Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)
April 12, 2017 1:05 AM - Subscribe

[MST3K: The Movie] "Every Year Hollywood Makes Hundreds of Movies. This Is One of Them!" A mad scientist performs an experiment on a man he has trapped in a low-budget space station: he makes him watch the movie This Island Earth, with the hopes of using it as a tool to conquer the world. The man and two robot friends defend their sanity by making fun of the movie, for their (and presumably our) amusement. [This Island Earth] "The Supreme Excitement of Our Time!" Handsome bold Guy Scientist and smart-and-sexy Lady Scientist are abducted into OUTER SPAAACE by Exeter, an alien with a BIG FOREHEAAAD, to help in their doomed war. MST3K the Movie came between Season Six and Season Seven of the show. It is unique for the show in many ways: it was shown in theaters, it is much shorter than an episode of the show (it's actually shorter than an unedited version of the movie they riff!), there's only two host segments, and there's only one Mad, Dr. Forrester, what with TV's Frank having left in 624. It's a pretty good entry point for the show in general, which might be useful considering what's happening in three days.... MST3K: The Movie is not available on YouTube. Premiered April 18th, 1996.

Movie: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

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

Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt - Rotten Tomatoes (Critics 80%, Viewers 88%) - Wikipedia
IMDB (1996, 7.4 stars)
"Mike Nelson and his robot companions watch and give their comments about This Island Earth (1955)."
Directed by Jim Mallon. Written by Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl, Paul Chaplin and Bridget Jones. Starring Trace Beaulieu, Michael J. Nelson, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy and John Brady. Created by Joel Hodgson.

Movie: This Island Earth

Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt - Rotten Tomatoes (Critics 71%, Viewers 45%) - Wikipedia

IMDB (1955, 5.8 stars)
"Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war."
Directed by Joseph M. Newman. Written by Raymond F. Jones, Franklin Coen and George Callahan. Starring Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue and Rex Reason.
posted by JHarris (19 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Every week, we in MST3K Club watch that week's episode of the show in a video sharing room at, at Thursday at 9 PM ET/6 PM ET. Although this week has certain challenges, considering that the episode is a movie, and the movie isn't on YouTube. Still, we'll probably be able to do something, so join us, won't you?


There will be a SPECIAL POST Saturday for episode 1101 of the show, premiering in public on Netflix! We may have a special viewing that evening at 9 PM/6 PM in the room as well, although, like MST3K: The Movie, what we'll be showing is up in the air. We will have to see. At least by that point anyone with a Netflix account will be able to watch it, while MST3K: The Movie is not easy to come by right now.
posted by JHarris at 1:16 AM on April 12, 2017

I attended the world premiere of this movie at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, in a packed house of fellow MiSTies. I've never been in a more enthusiastic movie theater audience.

Here's how enthusiastic they were. As MiSTies know, the reason the movie has more empty space between riffs compared with an average episode of the show is because the writers worried there'd be too much laughing in a large audience, and that therefore the response from one riff might drown out the next riff. Well, at the premiere, this didn't help, at least for the first forty minutes or so—the laughter would go twice as long as normal, and then be followed by a good five seconds of applause, over and over. So it was a rollicking good time, but as soon as it was over, you were like "Well, now I have to see it again" (and it felt even shorter than it was).

I also attended both MST3K conventions, and Rex Reason (Handsome Bold Guy Scientist) was one of the guests of honor. He seemed to be a lovable relic of old Hollywood, telling rambling stories and looking like he wanted to be mistaken for a man twenty years younger (spray tan, tinted sunglasses, colorful attire, not one gray hair to be seen).

As a hardcore MiSTie, I have reached the point where the MST Movie is tough to watch. The riffs are fine and the movie (though beloved by a certain defensive segment of the film nerd population) deserves the treatment. It's just that the MST Movie is so obviously trying to win over new converts that, to a lifer, watching it is kind of analogous to restarting a video game that you've beaten in every possible way and plodding through a mandatory tutorial. (BTW, I've seen #1101, and without going into details, I'm happy to report it does not feel like that, and I don't even think that it will given time.)

I would even go so far as to say that I have my doubts as to whether doing an MST movie was advisable in the first place. (IIRC, some of the MST cast and crew had similar doubts.) It definitely had the consequence of abbreviating Season 7 and arguably of ending the Comedy Central run, which had the immediate effect of putting the future of the series at risk—and then, upon being saved by SciFi, forcing the writers into the serialized-host-segment pattern that troubled Season 8. All the same, many feel that the Movie is a good answer to the age-old question "What's the best way to get somebody into MST3K?" (My answer, though, has usually been Teenagers from Outer Space).

Here's a fun web scrapbook of MST-Movie-related memorabilia that I found, including a great shot of Mike and Bridget in red-carpet attire, and one of Kevin with a very '90s haircut.

P.S.: Hardcore MiSTies, be on the lookout for the Coleman Francis cameo in This Island Earth.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:35 AM on April 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

This and the final episode are probably my two most watched MST3K episodes.
posted by drezdn at 5:49 AM on April 12, 2017

I was also fortunate enough to see MST3K The Movie in an actual movie theater. It turned up in my area in June 1996 as part of its traveling road show and, being 15 at the time, convinced my parents to drive me and a friend an hour away to see it. We bought the last tickets before the show sold out, leaving a long line of disappointed people behind us. We had to sit all the way in the back of the theater, but it didn't matter. It was an amazing evening. Kevin Murphy and Jim Mallon came out afterward to answer questions.

I later bought The Movie on VHS through the old Info Club (and got a piece of Deep 13 with it), then on the outrageously overpriced out of print DVD, then on the regularly priced DVD, then on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Shout Factory with all of the extras. I still have all of these copies.

As for the film itself, yes I've seen it too much and it doesn't pack the punch it once did, but it's a wonderful achievement from a talented team and I'm glad they had the opportunity to make it despite how things turned out with marketing and release. I still giggle at the mention of The Secret Government Eggo Project.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:06 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and as for This Island Earth, it's given me the amusing running gag on my video game blog where I use the image of the interocitor each time a console manufacturer announces new hardware but doesn't show us the actual box.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:08 PM on April 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I once laughed so hard at this movie I nearly passed out because I couldn't breathe. True story.

Are you building an interocitor?

"What is this? Paper? Or some kind of metal?" "'s paper"
posted by biscotti at 5:46 PM on April 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would even go so far as to say that I have my doubts as to whether doing an MST movie was advisable in the first place. (IIRC, some of the MST cast and crew had similar doubts.)

Doing a movie was Jim's brain child. Perhaps it is best left at that.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:35 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Where in the movie is the Coleman Francis cameo? I don't think I knew about that.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:13 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I, too, am curious as to the location of Nihilist Non-Sequitur Curly.
posted by JHarris at 7:23 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

He's the delivery guy, the credit on IMDB is: Express Deliveryman (uncredited).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:05 PM on April 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I would even go so far as to say that I have my doubts as to whether doing an MST movie was advisable in the first place. (IIRC, some of the MST cast and crew had similar doubts.)

Doing a movie was Jim's brain child. Perhaps it is best left at that.

From what I understand, Mallon's concept was that if they relaunched MST3K as a film franchise instead of a TV series, they could basically film 2 or 3 of them a year and get a potentially bigger return on investment, instead of the breakneck pace of making a full season of television. Jumping to a movies-only model undoubtedly would've been easier for them, but it would have also meant that many of the classic Sci-Fi era moments would've never happened.

It's worth pointing out that the theatrical-event model is more or less what Rifftrax are doing now with their live events, although that's mainly a promotional sideline to their main video and mp3 download business.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:25 AM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Shout Factory Blu-ray of the movie has a fascinating documentary on the making of the film that's even longer than the actual MST3K movie itself. It has everything you'd want to know about the process, gripes and all. Highly recommended.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:03 AM on April 13, 2017

Okay, here is the low-down.

Tonight we had a long talk and did some experimenting. What follows will go up (in some form) in a new MST Club FAQ soon....

We are approaching the public release of SEASON 11. Unlike prior seasons, this one is new, and since it's on Netflix it's pretty accessible, and doesn't much need circulating tapes to keep it alive for now.

This presents MST Club with a problem though. has been pretty good, but it doesn't do Netflix. To watch Season 11, we're going to have to use another means.

Fortunately for us, filthy light thief (in a Talk thread) found some alternatives that allow us to do watch-alongs on Netflix. None of these are perfect, but they represent a good Plan A and Plan B. Here they are, as I have figured them so far:

What we are considering to use for our special show Saturday night, is to use a website called It works, weirdly, by emulating a computer that can run a browser that can run Netflix, which is then streamed to all of us! This seems like a particularly hacky affair that is just waiting for Netflix to figure out some means to thwart it, but until that happens we will gladly make use of it.

PROS: Only one Netflix account needed. General compatibility (works on stock Firefox and Chrome). Can be also be used to display Youtube videos and video from other sides, so we can still do prerolls and postshows.
CONS: The show only gets watched, according to Netflix, once. I leave it to all of you to watch it once on Netflix yourselves to help the show out. (Joel has said it's up to Netflix to fund additional seasons, so the more you watch, the better the show will do!) A non-standard version of Firefox, Pale Moon, has been found not to work well with it (it might with some user agent string hacking, but Snake's tests don't make it seem likely). Your names might show up in chat as "Guest," which is a real pain (it may, or may not, help if you make an account on the site). Some UI obtuseness.

There is a Chrome extension called Netflix Party, that handles the synchronization part and offers a chat room I think. Word is only the host needs the extension, but I suspect it might not be accurate there.

PROS: Netflix will count one view for each viewer, and it turns out everyone who showed up tonight at least has a Netflix account!
CONS: Chrome only! Everyone needs a Netflix account. (Which is also a pro, see above.) Only works with Netflix. The room vanishes the moment a Netflix show ends, kicking us all out, meaning we can't do prerolls or postshows even if it worked with YouTube.

None of this applies to our continuing tour of classic MST, which continues as usual Thursday with 701 NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST in the usual cytube room. I'm now requesting comments and opinions. Any better ideas?
posted by JHarris at 10:20 PM on April 13, 2017

Oh, another problem is we had a service cut-out during a test showing of We might be able to survive that once or twice, but if it gets annoying it may have to be abandoned. None of the methods we've found are perfect. Please try to bear with us.
posted by JHarris at 10:23 PM on April 13, 2017

For those who are planning on joining our Saturday viewing of 1101, it may be a good idea to go ahead and install Chrome now if you don't already have it.

Or as an alternative, maybe consider Chrome Portable, which is self-contained within its folder. (If you already have Chrome installed it won't work, but in that event, you already have Chrome anyway!)
posted by JHarris at 10:55 PM on April 13, 2017

Satellite News claims that the episodes are hitting Netflix TONIGHT, in less than an hour! Imma gonna watch if it is, and I might be doing it here:
posted by JHarris at 11:23 PM on April 13, 2017

Seriously looking forward to however this is going to be done. (Sorry I slept thru the preview test but I had surgery yesterday and wanted to sleep through any post-surgical pain) Also wanted to be sure of my med co-pay before I officially signed up for Netflix. I'll be going to Costco for a non-related prescription and a BIG bag-o-popcorn Saturday Morning, then I'll be ready (Firefox is my first choice browser but I have Chrome on backup). And I'm on with this username if anyone wants to find me, but I think I'm entering Too Much Information Territory (which is just north of the Gizmonics Institute).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2017

On, you don't technically need a Netflix account to watch one of our viewings, foop, although it would of course help the show if you watched it on your own time!
posted by JHarris at 12:07 PM on April 14, 2017

But will we be watching it through NORMAL VIEW???
posted by ilana at 3:40 PM on April 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

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