Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROBOT HOLOCAUST, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, part 9
November 18, 2014 4:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

(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.

Shout Factory DVD on Amazon (in Volume 25). Also available for streaming.

Satellite News - Annotated MST - Daddy-O - MST3K Wiki - Club MST3K

IMDB (2.0 stars)
"A highly unlikely band of heroes traverses a post-apocalyptic wasteland to rescue a scientist from the tyrannical Dark One and his army of robots."
Directed and written by Tim Kincaid. Starring Norris Culf, Nadine Hartstein and J. Buss Von Ornsteiner.
posted by JHarris (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Robot Holocaust is not mentioned in the Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, but it is in its sequel, the Psychotronic Video Guide. There Michael Weldon gives our favorite show a shout-out when he writes:
This was the first then-recent movie deemed bad enough to be to be shown on Comedy Central's Mystery Science Theater 3000. In the future, after the robots have rebelled, hand-puppet worm monsters appear. Norris Culf stars, with Angelika Jager as the villainess, Jennifer Delora, Joel Von Ornsteiner, and Amy Bretano. It was made in NYC and uses Ed French FX.
Mary Jo Pehl, in the first we've heard from her in the book, writes in The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide:
It's Fame meets The Road Warrior in this slow-moving nonaction post-paocalyptic sci-fi bungle. In the future (after the Robot Rebellion of '33) the remnants of mankind are controlled by a mysterious force known as the Dark One. Referred to as Air Slaves, the humans are kept in check by the toxic atmosphere of "New Terra." A scientist has developed a way for humans to breathe the toxic air but is turned into an avocado and is killed. The Dark One leaves much of the heavy lifting to Tork, who looks like a cross between Miles Davis and a crawfish, and Valeria. Valeria makes Elmer Fudd sound like Sir John Gielgud as she spews out improbable lines like "Yoow and you dawta are doowmed."
Host Segments:
Pre: Joel tells us he can handle getting sent bad movies because... he's a Hu-Man. Mads reveal they're as cut off from the world as Joel is.
Invention Exchange: Joel's Nitro-Burning Funny Pipe, the Mads present a stocking mask with expressive eyebrows.
1: The robots tell Joel that he has entered the "We Zone" and cannot leave until he does things for them: the disappearing coin trick, make a crazy duck face and a handstand. It doesn't make sense to us viewers because it refers to the movie's "She Zone," which we've not gotten to yet!
2: Cambot's sitcom simulation laugh track goes out of control.
3: The guys pretend to be in a post-apocalyptic world like the movie.
End: The guys announce a brainstorming contest to name the plant guy from the end of the movie. They say the top 13 will be read on the air, but I don't think they do that many when they get around to revealing winners. Their own names: Guacamole Wilson; Limbless, Mucus-Encrusted Avocado Man; and Carl.

This episode leads off with "Battle In The Stratosphere," the last episode of Commando Cody they ever did. Crow gets off another "By this time my lungs were aching for air!" Satellite News notes that they cut the opening credits of the short this time.

Anyone remember the TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes TV show? One of the recurring bits Dick Clark and Ed McMahon (both deceased now) did was show clips from old serials, emphasizing the cliffhangers, then showing the beginning of the next serial and showing how the beginning of the next episode directly retcon'd the cliffhanger. Well, when you have an hour to fill each week, you go with what you can find. They also aired Len Cella's Silly Cinemas (remember him?), clips of Soupy Sales, and other bits of older cultural detritus. (I researched Len Cella in case there was an interesting link I could attach to his name. What I found... well, I'm not linking to it, let's leave it at that, shall we?)

Remember the moon man Cody captured, rather matter-of-factly, back in episode seven? He asks, rather plainitively, if the Earth people are going to let him go before they leave the moon, and Cody says he's going with them to Earth. "Go back to your quarters. Get going!" He stands dumbstruck for a few seconds before going back. 1. Wow, you kind of feel sorry for the guy. Although given what a dump the moon is, maybe this is better off. (I should write Commando Cody fanfiction about the moonman come to Earth and tries to make a life for himself. Maybe it'd be like a sitcom!) 2. Wait, that rocket's big enough to have quarters?

The moon man's fate is unknown to us MST viewers. It's right after that, not even more than a few minutes into the short, where the screen goes white. Servo: "What? What happened?" And they show a still of Drs E. and F. with cartoon thought bubbles: "OOPS!" and "FILM BROKE!", with silly music. Joel walks back to check on Cambot (who I suppose is the projector), we go to commercial, and that's the last we ever see of Commando Cody. As Kevin Murphy noted in the ACEG, they were hating Commando Cody by this point.

Unfortunately, what follows is ROBOT HOLOCAUST.

Of particular interest: the movie was released on VHS in 1986, and the episode aired in 1990! That may be the fastest turnaround time between release and riffing. A few other movies in the running: City Limits, Werewolf and Hobgoblins.

Also of interest, perhaps: Satellite News informs us that director Tim Kincaid is also known as Joe Gage, a gay porn director. Speaking of which, the movie is edited to remove nudity in the form of topless women.

The first non-narrator dialogue in the movie is just dubbed in; the guy just stands with his mouth agape and you hear him talk. And the robot's voice is one of the more annoying character voices ever heard on the show, I'd put it right up there with the loathsome Einstein the Motorcycle from Warrior of the Lost World. After the first host segment, it's mentioned that he spoke telepathically, but it's really confusing when it happens without prior explanation.

The riffing here is noticably stronger, and denser, than most of the rest of the first season. It feels rather like an early second season episode. Unfortunately, honestly demands that I tell you: when watching it alone, this movie SAT ON MY HEAD. While it's goofy and very 80s and laughably dire and sleezy, the plot is just a sequence of things that happen, one after another, as our group of ren fest rejects stumble into danger after danger. Then evil lady Valeria gawfs and pwances thwough her swenes like Homestaw Runnew in bondwige geaw.

I have said before that this movie desperately wants to be Star Wars. Maybe I should explain: it wants to be that kind of "band of disparate people quest to save the world from imposing evil forces" movie. One of those action blockbuster things, although, laughably, released direct to VHS, filmed in Central Park, and containing terrible costumes, sets and acting.

The "We Zone" bit, as Satellite News mentions, was misplace in the episode. It's a reference to something that happens past halfway through the movie, but it's used for the first host segment. This is also the first host segment in MST that makes it clear that the robots can eat human food: Servo asks for ravioli and Crow for a club sandwich. Servo, after Joel does little tricks for him and then leaves to get the food: "I love dinner theater!"

There are a lot of good riffs in this one. "Oh pulsating glass ball with hair like Sam Donaldson, what should I do?" "That, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the saviors of Earth." "In the future, all robots will act like Don Knotts." "Joel, if we ever get like these bots, would you please shut us down?"

There is a strong thread of nonsense running through this movie. At the end, the day is saved when evil lady Valeria, threatened and eventually defaced and revealed to be a robot herself, and betrayed by the "Dark One" she served, flips the magic "destroy the evil empire" switch, thus making D. One's threatening of her seem kind of stupid and self-defeating. But then she comes back and serves the disembodied voice again for absolutely no reason, all forgiven! And then it's revealed what happened to the scientist from the beginning: he's been turned into an avocado.
posted by JHarris at 4:38 AM on November 18, 2014

As we've been doing lately, we're going to be holding a viewing of this episode Thursday at 6 P Eastern, with a repeat shortly after. The room the viewing will happen in doesn't have a stable URL, so I'll post it here in the thread some time beforehand Thursday. Both before and after the episode there will be other weird bits of MST enjoyment to behold.

There will be a new innovation this time. Last week, it became evident that sometimes the site we used to coordinate everyone's watching doesn't always do a super good job of keeping everyone synced up. In an effort of measuring the timing difference between my playback and everyone else's, I will provide a visual signal so people cam measure for themselves how far off they are. If you don't care about this it's entirely optional, but if you want to know....

The episodes as they are shown sometimes have a lead-out to a commercial. For the most part the commercials are edited out of the fan tapes that are the source of the YouTube videos, but the bumpers, typically of the "spaghetti ball" type, the big planetoid with the words MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 on it, remain. I (username "rodneylives" in chat) will endevor, the moment the sequence with the ball "dips to black" on my screen, the moment the TV show would head to commercial on-air, say "TIME," or more rarely "T." You can also say TIME if you want, but it isn't necessary.

This way, you can see for yourself what the timing difference is between my playback and yours. If I say "TIME" some ways in the middle of, or even some time before, the Spaghetti Ball bumper, then you know that you're lagging by some bit, and if it's enough that our comments don't seem to match up obviously with what you're seeing, you can try reloading the page, which sometimes seems to bring the moons back into alignment.

Watch for the link to the room to show up in this thread sometime Thursday. See you then.
posted by JHarris at 6:55 AM on November 18, 2014

Commander Cody died on the way back to his home planet
posted by hellojed at 9:44 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Of particular interest: the movie was released on VHS in 1986, and the episode aired in 1990! That may be the fastest turnaround time between release and riffing.

True in 1990, but later matched and beaten:

Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders (4 years)
Outlaw (4 years)
Future War (3 years)
Time Chasers (3 years)
Werewolf (2 years)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Werewolf (2 years)

That is absolutely fascinating.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, I should be able to make the second showing, if anyone is around.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:29 PM on November 20, 2014

The room is up at: The main event starts at 6 PM Eastern, but it'll be looping the movie and a section of extras until then. I won't be giving sync notices until the event starts, I'm just going to have it running in the background until we start.

This week's extras:
Puerto Rico (Mike, in two parts)
Catching Trouble (Joel)
Last Clear Chance (Mike)
What To Do On A Date (Joel)
Out Of This World (Mike)
Rifftrax vs. The Commercials From The Star Wars Holiday Special (RT)
Rifftrax best of: High School Musical (RT)
posted by JHarris at 1:55 PM on November 20, 2014

Gah, I had that written up a couple of hours ago, but neglected to click the comment button.
posted by JHarris at 1:56 PM on November 20, 2014

I'll stick around for at least some of it, Chrysostom.
posted by JHarris at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2014

MST3K related.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:38 PM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

No way the bots would voluntarily rewatch Manos....
posted by Chrysostom at 6:47 PM on November 21, 2014

That guy in the comic is wearing a Wooly Pully.
posted by valkane at 4:21 AM on November 24, 2014

Is there going to be a movie this week?
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:33 AM on November 25, 2014

No movie this week, but only because Joel Hodgson is providing another streaming, six-episode Turkey Day marathon on YouTube this year. So we're probably all going to meet in Chat like last time and watch along with each other.
posted by JHarris at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2014

posted by JHarris at 1:52 PM on November 25, 2014

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