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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: 518- The Atomic Brain (with short: ‘What About Juvenile Delinquency’)

Short: (1955) A teen gang member sours on his life of delinquency after his dad is mugged.
Movie: (1963) A rich, elderly woman wants her doctor to transplant her brain into the body of one of her young captives.

First shown: 12/4/93
Opening: M&tB have their final dress rehearsal for “Love Letters”
Invention exchange: M&tB are The Mads, The Mads are Crow and Tom Servo
Host segment 1: Tom is Weather Servo 9
Host segment 2: Mike demonstrates chin puppetry
Host segment 3: Magic Voice chats with the film’s voice-over guy
End: Crow is Hank Kimball–The Fugitive, Mike reads letters, “Dr.” Frank “consults” with Dr. Fist
Stinger: Spanish for “AAAAAAAH!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (207 votes, average: 4.14 out of 5)


• Although the movie is icky, and slows to a crawl in places, there’s plenty to like about this episode: solid riffing and fun host segments. I’m going with “good, not great.”
• The original title of this movie was “Monstrosity.”
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 3. In 2011 Shout! Factory re-released it as a single.
• Bill wrote the ultimate sendup of “Love Letters,” called “Hate Mail.”
• Mike, Trace and Kevin (and the rest of the staff for that matter) have surely spent a lot of time around pretentious theater people. They parody them beautifully in the opening.
• This is an inspired invention exchange, as the show almost folds in on itself with self-parody.
• One of the notable mistakes in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide was in the listing of this episode, when they forgot to note that this episode has a short. And what a short it is!
• Incidentally, this short was riffed again by RiffTrax in 2009, and I don’t think Mike and Kevin even realized they’d done it before. Maybe it’s just that forgettable.
• The scenes in the short that take place in the teen hangout are eerily similar to the teen hangout scenes in “Teenage Strangler.”
• The Rhino version only contains one non-spaghetti ball bumper: a pan to the blackboard which gets hit by giant spitball. Maybe there were more in the original episode?
• Segment 1 is the first time Servo’s been in space since the Demon Dog incident, isn’t it? Note the nice sizzle sound effect as Mike touches Servo after he comes inside.
• There was a guy on a local kiddie show when I was growing up in the Philadelphia area that used to do a chin puppet routine, so I was familiar with the concept. Had anybody else encountered chin puppets before this?
• Returning to the theater from segment 2, Mike casually tosses Tom into his seat, much to his dismay. (I assume Kevin was on his back on the floor waiting to catch him.)
• The “old” jokes come fast and furious. My favorite: “Maybe you can take a real long time to write a check somewhere!”
• In segment 3, Magic Voice has her biggest part yet and her first commercial sign countdown in a while.
• Callbacks “So klandinctu!” (Crash of the Moons) Mike (hey how does HE know that?) says ”Trumpy you can do magic!” (Pod People) “Looking for the ‘Manos’ set.”
• At last we learn what the K in MST3K stands for.
• Dr. Fist, last seen in episode 505- MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD, returns to punch Frank yet again.
• One of the biggest controversies between Rhino and the fans (and BBI) arose when this volume came out, without the stinger. Best Brains said they were certain that the master they sent to Rhino had the stinger. Rhino representatives were equally adamant that there was no stinger on the master. Somebody’s lying. We may never know who. In any case, the recent Shout re-release has the stinger.
• Cast and crew round up: Producer Jack Pollexfen also produced “The Indestructible Man.” Associate prod/screenwriter Vy Russell also worked on “The Indestructible Man, as did assoc producer/screenwriter Sue Dwiggens. Score composer Gene Kauer also composed the scores for “Agent for H.A.R.M.” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” In front of the camera, Frank Gerstle was also in “San Francisco International. Director Joseph V. Mascelli was cinematographer for “The Incredibly Strange Creatures…”
CreditsWatch: After three eps as a contributing writer, Bridget Jones returns to the list of writers for the rest of the season. Host segments directed by Jim Mallon.
• Fave riff from the short: “And the Suez Canal incident!” Honorable mention: “I’m too noodly!” and “You boys aren’t movin’ the stuff very well!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “The Cat Suite from ‘Carousel.’” Honorable mention: “Well, so much for the ‘landing on your feet’ theory.”

135 Replies to “Episode guide: 518- The Atomic Brain (with short: ‘What About Juvenile Delinquency’)”

  1. Graboidz says:

    I love this episode! Quite a few of Crow’s riffs stand out for me with this show. “She’s Nuuuude!” never fails to get a chuckle from me. Plus you have to love the phony accents the actresses attempt are pure gold!! Plus this movie seems to feature some of the creepiest, most vile villains this side of “Manos”.


  2. jason says:

    I just got the latest issue of Sci Fi Entertainment magazine (the one put out by the Sci Fi Channel– a bunch of my old recorded episodes of the 8th, 9th, and 10th seasons have commercials for this magazine) and it has a 2 page MST3K feature, with interviews with Joel, Trace, and Jim (including some history tidbits I didn’t know). They also talk about the new box set and Cinematic Titanic (but no mention at all of Rifftrax


  3. ForkLiftKiller says:

    The riffs “Um…excuse me, there’s a dog brain in the toilet!” and “I’m from England, so I said ‘plice.'” always send me into fits of laughter for some reason. :lol:


  4. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Full 5 out of 5 for me.

    Soooo much good stuff.

    Poor Chris Lemmon, gets it 2 episodes in a row.

    Mere words can not do the invention exchange justice.

    No complaints about the short, they do what they should do to it and leave lying by the curb.

    The movie is perfect for me. Cheap, Tawdry Black & White Perversion. Right up my street.

    I noticed watching this the other day, when the tall blonde ‘brit’ is first being checked out ( inspected ! ) by Mrs. March. The Brit is REALLY into it, she’s got no misgivings at all about being prodded by the battle-axe, seems to really get a kick out of it. Made me think of some kind of Cloris Leachman / Lindsey Lohan Love Connection.

    Oh yeah, and the old people jokes… she used to sponge bath Rose Kennedy, and she wet-nursed George Washington or stuff like that ( must take notes next time ). Comic gold.

    Sampo : My exposure as a child to the chin puppet was less elaborate… just inked-on features. I vaguelly remember seeing it on B&W television. Ernie Kovacs ?

    Also Sampo: Wasn’t he listening to Swing? Dixieland and Ragtime are different ( and none of the three are interchangeable ).

    But I have to agree with you on the fave riff.

    There’s a Girl
    on the roof
    and she thinks
    she’s a cat !


  5. Bob says:

    A weaker episode for me than most. The host segments are not up to the usual level, seeeming unfocused and without a direction as the writers now struggle a bit after the loss of Joel. The movie is dull and dark and the jokes don’t always make up for it in this case. I was half-asleep when I clicked 4 stars to rate this one, but if I had it to do over again I’d give it 3. I have this on DVD but rarely choose this one to watch over other much funnier, entertaining episodes.


  6. swh1939 says:

    This is one of my favorites, but when I showed it to a friend of mine he didn’t care for it. So I really analyzed it and found a big factor — the riffs tend to be ‘older’ than usual. That is to say, the riffs are generally relevant for the age group of the performers and writers (born in the 60s mostly) but this episode almost plays as if it was written by people born in the 40s to early 50s (references to Mildred Natwick, et al).

    I’ll have to check my old CC copy to see all of the bumpers.

    My introduction to the chin puppet was on an episode of The Gong Show in the 70s, long before MST3K existed.

    I tend to not believe Rhino in the stinger debate. I base it on nothing but a gut feeling.


  7. GizmonicTemp says:

    Not a favorite episode of mine. The movie is genuine scariness, and the ending truly freaks me out. Fortunately, the wonderful skit where Magic Voice and the narrator converse justifies the film. THe short is great.

    Sadly, my first exposure to the chin puppets was on the Dave Colier ipecac “America’s Funniest People”. I’m so ashamed.


  8. Ang says:

    This is definitely one of the ones I rewatch the most. My fave parts are when they sing a little. Someone already mentioned the ‘girl on the roof’ bit and I’d also add the part where two of the girls go off snooping in the basement and the old lady is following them – ‘she creaks, she pops, she’s so dang old’. Comedy gold!

    There are a lot of old riffs in this one but that’s right up my alley (20s-50s are my fave decades). When the old lady is sitting in her wheelchair at the top of the stairs they say ‘Where’s Richard Widmark when you need him?’; a reference to the 1947 film ‘Kiss of Death’ where he pushes a wheelchair bound woman down a flight of stairs.

    The fake accents are hilarious, as fake accents usually are and my fave riff is when Mike says “cut it out, you’re all from Nebraska!”

    I remember someone doing chin puppets when I was a kid; maybe a teacher or family member but I can’t quite put my finger on it (“Well if you don’t know what it is, don’t put your finger on it!”).

    What About Juvenile Deliquency? “That’s a viable career option.” :lol:


  9. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    re #6 ( swh1939 )

    Mildred Natwick was all over TV in the 70’s. Perfect fodder for the Brains.

    Actually I feel that the Mildred Natwick reference should have been Millicent Fenwick instead. She was kind of famous for being old.


  10. Sitting Duck says:

    The host segments here were a mixed bag. Weather Servo 9 was hilarious (loved the meteor shower) and Magic Voice being sexually harassed by the movie’s narrator got a few chuckles. But the rest of them were pretty lame. The very unfunny chin puppet bit only existed to set up for the chin puppet riff after the Darren McGavin gigolo was killed. And the invention exchange appeared to be the Brains’ way of saying, “With Joel gone, we’ve run out of ideas for invention exchanges.”


  11. Dyne says:

    My two cents:

    * This episode has some of my favorite Mike lines, even though most other people I know who’ve seen this episode didn’t find them as funny: “You’re all from Nebraska, quit it!” “It’s dah plumbah, I’ve come ta fix yah sink!” “My impression of the Scales of Justice lady. Where are my scales?”
    * Host Segment 4 = Pure genius. I can do a perfect impression of the movie’s narrator and like to tease my fiancee by answering the phone using his “Sometimes it’s convenient to have a man” line when she calls.
    * From the season 5-6 episodes I’ve seen, after this is really where Magic Voice begins to disappear. I was actually surprised when Mike invited MV along in Laserblast when they turned into pure energy at the edge of the universe.
    * Favorite riffs from the short: “He’s changing into the Incredible Hulk!” and “They flattened him!” (The 2nd line also brings back the memory of an Adam West Batman episode where Batman, Robin, and Batgirl all get literally flattened and Alfred has to retrieve them via mail order, IIRC)
    * Favorite riff from the movie (may not be the exact quote): “Boy, this is going to be some chase scene.”
    * The presence of the short brings this episode to a 4/5 score, but the movie is a great one to use when trying to fall asleep.


  12. Invader Pet says:

    I love Crow impersonating Dr. F, and vice versa. Good job from Trace on that one!

    Re: “The Rhino version does not have the stinger. Best Brains says they are certain that the master they sent to Rhino had the stinger. Rhino representatives are equally adamant that there was no stinger on the master. Somebody’s lying. We may never know who.”

    It’s probably Jim.


  13. Invader Pet says:

    BTW, of the three young women in this movie, who would you say was the most attractive?

    Nina for me all the way! She’s so adorable, and I love her accent.

    I also lover the actress’ completely deadpan reaction to the zombie woman getting attacked by that dog monster.


  14. Courtney says:

    Hands down favorite riff: when the old lady starts going backwards and Servo makes that “whooaa ohh!” falling sound.

    Second favorite: “She thinks she’s a cat!” “And I just bought new furniture!” The read of that line kills me.


  15. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Re #13. Hottest Babe ? Even though she’s not one of the Official Bevy, the one tagged Ann-Margrock really does it for me.

    And yes, I feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable lusting after a character with no brain. So let me instead think of her as an actress playing the part of a character with no brain. That’s a little better….


  16. Skenderberg says:

    The short is pretty fun. It’s kind of absurdly sweet that, in the fifties, they used to think that the gangs were cuddly jock types with home-sewn badges. Favorite short riff: “Expecting a flood, son?”

    I’m kind of mystified by Nina and Bea’s first escape attempt. So you you think your lives are in danger, and the only thing between you and the door is a wheelchair-bound lady of ninety? Push her over, take her keys, and beat feet before she can call for Victor or Dr. Frank. Favorite movie riff: “She’s sort of aliiiiiiiiivvvvvvve!”

    Also, in the MST3K-ed films misogyny contest, I think The Atomic Brain wins even over such strong contenders as The Brain that Wouldn’t Die and Hobgoblins.


  17. Lukas says:

    #13: My favorite of the three girls is the one who gets turned into a cat. She reminds me of PJ Harvey.


  18. Seth L says:

    The ACEG did nail that this movie is made of pure depression. I love the host segments and the short though.

    Also, I really enjoyed the extra takes on the Rhino DVD. I love that stuff.


  19. adoptadog says:

    An okay episode for me. The short is terrific, especially for the teacher riffs: “It’s Martha Graham – run!” and “You boys haven’t been moving the stuff very well…This is my turf now.”

    I think the riffs in Atomic Brain are really strong. I love the almost throwaway lines, including “the battleaxe Potemkin” and “It’s Ann-Marg-rot.” (INaMIaP, #15, that’s the actual line, which is even funnier – I didn’t catch it clearly until I watched again.)

    Marjorie Eaton (Mrs. March) was in Mary Poppins, which was another 1964 movie; the mind boggles. And, according to IMDB, Xerxes the cat was owned by Judy Bamber (Bea the faux Brit); he certainly out-acted her.

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


  20. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    adoptadog #19. I’m going to have to check that ( it’s still in the DVD player back home ). Ann-Margrock would be a reference to the Ann-Margaret character from The Flinstones.

    Not that Marg-rot wouldn’t be funny, it is.


  21. GizmonicTemp says:

    RE: All the favorite riffs – As much as I don’t like this movie, when Ms. March says “I’m a practical woman, Dr. Frank.” to which Crow responds, “Now, lop my head off!” I die laughing every… single… time!!

    Oh, and I’ll go with Medium #15 on the “Hottest Woman” discussion, just so Medium has disgusting company.


  22. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Skenderberg #16. Agreed. In The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, we had pretty much simple Man-on- Woman hatred ( the cat fight not-with-standing). Here we have real Woman-on-Woman hatred as well.

    Hobgoblins exhibited hatred against all Humanity.


  23. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    While I do think the zombie babe is cute, I think it’s the shadowy uplighting inside the atomic chamber that makes her look so good. I also think it does something for the doctor,too. Meow! I love the Stephen Stills references to the dog-man, especially Tom singing “So we change partners…” That gets me everytime. And I like the oboe song as the old lady “chases” our heroines about the house. Bea’s accent is tops for me in this one, though. Just awful.


  24. underwoc says:

    Can’t really put a finger on why, but I don’t watch this ep. very often. The short is funny, the host segments are pretty good, the feature…well, it just loses me.

    I still get a chuckle when Servo makes a Gandalf reference and Mike says, “this guy…” Remember when it used to be just geeks who knew Lord of the Rings?


  25. Jeff says:

    The ultimate chin person video, music by DVDA.

    I just watched this episode…I think I fell asleep during it. The short was good, though.


  26. crowschmo says:

    Wow. I watched this one a couple of weeks ago, instead of yesterday or today, so it’s not fresh in my mind. The fact that I forgot the short almost completely, and don’t remember much from the movie except a few notes I scribbled down, shows that this wasn’t really outstanding for me. I liked some of the lines already mentioned, though.

    Also – When some of them are running to the car, one of them (Mike or Servo) says (referencing The Mod Squad): Pete! Link! Julie!…and – Steve?

    There was also the line, “Murder most goofy.” (By Mike, I think).

    And when the doctor/scientist whatever he is is explaining something and says, “…a nuclear reaction is set off.” Mike says, “Oh, well, that makes – WHAT?!”

    And when Frank? was it? says something about making love to an 80-year-old woman in a 20-year-old body, Crow says, “They do it in LA all the time.”

    Crow’s, “If you get close to an accent, let us know” was funny.

    And Mike’s (spoken kind of fast), “The continental breakfast is at eight and if you hear screaming – don’t listen -good night.”

    Jeez. That’s pretty much all I can recall besides what everyone else said.

    Well, I guess this one was a hit and miss ep for me. Some good moments, not great, but the lines I DID remember made me laugh. :roll:


  27. daltysmilth says:

    This is actually one of my favorite episodes. The short alone has lots of great riffs.
    “Where’d you get that pen?”
    CROW: (Mischieviously) Heh heh! Shop ‘N’ Save!

    Or when Jamey’s mom suddenly lunges to embrace her husband, and Mike says “We’re alone! Love me!”

    And Mike’s reaction to that one Student Council kid who… has some very unfortunate facial features, as Joel might put it tactfully, when he looks right at the camera.

    Or when the kids are all racing to the City Council meeting, and Mike waves dismissively and says “What’s the rush? There’s gonna be a bunch of zoning stuff first!”

    And I’ll limit myself to one favorite riff from the movie: when bad English accent lady is telling the other girl to leave her behind and the other girl says “Don’t talk like that” and, I believe Mike says “I’ve been meaning to tell you that the whole movie!”

    Okay, one bonus riff from the movie: when the old lady’s boytoy is sitting in a chair at the beginning of a scene, Servo says (in his best Jack Benny voice) “Oh, Rochester! Oh, hello Mary!”


  28. Jeff says:

    Also, underwoc: You have no idea how much I miss those days. I’ve grown to hate those movies so much. I miss the Ralph Bakshi version, that’s how much I hate the Peter Jackson version.


  29. crowschmo says:

    Oh, yeah. The city council meeting. The kid who left his gang because they beat up his dad. It’s all coming back to me….


  30. adoptadog says:

    Nope, you’re right, INaMIaP; the riff is “Ann-Margrock.” I listened more closely this time. Darn…here I was thinking, “what a great pun!” (But then, I always have liked their punning riffs.)


  31. ck says:

    This movie could have taken a rather different
    turn had, say, Richard Widmark been cast as
    the old lady’s wheelchair pushing “caregiver.” :evil:


  32. adoptadog says:

    Oh, and I’m glad to know the source of the Ann-Margrock line, as that one went right past me (I was never much of a Flintstones fan, even though I suspect I could sing the theme song if I had to, and do catch most of their Flintstone riffs; must have picked a lot up by osmosis).


  33. Ransom says:

    There are chin puppets in the “Werid” Al video for Dare To Be Stupid, but to be fair I saw that for the first time earlier this week. So I can’t think of when I’d seen them before Atomic Brain.


  34. Kenneth Morgan says:

    RE: Post #9 from I’m not a medium, I’m a petite

    As far as Milicent Fenwick (whom my Mom considers “a grand old lady”) is concerned, it’s more that her last electorial opponent, current U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, merciliessly made such a big deal out of her age and called her incompetent. Then, after a controversial re-election six years ago, he’s running again this year and he’s older than she was before. This time, he’s adamant that age is not an issue. Ah, New Jersey politics!

    Oh, and my favorite riff from this one harkens back to my days of watching “The Electric Company”.
    SPANISH GIRL: Who is it?
    MIKE: It’s…the…plumber. I’ve…come…to…fix…the…sink.


  35. I’m not a medium, I’m a petite says says:

    KenMor ( #34 )

    The plumber as an Electric Company reference ? Fascinting, please expand.

    For me it’s the punch line of the old joke about the parrot and the plumber ( who’d come to fix the sink ).

    ( yes, that’s what I was refering too… NJ politics, especially with Lautenberg older now than MF was then )


  36. M "And There's WITCHES!" Sipher says:

    And the invention exchange appeared to be the Brains’ way of saying, “With Joel gone, we’ve run out of ideas for invention exchanges.”

    Frankly, I felt the IEs were running on fumes long before Joel left. The occasional inspired bit (usually when the Mads got really dark… “Tragic Moments”, “Unhappy Meals” “hard pills to swallow”, the baseball nights), but for the most part… meh.

    Also… I can’t see this episode without thinking of the Man Or Astro-Man song that uses the voiceover from this movie… I’d heard it before seeing this episode too, it was a big “heyyyyyyyyyyy…”


  37. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Which Man or Astro-Man? song are you speaking of, please? I used to love those guys, but frankly haven’t dug out my records lately…

    Also, I forgot how many celebs were in this episode. Along with Stephen Stills, Lupita was played by Joey Ramone, and I forgot that the dad in the short was played by Gordon Jump!


  38. Doctorb says:

    Man, I watched this movie unMSTed, before I realized it had been done on the show, and it’s pretty horrible. I used to think that the Potentials in S7 of “Buffy” had the worst fake British accents in the history of film & TV, but this movie wins hands down.


  39. crowschmo says:

    #35 – I had seen that episode of Electric Company, too, that #34 was talking about. It was actually a cartoon version of the joke with the plumber and the parrot. They showed a plumber knocking on a door and inside, you see the parrot who keeps saying, “Who is it?” and the plumber keeps repeating that, “It’s the plumber, I’ve come to fix the sink.” He keeps saying it and getting more and more frustrated and, if memory serves, I think he just passes out on the porch or something after a while, I can’t remember if you knew all along it was a parrot, or if they revealed it was a parrot at the end.

    Speaking of kiddie shows, I think that’s where I first saw a chin puppet. I want to say, “Zoom”, but I’m not sure.


  40. John Seavey says:

    For me, this episode is all about the Magic Voice sketch. No matter how many times I see it, that still cracks me up.

    “So what about you, what are your hobbies?”

    “Making love to an eighty year old woman in the body of a twenty year old girl…”


  41. Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    I nominate the tall blonde for Worst Fake British Accent Of All Time. Madonna is a close second.


  42. big61al says:

    I think the old chin puppets gag goes back to the fifties….remember seeing it on an old fifties sitcom….


  43. Stickboy says:

    “This is 100% pure democracy.”

    There’s one shot of the old lady wheeling by in her chair, and Crow sings a bit of “Proud Marry.” “Rollin’, rollin’.” I was having a beverage the first time I saw that, it caught me unprepared, and… well, you know.

    “She creaks..she pops…when she…goes down…the stairs.” Used to pop into my head a lot, and I’d start singing it. And my friend would join in. Now it’s going round my brain again. Thanks.

    “And she floats gently to her death.”

    “Now, now, don’t levitate.”

    And, “I’m a sensible woman,” the old lady says. “Now lop head off,” Crow finishes for her.

    A slow episode with lots of pauses and pointless voice overs. Is the voice over guy in with the brain snatchers? He’s not at all unbiased, and he seems to like the idea of having a brainless zombie or using the old woman for her money. Weird that a character not involved in the story could be so supportive of evil acts. It’s almost as if the movie is trying to justify its own vileness, instead of punishing the evil-doers as a movie of this type really should. But listen to me. I sound like the movie knows what it’s doing. The voice over guy was just probably a bad actor who never more of the script than his own lines.

    And the “Spanish” girl in the movie does look a little like P.J. Harvey, whom I totally have the hots for.

    This will be the last episode I’ll be able to comment on for a while, as I haven’t seen any of the upcoming ones. Wish I’d taken my VCR to college.


  44. H says:

    I’m a fan. I find this a good episode but there are definitely better ones. The short is great but it almost feels too short. Anybody else feel that? The movie is exactly what they thrive on, creepy that’s unintentionally goofy. Host segments are all pretty god. Probably Crow’s ‘Hank Kimball’ monologue is my favorite.


  45. ThorneSherman says:

    Solid but not spectacular episode for me…Servo’s singing Stephen Stills, Crow’s line about making love to the Crypt Keeper, good stuff. I think the accents were an attempt to distract from the inability to act.


  46. M "And There's WITCHES!" Sipher says:

    #37 Cabbage Patch Elvis…

    Ghah. All my CDs are in a big box at the bottom of a pile of them from a recent move. I want to say it’s “Electrostatic Brain Field”, which I think was on an import CD. That’s the one problem with bands that do mostly instrumentals… it’s hard to remember titles.

    On that note… a fair few MST’d movies show up in MoAM? tunes…


  47. The Bolem says:

    Well, the LAST time I saw a chin puppet was in a Corn Pops commercial earlier this year. It was a sort of generic Godzilla in an ad meant to look like it was produced by 4th graders.

    And yes, I thought that sketch was the lamest one, but like how it added to the overall scattershot approach to this experiment’s sketches. It made the Magic Voice scene seem more appropriate and outstanding. Was MV ever used this much in another ep?

    This was a tape I hardly ever watched after first buying, but when I showed it to a friend a few years ago, we agreed that it was one of the strangest experiments we’d seen, and had some moments that almost floored us laughing, most notably as the narrator explains the Stephen Stills guy at the opening grave-robbery:

    “…placing the brain of a dog in a human body.”
    Servo, stiffly matching his inflection: “In hindsight, an obvious mistake.”

    Also, I’ll vote for Bea as the hottest of the trio, much as I’d like to root for an underdog.

    And despite never having seen the stinger, I guessed during the film which scream ACEG must have meant. Probably because this ep was released on VHS so soon after Space Mutiny first aired, and her scream-then-deadpan moment was strangely similar to Reb Brown’s.

    “TiredStereotype McFirstVictim!”


  48. Joseph Nebus says:

    It’s weird what a neat little diptych this episode makes with The Unearthly through the powerful presence of a dull house none of the slow-moving people in it can leave.

    While the short has got that slightly goofy air that all 1950s mentions of The Dread Peril of Juvenile Delinquency have, it’s also got the seeds of a pretty good story in it. In fact, there was a movie made in 1979, Over The Edge, which was kind of that movie: the parents have set up a really wonderfully pleasant planned community in which it’s just plain impossible for teenagers to get into any trouble, which turns out to not solve the problems of taking one’s place as a young adult as perfectly as had been anticipated. I recommend it even despite its late-70s air.

    I recall years and years ago Joe Blevins asked on just why so many of the MiSTable movies were horribly depressing, with this as one of the prime examples. Movies about dismal or dark subjects are one thing, but some of these films just seem out to crush all joy out of the world and leave our lives a little more like Funky Winkerbean.

    Some of the infinitely depressing movies, like Red Zone Cuba, I can at least piece together some kind of theme like how can good things come from the irredeemably corrupt, but this … I just can’t make anything out. Maybe in the uncut version there’s more and more explicit shots of the nude women being atomized.


  49. Dames Like Her says:

    Not a bad episode, considering how crummy the film is.

    Fave riffs:
    Tom Servo’s announcer voice, proudly trumpeting his new status as ‘Weather Servo 9!’ is so filled with optimism, like a newsreel announcer describing a wonder machine of the future.
    ‘How About Juvenile Delinquency?’ is a great short. It’s so 1950s. The teen gang looks quite well-scrubbed with their pomaded hair, dressed in Flash Gordon-esque matching jackets.
    Crow as Jamie’s beaten dad laying on the couch mumbles suggestively to his son: ‘Massage me, will you?’ I love Crow’s creepy old-guy voice.
    Crow at the appearance of a pasty teen at the school meeting: ‘I give you Cheetah Chrome.’
    Hearing the reassuring, authoritative tone of the gentleman at the meeting, Mike says appreciatively ‘Why, he’s quite good.’
    Tom, as the gang members peering through the glass on the door says ‘I think they’re still talking about zoning stuff.’ His muffled voice always cracks me up.

    ‘Atomic Brain’ is one of the more ridiculously misogynistic films in the MST3K canon.
    Mike mentions the Golgi apparatus. I remember hating trying to memorize the seemingly endless litany of functions of the Golgi apparatus in bio class.
    Crow marvels ‘Atomic butt,’ as we watch the sashaying hinder.
    Mike playfully tosses Tom into the theater after the chin-puppet bit, grunting ‘You’re a heavy little guy,’ and Servo says laughingly ‘That wasn’t very nice,’ as he settles into place.
    Dr. Strangelove references: ‘Mrs. Bat Guano, if that is your real name’ and ‘Mein Furher, I can valk!’
    I love the ‘She’s old- she creaks-‘ coda. And of course the Girl is a Cat operetta.
    The SOL crew seems to be getting as weary as we are at Mrs. March loudly croaking names throughout the house. Crow barks ‘Get an intercom!’ which is exactly what I was thinking when I first watched the film.
    ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask,’ is a great non-sequiter from Mike. A perfect name for an avant-garde composition.
    There is a crazed, raving dog-man tied in the yard. The household seems almost nonchalant about this.
    ‘We’ll take a really long time to write a check somewhere,’ slavers Mike as Victor the elderly gigolo.
    I love Mike’s soliloquy [paraphrased] as Bea during her encounter with the snarling Anita atop the structure in the garden: ‘Blimey, I hope I don’t get attacked out here, wearing my spike heels… there’s probably some kind of mutant hell beast out here, that could shred me, pitilessly… well, here’s something that could do me irreparable damage…’
    As Anita ‘falls’ from the rooftop: ‘And, she floats gently to her death.’
    Mrs. March has Victor recite his errands: ‘Did you pick up my candy pants?’
    Servo asks in an anguished tone ‘So Mike, where is the “Atomic Brain”?’ and Mike replies ‘I don’t know.’
    Victor is found dead in an odd pose, Tom says ‘No, no- don’t be alarmed; I’m just doin’ my yoga.’
    Mike shows his admiration for the female form as he intones ‘You know guys, I wanna go to Egypt. see the- sights–‘ while Nina’s pointy bosoms are showcased in a prolonged shot.
    The automotive parts/atomic pile/transplantation device enjoys a lot of screen time, as does the bubbling dry-ice cauldron. When the machine is finally vanquished, Tom says, ‘Tell, there goes that thing.’
    Nina’s eye crater is pretty gross.
    This film has such an odd conclusion. How exactly is Mrs. March, her brain implanted in the body of Xerxes the cat, going to wreak her final revenge? Is she going to marshall the forces of the neighborhood felines in a commando squad? And then do- what, exactly?
    The craggy faced Frank Gerstle is the dispassionately evil Dr. Otto Frank. He was also in San Francisco International, billed as ‘Congressman.’ And he appeared in Killers From Space as Dr. Curt Kruger. He played another doctor, Dr. McDonald, in the film D.O.A. I wouldn’t want that mug peering down at me in a doctor’s office. That weird wrinkle between his eyebrows- his dead eyes…
    The stinger could be the scene of Bea and her gouged eye socket, blundering under the swinging lamp.


  50. Zippypinhead says:

    I remember Paul Winchell used to do chin puppets on his kids show back in the early ’60’s (tells you something about my age, doesn’t it?).


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