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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 310- Fugitive Alien

Movie: (1978 original TV show episodes; 1986 compilation movie) Alien marauder Ken becomes a fugitive from his home planet, then joins the Earth spaceship Bacchus 3 to fight against his former masters. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Rita is sent on a deadly mission.

First shown: 8/17/91
Opening: Old Joel Robinson had a farm?
Invention exchange: The mads demonstrate their eye, ear, nose & throat dropper; Joel has invented a musical chair and there’s a special guest in Deep 13: Jack Perkins!
Host segment 1: J&tB stage a hat party
Host segment 2: Joel forces Crow and Tom to reenact a scene from the movie
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom are confused by the movie, so Joel helps out using Syd Field’s “Screenplay.”
End: Joel explains his buttons and reads a letter, in Deep 13, they’re still torturing Jack Perkins.
Stinger: “AHAHAHAHA….you’re STUCK HERE!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (147 votes, average: 4.65 out of 5)

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• Wow, this was really a watershed episode. There’s so much going on here. The sketches are all great, the movie is mind-boggling and the riffing is everything you want from an MST3K episode. An instant and enduring classic. Plus, it’s full of phrases that immediately became part of the MSTie lexicon, from “You’re stuck here!” to the merry tune, “He tried to kill me with a forkliiiiift….” One of the best.
• This episode was on Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIV.”
• Love the opener. These folks have been around farmers and they know farmer talk. Tom’s “help ussss!” is priceless.
• Mike is also hilarious as Jack Perkins. Jack would return, and not just in Deep 13. The character of “the host” who introduced the “MST3K Hour” shows was loosely based on Jack, though he was never explicitly called Jack Perkins. By the way, the real Mr. Perkins reportedly found Mike’s impersonation as hilarious as everybody else did.
• Hopelessly dated line: “He’s in more trouble than ‘Hudson Hawk’ at the box office!” It seemed like a big deal at the time.
• Call forward: Tom mentions “Marooned.”
• The “Marooned” mention comes as part of a succession of bits Tom and Crow do in the theater when they pretend they are scif-fi geeks. Geek culture is now robustly defended by the members of its community. Did (does?) anyone who considers themselves part of that community have a problem with these bits?
• Vaguely dirty lines: Joel: “I wanna die in the thong section of Victoria’s Secret!” Also: “Speaking of punishing mercilessly….rooowrrr!”
• Literary riff: Tom: “Biff!” Crow: “Happy!” SOMEbody’s read/seen “Death of a Salesman.”
• Does this episode hold the record for the most callbacks? Among them: “Third planet from the sun shall be called…Earth” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet); a reference to the “geometric nucleus” (Cave Dwellers); “It was after the…Robot Holocaust;” “I was in Time of the Apes!” “…and a good friend” (Rocketship XM); “Trumpy, you’re stinky!” (Pod People) “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet.) “Hey, like the Wild Rebels!” “This must be the [fill in the blank]…I’ve heard them talk about…so much…lately?” (Gamera); “Rock climbing, Joel.” (Lost Continent). Did I miss any?
• Crow has a right to be concerned in segment two. Didn’t Gypsy have a six-foot foam scorpion stinger hanging off her butt during episode 113- THE BLACK SCORPION? There’s a precedent!
• I noticed something this time about the “forklift” song. The first time they sing “This is the chase, Rocky and Ken,” they do so before the movie reveals that it was Rocky driving the forklift (though Ken immediately suspects him and says so).
• When Joel punches the bots in segment 2, note how VERY GENTLY he punches them. He knows how fragile they are.
• Joel is great in the closing bit. “That’s portion control. Next question.”
• This week’s cast and crew roundup is a short one: screenwriter Keiichi Abe also was one of the writers for “Time of the Apes.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Special Make-up: Crist Ballas and Glen Griffin. I’m guessing that’s Mike’s Jack Perkins getup. This was Faye Burkholder’s last episode doing regular hair and makeup.
• Fave riff: “Uh, you’re crying on my bombs.” Honorable mention: “Oh, those are bugs. They wash right off.”

121 Replies to “Episode guide: 310- Fugitive Alien”

  1. PondosCP says:

    I just heard chili peppers burn my gut

       2 likes

  2. PondosCP says:

    because I’m watching it right now, not that it was the only call back I heard. Great episode. YOU’RE STUCK HERE!

       2 likes

  3. Dan in WI says:

    I myself live on a hobby farm. So I enjoyed the opening segment. Well delivered and let me laugh at myself so to speak.

    Mike really hits the ground running with this first appearance of Jack Perkins. This impression really is ready for primetime from the start. It would need no further refinement and provide many laughs for years to come.

    I have a Cheepnis copy of this episode and it contains my all time favorite Comedy Central bumper with Crow. “Crow T Robot from MST3K. You are watching Comedy Central. I don’t know what everyone else is doing.”

    Ken sure is a popular name when “translating” Japanese into English. How many times have we already heard that name in season 3? Now this film uses it for multiple characters.

    We have a call-forward to Marooned again.

    Frank does a great job playing indignation when the hat party picks on him. He steals that host segment.

    In the second host segment Joel stuffs grapes insides his cheeks in order imitate Captain Joe. We haven’t seen grapes since Joel used to eat them after pushing the buttons on the desk.

    Crow receives a ram chip in the third segment. We haven’t see that since the last appearance of good thing bad thing in season 1.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Anytime someone says “Rocky” one of the bots (usually Crow) respond with “Again” (I’m a huge Rocky and Bullwinkle fan so this one is one of my all time favorites and I still use it often.)

    Captain Joe “Mary-Ann’s resting.” Crow “In Peace”

    Ken “Now listen to the rest of the story.” Tom “Page two”

    Crow “the white zone is for loading and unloading only”

       5 likes

  4. Sharktopus says:

    We don’t deserve half the things we get.

    Why would you name a spaceship (or three of them) after Bacchus? Is it a translation issue? (Cabin presser.) Or maybe an allusion to Captain Jo’s drinking problem?

       7 likes

  5. Spalanzani says:

    I’m quite fond of this episode. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for these cheesy Japanese shows, and while the riffing does lag at points, there’s a lot of good jokes plus those great songs. Plus we’ve got Jack Perkins and one of the greatest stinger moments in the show’s history.

    Boy did I find a lot of dirt on this one; I’m glad there are two of these episodes to split it all up between. It seems that like several of the movies (or hastily edited TV shows, as it were) featured on MST3K, Fugitive Alien and Star Force potentially had all the right ingredients for something good, but somehow it just didn’t pan out. Granted, it’s very hard to judge the quality of the original show underneath the trademark Sandy Frank treatment, but it doesn’t seem like this could have ever amounted to much more than a goofy but maybe entertaining artifact from the 70s. There’s the often cheesy special effects (though some are decent), less than inspired makeup (like the barely noticeable blue tint used to mark aliens from Sasarr), silly acting (the infamous “you’re stuck here”; maybe it’s partly the dub’s fault, but at least half of it is the actual actor’s body language and facial expression), a clichéd Star Wars knockoff plot, and of course the inexplicable blond wigs on the vicious alien marauders.

    But it has noble roots! Sort of. The original TV show these two “movies” come from, Starwolf, was based on a series of novels by pioneering science fiction writer Edmond Hamilton, one of the creators of the space opera genre. That’s the genre that includes stuff like Star Wars or Star Trek; in a sense, the reason the show feels like a Star Wars rip-off is because it’s based on some of the novels George Lucas was ripping off. Of course, the whole reason they made a TV show out of the novels was to cash in on the Star Wars craze, but I’ll get to that in a bit. There are three novels in the series: The Weapon from Beyond, The Closed Worlds, and World of the Starwolves. Hamilton was working on a fourth book, Run Starwolf, but died before he could complete it. You can find a little bit more info on Hamilton and the Starwolf books here.

    What’s more, they had an actual, honest-to-God rocket scientist working on this show. At the beginning, the show was intended to be a serious SF drama, and to reach that standard they hired famous Japanese rocket scientist Hideo Itokawa as supervising director. Itokawa felt that the term “SF” was outdated”, and so coined the phrase “astronautic drama” for the show, but it never really caught on. It’s pretty funny that they went through all the trouble of getting such a big-shot scientist to help make the show, considering that from all I’ve heard the Starwolf books are just space-bound Conan the Barbarian-type fantasies completely ungrounded in scientific fact (other SF stories by Hamilton are more reality-based). Not that there’s anything wrong with stories like that (I wouldn’t like MST3K if I were too concerned with realism), but it just seems like a waste of effort.

    The show was made to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions (makers of Mighty Jack and the slightly more famous Ultraman), and to cash in on the SF boom created by Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The first 13 episodes were made with an older audience in mind, and so have a continuous episode-to-episode story arc, with a (melo)dramatic tone. Unfortunately, it shared a timeslot with more popular shows like Starzinger and didn’t garner very high ratings. So from episode 14 (the start of season 2, Japanese seasons/series traditionally being 11-13 episodes) onward they changed the title to Space Hero Starwolf and introduced the robot “Con-Pachi” as comic relief. Then from episode 18 onward they only had single episode long plots that were easy to understand (14-17 are a self-contained story arc), effectively lowering the target age group. Sadly though, this change of course didn’t turn the series’ ratings around, and so it finished up at only 24 episodes over 2 seasons, instead of the 4 seasons (50 or so episodes) originally planned.

    The series only really adapted the first of the Starwolf books, The Weapon from Beyond (the weapon in question being the giant Tom Servo-lookalike on Sasarr that Chane/Ken and the gang have to destroy). World of the Starwolves, the last book, sees Chane returning to Varna and confronting his past, which is more or less what happens at the end of the TV show, but otherwise the plot of that book has no relation to the events of the TV (as far as I know).

    Here are the episode titles for the Starwolf TV series, courtesy of its Japanese Wikipedia page (the English page has some info too). These translations are a little off the cuff, so the phrasing is weird at points.

    Starwolf
    1. The Wandering Starwolf
    2. Bacchus 3, Hurtle through the Galaxy!
    3. Now, Into the Infinite Depths of Space!
    4. A Terrifying Voyage Around a Star
    5. Secret of the Super Weapon
    6. The Dangerous Space Guide
    7. Space, Loving and Hateful
    8. The Death-Dealing Black Hole
    9. The Space Pageant of Heat and Light
    10. A Fierce Battle that Sets Space Ablaze
    11. A Minefield on an Unknown Planet
    12. Theirs Lives Depend on the Planetary Missiles
    13. A Huge Explosion in 0 Seconds!

    Space Hero Starwolf
    14. The Black Dragon that Floats in Space
    15. A Terrifying Charge into a Meteor Cluster
    16. The Two-Faced Saimonite
    17. Now’s the Time! A Climatic Battle on the Black Planet
    18. Panic! A Planet Robbed of its Atmosphere
    19. A Red Meteor Targets Ken
    20. The Pure Gold Robot, GC301
    21. The Tragic Space Dinosaur, Nipopo
    22. A Red-Hot Hell—Save the Subterranean People!
    23. Beast Men of the Mysterious Planet
    24. A Fateful Showdown for the Entire Universe

    Episode 1’s title, “The Wandering Starwolf” (Sasurai no Sutâurufu), is the same as the Japanese title for The Weapon from Beyond, the first Starwolf book. Based on these titles, it seems that Sandy Frank’s Fugitive Alien only covers the first three episodes, since Star Force starts with them approaching too close to a star, which would seem to be episode 4. Three episodes aren’t enough to account for FA’s 101 minute running time though, so it probably has some footage from 4 or another later episode. Star Force then has material from at least episodes 4, 5, and 24, despite being only 75 minutes long (which supports the idea that a chunk of episode 4 was included in Fugitive Alien).

    Alright, I’ve gone on wa~~ay too long about this. When we get to Star Force I’ll probably take a closer look at how the plot of the show compares to the books.

       11 likes

  6. Sharktopus says:

    Were those grapes Joel stuffed in his cheeks? I thought they were cotton balls. Rectify this situation, Shout Factory.

    One minor quibble: The repetition of “Rita/Meter maid” kinda burns my gut. Okay guys, I’ve heard that Beatles song too, move on. It’s a little like “Switch/Jimmy Smits” – not as obscure, but not really a joke, either. At least “Rocky/Again?” features a funny squeaky flying squirrel voice. (Is that Trace or Joel? I thinks it’s Trace.)

       0 likes

  7. jjb3k says:

    I recently made the mistake of watching both Fugitive Alien episodes back-to-back. An hour and a half at a time with lots of space between is enough time to spend with Ken and the crew, but three hours at once becomes a befuddling, slogging mess, with or without the riffing.

    At least this one has Jack Perkins to lighten the misery. Mike knocks that role out of the park every time, and given how often we saw Jack again (Turkey Day ’91 and ’95, plus all the MST Hour bumpers), it’s clear that Mike had fun with it too. “Now, this, to me, is…good TV!”

    This episode features a recurring motif among MST3K movies – the beautiful woman who dies at the end for no reason. Yeah, Rita spent most of the episode chasing after Ken with the intent to murder him, but just mere minutes after she finds out she was mistaken and rekindles her love for him, she gets killed. Off she goes to join the ranks of Beverly Garland’s character in It Conquered The World and Carrie in The Girl in Lovers’ Lane.

       5 likes

  8. laura says:

    First of all, GAH!!!! This movie (I don’t know what else to call it) is by far one of the worst the show has ever done. I finally watched it the whole way last week. Captain Chipmunk Cheeks is about as qualified as a Space Ranger as I am. Crappy special effects, huge translation problems, the inability to name characters (Is is that difficult to use Japanese names?? It’s not like they’re that hard to pronounce!!). Also, I know this is just a bunch of TV episodes strung together and crapped on by Sandy Frank, but would it have been that difficult to actually make Ken look like an alien from outer space?

    Don’t get me started on the whole “Ken” issue. That just really grinds my gears. Also that whole Rocky riff over and over almost made me want to yell “SHUT UP!!!” at my computer screen.

    I do love Mike as Jack Perkins, even though I have no clue whatsoever as to so Perkins is. Seeing him get cattle prodded is just hilarious. I didn’t know who the heck he is/was and I was rather glad the Mads hurt him. At least now I know where “YOU STUCK HERE!!” came from.

    If I had to give a rating: I’d say 3 1/2.

       1 likes

  9. Creeping Terror says:

    I think that Sampo’s discussion thread is a delight and has some of the best discussion topics the internet has to offer. Up next, we’ll hear from Maya Angelou, whose most recent book of poetry is something that everybody is talking about, but nobody has read. Then, Simon and Garfunkel will serenade us to sleep with their 1968 hit “Scarborough Fair.” After that, Harold Bloom will give us his take on the latest production of “The Taming of the Shrew” from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Then, Sue Grafton will explain her formulaic approach to writing modern mystery fiction. Following her, Anna Deavere Smith will present a portion of her one-woman show that will be spawning up to a dozen conversations this summer at the Starbucks by her house. Then, I. M. Pei—

    If you can’t tell, I LOVE the Jack Perkins sketches. I must have watched each one at least 5 times this week and laughed every time. I think that Mike is at his best in this role and I had probably watched the Mike episodes for more than a year before I realized that HE was Jack Perkins! (This was before I bought the episode guide.) I’m also buying some of the Shout re-releases of episodes JUST for the MST Hour Jack Perkins bumpers.

    As for the move, “Fugitive Alien” is full of Japanese lunacy. The idea that Ken would save a boy’s life just because they have the same name is silly. I also love the crazy costumes (like the blonde wig helmets, vinyl jumpsuits, etc.) and how nonsensical the plot is. On the other hand, you have to admire how much money the producing company spent in the late-1970’s on a children’s TV show.

    And I love the riffs. The first funny one is “Sandy Frank presents our own personal hell!” and they just get funnier from there. The “He tried to kill me with a forklift,” lyrics are legendary and I love how J&tB have the captain asking women he stops in the hall on dates as he enters the space command building. All these things combined make this one of my favorite foreign film episodes!

       15 likes

  10. Stump Chunkman says:

    I hope this episode gets released on DVD sometime before I die. Maybe bundle it with FA2, Time of the Apes, and Mighty Jack.

    I’m in love with a guy named Ken…

       7 likes

  11. Yipe Striper says:

    Got my Nose!

       1 likes

  12. dsman71 says:

    I love this Ep as well as FA part 2 , it would be cool to see it on DVD
    Another ep that helped get the show to new heights ! :)
    Joel’s Hair
    Joel’s knees
    get this title to DVD
    please ?
    It rhymed !
    ok therapy time……

       2 likes

  13. Brandon says:

    I didn’t catch the Hudson Hawk reference. I saw that movie for the first time last year. Not as bad as most people make it out to be. It’s just REALLY weird. It was like Bruce Willis was trying to emulate ZAZ, and sucking at it. Incidentally, Hudson Hawk got a SE DVD release. No justice whatsoever. Anyway, here’s my review:

    Memorable Riffs:
    “You’re not a very gracious guest.”
    Crow: “I brought crackers?”

    “Cigar?”
    Servo: “Yes, it is.”

    Joel: “Oh, I gotta lay off the ‘shrooms.”

    “That’s Rocky.”
    Servo: “The flying squirrel.”

    Joel: “You’re standing on my chest! I’m not dead!”

    Servo: “When Josie and the Pussycats go bad!”

    Fav. Riff:
    “That was no meteorite.”
    Crow: “That was my wife!”

    Comments:
    – The dropper that Dr. F presents is another MST invention that sort of became real. The droppers are not as complicated as his, but they’re essentially used for eyes, ears, and nose.

    – I had forgotten this episode was made before the movie “The Fugitive” starring Harrison Ford. I was confused at first why “Jack Perkins” (played by Mike) mentioned the TV show, but not the movie.

    – I love Joel’s “Oh, we got Movie Sign! Who’s Jack Perkins?!”

    -Anyone think Crow asking, “Why do they need so many writers for?” is a little hypocritical?

    – The fan copy of this episode I’m watching has commercial bumpers with the SOL flying past the screen, an instrumental version of the theme playing, and factoids about various B-movies that were shown on MST3K. The hell? When did The Brains (or Comedy Central) produce these? And, how come I’ve never heard of these bumpers?
    [NOTE: Since I made this review, Sampo had explained in an earlier thread who made these bumpers, and where they came from.]

    -Kevin seems to fumble over his riff about the movie being like an episode of Marooned. Trace quickly assures him, “Yeah, that was cool”, which almost feels like a throw-it-in moment.

    -Joel groans at the sight of a zipper. That seems grasping at straws. How else does he expect them to get their space suits off?

    -Frank has to “send” commercial sign? I always assumed it was an automatic thing.

    -There’s a strange moment in the film, where the female attendant is ordered, “Take charge of the prisoner!” The prisoner is right there with them, unconscious. We hear a dubbed “Yes sir!” and the actress turns around and runs off, as if she’s about to run off the set, and then she comes back! A goof that was left in? It’s also weird how J&TB don’t notice it.

    Best Segment: I’d say Segment 2. I always liked it when Joel seems like he was off his nut a little.
    Worst Segment: Segment 1.

    Overall: Decent episode. **1/2

       2 likes

  14. Mr. B(ob) says:

    I’d love to see both Fugitive Alien episodes on DVD releases. Really good episodes out of really bad material. I actually bought and read a copy of Syd Field’s Screenplay years ago after hearing it mentioned so many times on the show. Whenever Joel and the ‘Bots recreate a scene from the movie it’s comedy gold, I love that stuff. “Your stuck here!”

       1 likes

  15. Cheapskate Crow says:

    This episode was better than I remembered but not one of the all time classics for me so I give it 4 stars. Great host segments and I love the Rocky “Again!” line, this is still used by me and a fellow Mistie friend of mine to this day. Mike’s Jack Perkins is awesome, even though I have all of the episodes I am going to get the Gamera set both for quality and seeing the MST hour bumpers that I never saw. The MST Hour was never shown where I lived so I never saw them. Dated riff: References to A&E TV shows whereas now A&E is almost 100% reality crap. The glut of reality tv on cable channels now really burns my gut.

       4 likes

  16. bartcow says:

    I love love love this episode (and the sequel). 5 stars, absolutely. Right up there with Space Mutiny, Hobgoblins, and Outlaw.

    Here’s a bit of trivia some of you may not know. Jo Shishido (Captain Joe) actually had plastic surgery (in 1956!) to make his cheeks look like that. He wanted a more high-cheeked, “chiseled” look. He was actually a pretty popular actor in the 60s (in Japan). Check out Branded to Kill. Now THAT’S one weird mammajamma of a movie.

       8 likes

  17. Trilaan says:

    Last week I introduced some friends of mine to the show using this episode and part 2. Everyone loved it and the segment at the end of part 1 where Ken signals Bacchus 3 that he’s back…well, thanks to Ken now we all greet each other with a lasso, a little hip shake and a “Hey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey!”

       3 likes

  18. I see bartcow beat me to the bit of trivia about Joe Shishido’s plastic surgery. Before jumping right into Branded to Kill, though, I would recommend warming up with some of the other films he made with Seijun Suzuki, like Detective Bureau 23: Go to Hell, Bastards!, Youth of the Beast and Gate of Flesh. Or heck, watch as many Suzuki films as you can. They’re all incredible.

       3 likes

  19. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Great episode!

    Three points:
    -First, this movie has more Kens than Monty Python.
    -Second, I can’t remember, but is Joel wearing a Dekalb cap at the beginning? If so, his look would be perfect.
    -Third, I got a kick of Crow & Servo talking like stereotypical sci-fi fans during the opening credits. Funny, I’d never realized Patrick Troughton looked like Moe.

    One of these days, I’ll have to track down the original “Fugitive Alien” series, if only to find out what the heck was actually going on.

       2 likes

  20. monoceros4 says:

    This is easily one of my favorite MST3K episodes of the 3rd season, which puts it high in the running for favorite episode of all time. Yes, the source material is a mess, but I’m going to make a shameful admission: both this and Fugitive Alien II make me just a bit curious about watching the original material. Heaven help me but I think there’s some promise in it somewhere. There are individual scenes that I think work pretty well on their own, e.g. Captain Joe’s (presumably inebriated) confrontation with Ken after Ken escapes from the hospital.

    MST3K has given us many funny songs, but the Fugitive Alien episodes really brought out the best in them. “He tried to kill me with a forklift” isn’t just a humorous tune, it’s a leitmotif, a guiding theme for life that can support endless variations (as it does in Fugitive Alien II.) Of course it helps that the source material supplies such goofy musical cues, like the Monty Pythonesque march, the “lay down the boogie” riff, and many others.

    Is there anybody more useless on the Bacchus III crew than second-in-command Rocky? His first on-screen action is to suggest that “maybe we should leave well enough alone” and let a stranded astronaut die in space without rescue. Way to go Rocky! Ken beats the crap out of Rocky multiple times even though the older, drunker Captain Joe is able to hold his own against Ken. And let’s not forget the mutinous crap that Rocky pulls in Fugitive Alien II. No wonder Joe is so keen on hiring Ken; he needs someone to make up for Rocky’s manifest incompetence.

    It bugs me unnecessarily that Rita dies accusing Ken of shooting her. She clearly catches a glimpse of the people behind her once Ken starts shooting at them, but still she dies with “traitor” on her lips. Judging from the number of times the word is used, I think “traitor” is the favorite word in Valna’s language.

       6 likes

  21. Jeff McMahon says:

    Ah ha ha HA HAHAHAHAHAYOU’RE STUCK HERE!

       3 likes

  22. RPG says:

    I feel I must share this link, which is the proof that Sandy Frank did at least one thing right and kept in the original soundtrack. Enjoy. 8)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTxJG-wvMWY

       2 likes

  23. Spector says:

    I know many MSTies love this episode, and acknowledge it certainly has its strengths, such as terrific – albeit in some cases, now dated – host segments, a memorable catch phrase (Ah-hahahahaha, you’re stuck here!) and song (The ever-popular “He tried to kill me with a forklift”), but overall, for me, this one ranks as simply good, not great. Yes, I know, aliens in blond wigs are hilarious, and the cheesy SFX provided worthy riffing material. But like several episodes in this season, I found it started to run out of steam about halfway through. I’ve watched this one several times over the years, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Sorry. Good, but not great. 3.5 stars out of five.

       4 likes

  24. monoceros4 says:

    Kudos to Joel, by the way, for making fun of Monsanto before it was cool to do so. “…And I told him to git off my land.

       7 likes

  25. smirkboy says:

    This one was one of my first episodes along with Gamera vs Barugon. . .wait a minute!

    DonInWI-#3: what the hell is a hobby farm?!? Do you grow rows of 1/500 scale Starship Enterprises?

       5 likes

  26. #9 I hope this gets a release too. With the Gamera 5 pack coming out, hopefully more of Sandy Frank’s oeuvre will become availiable.

       1 likes

  27. smirkboy says:

    Also Ken is a very common name in Japanese, usually as a prefix, such as Kenichi.
    I watch way-too much anime.

       2 likes

  28. Nuveena says:

    As for Joel’s “farmer talk”, it’s an almost word for word spoof of an agricultural herbicide commercial that was running a lot in farming areas in the late 80’s. I saw it a bunch of times in Champaign-Urbana, so I’m sure it was well known in Minnesota too. No luck finding it on youtube though.

       3 likes

  29. Seneca says:

    I finally managed to get through the whole episode a couple weeks ago, and it was a lot of fun. Then I watched Star Force (FA2) and when that was over I felt I’d cleared a hurdle & now I can get on with my life. I’m left with one big question, though — the guy Ken kills at the end of FA2, with all the pancake and eye black — is that supposed to be the same guy who’s the evil villain in this episode? I’m SOOO confused. And why doesn’t he claim to be Ken’s father before they have their duel?

       0 likes

  30. Thomas K. Dye says:

    Frank is hilarious in the “ear, eye, nose and throat drops” sketch… from his spontaneous launch into Dan Hill lyrics, to his reaction when Dr. Forrester squeezes the bulbs and all that gunk goes in his face. It’s a classic bit of “convenience being messy and impractal” humor that dates from Chaplin’s “Modern Times.”

       2 likes

  31. Seneca says:

    @#5 – “The show was made to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions (makers of Mighty Jack and the slightly more famous Ultraman)”

    I’m only guessing, but the special effects for the Godzilla/Gojira movies were done by Eiji Tsuburaya; could it be that he left Toho to found his own production company? There are many Tsubarayas listed in the Special Effects trade on IMDb.

       0 likes

  32. Thomas K. Dye says:

    EDIT… impractal = impractical. I can’t type.

    Oh, yeah… in the film, I love the computer screen that displays shipping information for Utah and Carson City. I was told by a friend that it might be because the Japanese don’t care what it says; they think Roman letters look cool. The way someone here might have a Kanji character tattooed on his shoulder without knowing it means “idiot,” or something.

       2 likes

  33. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This is probably the third time I’ve watched this episode (and the fourth time I’ve seen this movie, counting the KTMA experiment) and I am finally warming up to it. Lots to like here; solid Host Segments, good riffing, one weird confusing movie (although not as confusing as Time of the Apes) and the awesome Jack Perkins impression from Mike. (After his guest spot at The Amazing Colossal Glen in the previous episode, Mike is on a roll) I’d say this is easily my favorite Sandy Frank production so far, the wackiness just works for me. This one gets a 4/5.

    RIFFS AND THINGS:

    In response to Farmer Joel,
    TV’s FRANK: “E-I, E-I don’t THINK so.”

    Crow: “Sandy Frank presents our own personal hell.”

    guy slips on screen,
    Crow: “Banana peel!”

    weird pale faced guy,
    Joel: “It’s Heck-raiser.”

    Joel: “SPACE MIMES, in Color.”

    During Host Segment #1,
    Joel: “What are you two yard monkeys doing now?”

    Servo: “Chili peppers burn my gut.” ——–the guy’s face onscreen during this one kills me.

    Crow: “….in the Robot Holocaust.”

    Joel: “In the land of Dairy Queen we treat you right.”

    Joel: “I got to lay off the ‘shrooms!”

    During the forklift attack,
    Servo: “He thinks I’m a pallet.”

    Joel, in squeaky high voice: “I can’t stop because I don’t know how it works!”

    **A callback not mentioned so far:
    During the Ren fest scene, when Ken is smelling things,
    JOEL: “Trumpy, you’re stinky.”

    Joel: “Totally new concept, it’s a church-bar.”

    In Host Segment #3,
    Servo: “..more flashbacks than Bruce Dern in The Trip.”

    When a light is flashing,
    Servo: “Eat at Joe’s…eat at Joe’s…” ——They would repeat this joke in #405 BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

    Also,
    I noticed (but didn’t write down any) that there are a lot of references to comic books and such in this one. The goofy sci-fi elements must of been inspirational.

    Speaking of goofy,
    they mention that those one bozos have on “Melon-Crazy” helmets, to which J&TB recoil in horror at the thought of a planet full of Gallaghers. HA!

    “Now, this, to me, is…good TV!”

    4/5

       4 likes

  34. Dan in WI says:

    Smirkboy #25> Well you have to rotate the crops you know. Some years it is a 1/500th Enterprise models, then the next year it is comic books and the following year it is Franklin Mint Milwaukee County Stadium replicas.

       8 likes

  35. Edge says:

    Joel: It’s an intriguing mix of genocide and modern dance.

       1 likes

  36. Lex says:

    Bad guy: “He was killed by Ken.”

    Joel:Those basterds.

    I love seeing Ken (the other one) rolling around at the begginning of the film. I can’t tell you how ‘alien’ the name Ken sounds like. Wait. I’m thinking of Ken, not Ken.

    I’m still trying to figure out which ‘Spider-man’ they were talking about. The ‘older one with the better costume.’ Now, do they meant the black Alien Costume and the older Red and blue costume? Who knows. I loved the Spider-man books back then. Now, not so much.

    One of my favorite lines from the beginnning of the episode. “…I’m going to have to spray you all with insecticide.”

       1 likes

  37. wotunw5o says:

    Spalanzani, I’m keen to hear anything else you’ve got about the series.
    I’ve read the books. They’re fun pulpy space adventure. A bit more science-heavy than some pulp-style. I’d say about the same range as Star Wars but without the magic. Sorta like John Carter with interplanetary travel.

    If anybody’s curious to see the first four eps google “Star Wolf” and look for Long (20+ min.).

    Great ep of MST3k.

    I also really liked the focus on movement affecting the cockpit beyond “everybody shake”, like the swinging flask, the flubbaflubba faces, all that jazz.

       2 likes

  38. Sharktopus says:

    @ Lex: I was wondering about the Spider-Man comment, too. He wore the black costume in the mid to late ’80s, and this episode is from 1991, so I’m guessing that’s what they were referring to. He was still Peter Parker, though. (For my fellow Spidey fans, okay, maybe he wasn’t but they hadn’t gotten into that Clone Saga nonsense yet.)

    For the record, the classic red and blue Spider-Man may be more “iconic” – to use a word that’s overused regarding superheroes – but that black costume looks really cool.

    @ Dan in WI: You should grow some die-cast Serenity models from Firefly. Those would sell like crazy.

       1 likes

  39. WeatherServo9 says:

    Funny how the idea of using a forklift to commit murder never really took off in the real world.

    Creeping Terror (#9) talking about watching the show for a while before realizing that Mike was Jack Perkins reminded me that I watched for quite a while before I realized that Trace was Crow. I know, call me el stupido. Has there been a weekend discussion thread on ‘a really obvious or integral aspect of the show you didn’t get until you’d watched for some time?’ Maybe since everyone had to learn by watching it’s too broad a topic, but for instance now I can’t imagine watching MST3K without knowing that Crow and Dr. Forrester are the same person.

    The hobby farm is where the hobby horses live, right?

       6 likes

  40. Ralph C. says:

    Well, I tried so hard to like this episode. I spent years and years watching it over and over and over again. I really did try but, unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it.

    5 stars.

       0 likes

  41. Creeping Terror says:

    @32: I’m a Utah native and both computer screens are some sort of delivery manifest to industrial areas in northern Utah. The North Salt Lake address today is a warehouse (and probably was when the movie was made), but the company listed on the screen doesn’t seem to exist any more, according to Google. I can’t find a company name on the other screen, but the address is in Ogden, which has been an industrial city since the railroad came to the state in the 1860’s.

    . . . then, George Will will appear to talk about the importance of baseball in the American mythology. After him, we’ll hear from Gore Vidal on the trials and tribulations of . . .

       2 likes

  42. Alex says:

    I love how rediculous Sandy Frank made this complication film, by naming alot of the characters “Ken”. Anyway, love the riffing in this one, and no one can ever forget “He triiiiieeeed to kill me with a foooorkliiiift”.

       0 likes

  43. senorpogo says:

    Ash Wednesday – Ceasar style! (yeah, that’s from #2)

    Man, I love the Fugitive Alien movies.

    Like monoceros4 said @20, there’s a lot that is actually pretty interesting here. Drunk Captain Joe, who lost his family at the hands of the Starwolves, partners up with a fugitive SW in the hopes of enacting some revenge. That’s a rather dark, complex first act. Throw in the suspicious Rocky, Tammy with her puppy love, and those two other guys that we don’t really know and you’ve got the groundwork for some real fireworks. It’s a shame the rest of it is such a mess.

    Fun fact: Ken “accidently” kills three people in this movie – his friend, the Karraran guard, and Rita.

       1 likes

  44. Sharktopus says:

    Regarding the Kens, this is just another instance of the Brains exaggerating for comedy effect, like in Night Of The Blood Beast. There’s just Ken the Valna Wolf Raider – our lead – and the little Earthboy who happens to have the same name as an invader from another planet. It’s a stupid, unnecessary plot device, but it’s not really confusing.

    Does anyone know if that’s from the original show, or did the same name bit originate in the translation? The show actually seems pretty good – bewigged helmets and editorial butchering aside – and I’d be happy to blame any excusable goofiness on ol’ Sandy-san.

       4 likes

  45. CaveDweller says:

    Even though this is really one of those movies where I was never fully sure what the hecky-do was going on, I still hold a fondness for this one. Maybe it’s because at the time, it was one of the strangest movies I’d ever seen before. It’s high on my “I hope it comes out on DVD someday” list.

       0 likes

  46. JeremyR says:

    I had read the books on which this TV show was based (the Starwolf Trilogy by Edmond Hamilton) so I was slightly freaking out the first time I saw this. Because it seemed so familiar, yet so strange.

    Didn’t have a Ken or Rita in the books. The main character/pirate was named Morgan Chane

       1 likes

  47. trickymutha says:

    First, I question my obsession with this and the sequel- I have the plots figured out, I think. Ken is the earth son of missionaries who thinks he is a native from Valnastar. He doesn’t want to kill another earth kid named Ken cause he thinks- well, the kid is him, the woman, his mother. He stabs a real Valnastar soldier named Ken, killing him. From there he meets a drunk captain, who becomes a father figure, kills Rita, who he thinks is his mother, and changes his uniform at the end thinking he sees his MOTHER again. It’s really an involved Oedipal complex type story. At the end, he and R2D2 head off to rebuild Valnastar. The only thing that confuses me is the guy can stop a forklift coming at him 100 MPH, but an aging lush captain can floor him with one punch. Kinda like Shatner defeating Khan.

    I think it should be made into a Broadway musical- with a rousing chorus at the end- “They tried to kill him with a forklift” Who would play Joe?

       2 likes

  48. Smirkboy says:

    #34> “Ya got me…”

    I really hope these come out on DVD before my tapes and home-burned DVD’s fade into virtual dust.

    The tapes were second generation to begin with.

       1 likes

  49. briizilla says:

    @31. You are correct! Tsuburaya was the SFX director for Toho studios before creating his own production company. In the 50s and early 60s he may well have been the most powerful man in the Japanese film industry behind Kurosawa. He also created Ultra Q, and Ultraman. To learn more I highly recommend ‘Eiji Tsuburaya, Master of Monsters’ by August Ragone.

    5 stars from me…

       1 likes

  50. Sharktopus says:

    @ trickymutha: I believe you’re right about Ken really being human, or possiby half Valna – he did mention his parents being missionaries (Or was it emissaries?) – but I’m not so sure about the Oedipal stuff. Then again, I often tend to dismiss it when people claim to see Oedipal overtones that aren’t obvious. I believe even Sigmund himself would agree that we’ve strayed too far into Freudian subtext these days. Sometimes a cigar-shaped spacecraft is just a cigar-shaped spacecraft.

    Then again, I’m no expert on familial relationships in Japan and how they might contrast with our Western sensibilites. They do have those really weird vending machines and stuff… :eek:

    So, even if Ken is human, growing up on Valnastar, with its higher gravity, et cetera, would cause him to develop superhuman strength, sort of like Superman. I’ll buy that, I guess. Then how’d Captain Jo punch him out? How does anyone punch anybody out? It’s a movie. (Well, okay, a TV series.) Try punching somebody in the face sometime and see what happens.* Unless your opponent already has a concussion or other significant trauma, you’re pretty unlikely to knock him unconscious with one blow of your fleshy fist. Unless you’re in a movie, then the rules of physics and anatomy go out the window.

    * The Sharktopus is not liable to any criminal and/or civil penalties, nor legal and/or medical bills should you follow his advice.

       3 likes

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