Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE DAY TIME ENDED
January 2, 2019 4:58 PM - Season 12, Episode 4 - Subscribe

"The World Became a Living Hell... When Past, Present and Future Collided...." It certainly did. I'm not even sure what's going on here. Some supernovas happen, and then a family sensibly living in the middle of the desert have crazy encounters with aliens, there's some kind of time-space shenanigans, and by the end you're not sure if they're all in the afterlife or on a journey to an alien city. Solar power may have had something to do with it. Kicking off the second half of (Kinga hand gesture) The Gauntlet, this may be the most challenging film of the sextet. The highlight is a surprise host segment visit from an old friend who, after over 200 episodes, is no longer "missing"....

TVTropes: Movie - Episode

Rotten Tomatoes (Critics N/A, Viewers 13%). For some reason, thinks it came out in 2001.

Wikipedia -- I'd like to point out the synopsis of this movie here, which makes just as much sense as the movie, which is to say, NONE. "The grandfather proclaims that there must be a purpose to all of this." I am dubious.

IMDB (1979, 3.7 stars)
"Aliens visit the solar-powered house of a middle-class family, and the house is suddenly sucked into a time warp that transports it back to prehistoric times."
Directed by John "Bud" Cardos. Written by Wayne Schmidt, J. Larry Carroll, David Schmoeller and Steve Neill. Starring Jim Davis, Christopher Mitchum, Dorothy Malone and Marcy Lafferty, who earned a nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
posted by JHarris (25 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Just rewatched this (I basically have all of MST3K on shuffle at my place), and I still have no idea what is happening in this movie.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:02 PM on January 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wikipedia comparing this to Creepozoids and Laserblast! is an affront to creepozoids and laserblasters everywhere.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:36 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's like Laserblast if Laserblast had five times as many inexplicable aliens.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:38 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's like all the temporal paradoxes over the entire run of Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Irwin Allen's Time Tunnel, the Back to the Future movies and the episode of Babylon 5 where Babylon 4 reappeared all converged on one isolated location and didn't have clue what to do next so they ordered pizza.

Which reminds me, there are going to be bonus showings of Doc Who and Steve Uni before and/or after this week's mini-gauntlet, right?

All I know is this reminds me of how I relate to Babylon 5 character Zathras ("Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life. Probably have very sad death. But, at least there is symmetry.", "No one ever listens to poor Zathras, no, he's quite mad, they say. It is good that Zathras does not mind, has even grown to like it.")
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:44 PM on January 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm not going to show SU after the episode this week, I figure it'd be best to wait until the cliffhanger it ended on is resolved, then we can watch the whole thing.
posted by JHarris at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2019

So, The Gauntlet's thing was mockbusters, but I simply cannot figure out what the hell this is supposed to be a mockbuster of.

Close Encounters crossed with The Time Machine, is the best I could come up with.

I loved how fucking weird the movie was, but I don't think any of the riffs actually stood out to me. I enjoyed this episode anyway, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:27 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's very Close Encounters-ish, insofar as it is anything.
posted by Scattercat at 6:33 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think Atlantic Rim was the only mockbuster, though? Mockbusters, by the commonly-accepted meaning, are movies that are named similarly to another, much more popular, movie, in an attempt to trick people into thinking they're getting the better thing.
posted by JHarris at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2019

Never has a sketch been so spot on as the "Concepts" song was. The movie just had a crap load of effects and ideas but no earthly idea how to string them together coherently. The hell of it is is that it could have all been solved by dialogue. Just make the fugly, useless son that stays in the house some kind of quantum physics nerd and have him throw some gobledy gook out there about rifts in time and space.

I had seen this one years ago and had generally pleasant memories of it. I mean the people who made it clearly had some passion for it, and it could seriously be edited down (with some ADR) to a decent thirty minute Amazing Stories episode. So it gets points for that in my book.

The same couldn't be said for Mac and Me or Atlantic Rim.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:43 PM on January 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

I thought of Laserblast while watching, too! Very 70s vibe, little stop-motion aliens, lots of desert exteriors. Less Eddie Deezen, though.

I give them credit for a kind off off-beat ending, but the pacing of this movie was really weird and dull.

Glad to see that Josh has apparently patched things up with Joel and that he's on the mend from his cancer.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:47 PM on January 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

I hadn't noticed the Mockbuster thing before, but it fits most:
Mac and Me > E.T.
Atlantic Rim > Pacific Rim
Lords of the Deep > The Abyss
Day Time Ended > Close Encounters
Killer Fish > Jaws(ish)
Ator > Conan
posted by codacorolla at 9:58 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think the word for most of those movies is knockoffs, a term that could probably be applied to like 90% of MST's quarry.

Whatever happened with Josh and the rest, I presume it was over and done with years ago. Josh did, after all, perform on Cinematic Titanic, and he and the others regularly trade tweets on Twitter.
posted by JHarris at 10:26 PM on January 2, 2019

Now that I think about this, I wonder if this was a lot of special effects projects they strung together with a weird house in the middle of nowhere and Jock Ewing looking grizzled as hell. "Eh, it kinda sorta makes sense, let's break for beers."

Never did I think that I would long for the clarity of vision of something like say, your Carnival Magic.

This film was oozing with a more active variant of Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:48 PM on January 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

I actually thought the first half-hour or so of this film was pretty promising. The object that Ersatz Punky Brewster discovers by the barn, that seems to randomly send a horse to another dimension? Could've been a solid hook for a kind of Lovecraftian cosmic horror story. And when the tiny ambulatory alien action figure showed up, I felt its design, its stop-motion, and its inexplicableness had a certain unnvering quality…but before long I decided it was an unintended unnerving quality, on account of the rest of the movie obviously being a parade of effects.

Really, this is less of a movie and more of a résumé tape.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:14 AM on January 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Killer Fish > Jaws(ish)

I'd say Piranha, because piranhas.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:17 AM on January 3, 2019

Whatever happened with Josh and the rest, I presume it was over and done with years ago. Josh did, after all, perform on Cinematic Titanic, and he and the others regularly trade tweets on Twitter.

Well, sure, about leaving the show like 30 years ago (and it sounds like Jim Mallon was actually the big issue there). But Josh had sounded kind of miffed at the reboot, if not as much as Trace and Frank. So it seemed not unreasonable to think there might be something going on.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:25 AM on January 3, 2019

I think this was the first one of the season I really loved. It's like they took all of the vintage ancient alien and Bermuda Triangle Fortean shit of my early childhood and mixed it together with minimal plot. The riffing was on-target. I think at its best MST3K riffs set the audience up for the maximal WTF moment that comes directly from the movie and needs little elaboration. This movie delivered with "What we have here, son, is a ..." We laughed, we cried, we nearly wet ourselves, and then we rewound to watch that delivery again.

And then the new-age sci-fi matte painting at the end was the perfect parting gift. The only thing missing in this gem of Fortean weirdness was Leonard Nimoy bookending it with "In Search of..." commentary.

As with Lords of the Deep, I think this is even more a bandwagon movie than a knockoff. Everybody was doing timey wimey, unexplained disappearance, ET stuff in this period. In Search of... ran from '77 - '82. The Phoenix was '82. Project UFO (a predecessor to The X-Files) was '78-'79. The Final Countdown (movie) was 1980 while "The Final Countdown" (song) was 86. "Come Sail Away" was '77. (And the number of hair metal and prog rock songs jumping on Ziggy Stardust's coattails were uncountable.)

The Abyss and Close Encounters stick out because Cameron and Spielberg came out in front of a very crowded pack. (And I think Communion passes Close Encounters for Fortean influence. Close Encounters is too obviously a religious metaphor compared to Strieber's earnest "hey I really was buggered by greys.")
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 10:43 AM on January 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's much less specific to Close Encounters than one of an entire decade of low-budget derivatives of The Bermuda Triangle and Chariots of the Gods that were pervasive staples of 70s American science fiction. Close Encounters uses the same sources to a much better effect.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:18 AM on January 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't think any of the riffs actually stood out to me.

but steakmilk
posted by MrBadExample at 12:22 PM on January 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

I don't think any of the riffs actually stood out to me.

but steakmilk

I like to have some with a BEERWINE (Wine made from fresh beer).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:25 PM on January 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: all automatic lighting, faucets, and toilets are actually powered by tiny inexplicable alien pyramids. Which is why they never quite work right.
posted by ckape at 12:25 PM on January 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

I spend about five weekends a year in the Joshua Tree / Palm Desert / Slab City area, and this movie is desert rat culture turned up to 11. The concept, script and design of this movie seem to be for and by the Integratron crowd.

I don't think any of the riffs actually stood out to me.

By the final “wise men still seek him” I was howling with laughter.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

Between American Thanksgiving, watching it with my husband, watching it with my father-in-law, and yesterday, I've now seen this movie four times. It still makes no damn sense.

The "Concepts" song is still my favourite sketch of the new series, particularly due to my childhood memorization of the entire score of The Music Man.

"That alien can make logs be not there!" makes me guffaw every time for no explicable reason.
posted by ilana at 5:04 PM on January 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of The Visitor, another Close Encounters knockoff with an incomprehensible plot and old white-haired dude with many pockets.

Loved this episode. CONCEPTS!
posted by rodlymight at 6:17 PM on January 4, 2019

"tie up the dinghy, son"
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:18 PM on January 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

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