Home / TV / Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#100 – #51)

Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#100 – #51)

It’s nearly Thanksgiving and we’re doing something only a couple of websites have done: watch every episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and rank each one.

I’d love to sit here and pontificate about the show’s history and how great it was…but 1) you’ve heard it all before 2) you don’t really wanna sit here and read what I think about the show’s history when so many other people have said what’s already been said and 3) we’ve gotta get going with this thing.

If you still insist on knowing what the hell I’m talking about, feel free to visit the following sites:

The MST3K Wikipedia Page
The MST3k YouTube Channel
Their Official Website
The MST3K Satellite News Site

And, if you wanna compare lists (though that doesn’t sound the LEAST bit healthy for a growing man such as yourself), you can do so here:

Mighty Jack’s MST3K Review
Ranking Every MST3K Episode, From Worst to Best – Paste Magazine

If you want to watch episodes with other MSTies, you can visit the following sites.

Club MST3K – This site compiles a full episode guide for the show along with corresponding streaming video of nearly every single episode available online. It also offers a forum to chat with fellow MSTies while you watch. 🙂
Where to See MST3K Episodes – This site does the same thing.

And last, but not least, if you didn’t get to read Parts 1 and 2, you can do so here:

Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#196 – #151)
Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#150 – #101)

With all that out of the way, WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!

#100 is…

100) 514 – Teenage Strangler (w/ short: Is This Love?)

MST3K knows how to pick ’em. “Teenage Strangler” falls into the same category as “Daddy-O” and “Untamed Youth”, The dialogue, the weird “Painted Hills” color pallet and hammy overacting help yank it into “Attack of the Eye Creatures” territory. Mike and the Bots do what they can with the material their given, starting with a great short about young love which is just as goofy, but shot in black-and-white. The feature sees the guys taking multiple shots at the dweeby “Mikey” who is such an easy target, his place in MST3K history should be solid — except it isn’t. Torgo, the Gamera kids, Jack Perkins, and Glenn are all more memorable than he is and, unless you’re an absolute die hard, you may not even remember him or this episode. That’s a shame. It’s not riffed as well as most of Season 5 was, but it was solid.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: Are cops Constitutionally ABLE to ground kids?

 

99) 404 – Teenagers From Outer Space

Despite the threat of “TORTCHA!”, “Teenagers From Outer Space” is charming and easy to take. The plot revolves around teen aliens who land on Earth during some political strife on their planet. The ray gun which reduces people and animals to skeletons is as funny as the alien names (“Thor” and “Derek” — I kid you not) and the riffing is steady and hilarious. The sketches are extremely funny with the Mads showcasing a “Resusci-Annie” ventriloquist doll that literally “chokes” while on stage (“I’ll perform CPR…you call 911 while drinking water”, says Dr. Forrester — deadpan at its finest) and Joel and the Bots re-enact a movie theater “Feature Presentation” commercial. This is some good stuff.

BEST RIFF:

(DEREK drives his car while he thinks of THE LEADER’S words from earlier.)
THE LEADER: WE are the supreme race! WE have the supreme weapons!
CROW: Aw, turn Rush Limbaugh OFF!

 

98) 1108 – The Loves of Hercules

(Available on Netflix)

Mystery Science Theater 3000

“The Loves of Hercules” comes to us in the fine tradition of other Hercules films which have crossed MST3K’s radar like “Hercules Against the Moon Men”, “Hercules Unchained”, and “Hercules and the Captive Women”. So sue me if I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Sure enough, “The Loves of Hercules” is boring as all hell. And, yes, I’m talking both the film and the riffing. Aside from a few gems (listed below) and the ridiculous dragon sequence, the writers seem to have a massive off-day here with nearly nothing landing for a good belly laugh. Making fun of Hargitay’s accent can only get you so much mileage and attempting to take swipes at character names is really only funny once. The problem, I think, is that there’s a lot of downtime in the film. Between the “action” sequences is a LOT of talking and there isn’t much Jonah and the Bots can do with that.

BEST RIFF:

JONAH: I must have fallen asleep in Greek Mythology the day they talked about Sasquatch.

 

97) 618 – High School Big Shot (w/ short: Out of This World)

If “I Accuse My Parents” was darker and more depressing and had an alcoholic father instead of an alcoholic mother with not one hint of a happy ending, you would have “High School Big Shot”, a film which continues the fine MST3K outlook that nobody is safe from the world of organized crime. Luckily, the riffing is decent as most of the jokes come at the expense of poor “Marvin”, an insecure kid who is lured into the mafia by way of a girl he likes. It’s preceded by a short about guys who deliver and market bread and supermarkets — and how they’re puzzlingly watched over by an angel and her Satanic nemesis for some reason. It’s a bizarre, surreal short and, thus, in keeping with MST3K’s fine tradition of pseudo-Lynchian material.

BEST RIFF:

CROW (as Marvin): Are those voices in your head or mine?

 

96) 524 – 12 to the Moon (w/ short: Design for Dreaming)

A bunch of goofballs representing every race in the world go to the moon and somehow run afoul of aliens because why the hell not? Aliens can live on the moon, too! And that’s not even the worst of it. The film is so cheaply produced, you’ll notice the stage lighting above “the moon” before the guys do. I mean, the filmmakers didn’t even try to hide them. And don’t even get me started on the space helmets “with invisible face shields” because the producers couldn’t even afford decent costumes. Those moments where the guys don’t have a joke and just laugh? This is one of those moments. It’s not a terrible film. It has conviction, but it’s hard to take a film seriously when the space aliens’ language can be read and interpreted only by the Chinese for some reason. The riffing is fairly solid if not wholly funny. One of the running jokes here might seem familiar. Before we had “Butch Deadlift” and “Big McLargeHuge” in “Space Mutiny”, we had “Cliff Beefpile” and “Chunk Pylon” in “12 to the Moon”. It was just better realized in Season 8. The main feature is preceded by “Design for Dreaming” which the guys have a ton of fun with (the riffing is funnier here than in the feature film) but I’m more partial to its sister film, “Once Upon a Honeymoon”. Still, the running gag where Nuveena, the dancing lady from the short (Bridget Nelson, Mike’s real-life spouse), shows up to court and marry Mike is a scream — especially since the only way to communicate with Nuveena is to sing to her like you’re in a musical, so hearing Mike go baritone and plead with her to go easy on his friends is a treat.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Way to ruin the space walk, Chuckles!

 

95) 518 – The Atomic Brain (w/ short: What About Juvenile Delinquency?)

Another piece of sci-fi sleaze about a wealthy old woman who recruits younger women to come to her mansion…so she can put her brain inside one of them and let her male suitor have sex with her again. Yep, it’s gross and it’s a really unpleasant, horrible film, reminiscent of “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”. The riffing is fairly decent (Mike and the Bots’ “Dr. Chad rap” at the beginning ALWAYS makes me laugh and sets the overall tone and the constant “she’s old/she creeps/she’s so/damn old music riffs are funny), though it’s not as funny as I remember it being, which is weird since “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” still holds up for me upon repeated viewings. It might be that this is one of the episodes I overdosed on during my many early marathons. This episode marks the first time Magic Voice got her own sketch (she interacts with the film’s creepy narrator and it’s hilarious) and that’s really cool. The Juvenile Delinquency short is perfection as most of the shorts usually are, but I’m baffled as to why this didn’t hold up for me.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: So, did they put stuffing around the “cat brain” so it wouldn’t rattle around inside her skull?!

 

94) 620 – Danger! Death Ray!

A man who could only be described as a constipated Javier Bardem steals a “death ray” which was “made for peaceful purposes”. And it’s up to a EUROPEAN American secret agent to save the world. James Bond this obviously isn’t, especially with the odd cocktail lounge music and the lack of witty dialogue and wisecracks…or any suspense or action, really. The riffing is funny and solid — though some repetitive jokes permeate the proceedings (the “Watermelon Man” thing during any and all music arrangements is long in the tooth as are the “THIS MAN” declarations) and the sketch work continues to be so-so throughout the 6th season.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: It was an interesting choice not to have ANY suspense in this movie…

 

93) 517 – The Beginning of the End

Bert I. Gordon returns with another black-and-white disaster flick in “The Beginning of the End”. Giant locusts invade the Midwest and it’s up to Audrey Ames and Peter Graves to stop the grasshopper apocalypse…which simply means taking away the postcards with pictures of building they’re climbing. This used to be a Top Ten episode for me…but times have changed. Watching it again, years later, the riffs are still funny but it’s not as funny as I remember. The Peter Graves jokes are fine and I love the classic “Peter Graves” sketch but there are so-called “weaker” episodes that are better than this.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE (as Peter Graves): Frank! That’s FILTHY! I should wash your hands out with soap!

 

92) 423 – Bride of the Monster (w/ short: Hired!, Part 1)

One of two Ed Wood-directed features on MST3K and I’m still not sure which one of the two is worse. This stars the immortal Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson and a big rubber squid that does nothing unless it’s featured in stock footage. It’s a prime example of why Wood was notorious for making bad films and it’s riffed wonderfully, with most of the jokes coming at the expense of Bela Lugosi (“Now he’ll have the strength of 20 Heroin addicts!”) and Tor Johnson who is just on-board for his appearance. Another short comes before it in “Hired!, Part 1”, which is nowhere near as funny as it should be thanks to the odd decision to cut the short in half and save the second half for the god-awful Manos.

BEST RIFF:

(Bela Lugosi enters his lab and starts setting up.)
SERVO (singing to the “Mr. Rogers” theme): It’s a sinister day in the laboratory, a sinister day in the laboratory…

 

91) 419 – The Rebel Set (w/ short: Johnny at the Fair)

After fake “Rebels” in “Wild Rebels” and “Untamed Youth” and “The Beatniks”, we’re finally given honest-to-gosh beatniks in “The Rebel Set” which doesn’t actually feature any real “rebels”. It’s just a heist movie given a punchy name. It’s preceded by the classic short, “Johnny at the Fair” which is a tour-de-force of riffing from the guys. So much so that is overshadows about half of the feature film. Luckily, it DOES pick up during the second half when the heist kicks into full gear as Joel and the Bots tee off on the bizarre goofiness of the caper (the line where investigators come get the dead body and Crow says “Ok, who wants his Visa card?” always makes me crack up).

BEST RIFF:

CROW: I don’t get why these guys are “Rebels”.

 

90) 619 – Red Zone Cuba (w/ short: Platform, Posture, and Appearance)

Coleman Francis (609’s “Skydivers”) strikes again with a tale of a bunch of yahoos who become involved in a mercenary operation which seeks to invade Cuba. The episode starts with an insanely funny sketch about how to give a great speech which includes having clean shoes and twerking (Crow shouting “Shake your moneymaker!” gets me every single time because that’s just what it looks like the guy is doing.) The film riffing starts slow but picks up after the second half after the dialogue dies down (“Hour after hour after heart-pounding small talk,” proclaims Mike.) and the action starts up…then peters out. Francis, himself, cast himself in the lead, which still confuses the hell out of me being that he’s the most unappealing lead since Joe Don Baker in “Mitchell”.

BEST RIFF:

(A half dozen soldiers storm a large field.)
MIKE: Can you imagine being Fidel Castro and seeing THAT force swarming up at you?

 

89) 520 – Radar Secret Service (w/ short: Last Clear Chance)

I don’t mind government propaganda being showcased on MST3K. I just ask for it to be riffed well. The first portion of it (“Last Clear Chance”) is simply brilliant, taking to task one of those horrible driving films you have to sit through in Driver’s Ed in high school. It’s terrible with a police narrator who comes across as a pure-bred psychopath to the point where Mike and the Bots feel the need to assure viewers that the cop narrating the short film was summarily dismissed due to his “reign of terror”. The second half is a film about the positive virtues of radar. Because it’s the type of film we deserve…but not the film we NEED right now. The first half of the show is focused. The second, not so much — though it does have its moments. The maid (who Mike dubs “the director’s mistress”) coming in and discovering the dead body — and then casually leaving — is hilarious on its own.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE (as narrator): Only RADAR knows what the hell is going on!

 

88) 409 – Indestructible Man (w/ short: The Undersea Kingdom, Chapter 2)

Long close-ups of Lon Chaney, Jr., detectives and strippers, oh my! “Indestructible Man” is like watching “Monster-a-Go-Go” with a slightly more lucid plot. The riffing is solid with most of the jokes revolving around the detective novel-like narration which sees Joel and the Bots pushing back against, arguing with, or simply confirming the narration. Thankfully, this is the last we’d see of the lame “Undersea Kingdom” shorts which were so crusty and dull, it bogs down the riffing.

BEST RIFFS:

(RICHARD meets EVA at a strip club.)
EVA: Do you have a first name?
RICHARD: Dick.
CROW: THAT figures…

 

87) 504 – Secret Agent Super Dragon

A spy caper about an unnaturally smooth spy who’s assigned to investigate chewing gum spiked with drugs. The movie, itself, is a lot of fun and the guys make several jokes at the expense of the oily, smooth super spy and all the James Bond-esque spy tropes (the bit near the end where Joel and the Bots are making fun of spies using random objects as telephones is priceless; I laugh hard at the line, “Am I on speaker-pen?”) as well as the awkward love scenes where he Dragon tries to bed woman after woman. This one was fun.

BEST RIFF:

(Super Dragon turns on the make-out music, turns and smiles.)
JOEL (as Super Dragon): AmsterDAMN, I’M GOOD!

 

86) 501 – Warrior of the Lost World

Yet another 80’s apocalypse film where everything looks pretty good despite the death of kabillions of people. It’s not at strong as “Cave Dwellers” or “Pod People” in terms of MST3K 80’s cheese but it’s far better than earlier MST3K 80’s installments like “Robot Holocaust” and “City Limits” and that’s very welcome in my book. The sketches are fairly low-key if you don’t count the hilarious slot car race where Servo ends up getting royally screwed, but the jokes in the theater are solid, revolving around the motorbike with the stupid, hipster voice. Also, Donald Pleasance is in this film because he just can’t help himself and said “yes” to just about everything thrown at him at this point.

BEST RIFF:

(A massive fight sequence involving several different types of people.)
CROW: There’s like EIGHT DIFFERENT MOVIES being shot here!
SERVO: Ninjas, PLEASE report to the “Master Ninja” set! Grunge Girls, you’re needed on the “Mad Max” set — WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE FROM “THE PHILADELPHIA STORY” DOING HERE?!

 

85) 913 – Quest of the Delta Knights

If Rob Reiner walked away from “The Princess Bride” and burned William Goldman’s script and the studio fired the all-star cast and then hired David Warner in a hurry, you might have “Quest of the Delta Knights”, a movie that feels like you’re watching D&D players waltz around cheap ren-fair settings looking for “treasure”. The riffing isn’t bad but it isn’t great. We do get to see Pearl in theater for the first segment but it feels like she’s reading from a script and there’s little chemistry between her and the Bots save for a great moment where she gives them each a mint to chew on while they watch the film. Adding somebody else to the theater is a great idea but it rarely works as evidenced here and when Gypsy joined the guys for “Hercules and the Captive Women”. It barely worked in “Last of the Wild Horses” when Dr. F and Frank sat in for a segment. And, besides, it’s arbitrary. As is the end credits sequence where Pearl and a contractor visit the theater to take some measurements so that the theater can be altered for maximum pain delivery. Nothing really comes of this. Still, some of the riffing is great as the Bots have a field day with the character of “Leonardo” who is basically “Leonardo DaVinci” because he “came from the town of Vinci”. You can imagine how that goes for the next hour.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Well, better than “Quest of the Delta BURKES”, I suppose…

 

84) 621 – The Beast of Yucca Flats (w/ shorts: Money Talks / Progress Island U.S.A.)

Coleman Francis (“Red Zone Cuba”, “Skydivers”) brings us a less murky, yet just as mundane version of “Monster a-Go-Go” as Tor Johnson plays the titular character after he ends up being badly burned by a test nuke set off in the Yucca Flats area. Meanwhile, nothing ever happens. This was the last of his features and it’s a doozy, surprisingly uncomplicated and simplistic, compared to his other features and more of a victim of the shoddy editing and narration than anything else. Mike and the Bots do what they can here. The riffing for the feature doesn’t get great until the last half of the show which isn’t too bad. The shorts are loads better, though two shorts seems like overload.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: This movie stops at nothing…and stays there.

 

83) 316 – Gamera vs. Zigra

MST3K sees its last “Gamera” film and it’s the best of the bunch precisely because the show finally corrects the pauses and strikes the right balance between the goofiness of the film and the humor of the riffs. The episode feels like a celebration, literally opening with a party thrown by Joel and the Bots as they toast their fifth and final Gamera film (though we still have one more Sandy Frank feature coming in “Fugitive Alien II” at this point). The riffs are spot on as the boys are more relaxed here with more natural sounding jokes and some great lines involving the ridiculous monster children in the film — something that’s made fun of later by Mike Nelson and his real-life Bridget as they appear as 30-year-old monster children who still hang out with Gamera. The look on Joel’s face when Bridget says “Gamera is my boyfriend” is as priceless as any of the child riffs in the film.

BEST RIFF:

CROW (to the tune of “Yellow Submarine”): They all die in a yellow bathysphere…

 

82) 809 – I Was a Teenage Werewolf

It’s “High School Big Shot” (the same actor playing the Dad is here) with a werewolf in it…played by Michael Landon, no less, so expect plenty of “Bonanza” references (Servo singing “It’s all right if I kill a couple kids, Bonanza!” is just great). It’s a hilarious film on its own mainly because the characters are so poorly written and unbelievable. It was obviously produced by somebody who thought this was the way kids acted in school, if the horrible, arbitrary musical number near the beginning of the flick is any indication. Sung hastily and awfully, Crow remarks, “Fifteen teenagers savagely tore apart one of their peers today…” after the conclusion of it. The sketches are a change of pace with Mike and the Bots battling a horrible alien being because Pearl (being Pearl) decided to troll and lower the ship’s shields. It’s clever stuff that sort of hearkens back to the Joel era.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Does just walking through it make you want to kill yourself? Well, then, it’s a HIGH SCHOOL!

 

81) 1012 – Squirm (w/ short: A Case of Spring Fever)

When a movie is set in the deep South and it’s featured on MST3K, it’s a good bet that a) it’s going to be god-awful, showcasing the most over-the-top stereotypes you’ve ever heard about the region and b) it’s most likely going to produce some good belly laughs. The penultimate episode of the SyFy era, “Squirm” (directed by Jeff Lieberman who was none too happy about his film being roasted on the show, accusing the MST3K crew of cheapening what he made sound like a masterpiece) isn’t a classic episode by any means but there’s some good-natured, observational riffing to be had as the film’s protagonists, Mick and his girlfriend Geri (who the Bots say looks like everything from a “badly dressed Pixie stick” to “a straw with a piece of lint at one end”) contend with aggressive worms that kill humans and eat their flesh, stripping them down to the bone. Hey, we’ve seen films about bats that can smack somebody upside the head and injure them so, why the hell not? It’s preceded by the final short seen on the show (as of writing this) called “A Case of Spring Fever”, a puzzling number about a man who hates springs, wishes he’d never see one again — only to have that wish granted by a creepy animated imp named “Coyly” who shows him what the world would be like without springs — then immediately backs down and returns springs to everything, transforming the man into a spring-loving genius who won’t shut the holy hell up about how springs are used. It’s a bizarre, disturbing short and a fitting end to the slew of shorts we’ve seen on the show.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: You know, this whole movie deftly illustrates one unshakable principle: never go to the South for any reason. In fact, South, SECEDE, will ya’? We won’t stop ya’ this time!
MIKE: Crow…
CROW: Oh, come on…they know we hate ’em!
MIKE: Stop it! Sorry, South…he’s a…violent little robot, pay no attention…

 

80) 206 – Ring of Terror (w/ short: Phantom Creeps, Chapter 3)

A hazing ritual goes wrong in this murky black-and-really-black film which doesn’t even seem like it could possibly be the least bit humorous…but it is. Most of the jokes revolve around a cast of people who look very much like they should be well on their way to 50 years old and nowhere near college age. This makes the romantic make-out scene near the beginning of the film SO gross — and SO funny thanks to Joel and the Bots (CROW: “Now, where were we? I believe I had my tongue down your throat!” followed by sucking and slobbering noises — great stuff). What’s not so good is ANOTHER “Phantom Creeps” short — and it’s AFTER the main film…ugh. At least the riffs are great (CROW: How come they keep killing people and the cast list isn’t getting any shorter?!) AND it’s the LAST time we see this set of shorts, which was DOA to begin with. Also, the skits are great — including a concluding sketch with Frank singing about being Forrester’s second banana which just ends in the most satisfying, hilarious way. It’s brilliant. “Ring of Terror” is, ironically, bright and fun to watch despite how dark the film is.

BEST RIFF:

(A couple makes out and takes a bite out of the same sandwich at the same time.)
CROW: Ugh…I’m physically ILL…
JOEL: This is like ‘9 1/2 Weeks”…
CROW: It’s worse than the AUTOPSY…
SERVO: This movie should be called “ONION Ring of Terror”…

 

79) 207 – Wild Rebels

We get a Nazi biker picture in this one. Tarantino would be proud. “Wild Rebels” is a hell of a lot of fun. A race car driver gets mixed up with some really off-kilter biker nuts who wreak havoc “for the kicks, baby!” The riffing is spot-on, with Joel and the Bots mercilessly mocking the dweeby Steve Alaimo as the hero of the film for his singing and dancing scenes. Yes, in a BIKER MOVIE. The sketches are absolutely wonderful with a Rebel Set cereal commercial from Joel and the Bots as well as Joel being attacked by Crow and Servo (as bikers) during a date with Gypsy who merely says “I did it for the kicks” as the Bots kick the crap out of poor Joel. Everything works in the episode because of the cheesy source material and because MST3K was beginning to find its stride.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: Do not induce vomiting…
CROW: The movie will do that FOR you.

 

78) 821 – Time Chasers

“Time Chasers” is basically “Birdemic” with a bigger budget and better editing. You still have the same botched casting (Crow’s outright objection to the casting of the main hero near the beginning is great stuff) and the dippy acting but everything is slightly more intense and a little more suspenseful. It’s still a horribly ridiculous film (a guy invents a prop plane time machine and sells it to a company that stabs him in the back and changes the future into an apocalyptic hellscape) and the riffing is not as memorable as “Space Mutiny” or the other 80’s/90’s films that have been featured on the show,. but it has charm and the director is a great sport. The sketches are very clever, dealing with a running storyline where Crow travels back into the time to prevent Mike from temping for a living and ending up on the SOL — only to find out that Mike eventually died playing with his rock band and his meaner, alcoholic, chainsmoking brother, Eddie, has taken his place on the ship. This set of sketches, while a little more involved and complex than what we’ve seen on this show, is more interesting and clever than the continuous storyline sludge (Ape World, Observer World, Ancient Rome, etc.) we’ve been subjected to in Season 8.

BEST RIFF:

(During “Written by” end credit)
CROW: This was “WRITTEN”?! I don’t think so.

 

77) 1002 – The Girl in Gold Boots

If “The Sinister Urge” got an update, you might end up with “The Girl in Gold Boots”, a film with characters who are either remarkably sleazy or really goddamn stupid. The first film in the SyFy era that isn’t science fiction or fantasy, It’s about a woman who is “discovered” in a roadside diner outside Los Angeles and falls for some random guy’s promises of fame and fortune in Hollywood. You’d think she’d be shocked when she discovers the venue she’s gonna be performing in is literally a go-go dancer dive. But, no, she eyes that stage as if she’s a kid seeing a giant stack of buttery warm pancakes for the first time. The riffing here wavers but gets better near the end. It can’t hold a candle to its spiritual cousin named above, but it DOES feature a great sketch where Mike sings the “sad song” that “Critter” sings in the film complete with Crow’s face superimposed to the side every now and then — except, instead of sitting there and smiling like the girl in the movie, Cros describes a horrific fire that’s started on the SOL and which manages to take out a few decks on the ship. It’s a riot.

BEST RIFF:

(Stripper faints in dressing room.)
SERVO: Great! Now we gotta drag her out on stage and take her clothes off manually.

 

76) 210 – King Dinosaur (w/ short: X Marks the Spot)

“The lemur tastes a little gamey,” says Tom Servo, making chewing noises. And that’s one of several lemur jokes which don’t get old in “King Dinosaur”, the first experiment from Bert I. Gordon whose further bodies of work will happily be exposed later on this show. It’s probably the funniest episode of the 2nd season of the show. A bunch of idiots travel to an island to do SCIENCE STUFF(!) and run afoul with the island’s “dinosaurs”…which are really just blown-up, blue-screened iguanas and bearded dragons and alligators and it’s a riot when the scientists pretend they’re seeing actual “dinosaurs”. The sketches vary with the highlight being the “Joey the Lemur” sketch where Joel goes apeshit insane with a stuffed puppet lemur which he brags about at length to the point of insanity. The Bots half-assing Joey’s theme and trying to play along with Joel’s mental breakdown is a thing of beauty. This episode was also notable for having the first short film that wasn’t part of a serial in “X Marks the Spot”, a weird short about a reckless driver who is killed in a traffic accident — and is immediately sent to a heavenly traffic court where angels talk proper driving etiquette. It’s as bizarre as it sounds but the riffing on it is hilarious with some choice lines (“You know how boys are!” “Yes, I know how boys are!” JOEL: “And I know WHERE the boys are!”; SERVO: “So, help me, ME!”) and it would set the standard for the shorts to come.

BEST RIFF:

GUY: OVER HERE!
GIRL: FASTER!
CROW (as guy climbing hill): UP YOURS!!! Er, I mean…WE’LL BE RIGHT THERE!

 

75) 815 – Agent for h.a.r.m.

A spy flick so boring, it makes “Tinker, Tailor, Spy” look like “Skyfall”. Predictably, many of the jokes here are Mike and the Bots suddenly attempting to sing the big “James Bond Theme” overture while a lot of others are Prince-based (due to a supporting character’s passing resemblance to the late singer). All in all, the riffing is pretty solid even when they’re not milking those two jokes. It’s notable for a couple other things: 1) This is the episode where Mike stands trial for accidentally blowing up those three planets, featuring a great segment where Crow drops a roaringly funny, expletive-laced video defending him and 2) This is Patrick Brantseg’s debut as the voice of Gypsy as the entire original cast of MST3K officially turns completely over.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: There’s the wind-up…and there’s the smarm!

 

74) 911 – Devil Fish

“Devil Fish” is the answer to “Is there a killer fish film worse than ‘Jaws: The Revenge’?”. It’s an Italian film masquerading as a film made in the United States…Florida, to be exact, and it features Italian actors pretending to be Floridians, which never fails to get a laugh out of me. If the first sentence wasn’t a clue, it’s about a giant fish the government made that wreaks havoc on a beach community. You’ve heard this one before. Some great riffs here regarding the shoddy editing that permeates this film but most of it is throwaway stuff, not that it isn’t humorous on its own. It does boast one of the funniest sketches I’ve seen on the show: Pearl and Bobo attempting to “filter” Mike and the Bots so they match the Italian actors — except the filters morph them into Italian stereotypes. It sounds awful…except I come from an Italian family and most of them think the sketch is fairly on point.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: So, Mike, turtles excrete wax and you humans put it in cans and just rub it all over your cars? Good! That’s good…just keep DOING that.

 

73) 321 – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” reminds me of the shoddy Christmas films my extended family would subject me to after I arrived at an uncle or aunt’s house for Christmas Day dinner. They would toss me in a room with all the other younger cousins and what-not and put on some schlocky, dusty Christmas crud I’d have to sit through so I wouldn’t bug the adults who were indulging in bourbon and Frank Sinatra singing carols. That said, I always thought this episode was hard to get through. This time, not so much. It felt like I was spending the holiday with friends. The riffing isn’t spectacular but it’s very funny in spots. A lot of people will say that Season 5’s “Santa Claus” is better. I’m probably on board with that line of thought. That episode doesn’t feature the classic “Patrick Swayze Christmas” song, though. That sketch (and song) has become a classic part of MST3K lore.

BEST RIFF:

SANTA (smoking a pipe and talking to a reporter): We’re goin’ out the good ol’ fashioned way! With our reindeer, Prancer and Dancer and Thunder and Blitzen and Vixen and NIXON!
SERVO (as reporter): Uh, yeah, so what’s in the pipe, Santa?

 

72) 306 – Time of the Apes

A family climbs into suspended animation capsules during an earthquake (for some reason) and ends up in a time where apes have evolved from men. It’s another Sandy Frank pain-fest and, here, Joel and the Bots dub Frank “The source of all our pain” as they sing along to the Time of the Apes theme song, a moment which helped perpetuate a now-debunked rumor that Frank hated MST3K and pulled the distribution rights out from under them. The episode is a lot of fun in true Frank fashion with laughably low-budget ape costumes and weird, extreme close-ups, and odd editing. Most of the jokes come at the expense of “Johnny”, the little boy whose catchphrase in the face of danger is an obnoxious “I don’t care!”, yet another memorable MST3Kism. The segments are just okay, with the highlight being the Scopes Trial, presided over by a puppet-like Judge Wapner. Still, it’s fairly solid stuff.

BEST RIFF:

(Pepe sees a security guard coming around the corner. He turns the corner and playfully skips toward the guard.)
(JOEL AND THE BOTS make multiple gunshot sounds as Pepe makes his appearance known.)
GUARD: Hey! What are you doing here?
JOEL (as PEPE): I’m a traitor to my species!
PEPE: I’m here to see my father!
GUARD: Your father is stationed HERE?
PEPE: Yes, he’s an officer!
SERVO (as PEPE): …and a gentle-monkey!
GUARD: I see, well go on! You should be hanging around here!
(PEPE skips off.)
PEPE: Good-bye! Nice meeting you!
CROW: Well, there’s some good “security”…what is this, Watergate?!

 

71) 519 – Outlaw

The second Golan/Globus attempt at MST3K and it’s a doozy: two goofballs end up in another dimension in the middle of picking up women at a bar in present times. Nothing makes sense up until the two of them go back into time and, from there, it’s a series of really awkward T&A masquerading as some cross-dimensional socio-political epic complete with gratuitous shots of oiled up butts and bouncing boobs. The riffing is strong near the beginning, falters in the middle, then becomes gold near the end — especially during the film’s end credits when the guys compare it to some late-night 1990’s USA Network television movie. That, and the sketches FINALLY hit their stride with a priceless bit where the boys discover Jack Palance’s autobiography which has a chapter on the making of “Outlaw” (“Day Five. Missed call. After four days of shooting, I got the script today and guess what? I’m NOT playing Thomas Aquinis! I’m supposed to be SOME kind *DEEP INHALE* of freakin’ WIZARD!”). I just wish this material was more consistent.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE (as beer commercial narrator): “Wouldn’t it be great if you were stuck in another dimension with an annoying guy and he brought BEER?”

 

70) 704 – The Incredible Melting Man

There’s no getting around it. “The Incredible Melting Man” is the goriest film MST3K has ever featured. It’s surprising that the Brains ever allowed it here because it’s dark, depressing, and grim. You know, if the severed head floating down a river and then falling down a small waterfall, before exploding into a bloody mess on the rocks below wasn’t enough of a clue. ” ‘You give me a Firebird and a dilapidated building and I’ll give you drama,'” Dr. Forrester says, quoting late film director Hal Needham, in the opening sketch. Indeed, Mike and the Bots pull off the impossible, turning something awful into something watchable and fun with some acerbic wit and timing. This may or may not be due to the fact that the film was originally intended to be a horror parody but became a straight horror film when the director decided he wanted to play it straight and edit out all the comedy sequences. Still, some of the things he did leave in (the elderly couple that seems randomly inserted into the film; the cracker argument near the beginning of the movie) are perfect fodder for the guys. The amount of mileage they get out of the film’s hero (the wussy Dr. Ted Nelson, whose name they apply to the small bits of musical score) is stunning and hilarious. The sketch work here is brilliant as well, as Crow finally gets “Earth vs. Soup” made into a feature film — only to have the “studio” (made up of Dr. Forrester and Pearl) mess with him at every turn and eventually get the film made into “just a trailer”. The entire series of bits is the Brains’ exorcising the demons they faced during the making of “MST3K: The Movie” and you can feel the pain.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: Careful! The paneling is out-acting you!

 

69) 301 – Cave Dwellers

The start of Season 3 began with an episode many MSTies consider to be one of the greatest ever. It’s not hard to see why. “Cave Dwellers” is actually the low budget sequel to “Ator, the Fighting Eagle”, a film the show would riff almost 30 years later during the Netflix era. It’s the story of “Ator”, played by Miles O’Keefe, (which gives us the simple, yet hilarious riff: “How much Keefe is IN this movie, anyway?” “MILES O’Keefe!”) as he attempts to defeat a goofy looking dude named “Zor” who wants “the Geometric Nucleus”, which has the capability of mass destruction. The film is a mess with a hero who looks like a personal trainer in an R-rated 80’s comedy, but who knows everything — including building a freakin’ modern hang glider in like five minutes, much to the dismay of Joel and the Bots who laugh their asses off. The sketches are just brilliant, too, with the guys doing their own version of the blurry opening credits sequence. (The sketch about “extraordinary names for ordinary things” is one of my all-time favorite conversational sketches simply for following exchange: CROW: “White Shadow”? You coulda called that “Haloed Hoop Honkey”! Or “Jake and the Fat Man”…you coulda called that, uh…uh…well… EVERYONE: …”Jake and the Fat Man”. SERVO: Yep, pretty much.) It’s one of those moments that makes you laugh so loudly, you might not hear the lines that follow the joke.

BEST RIFF:

(Akronos explains the Nucleus to his daugther, Mila, then turns away from her and faces the camera, almost like he’s looking right at the audience.)
CROW: What do you, the viewers at home, think?

 

68) 1107 – The Land That Time Forgot

(Available on Netflix)

Mystery Science Theater 3000

“The Land That Time Forgot” is actually a pretty decent. I first saw the film one late Friday night when I was much younger. All these years later, yeah, it’s pretty dated and silly but there was conviction in the cheese that was this film. The reason Jonah and the Bots’ jokes work on something this silly but are agonizingly and frustratingly wasted on films like “Starcrash” at times is because this movie took itself so seriously. And why shouldn’t it? The effects, even now, are pretty good. Take a look at the featured image up there. That’s quality stuff. In any case, Jonah and the Bots due a great job here. They don’t overplay their hand, they simply go with the flow and get their hits in and, over the course of the entire episode, the riffs are totally solid. The butt of their noise is, of course, the late Doug McClure (who is either a Western actor or the guy from “Out of This World” depending on your age) who plays the square-jawed hero in this thing. The problem is that McClure is actually a decent leading man so they end up defaulting, mostly, to the German and British cast antics which means you’re bound to get a “Sound of Music” riff and several jokes about submarines (brilliant are the bits about finding Spongebob and the Yellow Submarine parody) which are funny even as predictable as they may be.

BEST RIFF:

JONAH: This is my fourth favorite submarine movie…well, I only know of three others, so this is also my least favorite submarine movie.

 

67) 604 – Zombie Nightmare

A weird 80’s horror flick set in Canada about a young kid who is run over and killed by a bunch of psychotic teens — and then is resurrected by one of Canada’s many Voodoo priestesses so that he can commit cold-blooded gruesome revenge. “The Crow”, this isn’t, especially with Adam West as a cigar-chomping cop in on the entire Canadian Zombie Conspiracy. Come to think of it, that sounds like a great rock band name…I digress. Several things don’t make sense here. The least of which is how the hell a film this low-budget obtained the rights to Motorhead’s mega-hit “Ace of Spades”. The riffing is great here, poking fun at how silly the premise is and how it paints Canada in an unflattering light.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: You know, John Goodman on Hume Cronyn’s BACK could outrun this guy!

 

66) 505 – The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

Another handsome Russian production, this time with “Sinbad”, which isn’t really Sinbad. This is one of those MST3K episodes where the film is entertaining and sumptuous (the underwater and palace sequences are beautiful), but goofy, campy and cheap (my god, that laughing horse, right out of “Evil Dead 2” and “Santa Claus” is nightmare fuel) — and, therefore, right in the show’s wheelhouse. “Sinbad” is actually “Sadko”, but that’s the way America rolls with their translations. The riffing is right on with Joel and the Bots going right after Sinbad’s waffling and terrible planning. It’s great stuff. Not “Manos” or even “Mitchell” great, but it’s right there in one of the best episodes produced on the show.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO (as Sinbad): I’ve been all around the world and I’ve NEVER seen something as stupid as THIS.

 

65) 509 – The Girl in Lover’s Lane

“The Girl in Lover’s Lane” is another example of the show’s versatility. It’s a sad little melodrama and not bad at all despite the ridiculously low rating on IMDB (2.6 if memory serves). It’s a real movie with compelling characters and a heartbreaking ending. If one were to watch it without the MST3K treatment, they might be taken in by it. It doesn’t deserve to be here…yet, the boys SOMEHOW pull a fantastic riffing session from it, lampooning the film’s hero, “Bix Dugan”, dubbing him “Big Stupid” due to the way he first mumbles his name to Danny. It’s a running joke which sounds like it might get old quick due to the childish nature of the name, but it’s executed perfectly because the characters look the way Joel and the Bots envision them with Bix, the big dog, and Danny, the little mutt Bix cares for. Throw in Crow’s classic “I’m Jack Elam sketch” (his eyeballs are moved slightly to resemble Elam’s cross-eyed leering and it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious) and the episode is welcome in any Top Episode list.

BEST RIFF:

JOEL (as Carrie): This is a great date! I’ve always wanted to be nuzzled by a hobo.

 

64) 807 – Terror From the Year 5000

After some murky Universal adventures and a Corman dud, “Terror From the Year 5000” is just what the show needed. Yes, we’re still in black-and-white territory (we won’t see a color episode until the 10th episode) but this one is steadily-riffed from beginning to end (Servo acting as a liaison between the audience and the film and checking on “the terror” when it doesn’t materialize is a great running joke) and it feels more “loose”. Of note, one of the sketches is the brilliant, “When I Held Your Brain in My Arms” sketch, sung by The Observers. It’s one of the greatest moments of the eighth season and the show. Bravo.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Filmed in glorious black and…slightly LESS black…

 

63) 812 – The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

The man responsible for some of the cinematography in Season 5’s “Eegah”, Ray Dennis Steckler, comes at us with an ugly, surreal film about carnies and strippers and death and murder. To say the film is strange doesn’t do it justice. Picture “Eegah” or “Manos”, only slightly more dirty and less structured. A week’s worth of showers can’t get the smell of the film off anyone. It’s insanely hard to take in spots and the blows are only softened, somewhat, by odd, random musical numbers which the guys riff beautifully. The real good riffing, however, doesn’t happen until the last third of the film and that’s a tragedy because this episode could have been a true classic. That said, it isn’t bad at all.

BEST RIFF:

(Women dance around in skimpy clothing but don’t do much of anything sexy.)
MIKE: You know, the 14-year-olds who snuck in with fake IDs, they gotta be feeling profoundly ripped off at this point.

 

62) 705 – Escape 2000

Somewhere between “The Warriors” and “Escape from New York” lies “Escape 2000”, a film about a major conglomerate who is forcing everyone who they believe to be “undesirable” from “The Bronx” which is, in reality, Italy where the film is shot with some 2nd unit stuff based in ACTUAL New York. Whether or not you consider the riffing to be solid depends largely on how many “leave the Bronx” jokes you can handle as they’re peppered into the proceedings about every three minutes — though the bits about reporter Moon Grey being Nosferatu are great (Mike’s payoff riff about “needing a wooden stake” to finish her off after she’s shot gets a good belly laugh from me every single time) as is the confusion over Dablone’s name, which the guys dub “Toblerone”. Sketches are uneven, bordering on annoying as Dr. Forrester attempts to put his Mom in a “home” because he truly can’t stand her. So, Mary Jo Pehl is reduced to yelling “Clayton” every so often like she did in the “Deathstalker” sketches and I really can’t believe the writing was that lazy.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: The ultimate showdown between “vaguely evil” and “somewhat ambiguous”.

 

61) 817 – Horror of Party Beach

If “Catalina Caper” had decided to feature a monster instead of a robbery, you’d have “Horror of Party Beach”, a film with a creature so ridiculous, it makes “Revenge of the Creature” look like “Alien”. Forgiving the fact that there are about a jillion musical numbers and sequences where teens just make out for no reason, the main monster looks like it’s auditioning for “The Muppet Show”. The riffing is ultra-solid here as Mike and the Bots practically beg for relief from the tedium of non-stop songs and dance numbers which have absolutely nothing to do with the plot. This extends to a great sketch where Mike’s swim trunks don’t fit and he shows up to the SOL Dance Party completely nude.

BEST RIFF:

(People dance on the beach. Again.)
MIKE: I’m sure there’s some perfectly nice Tiger Sharks just off-shore who’d be willing to eat these people.

 

60) 422 – The Day the Earth Froze (w/ short: Here Comes the Circus)

Ah, a Russo-Finnish production, one of a few MST3K took on. To me, this is MST3K. This episode always makes me think of Thanksgiving because it aired during one of the Turkey Day Marathons. Whenever I do my yearly “Best of” in November, it’s an all-timer for so many reasons. The entire “SAMPO!” debate (another piece of established MST3K lore) not withstanding, the riffing is right on, with some great zingers concerning the Finnish actors and their accents. The bit with the flaming moose boat sliding down a hill and into the water is hilarious. The jokes during the Circus short are perfection, especially during the clown sequences when two gymnast clowns spank one another with brooms while hanging upside down on parallel bars (CROW: More! More! I’m a BAD clown!). The sketches are funny, depending on your taste with the stand-out being “Gypsy, Me”, Gypsy’s one-woman show. It’s one of the only times Gypsy has been allowed to shine and it’s wonderful.

BEST RIFF:

(Louhi’s people sleep in a giant cavern.)
SERVO (in a low, relaxing voice): And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Butch Thompson’s gonna come out with the band, they’re gonna do a medley of songs about cats; then Jim Ed Poole will do some cat sounds and then another episode of ‘Watching Paint Dry’, then Claudia Schmidt’ll come out and try to fill the gap in her teeth, and Pat Donohue and Peter Ostroushko are going to favor us with the story of ‘The Swede Who Didn’t Like Meatballs.'”

 

59) 608 – Code Name: Diamond Head (w/ short: A Day at the Fair)

If “Mitchell” was set in Hawaii and Joe Don Baker lost 100 pounds, you’d have Roy Thinnes as “Diamond Head”, an American spy going up against his equal played by the great Ian McShane(!). This failed 70’s TV pilot is perfect fodder for Mike and the Bots as they lampoon the show’s weird penchant for not showcasing the island’s culture or locales. The “Hawaii Five-O” jokes are chuckle-worthy as are the constant Code Name changes for “Diamondhead”. The sketches are repetitive bordering on clever depending on your patience level as Magic Voice finally gets another starring role, showing Crow and Servo how their lives would be different living with somebody else other than Mike on the SOL. All in all, it’s a fun episode with steady riffing.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: Code Name: Cubic Zirconia Head!

 

58) 511 – Gunslinger

Roger Corman strikes again with a western action piece…but I can’t stay mad. It has Beverly Garland in a strong female role as a Marshall who runs things her way. It’s easily watchable just for this aspect. It’s also the perfect companion piece to “The Painted Hills” with its weird colorization and theme. It’s not as well-riffed as the thick tide of pearls Season 5 had to offer but it’s up there as Joel and the Bots go after Corman’s horrible editing and the fact that he actually had choreographers to teach the female actresses playing the saloon prostitutes how to dance. Adding to the characters’ inner monologues and their external dialogue is also hilarious. It’s just too bad the sketches aren’t on the same level.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: Well, THERE’S a switch: someone’s shooting a postal worker!

 

57) 906 – The Space Children (w/ short: Century 21 Calling)

(Watch here.)

Somewhere between “Invaders From Mars” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” lies “The Space Children”, a film about an alien blob which controls the minds of the children of Earth’s greatest atomic scientists and uses them to sabotage their parents’ work. It’s a strange, creepy, and sometimes, unpleasant film (the “Professor” from Gilligan’s Island practically abuses his son in a cringe-worthy scene) which is saved by some great riffing. Additionally, it’s nice to see a short here, the first in the SyFy era. It’s not the greatest short (about phones and telecommunication set in Seattle’s World’s Fair) but Mike and the Bots manage to get some great zingers in (the “How Do Animals Learn” exhibit sees Crow replying with “Well, as long as they learn to be delicious…”) and it’s a nice set-up for the dusty main feature.

BEST RIFF:

MOM: Children, will you stop chattering?!
CROW: Stop trying to form a BOND with us! We HAD you! Isn’t that ENOUGH?!

 

56) 516 – Alien from L.A.

The first of two features from producers Golan/Globus who also produced #519, “Outlaw” (of Gor, if you prefer). This was my first time ever viewing this episode, to be honest, and I had always heard that it was so-so. The first half of the thing is riffed VERY well. It’s a terrible, yet stylish film, evoking David Fincher’s early Gothic music videos before he finally found his groove. The show gets a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of mileage out of Kathy Ireland’s inexplicable Minnie Mouse voice while the rest of it focuses on the terrible acting and Ireland’s daftness. The sketches are pretty decent, my favorite being where Mike is forced by the Bots to judge what Ireland was feeling based on hand-picked stills from the film. Another solid Season 5 episode.

BEST RIFF:

WANDA: Why’d you even go out with me in the first place if I’m such a geek?!
MIKE (as Wanda’s boyfriend): Because I’m turned on by squeeze toys!

 

55) 814 – Riding With Death

Here, we have two episodes of the show “The Gemini Man” glued together. The last time we were in this situation was Season 3 and “Master Ninja”. This time, we get a couple yokels who know how to drive really well and who work with a secret agency who gives them the ability to turn invisible. The difference between “Riding With Death” and “Master Ninja” is the tighter, more veteran riffing. Being that the two main characters are total yokels, it’s not difficult. Kinda like a lighter version of “The Giant Spider Invasion”. It’s a fun episode.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE (during credits): Is there such a thing as “Starring Ben Murphy”? Isn’t it more honest to say that, most of the time, the camera’s “POINTED at Ben Murphy”?

 

54) 905 – The Deadly Bees

(Watch here.)

Another stuffy British film. This one’s about a singer who ends up on a bee farm where murderous hijinks involving bees ensues. The guys do a fairly good job riffing the thing, but the good stuff doesn’t come until about halfway through when it’s obvious just how convoluted the plot gets (“Mike, I’m just gonna look down at your shoes because that makes about as much sense as the movie,” Crow says at one point.) until it eventually trips over itself and ends weird with a random guy in a bowler cap walking from all the way into the background of the final shot to the foreground, which Mike and the Bots cannot even begin to comprehend. There’s some good stuff here. It’s not a perfect episode but a hell of a lot more zingers than some of the more popular episodes, if only the movie didn’t weigh things down so much.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: Look at her go! I didn’t cigarettes had so many vitamins!

 

53) 1006 – Boggy Creek II: and the Legend Continues…

If you thought “The Giant Spider Invasion” exposed America’s hicks, then have I got a movie for you. “Boggy Creek II” (which is actually the third film in the Boggy Creek franchise) features a bunch of university students (who Crow says must be majoring in “Boggy Creek Studies”) who waltz out to the middle of nowhere in order to catch a glimpse of a Bigfoot-like creature. The movie is unforgivably terrible, with a two whiny female leads who don’t amount to much (though one tries to chew tobacco for reasons that are still unclear to me) and a young student named Tim whose shirt just won’t stay on throughout much of the movie. And in case you thought you were getting out of Boggy Creek without any mental scars, that all changes with the introduction of “Crenshaw”, a gigantic blob of a man with a fuzzy beard poured into denim overalls. You have to see him to believe him…and I can’t believe I’m saying that about THAT guy and not the titular creature.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: God bless you, half-man, half-pig!

 

52) 1106 – Starcrash

{Available on Netflix)

Mystery Science Theater 3000

I had never heard of “Starcrash” until I saw it featured on MST3K. When I first reviewed the episode on The Workprint, I was amazed how many of my colleageus recognized it and told me I should watch it on its own. What I’ve seen here is just fun. An Italian import (with supporting roles from Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff of all people), it might evoke memories of “Space Mutiny” but it’s  not. It’s like if “Star Wars” and MAD Magazine had a baby and put it on a movie screen. it’s absolutely ridiculous stuff, a film that knows it’s a complete rip-off of the the galaxy far, far away with Force-like powers which are convenient to the plot (Akton suddenly has the power to thaw a human being after they’ve been trapped in ice forever) and some familiar weapons (check out that laser sword thingee!). It’s hard to judge the jokes here because the film is fairly self-aware and, as a result, it’s fairly silly on its own. Crow calling it “a community theater production of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy'” is spot-on as his sketch where he creates a massive science-fiction epic of his own with “world building” and “so much pew, pew, pew, pew!”

BEST RIFF:

JONAH: Filmed over the weekend at Rick’s parents’ house.

 

51) 909 – Gorgo

Ever since the loss of the Sandy Frank properties (Godzilla, Gamera, et al), we’ve had to put up with badly rear-projected “giant insect” films. Finally, like a blessing from the heavens, “Gorgo” arrives…and it’s a British take on Godzilla, as we move away from Japan, a trend we’d see continue with “Reptilicus” (Denmark) and “Yongary” (South Korea). The great news is that it’s still just as riffable and it feels like old times with a really relaxed, go-with-the-flow feel. The guys have been here before and it shows as they spend most of the film taking shots at our good neighbors across the pond, mocking UK slang and making fun of their traditions (Mike’s line about “keeping the beer warm” is RIGHT ON) and the “Dorkin” jokes NEVER get old. There’s a lot of the UK in Season 9 and this is the best of their films featured here on the show. It’s also nice to see film critic Leonard Maltin make an appearance here. A longtime fan of the show, he fits right in and his back-and-forth with Pearl is so natural, it feels real.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE (as Gorgo): MCROAR! O’GROWL!

That’s it for the next 50…we will be back tomorrow to give you the final 50 episodes as we count down to #1 on Turkey Day!

Until then, push the button, Frank…

About Matt Perri

Matt Perri
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, We Hate Your Gimmick.

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