Mystery Science Theater 3000: REVENGE OF THE CREATURE
June 1, 2017 5:32 AM - Season 8, Episode 1 - Subscribe

(Originally in 3D) "MONSTER ESCAPES! City flees in TERROR!" "All new Thrills! Shock! Suspense!" Hoo boy. So once upon a time, living in a black lagoon, there was a Creature. Having survived the injuries and affonts to dignity from the ending to a previous movie, the "Gill Man" is captured by marine scientists and sent to an amusement park, I guess to replace Shamu. An incredibly dangerous beast that's killed people before kept by scientists in an amusement park. What do you THINK is gonna happen? John Hammond reads about the incident in the paper and has a wonderful idea. And so begins the last sixth era of the show, as it kicks off its three season run on SyFy The Sci-Fi Channel. The guys are 500 years in the future and APES RULE THE WORLD! Their new movie-sending tormentors are Professor Bobo and his assistant Dr. Peanut... and a mysterious, familiar figure. Wait, you already know it's Pearl Forrester. Stylistically there's a lot of differences, but less than a year passed between episodes 706 and 801. See notes for more. YouTube (1h32m) Sci-Fi Channel Promo. Premiered February 1, 1997.

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

When the show was carried by the Sci-Fi Channel, cast members would write up additions to the MST Amazing Colossal Episode Guide (the print edition of which only covers seasons 1-6) and Sci-Fi would host them on their website. (Yes, the Internet is starting to become a thing!) When they cancelled the show, they were going to just delete all that material, because networks suck. The Satellite News people asked if they could have it, and the Channel said yes so long as was just the content and not stuff like the Sci-Fi logos. That is why there are surviving entries for ACEG Seasons 8-10. Here's what Bill Corbett had to say about 801.

Rotten Tomatoes (Critics 22%, Viewers 31%) - Wikipedia - TV Tropes
IMDB (1955, 5.5 stars)
"Men capture the creature from the Black Lagoon and make him an aquarium attraction, from which he escapes."
Directed by Jack Arnold. Written by Martin Berkeley and William Alland. Starring John Agar, Lori Nelson and John Bromfield, with an uncredited role: the first on-screen appearance of Clint Eastwood! He accuses a cat of eating a rat that was in his pocket the whole time. Please keep better track of your rodents Clint!

A lot to cover! Let's get started.

Deep 13 joins Gizmonic Institute in the trash bin of show lore. The set from which the new Mads send movies to the SOL is "Deep Ape," a name never used on-screen but was favored by staff. There's rather a lot of extras in gorilla suits cavorting around, which might be part of why Deep Ape only lasts four episodes.

There's another new open, the show's fourth:
In the not-to-distant future
somewhere in time and space.
Mike Nelson and his robot pals
are caught in an endless chase!

Pursued by a woman whose name is Pearl,
an evil gal who wants to rule the world.
She threw a few things in her purse,
and in her rocketship she hunts him all across the universe! (I'll get you!)

I'll send him cheesy movies,
the worst I can find! (la-la-la)
He'll have to sit and watch them all,
and I'll monitor his mind! (la-la-la)
Now keep in mind Mike can't control when the movies begin or end. (la-la-la)
He'll try to keep his sanity with the help of his robot friends....

Cambot! (You're on!)
Gypsy! (Oh my stars!)
Tom Servo! (Check me out!)
Croooooww! (I'm different!)

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
and other science facts, (la-la-la)
just repeat to yourself "It's just a show,"
and I should really just relax...
...for Mystery Science Theater 3000!

The writers kind of painted themselves into a corner with the previous ending, which was a bit foolish considering the show was back on the air again in months, not years. Further, The Sci-Fi Channel had made a determination that the show now had to have a "story arc." (Kevin Murphy: "We don't have a STO-RY-ARC, we're a PUP-PET-SHOW!") Hence the setting, 500 years in the future, where Mike's descendants (?) have populated the Earth by breeding with apes (??). Pearl tried raising Star Baby Clayton for a while determined to do things right, but he went off on mad experiments again. She smothered him (???) but resolved to fulfill his wishes and keep the experiment going (????) so she froze herself until Mike and the bots came back (she knew they'd do this how?????) and that's why she's the Lawgiver. No, it doesn't make a lick of sense, and yes, large segments of the foregoing would be casually forgotten or explicitly ignored in the coming weeks, but in a way it fits in with the nature of the show--which is, just an excuse to make fun of bad movies. MST3K Mantra, y'all.

Note, Kinga Forrester is supposed to be Clayton's daughter--she and Pearl at least think Pearl is her Grandmother--but when did he have a kid?????? And with who??????? And is this all just an excuse to type out longer and longer sequences of question-marks???????? Is it possible that it wasn't at first, but it is now?????????

One of the things that got forgotten is that the planet Deep Ape is on IS Earth. When they go off searching for Earth, they're doing it FROM EARTH. Also, Mike blows up the planet, so you can thank him for the destruction of the world in 500 years.

So, the movie. What a stupid idea, studying a dangerous humanoid killer monster in a marine park. I already made the Sea World and Jurassic Park references, but really, what a dumb idea. Did the scientists have a bet going to see how many children they could imperil at once?

At the end of the previous episode, note: no one "pressed the button." The show's premise up to that point was that the Mads had sold the footage of the experiment to cable TV (which isn't that different from the Season 11 premise). This tradition of no-button-pressing, and accompanying "Pffuuah!" noise, would continue throughout until the last classic episode, 1013 DIABOLIK, when it would occur one more time... although from disconnecting a cable, not pressing a button.

Finally, as foop noted last week, this is the movie debut of Clint Eastwood. His appearances in the "Man With No Name" movies and as Dirty Harry, among many others, as well as his many directorial accomplishments, they all started here.
posted by JHarris (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oxymorons: Jumbo Shrimp, Military Intelligence, Act Naturally, Dodge Ram, Good Grief, Microsoft Excel and MST3K Canon.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think Bill came to grow into the Crow role very well, but he's rough here, but in terms of puppetry and voice.

The re-jiggered Pearl (less nagging harridan, more power mad overlord) is much better, and Mary Jo is great at it.

Interesting how Bobo starts off as a very wise figure, and by the end of the season is a complete moron.

The new sets are a mixed bag. I never loved the darker look, but beginning now, they start doing a lot more interesting camera work.

A good ep, aside from all the settling in. The "Tributary to the Upper Amazon" bit is one of my faves.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Man, this episode. It as An Event in my house. I was 15 at the time and first saw and became hooked on the show just about a year prior. Comedy Central was available on the basic cable service we had (using our VCR as the tuner), but Sci-Fi Channel was on a new tier that required a cable box. I had to beg my parents to upgrade our service just to get this one channel to watch this one show. I think what won them over was the first on-screen channel guide that came with the box and the service. So we all got something out of the deal.

Deep 13 joins Gizmonic Institute in the trash bin of show lore.

While I am enjoying Moon 13, the show never recovered from ditching Deep 13. Dr. Forrester was the perfect brain behind the experiments. Everything following it felt so forced. At least Moon 13 has the premise baked in that Kinga is trying to recreate the magic.

Note, Kinga Forrester is supposed to be Clayton's daughter--she and Pearl at least think Pearl is her Grandmother--but when did he have a kid?????? And with who???????

Joel says this will be answered in Season 12.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

As a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, this episode has a special place in my heart. And for the record, the skyline is much prettier now, but I'd be lying if every once in a while I look at it and hear in my head, "It's Duluth, baby!"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is one of my top 5 favorite riffs.
posted by Lucinda at 9:24 AM on June 3, 2017

Most weeks at MST Club, after the last episode, we have a session of YouTube Potluck. It so happens that I still have my queue of videos everyone contributed this week! I figured I'd report them here, in case someone wants to rewatch:

(Dailymotion) Mister Rogers Neighborhood: Talk about MAKE-BELIEVE, the episode with the Spoon Mountain Opera - 28m (Warning: surprisingly awesome)
"Best 80s Cartoon Intro," AKA Dash Swordslash and the Defenders of Everything - 4m
Neil Cicierega: Cheers Intro - 33s
Kermit the Frog sings Once In A Lifetime - 2m
Sesame Street Classics: We All Live In A Capital 'I' - 54s
Sesame Street Classics: Lonely Lowercase 'n' - 1m
Nations Of The World, sung by Yakko Warner - 2m
Schoolhouse Rock: I'm Just A Bill - 3m
The Simpsons: I'm An Amendment To Be - 1m26s
Johnny Bravo: Bravo Dooby Doo, the episode that crosses over with Scooby-Doo - 12m

If I had to pick a winner, it'd be the Mister Rogers opera, followed by the 80s Cartoon Intro.
posted by JHarris at 7:01 PM on June 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had the weird experience of seeing an unadulterated movie theater screening of this one after seeing the riffed version. The big screen helped but the blatant misogyny and abusive treatment of the creature are a tough watch without Mike and the bots.

RE: Spoon Mountain, I absorbed a lot of 1980's Mr. Rogers by osmosis thanks to my younger sister, and every now and again Wicked Knife and Fork's lament "...but all I ever wanted was a spoon, a spoon" will surface in my head. (I would have sworn that Robert Goulet was part of that production, but I must be conflating two different episodes. )
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 8:10 AM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jharris - I completely forgot that the Sci Fi era started with them actually BEING on Earth, until you reviewed it in your summary above. Wow! They sure did get off plot...
posted by wittgenstein at 12:19 PM on June 6, 2017

As far as I can tell, Robert Goulet has never been on Mister Rogers. However, John Reardon (who plays the newscaster in Spoon Mountain) has a strong resemblance and was a key player in all of the Mister Rogers Operas except the last one (which was made after he died and was dedicated to him).
posted by ckape at 5:57 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Well I'll be damned! I'm having my own personal Shazaam Moment.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 6:03 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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