Mystery Science Theater Club
A place to talk about our quest to group-watch, over the Internet, the entire 198-episode cable run of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Bad movies with good friends! MST3K episodes on FanFare.
Posts for this club should be tagged: mysterysciencetheater_club.
Re-rewatch! This episode is more popular than I suspected, partly on the strength, perhaps, of its short, A Day at the Fair. The movie itself is a spy-themed made-for-TV thing, made by Quinn Martin, originally intended as an NBC series pilot. The plot has to do with a couple of people trying to protect a deadly gas that can kill people on contact, which is indeed pretty deadly. It sounds impossible to work with. The host segments spotlight MST3K's least-considered regular character: Magic Voice. Previously and again.
Rewatch! In which we find out, for a hunter, the most thrilling prey of all is Mike Brady (Robert Reed). Also has the short Uncle Jim's Dairy Farm! Also, the first episode with Pearl Forrester, long before the became an official Mad! And the fiddle player in the square dance scene, off-screen, is reputed to be Maria Bamford! There, I think that's all the interesting points. Riff away. Previously.
Re-rewatch! Time to watch a carpet eat half a small town again! The great thing about this movie is nothing. The great thing about this episode is that the movie is so goofy and nonsensical that it's watchable on its own just to try to figure out whatever the hell is coming next. The riffs add onto that. This is unquestionably in the worst-of-the-worst pile, a bona-fide cinematic un-chievement. Previously and again.
Rewatch! No one named Colossus is in this movie, instead it has My Cheesesteak Maciste, beating people up as he is wont to do. One of the less popular pepla the MST crew did, perhaps because it doesn't have captive women or moon men in the title. This is the one with Nummy Muffin Coocol Butter, and the song regarding same. Previously.
Re-rewatch! A relatively recent movie, but extra disjointed, with no less than two unexplained prologues before the real story. Ultimately a Magic Lady brings a buff young man back to life to avenge his death and bring justice to a crooked cop played by Adam West. It does contain "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead on its soundtrack, but it's also heavily edited for television. Previously and again.
Re-rewatch! It's the third time we've shown this manifestly absurd film, about a parapsychologist with a Kermit-the-Frog voice who assumes that he has gravitas, and everyone else in the movie seems to believe it too. He lives in the basement of a boarding house with a collection of pseudo-supernatural trinkets, where he awaits the call of Law Enforcement when they need his, um, special talents. Sadly a lot of the movie is talking. Comes with a short, The Selling Wizard, in which a narrator and a mute pizza dominatrix jointly attempt to sell the audience on commercial freezer units. Previously and again.
Rewatch! One of a long line of propagandist movies intended to rile up the public against the USSR. It's easy to get this one mixed up with Rocket Attack USA, made under a similar zeitgeist. That was a Joel episode with spies going to the USSR and failing to stop a missile attack against New York City, a lady spy seducing a Russian general for secrets, and a blind man walking during an immanent nuclear attack telling the camera, "Help me!" This is a Mike episode where a two-bit hypnotist zaps a bar full of people into experiencing a vivid hallucination of a Soviet military attack on their city. (Hypnosis was another overblown fear at the time, but didn't have as much of a concerted push to make people afraid of it.) With the short A Date With Your Family, starring Hugh Beaumont, it's a very fifties worldview on display. Previously.
Re-rewatch! Unexpectedly popular for yet another black-and-white teen anger movie. This is the one with nuns. Also has Mamie Van Doren (still alive and on Twitter!), Paul Anka, Mel Torme and Dick Contino. In MST history, this is the first episode of Season Six, the one that introduced the Umbilicus, a space pipe that connects Deep 13 with the SOL. Previously and again. Notes on shows inside-- [more inside]
Rewatch! At least I think it is, this is one of those movies it's easy to forget exists for some reason. This is another of those movies where half of the time amounts to: "Gee whiz! Space!" There's a lot of preparing and rocketry and interviews with intrepid scientists and getting ready to let's all go to space. With cats. Then we get to space and meet aliens. Who want our cats. The short, however, is Design for Dreaming, and it's terrific, just completely crazy, bonkers, nutso, a highlight of the show's entire run. Previously.
Rewatch! Little Ronnie Howard invents a growth "goo" that the angry teens in town get into and cause problems. The last Bert I. Gordon movie MST would cover (as of pre-Season 13). Previously.
Rewatch! This one's kind of a sleeper. Some teens break out of jail (where teens come from) and menace a farm family. Teens only get more dangerous with age, folks, and these are at least 30. Previously
Rewatch! The new space-age miracle science of RADAR will solve all problems, including that of catching criminals. The movie is a drag, but riffing on the short, Last Clear Chance, about a policeman who ominously shows up at a family home to issue dire warnings about traffic safety around railroad tracks, is terrific. Previously.
Re-rewatch! Gor is a desert planet where few people wear much clothes, and our hero Tarl Cabot ("Cabot? Cabot!") travels there from Earth via mystic jewelry, although he doesn't encounter their famous houseplants. Watch our for Jack Palance crapping bigger than any of us. Verily it is a toobular boobular joy! Previously and again.
Rewatch! An old rich lady decides to use her considerable resources, including her own mad scientist and a nuclear reactor in her basement (wow, really?), to have her brain swapped into the body of one of three younger women. The eventual result? Let's just say she better hope she can develop a taste for Meow Mix. Previously.
Rewatch! On of the more entertaining of the episodes featuring the 50s monster attack genre of movie. Huge grasshoppers attack (a postcard of) Chicago while the army is helpless against the giant insect menace. Directed by Bert I. Gordon, Mr. BIG himself. Previously.
Re-rewatch! At the center of the earth lies, apparently, a lost colony of Australians, living, also apparently, in a half-baked version of the techno-dystopia from the Super Mario Bros movie. Into this falls Wanda Saknussemm, played by supermodel Kathy Ireland, here cast as a high-pitched nerd girl. You know those movies where all a young woman has to do to be popular is lose the spectacles and wear a swimsuit? That's the story here, although it also involves falling down a "bottomless pit," running for her life from an oppressive government and their fiendish "Lotto," and a person with three-inch eyelashes. Also: the movie has a sequel, it turns out! Previously, and again.
Re-rewatch! One of the most bizarre movies MST3K ever did. An opening scene in which three young women hold a strangely officious rite in which they induct a new member into being a "synthetic vampire," which in this world means being part of a crime-fighting organization headed by Batwoman (no relation to any DC Comics characters). But that's only the start of this deeply nonsensical movie, which involves an "atomic hearing air," a seance involving a spirit speaking offensive mock Chinese, and a weird hunchback named Heathcliff. Great riffing, but some people find it difficult to survive this one. Fortunately it comes with one of the show's best shorts, Cheating! Previously and again.
Rewatch! Someone's strangling teen girls and the blame falls on members a local gang. This is the movie with Mikey, the object of some scorn by the space-trapped human and his automated mocking machines. Has the short "Is This Love?", and you can just imagine how they treat that one. Previously.
Rewatch! A brilliant scientist is thought of as "mad," and only because he saves his girlfriend's severed head when she is killed in a car crash, then keeps it alive by setting it in Neck Juice (TM), allowing her to befriend the terrible monster he keeps in his basement while he goes out trying to murder women to provide her with a donor body. But really, is that "mad?" Okay. Yeah, on further reflection I guess it is. Oh, and he has an assistant with his own weird issues. This is Mike Nelson's first episode as host of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Previously.
Re-rewatch! Mitchell is a dull, stupid, unlikable cop. I mean, the movie even says that. The movie seems to be making the point that, all the smart cops would naturally be on the take, so we need dumb ones, and Mitchell, he's just the dumb cop we need. Then it goes and shows us the implications of that by following Mitchell around, like it's trying to tell us, "don't look away, this is necessary!" You could get a really dim view of human nature watching Mitchell. It makes for fine riffing though! This is also Joel's last episode as host of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Previously and again.
Rewatch! While the name of Roger Corman is often derided on the show, it seems most of the time he produced rather than directed. Well, he directs this one. It's not a bad story I think, about a women whose husband is gunned down, so she becomes sheriff. Um, is that how it works? Alas, she falls in love with a gun hired to kill her. This is Joel's penultimate episode as host, meaning next week: it's Mitchell time. Previously.
Rewatch! Go get your snausages, it's time to watch MST3K's one and only Lassie movie! Although in this one her name is "Shep," and she's more of a menacing presence than the friendly, loyal and English-understanding collie of TV. Her prospector owner is killed by someone trying to steal his claim, and she wants nothing of it. Ask not for whom the dog growls.... Also has Body Care and Grooming, a short, the last short Joel riffed during his tenure as host. Previously
Ah, rewatch! Drifting seems a fine use of your time, right? That's what a couple of guys just roaming around, Danny and Bix, think. But then they go to a town and they break the Drifter Code: they get involved with local girls. And then a pointlessly stupid tragedy occurs that makes you question why you even cared about the story in the first place. Previously. There is some Club news inside. [more inside]
Re-rewatch! When James Bond is busy, who you gonna call? Neil Connery, Sean's brother, in this hugely weird Italian spy movie with a bad guy who employs a platoon of evil women, and a hero who's kind of a jerk, although pretty much an invincible one. Previously and again. We're nearing the end of Joel's tenure as host again.
Re-rewatch! As any child knows, Santa Claus lives in a castle in the sky high above the North Pole, the center of a surveillance network that spans the globe. Living with him is Merlin and an international horde of kids who sing and help him make toys. But the forces of darkness no like this, and so Satan sends his lieutenant Pitch to thwart his gift-giving journey, threatening the lactose-intolerant demon with eating ice cream should he fail. If you think that sounds crazy, it's only the beginning of this profoundly strange movie. Previously and again
Re-rewatch! One of MST3K's three (to date) Christmas movies, and one of their weirdest subjects overall. Martians, upset that their children are becoming joyless drones, come to Earth to kidnap Santa Claus to try to make them jolly again. Opposed to this is the villainous Martian Voldar, who doesn't want happy Martian children becoming a nuisance. And then there's Dropo.... Previously and again
Re-re-re-watch! One additional "re" because this episode appeared during Turkey Day 2020! Is it a bit surprising that this episode is so beloved by fans? There's no malevolent stuffed toys, no Snuffleupigan aliens, no thrilling zamboni chases, no Mitchell, no Rowsdower, no giant turtle, no Torgo, no Ken, or Ken. Just the lying kid of a couple of rich drunk parents who turns to a life... of crime. The moment that makes this one for me is when Joel and the bots have built a mobile representing all the various contributing factors to Jimmy's problems, one of them is just the huge word STUPID floating by right in front of the camera. There's also the short The Truck Farmer, which, surprise, has little to do with trucks. Previousy, and again. This is the last MST Club episode show before the holidays--more info inside. [more inside]
Rewatch! What secrets lie, unknown, in the depths of the California desert? Apparently a caveman, given long life by sulfur water. He falls for a 60s teen, paws at her while her watching father makes sarcastic comments, licks shaving cream with his tongue, and eventually is shot by police and ends up dead in a pool. Remember, now, always, and forever, watch out for snakes. Previously and again
Rewatch! As multiple observers note, "That's not Sinbad!" It isn't. It's Sadko, a movie production of what was originally an opera, although there are no songs here. The main character was renamed Sinbad because he had better name recognition. All the same, this is an excellent episode of our favorite cowtown puppet show. Previously
Rewatch! The secret-agentish MST movie that doesn't have Neil Connery, Bart Fargo (Bart Fargo Bart Fargo), an international superthief or was made for TV. It doesn't involve James Bond, but it was made in Italy. Previously
Rewatch! Lady cop goes undercover in a prison and helps a number of prisoners break out in the hopes they'll lead her to stolen loot. Okay movie, but the short, What To Do On A Date, is excellent riffing. Previously
Rewatch! Back to Greece, with the original Hercules, starring Steve Reeves! Don't step on all the pecs laying around everywhere! Previously
Rewatch! A sullen, mumbly, anti-social, anti-heroic loaner (played by That Paper Chase Guy) in a post-apocalyptic world turns out to be the only hope for the future of humanity. It's a whole distasteful genre (Waterworld is a prominent example), but this one contains an extremely irritating talking motorcycle. But at least it's got Donald Pleasence in it. It's the beginning of Season 5 of MST3K, Joel Hodgson's last as host. Previously
Re-rewatch! It's been only a little more than a year since the last time we hit this, the movie most identified with Mystery Science Theater 3000, as part of the "best of" sequence we did. It's still one of the very worst movies they riffed, although it's a lot better known now than it was when they first aired this episode in 1993. Previously and again
Rewatch! An Ed Wood movie with Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson that isn't Plan 9 From Outer Space, it's still quite, quite awful. This episode also has part 1 of "Hired!", the Chevrolet/Jam Handy short. Previously
Rewatch! For a change a fairly charming, fairy-tale-like Russo-Finnish production, a story from the Kalevala having to do with the SAMPO. Still a pretty riffable movie though! Previously
Rewatch! EHT! NAMUH! SROTACILPUD! Richard Kiel is an evil space guy who is making duplicates of world leaders in preparation to take over the world. His character here is pretty evil, but Kiel himself was a real sweetheart. Previously
Rewatch! At our accelerated pace we're careening through the history of the show, and already we're nearing the end of Joel's last full (pre-revival) season. This is the one where the Chief from Get Smart (Edward Platt) tries to rob a train. There is a short, Johnny at the Fair, where a kid explores a World's Fair and meets Joe Louis and "the Hellzapoppin' boys," and is narrated by Lorne Greene, apparently! Previously
As the repeated "THE" in the title should warn you, this is an exceptionally bad movie, perhaps one of the worst. The premise is, aliens are attacking and the only ones who know are the local teens, who take it upon themselves to destroy the sinister threat from outer space by turning on their cars' high beams. There's a subplot(?) about a couple of army guys watching things via surveillance, and another concerning a pair of roommates. This is the episode that gave us the line, "You see folks, they just didn't care." Previously. BTW, tonight is MST Club's Halloween show!
Rewatch! As I mentioned the previous time this episode has come up, the title of this is reported in the episode as "Crash of THE Moons," but on the title card of the movie it's "Crash of Moons." It's the other compilation of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger TV episodes repackaged as a movie; the first was 413 MANHUNT IN SPACE. This is the one with John Banner, Sgt. Schultz himself as a jovial space guy. There's a General Hospital clip included as a short as well. Bit of a content warning, the TV show was made at a time in which the G-word, for Romani (and shared as a name with the show's big purple robot), was more commonly used, and the guys on the show make reference to it often. In MST3K's most recent incarnation (the stage show), it should be noted, this character has been rechristened G.P.T. Previously
Rewatch! Astronauts land on a planet of lonely women, refugees from Atlantis. They have a problem with a monster, but the manly explorers from Earth take care of it. This is the episode with "Timmy," an evil alien Crow who causes problems during host segments. Previously
Re-rewatch! Written and directed by Paul Frees (the voice of Boris Badenov), these characters are not really beatniks, they're more young criminals. But one of them can sing, and that gives him the worth to be lifted up out of his life of crime. There's a General Hospital clip before the movie too. A somewhat popular episode, but not many people's favorite? Previously, and again
Re-rewatch! Tom Stewart's about to get married, but girlfriend Vi throws a fuss. But then he refuses to save her when she falls off a lighthouse, and now she's a ghost causing big problems for Tom. Tom becomes less and less relatable as he kills people to protect his secret. A weird and creepy movie, not really that bad but easy for robotic mockery to sink its geared teeth into. Another movie from Bert I. Gordon. Previously, and again
Rewatch! Another repackaging of TV shows as a "movie," but this time of the old space craze adventure show Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. It doesn't hold up too well. As a short, we have an episode from what may be the first season of the soap opera General Hospital. I think this episode is kind of a sleeper, personally. It's not the last Rocky Jones compilation movie MST would do. Previously
Rewatch! This is the last peplum (plural pepla, those swords-and-sandals movies with big muscle-bound guys in miniskirts throwing rocks around, usually starring Herules or Maciste) MST3K would do for a while. Unlike what they say at the end, it's not the last Hercules movie they would do. I will now read off the scroll of heroic deeds and minor trivia attributable to Hercules in this head-scratching addition to his mythology: he has a son, Hylas, and a friend, Androcles, who between them kidnaps him away from home life so he can have adventures, he finds Atlantis, kills the god Proteus (who can turn into animals), and rescues its princess but this means according to prophecy that Atlantis will be destroyed. Uh-oh! This is the movie from which the phrase dedicated to Uranus comes from. Previously
Rewatch! One of Bert I. Gordon's better efforts, a fairy-tale-like story involving Basil Rathbone as an evil wizard, Estelle Winwood as a friendly witch, and a prince trying to rescue a princess from a dragon, and a traitorous knight, and curses and swords and stuff. Roll for initiative! Previously
Re-rewatch! It's a Maciste ("my cheesesteak") movie rebranding the main character into Hercules for US distribution. Imagine TV's Frank saying, in his freaked-out voice from Joel's invention exchange, "HERCULES... against the MOON MEN!" Prepare yourself for DEEP HURTING. Previously and again
Rewatch! Consider the vast field of scientific endeavor, viewed through the eyes of a B movie screen writer, or those of a blockbuster screenwriter for that matter. If you don't understand it, you figure, no one else does either. In this way, such things as electricity, radiation, DNA, evolution, robotics and anything else dealing with computers are used as stand-ins for whatever effect the writer wants, regardless of how possible it may be in actual life. That's how Lon Chaney Jr's character is brought back to life by electricity in this movie. This episode also contains the second episode of the short Undersea Kingdom, which would be the last episode of it, and the last theater serial, MST would do. Previously
Rewatch! The first of MST3K's series of pepla (singular: peplum, a name for these kinds of half-naked muscleman, sword-and-sandal movies). This one has Steve Reeves, and the story concerns the "waters of forgetfulness." I mentioned several common features of many of these movies in the post previously. Suffice to say, there's a lot of skin and scanty garments worn by male or female alike, but it's a terrible source for anything like Greek or Roman myth.
Rewatch! A group of people are trapped on an island during a hurricane, and if that's not enough dogs with rugs draped over them, that the scientist seems to think are "killer shrews," are desperately trying to consume the three times their body weight in food daily they need to survive. Before the movie there's the short Junior Rodeo Daredevils, with reckless child endangerment sponsored by Ol' Timer Billy Slater. Previously
Rewatch! Huge, possibly intelligent leeches survive by abducting rednecks, storing them in an air pocket at the bottom of a lake and sucking away their fluids. How will the authorities remedy this situation? Why, with the use of explosives. There's a short too, the first episode of the Crash Corrigan serial Undersea Kingdom, the oldest thing ever riffed by the show. https://fanfare.metafilter.com/5061/Mystery-Science-Theater-3000-ATTACK-OF-THE-GIANT-LEECHES-with-short-UNDERSEA-KINGDOM-part-one
Rewatch! This episode is something of a sleeper, its subject is a Film Ventures International film (so, weird, irrelevant opening and closing sequences) in which it turns out an alien is buried in a mummy's tomb that causes people to rot when it touches them, and the alien is trying to get back its magic space jewel that someone stole from it. Previously
Re-rewatch! Say it with me now: When we get back to our home planet the high council may well sentence you to TORCHAA! It's tough being a space teenager. The astro-acne. The jet-fueled mood swings. Discovering your sexual and species identity. Bullshit restrictions from your culture's high rullng overuberpatriarch. And not agreeing with your expeditions genocidal mission to wipe out the population of a planet (Earth) because you need land to graze your giant food lobsters. Previously one and two
Now here's a koan for you. What is a movie named? Is it what it was released and promoted as, or what the dang thing actually says its title is right there on the screen? This movie, called Circle of Iron in theaters, on posters and in the IMDB, is everywhere within it titled "The Silent Flute." This movie, which was attached to Bruce Lee for a while, is a silly pseudo-intellectual fighting/wandering/picaresque/D&D quest kind of thing, about a shirtless guy named "Cord," (Jeff Cooper) traveling the shirtless wilderness searching for "Zeetan," (Christopher Lee) a guy who supposedly has a book of knowledge, while guided and opposed by various people all played by David Carradine. While it definitely has its problematic aspects, it's still MST Club approved! [more inside]
Rewatch! Another of those post-apocalyptic movies, back before we knew the end of civilization would be a big social media fiasco. There are multiple sub-genres of the type: Fallout, Mad Max, zombies, robot overlords, and the one this movie belongs to, themed teen gangs. Has James Earl Jones in it, and also Kim Cattrall. When City Limits first aired it was one of the most recent movies MST had done, but there's been plenty of newer movies since. The movie is more goofy-bad than boring-bad or incompetent-bad, so it's a good episode for MST newbies and casuals. Previously
Rewatch! A huge lizard terrorizes a town in the fifties, and it falls to a teenager, his hot-rod, and a bunch of nitroglycerin to destroy it. You sing whenever you sing whenever you sing. Previously
Rewatch! Some astronauts are in space and they're trying to get back to the ground, but there are problems. This is the 70s Gene Hackman sci-fi vehicle Marooned as re-edited by Film Ventures International. Previously
Rewatch! Timothy Van Patten, former Eight is Enough and White Shadow star and current bigwig TV director in Hollywood, and Lee Van Cleef, former 50s and 60s western star and current dead person, appear in a movie made from an 80s TV show in which they improbably play ninja trainee and master. One of the episodes has the two help protect a fledgling union, the other is stunt cast to pair him with a former western co-star of Van Cleef's. It was a weird show. Previously - Previously on Metafilter about The Master
Rewatch! Megalomaniacal, stereotypical Fu Manchu, played as an inscrutable pillar of evil by Christopher Lee, schemes to freeze the world's oceans, because that's the kind of thing a powerful Chinese person does in a movie adapted from a Sax Rohmer book. This is not one of the best episodes, to be blunt: the movie drags like a lead weight. Good luck everyone. Previously
Re-rewatch! Timothy Van Patten and Lee Van Cleef are the most unlikely ninjas in Japanese exoticism history. They travel the country in typical 70s TV show fashion, which fits because this is actually two episodes of The Master. There's a hamster, they live in a van, they solve the problems of the people they meet. It's not very realistic. Previously and again. Not the episode you expected? Look inside for the reason for that. [more inside]