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Weekend Discussion Thread: Titles of MSTed Movies

Alert regular “Sitting Duck” writes:

Let’s talk about the movie titles. Specifically how well they reflect the content of the film. Sometimes the title actually has something to do with the film. Other times not so much. My pick for a most appropriate title would be “Bloodlust!” As a review of the episode I once read noted, there is blood (what with all the human hunting), and there is lust (what with Balleau intending to keep Betty and Jean as his own mini-harem). As for a least appropriate title, I would go with “The Dead Talk Back.” As Mike and the Bots noted when they started to leave the theater at the end, the dead never talked back (what with the whole thing being a load of fakery).

The titles that always bother me are “Stranded in Space” and “Space Travelers.” Neither one accurately describes the movie in question, and much better describes the other one.

Your thoughts on titles?

79 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Titles of MSTed Movies”

  1. Manny Sanguillen says:

    The Space Children weren’t from space. I guess they TOOK UP SPACE, so there’s that at least.


  2. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    With titles like The Wild Wild World of Batwoman and Samson vs. the Vampire Women, I knew I had to see those episodes immediately! They’re still two of my favorites.


  3. Steve Vil says:

    The Touch Of Satan- Satan seems to have only cursory involvement. More of a “hands off” approach.

    The Brain That Wouldn’t Die- It was a whole head. True, we assume the head contained a brain but it’s a bit of a misnomer.

    The Wild, Wild World Of Batwoman- Mmmmm! It’s yogurt! Yeah, SO not wild.

    Overdrawn At The Memory Bank- It would be a much more clever title if it had anything at all to do with the actual movie.

    Gunslinger- a much too generic title for a film that features a town’s first female sheriff.

    The Sinister Urge- The smut picture racket (I.E. your average Sears catalogue) apparently leads to murder. Durn that smut!

    The Giant Spider Invasion- Mostly the invasion is regular-sized spiders. There’s only one giant spider and it’s dispatched fairly easily by a bunch of rednecks with baseball bats.

    Final Justice- Justice is still going on, near as I can tell.

    Warrior Of The Lost World- The world is right there and has been from the beginning of the movie.

    The Final Sacrifice- No one was sacrificed, final or otherwise.


  4. Pemmican says:

    I’ll go with “Future War,” even though was in comment #1 for this thread.

    -It takes place in ‘contemporary’ LA, with mentions of the past.
    -Yeah, there are spaceships and cyborgs, but they aren’t time travelling or anything.
    -The hero eats breakfast with his hands.
    -The ‘war’ consists of gangbangin’ heroin dealers slowly moving through a sewage treatment plant.

    You know what this movie needed? More kickboxing.


  5. Bender says:

    Oh, For the Brain That Wouldn’t Die, or is it The Head That Wouldn’t Die? Not sure which was the proper title, as one title is in the opening credits, and the other in the closing credits.

    Wild World of Batwoman? Sounds like a cheap attempt to cash in in Batman (didn’t they sue the Batwoman makers over that?)… Stupid yes, Wild, not so much…

    Robot Vs The Aztec Mummy is a little misleading, as the titular (and anticlimactic) duel is very short, unlike, say Godzilla Vs. Megalon…

    Racket Girls is a bit misleading, as it makes it sound like the girls are mobsters, not the object of a mob racket.


  6. Truck Farming actually refers to producing food for sale as opposed to feeding your family. Doesn’t necessarily have to do with trucks.


  7. Brandon says:

    Dr F would count “Pod people” as a Bad Title. “It has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people. It has EVERYTHING to do with hurting.”


  8. Warren says:

    Soultaker accurately described the occupation of a main character in said movie. The Skydivers featured real skydiving, for whatever it’s worth.
    For the opposite, others have already mentioned good examples. I’ll add that the woman in Jungle Goddess didn’t deserve to be called a goddess. The “Alien from L.A.” is human, Last of the Wild Horses isn’t really about horses (though it does have horses).


  9. Fred Burroughs says:

    While I appreciate the honesty of movie titles like “Giant Gila Monster,” it takes more artistic ambition to come up with a name like “City Limits,” which is evocative; vague and meaningless, but might speak to some mood or core element of the story. I thought “Hamlet” was a good working title, but maybe “Denmark is Bleeding” might work better.

    Allow me to heap more hate on “Girl in Lover’s Lane.” Really the girl only exists to get killed and there isn’t much of a lover’s lane, either, only a 20-ft long section of old-growth forest next to a stream. “Aimless Drifters,” or “Little Danny Come Home,” or even “Bix Rides Again” could’ve worked without calling attention to the fact that you murdered the only likeable character.


  10. I Was a Teenage Werewolf Until I was Killed So Now I’m Dead.

    Agent for H.A.R.M, while technically a decent title, has always bugged me since the Human Aetological Research Machine (or whatever it was) was supposed to be the good guys! (Protip: When naming your organization, be mindful of the image you wish to project.) Also, Secret Agent Super Dragon is a fun world salad title. “What’s popular now?” ‘Well, secret agents, and dragons never go out of style…’ “Great! Add a Super in there somewhere! We have a movie to write!”)

    Daddy-O is one of those “name” movies (like Mitchell, Gamera, Gorgo, etc.) that don’t mean anything unless you know a little something about the namesake. It’s just kind of puzzling, although one assumes there’s marketing or trailers or something to help people connect. Otherwise, well, I could just rattle off some names and nicknames, and try to guess what kind of movie I pretend they are: Jones. Hartigan. Gorblatt. Cravelli. High Pockets.

    See? Meaningless. (For the record, they’re all supposedly screwball noir, with Cravelli being also sword-and-sandal.)

    Village of the Giants, for example and by contrast, gives you two details: there’s a village, which sounds kind of dull, but it has giants in it, providing interest. Laserblast gives one detail (there’s a blast of the laser persuasion) and presumably that’s interesting enough to grab an audience.

    I take issue with the idea that Alien in L.A. is a bad title. It attempts ironic reversal, in that Kathy Ireland, while obviously a human from the surface world, is an outsider among the denizens of the world below. That involves a bit of self-awareness and cleverness that, say “Fact-Finding Excursion to a Place Beneath the Surface” or “Wanda Falls Down a Big Hole” would not provide.

    Also, The Unearthly hints at some supernatural– or unnatural– something-or-other. Presumably the title refers to the strange experiments and goings-on rather than a specific thing, so it’s not great by any means, but it’s not terrible, as these things go.


  11. David Mello says:

    How about going back into the KTMA days with “Cosmic Princess”, also known as two Space:1999 episodes. There was no princess there.
    Red Zone Cuba: it wasn’t red, and I really doubt they were in Cuba
    City Limits: which city?


  12. Cornjob says:

    “‘The Thing That Wouldn’t Die’. It died.”

    Hysterical blunt dry humor. The Indestructible Man had similar problems with the titular character being destroyed and all.


  13. Stefanie says:

    Teenage Strangler: the killer is not a teenager, He doesn’t just kill teenagers as the guys and the movie points out that he killed a student teacher and an slightly older woman toward the end of the film, so what’s with the title?

    Earth Vs. the Spider: it’s really more one small town vs. the spider

    Hercules and the Captive Women: long backstory short, there is only one captive woman.

    The Beatniks and The Rebel Set: I can’t remember where I read this, but someone said the titles of these 2 films should be swapped and it would make more sense.

    The Magic Voyage of Sinbad: HE’S NOT SINBAD!

    There are lots more, but I think I made my point.


  14. Dropo221 says:

    How about this week’s featured film, “The Dead Talk Back.” There was no one talking from beyond the grave in this flick…unless you include the cast’s careers!


  15. Dr. Batch says:

    Space Mutiny was an accurate title. It was in space, and there was a mutiny.

    Horrors of Spider Island in pretty misleading.


  16. EricJ says:

    So, why did FVI have to change all their other public-domain titles, but not change “City Limits” to something unappealing and mindbogglingly generic, like “Riding Bikes”?
    (Even Godzilla vs. Megalon didn’t become “Big Thing Hits Other Big Thing”.)

    Certainly not as evocative as The Robot (yay!) vs. the Aztec Mummy (boo1)


  17. Bob(NotThatBob) says:

    I found the title “Mighty Jack” misleading – I sat through the whole thing and don’t recall ever once seeing anyone change a flat tire.


  18. Crow T. Robert says:

    Hey, didn’t The Time of the Apes already happen, but without the uniforms and immovable mouths? They try to make it sound like the future or something.
    A planet where apes evolved from men?
    How quaint.


  19. Michael Howe says:

    “Red Zone Cuba” – to me, that’s a rather vague sounding title. Not even sure why it would be titled ‘Night Train to Mundo Fine’ either.

    “The Painted Hills” – not once did I see a guy on a scaffold painting those damn hills! I wanted me some dry-brush action!!

    “The Starfighters” – blame my post-Star Wars being born on this planet, but when someone mentions starfighters, I expect pilots to be out in space amongst the stars. Not refueling, getting into romantic relationships, and training in poopie-suits.


  20. Bob(NotThatBob) says:

    I personally feel that “Time of the Apes” should have featured more clocks, watches, and maybe even a cuckoo clock that has a monkey face that comes out instead of a bird. Did any of the apes in the movie even ever ask what time it is?


  21. SOL Daria says:

    Though I’ve skimmed a bit, haven’t seen King Dinosaur mentioned. It’s such a reach the movie admits through Emotional Girl Scientist #2’s, well, emotive outburst when Emotional Male Scientist #2 shoehorns the title in.

    Wild Wild World of Batwoman does fit, even if the result was more Painful & Nauseating World of Batwoman.

    Santa Claus is misleading, yeah it’s got Kris Kringle, but with the weird interpretation they had it needed some adjectives like “Insane Workshop of” or a “vs the Devil” added – though that would be misleading as Pitch is just a devil.

    @53 Touch of Satan was more like Half-Assed Overtures of Satan.

    @54 Agreed on the kickboxing, but to really win it’d need more FRED BURROWS!


  22. Matt D says:

    Great stuff on this topic. I will go to the shorts as well:

    Century 21 Calling: Century 21 doesn’t have the ability to use a phone or vocal cords

    A Date With Your Family: Did not feature any incest

    Mr. B Natural: Mister??


  23. Fred Burroughs says:

    “Mighty Jack” confused me for a long time; before I saw it, I thought MJ was “Teenage Caveman” because Mighty Jack in English does not sound like a high-tech super-secret spy organization with brave heavily armed operatives; it DOES sound like a lumberjack or otherwise large beefy man or possibly a dense food served in large portions.

    That said, it IS the only obvious title for the movie, whether you are referring to the warship, the spy group or the breakfast food.


  24. Kei says:

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned, “Boggy Creek II” since it was actually the third ;P I wish someone did that with Exorcist III!


  25. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Fred (#73):

    Read one way, “Mighty Jack” could be very appropriate to describe what the movie, in its Sandy Frank incarnation, really is: a great, huge pile of nothing.


  26. Flying Saucers Over Oz says:

    ‘Horrors Of Spider Island’ isn’t misleading; it’s just spelled wrong.


  27. littleaimishboy says:

    “Werewolf” should have been called “Werewolves” since there are at least four WWs in it.

    “12 to the Moon” should have been called “12 – to the Moon, Alice!” so people wouldn’t look at me funny when I call it that anyway.


  28. Depressing Aunt says:

    So, I was thinking, “Squirm” just describes how worms move, not how they manage to kill. That would be like calling a movie “Swim” instead of “Jaws.”


  29. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    @31 – First movie i thought of! “He couldn’t even take over a colonial rambler!”

    i would say Pumaman is a very accurate title because the hero plays dead, shifts into other dimensions, and flies; just like a real puma! ?:-) Perhaps a better title would’ve been The Man Who Flies Like A Moron


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