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Mystery Science Theater 3000: ANGELS REVENGE  Season 6, Ep 22

aka Angels' Brigade. "They're Blow You Away!" Seven young women in skintight clothes unconvincingly battle right-wing militia and neighborhood drug dealers. An obvious knockoff of Charlie's Angels, the slime just drips off this movie. In addition to Jim Backus (Misters Howell and Magoo), this movie also has Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper!), a return appearance by Jack Palance, and also Pat "Mr. Haney" Buttram, Peter Lawford and Arthur Godfrey as himself. This one hurts. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered March 11, 1995. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 23, 2017 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS  Season 6, Ep 21

"Special Guest Star playing a double Role TOR JOHNSON as the Beast" A Soviet scientist wanders the titular flats after getting subjected to moviedom's favorite evil-causing MacGuffin, radiation. Coleman Francis narrates most of his misadventures as he strangles his way through the wasteland while chased by policemen. At the end, dying, he caresses a rabbit. With two shorts: Money Talks, Because there's not a lot to do in the afterlife, the silhouetted ghost of Benjamin Franklin lectures a kid about saving and spending money wisely; and Progress Island U.S.A., Have you considered Puerto Rico? Because this short really, really thinks you should consider Puerto Rico. The last of the Coleman Francis trilogy. Although Paste Magazine's recent list (Metafilter) put this one near the bottom, both Satellite News and Mighty Jack think this is one of the best episodes. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered January 21, 1995. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 15, 2017 - 18 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: DANGER! DEATH RAY  Season 6, Ep 20

aka "Il Raggio Infernale" A scientist invents a death ray--purely for peaceful purposes of course--and wouldn't you know it, its inventor gets kidnapped. It's up to James Bond expy Bart Fargo (Bart Fargo Bart Fargo Bart Fargo) to rescue him, to the tune of an unusually catchy soundtrack. Ba dup ba dup ba da da! While not as silly as 504 SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON or 508 OPERATION DOUBLE 007, that darn soundtrack, and the guys' fixation on it, help carry us through. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered January 7, 1995. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 9, 2017 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HIGH SCHOOL BIG SHOT  Season 6, Ep 18

"The Kid Who Showed the Big Time How!" A supposedly-intelligent high school student makes a series of progressively worse decisions that lead ultimately to the deaths or critical wounding of every major character. With short Out of This World: An angel and a devil each try to convince a bread deliveryman to join the light or dark sides, respectively, of bread delivery, leaving unexamined the incredible theological implications. Fan opinion of this Roger Corman movie varies widely, but I like it. The short is pretty good, one of those ridiculous industrials where supernatural entites take great interest in some poor dope's work-a-day life. This episode is not available on YouTube due to a copyright claim. Apparently the entity "BentPixels" is protective of their rights over either this secondary school film noir or the celestial battle for bread delivery to resort to legal solutions. The episode premiered December 10, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 23, 2017 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON  Season 6, Ep 17

aka "Ilya Mourometz" (USSR) "Eye-Filling Spectacle! Man Against Monsters!" "A cast of 106,000! 11,000 horses!" Russian folk hero Ilya Muromets is a chair-bound farmer who gains both the power to walk and the magic sword Invincor, and uses both to drive off the evil Tugars that threaten his land -- whose number includes his son. For once the opening ad blurbs and descriptions of this film aren't sarcastic, for this is a genuinely great movie, the third both of MST's treatments of the output of Russian director Aleksandr Ptushko. (The other two were 422 THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE and 505 THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.) Yet, while the movie is terrific, it's also very strange, which makes it excellent riffing fodder. Wait until you see the wind demon. It all adds up to a rare episode where you can appreciate both the film and the jokes. Also contains a favorite host segment, the "Joke by Ingmar Bergman." YouTube (1h37m) Premiered December 3, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 16, 2017 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL  Season 6, Ep 14

"Jet Packed Drama at a Giant Air Terminal!" Pilot for a TV show featuring the wacky shenanigans dramatic occurrences at... (spins the Wheel of Television) ...a major airport. A staple of MST3K is the failed TV pilot that never went to series. Well ha ha, this one did make it to series, minus its whole cast except for Clu Galuger, whose name sounds like it should be sung by Huckleberry Hound. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered November 19, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 26, 2017 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE STARFIGHTERS  Season 6, Ep 12

"THE BLAZING ADVENTURE of the men and planes who rocket to the very edge of OUTER SPACE!" A young Air Force cadet, who is Actual Bob Dornan and manifestly unlikeable even then, learns to fly a new jet, but forget about that. Get ready for tons of hott thicc triple-X refueling action! Oooh god. This episode has gotten something of a legendary reputation because of its great inanity (you wouldn't BELIEVE how much refueling can be in a movie), and the pointless late-film introduction of the "poopie suit," and the riffing is pretty great. The host segments have some great moments too, with the highlight being the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus. But the movie BITES, much more than the average. YouTube (1h32m) Promo (They're playing Doom!) Premiered October 29, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 12, 2017 - 12 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD  Season 6, Ep 8

"One Man Stands Between the Release of a Deadly Gas and the Fate of the World." Quinn Martin, producer of 16 thousand TV shows, tried to make it 16,001 with this pilot that didn't get picked up. NBC instead showed it as a movie-of-the-week. Basically, a spy tries to stop double-agent "Tree" from selling a deadly deadly gas to a foreign power. With short A Day at the Fair: Relieve the days when rural families enjoyed themselves by meeting for agricultural exhibits once a year. The incredible excitement explodes off the screen! The short's actually okay, but the movie is serious dullsville. Even the ad quote above came from a VHS box. It's very easy to forget this episode even exists. What was I talking about again? YouTube (1h32m) Premiered October 10, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 7, 2016 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: COLOSSUS AND THE HEADHUNTERS  Season 6, Ep 5

aka Maciste Vs. The Headhunters. "In a Time of Titans, Colossus Towered Above All!!!" Overexposed Italian muscleman everybeef Maciste fights... (spins the wheel of antagonists) ...evil island tribesmen. Whoever the heck Colossus is, he's not in the movie. It's probably only an inability to shoehorn this into Greek myth that's the reason translators didn't try to turn this into another Hercules movie. This is the episode with Nummy Muffin Coocol Butter. Promos (1m) YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 20, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 10, 2016 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE  Season 6, Ep 4

"Her Power Goes Beyond Life.... His Rage Survives Even Death!" A voodoo priestess revives a zombie. Okay forget that. A guy is knifed by thugs. Now forget that too. Years later, his way-too-beefy son thwarts robbers of a convenience store. It's when he exits the store that the movie really begins, as he's hit by a car driven by unruly teens. He's dead! But thanks to Ms. Voodoo, he can live again as a zombie and track down his killers, while three ineffectual policemen trace him, one of them sounding like Jim Baccus with a slow leak, and another being Actual Adam West. Oh, and Motorhead's "Ace of Spaces" is in there. The multiple prologues confused the heck out of me. Servo's Adam West impression sounds more like Shatner to me. YouTube (1h33m) Promo. Premiered November 24, 1994 (Thanksgiving Day). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 2, 2016 - 23 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS  Season 5, Ep 23

"Teen-agers zoom to supersize and terrorize a town!" Opie invents a magic growth formula, called "Goo," that turns surly teens into Olympian gods! It's the beach party of Ragnarok, and boy, is Andy ever gonna be pissed! It's another low-budget schlockfest from the most prolific of all MST directors, Bert I. Gordon; indeed, it is the last of his films the show would do. Although MST had a rule against doing comedies, Village of the Giants is partly one, although with suspiciously low-grade jokes. The script is based off of H.G. Wells' Food of the Gods. Musical guests The Beau Brummels and Freddy Cannon give this film rather more star power than you might expect from Mr. BIG's projects. It's a pretty good episode! The movie's certainly riffing fare, but is still watchable and fun all the same. And in the host segments, prepare yourself for a visit from an old fiend.... YouTube (OFFICIAL, with Annotations!) (1h32m) Premiered January 22, 1994. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 29, 2016 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SANTA CLAUS  Season 5, Ep 21

"An Enchanting World of Make-Believe!" All the aspects of Santa Claus that have enchanted kids for centuries are here: his floating palace high above the North Pole, his working relationship with Merlin the Wizard, his magical surveillance equipment, the many kids he holds captive in his singing work-dungeon, and his unending battle against the forces of hell. Merry Christmas! The second of the two MST3K Christmas episodes, and if anything even better than the first one. Santa Claus, made to give Mexican children their own version of the myth, is a truly disturbing movie. I say it does have its merits: the story of poor Lupita and her family is saddening. But don't worry, there's plenty of madness on display too, and the riffing is excellent. One of the best episodes. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered Christmas Eve, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 8, 2016 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: RADAR SECRET SERVICE  Season 5, Ep 20

Crooks don't stand a chance against the miracle science of RADAR, which can track down cars as long as they're moving. It's produced by demon prince Robert Lippert and directed by his archfiend Sam Newfield, so expect to be bored right to death. With short Last Clear Chance: Union Pacific wants you to be safe around their incredibly deadly, whisper-quiet trains, which, thirsty for blood, lurk at crossings, ready to strike. Why don't they look? Great short! The movie, however, is at true test of your MSTie endurance. The riffing is pretty good for most of it, about as good as you can expect from such a gray, static pile of film as this. It is a film that would lead aliens to conclude the planet Earth could hold no joy. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered December 18, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 25, 2016 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: OUTLAW  Season 5, Ep 19

aka "Outlaw of Gor," "Gor II." "The Adventure of a Thousand Lifetimes Continues!" "Fuera de la Ley de GOR" While John Carter fell asleep in a cave and woke up on Mars, one thing author John Norman's creation Gor has over Burroughs' Barsoom books is that at least Tarl Cabot has a magic ring to explain his ridiculous translocation to Barbarian Planet. You know Barbarian Planet, it's a world based on one of those oft-written-about fantasy times that never really existed historically, but all kinds of folk like to imagine, from Howard to Gygax. Well, at least this version has Jack Palance! When this episode aired, the movie was just four years old! I'm not sure it ever got a release in theaters in the US. Although he did it under a pseudonym, the main screenwriter is the same Harry Alan Towers who did the screenplay for 323 THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU. Fortunately this movie is tons more watchable, thanks to massive amounts of flesh (both male and female, it's an equal opportunity exhibitor) and excellent riffing. One of the host segments refers to all the skin, one of the best sketches and songs MST ever did: Tubular Boobular Joy. Notes on Gor itself are after the break. Official YouTube, with annotations! (1h32m) Premiered December 11, 1993. If you want to fill in the blanks with the movie this is a sequel to (may god have mercy on your soul), here it is! (1h30m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 17, 2016 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MITCHELL  Season 5, Ep 12

"Brute Force With a Badge" "Joe Don Baker IS 'MITCHELL'!" Our lead is not so much an anti-hero as an un-hero. Police Detective (really?) Mitchell has little social skill, no friends besides his beer, and a disdain for the rules some would call incompetence. But sometimes, a man like Mitchell is just the cop we need to drunkenly stumble through the case. One of the funniest episodes of the show. Our hero is hilariously inept, but ends up being heroic mostly because, the movie seems to suggest, he's too stupid to be corrupt. Joel and the bots are at the top of their game here. This is show creator Joel Hodgson's final episode as host of Mystery Science Theater 3000. YouTube, with annotations (1h32m). Premiered October 23, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 27, 2016 - 23 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GUNSLINGER  Season 5, Ep 11

"Hired to kill the woman he loved!" A woman's husband is shot and, through line of succession, she is hired as the new sheriff. When she tells a local whorehouse to close at night, its proprietor hires a gunman to kill her. But he falls in love with her! How will this wacky situation end? In blood, natch. Corman alert! He uses one of his main actresses, Beverly Garland, who we saw in 503 SWAMP DIAMONDS, to lead this one. Daddy-O tells us this was his last Western. A couple of weird continuity issues are the subject of much mockery from Joel and the bots, especially in one of the later host segments. Speaking of whom, we approach the end of the Joel Hodgson era--the next episode is his last. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered October 9, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 22, 2016 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE PAINTED HILLS  Season 5, Ep 10

"Packed with thrills!" Prospector Jonathan is murdered by his partner in an attempt to jump his claim, but the scoundrel didn't count on the valor of Jon's faithful collie, who is driven by VENGENCE! Vengence, and SNAUSAGES! With short Body Care and Grooming: A narrator reminds college students of the shame of not adjusting your appearance to social norms. Another good short, and the first Western MST did -- and the second is the very next episode. (No, I'm not counting the "space western" MOON ZERO TWO.) Furthermore, this is actually a Lassie movie; they took the famous meta-collie's name off the movie for some releases, which is just as well as the dog's name in the movie is actually Shep. Daddy-O informs us that Paul Kelly, the actor who played Jonathan, the victim in the movie, spent two years in prison for manslaughter! This episode contains the last short Joel riffed for MST3K, and there are only two other Joel episodes left.... YouTube (1h31m Premiered September 26, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 15, 2016 - 3 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: OPERATION DOUBLE 007  Season 5, Ep 8

aka Operation Kid Brother, aka O.K. Connery. "NEIL CONNERY IS TOO MUCH" "Such close friends. Such beautiful enemies." The evil organization Thanatos, staffed primarily by a horde of young scantily-clad women who for some reason follow a middle-aged bald guy, threatens the world with their machine-breaking superweapon. It's just another Thursday at Secret Spy HQ, which by the way is staffed by a number of familiar faces. But the usual secret agent sent to solve these issues, you know the one, can't make it, so they recruit his plastic surgeon brother, to save the world. Fortunately, he's pretty much omnipotent. This movie is overflowing with weirdness, and it's another great episode. Example 1: it's scored partly by Ennio Morricone! Example 2: they got M (Bernard Lee) and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) from the Bond movies to play similar roles with different names! Example 3: The Thanatos girls. I mean, have some self respect ladies. This episode has one of my personal favorite host segments, Joel's "I Know" sketch. YouTube (1h35m) Premiered September 11, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 1, 2016 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: EEGAH  Season 5, Ep 6

"The name written in blood!" "The Crazed Love of a Prehistoric Giant for a Ravishing Teen-Age Girl!" Somewhere in the California desert, in defiance of all known anthropology, lives, in a cave, a caveman, played by a cave-Kiel, who's been given unnaturally long life by sulfur water. He comes into contact with 60s youth culture, and ends up face-down in a swimming pool, dead. Shtemlo! It's a popular episode, with pointless dune buggy scenes, whimsical editing, and much oddness to be spied. Note: in one scene Kiel laps up shaving cream with his gigantic tongue, so you may not want to watch on a full stomach. And remember, watch out for snakes! YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 28, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2016 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD  Season 5, Ep 5

"All the Magic of 'Stone Flower' All the Power of 'Alexander Nevsky' All the Artistry of 'Grand Concert' Highly Recommended for Children" A strangely Russian Sinbad, upset with corruption in his home town of not-Bagdad, searches the world for happiness. This is the second of the Russo-Finish movies MST did, imports from the Soviet Union directed by genius filmmaker Alexandr Ptushko. Originally it was Sadko, a film production of an honest-to-goodness opera! One composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov! Vibrant, wonderous, astounding, and with music from the opera, this is much better fare than the SOL usually got. It is also a terrific episode, because the writing is the Brains at their best, and the movie, for all its wonders, is incredibly strange. Get your popcorn ready folks, this is one of the best. YouTube (1h32m) - Unriffed - Russian original Садко (Sadko) - With English subs - A performance of the opera Sadko (2h53m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 11, 2016 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON  Season 5, Ep 4

"Beautiful Women! Silver-Masked Men! Deadly Windmills! Karate Killings! Lethal Oriental Vases!" A secret agent from America goes abroad to investigate drugged chewing gum. Oh for the days when secret agents were regularly asked to look into ridiculous things. Why not leave it for the FDA? It's the first "Eurospy" movie MST would cover, a funky little genre that grew out of the huge popularity of James Bond. General consensus is this is an above-average episode, although it doesn't have the sheer stupid-power as the upcoming 508 OPERATION DOUBLE 007. YouTube (1h32m) - Trailer. Premiered August 7, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 4, 2016 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES  Season 5, Ep 2

aka Le fatiche di Ercole "SEE the heroic Hercules rip down the Age of Orgy's lavish palace of lustful pleasure! SEE the Mightiest of Men fight the Mightiest of Beasts, the killer Cretan Bull! SEE Hercules fight off the savage love-starved Amazon women!" Joseph E. Levine brings us Hercules, big buttery Hercules, who engages in various adventures in antiquity. Don't come here looking for fidelity to myth. While based loosely on Argonautica, Herc plays a much larger role in this movie. The Brains cut up the movie to fit it in the run time unfortunately, so the story is pretty hard to follow. This is the episode with the wonderful "Hamilton, Joe, Frank, and Reynolds" and Match Game sketches, and has the first on-screen appearance of Mary Jo Pehl as a Minnesota Amazon. YouTube (1h32m) - Unriffed (1h44m) Premiered July 7, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 20, 2016 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD  Season 5, Ep 1

In the future Donand Pleasance has taken over the world as we all knew he would, and it's up to a gravelly-voice drifter and THE MOST ANNOYING TALKING MOTORCYCLE to save it, because the world sucks. Story is that director David Worth was shown the poster art and told to make a movie to go with it. This is the first of two appearances by Donald Pleasance on MST; the second is 903 THE PUMAMAN. This is the episode with "the Paper Chase guy," the Robitussin riff, Servo/Kevin Murphy's riffing on every face in a rapid pan of extras, and the inimitable Megaweapon, voiced of course by Mike. Many fans divide the show into "Joel era" and "Mike era" episodes, but I think the show is as usefully divided at this episode, where that Mike-era feel starts to appear. There are just 12 Joel episodes left. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered July 24, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 13, 2016 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: "MANOS" THE HANDS OF FATE  Season 4, Ep 24

"IT'S SHOCKING! It's Beyond Your Imagination!" "A cult of weird, horrible people who gather beautiful women only to deface them with a burning hand!" A family of three on vacation in the desert stumble upon a lodge run by the misshapen Torgo. Oh, what improbable secrets does the place hold? With short Hired!, part 2: The second half of the Chevrolet training short shown last week. ☠☠☠! Oh god! It's here! If it's not the worst movie they ever showed (a matter of some debate) it's a strong contender. It is not recommended that you make this your first episode of MST3K, or it may well be your last. The first eight minutes of this movie are just driving. The movie pushes Joel and company to the brink. The mad scientists apologize for the movie. Twice. YouTube (1h32m) - and here's the whole thing annotated, from the official MST3K YouTube channel! - And for sadists... ☠☠☠ UNRIFFED ☠☠☠ (1h9m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 6, 2016 - 16 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE  Season 4, Ep 22

"Chilling Terror!" Don't believe the ad! This is actually a charming story from the Kalevala, the Finnish national myth, that was blatantly renamed by American International Pictures to try to trick people into seeing it who were expecting sci-fi. With short HERE COMES THE CIRCUS. The horrors of the Clyde Beatty circus, named after the animal tamer who appears here, are brought before us. After 421 MONSTER A-GO GO last week, this film is a breath of fresh air. Director Aleksander Ptushko was a genius who's not better known now only because his career took place entirely behind the Iron Curtain. His first movie, "The New Gulliver," was the first entirely stop-motion movie. Two other of his films, also excellent, are later covered by MST3K: 505 THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD and 617 THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered January 16, 1993. You might be interested to know that the original version, "Sampo," is on YouTube in six parts, with subtitles! 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 24, 2016 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS  Season 4, Ep 20

"Made to Kill or Love on Command!!!" The first of a total of three movies starring Richard Kiel, best known as "Jaws" from the James Bond franchise. Here he's an alien who comes to earth to duplicate prominent people and replace them to pave the way for a space invasion. EHT NAMUH SROTACILPUD! There was an outpouring on the Blue a couple of years ago when Richard Kiel died. Regardless of the quality of movies he was usually in, he seemed to be genuine good guy. Len shared a particularly fun memory of Kiel. Extra bit of trivia for you, this was Hugh Beaumont's final screen role. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered December 26, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 10, 2016 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN  Season 4, Ep 12

"The weirdest! The wildest! Half woman! Half stone!" Hercules is so sleepy he can barely keep his eyes open, but there's rescuin' to do. The loaf-of-demigod travels there, rescues the titular women, defeats the evil queen, and... well, it takes place in Atlantis. You figure out what happens at the end. THIS MOVIE IS DEDICATED TO URANUS. There, it's out of my system for good I think. This is the last Hercules movie of the season. This episode gives us a short bit at the start where Gypsy is in the theater, and the host segment with the Hercules Inaction Figure. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered September 12, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 14, 2016 - 1 comment

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE MAGIC SWORD  Season 4, Ep 11

"SEE the Green Fire Demons! SEE the 25-Foot Tall Ogre! SEE the Beautiful Vampire Woman! SEE the Boiling Crater of Death!" Lodac the Sorcerer has trouble finding a pet store that carries Dragon Chow, so he finds natural prey for it. Young George, a socially-awkward teen who's spent his whole life in a cave taken care of by witch Estelle Winwood, resolves to help protect the local princess population. The general consensus is that this is not a bad movie by MST standards. I concur; it's rather fun in a fairytale kind of way. Director Bert I. Gordon did good this time, and Basil Rathbone as the evil wizard helps to elevate things too. YouTube (1h33m). Premiered September 29, 1992. See comments for new information about our weekly showings.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 7, 2016 - 1 comment

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN  Season 4, Ep 10

"Planets on collision course as Earth's mightiest titan battles Moon Monsters!" Herc fights against rock monsters from space that are aided by the evil Queen Samar. Prepare for DEEP HURTING. This is the second "Hercules" movie the crew of the SOL witnessed, although in name only. Maciste is a venerable strongman character of Italian cinema that, alas, few Americans know about. So when this got released in the States he was renamed Hercules for this movie that has very little to do with mythology. This is the movie that has the interminable "saaand stooorm" sequence that drives our heroes to tears. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 22, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 17, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES UNCHAINED  Season 4, Ep 8

AKA Ercole e la regina di Lidia. "Spectacles of Massive Might Beyond Any Ever Known Before!" "SEE The War of the Chariots! SEE Lydia the Temptress! SEE the Contest of Giants!" Hercules and his friend Ulysses (wait what?) get waylaid from an important mission by a sultry evil queen, who takes advantage of his drinking of the "waters of forgetfulness" to advance her romantic plans on the Hercster. This one marks the beginning of a new category for Mystery Science Theater movies, the sword-and-sandal epic. Most of these are fine episodes. Common to most: the meeting of the manly macho man-friends of Hercules, the customary Display of Strength, the evil trap that Herc falls into, the evil queen with designs on the Herc-meister, the Prance of the Courtly Nymphs, and of course the rampant muddling and conflating of ancient Greek works. YouTube (1h32m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 2, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET  Season 4, Ep 5

AKA Time Walker. "Nothing Can Stop Him. Not Even Time." A mummy, in reality a space alien, terrorizes a college campus. An extremely forgettable made-for-TV movie, and one of those films that's difficult to recall. About the most memorable thing I can say is that this is the episode in which the bots are terrified of the basement. Star Ben Murphy shows up again much later in the Sci-Fi Channel era in 814 RIDING WITH DEATH. YouTube (1h35m) Premiered August 4, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 4, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CITY LIMITS  Season 4, Ep 3

"Just beyond our time, heroic young warriors stand between civilization and destruction." "On the border of adventure. At the edge of danger." It's after the apocalypse again, teenage motorcycle gangs rule the city streets, and a corporation wants to take over because EVIL. A classic episode, with many memorable bits: Joel's umbrella in the theater, Crow's fixation on Kim Cattrall, and two whole segments in which the guys invent members for their superhero team, the Fantastic 85. "Man Man! He has all the powers of a man, but he's a man!" Ernie was played by Dean Devlin, who produced Independence Day, the first Hollywood Godzilla (the one with Matthew Broderick) and Stargate. According to the IMDB, how actors were mentioned in the credits depended on their fate in the movie. So, John Stockwell IS Lee because his character survived, but Dean Devlin WAS Ernie because he kicked the bucket. YouTube (1h31m) Premiered June 20, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 21, 2015 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SPACE TRAVELERS  Season 4, Ep 1

AKA Marooned. American astronauts become stranded in space when their ship suffers a malfunction, and their wives on Earth are put through the dramatic wringer worrying about them. The surprise heroes turn out to be the Russians. Here it is: the first episode of Season Four, the only MST3K movie to have Gene Hackman, and -- yes! -- the only Oscar-winning movie covered by Mystery Science Theater 3000, although not in the form in which it won, and for Effects. This is another Film Ventures International production, a company that specialized in low-budget knockoffs of better-known films. FVI puttered along for a while, but when it failed in 1984 boss Edward Montoro disappeared with a million dollars of company money and his whereabouts remain unknown to this day. YouTube (1h34m) Premiered June 6, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 7, 2015 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU  Season 3, Ep 23

"He's back!! The World's Most Evil Man with a Fiendish Plan of Conquest." Evil Mandarin megalomaniacal mastermind Fu Manchu schemes to freeze the world's oceans. No one can accuse him of lack of ambition, but Englishman Nayland Smith is on-hand to foil his diabolical plans. It's not your imagination, playing Fu Manchu himself is Christopher Lee. The Satellite News' "Daddy-O" website is a treasure trove of data, but it was written so long ago that for notable movies for Mr. Lee it mentions neither Star Wars prequels nor the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Producer Harry Alan Towers made another movie we'll be encountering later, the equally ridiculous Outlaw. I find this to be a very difficult episode to make it through; evidently the MST guys agreed, because the host segments revolve around how much Joel and the 'bots are suffering. YouTube. Premiered January 18, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 23, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MASTER NINJA I  Season 3, Ep 22

"The Master Is Here! He's the supreme warrior. Even his eyes can kill you. His student is the supreme heartthrob. His eyes can melt you." A goofy kid who lives out of his van with his pet hamster is taken on as apprentice by an aging American ninja master played, amazingly, by Lee Van Cleef, and who's back in the US looking for his lost daughter. They travel the country in a manner not unlike Richard Kimble or David Banner. This is another of those direct-to-video "movies" that are actually episodes of a TV show stitched together. This time though, despite the name, it's an American show, "The Master," from 1984, and it's from Film Ventures International. You might think it'd make for a bad episode, but this is another true classic, thanks no doubt to the writing talents and obsessive pop culture knowledge of one Frank Conniff. A good jumping-on episode. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered January 11, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 16, 2015 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II  Season 3, Ep 18

The crew of the Bacchus 3, ex-Star Wolf Ken, hard drinking Captain Joe, vivacious Tammy, suspecious Rocky (again?) and some other guys, have adventures throughout the galaxy, involving a secret weapon, Ken's old girlfriend, and the leader of the Star Wolves. It's another sewn-together movie from episodes of the Japanese TV show Star Wolf. It's got the same great theme music, including a host segment that features it. It's the last of the eight Sandy Frank movies, and it's the last Japanese movie for a long long time. The crew of the SOL wouldn't get another Japanese picture until 816 PRINCE OF SPACE, on the Sci-Fi Channel. YouTube (2h) Premiered November 16, 1991. This movie was also riffed in a KTMA episode, but no known fan copy of it exists. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 19, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. ZIGRA  Season 3, Ep 16

AKA Gamera tai Shinkai kaiju Jigura The evil alien Zigra comes to Earth in his glowing, flying bowl of Trix, and enacts his fiendish plan: to mind control people in such a way that just shouting in their ear will break the spell, and also to fight with Gamera. It doesn't go well for the intrepid shark monster. The last of the five Gamera movies MST would do, and eighth of the nine Sandy Frank films they would cover on cable. Classic "Shōwa era" Gamera would appear in three other movies in Japan: Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Jiger and the finale Gamera: Super Monster, which was mostly clips from prior movies, and in which they kill the giant turtle off. Gamera would return for four more movies in the "Heisei era," the last coming out in 2005. YouTube (1h37m) Here's the KTMA version (1h35m). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 5, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MIGHTY JACK  Season 3, Ep 14

(1968, Color, Japanese, Spies) The only people who can hope to win against "the organization known as Q" is Mighty Jack, a bunch of action spies in a flying submarine. I think. Despite several viewings I don't think I've ever managed to pay complete attention throughout the entire episode. The movie is amazingly lacking in cohesiveness, in large part because it's really the first and last episodes of a Japanese TV spy show tacked together. For Fugitive Alien and Time Of The Apes at least some editing was done for continuity, but not here. I don't recommend this one to casual viewers. Treat Mighty Jack with respect, or Mighty Jack will destroy you. YouTube (1h38m) Premiered September 21, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 23, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. GUIRON  Season 3, Ep 12

(1969, Color, Kaiju, Monster, Japanese, Gamera, Sandy Frank, Cornjob) aka "Attack Of The Monsters" "Will Gamera be a super turtle or turtle soup?" A pair of boys is taken away by two scantly-clad alien ladies to their home planet -- but they plan to eat their brains! To rescue the kids, Gamera will have to fight the inexplicable Guiron, a monster with a big knife blade for a forehead. If Gamera vs. Gaos is the best Gamera movie taken on its own terms, this one is, by far, the most entertaining one in an episode of MST3K. With a goofy enemy monster, Gamera doing many blatantly absurd things like gymnastics, and a character who's name sounds all the world like Cornjob, it's an awesome episode overall and excellent fun even for newbies. And it's the episode that gives us the Gamera Fight Song! It is fourth of the Gamera movies suffered by the crew of the SOL, and the sixth Sandy Frank movie. One Gamera film, and two other Sandy Frank films, remain. YouTube (1h37m) KTMA Original! (YouTube, 1h33m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 9, 2015 - 13 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS  Season 2, Ep 11

(1960, Color, Sci-Fi, Venus, Space Travel, International, German, Soviet, Stanislaw Lem) "You are there... on man's most exciting, most incredible journey!" "This Is A First! Fantastic! Unforgettable!" Based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, an international team arrives on Venus to investigate the origin of an alien artifact. What they find: ruin, death, and a rapidly growing supply of pudding. The first outright Soviet movie Joel and company ran up against, but not as charming as The Day The Earth Froze. A very odd film, but with nice host segments, including the Klack Holiday Commercial and an exploding Servo head. Can you believe we're nearing the end of Season Two already? Prepare yourselves: next time we have a real doozy.... YouTube (YouTube 1h37m) First aired: December 29, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 18, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE HELLCATS  Season 2, Ep 9

(1968, Color, Exploitation, Bikers, Sixties, Ross Hagan) "Leather on the Outside... All Woman on the Inside!" "The Cycle-Gang Girls... Scratching... Clawing any Guy Who Gets In Their Way!" Ross Hagan plays the brother of a cop killed by a biker gang. He and the cop's girlfriend go undercover in the gang to bring him to justice. The producer on this was Anthony Cardoza, who should be familiar to us as the producer of the three Coleman Francis movies. (Red Zone Cuba, The Skydivers and Beast of Yucca Flats) As Servo reminds us, Tony Houston also wrote The Sidehackers, and Gus Trikonis, playing Scorpio in this, directed that movie. YouTube (YT 1h37m - no embed) First aired December 8, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 5, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: WILD REBELS  Season 2, Ep 7

(1967, Color, Motorcycles, Exploitation) "They Live for Kicks... Love for Kicks... Kill for Kicks!" "They're the Wildest of the Wild Ones!" A stock driver goes undercover as wheel man for a larcenous biker gang. It's the second of the three motorcycle movies MST did in their run. Less iconic than The Sidehackers, but Satellite News considers it the best of the trio. YouTube (1h37m) First shown November 17, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 19, 2015 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROCKET ATTACK USA, with THE PHANTOM CREEPS, part 2  Season 2, Ep 5

(1960, Color, Cold War, Propaganda) "From another continent... DESTRUCTION!!! PANIC!! ...before the Rocket Strikes! You'll live, MAYBE!!!" Heroic spies fail to stop the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear missile at Manhattan. A movie that reminds us that fearmongering in the media has been with us for a long time. Of particular note, Daddy-O informs us that director Barry Mahon went on to make adult films, then kids movies. He made, believe it or not, the infamous, legendary Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. YouTube (1h38m) First shown October 27, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 4, 2015 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROBOT HOLOCAUST, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, part 9  Season 1, Ep 10

(1986, Unrated, Color, Sci-fi, Horror, Made for Video, Central Park) "The world had been brought to its knees by the... Robot Holocaust!" Watch the saddest LARPers of all, in costumes that must have been picked up on clearance at Pelt World, explore the greener spaces of New York City after yet another apocalypse. Riffing in this one is probably as good as it gets in the first season, approaching the joke density we're familiar with from later seasons. YouTube(1h 36m) First airing: around January 13, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 18, 2014 - 15 comments

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