Mystery Science Theater 3000: CRY WILDERNESS
April 15, 2017 11:49 PM - Season 11, Episode 2 - Subscribe

"Sometimes we find friends in the most unlikely places." A kid in a boarding school improbably knows Bigfoot, who appears to him in a magic vision and says his dad's in danger. So he runs home, finds his Dad, a Native American, every wild animal in North America, and a US Marshall with poor regard for the law. The guys are after an escaped circus tiger, but really the Marshall wants to kill Bigfoot, but fortunately a magic Native American and FOB (Friend Of Bigfoot) is around with an eye-gouging eagle. The kid is not traumatized by witnessing this. HAPPY END! I think this one's an early classic of the new season! The movie is just so ridiculous, it doesn't really have a plot, things just sort of happen, and everyone in it does at least one thing that is wildly irresponsible. And hey, a later host segment features a visit from Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy, who are again tooling around the universe in the Widowmaker, going to space casinos. Pearl's attitude towards family is pretty much the same as it was around Dr. F, too, because some things never change. Episode 1102 is on Netflix.

Paste Magazine - The Left Lane is For Passing - Nerd Girl Riot

Not a lot of links! Being made for TV, it doesn't seem to have a Rotten Tomatoes page, and I couldn't find it on Wikipedia either.
IMDB (1987, 3.2 stars)
"A Bigfoot-type creature befriends Paul, a young student. His father is a park ranger trying to capture an escaped tiger. Everyone in town is on edge and wants the tiger killed. David tries to keep Bigfoot a secret."
Directed by Jay Schlossberg-Cohen. Written by him and Phillip Yordan. Starring Eric Foster, Maurice Grandmaison and John Tallman.

Notes: I've got a lot for this one. I think this is the first classic episode of Season 11.

The riffing still sounds a bit hurried, but the riffing is very good in this one. They've got classic Candid Camera Allen Funt references and podcasting jokes alike.

The first in-movie host segment is only like a minute long, but is the clearest sign yet MST3K IS BACK, it's exactly the kind of thing the show would have done in its classic runs. It's got fake cereal boxes made to resemble characters from the movie but you'd never even notice unless you paused it, and Jonah and the bots cavorting and mimicking the movie exactly as Mike or (especially) Joel would have done. It's sublime.

This is one of those movies that's not just bad but disgusting. The boarding school guy takes offense at a little kid bad-talking adults. The kid's dad, a park ranger, thinks nothing of taking two young raccoons home to keep as pets. The mess the raccoons made is obviously mostly pre-existing, the counters are loaded with sacks of flower and cans and open jars, the "U.S. Government Marshall" is a terrible person, the stereotypical nature-attuned Native American playfully wrestles with a bear and calls the kid in to play too, and that's just got starters.

There are three general modes to Bigfoot representation in movies. There's the naturalistic representation (Boggy Creek), the humorous representation (Harry and the Hendersons), and then there's the quasi-magical representation, which can appear as a vision to kids, gives them magical glowing pendants, can summon ghostly Native Americans from the spirit world, and mysteriously teleport in to lift giant boulders.

This is the second episode in a row in which Gypsy first deposits a bag into the theater, then later grabs it back out According to this article fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit linked last post, this bag is the "payload," and it might be explained in later episodes.

Pearl, Brain Guy and Bobo appear in a guest spot! There is something oddly affecting to see that the three are still hanging out together, despite the abuse Pearl heaps on the others. Mad science forges firm friendships!

Finally, since adults cannot see it, or only can if they truly believe, we can all safely assume that Bigfoot is Tinker Bell.

Classic songs heard played by the Skeleton Crew during interstitials: The Creepy Girl song from Catalina Caper, the Sidehacking Song and an instrumental version of the song from the United Servo Academy. There may be others.
posted by JHarris (51 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe it's just because the new season is in HD, but I think this might have the most visible effects wires in an MST3K movie. And there's not even any spaceships!
posted by ckape at 12:15 AM on April 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I concur with JHarris and the Paste review. 1101 was a good start, but 1102 was gold. Usually, the second episode of most shows is among the weaker ones. It's ironic, then, how Max said that some shows don't get good until the fifth episode.

Though I was disappointed they never made a Brian Blessed riff about the kid's dad.

As for the "payload," well, Joel is nothing if not a Weird Concept guy. I for one am willing to indulge him. The similarly weird new concept, Kinga's liquid TV, is at least visually distinctive, interesting, and somehow apt for the MST/B-movie universe.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:42 AM on April 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

Given the movie's many, many other flaws I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the producers didn't balk at ending a light-hearted children's adventure movie with a guy getting his eyes plucked out. I mean, it may be possible to make that tonal shift work, given enough skill. But that skill was...not in evidence here.
posted by Ipsifendus at 5:08 AM on April 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'll cherish this movie above all for including the first classic running joke, which would be... "BANG!"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:05 AM on April 16, 2017 [9 favorites]

The idiots on Twitter posting about how they gave up on the show two minutes into episode 1 when they saw Wil Wheaton won't get to see this episode, and that seems like a fitting punishment. I don't laugh out loud a lot, even at things I think are funny, but this had me laughing loudly and repeatedly. They're fucking back!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 AM on April 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

It's so weird how they decided to make the heartwarming tale of Paul meeting Bigfoot into casually rattled off backstory instead of the actual meat of the picture. It's like if Harry and the Hendersons or E.T. were about their characters coming to grips with having met a Sasquatch or cute lumpy alien in the recent past instead of actually showing the thrilling first contact itself. And if those movies bait-and-switched you by swapping the central cryptids with escaped circus animals. And if they ended with the least sympathetic character getting horribly mauled by woodland creatures from a living peyote nightmare.

In other words: Five stars, A+, would recommend to the whole family.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:50 AM on April 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

This episode is an instant classic, reminding me a lot of Birdemic in that it's clearly somebody's clear vision that makes no sense to anybody else. Here are the woods, it's chock-full of tame wildlife for no reason, also Bigfoot loves generic rock-and-roll and Coke.

The kid's school at the beginning: is it a museum or the set of the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video? Only the headmaster and the never-seen principal know for sure.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2017 [10 favorites]

We're probably going to be watching this movie before the Classic episode showing Thursday, and both will probably be on for simplicity's sake (since it can handle YouTube too). Please keep watch for further information showing information as Thursday approaches.
posted by JHarris at 10:52 AM on April 16, 2017

Four episodes into the new season and this is the standout. Easily a top 15 MST3K episode for me. What a marvelous gift.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:16 AM on April 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I must have watched a different episode than you guys. Other than the scene with Pearl, Bobo and Observer, I didn't think this was so great. On the other hand, I really liked Loves of Hercules and Yongarry - those are my standouts of the episodes I've watched so far.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:33 AM on April 16, 2017

Aww wittgenstein, that's just individual preference. MST has always been like that. I've not even gotten to Hercules and Yongarry yet, so maybe they're even better?

(I have, however, gone ahead and watched most of the Starcrash one. "Spaaaace Churrrch... welcome to Spaaaace Chuuurch... it's not really a Spaaaace Chuuurch.... it's more of a Spaaaace Cuuult....")
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on April 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Joel in the interviews says he has an idea who Kinga's mother might be. Any ideas? My mind is a blank.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:20 PM on April 16, 2017

Time-frame-wise, it'd have to be someone Clayton knew before he went full-Mad. Erin Gray did her cameo appearance in the first new show and she would've been the right age in the '80s. Or maybe Marina Sirtis before she went full-Trekkie (her bio says she married her real-life husband in'92). Or if you're looking for real-life semi-evil, you may remember Maureen Reagan, Ronald's "moderate" commentator daughter.

But maybe we should be asking who is TV's Mother of TV's Son of TV's Frank? (I LOVE the fact that the character's "real name" is Max, allowing Kinga to tell him "Push the button, Max", taking that running joke right back to its origins in the movie "The Great Race").
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:51 PM on April 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

You and the "Great Race," What're you, a supremacist?
posted by valkane at 5:20 PM on April 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I learned so many life lessons from "The Great Race" movie, including:
(1) You CAN be a masculine hero with the name Leslie.
(2) Don't trust everyone who calls themselves Professor.
(3) There can never be too many pies in a pie fight.
(4) He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.
(5) The best patriotic songs steal melodies from at least 6 other songs (which applies to many other patriotic things).
(6) Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. (to which I later added "Green sky in the morning, nuclear plant engineers call your office")
(7) A responsible, discriminating woman does not jump into bed with the first wavy-haired, muscle-bound, egocentric male who thinks he can seduce her by agreeing with some of the things she believes in.
(8) To win is imperative. To win easily is a blessing.
(9) Columbo was NOT Peter Falk's greatest role.
(10) You do not need 137 notable comic actors to be funnier than "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World".
(11) And I always leave the button pushing to Max... or Frank.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:07 PM on April 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

This movie is so fucking weird, you guys.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:06 PM on April 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

It reminded me a bit of Pod People in that it had a kid and his relationship with a monster/alien as its nominal theme. And in that I had no idea what was going to fucking happen next. Deeply random.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:12 PM on April 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

A Garth Marenghi's Darkplace joke? Love it.

Also, "Y'all Yeti for this?! Big-big-big foot-foot-foot big-big foot-foot big big foot-foot-foot-foot big big foot-foot-foot-foot."

P.S. I'm just not hearing whatever others are vis-à-vis hurried riffing.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:33 PM on April 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

"Hey guys wait up! I want to go to Hollywood too!"
posted by JHarris at 8:15 PM on April 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

ob1quixote, it's less of an issue in this one that it was in the first, where it sounded like they were struggling to get three jokes into one pause.

I went ahead and watched Starcrash (because I've seen it several times now without riffing), and I noticed that they seem to handle it later by actually stretching the movie a little bit so they can fit jokes in. Technically it's cheating, but they've always edited the movie so it's not much of a cheat. I was more dismayed they took out a couple of Stella's weirder excited exclamations. "Full speed!"
posted by JHarris at 8:17 PM on April 16, 2017

I'd post The Great Race to FanFare but last time I checked it was pretty much unavailable.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:06 PM on April 16, 2017

What a strange movie. This was great.
posted by figurant at 10:24 PM on April 16, 2017

The Great Race was literally the first DVD I got from Netflix. Of course the flip side is I haven't seen it since.
posted by ckape at 11:15 PM on April 16, 2017

JHarris, there's a Starcrash one? How did I not know this?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:58 AM on April 17, 2017

I'd post The Great Race to FanFare but last time I checked it was pretty much unavailable.

Amazon Video has it available for rent/streaming. Is it worth checking out?
posted by drezdn at 5:09 AM on April 17, 2017

I thought the Carval thing might have been product placement (being mentioned in two episodes and all), but there is a pay off to it being repeated a few episodes down.
posted by drezdn at 5:10 AM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I thought the Carval thing might have been product placement (being mentioned in two episodes and all), but there is a pay off to it being repeated a few episodes down.

It looks like the running joke for this season's Invention Exchanges is that the Mads always just copy something from the previous episode's movie.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:45 AM on April 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

The Carvel thing is also a bit of Patton's - that's where I figured it came from.
posted by Lucinda at 7:06 AM on April 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

The new MST3k is already having an effect; Cry Wilderness now has a wikipedia page.
posted by valkane at 9:14 AM on April 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

The new MST3k is already having an effect; Cry Wilderness now has a wikipedia page.

That's great, it's absolutely my favorite "discovery" of this season. If the revived show can help raise the profile of a whole new generation of forgotten bad-movie treasures, it will have been worth it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:03 AM on April 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I went ahead and watched Starcrash (because I've seen it several times now without riffing), and I noticed that they seem to handle it later by actually stretching the movie a little bit so they can fit jokes in.

"Imperial battleship, halt slightly reduce the flow of time!"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:13 AM on April 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

"What is this, an NRA rave?"
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:16 PM on April 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Just so people can find it: Starcrash is 1106.
posted by JHarris at 2:51 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybe by the time we view 1111 here, some Wikipedia editor will put Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II back into David Carradine's Filmography. Maybe somewhere between Crime Zone and Crime of Crimes.
posted by christopherious at 6:05 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I liked this one better. I still don't like the new cast that much, nor the writing for the interstitial material, but the riffing in this one was consistently funny at least. I think it helped that the movie was more interesting than Reptillicus.
posted by codacorolla at 4:38 PM on April 18, 2017

They really found their rythm on this one, so happy.

Favorite joke: headmaster goes to find Paul on the museum and puts the blonde kid in charge, kid mutters "not like this, not like this..."
posted by Think_Long at 6:09 PM on April 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

So I'm not proud of this, but the fart joke they did when the kid jumps on the bed after seeing Big Foot out the window made me laugh harder than I have in a long time.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:59 AM on April 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

Showing announcement! Not the usual yadda-yadda this time!

Our weekly showings are going dual-purpose for a while. Since Season 11 is still fresh and new to everyone, we are moving our Thursday showings over to, at to be precise, for a bit. There, the current plan is to show that week's Season 11 episode (this time 1102 CRY WILDERNESS) at 7 PM Eastern time/4 PM Pacific time, then the Classic MST episode at the usual time of 9 PM Eastern time/6 PM Pacific time, then the Season 11 episode again for any stragglers, at 11 PM Eastern time/8 PM Pacific.

That's six solid hours of riffing, and I can't say for sure that this schedule will persist for all of Season 11. I myself may drift out a bit during the first or second S11 showing, depending on how painful/repetitive I find it. Also, differs from in some important respects. Although you can share both Netflix and YouTube there (which is the primary reason for the venue change), it seems like it might be more dependent on the host being in the channel at all times. It seems likely at least that no one else can join a channel while the host isn't there.

There are some other options available and if we find one that works out better in general we may switch to it, but this seems to be the best solution for now. Because of the extra time, we may end up switching to two different S11 episodes on Thursdays, or maybe even go Season 11-only for a bit, to get them out of the way faster and so sooner return to shorter, showings.
posted by JHarris at 1:12 AM on April 20, 2017

Convenient we got Jonah's Thanksgiving invention the same day we were doing the Turkey Day classic episode.
posted by ckape at 11:42 AM on April 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is what happens when you send your kid to St. Dario Argento's School for Boys.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Saw Trace & Frank last night - they were a lot of fun!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:02 AM on April 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also, am I nuts, or did they actually put fire-truck-red face makeup foundation on a no-kidding Native American actor in a few scenes to differentiate his ethnicity? More than a few scenes?

Also, I loved how they are in the redwoods of NorCal , and literally ten minutes later, a mine in the desert of Nevada, and then they're prowling around the Great Salt Lake. Its like everything northwest of Denver was crammed into Rhode Island.

But, seriously, the makeup thing, still weirded out.

The riffs were excellent, fast, natural, vicious. I just wish we had actual late-nite SciFi Channel commercials from the very early '90s to go with those beautiful bumpers Patton Oswalt provides...



Clever Craig: Hi! I’m Clever Craig! Got computer problems? Games that won’t load, apps that won’t save your work? Come on down to Clever Craig’s Computer Crag!

Clever Craig: We are STILL a fully authorized Commodore service center, with all of the parts and know-how to keep your business going, or your game flowing!

Clever Craig: Into the old school? We are qualified to service your PET and Vic-20!

Clever Craig: Up to date and with it? We are fully qualified on the Commodore 64, the 64 Plus, the rare Commodore Portable, and here in the future, the Commodore 128!

Clever Craig: We can iron out all of your cartridge and parallel port problems! No dongle too dangerous! We can get you networked safely!

Clever Craig: But, it’s not just Clever Craig’s Computer Crag! The dire dragoness that is Carolyn guards her hoard here, too!

Clever Carolyn: Hi! I’m Clever Carolyn! Got a cool Radioshack Color Computer III? Want it to work better? Try on OS/9 for a fully modern personal computer experience? Come on down to Clever Carolyn’s CoCo Crag…”

Clever Craig: Clever Craig’s, you mean, our Computer Crag together? We agreed? It was my idea.

Clever Carolyn: Shut up, you filthy casual, I am on TeeVeeeeeeee! Now I make the monkeys dance!

Clever Craig: I knew the power of mass media would go to your head! Warp you! Change you!

Clever Carolyn: I’m free, Craig. Finally Free! This Computer Crag… IS MINE!

Clever Craig: You Trash 80!

Clever Carolyn: You die NOW, you Toys’r’Us secondhand special!

(Much arguing and swordplay in the background)

Hi! I’m Smarty Arty! If you have an Atari personal computer you’re having hardware or programming issues with, come on down to Smarty Arty’s Computer Crag for the personal touch! We welcome both varieties of Atari personal computer, the 400 and the 800, and we can…

Clever Craig: That Atari scum is back, and he’s polluting our Crag! We must join forces!

Clever Carolyn: He is? FILTHY XENO!

End title card: “Dire Arty’s Smartphone Repair Crag, for location, hours of operation and fee schedules, please visit gopher://”
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:23 PM on April 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I was weirded out by the possible makeup, too. But I wasn't 100% sure it was makeup - I mean, maybe the actor just has a really windburned face?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:35 PM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Slap*Happy... that was beautiful.
posted by JHarris at 10:25 PM on April 24, 2017

Also, am I nuts, or did they actually put fire-truck-red face makeup foundation on a no-kidding Native American actor in a few scenes to differentiate his ethnicity?

I tried really, really hard not to notice this.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:26 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, am I nuts....

I think you mean to say, "Mom... 'my nuts?"
posted by JHarris at 3:42 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

fifteen schitzgruben, I had a friend over last weekend who informed me that those scenes were shot in her workplace, the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, San Diego.
posted by Durhey at 2:55 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had been enjoying the first episode, the whole tone and homemade feel (THE MUSIC) , the new mods, it all felt very good at recapturing the old style in a new way - then they said this

"St. Dreamcrushers Academy For Overly Imaginative Boys"

And my brain just went WOOO MST3K IS BACK.

like there's a particular gpgrammar and rhythm to the jokes and they clearly understand it HARD.
posted by The Whelk at 10:24 PM on April 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

But I wasn't 100% sure it was makeup - I mean, maybe the actor just has a really windburned face?
Yeah, that sure looked like redface to me too but I assumed the MTS3K writers wisely decided to steer clear of that potential minefield.

I'm halfway through season 11 and Cry Wilderness is definitely the standout for me so far; I can't even recall many specific riffs (other than the running BANG! joke, which is the best) but in every season there are one or two of these movies that just have some ineffable, perfect balance of being neither too polished nor totally inept*, with just the right about of WTF-ness mixed in. Or as Jim Vorel puts it in this review, "...a head-spinning combination of magical earnesty and explosive incompetence."

*In this age of cheap handheld devices that can shoot HD video, where you can do non-linear video editing on your home computer, it's easy to forget that filmmaking used to require a lot of fairly specialized technical know-how and equipment. As a former film student I actually have a lot of grudging respect and admiration for anyone who has made a complete feature-length film, especially in the 1990s or earlier, even if it wound up on MST3K. For example, as a student film made on a budget of $1500 (according to Wikipedia), The Final Sacrifice is a goddamned impressive achievement.

I think the most successful MST3K experiments happen with these films where some kind of vision (however misguided or inscrutable) shines through even when the budget/writing/acting can't possibly back it up.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 2:24 PM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

They aired this at Bridgetown Comedy Festival with Jonah, Baron, and Hampton in attendance.

MST3K really works in a large group viewing, and Cry Wilderness doesn't get any less weird on the big screen.

posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:59 AM on May 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

One of the things I loved about classic MST3K was that "What the hell just happened?" feeling I'd get when they made a joke that was completely 100% over my head.

So this one got me when Tom Servo said "I'm a laundry bag boy" at the beginning for absolutely no reason. I'm still laughing at that and I have no idea what it meant.
posted by mmoncur at 4:07 AM on May 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

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