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Mystery Science Theater 3000: BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET  Season 4, Ep 5

AKA Time Walker. "Nothing Can Stop Him. Not Even Time." A mummy, in reality a space alien, terrorizes a college campus. An extremely forgettable made-for-TV movie, and one of those films that's difficult to recall. About the most memorable thing I can say is that this is the episode in which the bots are terrified of the basement. Star Ben Murphy shows up again much later in the Sci-Fi Channel era in 814 RIDING WITH DEATH. YouTube (1h35m) Premiered August 4, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 4, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CITY LIMITS  Season 4, Ep 3

"Just beyond our time, heroic young warriors stand between civilization and destruction." "On the border of adventure. At the edge of danger." It's after the apocalypse again, teenage motorcycle gangs rule the city streets, and a corporation wants to take over because EVIL. A classic episode, with many memorable bits: Joel's umbrella in the theater, Crow's fixation on Kim Cattrall, and two whole segments in which the guys invent members for their superhero team, the Fantastic 85. "Man Man! He has all the powers of a man, but he's a man!" Ernie was played by Dean Devlin, who produced Independence Day, the first Hollywood Godzilla (the one with Matthew Broderick) and Stargate. According to the IMDB, how actors were mentioned in the credits depended on their fate in the movie. So, John Stockwell IS Lee because his character survived, but Dean Devlin WAS Ernie because he kicked the bucket. YouTube (1h31m) Premiered June 20, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 21, 2015 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE GIANT GILA MONSTER  Season 4, Ep 2

"Only Hell Could Breed Such An Enormous Beast...Only God Could Destroy It!" A giant lizard attacks cars in the countryside, and the sheriff is too inept to do anything about it. No, it's not up to got God, but a local teenager with an exploding car to resolve the problem. This movie was released in theaters as a double-bill with THE KILLER SHREWS, riffed in episode 407. The two movies were both directed by Ray Kellogg, and the movies have many similarities, including the same opening narrator and frequent use of "leg up" blocking. As episodes go, this is a standard 50s-era sci-fi flick, but the riffing's pretty sharp on this one! This kind of movie is a natural for the show. YouTube (1h34m) Premiered June 6, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 15, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SPACE TRAVELERS  Season 4, Ep 1

AKA Marooned. American astronauts become stranded in space when their ship suffers a malfunction, and their wives on Earth are put through the dramatic wringer worrying about them. The surprise heroes turn out to be the Russians. Here it is: the first episode of Season Four, the only MST3K movie to have Gene Hackman, and -- yes! -- the only Oscar-winning movie covered by Mystery Science Theater 3000, although not in the form in which it won, and for Effects. This is another Film Ventures International production, a company that specialized in low-budget knockoffs of better-known films. FVI puttered along for a while, but when it failed in 1984 boss Edward Montoro disappeared with a million dollars of company money and his whereabouts remain unknown to this day. YouTube (1h34m) Premiered June 6, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 7, 2015 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MASTER NINJA II  Season 3, Ep 24

"The 2-man army fights terror from the sky! Max and the Master storm a mountain fortress to rescue a beautiful hostage!" The unlikeliest ninja, former Western star Lee Van Cleef, again teams up with the unlikeliest ninja apprentice, Timothy Van Patton, to help a fledgling union and thwart terrorists. It's two more episodes of failed action-adventure series The Master. Generally in those cases where a movie's sequel is riffed it's less impressive than the first time, but I like this one. It contains a classic sketch, the one where Tom Servo pairs detectives with hypothetical pets. This is the final episode of Season Three. YouTube. Premiered January 25, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 1, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU  Season 3, Ep 23

"He's back!! The World's Most Evil Man with a Fiendish Plan of Conquest." Evil Mandarin megalomaniacal mastermind Fu Manchu schemes to freeze the world's oceans. No one can accuse him of lack of ambition, but Englishman Nayland Smith is on-hand to foil his diabolical plans. It's not your imagination, playing Fu Manchu himself is Christopher Lee. The Satellite News' "Daddy-O" website is a treasure trove of data, but it was written so long ago that for notable movies for Mr. Lee it mentions neither Star Wars prequels nor the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Producer Harry Alan Towers made another movie we'll be encountering later, the equally ridiculous Outlaw. I find this to be a very difficult episode to make it through; evidently the MST guys agreed, because the host segments revolve around how much Joel and the 'bots are suffering. YouTube. Premiered January 18, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 23, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MASTER NINJA I  Season 3, Ep 22

"The Master Is Here! He's the supreme warrior. Even his eyes can kill you. His student is the supreme heartthrob. His eyes can melt you." A goofy kid who lives out of his van with his pet hamster is taken on as apprentice by an aging American ninja master played, amazingly, by Lee Van Cleef, and who's back in the US looking for his lost daughter. They travel the country in a manner not unlike Richard Kimble or David Banner. This is another of those direct-to-video "movies" that are actually episodes of a TV show stitched together. This time though, despite the name, it's an American show, "The Master," from 1984, and it's from Film Ventures International. You might think it'd make for a bad episode, but this is another true classic, thanks no doubt to the writing talents and obsessive pop culture knowledge of one Frank Conniff. A good jumping-on episode. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered January 11, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 16, 2015 - 12 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS  Season 3, Ep 21

"Santa Claus saves Christmas for the Children of the World!" "SEE: The Martians Kidnap Santa! Santa's North Pole Workshop! The Fantastic Martian Toy Factory! Earth Kids Meeting with Martian Kids! Space-ship Journey from Earth to Mars! Santa Turn Mars-Robot Into a Mechanical Toy!" St. Nicolas is kidnapped by Martians to help their kids and it's up to two Earth children, plus a mincing Martian named Dropo, to save Christmas on both planets. With a movie like SCCTM, it's difficult even to know where to start. I admire the movie's audacity, and once in a while it almost seems to work: Martian leader Kimar is kind of awesome, and villainous martian Voldar tries to kill our heroes sure but he's only acting on what he thinks is best for his home planet. But every time Dropo shows up I have to cover my eyes and ears. Truly, he is the secret archetype of Jar-Jar Binks. It's one of the best episodes of the whole run, a real must-see. YouTube (1h37m) Premiered December 21, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 10, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE UNEARTHLY  Season 3, Ep 20

"Lured! to the house of monsters." "Guaranteed to FRIGHTEN!" John Carradine is a mad scientist convinced he has the key to eternal life, namely a gland transplant. It turns his test subjects into mutants, but you know what they say about omelets and eggs, right? With shorts Posture Pals and Appreciating Our Parents. The first short has kids learning about posture in school and bying to become Posture Royalty. The second is an oppressive piece devoted to killing any joy and spontaneity a kid might have in the name of parental obedience. The movie's kind of a slog (even though it contains our first exposure to Tor Johnson!), but the shorts are both iconic, and the host segments are pretty good. YouTube (1h37m) Premiered December 14, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 2, 2015 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST  Season 3, Ep 19

"The Towering Terror From Hell!" "SEE a Sixty Foot Giant Destroyed...in Color!" When we last saw Col. Glenn Manning, he was 60 feet tall and had fallen into the Colorado River, where we might presume his corpse would have stopped its flow at some point, or at least provided free sustenance for weeks to its aquatic wildlife. But they never found his amazing colossal body! Well that's because he survived, somehow, improbably, even though he was supposed to be close to death from his untimely embiggening. His sister (the first movie said he had no family but no matter) is determined to find out what happened to him. With the short MR. B NATURAL: A magical pixie that gives off mixed gender signals comes to visit a confused young boy and tries to sell him band equipment. The movie's another Bert I. Gordon monsterpiece, and a sequel to the movie featured in episode 309, THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN. It's a black and white movie, but it's color for the very VERY end so they could say that ad up above wasn't a lie. The episode's okay, but tends to languish in the shadow of the short which, in terms of concentrated riffing power, might be the funniest thing the Brains ever did. YouTube (1h37m) BONUS: A real rarity, Mr. B Natural (26m) on YouTube, un-MSTed! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 27, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II  Season 3, Ep 18

The crew of the Bacchus 3, ex-Star Wolf Ken, hard drinking Captain Joe, vivacious Tammy, suspecious Rocky (again?) and some other guys, have adventures throughout the galaxy, involving a secret weapon, Ken's old girlfriend, and the leader of the Star Wolves. It's another sewn-together movie from episodes of the Japanese TV show Star Wolf. It's got the same great theme music, including a host segment that features it. It's the last of the eight Sandy Frank movies, and it's the last Japanese movie for a long long time. The crew of the SOL wouldn't get another Japanese picture until 816 PRINCE OF SPACE, on the Sci-Fi Channel. YouTube (2h) Premiered November 16, 1991. This movie was also riffed in a KTMA episode, but no known fan copy of it exists. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 19, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: VIKING WOMEN AND THE SEA SERPENT  Season 3, Ep 17

Full title: The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent. "The Raw Courage of Women Without Men Lost in a Fantastic Hell-on-Earth!" Its spear-throwing, long-boating, suspeciously well-coiffed heroines do take charge and go out to rescue their men from captivity, but the sea serpent is not exactly a prominent figure. With short The Home Economics Story: Iowa State College tries to sell young women on a major in home economics. This is the second of five Roger Corman movies the guys would get over the show's run. That fake-blond male stowaway on the ship is Jonathan Haze, who was in every single Corman movie the Brains riffed, and is also the actor who's been in the most MST movies. Crow's bit as "Willie the Wonderful Wisecracking Waffle" is actually a direct reference to A Case Of Spring Fever, a short they wouldn't actually riff until Season 10! All the host segments here have to do with waffles, by the way. YouTube (2h) Premiered October 26, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 13, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. ZIGRA  Season 3, Ep 16

AKA Gamera tai Shinkai kaiju Jigura The evil alien Zigra comes to Earth in his glowing, flying bowl of Trix, and enacts his fiendish plan: to mind control people in such a way that just shouting in their ear will break the spell, and also to fight with Gamera. It doesn't go well for the intrepid shark monster. The last of the five Gamera movies MST would do, and eighth of the nine Sandy Frank films they would cover on cable. Classic "Shōwa era" Gamera would appear in three other movies in Japan: Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Jiger and the finale Gamera: Super Monster, which was mostly clips from prior movies, and in which they kill the giant turtle off. Gamera would return for four more movies in the "Heisei era," the last coming out in 2005. YouTube (1h37m) Here's the KTMA version (1h35m). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 5, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: TEENAGE CAVEMAN  Season 3, Ep 15

(1958, Black & White, Roger Corman, Samuel Z. Arkoff) "Prehistoric Lovers Against Primitive Beasts!" Rebellous young caveman Robert Vaughn ventures into an area forbidden by his tribe's laws in order to discover A SHOCKING TWIST ENDING!! With shorts Aquatic Wizards (a newsreel cavalcade of water skiing) and Catching Trouble (woodsman Ross Allen terrorizes Everglades wildlife). The second Roger Corman movie the guys faced. Most of it is standard 50s cheese, but the twist ending maybe have been slightly more effective when it was made, and everyone wasn't half expecting it from the beginning. Of the shorts, Catching Trouble is a classic. It's easy to build up a serious loathing for Ross Allen by the end of it, so Joel and the 'bots little pageant where they run a Ross action figure through a gauntlet of revenge is wonderfully cathartic. YouTube (2h) Premiered November 9, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 30, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MIGHTY JACK  Season 3, Ep 14

(1968, Color, Japanese, Spies) The only people who can hope to win against "the organization known as Q" is Mighty Jack, a bunch of action spies in a flying submarine. I think. Despite several viewings I don't think I've ever managed to pay complete attention throughout the entire episode. The movie is amazingly lacking in cohesiveness, in large part because it's really the first and last episodes of a Japanese TV spy show tacked together. For Fugitive Alien and Time Of The Apes at least some editing was done for continuity, but not here. I don't recommend this one to casual viewers. Treat Mighty Jack with respect, or Mighty Jack will destroy you. YouTube (1h38m) Premiered September 21, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 23, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: EARTH VS. THE SPIDER  Season 3, Ep 13

(1958, Black & White, Bert I. Gordon, Samuel Z. Arkoff) "Bullets ...won't kill it! Flames ...can't burn it! Nothing ...can stop it! The SPIDER -- will eat you alive!" "50 Tons of Creeping Black Horror! It Must Eat You To Live!" A arachnid the size of a Buick kills a man driving home one night, and his daughter searches to discover the improbable truth. This episode contains a couple of notable callbacks: Frank and Dr. F use the first-season catchphrase "Thaaank-yooou!" after the invention exchange, and during the movie when one character gets et Joel exclaims "Dr. Erhardt! So that's what happened to him!" Oh and apparently, if you really want to know who Merritt Stone is, he's the guy the spider kills in the car at the start of the movie. With short Speech: Using Your Voice: A guy tells you how to speak effectively: "You must be HEARD, you must be UNDERSTOOD, and you must be PLEASING." YouTube (2h) First aired September 14, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 16, 2015 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. GUIRON  Season 3, Ep 12

(1969, Color, Kaiju, Monster, Japanese, Gamera, Sandy Frank, Cornjob) aka "Attack Of The Monsters" "Will Gamera be a super turtle or turtle soup?" A pair of boys is taken away by two scantly-clad alien ladies to their home planet -- but they plan to eat their brains! To rescue the kids, Gamera will have to fight the inexplicable Guiron, a monster with a big knife blade for a forehead. If Gamera vs. Gaos is the best Gamera movie taken on its own terms, this one is, by far, the most entertaining one in an episode of MST3K. With a goofy enemy monster, Gamera doing many blatantly absurd things like gymnastics, and a character who's name sounds all the world like Cornjob, it's an awesome episode overall and excellent fun even for newbies. And it's the episode that gives us the Gamera Fight Song! It is fourth of the Gamera movies suffered by the crew of the SOL, and the sixth Sandy Frank movie. One Gamera film, and two other Sandy Frank films, remain. YouTube (1h37m) KTMA Original! (YouTube, 1h33m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 9, 2015 - 13 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: IT CONQUERED THE WORLD  Season 3, Ep 11

(1956, Black & White, Sci-Fi, Venus, Carrot Monster, Roger Corman) "Every Man Its Prisoner... Every Woman Its Slave!" A carrot from Venus enlists the aid of scientist Lee Van Cleef in order to save mankind, through the strategm of attacking them with string-borne, mind-controlling bats. Hero Peter Graves reminds us at the end that Van Cleef learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature.... With the short Snow Thrills, about winter sports. Shields up, red alert! In addition to containing Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef, and the most insufferable ending monologue in MST3K's history, it's the first movie we've gotten from our heroes' long-recurring nemesis Roger Corman! YouTube (1h37m) First shown August 8, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 2, 2015 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: FUGITIVE ALIEN  Season 3, Ep 10

(1978, Color, Japan, Sandy Frank, Music, Forklift Homicide, Intro, Classic) Two episodes of the Japanese TV show Star Wolf (スターウルフ) merge into a sorta-movie by our old fiend Sandy Frank. Ken is a Wolf Raider, one of a band of space pirates, but after turning against his culture when they tried to kill an Earth kid (also named Ken), he throws his lot in with hard-drinking Captain Joe and the crew of his ship, the Bacchus III. Hey! I made a Metafilter post about this show once! It has AWESOME MUSIC, which Joel and company make good use of. I tell you truly, this is one of the best shows the Brains ever made. The movie is extremely goofy, yet still kind of watchable and likeable, and the riffing is top-notch. If you can like MST3K, you will like this. Good times ahead! YouTube. (1h40m) First aired August 17, 1991. BONUS: It's not for newbies, but you can watch the guys' first take on this movie that aired on KTMA TV! YouTube (1h43m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 24, 2015 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN  Season 3, Ep 9

(1957, Black & White, B Movie, Sci-Fi, Military, Atomic Weapons) "Amazing! Colossal! Growing! Growing! Growing! To a Giant! To a Monster! To a Behemoth! When Will It Stop?" An army colonel gets exposed to a new kind of bomb and comes to grow huge in size. I suppose that makes it not a very good weapon. The only non-foreign, non-made-for-TV movie that the MST3K guys would get both the original and the sequel for: its successor comes ten episodes later, in 319 WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST. Another film directed by Mr BIG himself, Bert I. Gordon. YouTube (1h38m) First aired August 8, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 18, 2015 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. GAOS  Season 3, Ep 8

aka Daikaijû kûchûsen: Gamera tai Gyaosu (1967, Black & White, Gamera, Kaiju, Monster, Japanese) It's the last of the "serious" Gamera movies, and the second where he teams up with a little boy, cementing Gamera's "friend to children" status. Gaos (sometimes "Gyaos") is probably the most iconic of Gamera's foes. This is probably the best classic Gamera movie; Gaos is a credible threat to the Twirling Terrapin, and the weirdness that infests later Gamera films hasn't hit yet. Prepare yourselves: the next one is very strange.... YouTube ( 1h37m) First aired July 27, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 10, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: DADDY-O  Season 3, Ep 7

(1958, Black & White, Exploitation) A guy is forced off the road by a cocksure young lady who challenges him to a drag race, which leads to a local gang discovering his driving skills. With short ALPHABET ANTICS: A whimsical educational short for younger audiences. This episode contains the most elaborate of MST3K's end credits gags, involving a malfunctioning Button. YouTube (1h38m) First aired July 20, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 4, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: TIME OF THE APES  Season 3, Ep 6

Originally Saru No Gudan. (1987, Color, Japanese, TV Movie, Apes, Post-Apocalyptic) Two moppets and a lab assistant are flash-frozen by Science Machines during an earthquake and wake up hundreds of years later when APES RULE THE WORLD. They team up with the enigmatic human Godo and fight against their simian overlords to find a solution to their plight. The first of the cable run of MST3K's non-Gamera Sandy Frank films, and the origin of the Sandy Frank song, a mocking tribute to the American producer who brought us Japanese shows edited together as movies. One of the best episodes! Host segments explain "Why doesn't Johnny Care (a film by Bell Labs)" and introduce the Miracle Growth Baby. YouTube (1h37m) First aired July 13, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 14, 2015 - 10 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: STRANDED IN SPACE  Season 3, Ep 5

STRANDED IN SPACE, a.k.a. The Stranger (1973, Color, TV Movie, Seventies, Sci-Fi, Dystopia) "The planet he uncovered was a twin to Earth... but so ominously different!" An astronaut goes up, but something seems weird about the planet he comes back down to. It's "Terra," a dystopia where everything is under the control of the "Perfect Order" and everyone lives in fear of being sent to the ominous "Ward E." As Crow points out to us, "lot of Chryslers on this planet." A TV movie salvaged from a failed series pilot, so don't expect an awful lot of resolution. As third season episodes go it's a bit of a sleeper, but that just means it's very funny. Has some classic host segments. Dust off your memories (if you're old enough to have them) of 70s TV stars for this one. YouTube (1h40m) First aired June 29, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 7, 2015 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA VS. BARUGON  Season 3, Ep 4

aka Daikaijû kettô: Gamera tai Barugon. (1966, Color, Gamera, Kaiju, Monster, Japan, Sandy Frank) Gamera made it out of the Z-Plan Rocket from the first movie, but now is challenged by giant, stick-tongued, rainbow-beamed gator-dog Barugon for his position on top of the monster heap. There's a subplot involving jewel thieves, but at least there's no obnoxious kids this time. It is the only Gamera movie Joel and the 'bots would get of which this could be said. Watch for Tom Servo's "Fightin' Men and Monsters" toy commercial, a joy to behold. YouTube (1h37m) First aired June 22, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 30, 2015 - 15 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: POD PEOPLE  Season 3, Ep 3

aka The Unearthling, Extra-Terrestrial Visitors, Tales of Trumpy, The Return of E.T. and Los Nuevos Extraterrestres. (1983, Color, Spain, Aliens, Science Fiction, Knockoff, Horror) Movie A: Poachers in the woods incur the wrath of a mysterious entity who starts hunting them. Movie B: A singing group in the city decides to go on vacation. Movie C: A lonely adopted boy grows from a huge egg a magic aardvark he names Trumpy. The movies collide, people get killed, cut, wrap, print. A particularly beloved episode of our favorite movie-mocking cowtown puppet show, and the source of one of its most enduring catchphrases. (YouTube 1h37m) First aired June 15, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 23, 2015 - 21 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GAMERA  Season 3, Ep 2

(1965, B&W, Kaiju, Japan, Monster, Turtle, Kenny) aka Daikaiju Gamera, Gamera The Invincible. "See Gamera... Destroy Entire Cities! Attack from Outer Space! Fight the Mightiest Armies!" "CAN PLAN 'Z' STOP GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE?" Atomic testing in the arctic revives a horrible prehistoric creature, the gigantic monster turtle Gamera, who destroys cities and torches armies... but also befriends a sad young boy?? The first cable MST3K episode to feature a movie brought to the US by Joel and the bots' third season archfoe: Sandy Frank! It's one of nine Sandy Frank imports they did, and one of five Gamera movies. At least two classic Gamera movies were not covered by MST: Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Monster X. YouTube (1h37m) First aired June 6, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 15, 2015 - 16 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CAVE DWELLERS  Season 3, Ep 1

aka The Blade Master, Ator the Invincible (1984, Color, Italian, Barbarian, Fantasy, Sequel, Hang Glider) "A pure action fantasy where good, strength and exotic beauty battle evil." In a savage world a warlord's attempts to find and control the Geometric Nucleus is opposed by muscular, half-naked surgeon and hang glider enthusiast Ator, similarly poorly-dressed young woman Mila, and his mute Asian companion Thong. The first show of season three, and a perfect introductory episode. Nothing lends itself better to movie mockery than nearly unclad beautiful people doing goofy things with intense seriousness. YouTube (1h37m) First aired June 1, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 9, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER  Season 2, Ep 13

(1966, Color, Japanese, Monster, Godzilla, Mothra, Kaiju) "The World's Devastating, Most Crushing Battle of the Gigantic Monsters: Ebirah, the Gigantic Lobster, Challenges the Supremacy of Godzilla and Mothra!" Guys steal a boat, people oppress islanders, and giant mutant critters throw down. After the stellar Godzilla vs. Megalon, this one's kind of a sleeper. Unavailable on YouTube. Originally aired February 2, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 9, 2015 - 3 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: GODZILLA VS. MEGALON  Season 2, Ep 12

(1973, Color, Japanese, Godzilla, Kaiji, Classic) "Giant Against Giant... the Ultimate Battle!" A scientist, his guyfriend, and the shrill little boy they hang out with send the robot they made, Jet Jaguar, to get Godzilla to defend against the guardian monster of the Kingdom of Seatopia, who are angry because of nuclear testing. One of the best of Mystery Science Theater 3000 of all! The movie is ridiculous, the riffing hilarious, and it has some of the greatest host segments too, including the infamous Orville "Popcorn" Redenbacher sketch. But, unfortunately, this episode is very difficult to find these days, thanks to the legal machinations of Godzilla's owner, Toho. Unavailable on YouTube. First shown January 19, 1991. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 25, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS  Season 2, Ep 11

(1960, Color, Sci-Fi, Venus, Space Travel, International, German, Soviet, Stanislaw Lem) "You are there... on man's most exciting, most incredible journey!" "This Is A First! Fantastic! Unforgettable!" Based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, an international team arrives on Venus to investigate the origin of an alien artifact. What they find: ruin, death, and a rapidly growing supply of pudding. The first outright Soviet movie Joel and company ran up against, but not as charming as The Day The Earth Froze. A very odd film, but with nice host segments, including the Klack Holiday Commercial and an exploding Servo head. Can you believe we're nearing the end of Season Two already? Prepare yourselves: next time we have a real doozy.... YouTube (YouTube 1h37m) First aired: December 29, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 18, 2015 - 14 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: KING DINOSAUR, with X MARKS THE SPOT  Season 2, Ep 10

(1955, B&W, Sci-fi, Short, Gordon, Lippert) "See a Prehistoric World of Fantastic Adventure Come to Life!" Said world is teeming with lizards dinosaurs, but it's nothing a good ol' atom bomb won't take care of. With the short X Marks The Spot, which poses the question: what if Judgement Day is a traffic court? We've already had a number of films produced by Robert Lippert (a watchword for pain if ever there was one), but this is the first of eight movies directed by our old fiend Bert I. Gordon, aka "B.I.G.!" But let's not get too down on the guy, he's still alive and has a web site! Rock on Bert, we'll celebrate your name better when we get to The Magic Sword. YouTube (1h37m) First aired December 22, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 11, 2015 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE HELLCATS  Season 2, Ep 9

(1968, Color, Exploitation, Bikers, Sixties, Ross Hagan) "Leather on the Outside... All Woman on the Inside!" "The Cycle-Gang Girls... Scratching... Clawing any Guy Who Gets In Their Way!" Ross Hagan plays the brother of a cop killed by a biker gang. He and the cop's girlfriend go undercover in the gang to bring him to justice. The producer on this was Anthony Cardoza, who should be familiar to us as the producer of the three Coleman Francis movies. (Red Zone Cuba, The Skydivers and Beast of Yucca Flats) As Servo reminds us, Tony Houston also wrote The Sidehackers, and Gus Trikonis, playing Scorpio in this, directed that movie. YouTube (YT 1h37m - no embed) First aired December 8, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 5, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: LOST CONTINENT  Season 2, Ep 8

(1951, B&W, Lippert, Rock Climbing, Joker) "The INCREDIBLE speed of Atomic Power! The FANTASTIC Thrills of the prehistoric past!" A plane carrying important instruments vital to national defense crashes on top of a mountain, and so Our Heroes spend sevenbleen kadowsand years climbing it. In fact they're still climbing it now. Oh, and there's dinosaurs, enjoy! The infamous rock climbing episode, last seen in Joel's 2014 Turkey Day show, back for another round. Good luck with this one.... YouTube (1h37m) Original airdate uncertain; November 24, 1990? [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 25, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: WILD REBELS  Season 2, Ep 7

(1967, Color, Motorcycles, Exploitation) "They Live for Kicks... Love for Kicks... Kill for Kicks!" "They're the Wildest of the Wild Ones!" A stock driver goes undercover as wheel man for a larcenous biker gang. It's the second of the three motorcycle movies MST did in their run. Less iconic than The Sidehackers, but Satellite News considers it the best of the trio. YouTube (1h37m) First shown November 17, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 19, 2015 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: RING OF TERROR, with THE PHANTOM CREEPS, part 3  Season 2, Ep 6

(1962, B&W, Horror, College, Short) "Behold a Ring Forged in Hell from Flaming Molten Fear!" As a prank on a cocky young med student, his fraternity brothers cook up a scary task for him: steal the ring from off a corpse's hand. How annoyed must filmgoers have been, expecting a horror movie when the only scary thing turns up near the end and isn't even all that frightening? It's a really lame ending, and not just to the film, for this is the only episode in MST3K's 198-episode run in which the short follows the movie. YouTube (1h37m) First aired November 3rd, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 11, 2015 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROCKET ATTACK USA, with THE PHANTOM CREEPS, part 2  Season 2, Ep 5

(1960, Color, Cold War, Propaganda) "From another continent... DESTRUCTION!!! PANIC!! ...before the Rocket Strikes! You'll live, MAYBE!!!" Heroic spies fail to stop the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear missile at Manhattan. A movie that reminds us that fearmongering in the media has been with us for a long time. Of particular note, Daddy-O informs us that director Barry Mahon went on to make adult films, then kids movies. He made, believe it or not, the infamous, legendary Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. YouTube (1h38m) First shown October 27, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 4, 2015 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CATALINA CAPER  Season 2, Ep 4

(1967, Color, Beach, Romance, Heist, Comedy) Tommy Kirk and a gang of teens party and woo on Catalina Island, and also thwart art thieves. One of the few overt comedies the Mystery Science Theater guys covered. There's a lot of surprises in this one: a song by Little Richard, the guy who played Exedor on Mork & Mindy, goofy millionaire shenanigans and the enigmatic "Creepy Girl," upon whom a young robot develops an unhealty fixation. YouTube (1h37m). First aired October 13, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 28, 2015 - 23 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: JUNGLE GODDESS, with THE PHANTOM CREEPS part 1  Season 2, Ep 3

(1948, B&W, Lippert, Adventure, Short) Pilots land in Africa to search for Greta, an heiress lost in a crash at a young age. Now she's worshiped as a goddess by a native tribe. Greta and Pilot Mike must overcome the machinations of both the tribe witch doctor and the other pilot to make to back safely to hamburger sandwiches and french-fried potatoes. A fairly good episode mocking a movie with some pretty unfortunate racial stereotypes. Also: The Phantom Creeps, part 1: Bela Lugosi is Dr. Zorka, who threatens the world with his inventions: a goofy-looking robot and a collection of explosive walking Ding-Dongs. YouTube (1h38m) First aired October 6, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 21, 2015 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE SIDEHACKERS  Season 2, Ep 2

(Color, Exploitation, Sports, Motorcycles, Ross Hagan) A.K.A. "Five The Hard Way." "HARD RIDERS! Mounted on Burning Steel! ...with only their leathers between THEM and HELL!" Rommel has it all: a silly girlfriend, a field of wheat to frolic with her in, a job as a garage mechanic, and sorta-quasi-semi footnote-level fame as an uncertainly-ascending star of sidehacking races. (Sidehacking is a bizarre form of motorbike racing that must be seen to be believed.) His dusty perfect world crashes down upon contact with the villainous J.C. and his gang, leaving him with one purpose in life: REVENGE. One of the best jumping-on points to Mystery Science. YouTube (1h37m) First aired September 29, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 14, 2015 - 17 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROCKETSHIP X-M  Season 2, Ep 1

(1950, B&W, Sci-Fi, Space) A freak accident sends Man's first mission to the Moon, instead, to Mars, somehow. "The Screen's First Story of Man's First Conquest of Space!" "GASP at the Daring Courage of Four Men and a Girl as They Thunder Between Planets on a Runaway Rocket!" At last! It's the beginning of the glory days of Mystery Science Theater, the first episode of Season Two. The ship's been redecorated, Servo's voice is different, and Dr. Erhardt is "missing." In his place, though, is the lovable TV's Frank (Frank Conniff), and taking over performing for Josh Weinstein's Tom Servo is Kevin Murphy. YouTube (1h38m) First aired September 22, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 5, 2015 - 16 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE BLACK SCORPION  Season 1, Ep 13

(B&W, Monster, Horror, Mexico, Volcano, Education) Giant scorpions come out of a volcano and attack Mexico. A large number of educated people try to stop them. "BLACK... so you can't see him until he's ready to get you! BLOODLESS... that's why he wants you!" "NOTE: The management reserves the right to put on the lights any time the audience becomes too emotionally disturbed!" We're here. We have made it to the end of the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's also the end of the early history of MST, and the swan song of Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein as Dr. Lawrence Erhardt and original voice and performer of Tom Servo. To Weinstein may I just say: "THAAANK YOOOU!" Unavailable on YouTube. First aired February 3, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 17, 2014 - 13 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: UNTAMED YOUTH  Season 1, Ep 12

(1957, B&W, Teensploitation, Agriculture, Work farms, Musical) A couple of sisters are arrested for skinny-dipping and hitchhiking, and are given a choice of a month in jail or on a work farm. But the farm turns out to be a scam to get cheap forced labor out of young people, run between Judge Tropp and her secret husband Russ. Mamie Van Doren stars pneumatically. Contains five musical numbers. "They 'Calypso'! They 'Rock'! No guards in the Recreation Hall -- but these dogs aren't pets!" "Starring the girl built like a platinum powerhouse Mamie Van Doren." The first non-sci-fi, non-horror movie MST did in their national run. Features a song sung by Eddie Cochran, two years before his untimely death at age 21. YouTube (1h36m) First aired around January 27, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 9, 2014 - 16 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MOON ZERO TWO  Season 1, Ep 11

(1969, Color, Sci-Fi, Warner Bros., British, Western, Comedy, Sixties, Moonopoly) In the near future, mankind has a base on the moon. The pilot of a moon ferry based there is hired by crazy richguy "Hundred Percent" Hubbard to crash a satellite made of gemstone into the lunar surface. Meanwhile, go-go dancers flail about in a "Moon Bar." "The first moon 'western.'" "An Asteroid Worth Millions. A Robbery. A Murder." Moon Zero Two is a weird one. Parts of the movie seem to want to be comic, which is something the guys shied away from in later seasons, and there's animated titles as in Catalina Caper. This is also a very sixties movie, with sexy moon dancers and a blaring trumpet soundtrack. It's still the first season, but the riffing is improving, and I think the movie helps out a bit from sheer strangeness. YouTube (1h37m) First aired around January 20, 1990. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 3, 2014 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROBOT HOLOCAUST, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, part 9  Season 1, Ep 10

(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. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 18, 2014 - 15 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: PROJECT MOONBASE, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON parts 7 and 8  Season 1, Ep 9

(1953, B&W, Sci-fi, Lippert, Heinlein, Misogyny, Short) Robert Heinlein wrote the script. A commie spy plots to sabotage a mission to orbit the Moon, causing the mission to instead land on the Moon, and thus resulting in the first US moonbase. Also, the male and female pilots of the mission get married. "UP! UP! UP! ...to a New World of Adventure! Thrills Come Rocketing to the Screen as Science Smashes a New Frontier!" Prepare yourself for casual chauvinism, dirty Commie spies, lots of shots of spinning dials and blinking lights, and loads and loads of Spacom! YouTube(1h36m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 9, 2014 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE SLIME PEOPLE, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON part 6  Season 1, Ep 8

(1963, B&W, Sci-Fi, Horror, Monsters) Monsters invade Los Angeles and a small band of people must fight for survival. Yes, these kinds of movies were made decades before the zombie craze started lumbering about. YouTube (1h 37m) First aired on or around December 30, 1989. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 31, 2014 - 22 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROBOT MONSTER, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON parts 4 and 5  Season 1, Ep 7

(1953, B&W, Sci-Fi, Horror, Post Apocalyptic, Gorilla Suit, Worst) aka Monsters From The Moon. The alien Ro-Man comes from the stars and wipes out all of humankind with his Calcinator Death Ray, except for a small family of survivors. Or does he? "Moon Monsters Launch Attack Against Earth! How Can Science Meet The Menace of Astral Assassins?! Adventures into the Future in new Tru-3 Dimension!" YouTube. We have arrived at last. Our fragile vessel has run around on a terrible iceberg called ROBOT MONSTER. This movie was proclaimed by the book The Fifty Worst Films Of All Time by Harry Medved and Richard Dreyfuss as the worst movie ever made. We know better, of course, but it's still one of the very worst movies MST3K ever did, and the first of that notorious cadre we've reached. Yet despite its extreme badness, also likable and incredibly goofy. Probably the best episode of the first season, and the first classic MST episode. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 25, 2014 - 25 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CRAWLING HAND  Season 1, Ep 6

(1963, B&W, Horror, Sci-Fi) The capsule of an astronaut returning from the moon is detonated. While he doesn't survive, his weird mutated hand does, and it and a teen it "manually controls" go around fulfilling the ambition of all disembodied hands: strangling everyone it can. Its reign terror is ended when it gets eaten by a kitty-cat. "Jolting Space Shocker! Astronaut Ordered Blown-Up! Terrifying Menace from the Moon!" YouTube video. Original airdate: probably December 16, 1989. One of the better first season episodes, this was the first first season episode to get released on DVD. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 20, 2014 - 10 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CORPSE VANISHES, with RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON part 3  Season 1, Ep 5

(1942, B&W, Horror) -- Young brides are spontaneously dying at the altar, deaths engineered by the mad scientist Dr. Lorenz, who then steals the bodies to extract youth juice to inject into his aged wife. YouTube A Bela Lugosi "classic," and one of the oldest movies MST ever did. Riffing quality level isn't as high as 104, but is improved over 103. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 11, 2014 - 5 comments

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