Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE MAD MONSTER, with ROCKET MEN FROM THE MOON part 2
May 26, 2014 12:23 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Mad Monster (1942, B&W, Sci-fi, Horror, Wolfman) - Dr. Cameron wishes ill on his former colleagues for throwing him out of Science, and so gives his simple-minded handyman a wolf transfusion in order to get REVENGE. Also: Radar Men From The Moon, Part 2 - On the Moon, Cody and colleagues try to steal an atomic ray from Retik's base. YouTube - Amazon (Volume 14) If you think Dr. Cameron's plan for revenge is kind of stupid, well, they don't call him a mad scientist for nothing. First season warning, yadda yadda.

The Mad Monster
IMDB [3.1 stars]
Directed by Sam Newfield (that's a name we'll see again....)
Written by Fred Myton
Starring Johnny Downs, George Zucco, Anne Nagel and Glenn Strange as Pedro.
posted by JHarris (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film:
A pretty funny no-budget film inspired by Universal's The Wolfman. Crazy George Zucco turns big dumb farmhand Glenn Strange into a big hairy monster in overalls who kidnaps a little girl. Injections of wolf blood do the trick. With Anne Nagel and Mae Busch. Zucco controls his new instrument of revenge with a whip, a la Dr. Moreau.

Mike Nelson on this episode, from the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide:
In the early shows, there was no prologue, the thinking being that the Mads controlled the experiment. Eventually it was decided that Joel and the 'Bots were the focus and should therefore be highlighted up front. The scripts at that time were written by committee, everybody just throwing in stuff until we had a big pile of words, and I think it shows. Tom's romancing the blender was originally done at (KTMA) TV 23, with minor changes. "Nobody drinks from my girl" always gives me a chuckle.

Host segments:
Pre: The Mads reveal how they went mad, Invention Exchange (Joel: Hell in a Handbag, Mads: Thunder Lizard).
1: Tom Servo propositions a blender. A classic early MST sketch.
2: The guys speculate about the specifics of wolfmen.
3: It's episode three, and already we have the worst pun in the show's long history of bad puns: The Servo-Crowation. "My robots. I think I'll keep them ...turned off."
End: Good and bad thing about the movie, but no one gets any RAM chips this time out.

For links to other recaps, may I direct your attention to the recap sidebar? The best sources of information I've found on MST episodes are:
  • The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide(AMAZON)A print reference produced and written by Best Brains themselves after the show's sixth season. It's an essential reference for any MSTie. You might be able to find a PDF of this online, but it's really not that much on Amazon. (Why yes, I own a physical copy, although it seems to have run off somewhere, cheeky little book.) After Season Six, the book was extended by the show's cast on the Sci-Fi Channel's website. Those updates are now hosted on the official MST fansite, Satellite News. The good folks there even commissioned the cast to write entries for each of the six episodes in the abbreviated, final Comedy Central season.
  • Satellite NewsSpeaking of which. The site has their own episode guide as well, produced by site maintainers Chris "Sampo" Cornell and Brain Henry. Satellite News has an over-abundance of information, including two full sub-sites. One, Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt, is an IMDB-style database of every MSTed movie and short. It is exhaustive in its information, and with this episode I will start supplying its pages along with the others in the recap sidebar. (Here's the pages for the episodes we've done so far: 101 THE CRAWLING EYE - 102 THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY - serial ROCKET MEN FROM THE MOON.) The other prominent subsite is Ward E, which bills itself as a resource for the beyond-obsessive. It hosts an endless supply of Mystery Science Trivia, including transcripts of many of the host segments.
  • The Annotated MST3KDid you ever see a reference on the show that you just didn't "get?" Do not worry, it happens to everyone. I have probably seen thousands of total hours of the show, and there's still jokes that go over (or, sometimes, under) my head. While there are a few lines that are in-jokes or so obscure the show's writers themselves have forgotten their origins, most of the time if you don't understand a joke there is some basis for it, out there somewhere floating in the pop culture universe. If you ever have a question about the source of a particular reference, The Annotated MST3K has a good chance of having the explanation.
Miscellaneous notes:
This name of this one's a little weird. Most sources list it as "Mad Monster," but the IMDB and the movie itself titles it The Mad Monster. I've gone with the movie's version.

A total of four episodes start us off in Deep 13 after an initial commercial. We've seen the first two and this is the third. The next isn't 104, which uses the more familiar opening on the SOL, but 105 begins in Deep 13 again. This happened because 104 was really the last first season episode made. We're going in production number order, so consider next week's episode a preview of the end of the season.

At the start Larry and Clayton trade stories of how they became mad scientists. It's a great little exchange. This is the episode that establishes the bit where Joel mentions how evil or wrong the Mads' invention exchange is, and they respond in unison with "THAAANK YOOOU!", which they repeat for the rest of the season (and once afterward, awkwardly, with TV's Frank).

Before the movie is the second installment of Radar Men. While Evil Moon Man Retik's atomic ray pistol makes an impressive puff of smoke it takes forever to reload, making it rather ineffective as an anti-personnel weapon. I love the office attire, including stylish necktie, worn around the rocketship by what the short presents as our first astronauts.

Joel: "It's a moon car! And it's full of evil Michelin Men!"

At one point Joel says "Is it just me, or do those two look like the Crash Dummies?" And Servo responds, "You could learn a lot from a dummy. Buckle up!" That is how old this show is now.

Concerning the movie itself, it's interesting the mad scientist is presented as being actually mad, as opposed to merely strange or evil. He talks to hallucinations and everything. When he rants to one of the scientists who ruined his career, you can feel how badly he was wronged. It might be a bad movie, but it's not a bad performance.

A few notable riffs: Servo's rendition of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, and a repeated "Skipper! Little buddy!" bit. An old woman character actor at one point is referred to as Tom Waits' mother.

The IMDB page on the career of Glenn Strange, the handyman/werewolf who looks like Lon Chaney Jr., makes for interesting reading. Did you know he appeared in hundreds of westerns? Or that his version of Frankenstein's Monster is the one that Universal uses in promotions now?
posted by JHarris at 12:34 PM on May 26, 2014

I'm free this Friday for the next showing. This isn't a bad one I'd say, at least compared to the first two.

Looking ahead.... Oh wow. 104: WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET looks like a winner! Satellite News says it has Season Two-level writing and joke density, and the movie is ridiculous too. I'm looking forward to refreshing my memory of it.
posted by JHarris at 1:20 PM on May 26, 2014

Oh gosh an MST3K from the baling-wire-and-gum era. I should watch this
posted by hellojed at 5:44 PM on May 26, 2014

There was a deep reference to Van Halen's "No Brown M&Ms" rule which made me laugh pretty hard
posted by hellojed at 10:10 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

JHarris, just a thought - maybe mention the original air date in the posts? Looks like December 2nd, 1989 for this one.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:56 AM on May 27, 2014

That's a good idea! Thanks, Chrysostom.
posted by JHarris at 10:05 AM on May 27, 2014

Sort of puts the jokes about Bush 41 in more perspective.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:13 AM on May 27, 2014

Ya know, I've started working on the post for 104. Maybe this Friday we could make it a double feature?
posted by JHarris at 12:17 AM on May 28, 2014

If you guys do a double feature, I'll probably be home in time for 104, alternatively, I should be there for the second loop this week. I've really started looking forward to these watches, I remember absolutely nothing about these movies, its been fun rediscovering parts of this show I never go back to.
posted by hobgadling at 6:38 PM on May 28, 2014

104 is the highlight of the two I think. I'm worried that two episodes in a row might be more than some people can take, although I suppose nothing says they have to sit through both, or catch two of them on the same loop.
posted by JHarris at 6:49 PM on May 28, 2014

Didn't get around to finishing the post on 104 in time so we'll just do 103 today with extras as usual. I'll start it up in a couple of hours, I'm going to eat first I think. I'm going to be doing most of this one from Books-A-Million I think, we'll see how well that goes, they're open only until 10 PM though so I'll have to duck out for a little bit around then.
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on May 30, 2014

I think the "official" showing will be around 8, until then I'll just let it loop the movie and extras, how about?
posted by JHarris at 12:17 PM on May 30, 2014

This is the link to the room:

If it changes before 8 I'll report here. BTW, I just found on YouTube an UNCUT version, un-MSTed, of Mr B Natural, a short that I thought had been lost in its original form. I might throw it in later.
posted by JHarris at 1:27 PM on May 30, 2014

Knew your father, I did!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:43 PM on May 30, 2014

About to start, it's the URL linked above, again:

Good luck everyone! I've got some nice interesting MST and RiffTrax material for after the movie this week so hold on after.
posted by JHarris at 5:00 PM on May 30, 2014

Room started slowly, with just me at the start. oneswellfoop joined for a little while. Eventually it got up to five people. Unfortunately foop had connection issues, and it turns out if one person gets a connection problem, it pauses the movie for everyone. I actually had to kick him once to get it to unpause (sorry about that foop). I think the culprit is a switch that says Pause While Buffering, but I'm not sure what the other implications are for turning that off.

Next week it's 104: WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET, a much better episode than we've had so far! If you've been staying out because of the lacklustre first season, this one's a highlight.
posted by JHarris at 9:29 PM on May 30, 2014

"Massage us into your scalp!"

Ah, yes, that's the stuff I tune into early MST for.
posted by BrashTech at 2:27 PM on June 5, 2014

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