "Got five seconds to live… must get personal finances in order…" The "Joel is Dead" prologue host segment was genuinely disturbing and very amusing at the same time. This is, by far, my favorite prologue of the series. Usually, these intro segments consist of throwaway bits with the guys dressed in bathrobes. This one, with the drama and the goo and the cries of despair, I will remember. Also genuinely disturbing: Dr. F's sexy legs and Frank's response to those legs (the deadpan: "I want children.").
The remaining host segments played to the guys' strengths. There was a commercial parody MCed by the mighty-voiced Servo ("Mighty Jack Dog Food"), an MJ movie scene parody, and another installment in the "Joel Gone Goofy" series. All three of these types of segments never fail. Crazy Joel playing with the aquarium was my favorite, if only for the weird look it gave the show. Seeing the bridge through water with toys suspended in it was neat.
"Meanwhile, back on the Greasy Bastard." (6/10)
film d. Kazuko Mitsoti (1968)
mst d. Jim Mallon (21 Sep 1991)
02 September 2006
313 - Earth vs the Spider (w/ Speech: Using Your Voice) - You know, this isn't a bad movie. I liked it. I think the special effects were great for the time. It's populated with classic characters like the crotchety sheriff, the egghead scientist, the dippy teen lovers and the forty-year-old high school musician. The only thing that doesn't fit is the title. Most of the Earth had no absolutely no idea that it was threatened by a spider. How about Anytown, USA vs the Spider?
You've gotta love B.I.G. for shamelessly promoting both The Amazing Colossal Man and Attack of the Puppet People in this movie. But, this is a huge, reality-bending continuity problem. If B.I.G. exists in the Earth vs Spider universe as a director, who directed this one in our universe? Or maybe someone else directed TACM and AotPP in the other universe? But if that's the case, why is B.I.G. promoting that other guy's movies? Good parallel universe relations? Or maybe Earth vs Spider is a documentary?
Earth vs Soup. Why soup? Cold War flavor. I love how Crow's mouth moves just a little and Joel and Servo read his writing. Also, I will gladly pay BBI royalties for the rights, because Bennigan T. Puffyranchers is the perfect name for a restaurant.
My favorite class of riffs is quickly becoming the "insensitive clod" riffs. Previously seen during the hospital scene in 309, we get plenty in this ep with Mike and the newly fatherless Carol. Mike runs into Carol on the street shortly after Carol's dad gets eaten by a spider. Servo-as-Mike: "J'here about your dad?" Mike hands Carol a present. Crow-as-Mike: "Something to remember your dad by." Mike and Carol explore the cave. Servo-as-Mike: "Boy, your dad sure picked a great cave to die in!"
I also laughed loudly when the paralyzed spider's leg knocks a glasses-wearing teacher to the ground and Crow remarks "On the floor, four-eyes!"
Joel: "No, Dr. Erhardt, no! So that's what happened to him." Spider Victim #2 did look a lot like Dr. E. Maybe too much like Dr. E. My theory is that this was the result of Dr. Forrester's most diabolical experiment ever. He somehow managed to beam Dr. E directly from 104 into not just 313, but the movie played during 313. That's the diabolicalest.
"Here's young George Patton, a patriot and into high-grade weed." (7/10)
film d. Bert I. Gordon (1958)
short d. Arthur H. Wolf (1950)
mst d. Jim Mallon (14 Sep 1991)