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Episode guide: 311- It Conquered The World (with short: The Sport Parade–Snow Thrills)

Short: (1945) A newsreel spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of winter sports, (including “she-ing” and “she-horing.”)
Movie: (1956) With the aid of a deluded Earth scientist, a Venusian pickle creature uses bat thingies to take control of humanity.

First shown: 8/24/91
Opening: Joel tries his hand at ventriloquism, with Crow as his dummy
Invention exchange: The Mads show off their hanged man costumes; Joel has invented the “Sony Sea-man”
Host segment 1: Tom narrates “The Winter Cavalcade of Fun”
Host segment 2: J&tB share sarcastic banter over dinner
Host segment 3: With time to kill, J&tB sing a song about celebrity siblings with the same last names
End: J&tB rewatch Peter Graves’ speech, Crow, Tom and Gypsy each read a letter, the Mads rewatch Peter Graves’ speech
Stinger: “He learned too late that a man is a feeling creature…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (115 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)


• I’ll start with the good news. The short is great fun, with great riffing. All the host segments, even the oddball song in segment three, are entertaining. And the movie is, well, what can you say? It’s classic Corman. Now the bad news: the riffing just kind of limps along, with only occasional bright spots. State park jokes abound. As with “Amazing Colossal Man,” I think they kind of got caught up in the movie a little. So there’s fun to be had in this episode, just not as much as I would have liked.
• This episode is not yet on commercial DVD.
• For you younger folks, “Star Search” was sort of the ’90s version of “America’s Got Talent.” Amusingly, Geechy Guy (a repeat contestant on “Star Search”), STILL seeking fame, also appeared on AGT.
• Joel’s mannerisms as the ventriloquist are classic. The random movements are done to distract you from looking at the ventriloquist’s lips.
• In Googling around, I actually found a reliable site that gave me a definitive year–1945–for “Snow Thrills,” one of the few shorts we hadn’t been able to put a date on.
• Callback: “That’s not half bad!” “She’s givin’ it back to you!” (a paraphrase from Sidehackers) “Chili peppers burn his gut.” (Sidehackers.)
• Triple callback: “Thong? Ator? Puma?” (Cave Dwellers and Ring of Terror) I half-expected to hear “Chief?” next.
• Naughty line: Announcer: “It’s the biggest one-man thrill in Jack Frost’s show.” Joel: “I know a better one…”
• As previously noted, this movie is our first taste of oeuvre of one Roger Corman. Dr. F. introduces it as one of his best and that may be true. But he also says “it’s really really really bad,” and I don’t think that’s true. It’s not a “good” movie, of course, but it’s not really bad one either. Its chief defect is that it was clearly made on a very low budget. But, despite that, Corman coaxes some really pretty good performances out of people who would go on to be known as pretty good actors. In addition, the story, while silly in some places, is almost gripping in others. We’ll see many worse movies, including some from Corman, is I guess what I’m saying.
• Then-current reference: “I’d rather watch ‘thirtysomething’.” (And the second “thirtysomething” reference in two or three episodes.)
• Joel again warns Tom about Anthony Newly impressions.
• They again do a “Helloooo baaaaaaby…” joke during a plane crash. Two episodes ago somebody called it “mean.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I’ll grant you it’s a little dark.
• My copy is from Turkey Day ’94, and includes a commercial for the video game “Burn Cycle,” for Magnavox’s cd-i game platform. Remember THAT vaporware?
• During the song in segment 3, Tom again does his Tom Waits impression.
• Also, about the song: The joke is that they claim to naming celebrity siblings with the same last name, but they are actually naming people with the same last name who AREN’T actually siblings (i.e. Mary Tyler and Roger Moore). I hate to break it to whoever wrote the lyrics (the credits do not specifically name the person), but Julia and Eric Roberts ARE siblings.
• Somewhat obscure riff: “Not the craw, the craw!” (A “Get Smart” running gag.)
• The closing repetition of the speech can be explained by Joel’s earlier admission that the show was a bit short that week.
• Bot stuff: Is this the first time they’ve used the word “hoverskirt”? Also: In the final segment Joel, also takes a moment to explain Gypsy and her role again.
• Backstage stuff: The Venusian costume was lobster red. It was nicknamed “Big Beulah” by its creator, Paul Blaisdell, and “Denny Dimwit” by the screenwriters. Other names given by the cast and crew were the “Tee-Pee Terror,” “the Cucumber Critter” and “The Carrot Monster.” When she was a guest at an MST3K convention, Beverly Garland recalled that she kept telling herself that it wasn’t finished, that they were still working on it, that it would get better. But of course, it never did. Chocolate syrup served as the Venusian’s blood. Always ready to reuse props, Corman used the bat-thingies again the following year in “The Undead.”
• Once again, the exterior shots were done at Bronson Canyon, which was also used for exterior shots in the filming of seven other MSTed movies.
• Crow and Joel get out of the way so Tom can read the number off the side of the jeep.
• This movie was remade for television by director Larry “Attack of the the Eye Creatures” Buchanan as “Zontar, The Thing from Venus.”
• Cast and crew roundup: LOTS of folks we will meet again in this one, so strap in: Executive producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson performed the same roles for “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Night of the Blood Beast, “The Undead,” “Terror from the Year 5000,” “The She-Creature,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “The Screaming Skull.” Writer Lou Rusoff also helped write “The She Creature.” Writer Charles Griffith also helped write “Terror from the Year 5000” and “Gunslinger.” Cinematographer Frederick West also worked on “Gunslinger,” “The She Creature” and “Swamp Diamonds. Editor Charles Gross also worked on “Gunslinger.” Prop Master Karl Brainard also worked on “Teenage Caveman,” “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The She Creature.” Score composer Ronald Stein also did the scores for “Gunslinger,” “The Undead,” “The She Creature,” Attack of the the Eye Creatures” and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” And, of course, Roger Corman, in addition to this movie, directed “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Gunslinger,” and “The Undead.” Corman also produced “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast.”
In front of the camera, Peter Graves is one the actors most seen in MST3K movies: he also appears in “Beginning of the End,” “SST Death Flight,”and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” He also provided the uncredited narration for “Attack of the the the Eye Creatures. Beverly Garland also appeared in “Swamp Diamonds” and “Gunslinger.” Lee Van Cleef also appeared in “Master Ninja I” and “Master Ninja 2.” Sally Frasier also appears in “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Earth Vs. the Spider. Dick Miller also appears in “Gunslinger” and “The Undead.” Another actor with a lot of MST3K appearances is Jonathan Haze, who was in this, “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Teenage Caveman” and “Gunslinger.” Karyne Kadler was also in “The Beatniks.” Marshall Bradford was also in “Teenage Caveman” and David McMahon was also in “The Deadly Mantis.”
• CreditsWatch: Karen Lindsey is back in the credits as online editor. Clayton James does the first of 11 stints as hair and makeup person. Additional contributing writers for this episode were Jef Maynard, Jann Johnson, Alexandra Carr and Timothy Scott. I suspect that credit happens when one of them wanders into the writing room and says something funny and they keep it. Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is again spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Get in, old man, you’ve seen enough.” Honorable mention: “Yeah, well, you’re full of skit.”
• Fave riff: “Venus? You know: no arms, nice rack…” Honorable mention: “She’s just going to slip into something a little more clinical.”

116 comments to Episode guide: 311- It Conquered The World (with short: The Sport Parade–Snow Thrills)

  • 1
    ARCH HALL 3 says:



  • 2
    Dan in WI says:

    The opening bit is fun but it does go on a bit long. Who wins? I’ll give the nod to Crow as the better ventriloquist. Neither made a great dummy.

    Invention exchange: Even though Dr. Forrester tells Joel that his invention is almost as lame as theirs, I liked the Mads’ and thought Joel’s was the lame one. Those nooses do look convincing.

    Wisconsin tourist trap reference: The House on the Rock

    The first host segment based on the short is fun. I liked the ice fishing bit and the sports were fun. I can’t wait till next winter so I can try frozen pole frenching as well. Also, did Tom’s delivery of this segment remind anyone else of the Gamera monster set from 304?

    While not greatly memorable the dinner banter host segment still is fun. “you know half way through my dinner my filet got up and beat the hell out of my coffee and the coffee was too weak to defend itself.” This segment reminded me a lot (in tone) of my favorite KTMA segment. That being the courtroom/gameshow/goofy stream of consciousness sketch from K18.

    How does Frank hold so still during the Peter Graves speech at the end. I wasn’t sure if he was still alive or not.

    You know I think we saw that speech a couple too many times at the end there. (Yes I know they were short and filling time.) We ended up with more repeats of that speach than a Sandy Frank Japanese film has Kens.

    Favorite Riffs:
    (the Castle logo is on screen) Crow “Order me a dozen sliders will you.”

    (during ski jumping scenes) Joel “It’s the agony of defeat auditions.”

    Crow “Jeepers he holds the world’s fate in his hands and he can’t drive a stick.”

    (a plane is crashing) Tom “Hello Baby! There goes another pop star.”

    Joel “Paul never used to make deals with the devil at home.”

    Crow “Oh the Ming vase.” Tom “It’s okay it was old anyway.”

    Crow “Gotham City 14 miles”

    Paul kills two scientists and a General. Tom “You were all bad guys right?”


  • 3
    snowdog says:

    Good, but not great. Other than segment 2 which is brilliant, the hosts segs didn’t do much for me. But the movie is very watchable, so I didn’t really notice so much if the riffs were lacking. Peter Graves and Beverly Garland do their best with the material. It’s interesting that Joel mentions that the show is short this week, but the song is sloppy and not much fun to sit through. And I wanted to throw something at the screen when they launched into the “feeling creature” speech for the third time.


  • 4
    Zee says:



  • 5
    Zee says:

    I like this episode, when I was younger it got a lot of play. I memorized Peter Graves’ speech at the end and would leave it on people’s answering machines. I thought it was HILARIOUS every time they repeated it, especially over the end credits. Very FAMILY GUY-like humor.

    Samuel Fuller was in the army before becoming a director, and he made THE BIG RED ONE.

    You mentioned ZONTAR, Larry Buchanan is a director I wish CineTit or Rifftrax would take on again.

    Dick Miller is in this movie.


  • 6
    Sharktopus says:

    As the narrator said, the ice skating footage in Snow Thrills was filmed in Newburgh, New York, my hometown. It’s so strange to see Downing Park that way: not that it froze over thick enough to skate on – my grandparents told me some winters you could walk across the frozen Hudson River in those days – but that there was a time when the park was used for something other than dealing drugs and hosting race riots. If you’d like to hear the sad tale of how the most historic city in the state (after NYC, of course) fell into decay and poverty, the Wikipedia page is a good place to start:,_New_York Frown


  • 7
    GregS says:

    Zee hit it right on the head. “The Big Red One” has been lauded as one of the best WW2 movies of its time. Remember, this was pre-“Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers”.


  • 8
    Cubby says:

    Samuel Fuller was in the army before becoming a director, and he made THE BIG RED ONE.

    To follow up on Zee, aside from Big Red One, Sam Fuller also directed The Steel Helmet, Fixed Bayonets, and Merrill’s Marauders, in which soldiers feature prominently. (Me, I’m partial to Underworld USA and The Naked Kiss.)


  • 9
    Chuck says:

    Having watched the un-riffed “It Conquered the World” at Blob-fest this past year, I’d say it was a fairly decent film on it’s own.

    I feel like this is an episode that merits a Shout! Factory release. Is it being held up because it’s a Corman film?


  • 10
    Matt Sandwich says:

    “It’s perfect for your next necktie party!”

    With all the early-season talk of ‘hat parties,’ I don’t think that line even registered with me until I heard the term necktie party in context many years later, thanks to some other favorite comedians of mine, Bob & Ray. And presto! Newly funny line! Aside: I’ve also learned it’s a term that will generally only get a laugh from people over the age of sixty or so. Perhaps it’s best known by people who grew up when Westerns dominated the airwaves.

    I’m not sure how incredibly hilarious I’d find this episode were I to discover it today. It certainly contains a lot of references that are now, uh… slightly dated. The ‘Huh?’ factor would probably be pretty high for newcomers. (But thanks for the Geechy Guy update, Sampo! I remember seeing a clip of his comedic stylings back in the day and being stunned by the raw unfunniness of it. That made the Brains’ scorn especially tasty.) T.J. Cinnamon, which figures so heavily in the opening segments, was sort of a less-appalling precursor to ‘Cinnabon’ that was all the rage for a while, then seemed to just vanish. Perhaps they sort of lacked the American ingenuity and vision that says “Dammit, I CAN make a 3,000-calorie airport snack!”

    Another thing about this episode is the whole Roger Corman concept. For a young would-be trash cinema buff, it was nice to finally see some ‘legendary’ films pop up, and in an extremely palatable format. Pre-Internet, these movies could be really difficult to find outside of ‘hip’ video rental shops in decent-sized cities, or maybe late-night showings on low-grade cable channels buried in the depths of the TV listings. And seeing them on MST did away with the vague sense of shame and guilt that can come with giving 90 minutes of your life to actually sitting down and watching something like Teenage Caveman. Everybody wins!

    Still, there’s a lot to love here, from the anarchic (and genuinely clever) wordplay in the Snow Thrills sketch on through the “old-school” feel of the closing credits gag. I absolutely love the anti-comedy moments where the cast takes a gag that feels decades old to begin with and just lets it run on and on and on. Because of all that, this episode strikes me as– if not one of the funniest in the show’s history– at least an excellent distillation of where they were coming from and what their brand of comedy was all about during the show’s Golden Age.


  • 11
    Sampo says:

    Thanks for the info on Fuller, folks. Guess I didn’t know who he was after all. Thinking


  • 12
    Patti says:

    Just wanted to throw in that Jonathan Haze was also in Viking Women Vs. The Sea Serpent. How could you forget “I am a Grimwald warrior!” Grin


  • 13
    briizilla says:

    This is one of those episodes where the movie, while bad, is still entertaining on it’s own. The riffs don’t need to be top notch in an episode like this, it’s more like watching a bad movie with some old pals.

    I give it 5 stars


  • 14
    Sampo says:

    Good catch, Patti! Thanks!


  • 15
    Spector says:

    For me, there are several directors (Coleman Francis, Ed Wood, Bert I. Gordon) who always brought out the best in Best Brains, and Roger Corman definitely ranks among them, and this first offering is, in my opinion, one of the best episodes of Season Three. Granted, the opening host segment is dated (but of course, as it’s roughly twenty years old now!), but still wasn’t bad, and I really enjoyed segments 1 and 2.

    The short is very funny, and I was always surprised that it never turned up in their “Shorts” collections. I especially liked the bit where the narrator says skiing is actually pronounced “sheeing”, to which Joel responds, “You’re full of skit!” Brilliant! As is Tom’s lengthy bit where he then swaps every “sk” and “sh” sounds in the brief written blurb on ski jumping. “Cross country sheeing amidst skenes of winter magnifiskense in Sanada’s Shnow-Sovered playgroudsh”. That isn’t easy to say, and Joel compliments Kevin (“Well done”) immediately afterward.

    The main feature, as Sampo suggests, isn’t as bad as Forrester claims it is, but it’s still very funny, especially when the alien is revealed to be what actress Beverly Garland called “a giant pickle”. As a side note, I loved hearing Beverly’s story about Corman revealing what the alien would look like, and her classic response that she didn’t know what an alien from Venus would look like, but she doubted they would look like that. Loved her performance in this, by the way, which actually made it watchable, despite the silly alien and the gaping plot holes. Overall, this rates a solid four out of five stars for me.


  • 16
    Matt Sandwich says:

    Thanks to Sharktopus for making MST educational! That’s a sad, but fascinating, story that really lends some poignancy to the short. (And this being the Internet and all, I should probably point out that no, I don’t mean that in any racial context.)


  • 17
    Tom Carberry says:

    Roger Corman’s “It Conquered the World” got only a passing mention in his book, “How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime”. Page 37:

    I approached [It] Conquered [the World] with the same loose spirit as “Not of This Earth”. Lee Van Cleef is a scientist trying to communicate with intelligent forces from the planet Venus. Beverly Garland, as his wife, questions the entire project with some very funny dialogue written by Lou Rusoff and Chuck Griffith [who played Pete, the scientist/technician with the dark hair and glasses]. Before shooting, Beverly ad-libbed a few sharp lines of her own. From my engineering and physics background, I’d reasoned that a being from a planet with a powerful field of gravity would sit very low to the ground, so with my effects man, Paul Blaisdell, I’d designed a rather squat creature. But just before we were to shot the climatic showdown with Beverly and the monster, she stood over it and stared it down, hands on her hips. “So,” she said with a derisive snarl, making sure I heard her, “you’ve come to conquer the world, have you? Well, take that!” And she kicked the monster in the head. I got the point immediately, by that afternoon the monster was rebuilt ten feet high. Lesson one: Always make the monster bigger than your leading lady.

    “It Conquered the World” was filmed in 1956, in and around Beechwood Drive in the Hollywood Hills, and just a block east in Griffith Park (including Bronson Cave). By the way, the Beechwood Market is still there, and pretty much still looks exactly the way it did in 1956. Dr. Forrester introduces the movie “as probably Roger Corman’s finest to date…and it’s really, really, really, quite bad.”

    The movie is preceeded by a short: Snow Thrills. Some of my favorite lines from that:

    Where I come from they arrest Flashing Blades.
    Yes, even people with one foot in the grave like it.
    Here, Gertrude Stein shows her moves.
    …and Sheeing is the correct pronunciation they tell us…Yeah, well you’re full of skit.
    Ski Joring (J&TB pronounce it She Whoring)…Next on Sally Jessie Raphael (boy, does that date this episode) She Whoring. It’s a safe and fun way to blow a Saturday, or a knee.

    When I first saw this episode I was struck with how clever and literate the writing staff was, and that their college educations hadn’t gone to waste—when seeing a man in a crown and king’s robe, what did they come up with—the opening line from Shakespeare’s Richard III—“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious…”

    It Conquered the World is one of my favorites from Season 3. Some of my favorite lines from that:

    Oh, they’re giving away the ending.
    Paul Harbor, December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.
    The world’s full of fat heads…that’s why I invented diet shampoo.
    Paul Nelson here…Gunsmoke, naw it’ll never work, call my brother…well that’s impossible…Mission Impossible that sounds great.
    Oh, I understand now, Ronald Reagan would make a great President [after the Chief of Police is possessed]. I understand now, Galagher is funny [When General Paddock is possessed]. This line delivered by Joel has a special significance for Joel, as the story goes he had a run in with Gallagher while performing on the road. Gallagher was caught pawing through Joel’s props—a major league no-no in the business.
    …A personal friend of yours. Real Chums. The days when people make fun of me are over girl(s). You will bow down before me.
    So, Mom still dressing you alike, huh?
    I won’t love a monster…I won’t. That’s what Ivana (Trump) said.
    Listen, do you know that in the last 24 hours, men have had their minds, their personalities, their moral standards imprisoned. The whole population has been herded like cattle into the desert. That men have been murdered for failing to obey the new master. Yeah, I hate the 700-Club too.
    The Crow and Servo exchange, with Trace’s best Richard Burton imitation, a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. “Don’t start with me Martha”. “You laughed your ass off, George.”
    I brought this can of nuts in case we get hungry.
    When seeing Beulah (the monster from Venus) face to face: It’s Carol Channing. It’s the Kool-Aid guy gone wrong. It’s a safety cone gone horribly wrong. She should eat that with drawn butter.

    When Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef) dispatches the chief of police with his blow torch: How about a little fire, scarecrow? Chili Peppers burn his gut. Kingsford Cops, light quickly.

    A final observation—how many characters did Corman kill off in this one? Well lets name them: The newspaper editor, Joan, the Chief of Police, General Paddock, Tom, Claire, a couple of soldiers, Pete, Ellen and the other scientist at the installation–quite a body count for a 1956. And Beulah done in with a blow-torch—a nice touch.


  • 18
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    I just watched this one last Sunday. I agree that the movie, aside from the lame monster, is actually pretty good. Beverly Garland and Peter Graves each give good performances, and Graves’ final speech is memorable in a good way. The short is one of the better ones, too.

    Though I’ve never seen it, I dimly remember “Chu Chu and the Philly Flash”. During its initial release, it played at a three-screen theater near Somerville Circle. The other two movies: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Superman II”. Thus, the reason the movie is somewhat obscure.


  • 19
    Trilaan says:

    Lee van Cleef was the good, the bad and helped “the ugly” try to conquer the world. This means nothing.

    Glad to have the Samuel Fuller riff pointed out to me, don’t think I ever noticed it before. The Big Red One is one of my fav films war or otherwise. Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill IS Griff!(The Big Red One, not Red vs Blue).

    The sarcastic dinner sequence IS one of my favorite low-key skits.

    I like to capitalize the word IS.


  • 20
    Tom Carberry says:

    #12(Patti)–Just to clarify, Jay Sayer played Senya (who whines, “but I’m a Prince”). Jonathan Haze played Ottar–the curly haired blonde “kid” who stows away on the women’s boat, and frequently gets his a@@ kicked.


  • 21
    David J says:

    I remember the CD-i because after Nintendo cancelled their deal with Phillips to create a CD-ROM accessory for the Super Nintendo, they gave them permission to make some VERY low budget Mario and Zelda games. Those rare games are sought out by some Nintendo collectors as a kind of forbidden fruit.


  • 22
    Alex says:

    Ah, the famous Peter Graves quote episode. This looks like a really cheesey film with that stupid monster. Oh well. Riffing is good and host segments are well.


  • 23
    John R. Ellis says:

    I recall Star Search existing in the 80s as well as the 90s.

    I felt the riffing for the main experiment was great on this one, but then, I also felt “Colossal Man” was tremendously funny too.


  • 24
    Creeping Terror says:

    I actually find this movie quite forgettable. It certainly has little of the absurd charm that permeates some of the other Corman films that would be riffed (like “The Undead”). And Sampo’s right that the movie sort of limps along.

    The opener is stupid, as the skit is just another variation of the hey-we’re-going-to-do-a-skit-but-oops-it-isn’t-working premise that they had been doing since “The Crawling Hand” and would do many more times during the Joel era (and occasionally afterwards, although not NEARLY as frequently). If you’ve seen one of these skits, you’ve seen them all.

    And the short doesn’t do much for me. The riffs just don’t take off (except for blood splatter on the ice) and the short doesn’t DO anything interesting. It’s a snoozer.

    Overall, a very forgettable episode.


  • 25
    Smirkboy says:

    Watching Frank eat is the best part. I think he brings the fork up to his mouth and then it drops at the last minute twice.

    “He learned that man is a caring being. . .”

    I can’t get enough of that!


  • 26
    Rocky Jones says:

    The “dinner banter” segment is one of my all time favorites.

    All I can add is…after seeing Larry Buchanan’s absolutely attrocious “Zontar” remake, viewing “It Conquered The World” feels like watching “Citizen Kane”.


  • 27
    dsman71 says:

    Whether we like it or not, truth be told most of us would LOVE to have it on a Shout DVD set, but as with all AIP titles they are pretty much RIP with Susan Hart…
    This is a great episode to me with the finale Man is a Feeling Creature
    Corman movies were not really that bad, just hampered by his budget, but if you listen to his interviews for his movies, you can tell he is a good filmmaker in the low budget genre and has become great at showing more when in reality, its less…
    Watch his Poe films with Vincent Price…


  • 28
    snowdog says:

    Next time you watch this episode, quietly hum Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” during the “Feeling Creature” speech. It adds to the emotional impact.


  • 29
    Edge says:

    You know this is Science Fiction: Beverly Garland is married to Lee Van Cleef!


  • 30
    Matthew Shine says:

    He learned, almost too late, that man is a feeling creature and, because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned, too late for himself, that men have to make their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can’t be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And, when men seek such perfection, they find there’s only death, fire, loss, disillusionment, the end of everything that’s gone forward. Men have always sought an end to toil and misery. It can’t be given; it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from man himself.


  • 31
    Schippers says:

    Sampo, I must correct you on the following comment:

    “My copy is from Turkey Day ’94, and includes a commercial for the video game “Burn Cycle,” for Magnavox’s cd-i game platform. Remember THAT vaporware?”

    Burn: Cycle is most definitely NOT vaporware (a term which indicates that the game in question is announced and talked about, but in the final analysis never materializes). The game was published. The CDi itself was a big dud, though.


  • 32
    Patti says:

    #20 Tom. Thanks for the heads up! I had always assumed that Haze was the prince. Never even occurred to me that he was Todd. Now I have to watch it again. Smile


  • 33
    Brandon says:

    Peter Graves just didn’t seem to like anything comedy related. He hated Airplane (despite the put-on he gave in interviews, those close to him revealed that he really DID NOT like being in that film). So that’s probably why he didn’t like MST3K, because they made fun of his “serious” work. Although, as I state in my review down below, I think the James Arness jokes might have got to him too.

    Fun Fact about graves before I start my review. Graves’ last film appearance was in Looney Tunes Back in Action. What most people don’t know, is Graves was NOT informed ahead of time that his cameo was for a Looney Tunes film. When he found out, he was PISSED.

    Anyhoo, here’s my review.

    311- It Conquered the World
    Opening: Joel uses Crow as a ventriloquist dummy.
    Invention exchange: Hanged man costumes, the “Sony Seaman.”
    Host segment 1: Tom narrates “The Winter Cavalcade of Fun.”
    Host segment 2: Sarcastic banter over dinner.
    Host segment 3: J&TB discuss how James Arness and Peter Graves were able to get along in Hollywood, then sing of celebrity siblings with different last names.
    End: J&TB rewatch Peter Graves’ speech, letters, the Mads are watching it too.
    Stinger: “He learned too late that a man is a feeling creature…”

    Memorable Riffs from Short:
    Joel: “From where I come from they arrest flashing blades.”

    Narrator: “Beauty, grace, and rhythm…”
    Servo: “You won’t find them here.”

    Servo: “I smell a class action suit around the corner!”

    Memorable riffs from movie:
    [Title “It Conquered the World” appears]
    Servo: “They’re giving away the ending!”

    Joel: “Honey, would you get that crow out of the fridge? I’m gonna make them eat it.”
    Crow: “What?”

    Crow: “I’ll just bury you for a little snack later.”

    Servo: “It thinks I’m Teppi Hedren!”

    Crow: “Oh, just get a pair of scissors and cut the sting!”

    [Peter Graves shoots his possessed wife]
    Crow: “I was kidding!”

    Joel: “That’s a mighty big chicken, isn’t it, Corky?”

    [Graves finds dead female scientist on the ground, in her nightgown]
    Crow: “Darn! I always miss the good parties!”

    [Graves shoots the three possessed scientists]
    Servo: “Um, you all were bad guys, weren’t you?”

    Crow: “Woah! Never put a bazooka on your crotch like that!”

    Fav Riff from Short:
    Crow: “Let’s talk about shrinkage shall we?”

    Fav. Riff from Movie:
    Servo: “Boy, it was a mission impossible for him to drive that stick!”

    -Doesn’t Joel realize that when or if he gets down to Earth, and were to use Crow as a puppet, he could not move his lips at all while Crow talks, since he can talk on his own? It’d be cheating, but still.

    -Frank mentions “Mannequin” during the Invention Exchange. At least one of the Brains was really obsessed with this movie at this point.

    -During the bob sledding scene from the short, Joel channels the Wizard of Oz again with “Help us! We don’t know how it works!”

    -Is Joel’s riff, “Say, whose line is that, anyway?” supposed to be a shout out to “Whose Line is it, Anyway?’ Around this time Comedy Central was only running the Series 1 episodes, so I guess the Brains would have been aware of it by now.

    -“Hey, that’s James Arness!” “No, that’s Peter Graves.” I’m sure it was that riff alone that got Graves steamed at MST3K.

    -Note Servo’s riff “Which results in creativity.” A reference to something Joel said in an interview about being weird. They didn’t do self-referential riffs like that often.

    -A gross but funny riff. When the monster is shooting out flying… things from the bottom of it’s body, Servo makes grunting and sighing noises.

    -When we first see Dick Miller, is his voice dubbed over by another actor? That sure doesn’t sound like his voice. It isn’t until after Graves shoots his wife, that Miller’s voice actually sounds like it usually does with that thick New York accent.

    -A joke about Scientology? Wow, MST3K got away with just about everything didn’t they?

    -Am I the only person that was actually exposed to Peter Graves first, and didn’t know who James Arness was for many years? Then again, I never watched Gunsmoke until just a couple years ago.

    -I like how Joel just openly admits that the movie is short, and they need to pad the experiment out. They should have used love. : P

    -Crow calls Linda Evans a vixen. I think his opinion will change after seeing “Mitchell”.

    -Did Corman really think no one would notice that shot of Beverly Garland walking through the cave being used twice?

    Best Segment: I think Segment 1, with the Winter Cavalcade of Fun was the funniest.
    Worst Segment: Hm. Tough call. None of the host segments stood out for me. I want to say Segment 3. The song is one of the weaker ones they’ve done. Plus the lead-in with the Arness/Graves comparison is pretty cringeworthy and not really funny (especially since Graves recently passed away).

    Overall: Although most of the host segments aren’t very good IMO, the riffing in the theater is top-notch. One of the best out of Season 3. ***1/2


  • 34
    frankenforcer says:

    This is one of those rare episodes that has not gotten better or funnier with repeated viewings. Where once I swore by this episode, it now rests down near the bottom of must view as it is just too hard to get through now.

    The short fell falt for me, the host segments are fair to middling at best, and the movie drraaaaaaaaaaggggggsssssssss. Peter Graves’ speech is not that interesting to listen to. A rarity in deed and dips ever so closer to the bottom of the list.


  • 35
    Sampo says:

    Schippers–you’re right, and I’m sure all three people who bought a cd-i enjoyed it. Smile


  • 36
    big_john_suds says:

    I love this ep to death. For some reason it’s a perfect MST3K storm: Corman, Graves & a pickle monster.


  • 37
    Jimmy Doorlocks says:

    I’m sure I can’t be the only one here who’s a fan of the anime “Cowboy Bebop.” In one of the songs from the soundtrack, “Chicken Bone,” there is a sample of a man saying “Proceed with the operation.” I was quite surprised to find that the clip actually comes from this movie. Guess Corman’s just everywhere like that.


  • 38
    Ralph C. says:

    Stupendous, incredible, extraordinary episode! “It Conquered The World” conquered my heart.

    Back in my younger days, I used to play softball in Newburgh, NY, and used to drive to the malls and stores in that area a lot. I don’t head down that way as much since I don’t live as close to there as I did before. Besides, I’m still practicing my chops to become a professional shut-in.

    I can’t agree with anyone who thinks this movie was any good. I think it was silly, stupid and is one of those that should be riffed– and it was… and very well, in my opinion, I think. I’ve watched this episode many, many times and I laugh and laugh.

    SCTV did a spoof of “Zontar” as a running story-line in one of their episodes.

    I like SCTV… a lot.


  • 39
    Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    “So there’s fun to be had in this episode, just not as much as I would have liked.”

    This is a classic episode in my opinion. Then again, I think season 3 may be the best season of the show. Still can’t help but find it strange someone who’s made a website devoted to the show is lukewarm on all these great episodes. Doesn’t make much sense. Did you base your fandom on the later seasons when they were running out of steam?


  • 40
    big61al says:

    If you have ever seen “ZONTAR’ then you know what a truly horrible film it is. That is one I vow never to watch again.


  • 41
    Shazam says:

    Somewhat obscure riff: “Not the craw, the craw!”

    It’s from Get Smart – KAOS villain The Claw (


  • 42
    John R. Ellis says:

    I find it odd that someone who considers the later seasons “ran out of steam” would have “Rowsdower” as part of their handle. *grin*


  • 43
    JCC says:

    #42 – And “Beardsley” which I assume is a “Squirm” reference. MR. BEARDSLEY!!!

    #33 – I was born in the 80’s and I was a never a fan of Westerns so I probably never knew who James Arness was until MST3k. Of course Peter Graves was all over the place with the Airplane movies, BIOGRAPHY and Mission Impossible repeats (which I didn’t watch as a kid but I loved the theme song).

    As for this episode, movie riffing is OK, short is great. Frank in the opening segment freezes for a long time, it’s pretty impressive.


  • 44
    rcfagnan says:

    My copy was from the same Turkey Day, and yes, they were pushing Burn Cycle as “the ultimate cinematic adventure game” or some such nonsense. I had just discovered the show the previous weekend with “Teenagers from Outer Space” and set the VCR up to record as many T-Day episodes as I could (I only got Teanage Caveman, followed by this, then the first 2/3 of Swamp Diamonds before the tape ran out.) I’ve always loved the line “Yeah, well you’re full of skit” from the short.


  • 45
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    It Conquered The World (with short: The Sport Parade–Snow Thrills) is a fantastic episode and just the kind of material that shows the writers at their best. The movie itself is a low-budget SF classic with such a good cast and a classic “Bodysnatchers” type aliens take over the minds of people plot. The short is lively fun and the riffing was at its best there. This one really deserves a commercial DVD release.

    Zontar is worth watching to then watch the SCTV parody of it. Great sketch comedy. If you’ve never seen it, there are bits of it on YouTube ( You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again.


  • 46
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “the Venusian costume….was nicknamed “Big Beulah” by its creator, Paul Blaisdell”

    That’s why I was kind of expecting some sort of “Somebody bawl for Beulah?!” riff.

    Hey, they’ve made obscurer references than that…


  • 47
    fathermushroom says:

    After what, for me, is a long dry spell, I can finally stop apologizing for not liking Season Three all that much, and say “Here’s one I really like!”

    I’m sure you’re all relieved beyond measure.

    (But S3 really does leave me cold. So far, only “Daddy-O” and “Amazing Colossal Man” really light my fire. I can’t help it.)

    I agree that the Winter Cavalcade of Fun is a hoot! And I also really like the Sarcastic Dinner Sketch.

    Any time Joel does his “housewife” voice it’s a winner for me. (In the short “Home Economics Story,” when the girl asks ‘what are you gonna take, Alice?’ and Joel says in a girly voice, ‘I’m gonna take Bob for all he’s got!’ it just kills me. And in “Girl in Lover’s Lane” when Joel makes some crack about ‘always wanted to be nuzzled by a hobo’ I have to rewind and hear it again.)

    Like some others, I’m not mad about the abortive Ventriloquist Sketch. Somebody else said they did a lot of “this sketch isn’t working” sketches in the Joel years, and I have to agree. Some of them are more okay than others.



  • 48
    Cambot J. Nelson says:

    I know I’m just filling up time and space here with a repeat of the movie’s best quote but I’m going ahead with it any way.

    “He learned almost too late that,
    man is a feeling creature,
    and because of it the greatest in the universe.
    He learned too late for himself that,
    men have to find their own way,
    to make their own mistakes.
    There can’t be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves.
    And when men seek such perfection,
    they find only death,
    and the end of everything that’s gone forward.
    Men have always sought an end to toil and misery.
    It can’t be given, it has to be achieved.
    There is hope,
    but it has to come from inside,
    from man himself.



  • 49
    Sampo says:

    #39 Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley–First of all, I’ve raved about about a bunch of episodes in this season and will rave about many more. There’s a lot to like in this episode, I just didn’t think the movie riffing was that strong. As I’ve said before, even a bad MST3K episode (and this one isn’t bad) is better than most other TV. I’m comparing it with other episode of the show that I like better. Tastes differ. Sorry.


  • 50
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I hadn’t seen this episode for 15 years and might not watch it for another 15. I love most Corman episodes but this one just seems kind of average so I give it 3 stars. High points: Frank dropping his fork at the very end and the sarcastic dinner speech. This was a great way of making fun of the movie’s having everyone talk in one liners instead of regular sentences. It’s almost like this movie’s not quite bad enough to be great riffing material but it’s certainly not good. Was this the first Beverly Garland sighting, she does as much as she can and it was good to hear she had a good sense of humor about these movies.


  • 51
    April de Wetpants says:

    One of my favorites! Of course, haven’t seen it in years since my tape was destroyed (the same tape also had Time of the Apes, it was a sad day in my house)

    It’s classic, you have Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef? That right there makes it awesome. I grew up watching the Airplane movies, so I’ve always loved Peter Graves and Van Cleef was in some of the best westerns ever along with Escape From New York (which I’ve seen dozens of times thanks to my many male cousins).

    And I said it before, and I’ll say it again. The plane crash with The Big Bopper “hello Baby!” is mean. But I can’t help but laugh every time I hear it.


  • 52
    dsman71 says:

    I forgot to do my catchphrases
    Joel’s Hair
    Joel’s Knees
    Man is a Feeling Creature
    Thank God for Roger Corman !
    I need therapy again


  • 53
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I’m with Sampo and others, this is a good episode, not a great one. I mainly blame the major drag in the movie and the lackluster riffing. The short is only so-so. Also the Host Segments are good, there’s the occasional quotable, but they’re not great, classic sketches. What I’m getting at is, it is a 3/5 episode.

    The movie itself saves this episode actually. As mentioned above, parts are super silly but other parts are (sorta) gripping. Lee Van Cleef is one of my fave genre actors and he does a good job here. And c’mon, Peter Graves and that speech. . . .priceless.

    Can’t believe there’s been no mention of this: during the opening, when Joel is trying to ventriloquist Crow and stuff, he calls him “Peanut” and tells a couple lame-o jokes, all in the mold of that Jeff Dunham guy. You know, the guy….the one with a puppet called Peanut that tells lame-o jokes. Yeah. That guy. It’s an obvious reference as Dunham has been doing that same schtick for 20 years or something. Just to be clear. . . .I HATE Jeff Dunham. This is just something that I noticed.

    Could someone please tell me where Dick Miller was in this movie? I wasn’t paying enough attention and I missed him I guess.

    Glad to see the mentions of Sam Fuller so far. I like his stuff alot, Shock Corridor and Pickup on South Street especially. I got The Steel Helmet and White Dog on library loan right now.


    during the short,
    Crow: “Yes, it’s never too early to fuse your spinal cord together. In a few years these children will be addicted to pain killers, but for now little Billy is paralyzed.”

    Van Cleef takes a swig,
    Joel: “ooh, that’s good booze, oooooh.”

    Van Cleef looking through binoculars,
    Crow: “I like to go a few blocks away and secretly watch my wife.”

    when the “bats” are flying about,
    Crow: “I’m not touching you!”

    Joel: “Ah, squealing (tires) on dirt is illegal.”

    Crow: “Never put a bazooka on your crotch.”

    Joel: “It’s the Kool-Aid guy gone wrong!”

    Joel: “Schmuckers Jelly always tastes freshest.”



  • 54
    Sharktopus says:

    They mention Julia and Eric Roberts in the celebrity siblings sketch, who actually are siblings, but I guess that wasn’t common knowledge, especially before the interweb. Although, it’s a bit of a stretch calling Eric Roberts a celebrity. Silly

    I’d say this experiment starts out pretty strong, after the lame ventriloquist stuff, but you kind of get caught in the movie by the third act, so I can’t say if the quality of riffs drops off, or if I was just paying less attention to them. Sure it’s a stupid movie, but Lee Van Cleef does a good job selling his gradual loss of faith in the Pickle, and it sucks you in. Peter Graves, as usual, is so wooden he should get checked for termites. And, as they state in the ACEG, Beverly Garland steals every scene she’s in. ’50s woman be doing for her herself.


  • 55
    Sharktopus says:

    Oh, necktie party! I get it now. Big Frown


  • 56

    #39 – I’m usually the first one to accuse others of only being fans of the later episodes, but to accuse Sampo of it is just loony.
    He’s been in the game since day 1 (or at least day 2) and he and Erhardt even took over originally to replace the printed info club newsletter.
    You must be a late-coming fan yourself not to know this.

    As for this episode, I also find it a bit of a slog and hard to get through, but it’s still funny, especially the short.


  • 57
    Brandon says:

    “Could someone please tell me where Dick Miller was in this movie? I wasn’t paying enough attention and I missed him I guess.”

    Dick Miller is one of the army guys.


  • 58
    Tom Carberry says:

    He is the Sargeant at the gate and later the Sgt. of the platoon who takes on the monster in the cave. He has a couple of lines. I think one of them was something about the electricity being out and its effect on “my wife’s big mouth”.


  • 59
    OnenuttyTanuki says:


    Yeah plus Man-or-Astro-man used bits from the film in the song “Live Transmissions from Uranus”


  • 60
    fish eye no miko says:

    Ooooh. This was the first episode of MST I ever watched. I agree it’s a bit slow, but over all it’ a good episode. And I find the dinner scene in host segment 2 absolutely hysterical.
    “This coffee tastes like mud–Roger Mudd.”


  • 61
    WeatherServo9 says:

    This movie had the “learned too late” speech, Phantom Planet had “the good and the beautiful” line. It’s always nice to have a dash of pretense in your low-budget sci-fi movie.


  • 62
    Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    Wow, I got 4 responses to my post.

    #42 John R Ellis, “you got me – (Frank)” My handle is all Mike era names (if you include Mitchell as the first Mike ep), but you missed Beardsley which

    #43 JCC got. Just wanted a funny name, not necessarily representative of my favorite episodes (although Rowsdower is one). Otherwise my name might be Pete “I don’t care” Plum. Not as funny.

    #56 Mike – I’ve been a MSTie since Turkey Day ’92. The first first-run episode I ever taped was. . .”MANOS!” Not really a newbie.

    Sampo: I just meant that to me, all but maybe 5 season 2-5.5 episodes are at last 3 out of 4 stars for me. This one included. Its a classic! Anyway, I was referring to Mike (didn’t he admit they were just slogging thru season 6 at some point?). Just my opinion, but liking Mike era over Joel era is akin to liking Ronny James Dio Black Sabbath over Ozzy Black Sabbath. I can’t wrap my head around it. Not that you ever said you prefer Mike – maybe you did, I don’t know. Just seems like you’re hard on these hilarious Joels, yet treat Red Zone Cuba (or whatever) as if it’s just as funny. Paraphrasing I know, but the Mike skits have a lot more problems than the Joel era ones, I think. Anyway, I hope to get my Gamera 5 pack tomorrow so I can enjoy some season 3 goodness.


  • 63
    Sampo says:

    Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley: When someone asks me “Joel or Mike” I say, “yes, please.” I have no preference. As Mr. B Natural says: “They’re members of my family, boy! I love ’em all!” But some more than others. I call ’em like I see ’em. I don’t claim to be the final authority: that’s why I open these up for discussion. Sampo’s theorem states, for those arriving late: “For every MSTie who believes a given episode is their worst outing ever, there is another who believes it is their finest hour.”
    What I’ve learned in going through these, episode by episode, is that in eras I thought were great, there were some klunkers, and in eras some say the show was “running out of steam” I find classic gems. So I’d say let go of the “era” thinking and consider each one as you watch it. Or don’t. Everybody enjoys MST3K differently. It’s all good.


  • 64
    stefanie says:

    Tom Carberry Jonathan Haze was cool in “Viking women”. He was the only male viking to actually do some fighting, and win too!

    The “Not the craw. The craw!” is from Get Smart.


  • 65
    trickymutha says:

    I was so excited to see this for the first time because of Frank Zappa’s “Cheepnis”
    Overall- a pretty good episode- always works for me- and of course, man is a feeling creature.


  • 66
    pondoscp says:

    This is one of my top ten episodes, I love this one, and have since I first saw it back in ’92. Those end credits with the speech repeated, genius, pure genius. Jonathan Haze, all in my brain! He was in Little Shop Of Horrors, the original Seymour! You know, watching all these MST episodes, it really starts to make you an expert on B-movie cast and crew. I never knew who most of these people were before discovering this show. Now, when I see Merritt Stone or Gene Roth in the credits, I get a big smile on my face. These are my people!

    And the dinner segment rules, too!


  • 67
    pondoscp says:

    And my handle isn’t an MST reference. Who/what/am PondosCP? Google will reveal all…. (and some quite dated stuff, too!)


  • 68
    Kali says:

    Calls from Venus?
    SERVO: You know, no arms, nice rack?
    JOEL: Hey!

    Yes, it’s Roger Corman’s Vlasic pickle! Supposedly, Beverly Garland laughed when she saw it, and that’s why they added the cone. Still looks ridiculous.

    Oh, and #5: Dick Miller is ALWAYS in these things. Wink

    “It’s the sled of the sub-genius.” Ah, nothing like a Firesign gag…

    I did get sick of the “Corky Joins the Army” gags by the end, but still, one of the all time great episodes. Peter Graves must be the patron saint of MST3K (and one RiffTrax). And Beverly Garland is one of the all time great actors to be MSTed.

    Even the movie’s own quotes are notable: “Your hands are human but your mind is enemy,” and, of course, “He learned too late that man was a feeling creature…”

    And when you watch it for the first time, you never expected that Paul would kill his possessed wife — and then he does it!

    PAUL: How long are we going to be like this?
    JOAN: For the rest of our lives.
    SERVO: Scientology is great, isn’t it?

    TOM: How’s Joan?
    CROW: She da da…um, dusting!
    PAUL: She’s dead.
    (We didn’t expect this either…)

    CLAIRE: He had a gun.
    TOM: A gun?
    CLAIRE (angry now): “That’s right Tom, you just had an undeserved stay of execution!”
    JOEL: “Gosh, I should get him something.”

    Answering the phone:
    PAUL: Paul Nelson here.
    SERVO: Gunsmoke, nah, it’ll never work, call my brother!
    PAUL: That’s impossible!
    CROW: Mission: Impossible! That sounds great!

    Here comes the bat-thing!
    SERVO (as Paul): Oh no! It thinks I’m Tippi Hedren!
    SERVO: Wow, great effect, huh?
    CROW: Oh, just get a pair of scissors and cut the string!
    Geez, the slime creatures in that Star Trek episode were more believable – and in the outtakes you get to see one of them slap Spock in the butt! Heh

    PAUL: I’ve got people, plenty of people!
    SERVO: Barney! Paris! They’ll help me!

    SCIENTIST: Well, there’s blankets and canned goods in the broom closet. We’ll make out.
    JOEL: Oh, wowwww!”
    Yikes, Joel!!

    Paul kills everyone in the room.
    SERVO: Ah, you were all bad guys, right?

    SERVO: I always knew I’d make a better cowboy than my brother!
    Paul must not be a good shot, though – he missed one…

    I loved it when Tom finally starts to act like a hero — and Servo starts whistling that Clint Eastwood theme.

    SERVO: Hi, Pete, little late!
    Hmm, the only thing Paul does is kill his bat thing, kill everyone in a room, and make Shatnerian speeches. He’s the hero.

    PAUL: General, shouldn’t we move that rock?
    SERVO: That’s not a rock! That’s a rock lobster! Down, down, down…
    (That’s a Firesign reference too, isn’t it?)

    Real missed opportunity though – the Brains should have done Zontar too. I saw it out of pure horror once. Admittedly, It Conquered the World isn’t really Corman at his best (although I do like it unMSTed), but it’s Citizen Kane compared to Zontar. And John Agar is in it, for gods sake! We always said the Brains didn’t nearly do enough John Agar films. The Brain From Planet Arous is just begging for a MSTing! Somebody tell the Cinematic Titanic Institute.

    Seriously, they really needed to do more Larry Buchanan films. The bots would have gone insane.


  • 69
    Creeping Terror says:

    @43: I’m with you on knowing Peter Graves long before James Arness. I was also born in the 1980’s, so for me, Peter Graves is “that guy from Airplane!, Biography, and Mission: Impossible.” James Arness is merely, “Peter Graves’s brother.” I guess that for a generation older than us, Peter is the brother of the supposedly more famous actor.


  • 70
    Kali says:

    Forgot one:

    PAUL: Listen, you know, in the last 24 hours, men have had their minds, their personalities, their moral standards imprisoned? The whole population has been herded like cattle into the desert! That men have been murdered for failing to obey their new master?
    SERVO: Yeah, I hate the 700 Club too.

    I miss Mystery Science…


  • 71
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Thank you Brandon and Tom Carberry for telling me where Dick Miller was. (Weirdest sentence I’ve ever typed).


  • 72
    Stressfactor says:

    This movie itself made me go “Holy Carp!”

    The riffing here was fun but for me the movie took a sharp left into WTH-ville when Peter Graves *kills* his mind controlled wife. I mean, it doesn’t *occur* to him to even *consider* whether or not the mind control can be *broken*? Nope, it’s just “Well, my wife has gone over to the dark side now, guess I’d better end her.”

    And when you factor in the Cold War/Anti-Communist undertone (yeah, yeah, it’s so blatant it’s not really an undertone) it makes it even more skeevy since it’s basically saying “Yeah, once someone goes to Communism there’s no getting them back so you might as well just kill them”.

    Definitely one of the weirder movies the gang riffed.


  • 73
    Laura says:

    This one is middle of the road. I enjoy the short more than the actually movie. I’ve renamed it to “It Took Over a Few People” and “Attack of the Killer Quesadias” (I definitely misspelled it and I apologize). I believe the speech that Peter Graves gives at the end is just to fill time at the end of the movie. I almost always vone out during it it’s that boring to me.

    Beverly Garland was the only saving grace in the entire movie. The fact that she had to act with a giant pickle monster thing just proves her acting chops. Lee Van Cleef just angers me with his smug attitude toward the whole invasion and trying to be a friend to the alien that only he can understand.


  • 74
    Cornbred says:

    re 68
    “PAUL: General, shouldn’t we move that rock?
    SERVO: That’s not a rock! That’s a rock lobster! Down, down, down…
    (That’s a Firesign reference too, isn’t it?)”

    Believe this is a reference to a song by the B-52s, not to Firesign.


  • 75
    Cornbred says:

    I give this one 4.5 stars. First time I saw this episode I thought it was the funniest one I had ever seen. Now I don’t think that quite so much. Still very good though. The movie is good on its own. The kind of thing I would love to find on a random channel in the middle of the night. I can’t find too much to fault with Corman’s movies, other than cheepnis. The monster is ridiculous of course. Beverly Garland (fantastic as always), should have gotten an Oscar for acting with the pickle monster. I hope Roger Corman, or whomever is holding up release of these episodes, knows how much affection I think most of us have for his movies and these episodes. At the least I appreciate that he has women in these films who are there for a reason other than to scream a lot and eventually get saved by whatever bloated lunkhead is supposed to be the hero.


  • 76
    Dan in WI says:

    Occassionally in these discussions a comment along the lines of “the riffing lags as the Brains seem to get caught up in this better than average film” comes up. Variations on that popped up a couple times in this thread.

    I find this comment fastinating. If you were only watching a given movie once than I can see how that can happen. I’m one of those people who has never seen a single one of the films featured in this show prior to actually seeing it on this show. So when you come accross a film that is better than the average MST target I’ve occassionaly found myself tuning out the riffing to actually follow the film itself. I might even say this episode was a better than average MST film and better than average Corman film.
    That aside, the Brains aren’t watching these movies only once. Given the 5-6+ viewings they did during the writing process, one would think if they did get caught up in the film on the first run (or even two) they should be able to overcome that in the later viewings and still come up with consistant riffing coverage throughout a film if all other elements are equal. I know when I get caught up in a better than average film and wish the Brains would “shut up” so I can watch the film on the first viewing (and this didn’t happen often), then a second viewing is just what the doctor ordered so I can go back take in the riffs I was tuning out on that first pass.

    Anyway just some thoughts I was having on this comment. Discuss amongst yourselves.


  • 77
    jjb3k says:

    This episode rarely gets played in my house – and if it does, I almost always skip over Segment 3. That’s gotta be one of the most awkward, poorly-performed skits they ever did. It’s just embarrassing to see Joel standing there with this look on his face like “What the hell am I saying and why the hell am I saying it?”


  • 78
    Dan in WI says:

    On another note, I’ve noticed a couple of you are creeping perilously close to liking or defending Roger Corman in this thread. To those people I invite you to review Bill Corbets AGEG comments for 806 The Undead. Or if you must watch the movie itself. After reviewing that piece of evidence, carefully step away from the ledge. Grin


  • 79
    Ben says:

    For all those Dick Miller fans out there, be sure to check out his website! I ordered an autographed picture of him and it was a nice experience and he’s a super nice guy! The picture was from the original Not Of This Earth where Dick played a vaccuum cleaner salesman in a memorable role.

    As far as Corman goes, the films he directed I think are like any others in a director’s catalog, with highs and lows. For instance, sure Hitchcock directed North By Northwest and The Trouble With Harry but he also directed Topaz and Under Capricorn, movies that are slower than watching a glacier traveling in real time. Then again those two flicks might be someone’s cup of tea other than mine. But that’s the important part: context.

    Corman was after the bottom dollar and I think of him as a producer first that learned how to be a director on the way. He kind of put himself through the training opportunities that he later put other novice directors through like Ron Howard and Jonathan Demme and Joe Dante and the like: learn as you go and be under budget. I liked the Poe pictures because they show someone who has learned a lot given his beginnings with stuff like Five Guns West and Swamp Diamonds. Granted Vincent Price or Ray Milland carried a lot of the load, but they were well produced, visually interesting movies in the context of the Corman universe to be sure.

    The Undead I could pass over in a heartbeat and Viking Women…etc is like watching dried paint fade in the sun, but I could watch It Conquered the World or Not Of This Earth or Attack Of The Crab Monsters or The Little Shop Of Horrors at the drop of a hat so it all depends on taste. Corman’s directing I can take or leave, but as a producer running projects and studios and backing and preselling, he’s second to none. Corman could sell movies based on practically nothing but a poster and a faded or upcoming star and that’s it.

    On a technical level he’s much better than Coleman Francis or Ed Wood or Ray Dennis Steckler or a host of other directors that he gets lumped together with. Plus, I rarely have problems following his storylines, weak or goofy as they may be in some or most of his pictures.

    Also if you haven’t checked out Shout Factory’s Roger Corman’s Cult Classics line of DVDs yet, you should. Shout is giving these flicks loving care that I didn’t think was possible before. But seeing as how well the MST sets are coming out, I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was.


  • 80
    Stressfactor says:

    @Dan in WI

    I think sometimes the silence might be more a case of the riffers thinking that the point in the movie was funnier *without* a comment.

    It’s something I noticed in CT’s “Alien Factor” — there were a couple of places where I fully expected several riffs only to be met with dead silence by the team. The audience twittered with laughter at just what was happening on the screen so I suppose the Titans were right to let it lie.

    That doesn’t discount, however, that their judgement may have been wrong in places over the years.


  • 81

    #79 – False equivalency, having completely conquered the world of politics, finds its way to this forum.

    Hitchcock made a couple of bad films, therefore Corman = Hitchcock. Well, I can see how…WHAAA?!?!?!?!?
    That isn’t literally what you said, but you sure implied it.
    I would also refer you to Bill C.’s ACEG entry, referenced above.
    Corman’s films are almost completely devoid of entertainment value. Sure, if you want to watch them and think about how his technical skills are better than other low-budget directors, or think about other directors he’s helped, go right ahead.
    Most people looking for entertainment directly from his movies won’t find it.


  • 82
    Dan in WI says:

    Stressfactor #80> What you say works extremely well in the live setting that Cinematic Titanic has settled into. My favorite example is the RiffTrax live short Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. There is no riff they could have possibily uttered that would have worked better than a packed theater just reacting on its own to “Rudolph I need you tonight.”

    But TV is a different story. Under most normal circumstances you are watching with maybe two or three other people tops if not completely alone. I think you need the extra “hand holding” of the riffs. I suspect the Brains would agree. Just take my above RiffTrax live example. I seem to recall an interview where Bill admitted to dropping several riffs due to the already happening audience reaction. The point is they were prepared with material were it necessary.


  • 83
    Sampo says:

    Dan–You make a reasonably good point about the fact that, of course, they’re not watching it for the first time. I’m just talking about the feeling I get, and I can give you an example. Peter Graves has returned to his home to find his wife showering and the lights working. J&tB riff is (paraphrasing here): “Peter! Peter! The SHOWER! The LIGHTS!” Now, that’s not that funny. That’s not really a comment on the movie. What it is is them totally INTO the movie, totally following the plot. Of course, they watch the movie several times and revise the riffs, but there’s always a first time seeing something, and what I’m saying in that comment is that some of that first-time-through feeling seems to me to have survived the editing process. I could be wrong. It could all be an elaborate construction on the writers’ part. But that’s just how it strikes me as I watch it.

    As for Corman, no, I’m NOT defending him. This movie is laughably stupid in a lot of places. But, in the case of this one movie, I’m just saying that a lot of people with SOME talent were thrown together and managed to pull SOME feeling out of a mostly terrible script.


  • 84
    Seneca says:

    How can I not love a movie with lines like “this alien invader happens to be a personal friend of mine.” (I paraphrase a little.) Also, Beverly Garland’s tirades against her husband and the alien thing are priceless. I’m glad MST3K did this film but I never thought the episode was very distinguished; the film is funny enough on its own.


  • 85
    Ben says:

    #81: My point was that directors have absolute turkeys in their repertoire that even their fans don’t really care for, some more than others. Was Hitchcock a better filmmaker than Corman? Absolutely. But Hitchcock still made Jamaica Inn. Eastwood still made Firefox. Spielberg still made 1941. Carpenter still made Village Of The Damned. Chaplin still made A Countess From Hong Kong. All dull as dishwater movies as far as I’m concerned. I can enjoy anyone’s films as long as I don’t find them boring.

    As far as Corman goes: The Undead? Boring as all get out. Can’t even stand it with the riffing. Gets skipped right over whenever I’m going through a Season 8 choice of viewing. But I like the sheer goofiness of A Bucket Of Blood/Little Shop Of Horrors for instance. The Poe pictures are on the same level as to what Hammer Studios were doing at the same time. Others can sing the praises of Ed Wood’s direction all day or anybody else with a micro-budget and a half-written script. Some of these movies end up with a certain charm, others just become exercises in punishment. The Corman movies done on MST weren’t the greatest examples of filmmaking by any means otherwise they never would’ve been on the show. However, just because you see one thing that you didn’t care for doesn’t mean that everything that director/producer/actor produced is necessarily crap.

    The referenced Bill Corbett remarks are a point to take in this regard. What if my only exposure to Bill was knowing that he was involved with Meet Dave? That might skew my perceptions just a tad. Just because Bill co-wrote Meet Dave, it doesn’t mean that everything else he’s ever done is just as disappointing as that movie. Far from it.

    Corman made some gawd-awful movies to be certain. But there are some that he directed and many that he simply financed that are good entertaining films.


  • 86
    Richard the Lion-footed says:

    “Somewhat obscure riff: “Not the craw, the craw!”

    Obscure? Not for any fan of 60s TV (which you sort of have to be to be a true MSTiee).

    It is, of course from Get Smart. It refers to his arch villain, “The Craw,” er I mean “The Claw.” (not craw).

    This is in my top 10 favorite episodes.
    I agree with Ben, Corman made some great films that I love to watch over and over, just like Hitchcock. And Corman made some movies I can’t take past the credits. As did Hitchcock. All in all, I thought this was one of his better ones. And the level of riffing was just enough.

    And of course who else could have a “Rocket Scientist” in a full slip? That’s our Roger!

    I did think watching the Graves monologue THREE times was a bit much. I know the film was short, but come on guys.


  • 87
    PondosCP says:

    That’s Sampo’s Theorem for you, I love the Graves monologue repeating over and over. It’s one of my favorite moments from the entire 11 year run!


  • 88
    JLH says:

    The craw reference may be “obscure” nowadays, but in 1991, when this first aired? “Get Smart” was still airing on Nick@nite. I know, I used to watch it all the time. It was a recurring joke on that show, unlike, for instance, “It is balloon!” in ‘Viking Women’, which appeared in one whole episode of F-Troop (Nick was airing that in this period too, and in fact used the “It is balloon!” scene in one of its on air promos for it).


  • 89
    Earl B says:

    Man, how I hope this one manages to surface on DVD – my copy (dubbed from someone else’s tape) cuts off right at the movie’s end – no repeated speeches for me.


  • 90
    Sitting Duck says:

    @ JLH #88: IIRC The Claw only appeared in two episodes of Get Smart, both during the first season. Not exactly at the same level as Siegfried objecting to KAOS agents using onomatopoeia.


  • 91
    Brandon says:

    #85- You can’t blame “Meet Dave”‘s quality on Bill, since that film went through tons of executive meddling and re-writes.


  • 92
    Green Switch says:

    Great episode and short.

    I only wish that the stinger included the entire Peter Graves speech instead of just the excerpt.


  • 93
    frankenforcer says:

    jimmydoorlocks, you most certainly are not the only one on hear who loves the Bebop. I never picked that up about the clip on the song though. Have to listen in again..


  • 94
    Kali says:

    And Roger Corman brought the wonder that is “StarCrash” into the United States, so we can’t totally condemn him.


  • 95
    brainlessmonkey says:

    This is my first post and coincidently coincides with ICTW’s being my first completely watched MST episode back in the early 90’s when the world still made sense to me. Everything was right with this episode from the start: smooth gradual pacing of the short, even the “longest bobsled in the world” signals a quickening of the music’s pace and the jokes seem to come faster to the point of “climaxing” with Crow’s beating with the frozen Barbie-cicle; this only pauses long enough for the title sequence of the main feature before lifting off with the h-e-a-v-y commentary payload. This is the episode that made me re-think the whole science fiction B-movie genre as souce of escape from the less-than-intellectually satisfying contemporary movie landscape. I remember Trace once commenting that there needs to be a sense of serious intent on the part of filmmaker for the riffing to really work, and this was certainly evidenced in the summative soliloquy.

    P.S. I see that some of the comments refer to the obscurity of references to F-Troop’s “It is balloon” and Get Smart’s “Not the claw …”. Some of these might be traced to Nick-at-night’s commercials that regularly ran with these very scenes as out-takes as I remeber they were run frequently throughout the evening.

    Thanks to everyone and their comments for keeping the show alive.


  • 96
    Spalanzani says:

    I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but I love these sort of goofy, overly serious 50s sci-fi flicks. The movie really feels like an Outer Limits episode to me. In fact, the plot’s roughly similar to the first OL episode (loner scientist talks with sympathetic alien over long-distance communicator device, and eventually brings it to Earth). I think this is another episode I think fondly of largely because of the movie, while the riffing is OK but not special. I do admit to enjoying the rare political jabs though.


  • 97
    schippers says:

    Sampo, I’m still correcting you about Burn:Cycle being vaporware. It’s not. It came out.


  • 98
    Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Lee Van Cleef scientist guy is pretty pathetic, but he makes for good 50s sci-fi film fodder. The 1950s, that is.

    He wants to get rid of emotions on earth, but forgets about his hot wife until she reminds him of llllove.

    Kinda a pre-cursor to Spock, or the high-functioning autism types we see portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch of late. Sherlock, Turing…



  • 99
    senorpogo says:

    I may be in the minority, but I actually enjoy (some) state park jokes. Sometimes it’s funny to remind viewers that the supposedly fantastic alien world is a boring old state park a short drive out of Hollywood. Even when they’re not funny, it’s nice when it seems like J&tBs are invested in the movie too (beyond just making jokes).

    I think this is why I enjoy the Joel era more than Mike’s (and CT and RT). It seems like over the years, the prevailing view became that everything said in the theater should be funny as possible. Maybe that does produce a funnier product, but I think it also sacrifices a cozier experience of feeling like you’re actually watching a movie with these odd, funny people. Especially with CT and RT which, imo, feel more sterile, like nothing but watching a bunch of comedians who prepared jokes about a movie.

    Just my opinion. I appreciate them all, in their own way.


  • 100
    Sitting Duck says:

    Since the last time we discussed this episode, there was a Weekend Discussion where we talked about the Corman movies we actually liked.

    @ #8 and #53: The Steel Helmet was also produced by MST3K regular L. Robert Lippert.


  • 101
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    One of my favorites! Yes, there’s not a lot of laugh-out-loud riffing, but there’s plenty of amusing comments. And I will also say that I like the movie itself. It does break down at the end when the Venusian Carrot finally shows itself, but then we get the great speech.
    After killing his wife, Peter talks about the alien being completely logical – learn, evaluate, and use what is available (in relation to controlling people, including Lee). It seems to me that Peter’s just as guilty of the cold emotionless logic when he killed his wife. She’s the enemy now, so she dies.
    When it comes to Corman movies, he (usually) has some really good ideas, but just implements them poorly, or is too restricted by budget.

    Hopefully, we’ve all learned that Man is a feeling creature, and as such the greatest in the Universe. I know I have. No death, fire, loss, or disillusionment here!


  • 102
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Oh, and the short! Love the short. Apparently the word Ski is Norwegian, originally from Old Norse, so it’s entirely possible it’s pronounced shee-ing.


  • 103
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Bruce Boxliker:
    Oh, and the short! Love the short. Apparently the word Ski is Norwegian, originally from Old Norse, so it’s entirely possible it’s pronounced shee-ing.

    That’s full of skit.


  • 104
    pondoscp says:

    Yep, this episode is pure brilliance, pretty much. Still firmly in my top ten. I thoroughly enjoy every second of it.


  • 105
    Lex says:

    ‘Blood on the Ice!’

    One of the darker long-running jokes on this show was for this short. Jokes about kids being paralyzed and addicted to painkillers. It’s family-tastic. Smile

    The movie is what it is, a quickly made science fiction story about the triumph of the individual over oppression and that’s why they gave away the ending at the title. I could be wrong, but I remember Comedy Central rerunning this one quite a bit.

    “Smucker’s Jelly always taste the freshness.”


  • 106
    thequietman says:

    Having finally seen this episode, I’m 50-50 on it. The “Winter Cavalcade of Fun” and “Dinner conversation” skits were hilarious, but the third segment is almost like they weren’t even trying. As for the movie itself, it’s too ridiculous not to be funny, and the riffing only helps.

    Fave riff:
    Van Cleef: You’re everything I’ve ever wanted as a man!
    Servo: Except as a woman!


  • 107
    70's run on car says:

    I have been meaning to pick this up in the original to see what Zappa was talking about in live at the Roxy and Elsewhere. Sam Fuller’s The Baron of Arizona is good and amazing history.


  • 108
    rose from nj says:

    The laugh Joel makes when we first see the pickle monster is infectious and very cute.


  • 109
    YourNewBestFriend says:

    C’mon, kids, lets be honest about this one.

    When Peter Graves enters the living room towards the end and there’s a light on, did nobody else get a cold chill when they realized what they were seeing?


  • 110
    Cornjob says:

    Pretty good episode. Hilarious carrot monster and great performance by Beverly Garland. The story reminds me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers/Puppet Masters and the neck worms that tried to take over the Federation in the first Season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. For that matter the hive mind aspect of It! is a little like the Borg.

    It might have been nice if Peter Graves tried to remove the neck implant before killing his wife. I guess he assumed that her personality had been irrevocably destroyed. I agree that there’s something of a decent story here underneath all the Corman.


  • 111
    Be Right There says:

    I think “Snow Thrills” is the first short where J&tB got really dark, and I love it for that reason. Note that Joel gets right in on the morbid riffs (“You know, there’s nothing quite as pretty as arterial spray on the white snow!”) as opposed to calling the ‘Bots out on being “too dark” in “Here Comes the Devil Circus”.
    Servo’s line about the shi jumper “selling pencils on Third Avenue” struck a chord with me when I first saw this episode as a young lad, and has stuck with me ever since.


  • 112
    radioman970 says:

    cool. Been watching them in order and this one just happened to be todays. Just a few hours ago. A real fav. Bev is completely lovely, I’d fight a big pickle for her!


  • 113
    Cornjob says:

    “I’d fight a big pickle for her!”

    I like the way that sounds.

    I also like the “dark” humor in the short. The severe depressive in me appreciates it.


  • 114
    schippers says:

    I agree that there’s a really good idea in this movie. Not an original one, of course – it’s just basically Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but with a far less credible menace (leaving aside the ridiculousness of an ambulatory pickle, the thing can only produce those little bat conversion thingies in small quantities. It’s pretty hard to see how it planned on conquering much more than a rural backwater, much less a city, state, or nation).

    Still, the interplay between Graves and van Cleef is pretty engaging, plus van Cleef is good as naïve idealist who honestly doesn’t realize he’s made a deal with the Devil).


  • 115
    mnenoch says:

    A good but not great episode in my book. The skits are okay, none of them are really that funny. The short is pretty good, its chock full of dark humor which I’m perfectly delighted with. The movie itself really isn’t that bad, Lee Van Cleef, Beverly Garland, and Peter Graves do a pretty good job of acting. In fact if it weren’t for the stupid monster design and some glaring plot holes it would be a pretty decent B movie. The riffing is good but definitely not great.


  • 116
    carjackfairy says:

    It’s weird, alwayd thought this one was generally considered to be a classic episode. Guess it’s not as beloved as I thought, although this is a small sanple size of MST3K fans I guess.
    Also Corman desrves respect,, anyone who thinks otherwise should really start with the recent documentary that was put out about him. His involvement in Deathrace 2000 alone should get him a free pass. And he comes across as a super likeable dude.