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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 1108- The Loves of Hercules

Movie: (1960) Herc gets involved in palace intrigue in the nation of Ecalia.

Opening: J&tB are binge-watching “Wings”
Invention exchange: Tom Servo has the fried turkey dunk tank; the Mads have the Mexican jumping bean beanbag chair
Segment 1: Jonah, tied to a wall, endures People’s Throwing Court
Segment 2: J&tB discuss the political correctness of mythologies
Segment 3: A new robot, M. Waverly, invades J&tB girly Hercules party
Closing: Everybody is vocalizing
Stinger: Here boldly defeats the hydra
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (48 votes, average: 3.94 out of 5)

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• This one has to take any fan back to the heyday of the show, when Herc was a freqent guest. The blend of classic “sword and sandal” stuff with the whole Jayne Mansfield thing is an odd combination. Still the riffing adds up to another good-not-great outing.
• I have to say, I was struck by the choice of “Wings,” of all the TV shows in the TV show universe. I have, more than once, compared MST3k and it’s loyal following with what I have always assumed is a lack of same for “Wings.” Was I wrong? Is there a deeply devoted “Wings” fanbase out there?
• Love the “ooteeni” cries
• The big news, I guess, is the oh-so-brief appearance of M. Waverly, the first new robot in ages. I think I would have liked him. May he rest in peace. I spoke to Joel on the phone a while back, before this episode aired but after word had leaked out about him. He confessed a certain amusement at fans that quickly glommed on to M. Waverly. “Don’t get too attached,” he said with a chuckle.
• The catapult sketch doesn’t quote work. It’s hard to see what exactly the catapult is throwing.
• We get another state park joke, but this one is funnier.
• I like the phrase “incompetent people trying as hard as they can.” Could that be the perfect description of an MST3K movie?
• Movie observation: Some of the characters call Achilles “Achilles” and some call him “Aculo.” Huh?
• Cast and crew roundup: Giulio Donnini also appeared in “Danger: Diabolik,” “Antonio Gradoli” was also in “Operation Kid Brother,” Cesare Fantoni was also in “Hercules Unchained,” Gianni Loto was also in “Hercules Unchained,” “Lidia Alfonsi was also in “Hercules,” Carolyn de Fonseca dubbed the voice of Queen Samara in “Hercules Against the Moon Men,” America Santarelli was also in “Hercules and the Captive Women.”
Behind the camera: Sandro Continenza also wrote “Hercules and the Captive Women,” cCostume designer Maria Baroni also worked on “Hercules Unchained,” mMusical director Carlo Franci was the composer on “Hercules Against the Moon Men,” Claire Guibert, who dubbed Jayne Mansfield’s voice, also did dub work for Fay Spain on “Hercules and the Captive Women.”
• Callbacks: “Time for go to bed” (“The Unearthly), “Any fruit to declare?” (Warrior of the Lost World).
• Fave riff: “I saw it in the window and just had to have it.” Honorable mention: “Barricade by committee always ends like this,” “I’m gonna give you and your dungeon the worst Yelp review ever! I was barely flogged!” “Oh … you may not want to go in there yet.”

83 Replies to “Episode guide: 1108- The Loves of Hercules”

  1. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Danzilla “Cornjob” McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology: You’re mad.Mad!MAD, I SAY!MAAAAAAAAD!!!!!!!!

    I like it.

    Oh great forces of the infinite universe, PLEASE make this happen.

    Don’t you mean the great forces of Kickstarter? THAT’S what makes things happen nowadays. ;-)

       1 likes

  2. I have to wonder if this was the movie/source of the D&D style hydra, which like this movie, was more like a dragon (with feet) with multiple heads, as opposed to the hydra of mythology, which just had a bunch of heads and no legs

    Still, I gotta say, despite this apparently having some sort of budget and a famous actress, it’s probably the more boring Italian Hercules movie. Definitely the least imposing Hercules I’ve seen,

       1 likes

  3. I was never a big fan of the old Herc episodes and expected to not like this one. It was a 4 star episode. i also think the ending is absolutely awesome and had me in tears, Jonah holding tom servo and the bone guy holding the movie house tube like some godly relic made,the ending one of my favorite host segments of all time.

       3 likes

  4. Anyway, I rather liked this one.despite the tedium of the movie. The riffs were good, I loved the running gag about someone on screen saying “Speak” and them barking. Which is stupid, but funny.

    (Same thing is also done on a Film Crew movie, Killers from Space, every time a dog-faced general appears on screen, Bill would bark)

       1 likes

  5. Sitting Duck says:

    Brandon Pierce:
    Servo’s complaint about Jenga reminds me of Crow whining about Rock, Paper, Scissors way back in Season 1’s “The Crawling Hand”.

    Aren’t you thinking of the prologue host segment from The Beatniks?

    I know that “Zeus” and “Jupiter” are kind of the same thing, but…. the filmmakers know Jupiter is a ROMAN God, right, not a Greek God?

    Though it should be noted that in this film, the Roman names are used almost exclusively (aside from that one instance of Zeus).

       1 likes

  6. Sitting Duck, nope I’m thinking of the host segment from The Crawling Hand where Joel wants to play more games with the robots and the complain he wins everytime, and Crow can only pick scissors when playing Rock, Paper Scissors.

       1 likes

  7. mando3b says:

    Ahh! At last I can breathe again! (I.e., just registered w/Satellite News . . . ) I love Season 11–the cast, the riffing, the upgraded production values, etc., etc., but I have to say, these movies are bad. I mean, really, really BAAAAAAD! I never believed anything could make “Space Mutiny” look like a masterpiece of film making, but that’s what “Starcrash” does. And “The Loves of Hercules” makes all four Herc movies from the old show (and “Colossus & the Head Hunters”, too) look like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Those films seem to embrace their B-ness; the acting isn’t great, but the actors aren’t trying too hard; the special effects are hokey, but more or less work in the context (if you suspend disbelief, at least). But, man, here–something about that wide screen adds a level of pretentiousness to the proceedings, a sense that they thought they were making Great Cinema instead of drive-in entertainment. Jayne M & hubby are SO awful–I felt embarrassed for them. And the special effects are several cuts below even “H & the Captive Women”. One thing about those old B/W films people talk about in that other thread: they are more casual in their ineptitude, and so more watchable and more fun for MST3K than these later wide-load Technicolor turds. All that being said, I still liked the business Jonah, Crow & Servo gave ’em; but sometimes in the face of this embarrassment of riches (accent on “embarrassment”) they sometimes seem to be struck speechless.

       2 likes

  8. Lisa H. says:

    mando3b:
    But, man, here–something about that wide screen adds a level of pretentiousness to the proceedings, a sense that they thought they were making Great Cinema instead of drive-in entertainment.

    I imagine all the Herc films were originally widescreen (IMDB says “Captive Women” was 2.20:1, “Moon Men” 2.35:1, for instance), just that we got served “modified to fit your TV” versions on MST3K, whether pan-and-scan, which led to some jokes about “who’s talking?” or “nice shot” when in fact some portion of the picture was cropped, or the “I’m long!” jokes where the picture was horizontally squeezed.

       3 likes

  9. docskippy says:

    Here’s some useless information for you: scenes from The Loves of Hercules are cut into The Wild World of Jayne Mansfield, the alternatively boring, goofy, and tragic (and always exploitative) look at Mansfield’s, uh, world, for lack of a better word.

       2 likes

  10. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Sitting Duck: Aren’t you thinking of the prologue host segment from The Beatniks?

    Though it should be noted that in this film, the Roman names are used almost exclusively (aside from that one instance of Zeus).

    Maybe the people of that region of the Roman Empire just appreciated that “Zeus” was a lot quicker to say. I’d imagine that the highest god receives the most prayers, so why not streamline them? ;-)

    Off-topic, the Greek custom of male names ending with S (*almost* every major male Greek god has such a name) is why the alleged son of “The One True God” came to be known as Jesus and not Jeshua. Supposedly, said son’s name was actually Yeshua but Greek names rarely if ever started with a Y (the “sh” sound doesn’t usually appear, either) so that too was switched, to J, and Yeshua “became” Jesus. That’s also more or less how YHWH/Yahweh “became” Jehovah. Unless I’m wrong.

    BTW, ever notice how “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” quite clearly takes it for granted that there ARE other gods? The implication kind of being that having them after or even alongside of God is fine, just not BEFORE. I started to discuss religion further but then decided to not do that instead. You’re welcome. :-)

       1 likes

  11. Cornjob says:

    Interesting. You might want to check out Celtic Frost’s Monotheist CD, particularly the liner notes on the track Ain Elohim.

       0 likes

  12. Steve Vil says:

    The Hercules and “sword and sorcery” movies are SO tedious to me. Jonah and the Bots do an excellent job making the movie funny but funny or not, these films are always a total slog for me.

       1 likes

  13. Dan in WI says:

    People have speculated that there must be a big Wings fan on staff. I suppose but I see this cold opening as more of a riff on the fact the show now resides at the home of binge watching: Netflix. By the way I like the bit where Jonah was the one eating from the bag of Ram Chips.
    The deep fried dunk tank really is a clever invention. I don’t think they are too far off the mark in their estimation that putting a turkey a deep fryer can cost one 40%-80% of your skin. I can tell you one thing. I’d have no hesitation at all using this invention whether the turkey is anthropomorphized or not. The Mads’ invention isn’t quite as clever but Max’s stupidity and reaction make it a great bit non-the-less. I’d say this is the best invention exchange of the season so far in terms of both parties bringing it.
    Hercules has NO beard?!?!?! If I didn’t know better I’d say this was some other character being passed off as Hercules for the international release.
    It’s about time someone addresses what a crime it truly is to not want to be hit with cold spaghetti!
    M. Waverly: I too was surprised that a bot that was a big part of the new season build up turned out to be such a short timer. I’ll also agree his demise while in character for Crow and Tom is a bit mean for a sehment under Joel’s watch. The question is would I have wanted him around or not. Would it have been one change too many? But as it is I miss him though I hardly knew him.
    Why did Patton’s last “commercial bumper” voiceover say the show would end in 20 minutes when it would be a less than that? Perhaps it was recorded before they settled on the final show length and went with it anyway.

    Favorite Riffs:
    The on screen gag where Tom flies over to inspect Hercules pecs only to be swatted away by Hercules himself.
    Hercules grabs the bull by the horns. Crow as Deianira “Herc that’s not how you milk it.”
    Hercules is introduced to Deianira’s fiancé and looks dumbfounded. Tom “Buffering“ Jonah “Processing“ Crow “Compiling“ Jonah “Download complete.”
    Deianira “Speak” Jonah and the Bots “Arf”
    Jonah as Hercules attacked the hydra: “Taking him from the side is too safe. I’ll go in the front where the mouths are.”
    Establishing shot of the forest of living trees. Tom “Looks like McDonald’s Playplace has gone to crap.”
    Deianira is being drug away by Licos. Tom “The 50th time she says let me go will be the charm I’m sure.”

       2 likes

  14. bartcow says:

    Re: Wings. There’s a fanbase for everything. I’ve met Psych fans and Mad About You fans and Cheap Trick fans. And I don’t mean “oh, I really like [x]”. I mean, “oh, I dress up as my favorite character and go to conventions/own every album and solo album, even the import-only bootlegs”. I mean, I really like Psych and Cheap Trick (and watched Mad About You when it was on), but I’m not rabid. Unlike, say, for a certain cowtown puppet show and a particular prog rock band from Surrey, England.

       2 likes

  15. Colossus Prime says:

    For so long I was confused by the random bigfoot attack. Then out of nowhere I realized it was the monster-man mentioned earlier in the scene right before the bull “stampede.” The scenes are so incredibly far apart I never pieced together that they were related.

    There are so many scenes where Mickey’s audio is recorded like someone fake yelling when they can’t actually pull the mic away (see many examples within MST3K’s host segment history).

    I do love Crow and Tom, as the voice of the turkey, mocking Jonah. Their voice choices are entertaining, and the ribbing so adorably juvenile.

    Easily my favorite riff, which is all from the context of the movie:

    Jonah (singing): “I miss my dead wife.”

       1 likes

  16. I appreciate that they riffed on a Hercules movie on The Return, gives a nice congruency with the original series, but man, this one is a real drag, similar to last week’s episode, this one just doesn’t do it for me. The hydra stuff is kinda cool, but overall the movie is a real chore and the riffing is so-so. I like Jonah eating RAM chips in the opening when they’re watching Wings. In the Invention Exchange, the turkey dunk tank makes this episode a possible inclusion for future Turkey Day marathons (not by me tho, like I said, this one didn’t really do it for me). “You suck at baseball” is a good taunt.

    Host Segment #1 is ok, the spaghetti joke is pretty good.
    HS#2 is one of the socio-political discussions the show would dip into occasionally, this one on hydras. Love the line “Can I get a pull on those Bowl-Cuts?”
    HS#3 introduces and says goodbye to Waverly. He died as he lived: unknown.

    RIFFS:

    Jonah: “It’s PETA! Let’s get this stuff out of here!”

    Crow: “Way to break up the murder party, jerk.”

    Servo: “Russ Meyer presents Ferdinand the Bull as you’ve never seen him!”

    Crow: “Now bow down to my tiny nipples.”

    Servo: “I know this is a Hercules movie, but this Hercules doesn’t seem that strong.”

    Servo: “Thank goodness no one was filming this!”

    Jonah: “Yeah, brah, Hydra vape life. Crank up the ohms on your e-juice!”

    Crow: “The overflow lot is full, your highness.”

    Jonah: “You taste like bad acting and garlic bread.”

    Jonah: “Well he was pretty high…”

    Crow: “That’s how you contract dutch elm disease.”

    Crow: “Good day to be a tree.”

    Servo: “That wheel makes all the difference!”

    Servo: “I saw his butt!”

    Servo: “Calgon take me away!”

    as man dies:
    Crow: “Feed my cat!!”

    —–

    The ending with all the “dramatic vocalizing” (as it is called when you turn on subtitles on Netflix) is terribly annoying and extremely grating. When I was watching it this time around, when the end came up, my wife yelled from the other room “It upsets me every time. MAKE IT STOP!” Can’t argue there. :)

    This Hercules isn’t much of a Hercules.
    Easily my least fave of all Herc MST movies.
    I give this one 2 out of 5 hydra heads.

       1 likes

  17. Joseph Klemm says:

    Dan in WI:
    Why did Patton’s last “commercial bumper” voiceover say the show would end in 20 minutes when it would be a less than that? Perhaps it was recorded before they settled on the final show length and went with it anyway.

    Personally, I felt this voiceover was recorded with the intention that if the episode would eventually air on regular TV (compared to Netflix), it, when combined with commercials, would probably be around the 1:40 minute mark when the show goes to its final commercial break.

       1 likes

  18. Sitting Duck says:

    For the record, the Garden of Damned Tree Dudes appear in Book 3 of Virgil’s Aeneid.

    Favorite riffs

    The pen is mightier than the fjord.

    Barricade by committee always ends like this.

    Way to break up the murder party, jerk.

    Russ Meyer presents Ferdinand the Bull as you’ve never seen him.

    Oh yeah. That bull has got murder in his big, dewy eyes.

    Early Mario Kart was really different.

    See that pink smoke? Nowadays all this would just be done in CGI, which I feel is cold and sterile.
    Yeah, you don’t get the warmth of these shots of incompetent people trying their very hardest.

    This is why we have to do all we can to preserve our state parks. They offer the most scenic gateways to Hell.

    Always be sure to back into Hell, for safety.

    Looks like the McDonald’s Playplace has gone to crap.

    Let evacuate before he evacuates.

    “What are you going to do to me?”
    The Comfy Chair!

    We heard the tiny gong and came as soon as we could.

    “Yet if you knew what she has in store for you, I know you would detest that woman.”
    I’m not good at de tests.

    Most people think that Central Park was Frederick Law Olmstead’s best work, but he preferred his Garden of Damned Tree Dudes.

    Screaming Tree was arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court. In a moment, the results of that trial.

    I think we’ve outrun the Egyptians by now. Can we please take a break?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a life that’s been ruined that I got to get on with.

    Filmed on location inside a Castle Greyskull playset.

    Boy, you wouldn’t think an orchestra could sneak up on you like that.

       2 likes

  19. thequietman says:

    It’s a rigatoni western!

    I don’t know what it was. Normally these sword n’ sandal pics put me to sleep, but I found this outing really funny. Maybe it was helped that with the new widescreen format the pan-and-scan effect is no longer as severe (even with a bad movie I appreciate being able to see all/most of the image), as well as having a good print that lets you concentrate, relatively speaking, on the convoluted story and goofy performances. I was even giggling uncontrollably at the ending segment and normally those “on and on” gags leave me cold.

    Fave riffs
    He was originally Mortimer Hargitay!

    “Voiced by C.D.C.”
    Voiced by the Center for Disease Control??

    “My father is dead…”
    To me. He wouldn’t buy me a chariot. Long story!

    It’s like a Thomas Kinkade painting… Horrible!

    [Amazons on horseback]
    Fun fact, this was actually Lena Dunham’s original pitch for ‘Girls’.

    [Trees of lost souls]
    Now which one of these has Nicholas Cage in it?

       1 likes

  20. yelling_into_the_void says:

    It took me a minute to figure out the “Even Flow”/Eddie-Vedder-is-the-Herc riff. Mostly because the lyrics are so incomprehensible.

       0 likes

  21. Dan in WI says:

    Joseph Klemm: Personally, I felt this voiceover was recorded with the intention that if the episode would eventually air on regular TV (compared to Netflix), it, when combined with commercials, would probably be around the 1:40 minute mark when the show goes to its final commercial break.

    For what it is worth, Joel has gone on record as saying that there are no plans to syndicate in the future and that was never taken into consideration for any decisions made. For what it is worth.

       0 likes

  22. Lisa H. says:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes: The ending with all the “dramatic vocalizing” (as it is called when you turn on subtitles on Netflix) is terribly annoying and extremely grating.

    I agree. I know it’s supposed to be parodying the swelling chorus of voices that ends these movies, but think it might have been more tolerable / funnier if they had had first Jonah or Crow, then the other, drop out, leaving only Tom to go on longer than the others while Jonah and Crow look increasingly annoyed/uncomfortable/maybe start doing something like sealing Tom in the drum when he wouldn’t stop scatting; then cut to Max happily “AAHHH”-ing along and Kinga has to shout louder and louder or hit him or something to get him to stop.

       4 likes

  23. Sitting Duck says:

    Assuming the People’s Throwing Court as presented in the film was a real thing in Ancient Greece, I’m guessing the logic behind it was that if Themis willed it, the axes would hit or miss as appropriate. To a modern person, this may sound stupid. However, it should be pointed out that Ancient Greeks would have a completely different frame of reference. They saw their gods as being real, having an influence on the doings of mortals, and a tendency towards being capricious.

       0 likes

  24. Speedy B. says:

    Personally, I loved the overly long gag of impersonating heavenly choirs. It hearkened back to “Jeeeeeeeeeddddd!”

       2 likes

  25. • The big news, I guess, is the oh-so-brief appearance of M. Waverly, the first new robot in ages. I think I would have liked him. May he rest in peace. I spoke to Joel on the phone a while back, before this episode aired but after word had leaked out about him. He confessed a certain amusement at fans that quickly glommed on to M. Waverly. “Don’t get too attached,” he said with a chuckle.

    Now that we know there is a proven link between the Brains and Jim Henson’s company for the Netflix series, it’s only strengthening my theory that leaking the “All new-generation SOL robot, Mr. Waverly!” buildup during Joel’s Kickstarter hype, and then clobbering him into scrap on his first and only appearance, was a DELIBERATE in-poke at Disney’s ’11 Muppets movie building up “Walter” as “the next new puppet character”, only to find out he was a generic new non-entity one-shot throwaway character invented for the movie storyline….”Yeah, that was it??” doesn’t even cover it.

    Given the encyclopedic level of rib-nudging Muppets in-riffs in the rest of the series, it just fits too, too perfectly to be coincidence. If it’d happened in the first episode, it would have nailed all arguments. :)
    (Never mind the 60’s-TV Man from UNCLE ref, and no prize for guessing where that might have come from.)

       0 likes

  26. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    gf120581:
    – Yes, “Law and Order” fans, those really are Olivia Benson’s parents on screen. This was the second of four films they did together.

    I think they should’ve taken a few seconds during the opening credits to establish the Law & Order connection and then included OCCASIONAL L & O: SVU riffs throughout, neither ignoring the connection nor making a big deal about it. You know, kind of like how in Warrior of the Lost World they established early on that Persis Khambatta was in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and then proceeded to make almost no ST:TMP riffs throughout the episode (unless I’m wrong).

    The Law & Order franchise has been around for over 28 years, it’s odd that it’s never had a noticeable presence in the annals of riffdom. I think that overall they’ve done more Harold Stassen riffs than L&O riffs. Oh well.

    Veering off, I’m guessing that Star Trek: The Motion Picture got a bit more attention when Rifftrax riffed Megaforce. Anyone else have this image (plastered across the backs of heaven knows how many eighties comic books) virtually tattooed onto their psyches? ;-)

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=ixNRkc1C&id=F506FF7B8AA6AB998062DE85C0FAC401470D5699&thid=OIP.ixNRkc1CXqPN2TCkBpUeYAHaLT&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.allaboutduncan.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2007%2f06%2fmegaforce_ad.jpg&exph=916&expw=600&q=Megaforce&simid=608024477900734589&selectedIndex=4&ajaxhist=0

       1 likes

  27. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I don’t get why some of the Season 11 episodes are filed under the category “The Relauch” (as well as under the category “Episode guide”) while others aren’t. But whatever.

    Sitting Duck:
    I’m with Crow. Hydra scat is nasty, and they can produce a lot of it.

    Food enters the Hydra’s body through three heads. Does it eventually emerge from three…other orifices? Hm.

    Sitting Duck:
    I get the impression that the person who designed the film’s hydra puppet got it mixed up with Cerberus, since it only has three heads instead of the traditional seven.

    I get the impression that it had three heads because seven heads would’ve been too expensive. ;-)

    After all, in Italy, monsters from Graeco-Roman myth are bound to be better known that in the USA because, well, you know…ROME.

    Brandon Pierce:
    * Servo’s complaint about Jenga reminds me of Crow whining about Rock, Paper, Scissors way back in Season 1’s “The Crawling Hand”.

    Servo seemed to quite enjoy playing Jenga back in “Invasion USA” although, admittedly, he didn’t seem to entirely understand the concept at the time. ;-)

    Brandon Pierce:
    * Shouldn’t it have been Servo, not Crow complaining about a woman not wearing underwear? I mean, he’s the one with an underwear fetish.

    Servo collects underwear. That’s not the same as having a “fetish” for it. (first example that occurs to me) Bert from Sesame Street collects bottle caps (as do any number of people in real life) but I doubt that he has a “fetish” for them.

    As for Crow, I vaguely remember a Comedy Central Mike-era episode in which, at the end of the intro segment, Crow was covered in underwear and kind of giggly about it (Mike was still removing it from him when they entered the theater). I far more clearly recall how in a host segment in The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman, Crow said that, in his theoretical role as “Boss of the Ship,” he’d want Servo to do all his laundry, “even [his] underpants.” When Servo quite reasonably pointed out that Crow doesn’t wear underpants, Crow responded “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that, I’ll take care of THAT” (or words to that effect). Sounds like a whole different thing going on with Crow…

       1 likes

  28. Lisa H. says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: I don’t get why some of the Season 11 episodes are filed under the category “The Relauch” (as well as under the category “Episode guide”) while others aren’t.

    Oversight?

    Sampo, I know at the time that term was chosen, there was some debate over a few possibilities. But now that we know the show calls itself “The Return”, maybe the category should be changed to match?

       2 likes

  29. Hmm! These Are Good Hot Dogs! says:

    Arnold The Governator played Mickey in the Mansfield TV Movie, I gotta see buy the cheap-o VHS for sure.

       0 likes

  30. Johnny Drama says:

    I rewatched The Undead earlier tonight, and there was what may very well be the only Wings riff in the entire series before this episode’s opening segment.

       0 likes

  31. Cornjob says:

    When I need a safe refuge the gates of hell is the first place I always go. Then it’s off to the tree of death if that doesn’t work out.

       0 likes

  32. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    SAMPO: “I like the phrase “incompetent people trying as hard as they can.” Could that be the perfect description of an MST3K movie?”

    Well, no. Because sometimes filmmakers didn’t at all try as hard as they could. Sometimes They Just Didn’t Care.

    There’s also a middle-ground: Back in the Comedy Central era, most of the frequent black-and-white “mainstream” dramas — a category that no set of Brains seems interested in revisiting (which, frankly, I think is a shame, a darned shame) — seemed to me to be products of reasonably competent people who were, to coin a phrase, just doing their jobs. Because back in the black-and-white era, studios churned out such films every week, because then as now, the truth is some people really will just watch anything. If a film happened to be of high quality, well, that was certainly considered nice but few studios really insisted on it. ;-)

    Each of these three categories — cared a lot, just didn’t care, cared just enough — have produced some great MST3K episodes and some substandard MST3K episodes. There’s no real pattern that I can see on that.

       3 likes

  33. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    ADDENDUM:

    As an aside, the “just doing a job” approach is why Roger Corman was considered such a successful director (“good” is a far more subjective concept), because he was renowned for getting his films in under budget and on time…two concepts which are nowhere nearly as important to today’s Hollywood.

    As some here probably know, Corman made 1963’s “The Terror” (starring Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson, as riffable a pair of actors as ever there was), the bulk of which was filmed in a mere four days — can anyone in today’s Hollywood accomplish ANYTHING in four days? — because he wanted to use up the last few days he had access to that particular set (a castle) because sets cost MONEY, darn it, and he was going to wring every cent out of that set that he could. :-)

    “The Terror” is in the public domain because there was no copyright information in the credits — a detail that some filmmakers simply FORGOT to include now and then (act in haste, shrug it off at leisure, y’know) — so I’m not sure why no set of Brains have riffed it yet (unless they have and I just didn’t notice, of course). I mean, Corman, Karloff, AND Nicholson? That’s WTH gold. :-)

    I’d guess that quite a few “mainstream” dramas also forgot the copyright information and are thus also ready-made to but where do you even start to look for those? For every “High School Big Shot” and “Girl from Lovers Lane” there are dozens of titles that I don’t even know what they are…

    And, as ever…WESTERNS.

    Incidentally, per the IMDB, shots of the castle from “The Terror” were later seen in both Deathstalker II and Deathstalker III (lots of turnover in castle residency, I’d suppose, ’cause, after all, castles don’t grow on trees), giving it its very own MST3K connection. So that’s nice.

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