Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE SCREAMING SKULL
January 31, 2018 3:17 AM - Season 9, Episode 12 - Subscribe

"FREE! We Guarentee To Bury You Without Charge If You Die Of Fright During SCREAMING SKULL!" A man and his new wife move into a house. Wait, the house was owned by his previous, now dead, wife? Who died mysteriously? And the new wife has a lot of money? Can you see where this is going? With short Robot Rumpus: Clayboy Gumby and his pony pal Pokey make robots to do his yardwork, but they run amok amok amok amok. Most say the movie's extremely drab and hard to watch, but the short is excellent, both fun itself and terrific riffing fodder. The bots do not well handle the sight of the fate of their claymation brethren: "This is how it is in the real world! Horrid lumps of discharge destroy beautiful, innocent robots with impunity!" In Castle Forrester, Pearl and company try to play a bizarre joke on Mike and his contingent, resulting ultimately in the shrinking of Bobo. Hah. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 29, 1998. 14 episodes left.


Satellite News - Mighty Jack's Episode Review - War of the Colossal Fan Guide - Annotated MST3K - TVTropes

It's Bill Corbett's turn to write the episode up for the ACEG (only some of which I paste here, because it's pretty long):
I dearly love my job and my colleagues here, but permit me to whine a bit, as I am very skilled and practiced at it. To wit: sometimes I wonder if we here at Best Brains aren't the butt of our own joke. While producing a show about a man and his robots who are tortured by watching bad movies, we have become the real-life victims of our own smarty-pants premise. Why do I say this? Answer: The Screaming Skull. Making someone watch this even once is specifically outlawed by the Geneva Convention. But many, many times, as is our practice? That is the custom-fitted hell that we've brought upon ourselves, worthy of a wry introduction by Rod Serling . I found this movie to be the Deepest of Hurting: like watching bacteria grow in extra-slow motion. This situation, I would contend, is true irony, Classic Greek in nature -- unlike the Alanis Morrisette version, which applies the word to slight inconveniences and minor gross-outs. (By this Morrisettian standard, then, it is "ironic" when one of her songs come on my favorite FM station.) Thank you, my whining is over and I am happy again.
The Gumby short, on the other hand, was a complete party to do. Good clean fun, though disappointingly short at six minutes. I always loved the shorts as a fan of the show, and hope we can get more.
Other things: we all loved doing segment four -- the Crow-as-Screaming-Skull -- though I ruined a few takes by cracking up at Mike as he carefully chose a golf club while yelling in stark terror.
Short: Robot Rumpus
Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt
IMDB (1957, 4.6 stars)
Directed and written by Art Clokey. Starring Ginny Tyler as Gumby and Gumba, and Art Clokey as Pokey and Gumbo.

Movie: The Screaming Skull
Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics N/A, Viewers 18%) - Wikipedia - TVTropes
IMDB (1958, 3.4 stars)
"A newly married couple arrives at the home of the husband's late wife, where the gardens have been maintained by a gardener faithful to the dead woman's memory. Soon, eerie events lead the new wife to think she's losing her mind."
Directed by Alex Nicol. Written by John Kneubuhl. Starring John Hudson, Peggy Webber and Russ Conway.

This was the last episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to be aired (in re-runs) on the Sci-Fi Channel, when their contract ran out.
posted by JHarris (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's so fine he blows my mind, poor Mickey!
posted by wittgenstein at 3:50 AM on January 31, 2018

posted by The Whelk at 6:23 AM on January 31, 2018

The Screaming; Skull
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:07 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here's the usual notification:
Every Thursday we get together and watch that week's posted episode together over the internet. It's MST Club! If this sounds like something you'd like to participate in ("JOIN US"), the episode, and another one chosen from the Joel years, will be shown at, starting at 7 PM Eastern time. This week's episodes:
7 PM ET/4 PM PT: 207 WILD REBELS (Joel episode encore showing)
9 PM ET/6 PM PT: 912 THE SCREAMING SKULL (main episode)
posted by JHarris at 9:11 PM on January 31, 2018

The episode was at least somewhat watchable, but still relentless. Turns out (hope no one is upset that I'm about to spoil the ending to THE SCREAMING SKULL) that our heroine's loving husband was anything but, and was gaslighting her to think that she was being haunted by his dead wife's spirit, right down to saying a skull resting on the ground staring up at her that he could plainly see, that he had put there, wasn't there.

Given the guy's fate, and his general patriarchal treatment of her, "forbidding" her to do X or Y (although always being careful to couch it in loving terms), one might make the argument that the movie was ultimately feminist. But given how amazingly two-faced he was, and how he only ever really got comeuppance from supernatural sources (his dead wife does seem to come after him at the end) I can't say the movie is uplifting in any way. It basically says, "Sometimes husbands are amazingly shitty and actually murderous to their wives, and can hide it so well that only ghosts can punish them."

The Gumby short was great though. Not just for riffing but on its own, I think. Art Clokey was awesome.

oneswellfoop brought along a link to a complete episode of Fractured Flickers, the Bill Scott/Jay Ward show hosted by Hans Conried that took clips of silent movies and recontextualized them, which could be regarded as an ancestor of MST3K. I don't think it was generally up to their cartoons (the presence of a laugh track cheapened the whole thing, and a couple of the bits weren't too progressive), but did have its moments. We also found a link to an interview between Hans Conried and the Bullwinkle puppet.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

This movie is a slog, all right.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:40 PM on February 3, 2018

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