231 posts tagged with mst3k and servo.
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Mystery Science Theater 3000: OPERATION DOUBLE 007  Season 5, Ep 8

aka Operation Kid Brother, aka O.K. Connery. "NEIL CONNERY IS TOO MUCH" "Such close friends. Such beautiful enemies." The evil organization Thanatos, staffed primarily by a horde of young scantily-clad women who for some reason follow a middle-aged bald guy, threatens the world with their machine-breaking superweapon. It's just another Thursday at Secret Spy HQ, which by the way is staffed by a number of familiar faces. But the usual secret agent sent to solve these issues, you know the one, can't make it, so they recruit his plastic surgeon brother, to save the world. Fortunately, he's pretty much omnipotent. This movie is overflowing with weirdness, and it's another great episode. Example 1: it's scored partly by Ennio Morricone! Example 2: they got M (Bernard Lee) and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) from the Bond movies to play similar roles with different names! Example 3: The Thanatos girls. I mean, have some self respect ladies. This episode has one of my personal favorite host segments, Joel's "I Know" sketch. YouTube (1h35m) Premiered September 11, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 1, 2016 - 6 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: I ACCUSE MY PARENTS  Season 5, Ep 7

Poster. A young man wins an essay contest about his loving family, but the truth is they neglect him. So, he runs off and gets involved with gangsters. I tell you, life is tough for us English majors. With short The Truck Farmer: Encyclopædia Britannica Films informs us of the process by which fresh vegetables are brought to our cities, which apparently doesn't involve exploited migrant labor very much at all. While the movie doesn't have the weirdness power of an Eegah or a Sinbad, this is another excellent episode, filled with great moments like Duck News with Hugh McQuacken, and the old guy and his hamburger. The host segments are terrific too. Oh, what could Jimmy's problem be? YouTube (1h32m) - Shout Factory TV - Unriffed Premiered September 4, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 26, 2016 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: EEGAH  Season 5, Ep 6

"The name written in blood!" "The Crazed Love of a Prehistoric Giant for a Ravishing Teen-Age Girl!" Somewhere in the California desert, in defiance of all known anthropology, lives, in a cave, a caveman, played by a cave-Kiel, who's been given unnaturally long life by sulfur water. He comes into contact with 60s youth culture, and ends up face-down in a swimming pool, dead. Shtemlo! It's a popular episode, with pointless dune buggy scenes, whimsical editing, and much oddness to be spied. Note: in one scene Kiel laps up shaving cream with his gigantic tongue, so you may not want to watch on a full stomach. And remember, watch out for snakes! YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 28, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2016 - 7 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD  Season 5, Ep 5

"All the Magic of 'Stone Flower' All the Power of 'Alexander Nevsky' All the Artistry of 'Grand Concert' Highly Recommended for Children" A strangely Russian Sinbad, upset with corruption in his home town of not-Bagdad, searches the world for happiness. This is the second of the Russo-Finish movies MST did, imports from the Soviet Union directed by genius filmmaker Alexandr Ptushko. Originally it was Sadko, a film production of an honest-to-goodness opera! One composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov! Vibrant, wonderous, astounding, and with music from the opera, this is much better fare than the SOL usually got. It is also a terrific episode, because the writing is the Brains at their best, and the movie, for all its wonders, is incredibly strange. Get your popcorn ready folks, this is one of the best. YouTube (1h32m) - Unriffed - Russian original Садко (Sadko) - With English subs - A performance of the opera Sadko (2h53m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 11, 2016 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON  Season 5, Ep 4

"Beautiful Women! Silver-Masked Men! Deadly Windmills! Karate Killings! Lethal Oriental Vases!" A secret agent from America goes abroad to investigate drugged chewing gum. Oh for the days when secret agents were regularly asked to look into ridiculous things. Why not leave it for the FDA? It's the first "Eurospy" movie MST would cover, a funky little genre that grew out of the huge popularity of James Bond. General consensus is this is an above-average episode, although it doesn't have the sheer stupid-power as the upcoming 508 OPERATION DOUBLE 007. YouTube (1h32m) - Trailer. Premiered August 7, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 4, 2016 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: SWAMP DIAMONDS  Season 5, Ep 3

aka Swamp Women. "Branded Women! Notorious Women! Scarlet Women! SWAMP WOMEN!" "Deadlier Than the MALE!" An undercover policewoman helps other women escape from prison in the hopes they'll lead her to stolen loot. With short What to Do on a Date: A shy kid asks a girl out for a date, and they have the best time that could be depicted on-screen in 1950s America: they go to a "scavanger sale." Another of MST's best shorts, a case, like with Mr. B Natural and War of the Colossal Beast, where the short overwhelms the movie. One source claims Swamp Women was the first movie Roger Corman directed, but IMDB lists four movies he directed the year before. It's a fairly typical lurid early Corman movie, with lots of talking and padding. Corman himself is still alive and active, and although he hasn't directed in a while, he's still producing: he produced Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf just last year. YouTube (1h32m) - Rough cut - Unriffed - Trailer. Premiered July 31, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 28, 2016 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES  Season 5, Ep 2

aka Le fatiche di Ercole "SEE the heroic Hercules rip down the Age of Orgy's lavish palace of lustful pleasure! SEE the Mightiest of Men fight the Mightiest of Beasts, the killer Cretan Bull! SEE Hercules fight off the savage love-starved Amazon women!" Joseph E. Levine brings us Hercules, big buttery Hercules, who engages in various adventures in antiquity. Don't come here looking for fidelity to myth. While based loosely on Argonautica, Herc plays a much larger role in this movie. The Brains cut up the movie to fit it in the run time unfortunately, so the story is pretty hard to follow. This is the episode with the wonderful "Hamilton, Joe, Frank, and Reynolds" and Match Game sketches, and has the first on-screen appearance of Mary Jo Pehl as a Minnesota Amazon. YouTube (1h32m) - Unriffed (1h44m) Premiered July 7, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 20, 2016 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD  Season 5, Ep 1

In the future Donand Pleasance has taken over the world as we all knew he would, and it's up to a gravelly-voice drifter and THE MOST ANNOYING TALKING MOTORCYCLE to save it, because the world sucks. Story is that director David Worth was shown the poster art and told to make a movie to go with it. This is the first of two appearances by Donald Pleasance on MST; the second is 903 THE PUMAMAN. This is the episode with "the Paper Chase guy," the Robitussin riff, Servo/Kevin Murphy's riffing on every face in a rapid pan of extras, and the inimitable Megaweapon, voiced of course by Mike. Many fans divide the show into "Joel era" and "Mike era" episodes, but I think the show is as usefully divided at this episode, where that Mike-era feel starts to appear. There are just 12 Joel episodes left. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered July 24, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 13, 2016 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: "MANOS" THE HANDS OF FATE  Season 4, Ep 24

"IT'S SHOCKING! It's Beyond Your Imagination!" "A cult of weird, horrible people who gather beautiful women only to deface them with a burning hand!" A family of three on vacation in the desert stumble upon a lodge run by the misshapen Torgo. Oh, what improbable secrets does the place hold? With short Hired!, part 2: The second half of the Chevrolet training short shown last week. ☠☠☠! Oh god! It's here! If it's not the worst movie they ever showed (a matter of some debate) it's a strong contender. It is not recommended that you make this your first episode of MST3K, or it may well be your last. The first eight minutes of this movie are just driving. The movie pushes Joel and company to the brink. The mad scientists apologize for the movie. Twice. YouTube (1h32m) - and here's the whole thing annotated, from the official MST3K YouTube channel! - And for sadists... ☠☠☠ UNRIFFED ☠☠☠ (1h9m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 6, 2016 - 16 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: BRIDE OF THE MONSTER  Season 4, Ep 23

"The Screen's Master of the Weird... In His Newest and Most Daring Shocker!" The movie described is, in fact, one of notorious director Ed Wood's most infamous, and stars Bela Lugosi in his last speaking role. Some of the events of the making of the film, including the one where Lugosi thrashes around in rubber octopus tentacles, are depicted in Tim Burton's wonderful movie Ed Wood. With short, the first half of Hired!: an internal promotional and training film for Chevrolet, the 50s equivalent of that video they make new Wendy's employees watch. He tampered in God's domain! In addition to Wood as director and Lugosi as mad scientist, this film features the screen presence of Tor Johnson. BRIDE OF THE MONSTER is another example of a movie known for badness, but is at least watchable, which is more than you can say for Coleman Francis' work, or indeed the movie we're watching NEXT WEEK.... It seems the BotM got a sequel, Night of the Ghouls, that was finished four years later but didn't get released until 1987. YouTube (YouTube 1h32m) Premiered January 23, 1993. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 31, 2016 - 4 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE  Season 4, Ep 22

"Chilling Terror!" Don't believe the ad! This is actually a charming story from the Kalevala, the Finnish national myth, that was blatantly renamed by American International Pictures to try to trick people into seeing it who were expecting sci-fi. With short HERE COMES THE CIRCUS. The horrors of the Clyde Beatty circus, named after the animal tamer who appears here, are brought before us. After 421 MONSTER A-GO GO last week, this film is a breath of fresh air. Director Aleksander Ptushko was a genius who's not better known now only because his career took place entirely behind the Iron Curtain. His first movie, "The New Gulliver," was the first entirely stop-motion movie. Two other of his films, also excellent, are later covered by MST3K: 505 THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD and 617 THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered January 16, 1993. You might be interested to know that the original version, "Sampo," is on YouTube in six parts, with subtitles! 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 24, 2016 - 11 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MONSTER A-GO GO  Season 4, Ep 21

"An Astronaut Went Up... A 'Guess What' Came Down!" "The Picture That Comes Complete with a 10-Foot Tall Monster to Give You the Wim-Wams!" "How did a 10-foot-tall monster get into that little bitty space capsule?" "You've Never Seen a Picture Like This--Thank Goodness!" It's never a good sign when the poster taglines themselves make fun of the movie. One of the absolute worst movies in MST history, and of all time. With short CIRCUS ON ICE: A newsreel report of the 40th Annual Carnival of the Toronto Skating Club. It's iceberg time again! You may think you know what a bad movie looks like. You may think you can handle bad movies. You may think badfilm is nothing to be afraid of. The punishment for your hubris takes the form of a viewing of MONSTER A-GO GO. If you're a fan or born MSTie this should not be missed, but it can be lethal if you haven't built up an immunity. One of a handful of the most terrible movies MST ever did, up there with the likes of Robot Monster and Red Zone Cuba. And don't relax yet, one its primary rivals is on the way in just three weeks.... YouTube (1h32m) Premiered January 1, 1993. Trailer - Unriffed (DO NOT WATCH) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 16, 2016 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS  Season 4, Ep 20

"Made to Kill or Love on Command!!!" The first of a total of three movies starring Richard Kiel, best known as "Jaws" from the James Bond franchise. Here he's an alien who comes to earth to duplicate prominent people and replace them to pave the way for a space invasion. EHT NAMUH SROTACILPUD! There was an outpouring on the Blue a couple of years ago when Richard Kiel died. Regardless of the quality of movies he was usually in, he seemed to be genuine good guy. Len shared a particularly fun memory of Kiel. Extra bit of trivia for you, this was Hugh Beaumont's final screen role. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered December 26, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 10, 2016 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE REBEL SET  Season 4, Ep 19

"B-GUYS! (The beardnicks) Living and Loving for strange kicks! JET DOLLS! Ready and willing to go into orbit! KING OF BEATSVILLE! Master mind behind a million dollars worth of murder! THE 'WEIRDIES'! Nobody knows what makes them tick!" Man, dig that ridiculous ad copy! In this beatsploitation movie, the Chief from Get Smart is "Mr. T," and he masterminds an armored car robbery. With short Johnny at the Fair: a four-year-old boy wanders the Worlds Fair grounds randomly, having adventures, meeting stage stars and Joe Louis, running up future therapy bills. The short has Olsen and Johnson, the "Hellzapoppin' boys." They had a stage show that got turned into a movie, Hellzapoppin'. It's pretty crazy! BTW, despite the guys' comments, Merritt Stone is actually nowhere in this movie. YouTube (1h32m) - Hulu - Shout Factory [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 3, 2016 - 8 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES  Season 4, Ep 18

Badly-designed aliens invade a small town, and the adults won't believe the smoocher teens who seen 'em! It's up to them to save the world with the timely application of their car headlights. This movie is below-average in quality even by MST standards. The title, by the way, is not a typo, or at least it's not my typo. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered December 5, 1992. This movie is largely a shot-by-shot remake of Invasion of the Saucer Men! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 25, 2016 - 15 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: CRASH OF MOONS  Season 4, Ep 17

"Classic Sci-Fi Advenure" Two moons are going to crash into each other, natch. It's our old friends Rocky Jones and Winky to save the people living on them! With short General Hospital #2: More scenes from very early episodes of the long-running soap opera. Deja-vu! One month ago we watched a short made of old General Hospital scenes matched with a movie made of old Rocky Jones, Space Ranger episodes. And lo, we have the same composition for this episode! This is the one where one role is played by John Banner, Sgt. Schultz himself, and the guys won't let you forget it. Satellite News points out that the title card of the movie leaves out the "The," so by their naming conventions the movie is not titled "Crash of the Moons," but just, "Crash of Moons." So, where did the "The" go? Tune in next week and find out.... YouTube (1h32m) Premiered November 28, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 18, 2016 - 1 comment

Mystery Science Theater 3000: FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE  Season 4, Ep 16

"Out of This World SHOCK SENSATION!" "SEE: The Strangest of All Rites in the Temple of Love!" Astronauts land on a hitherto unknown moon of Jupiter and discover lonely nubile maidens, our solar system's greatest resource. This episode is especially notable for containing the saga of "Timmy," an evil alien Crow that comes aboard the SOL. The Timmy puppet was actually one of the theater puppets; they're painted back to give them a better silhouette. YouTube (1h31m) Premiered November 26, 1992 (Turkey Day marathon). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 11, 2016 - 3 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE BEATNIKS  Season 4, Ep 15

"Living by their code of REBELLION and MUTINY! Intimite secrets of the Beat Generation!" A singer has dreams of stardom, but his hipster friends keep him down. The movie was both directed and written by connsumate cartoon voice actor Paul Frees. Boris Badenov himself! But as we're reminded frequently, they're not beatniks. Servo: "They're not even Boatniks!" With short General Hospital #2: More scenes from the early days of the long-running soap. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered November 25, 1992. (Turkey Day '92) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 4, 2016 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: TORMENTED  Season 4, Ep 14

"A Ghost-Woman Owned Him Body and Soul!" "Her lips, cold as a tomb! Her caress, a naked chill!" Tom's former lover Vi threatens to reveal herself to his bride-to-be, so he lets her fall to her death, but that is only the beginning of her now-ghostly campaign against him. Another outing from the most prolific director of MST movies, Bert I. "Mr BIG" Gordon. It's a good episode, and it's not really that bad of a movie! Thanks again, Bert. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered September 26, 1992. Without riffing at the Internet Archive (1h16m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 28, 2016 - 10 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: MANHUNT IN SPACE  Season 4, Ep 13

Stitched-together episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, a space show from the 50s like Commander Video. He fights space pirates. While popular at the time, the show's production values put it way over budget and it only lasted one season. Co-pilot Winky was played by Scotty Beckett, former child star who was one of the original Our Gang kids, but was replaced in the cast after 26 episodes while serving jail time for carrying a concealed weapon. A troubled sort, he committed suicide at age 38. With short General Hospital #1: An old collection of scenes from what may be the very first year of long-running soap opera General Hospital. Dr. Steve Hardy was played by John Beradino, who was a baseball player for 13 years, and appeared as his GH character for 33 until his death. Not a man to give up a good gig. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered September 19, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 21, 2016 - 2 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN  Season 4, Ep 12

"The weirdest! The wildest! Half woman! Half stone!" Hercules is so sleepy he can barely keep his eyes open, but there's rescuin' to do. The loaf-of-demigod travels there, rescues the titular women, defeats the evil queen, and... well, it takes place in Atlantis. You figure out what happens at the end. THIS MOVIE IS DEDICATED TO URANUS. There, it's out of my system for good I think. This is the last Hercules movie of the season. This episode gives us a short bit at the start where Gypsy is in the theater, and the host segment with the Hercules Inaction Figure. YouTube (1h33m) Premiered September 12, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 14, 2016 - 1 comment

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE MAGIC SWORD  Season 4, Ep 11

"SEE the Green Fire Demons! SEE the 25-Foot Tall Ogre! SEE the Beautiful Vampire Woman! SEE the Boiling Crater of Death!" Lodac the Sorcerer has trouble finding a pet store that carries Dragon Chow, so he finds natural prey for it. Young George, a socially-awkward teen who's spent his whole life in a cave taken care of by witch Estelle Winwood, resolves to help protect the local princess population. The general consensus is that this is not a bad movie by MST standards. I concur; it's rather fun in a fairytale kind of way. Director Bert I. Gordon did good this time, and Basil Rathbone as the evil wizard helps to elevate things too. YouTube (1h33m). Premiered September 29, 1992. See comments for new information about our weekly showings.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 7, 2016 - 1 comment

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN  Season 4, Ep 10

"Planets on collision course as Earth's mightiest titan battles Moon Monsters!" Herc fights against rock monsters from space that are aided by the evil Queen Samar. Prepare for DEEP HURTING. This is the second "Hercules" movie the crew of the SOL witnessed, although in name only. Maciste is a venerable strongman character of Italian cinema that, alas, few Americans know about. So when this got released in the States he was renamed Hercules for this movie that has very little to do with mythology. This is the movie that has the interminable "saaand stooorm" sequence that drives our heroes to tears. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 22, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 17, 2015 - 10 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE INDESTRUCTABLE MAN  Season 4, Ep 9

"Inhuman! Invincible! Inescapable!" Lon Cheney Jr. lumbers around the screen as a criminal executed by, then revived by, magic fairies electricity, and in the process somehow made "indestructable," demonstrating the principle that, in movies, anything even vaguely scientific can attain infinite potency, given the right circumstances. With short Undersea Kingdom, Part 2: Our heroes continue to gad about Atlantis. While the series went to 12 chapters in theaters, this is the last we see of it on MST3K. Great host segments highlight a pretty good episode. YouTube (1h32m) Premiered August 15, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 9, 2015 - 12 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: HERCULES UNCHAINED  Season 4, Ep 8

AKA Ercole e la regina di Lidia. "Spectacles of Massive Might Beyond Any Ever Known Before!" "SEE The War of the Chariots! SEE Lydia the Temptress! SEE the Contest of Giants!" Hercules and his friend Ulysses (wait what?) get waylaid from an important mission by a sultry evil queen, who takes advantage of his drinking of the "waters of forgetfulness" to advance her romantic plans on the Hercster. This one marks the beginning of a new category for Mystery Science Theater movies, the sword-and-sandal epic. Most of these are fine episodes. Common to most: the meeting of the manly macho man-friends of Hercules, the customary Display of Strength, the evil trap that Herc falls into, the evil queen with designs on the Herc-meister, the Prance of the Courtly Nymphs, and of course the rampant muddling and conflating of ancient Greek works. YouTube (1h32m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 2, 2015 - 9 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE KILLER SHREWS, with short JUNIOR RODEO DAREDEVILS  Season 4, Ep 7

"They had to eat 3 times their body weight each day... or starve!" Some people are trapped on an island with friendly dogs poisonous shrews. Not a high point in the annals of cinema. With short Junior Rodeo Daredevils: To stop kids from bothering his horses, Old Timer Billy Slater arranges an incredibly dangerous competition for the local youth. The looping music in the short is like the soundtrack to the Ozark region of Hell. The dogs' killer shrew getup in the movie is particularly laughable. YouTube (1h32m) Unriffed (Internet Archive) Premiered July 25, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 19, 2015 - 5 comments

Mystery Science Theater 3000: ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, with short UNDERSEA KINGDOM, part one  Season 4, Ep 6

"Crawling Horror...Rising from the Depths of Hell to Kill and Conquer!" Rednecks are disappearing and the sheriff won't listen that they've been caught giant leeches living in caves beneath the swamp. Oh well, it isn't anything a bunch of dynamite can't handle. With short UNDERSEA KINGDOM, Part 1: In this first episode of a 1936 serial, "Crash" Corrigan and friends (including a Professor, a Kid, and a Woman) dive beneath the sea in their rocket sub to the lost city of Atlantis. Everyday-wear in Atlantis is, shall we say, flamboyant. The short is the oldest thing ever riffed by MST3K. I find the conclusion of the movie particularly hilarious. Although they know that the leeches may be keeping their victims alive in underswamp caverns, the "good guys" still throw in bundles of explosive, killing leeches and victims alike. The movie was remade in 2008! Executive Produced by Roger Corman, and Regular Produced by his brother Gene. YouTube (1h31m) Premiered July 18, 1992. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 12, 2015 - 7 comments

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

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