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Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie


Movie: An atomic scientist is invited to collaborate with other scientists on a mysterious project that has interplanetary consequences.

First shown: 4/19/96
Intro: Dr. F. explains the premise
Opening: Mike’s begins his day, but what’s that rhythmic pounding?
Host segment 1: After the film breaks, Crow and Tom goad Mike into piloting the SOL–with disastrous results!
Host segment 2: Mike and Crow check out the interociter in Tom’s room, but the Metalunan they contact is no help
End: Dr. F. is sure Mike’s will has been broken, but on the SOL its party time–with a “THIS ISLAND EARTH” theme. Dr. F.’s attempt to poop the party backfires. Aaaahhhh!
Stinger: No stinger, but Mike, Crow and Tom return to riff their own credits!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (208 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)


• There is SO much to talk about when it comes to this all-too-brief attempt at mainstreaming an almost unmainstreamable product. I’ll try to hit as many of the high notes as possible.
• For a lot of background on the movie, read our FAQ.
• In many ways, all their years of hard work were leading up to this and the movie is at the heart of so much that happened at (and to) Best Brains. One giant example: Joel recently revealed that it was Jim’s insistence on directing this movie that was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and led him to depart the series. How might the world, the show and Best Brains have been different if they never thought to try to make a movie? The movie also caused them to put the regular series on the back burner, and that may have helped give Comedy Central the impression that there was no interest in continuing the show. I could probably come up with a dozen more examples, and who knows what sort of backstage stuff went on that we don’t know about?
• The movie proves one thing without a doubt: It IS possible to have closed captioning for MST3K. I forget now if the DVDs have captioning, but the VHS versions did–the dialog from the movie ran at the top of the screen and the riffs ran at the bottom. It worked reasonably well, and I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.
• I visited the set while they were filming (it was the day they shot Trace doing the opening bit) and everybody seemed pretty upbeat. Kevin was even speculating on the prospect of doing one of these a year for the foreseeable future (Joel told me something very similar more recently).
• Trace worked like a real trooper that day. They must have done 20 takes. Oh, and anybody who says making a movie is exciting has never actually been on the set when a movie was being made. It is one of the most tedious things you can ever experience.
Take a look here if you want to read many of the reviews at the time, or at least excerpts.
• Many of the harshest reviews came from people who felt “This Island Earth” is “too good” to have been the subject of riffing. And as I read these reviews, I noticed something really strange: among the people who made this charge, the words “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were usually part of the review. It really was a remarkable thing. “This Island Earth” is NOT “The Day the Earth Stood Still” but the mere PROXIMITY of “This Island Earth” to “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” in the minds of these critics, was enough to disqualify it for mockery.
• On the other hand, it’s hard to fairly judge TIE based on the chopped-to-shreds version we get in MST3K:TM (as noted in the FAQ, the entire running time of this movie is less than the original running time of TIE). But I have seen the full thing (indeed I watched the full thing riffed by Mike, Kevin and Trace at the first convention in 1994) and I am here to tell you that it is NOT a good movie. Visually interesting, okay, I’ll grant you that. But… well, I’ll let Kevin say it best in the next item.
• I told Kevin, during a break on the set, about the people who were saying TIE was “too good to riff.” His response was very simple: He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. Then he began to tick off the fundamental flaws in the movie. First of all, he said, Cal, our hero, goes on a mind-binding journey across the universe–and yet he returns utterly unchanged in any way. Secondly, Cal is supposed to be the hero, but his most heroic act is to yell “Run, Ruth, run!” at one point. Third, it’s fairly clear that both Rex Reason and Jeff Morrow thought THEY were the hero of the movie, and that jumbles everything up. Fourth, the chemistry between Faith Domergue and Rex Reason was tepid at best, and on and on. He hadn’t even gotten to all the criticisms before he was called back to the set.
• In the opening, just watch the real estate Trace covers as he goes through his explanation of the premise. Now imagine doing that about 20 times under hot lights.
• After the little Dr. F intro, we go into an elaborate “2001” parody during the credits. If you’re watching it carefully, they give away the joke (i.e. that at first Mike looks as if he is running laps in a giant circular spaceship as in “2001,” but then we realize he is actually on a giant hamster wheel) pretty early, but I also suspect that a lot of casual viewers may well have been finding their seats etc., and might have only gotten the joke as the credits end.
• Note that a copy of the old Satellite News newsletter is the “wire service reports” Gypsy gives to Mike.
• Also during the early moments of this scene look past Servo and Mike to the wall behind them. The set is decorated with many pink flamingoes. These were a gift from some fans (me among them) presented to the cast and crew at the end of the first convention.
• One of the things that the publicity people for the movie pushed was that we would get our first glimpse of other parts of the SOL. But in the end, we didn’t really get to see anything very memorable. I suspect they were thinking about the scenes that were eventually cut.
• As we get ready for movie sign, they make explicit the threat Dr. F has always sort of implied in the past. He pulls a lever and apparently cuts the oxygen in the SOL. Mike, of course, has the most reason to cooperate, but Crow and Tom comply as well, not wanting to be the cause of Mike’s demise.
• Look for Frank on one of the doors during the door sequence.
• The movie contains many riffs that loyal fans have heard before, sometimes on several occasions. Among them: “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital,” “Football practice!” “Put your shoes on, we’re at grandma’s,” “I have tubes in my ears!” “I kind of live out of my [insert vehicle type]” and [you] “wake and bake every day.”
• One of the problems I do have with the movie is that, early on, when they should be establishing a riffing rhythm, there is a long stretch of no riffs. It happens during the scene in which Cal holds an impromptu press conference as he prepares to climb into his jet. A long painful minute goes by with only a few paltry riffs, and it’s really the wrong place for a dead zone.
• Then current riffs: “John Sununu goes for a haircut,” “Look out President Clinton!”, a reference to pilots drinking rum and cokes and “The Kingdome!”
• In the live riffing, the “secret eggo project” scene went on much longer and established the “Cal always breaks things” running gag. The shortened version doesn’t really establish it, with the result that when Servo says “Cal, I don’t think there’s anything left to break!” we really don’t understand what he’s talking about.
• Take note of a few familiar faces: The “sort this, deliver that” delivery man is none other than Coleman Francis!! And, later, the Metalunan pilot who punches up the “Normal View” is Richard Deacon, Mel Cooley from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
• Another little in-joke for fans, you can hear a light musical riff on the “Manos” theme as Mike activates the manipulator arm, which is labeled “Manos.”
• It always cracks me up the way Crow nuzzles Mike while doing his George Takei impression.
• Servo mentions hamdingers under his breath as he looks for his interociter.
• One of the most surprising moments of the movie came with the appearance of actor John Brady, as a Metalunan taking a shower. Brady had never been involved with MST3K (in fact this was his first movie role) and fans were baffled by the appearance of this complete stranger.
• Just a shout-out to Jef or whoever built that replica of the catalog in the movie. Looks perfect.
• The movie contains three “shits” in the dialog, expressly added so that would avoid the dreaded “G” rating. This is another one of those decisions that, in hindsight, seems pointless.
• Obscure riff (there were a few!): They enter a room on the ship that looks to have wooden tile floors. Crow, in his best Henry Fonda, says “Hey the floors look great!” Fonda was a longtime pitchman for GAF flooring.
• As they riff the closing credits, most of the names they pick out are folks who have been longtime BBI staffers.
• Cast and crew wrap-up: We’re going to do this one a little differently because basically the usual Universal crew worked on this thing, and many of them also worked, within a few years on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.”
Those also working on “Revenge of the Creature ” were producer William Alland, the director of the Metaluna scenes Jack Arnold. Assistant director Fred Frank. Special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore. Costumers Jack Kevan, Millicent Patrick, Robert Beau Hickman, Chris Mueller and John Kraus, Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger. Art director Alexander Golitzen. Set dressers Russell A. Gausman. Sound person Leslie I. Carey. Score composers Herman Stein and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera Robert B. Williams.
Those also working on “The Leech Woman” were special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore. Art director Alexander Golitzen. Set dressers Russell A. Gausman. Sound person Leslie I. Carey. Musical director Joseph Gershenson (who served as producer).
Those also working on “The Mole People” were producer William Alland. Editor Virgil Vogel. Special effects guy Clifford Stine. Special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger. Art director Alexander Golitzen. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman. Sound person Leslie I. Carey. Musical director Joseph Gershenson. Score composers Herman Stein, Hans Salter and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Mark Hamilton, Regis Parton and Ed Parker.
Those also working on “The Deadly Mantis” were producer William Alland. Special effects guy Clifford Stine. Special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore. Art director Alexander Golitzen. Special effects guy Fred Knoth. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman. Sound person Leslie I. Carey. Musical director Joseph Gershenson. Score composer Henry Mancini.
Those also working on “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” were cinematographer Clifford Stine. Special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman and Julia Heron. Sound person Leslie I. Carey. Musical director Joseph Gershenson. Score composer Henry Mancini.
In addition, producer William Alland also worked on “The Space Children.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore also worked on “San Francisco International. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art director Alexander Golitzen also worked on “Kitten With A Whip,” as did musical director Joseph Gershenson. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Brute Man,” as did score composer Hans J. Salter.
In front of the camera: Lance Fuller also appeared in “The She Creature. Coleman Francis, well, you know. Ed Parker was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom. Russell Johnson was also in “The Space Children.”
• CreditsWatch: Regular crew members who also worked on the movie were Jeff Stonehouse, Bradley J. Keely, Michael Kienitz, Andrea Jackson DuCane, Jef Maynard, Wendell Jon Andersson, Patrick Brantseg, Crist Ballas, Tim Johnson, Barb Tebben and Julie Walker.
• Fave riff: Hey, keep it on the road! We’re in the tubes back here! Honorable mention: Recognize me now, Ruth?

185 comments to Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

  • 1
    Kenotic says:

    Of the many, many stories that the cast told about this movie and the suits brought it in to make things difficult: I still can’t believe a bunch of Scandinavian Midwesterners from suburbs and rural towns had to tell people from a movie studio who Bootsy Collins was. That and MJ’s comment about the OJ trial.

    I was in England in June of 1996 and remember seeing pictures for “Barb Wire” on the sides of all of the buses with the showstopping tag-line “Don’t call me babe!” I cursed them under my breath.


  • 2
    jason says:

    I thought the movie was great. I never got a chance to see it the movie theaters like allot people didn’t. I thin it was gramercy that ereleased this. They are now out of business. I wish they release the uncut version of this movie. I now siskel and ebert like this movie. I think is was the fact the comedy central aka paramount didn’t own the rights of this show that drove them to cancel them. Whn they put south park on the air they made sure they own the rights to it. Plus at the time they had a total idiot in charge of comedy central at the time. cancel the show right when the mvoie was coming out. Revenge? for not having the rights to it. My favorite riff After they look at oictures and she say noticed the strange forehead bumps and servo says NO!


  • 3
    Satan's Jockstrap says:

    I get a good laugh from the idiotic critics who claim that “This Island Earth” was a good movie which cost MST its credibility and a large chunk of their fan base.


    “The Movie” was what ultimately got me into MST3K. It’s the gateway drug that got me hopelessly hooked onto the series. And “This Island Earth” (the film) is a colossal, heaping, steaming pile of cow dung!


  • 4
    klisch says:

    I remember seeing this in the theaters when it came out and there were maybe a handful of people in the audience. What really struck me with this was the absence of Frank, Dr Forrester did all his scenes by himself and I was dissapointed. But this movie did make me laugh out loud plenty of times, I just wish there were people in attendance to laugh with.


  • 5
    Sitting Duck says:

    IMO the captioning works for the movie because of the relatively low density of riffs. If the same were done to a typical TV episode, the screen could get cluttered quite easily.


  • 6
    ck says:

    I agree in principal that the movie was “too good to riff”…but then again, I really like (generally) Time Chasers and Overdrawn atMB, which seems to mmake me a real minority. But I am prepared to make defenses of them (in the future—or have I already Alien )?


  • 7
    Tim S. Turner says:

    Favorite riff: “C’mon. Shrinky-Dink, remember?”


  • 8
    Wilford B. Wolf says:

    Just FYI, the Image DVD never did have captions, but the newer Rogue DVD has subtitles in English (along with the French dub, which I still find interesting). As #5 noted, captioning only works best when there are a few riffs at a time; some of the more complex ones, especially when they complete a line, or sneak one in during a long dry speech often makes the screen crowded with text.


  • 9
    ck says:

    Oh, and I agree, as I’ve called for before, that this movie proves you can have closed captioning, for both the movie and riffing. Frankly, there are still some riffs in the movies I can’t understand, and the movie speaking is frequently talked over, usually not a problem but at times you miss something.

    (Well, I do). Smile


  • 10
    ck says:

    One more thing on closed captioning. It’s just an option. If someone finds it too cluttered, no problem. Don’t put either captioning on.


  • 11
    jjb3k says:

    I think the catalog that Benkitnorf looks through – and for that matter, the Interocitor itself – were the real props from This Island Earth. After all, they were making this movie under Universal, who did TIE, and they probably save the props from all their movies as most studios tend to do.

    The first time I saw this movie was on a rental from Blockbuster in 2005, after I’d been watching MST3K for less than a year. My only exposure to the Comedy Central era thus far had been the Essentials DVD – all the rest of my episodes at the time came from the SciFi era, so this was my first time seeing the dynamic between Mike and Dr. Forrester. I do remember wishing Frank had been in the movie, though.

    The riffing is good, though not great. You can tell they had to slow it down for the benefit of people who’d never seen MST3K before. There’s also a lot of riffs that feel like they were dumbed down from their original conception (like “Sort this, file that, I’ll make them all pay!”, which seems like the kind of joke that anyone could make for that scene). There also seemed to be a surprisingly high amount of frat boy humor (stuff like “Ruth…” “I farted” or “It must feel like they’re inside a huge bong”), like they were specifically trying to draw in high school and college students…apparently having forgotten from the conventions that most of their fans were high school and college students anyway, even without this kind of humor.

    Anytime they make an obscure reference like “They’re very into Yes on this planet”, it feels like they managed to slip it past Universal. I can just picture some movie executive screening the film and saying “I don’t get that! Change it!” every two minutes. Probably the most infamous example is when Scrotor first appears and Crow riffs “Leona Helmsley!” – the original line was “Boo Radley!”, but someone at Universal didn’t think enough people would get the reference.

    Evidence of last-minute editing plagues the theater segments. The position of Servo, Mike, and Crow’s silhouettes in the shadowrama keep jumping at odd intervals, making it obvious that there was a cut. It’s most clear when they exit and return before and after the host segments, which leads me to believe that they weren’t originally meant to occur at the places they did in the movie. Also note that each time they leave the theater, they’re given a reason – first the film breaks, then they sneak out to use Servo’s Interocitor. Apparently, without the theme song and its line “Now keep in mind Mike can’t control where the movies begin or end”, the traditional episode structure didn’t work.

    Seems like MST3K didn’t lend itself well to a movie. In order for a TV show to transition to the big screen, it needs to be a show where everyone in the audience knows how it works. MST3K was never mainstream, and so only a few hundred thousand people in a country of millions really saw it and understood it. And thanks to the movie’s limited run, I’m guessing very few of those people actually got to see it in theaters. It was pretty much doomed to obscurity from the start.

    Still, at least it remains a good way to introduce non-fans to the general concept of the show. You can put on MST3K: The Movie for any non-MSTie, and odds are they’ll grasp the premise, get most of the jokes, and maintain their interest for the brief 74-minute running length. And then you can pull out something like Outlaw or The Day the Earth Froze and say “Well, if you liked that, wait ’til you see this!”


  • 12
    GizmonicTemp says:

    Speaking of Coleman Francis Cameoes, and forgive me if this is off-topic, but at the end of “Killers From Space”, Peter Graves is being chased through the power plant by two men. We never get a closeup, but one of them sure looks and runs a lot like Coleman.

    Any one?


  • 13
    Graboidz says:

    I’m just not a big fan of The Movie. The host segments kind of dragged and no Frank left Dr. F’s scenes kind of blah. Trace does a decent job, but without someone to play off of, it just didn’t flow as well as the TV show. While TIE isn’t a great film, the shredded version presented in the movie is unwatchable, they would have been much better off either riffing an almost uncut version, or finding a film with a smaller running time.

    My favorite riff comes early on when Cal is flying in the jet and Crow states “Hey..his legs are sticking out!”. Overall though I consider “The Movie” the weakest episode of the series next to “Hamlet”.


  • 14
    GizmonicTemp says:

    jjb3k #11 – You mean a movie exec didn’t think that the general public would understand a reference to a character from one of the greatest pieces of American literature, turned Oscar-winning movie starring one of the greatest actors of the time?!

    Sigh. Hollywood, you sicken me.


  • 15
    MPSh says:

    This movie could have been teriffic. However, even though it plays as a mediocre MST3K epsiode (with higher production values), it’s still pretty funny.

    One of the reviewers on Rotten tomatoes makes a crack to the effect that this is a terrible idea for a TV show. I actually agree with that – it’s due to the talents of the Brains that show was a great as it was.

    Favorite riffs: “I’m going to ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But, I’m not an alien.” and “Nanoo.” I also like the Shrinky-Dink riff.

    Did everyone spot Coleman Francis in this movie?


  • 16
    rcfagnan says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here because I REALLY like MST3KTM. I’d been into the show for several years at this point, and when this started playing in only ONE theater in downtown Atlanta (live in Lawrenceville, which is a good hour plus away) I begged my dad to take me (wasn’t old enough to drive). He reluctantly did, but he didn’t really get the show until he saw the movie. The theater was PACKED, unlike some other folks’ experience, and the audience never stopped laughing during the movie segments. I count myself priveleged to have been a part of the experience. To Mike, Trace, Kevin, Jim, and all the other people who put their hard work into the making of this film, my deepest thanks. And though the process may have scarred you for life, the end result was thoroughly enjoyable.


  • 17

    The theater was also packed when I saw it in Albany, California, and everyone was laughing at the jokes. Somehow, it gave the show and its premise legitimacy to hear this huge theater of people roaring at “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital” and “What’s this ‘and the rest’ crap?”

    However, I feel like the movie didn’t live up to its promise. The 2001 parody intro seems to promise something grander than what we got. The massively-cut TIE lost coherence, which was kind of a shame. There was no way you could really have BOTH concepts in a theatrical movie and have it be satisfying.

    Still, I love it and still watch it from time to time. “Normal view! Normal view! NORMAL VIEW! NORMAL VIEWWWWWW!” is perhaps one of the most classic riffs of the show’s entire run. It’s a shame the movie didn’t gain bigger success, but in the end, it’s better that we got the TV show, because that meant more of MST to love. One MST fix a year would have been difficult to cope with. Selfish of me, no?


  • 18
    badger1970 says:

    The movie felt gutted and rushed. Frankly, it stank hell to high heaven because the financial backers had more control than the creative geniuses at BBI.

    As for the straw. There had to be other issues Joel had with Jim than just the fight about directing. The show quality was all over the board (and the increase in below the belt, negative riffs) in the first part of season five. I’m not on the Jim the bad guy and Joel the good guy band wagon. It was a partnership that dissolved, it happens. The show survived the movie and Joel’s leaving.


  • 19
    Chris L says:

    As per the production of the movie, given the lousy treatement they got from the studio, I wonder if the Brains ever considered doing what Monty Python did for Life of Brian: producing it indepedently, and enlisting their celebrity fans as investors? Surely the likes of Steven Spielberg and Neil Young could have helped them out a bit.


  • 20
    Cliff Weismeyer says:

    While I agree with the folks that argue that the problem with The Movie was not that This Island Earth is a classic (the movie is plenty turgid and silly), put me in the camp that thinks it just didn’t work. While a good heaping of the blame can go to the studio, I think the Brains deserve a great deal also. As others have noted, it comes across as a very poor episode of the show. These same artists were faced with similar constraints in the early years of the SciFi era (story arc, etc) and delivered a much better product. This time around it did not work, and ultimately that is on the director.

    In my dream world, the movie riffed would have been Plan 9 (to capitalize on the popularity of Ed Wood’s films in the wake of the Tim Burton Movie). I would have used a story arc similar to Manos (with Dr. F. unleashing his cinematic atomic bomb, the cast suffering, cracking, perservereing and triumphing). It seems that would have been a way to introduce a wider audience to the concept while getting across the essential flavor of the show.

    That being said, the Brains deserve credit for bouncing back the way they did. Over the course of about a year and a half they would lose Joel, Frank and Trace and have the movie tank. It is amazing that they got through at all, let alone would have the wherewethal to introduce us to the Pumaman, Garth Vader, the wharwilf, and show us where the fish lives.


  • 21
    Brandon says:

    Awhile back I met someone who CLAIMED that he had a friend that used to work with Comedy central years ago, and he said that originally CC offered to produce the film, and distribute it, but they did not want to give them a full theatrical budget. However they were willing to give The Brains full creative freedom, which CC warned them that many movie execs probably would not do. The Brains however wanted the money for a movie budget, and CC kept saying no, resulting in them basically going, “Fine, we’ll go find another film company.”

    The person I spoke to says he believes CC cancelling MST3K (among other reasons) was there way of telling The Brains, “We told you so!”


  • 22
    MattG says:

    I was fortunate enough to see The Movie in an actual theater packed with MSTies. It was back in June ’96 when the film passed through the area to play for one night only at a little arty theater about an hour’s drive away. I was 15 at the time and basically had to beg my parents to make the trip. I wound up taking a friend along and we all stood in a massive line to buy tickets. The movie was going to sell out and not everybody would get in. We lucked out and bought some of the last tickets.

    We had to sit in the back of the theater, but it was worth it. The audience roared with laughter at the right moments. It was a very community-type setting where everyone seemed to know everyone else. Seeing Mike, Crow, Servo, Gypsy, and Dr. F up on the big screen was a major moment for me, as I’d only started watching the TV show about eight months earlier. At the time, it was as if catching all those reruns on Comedy Central had culminated in this moment.

    After the movie finished, Kevin and Jim came out to tell a few stories about the production and take questions. Then it was all over and it was time to go home, but I never really let go of that night. I bought the VHS version of the movie (along with the chunk of Deep 13 sold through the old Info Club), then later managed to buy the out-of-print DVD on eBay for a reasonable price. Then came the reissued DVD, and finally I have the movie on my DVR from one day when HBO aired it in HD. It’s just as funny now as it was then, and while some episodes of the TV series were better, the cast and characters never looked better than they did in the film. I’ve read where the production could be a pain for them, but they really created a stellar film and I wish it had met with the success it deserved.


  • 23
    Schippers says:

    I suppose I too am in the minority that loves MST3K:TM. I first saw it in a nice little theater (subsequently closed, too bad) here in Tucson, and I had a great time. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen it on DVD since then.

    For me, the strongest part of TM is the beginning, before Cal and Ruth go on their…uh, adventure. (Does it qualify as an “adventure” if they don’t do anything significant while they’re on it, or is that more of a “day trip”?) Once they’re flying to Metaluna it loses some of the charm.

    Ok, now my responses to two of the themes I’ve picked up in this thread so far:

    1. “TIE is not a good candidate for MST3K.” Wow, that’s a ridiculous opinion. TIE is the PERFECT candidate for MST. Turgid scientist-type people? Check. Stentorian delivery of lines? Check. Fascination with pseudo-atomicky sciency stuff? Check. Star Trek-style aliens? Check. Nice-looking arm candy lady? Check. Plus, it’s a gorgeous movie.

    TIE is NOT a complete pile of dog crap, as some here have said. It looks GREAT. They really spent a long time on those special effects, and they still look good today.

    BTW, has anyone read the novella upon which the movie is based? There’s a lot more to the story than what the movie manages to muster up. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of TIE, the movie.

    2. “There’s more frat-boy humor in TM than an average MST3K episode.” That’s bull. Spin up almost any ep from any of the show’s eras and you’ll find numerous references to bongs, waking and baking, farts, poop, boners, and so on. I’ll agree there’s less pseudo-intellectual references, but big deal.

    One last thing – I assume many of you have seen Cinematic Titanic’s version of Legacy of Blood. If you haven’t, and you want to see some TIE actors fifteen years after the fact, you’ll see a badly aged Faith Domergue and an even more badly aged Jeff Morrow (sporting a child molester moustache, no less).


  • 24
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    For all of those who complained that TIE was “too good”, remember Russell Johnson’s line at ConventioCon II: MST3K-TM actually gave TIE an audience. I mean, even in abbreviated form, TIE was back on the big screen and in the public eye. Better that than being relagated to the vaults.

    It’s pretty amazing that Universal/Grammercy would’ve wanted to exercise such tight controls over a movie that was pretty low budget and not expected to be a major blockbuster. I guess it was a combination of extreme pennypinching and figuring BBI were little guys that they could safely push around.

    Two questions: First, what are the chances that &%$#@*! Universal/Grammercy will pony up for a “special edition” DVD release with extras, or at least allow BBI & Shout Factory to do so? Second, how about this for a weekend discussion question: Did you see MST3K-TM during its original run, and where?


  • 25

    I saw the movie first at an “arty” theatre near Drake University, and near the end when the spaceship is returning to earth, Crow makes a joke about gassing up in Des Moines, and the crowd (which was pretty big) erupted, we were so proud of our hometown! About a month later, the movie theater I worked at picked it up for later showings, which was fun. The crowds were smaller, but I remember at least one person showing up in a homemade jumpsuit.


  • 26
    trickymutha says:

    I have always loved MST3K-TM. Love it when Russell Johnson is walking by and the riff- “what’s this all the rest crap?”


  • 27
    Scott says:

    Long time fan of the movie, even before I was a hardcore fan of the series. I even remember renting this on VHS and watching with my parents, who found it pretty darn funny too.

    I’m another fan of the closed-captioning, and would love to see them on all the DVDs.

    And I’d double dip (again) to get an extended cut on DVD.

    And This Island Earth isn’t completely horrible on it’s own. I also have the uncut movie on DVD and have spun it up from time to time.


  • 28
    Lukas says:

    Despite its flaws I love MST3KTM. In 2000 (I was 12 at the time) I just happened to rent the movie from a video rental place, having seen tiny bits of the show while channel surfing for years. I never really stopped to watch the show back then because I suppose I didn’t get it.

    Then I watched the movie, loved it, and from then on was a fan.

    normal view!
    Normal View!
    NOrmAL VieW!


  • 29
    Sampo says:

    Kenneth Morgan: Question 1–Here is a very sad story. I pushed and pushed and pushed to get a “special edition” put out — one that would include all the footage Jim has, including the cut scenes that were shown at the convention. I tried to explain to them that bootlegs of this movie that they saw as of no value was selling for $100 and up on e-bay. I could never get past the gatekeepers at Universal. For a long time I gave up.
    When ShoutFactory got the rights to the show, I broached the idea to Jordan and he was actually looking into the idea. It was then that, out of the blue, Universal re-released their no-frills DVD, which pretty much meant that the idea was dead in the water for the foreseeable future. Tragic.
    On the second point–good idea!

    Oh, and one other thing I forgot to mention: One of the lost treasures related to this movie is the version of the theme song performed by Dave Alvin and Blasters. A snippet of it was heard in the TV commercials for the movie, and it was played in its entirety at the second convention (I have a horrible live recording). Alvin said on his Web site that the song is owned by Universal and they won’t let him release it.


  • 30
    Astaroth says:

    The movie will always hold a special place in my heart, it was what got me into MST3k Cool

    “Normal view!,normal view!, nooooorrrmmmmallll vieeeewwww!!!” is one of my favourite riffs in the shows history


  • 31
    Roman Martel says:

    I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, hell, I still enjoy it. In my opinion it’s one of the best ways to get someone into MST3K. Back when I used to work in a video store, we’d pop this sucker in on Sundays and it would always rent out, and that renter would usually come back asking if we had any more (and we kept all the Rhino VHS in a special section). Converted a lot of fans using the movie.

    I’m wondering if a lot of dislike toward the movie that I find in “true fans” comes from the fact that they know what the movie could have been. I suggest you enjoy the movie for what it is, and that will make it all the more enjoyable.

    Anyway, I saw this when it was released in theaters. It was about an hour drive from my home, in a small multi-plex. There were only about fifteen or so people there (we saw a noon showing I believe). During the opening sequences there were isolated chuckles, but I think Dr. Forrester frightened people more then amused them.

    Once the credits started to roll, my wife and I were laughing uncontrollably. That remains one of my favorite credit riff sequences. I especially like the “Let’s see, Shatner, Shatner, Shatner. He’s not in this one, we’re safe.” It seemed like we were the only ones laughing. I was actually waiting to see some people leave the theater. There was some chuckling here and there, but it seemed almost timid, as if they weren’t sure if they should be laughing.

    It took a few minutes, but once the whole plane turning green sequence hit, it seemed that the rest of audiance finally got into the groove. From there forward there were lots of big laughs and everyone left with a smile on their face.

    As I mentioned when this came out on VHS (and Laserdisc, which I still have somewhere), we would put this on regularly in the video store, and got lots of rentals out of it. Enough that if we sold a copy, we’d replace it. The sucker kept making it’s money back.

    You know, I never noticed Coleman Francis until I found it as a trivia nugget on this site. But I did see the gentleman who looks just like him in “Killers From Space”. I swear it is Mr. Griffin himself – if not it’s an incredible simulation.

    For me The Movie will always be one of my favorite doses of MST3K. I really wish they had been able to do the full film, and had more control over the final result – but in spite of all that, I think the final product is worth seeing and a perfect jumping off point for anyone who’s never seen the series.



  • 32
    swh1939 says:

    In 1996, the closet theater to me that was showing MST3K: TM was a 3-hour drive away. Ugh.

    I’ve seen the deleted host segment (where Tom saves Mike and Gypsy gives Mike mouth to mouth) and I SOOOOO wish that was actually in the film.

    Another vote here for CC, three options (movie dialog, riffs, or both together).


  • 33
    Dave says:

    Hate to be nitpicky, but there are 3 ‘****s’ in the movie, all by Kevin. After the identification of several scientists by Ruth he says ‘Whoopdee-****’, when we see Metaluna on the viewscreen we get a ‘What kind of ****-hole planet is this?!?’ and finally when trying to escape and seeing the “Mutant” Servo speaking as Exeter exclaims, ‘Now I swear we are parked on level C right next to…Oh ****’

    AS A registered cursoligiost I felt I had to set the record straight.


  • 34
    Sampo says:

    Oh ****! Thanks, Dave!


  • 35
    crowtdan says:

    When this movie came out in 1996 I saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany NY which is an “arty” theatre with multiple screens. I wore my white beefy-t with the MST3K logo on the breast. The ticket seller said “Wow, you must be a fan!” I had visions of seeing hundreds of other MiSTies when I entered the theatre. There were about eight of us. That didn’t stop me from having a great time even singing “This Island Earth doesn’t shine for me anymore!” I had read that joke couldn’t be done for copyright reasons. That’s when I truly realized that most people do not get it. The only complaint I had about the movie was not enough jokes. I heard that they spaced the jokes to allow for laughs. Never assume. MORE JOKES. That’s why the Sci-Fi episodes could have been better. Too much emphasis on the segments.


  • 36
    GizmonicTemp says:

    Roman #31 Cool. I didn’t think I was crazy. (see comment #12)

    MPSh #15 Wasn’t Coleman the “sort this, deliver that” delivery man?


  • 37
    H says:

    Count me among the ‘what could have been?’ people. I like the movie, I’m glad it got made, but it had a lot of potential it fell flat on.


  • 38

    Oh man, where do I even begin? While The Brain That Wouldn’t Die was my first MST3K experience, The Movie is what really got me hooked on the series and that showed when I attempted to MST some bad fanfics found on the web at the time (I failed miserably).

    * I love watching this when my dad is around, because TIE is one of his childhood favorites and he can’t stand it being torn apart by the riffers. Still the primary reason he dislikes the show as a whole.
    * Recycled riff: “There’s Taurus the bull.” – “And underneath the constellation feces.”
    * Say what you will, but Rex Reason’s voice is MUCH cooler than James Earl Jones’s.
    * For the longest time I thought the riff, “I’ll go poke Webb’s eyes out.” was an actual line of dialogue.
    * I always did wonder about the numerous ways they could have riffed Cal’s cut line, “Our size is the size of our GOD!”
    * Looking forward to Season 8, it’s amazing how they were able to keep the “Nicest weather Earth has ever had,” jokes fresh and varied when nearly every movie for the first half of the season was from Universal.
    * Favorite riffs:
    “ACTING!” – Mike
    “The secret government Eggo project.” – Crow
    “Cal, it looks like there isn’t anything left for you to break.” – Servo

    Host Segments:
    * Using the Manos panel and the Torgo’s theme arrangement in Segment 1 is still the coolest thing ever.
    * Personally I prefer the two segments that ended up being cut from the movie: taking shelter during a meteor storm and sending a Mut-ant down to Dr. F. They can be found on youtube.
    * Favorite line: “Mike broke the Hubble! Mike broke the Hubble!”


  • 39

    Oh yes, for those who argue that TIE is a bad movie, don’t forget that it was “2 1/2 YEARS IN THE MAKING!”

    Of course that’s assuming that statement from the original poster makes any difference. Frankly, seeing Lance Fuller’s name on it would have scared me away.

    Phantom Planet has a similar statement on its promo poster. Did the producers really think that the time it took to make the movie had something to do with how good it would be in the end?


  • 40
    Professor Gunther says:

    Has anyone watched this on dvd using the language options? We watched the first part in French, and it was hysterical—and I know almost no French! During the “weenie mobile” bit, for example, you don’t hear anything about weenie mobiles or Weenie Man, but instead something like “Je suis Batman.” How on earth the translators came up with BATMAN for this sequence is beyond me. It makes no sense, and it’s not even funny (then again, maybe there’s something in there a French person gets). It causes me to suspect that MST3K doesn’t necessarily translate into other languages very well. I mean, some jokes just cannot be translated (obviously).

    At any rate, I LOVE the movie as it was my first encounter with MST3K.


  • 41
    Professor Gunther says:

    Oh yeah–and the voices in French are ALL WRONG. Confused:


  • 42
    Patrick says:

    Actually, jjb3k (#11) and GizmonicTemp (#14), the original riff was “Bootsy Collins,” not Boo Radley. The change to Leona may have made the riff more accessible, but it hasn’t aged well, really.

    I have fond memories of the movie, which I saw with a friend and fellow Mystie during it’s original release, and still watch it frequently. Actually, False Mustache (#25), I saw it at that same theater (the Varsity, right?), maybe even at the same showing! (Although I bet the crowd roared at that line during every showing.)

    I had caught onto MST3K in college and was anticipating the movie like nothing else, but the staggered release plan was annoying. If memory serves (and it usually doesn’t), I saw the film at least month if not more after it officially “opened.” The showing at the Varsity was packed, but it was the only theater showing the movie in town! (That said, I don’t think Des Moines had Comedy Central at the time — I was living in Iowa City where we had a different provider — so that speaks well of the show’s following, I think.) I also seem to recall the line about the Sci-Fi Channel getting a big response, as the show had been picked up by the network by that point.

    Sure, the movie has its flaws, but I still think of it as one of the breeziest experiments to sit through. It actually has a plot, some action, some effects and lots of killer riffs, many of which pop up in my everyday conversation, to the bewilderment of less ardent fans. (“Hey, Kreskin, quit hoggin’ the bottle!” “Oh no, I can’t digest milk!” “Normal view! Normal view!” I could go on and on… and on. And on.) It’s probably one of my top 10 most watched episodes.

    (I was also one of the lucky ones who had/has a DVD of the original Image release, which at one point was going for something like $200 on eBay, although I never even considered parting with mine.)

    When I interviewed Kevin for the Too Much Coffee Man magazine, he spoke about how he didn’t feel as though the film was among their best work, but I suspect his memories are colored by all the absolutely ridiculous interference from the studio. Just imagine what could have been if they’d just been left to their own devices. I think I heard Jim (?) mention that they were considering an all musical episode! Even without that, I suspect it would be a more coherent experience if they’d just allowed the gang to keep the “plot” that was originally planned, instead of making the host segments self-contained.

    (I will say that, for as much pain as it caused the Brains, it sure paid off for the gang. If nothing else, it gave us the brilliant host segments in the Incredible Melting Man, easily one of my favorite episodes.)

    As for This Island Earth, it just has so many delightfully goofy elements to it. Rex Reason certainly looks the hero, and everyone seems to hold Cal in high esteem, but he never demonstrates any heroic qualities whatsoever. And for a supposed scientific genius, he certainly does a lot of really dumb things. The effects look nice for the day, but the concepts behind the effects are dumb as toast. The movie just hasn’t aged well at all, and it’s perfect fodder for the gang.

    Personally, I’m still holding out for a special edition DVD with deleted scenes, but I know it’s a long shot. (The Wikipedia entry on the movie references a fan-created SE, but I’ve never been able to locate one.)


  • 43
    Trumpy Dumpy says:

    I was at Universal Studios in Orlando last weekend and they have the “Mutant” head on display at the Horror Make-Up Show! I had to take that chance to get a picture with it!


  • 44

    I first saw the movie in a theater in NYC with a MSTie friend. The theater was crowded, and it was a revelation to see that the experiments were even funnier when seen with a big group.
    I’ve since gotten the same feeling by seeing the Cinematic Titanic live shows, and from our Portland MST3K meetup group.

    As for the quality of the movie/episode, I think it’s a middle-of-the-road effort. Maybe the dumbing-down insured that. It does contain what might be my favorite riff in any movie segment – “What’s this ‘and the rest’ crap?

    And Frank’s absence really stands out in the movie.


  • 45
    RevRaven says:

    I took some pictures of my copy of the Special Edition, for anyone interested. – Front cover – Back cover (sorry for the flash)


  • 46
    DON3k says:

    I loved MST3k:TM, and really did love TIE as a kid. Great color, decent effects, a neat movie monster. Sure, the story and science were crap, but as a kid, it was one of the greatest movies ever.

    Oh, and the Interocitor and Manual were BBI props. They sat in BBI and could be seen on the tour. Wonder who ended up with those? They would have been a fortune on the EBAY auctions.

    I love many riffs from the film. A couple that I quote occasionally are “Come in, Dr Meacham. Sit down. You’re being kidnapped by the Lite-FM.” and “Put me on intermittent, Joe” and of course, the Mike-as-Cal’s “Yum..” Another great one is when Joe is pleading with Cal not to get on that plane, in the fog as he walks away, and Crow does a hilarious walked-into-the-props sound that kills me every time.

    I did get to see this in the theater. It was pretty much me, a girlfriend who doesn’t like MST3k, and maybe two more people. I still laughed, but I knew that I would have enjoyed it a thousand percent more had more fellow MSTies been there.

    Another point, the deleted scenes really were great, and should never have been removed due to studio meddling. The meteor shower scene was hilarious, and the original ending with Gypsy and the gang using Tom’s Interocitor against Dr F were so much more fun than what was in the final print. I only wish I knew someone at the Convention Center’s AV dept, who I could have gotten to spin off a copy of the footage that was projected onto the screen at the Con. I could of also had the Assignment: Venezuela short years earlier, too.



  • 47
    Dan B says:

    I saw it with my good friend Kevin J. Jolly (the “J” stands for Jolly) at the Laemelle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles. It was a good crowd. We laughed a lot, especially during the closing credits riffing. Adam Arkin was behind us. And, he laughed as loud as I did. (I’m a loud laugher.) I remember thinking that it did start off slow but, by time the Interoceter showed up, we were cooking. As we filed out, everyone was holding the door for everyone else with big smiles on their faces.

    I don’t watch it that often. But, there’s just something very cool about the fact that it’s an honest-to-goodness released-in-theaters movie. Yes, it’s compromised. Yes, it bombed. But, it’s a movie. Just watching it makes me think “Way to go, guys and gals.”


  • 48
    pablum says:

    What can be said about a movie that’s shorter than the television show its based off of? MST3K:TM is…okay. Not great. I like the large sets the characters get to play around in, but the theater scene riffing is some of the most bland you’ll find coming from the Brains. Such a shame that the jokes (and everything else in the movie) were stifled by movie company decree.

    The only thing I can say about the cast is…Frank. Oh Frank, why did you decide to jump ship just before the movie? Your presence was sorely missed on celluloid.

    And what was with that music? Not even a cover version of the theme song by Aerosmith to play during the end credits? All that money (ha!) spent on designing a massive Satellite of Love and a full-sized tunnel sequence and we get some guy on a synthesizer making barely audible musical cues.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the movie. I even pop in last year’s bare bones DVD to watch now and again to soak in all that Hollywood magic.

    Here’s to waiting ten more years for the bare bones Blu-Ray release. Perhaps in twenty or thirty yers we’ll get a 3D holographic release with some VHS quality extras of the cut host segments.


  • 49
    M "RANDO!" Sipher says:

    Six hours’ drive. I, my brother, and two friends drove six hours up to Washington DC to see this movie opening day, since that was the closest damn theater that was showing it.

    And we saw it twice in a row when we got there, in some rinky-dink arthouse theater with -of all things- support posts in the middle of the seating area.

    A few weeks later, it actually showed up in a local theater, so I saw it again there, this time with my father accompanying. He enjoyed it muchly. Kevin showed up for a Q&A. Amusement was had.

    As for the movie… not their strongest, no, but there’s something really special I like about it. Maybe it’s the added angles of the SOL. The background music. The unexpected guest. Seeing Mike and the bots physically walking down the theater hallway is unsettling in a good way.

    And I swear, Mike’s face when the Hubble plummets… always, always cracks me up. Mike is a very expressive man.

    I do miss the musical riffs, though, which is another sacrifice made to getting this in theaters.



  • 50
    M "Hey, Wait A Minute..." Sipher says:

    Also… am I the only one who prefers the final cut’s ending skit over the one on the bootlegs? Dr Forrester bringing about his own “downfall” in an attempt to torment his captives while the SOL crew enjoy themselves (then realize how screwed they are again) feels much more RIGHT for MST’s universe than the SOL crew intentionally siccing a killer monster they created on Forrester.


  • 51

    Patrick (#42): It was indeed the Varsity, and subsequently it was briefly run at the theater I worked at, Merle Hay Cinema at the Merle Hay Mall. We did not have Comedy Central at that time, I think you’re right. My first exposure was through a high school friend who had incomplete tapes of Giant Gila Monster, Monster A Go Go and Jungle Goddess. I was later able to pick up through my other job at Suncoast the first 3 Rhino episodes Cave Dwellers, Mitchell and Amazing Colossal Man.


  • 52
    zacklies says:

    saw the movie in a crowded theater in Dallas. loved it. to quote joel from ‘manhunt in space’ “yeah, there are things about it that i’d change if i could.” but i still enjoy it. fave riff…close up of cal fighting his jet’s stick when tom remarks “should we be watching this?’


  • 53
    Jeyl says:

    • The movie contains two three “****s” in the dialog, expressly added so that would avoid the dreaded “G” rating. This is another one of those decisions that, in hindsight, seems pointless.

    I agree. I always thought the PG-13 rating was totally out of proportion in regards to what PG-13 was back than and certainly what it is today. The easiest way to get a PG-13 rating right off the bat is to say the F word in a non-sexual way. Anymore than 1 usage is an automatic R in a lot of cases (with the most common exception being Oceans 11).

    This movie even with the sh**s is still a very pure, “PG” rated movie. I loved watching it when I was 12 and I would have no problem showing it to my kids at an early age.


  • 54
    Brainchild says:

    I first saw this when I was in college, probably not too long after SciFi stopped showing the reruns all together. I was not aware there was a movie, so you can imagine my surprise. And while yes, there definitely could have been more riffs, I still love it like a loving thing.

    I actually really like the intro segment, if simply because it gave us my favorite Dr. Forrester moment: “I’M A NAUGHTY BOY! NAUGHTY NAUGHTY naughty naughty…” I also love Tom’s ultra-sarcastic “NO” when they finally notice that Brak and co. have some slightly funny foreheads. And of course, all the credit riffing, especially the running gag about the Amazing Rando.


  • 55
    Omega2010 says:

    Anybody know how often This Island Earth got mentioned on the show? I can only recall one instance in Diabolik (since it was the final episode).


  • 56

    It showed at a mall here in Kansas City and I waited a good two weeks to go and see it. It was annoying to me at the time as I wanted to see it with as little people as possible with my friend but it ended up being totally packed. It’s great looking back on it but at the time I remember it seemed very long and I missed so many jokes because of the audience laughing at EVERY single line. There were lots of kids and I during riffs that a little kid would never get (or not even a riff at all) they would laugh out loud. It was really odd. I guess there weren’t any other kids movies out at the time. Everything out of Crow’s mouth especially was hilarious to kids.

    Also, a funny memory I have is in line for tickets, there was a young black family picking out what to see. The little kid, no more than 5 or 6 years old, said he wanted to see “Mystery Science Theater”. The dad, with a disappointed look on his face said “But we watch that at home”, yet knew there was no point in arguing cause the kid is NOT gonna see anything else. Just shows how much money the movie could have conceivably made had it been opened wide in theaters.


  • 57

    #55, there are two other references that I can think of off-hand.

    #805 – The Thing that Couldn’t Die: Uses a lot of the music from TIE and Mike mentions that very late into the movie.

    #808 – The She Creature: Stars Lance Fuller (Brak) and one of the riffs is, “Did I get the role in This Island Earth?”

    805 is a great episode. 808 is painful.


  • 58
    MikeK says:

    The movie is good, but if it were a TV episode, it would be strictly middle of the road. Not bad, not great, and certainly not a classic, but good.

    On to Season 7. Cool


  • 59
    BlzBubba says:

    #45 RevRaven –

    WHERE DID YOU GET THAT????? I want it so very badly. Smile

    I’m always on the lookout for a copy for sale or for a torrent of it, anything at all. Any chance you might be convinced to rip & upload those special features somewhere? Alien


  • 60
    Wavill Mavatlavack says:

    In my opinion there were two things wrong with THE MOVIE. One, no TV’s Frank. Why not? Two, too many scenes were cut then lost.

    What was going on at BB back then? Why didn’t Joel just tell Jim to back off about directing the film? Was Jim the real cause of all the dissent that finally broke up the team? I wish someone would do a “tell-all” instead of being so mid-western polite about it.


  • 61
    Markedman247 says:

    Just a quick aside:

    Although not the same joke it was to the same painting: The notorious “Why I have a painting of a burger on the wall” painting. I believe the original joke was “An original Ray Kroc” and I believe it’s in “The Amazing Transparent Man.” I do have to go back and check.


  • 62
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    TO: Sampo (Reply 29)

    Thanks for the reply. It’s supremely annoying that Universal, which made no real profit from the initial release, seems determined to keep itself (and others) making no real profit from home video. Are they that vindictive towards BBI, or are they just shortsighted?

    When you factor in MST3K-TM, TIE, behind-the-scenes footage, the theme by Dave Alvin, the trailers & commercials, footage from the ConventioCon I live show, Russell Johnson & Rex Reason’s Con appearance, new interviews, and the ep with “Incredible Melting Man” (spoofing the making of MST3K-TM), you’ve got a three-disc special edition right there. And I’d buy it pretty darn quick.

    Oh, and I agree that Rex Reason has one impressive voice.


  • 63
    adoptadog says:

    For those who saw MST3KtM in theaters, it sounds like a great way to see it, or anything you enjoy. Seeing it with a crowd of fellow fans must have been a treat, and would make it very memorable. (Though I’m not sure I would have enjoyed Bobo “BuckDat” Briggs’s experience [#56], with too much noise and enthusiasm!”

    I always enjoyed the movie. Had it on VHS, have it on DVD, still watch from time to time. I don’t disagree with most of the criticisms about the riffs not being as strong as they could be, or that it’s like a middle-of-the-road ep, but I’m still fond of it. I love the whole “Mike broke the Hubble!” segment, my husband still wanders through the house singing, “Normal view!” from time to time, and I loved the whole dinner scene with Cal, Ruth and those big-headed fellas.

    Favorite riff: >bambambam< “Are you boys cooking in there?” “Noo.” “Are you building an interocitor?” “NOOO!”

    Oh, and I agree with Patrick (#42) about the host segments in Incredible Melting Man: extremely funny, very pointed, and made a funny episode even funnier.


  • 64
    fathermushroom says:

    Amazingly, I never put together that Mike is in a Hamster wheel at the start of the film. And then he drinks from a big Hamster bottle! How did I miss that?! I always thought it was weird what he was drinking from, but I never put the pieces together. I just thought the wheel thing was a clever way to exercise in space (which it would be, be honest).


  • 65
    Kouban says:

    I watched the Rogue DVD with subtitles, and I noticed that a lot of the riffs are misattributed, which is kind of embarassing.


  • 66
    fathermushroom says:

    Also: another TIE reference in “Thing That Couldn’t Die” and at least one other episode. During the opening credits to “Thing” you can hear the music used in TIE, and Mike says, in a deep voice, “Plug it in, Joe.”

    In another episode, they remark during the credits for Music Supervision, “let’s get a needle drop on the This Island Earth music.”


  • 67
    jade says:

    This is about my favorite movie…ever. It’s the first MST 3K thing I ever saw when my dad made me watch. I thought it would be so stupid, but it totally wasn’t.


  • 68
    digital_trucker says:

    Am I the only who noticed the puppeteer’s hand in the shot under Crow when they’re browsing through Tom’s bedroom?


  • 69
    Mark says:

    Am I the only one who owned this on laserdisc? Still have it in fact. Like most long time fans, it was great to see a movie version but disappointing that Joel and Frank couldn’t have been there. It’s like an alternate reality version of the show…in fact, that’s the way the whole Sci-Fi era comes off in my view. From this point on, the show just didn’t feel the same to me. Confused


  • 70
    Jane Dobson says:

    I especially love not only the use of the “Manos” theme music, but also the fact that the “manipulator arms” look like the hand on Torgo’s staff! Brilliant.

    I really enjoy this movie … just caught it on one of the HBO channels recently (thanks for the heads up, Satellite News!) and it had me cracking up, even if I can recite all the riffs at this point!

    “Dr. Mitchum …” “We’re not hiring” Smile


  • 71
    OnenuttyTanuki says:

    Some many great riffs.
    “So this is Squrriel Pudding.”
    ” Puppet Wranglers? There weren’t any puppets in this film.”
    “The Amazing Rando.”
    ” Why I have a burger on the wall.”
    “If I have pants on?”
    “So professor you made this whole thing out of Coconuts?”
    “da da da da It’s the Brak show. That me I am Brak! And I have alot of cool guest.”
    “So Brak, Is that Polish? Oh I guess it’s not.”
    “Our Licorcie Ice cream cones melted.”
    “*crunch* 485 Sir.”
    “Joe, I’m in one of these boxes find me.”
    “At goof clown face.”
    ” I don’t like you.”
    “Oh so we get the Sci-Fi Channel. Oh please oh please.”
    “Oh crimmity, there’s soccer teams every where.”
    “Is this paper? I got a bet with Joe.”
    * guy walking by as the guys make racer car sounds*


  • 72
    pablum says:


    Trace’s rapidly fluttering hand has been noticed by many fans in that scene.

    It was most evident in the first DVD release. The second release I believe was cropped more to the theatrical aspect ratio and you don’t see near as much puppeteering as before during that bit.


  • 73
    Smog Monster says:

    1 star from me. Sorry — wasn’t good enough, although, I loved Dr. Forrester’s solo acting, and a good amount of riffing on the movie … but … this was a 70 minute long movie ?!?!?!?!??!?! Even an average episode is 90 minutes long … What gives ?!?


  • 74
    Katana says:

    When I first became hardcore into MST, a friend of mine wrote a review of The Movie for the fansite we stalk around so as to bolster the newly-created MST3K section. You can read it here if you so desire. I bought TM a few days later, keeping what he talked about in the review in mind, which I think helped a great deal.

    I really love The Movie. It’s a bit of a different flavor, but at its heart, it’s still the same cowtown puppet show as it ever was. My tech theatre geek drools over the enhanced set design, which I simply adore. I’ve also inducted no less than ten people (between the ages of 14-17) into the show with this. Instead of saying hello in the hallway, we instead make the “VrrrrrRRRRRNnnnn” riff ala the scientist attempting to inconspicuously walk by in the background. Also, you haven’t lived until you’ve chorused “Normal VIEEEW!” in a lunchroom

    At a little movie night I held a few weeks ago, we watched The Movie and then The Final Sacrifice. The kids seemed to transition quite well, if just a bit confused. The theme song really helps.


  • 75
    big61al says:

    I actually saw this in a real movie theater. Me and five other people. It was way too short. Not given proper marketing. Frank’s absence is painfully evident. That being said I do enjoy the film. I think the riffs were funny. As to TIE being too good to riff all I have to say is – no it’s not. The film’s only monster is a nut sack headed insect wearing slacks! Fav riff – Norml view, norml view, norml view! [no I did not forget the “a”s…google it]


  • 76
    WouldntYouLikeToKnow says:

    MST3K: The Movie kind of has me in the crossroads. It was good, but it felt gutted and rushed like someone else already stated. Also, it would have been cool if Joel agreed to be in it (Yes, he was offered, but didn’t partake because of his feud with Mallon) and if Frank was in it as well. I like Mike too and I’m not getting into a Joel vs. Mike pissing match, but it would have been neat to maybe see kind of an “origins” movie. Maybe seeing The Mads shoot Joel into space, seeing him create the bots and then engage in his first experiment. That may seem like it would have been too long of a movie, but if it was done properly who knows…??


  • 77
    Omega2010 says:

    I forgot to mention a favorite moment of mine in the movie that some people might not have noticed. After Tom plugs up the hole in the SoL at the beginning, he mentions how much he enjoys the feeling. A little later Mike replaces Tom with Crow’s helmet and Tom quietly goes “Awwww” (in disappointment) as he gets removed.


  • 78
    Finnias Jones says:

    • Firstly, much thanks to Sampo for updating the season six episode guide so promptly (and for doing such a great job on this site in general). I am watching the entire series in order (for the second time!) and just finished season five. After each episode, I read reviews from other sites (Mighty Jack, MST3K Review, etc.) then come here to Satellite News to read all the user comments for each show. As a relative newbie (I started watching in 2002) it helps me put it all in perspective.
    • The Movie: glad to see my feelings echoed here. Underwhelming. I was already a fan of the show by the time I saw this on cable a few years ago and while gorgeous to look at, it feels watered down. Despite this, I ended up buying the German 2 disc import because it has bonus features and TIE unriffed, but none of the extras have English subtitles! No deleted scenes, either. Scheisse!


  • 79
    edge10 says:

    I call dibbs on Ruth!

    “He came out of the East to do battle with the Amazing Rando!”

    I’m a fan of the movie, but I hate the cuts they made to TIE (haven’t seen it as far as I can remember), so it just jumps around too much.


  • 80
    Kouban says:

    re: #33, In one of the recent mind-numbingly long podcasts Kevin got interviewed for, he mentioned that he was the one who always got the dirty words for PG-13 movies, which I guess makes him a fellow cursologist Wink

    And as for myself, I didn’t get to see the movie in a theater (I’m not even sure it was in a theater anywhere near where I lived), and the first I got to see of it was on a cable movie channel on my birthday (I was flipping channels while waiting for a wrestling PPV problem to get sorted out and watched about 5 minutes of it, specifically the bit with the cat). A few years later, we’d regularly get these huge VHS catalogs, and in one of them was The Movie… for $99! This more or less dashed my hopes for ever seeing it for a while, until the lucky day when I found it in a Hastings video rental section.


  • 81
    Cornjob says:

    I like it very much.

    And thanks for posting all the season 6 comments. I only started posting then and I can look back and cringe now at my ignorance.


  • 82
    majorjoe23 says:

    Cool to see comments from Patrick and Fake Moustache about seeing it in Des Moines. I saw it once at the Varsity and twice at Billy Joe’s Pitcher Show (where it replaced Rocky Horror as the midnight movie for a few weeks).

    I also saw it at the tiniest theater I’ve ever been to in Champagne, Ill.

    Did it really show at Merle Hay Mall Cinema? That’s my favorite theater in town. I’d be bummed if I had missed it there.


  • 83
    MSTJon says:

    The first time I got to see this movie was at the Con and the joy of seeing with with all those other MSTies covered any shortcomings the movie had. Wish we could have just one more…

    To be honest, I do love the film. Lots of great lines and sometimes it’s nice to have something between a short and a whole ep to watch. That said, I believe whenever BB edited a movie they were to riff, they hold some responsibility for making the film worse than it was. TIE was chopped to bits and though the film isn’t great, I’m sure the unedited version is at least a little more coherent. Same goes for mentioning the sudden disappearance of John Saxon in Mitchell (which they edited out for violence I believe).

    I’ve often wondered how possible it is for Shout! to release JUST the bonus features we’ve been begging for as an accompinament to the film. Theme song, deleted scenes and maybe an interview or two. It’d make great filler, IMO, for a set that’s one ep away from completion. It’d also be a great idea to sell the live show reading through RiffTrax. Drag out the original, unsanitized version, record it with the three from the film and hit each of us up for $5. Even cooler would be having those not involved with the movie (Josh, Frank and Bill) to submit second riff.

    I can dream can’t I?


  • 84
    Nicias says:

    I lived in Hawaii when the movie was released and was disappointed that it didn’t make it to any of the theaters there. I saw it later as a rental and enjoyed it, but I must agree with others that it is underwhelming. I found the host segments rather too focused on the new visuals and less on the normally-cutting humor. However the interociter segment felt reasonably well-scripted to me (and had great props). Again, it communicated pretty clearly that most of the script decisions were made to “mainstream” the concept. This was a considerable challenge considering the complex background of the show, so I am able to cut the Brains a lot of slack. What is less forgiveable is the truncated running time; it sounds as if the Brains had little to do with that.


  • 85
    Shaun says:

    please don’t leave me with THE GERMANS!!


  • 86
    rockyjones says:

    Having long ago gotten over the shock of seeing how both Ruth and Exetor had not aged well by the time they appeared in CT’s “Legacy of Blood”, I’m now shocked all over again to find out that, despite the number of times I’ve watched MST3K:TM, I never even noticed that Brak was played by Lance Fuller! I guess it was perfect casting…giving the part of a bland, unemotional alien to the most bland, unemotional actor in show business.

    I was also surprised to find out that the “sort this” delivery guy was played by Coleman Francis. What an embarrassment of riches!


  • 87
    GregS says:

    I didn’t get a chance to catch this in the theater, and saw it for the first time on HBO last year.

    I like MST3KTM very much, mainly because I like this type of movie the best for riffing (sci-fi, aliens, etc). The leading man’s acting is so stiff that it provides a fertile bed for comments.


  • 88
    Tim S. Turner says:

    “We did it, and you know it.”


  • 89
    ck says:

    “please don’t leave me with THE GERMANS!!”

    You should be all right. (Just don’t mention the war).

    About the editing of TIE. Perhaps it could be released like one of the dvds, with a symbol (I think Crow) that pops up that you click to see a deleted scene.


  • 90
    Kouban says:

    Realizing that the delivery man is Francis, and that TIE was released five years before Beast of Yucca Flats, the “I’ll make them pay!” riff changes from simply a funny line to a downright menacing threat…


  • 91
    Rex Dart says:

    I’m one of the movie’s fans.

    No, it’s not as good as the best episodes, but the riffs are excellent (even if dumbed down). I think the shorter running time does make it much more accessible to non-fans, although, as someone who’s already a fan, I’m not crazy about it. Mostly, I just love the fact that a movie was made, since it’s always been easier to find than actual episodes of the show. I know I’ve rented it from at least two different rental stores.

    I actually got to see it the movie in a theater in LA last year. I went with two non-fans, and we all had a blast. So, thank you Best Brains, for taking your genius, dumbing it down, and going through hell so that I have an easier time enjoying your humor in new ways.


  • 92
    happy says:

    In its day this was considered a classic, and to many it still is, but to me it is a glorified B flick along the lines of The Mole People
    I think the sets, the scifi aspect were colorful and the Metaluna Mutant is a classic creature..
    I know the late great Forry Ackerman liked it and Im not going to argue with him
    I feel people in this generation who watch this generation’s films will not like TIE, unless you have a passion for classic films
    I like TIE and I also like THAI too Smile


  • 93
    Toots Sweet says:

    Markedman247 (#61), I’m glad I’m not crazy in thinking the burger painting was used in another MSTied movie. It’s also in The Leech Woman. It’s hanging in the living room of the leech woman’s house. I’m going to look for it in the Amazing Transparent Man, too.


  • 94
    pearliemae says:

    Does anybody out there know what in the name of god that painting was? It did appear in several films, but was it just some piece of nothing the art dept. at Universal came up with? Or a “real” piece of art? Either way, why make it look like a burger schematic? A couple of faves that I don’t think have been mentioned….”the light from these credits originated well over 5 million years ago” (or something like that). “I have no control” – I keep eating and eating. “I’m too low” – I got the blues so bad. And, I have to say one more time…the Amazing RANDO!!!!


  • 95
    Erhardt says:

    I spoke with Jef Maynard extensively before and during the production of MST3K:TM, so I’ll add a couple of notes about the props:

    The “mutant” costume was an original from TIE. It was in pretty bad shape when Jef received it from Universal and he had to almost completely restore it. He was quite proud of his work.

    The interociter manual was not an original from TIE and was made by Jef. In fact, several manuals were made. Three were sold during BBI’s eBay prop auction in 2000.

    The interociter also was not an original and was built by Jef. After the movie was completed, the prop remained on display in the lobby of BBI until the studio was shut down. I have no idea where it is today.

    The face with the spitcurl during the door sequence was Jef’s idea. He felt that a tribute to Frank needed to be somewhere in the movie.

    One other note: Sampo mentioned the cover of the theme song by Dave Alvin and Blasters. You can hear a small portion of it in the MST3K Screen Saver which we have posted here:


  • 96
    Dames Like Her says:

    ‘You’re holding a mutant turd!’


  • 97
    Richard says:

    A couple things…

    – I saw this opening weekend at the Camera One in San Jose, CA. It was the last showing on Saturday night and the whole place was packed. There was a slightly odd moment when several people went up to the Theater Manager who was working at the concession stand about if it was possible to get a piece of the film if it happened to break during the showing that we were all at.

    – The entire audience laughed through the whole thing from start to finish. As the saying goes, it was a very “hot crowd” for the film and it went over well. The cleaning crew didn’t look very happy when everyone in the theater stayed in their seats during the ending credits. The crew just stood there in one of the doorways to the theater with their brooms and garbage cans waiting for everyone to leave.

    – Personally, I’m a big fan of the movie. I do agree that it doesn’t have the kind of content of a normal episode but I also understand the reasons that they did it that way. There is no point in putting in wall-to-wall jokes when you’ll wind up with the audience laughing over the next two lines and no one will hear them.

    – As I left the theater, there was a group of people outside trying to entice the audience to not leave. It was the local RHPS cast and they gave out flyers to just about everyone that walked out the theater doors.


  • 98
    J.K. Robertson says:

    @ #11 (jjb3k): In referring to the “Leona Helmsley!” riff, I think the orignal reference was to midwestern funk musician Bootsy Collins and not Boo Radley…

    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong (wouldn’t be the first time)


  • 99
    Keith Palmer says:

    After becoming not just aware of but interested in Mystery Science Theater 3000 through MSTings, the movie was my first chance to actually *see* it, north of the border as I am, and so I suppose I’ve always been more favourably disposed to it than others… As well, though, after having heard “the show is better than the movie and the Joel episodes are better than the Mike episodes,” I might have been expecting a little more from renting “The Amazing Colossal Man” a while later than I seemed to actually get, and that’s also influenced my impressions. (As a happy ending, though, I found “Pod People” and “Cave Dwellers” funnier, and on getting back to “The Amazing Colossal Man” years later my impressions of it had also improved.)


  • 100
    R Nelson says:

    Servo would repeat the “John Sununu goes for a haircut” in a later episode, where the movie recycled the same plane take-off scene from TIE and even had the “Burger on the Wall” painting in one scene. It was a black-and-white film, but I can’t recollect the title.


  • 101
    bigdaddy320 says:

    @ #66 fathermushroom

    I think that riff is from ep. 803 The Mole People


  • 102
    Ralph C. says:

    I saw this movie twice in it’s original run, both times in NYC, which is about an hour away from where I lived at the time. I had a really good time with it and there was a decent audience at both showings. At the time, the ticket was $9.00 in Manhattan for a movie. I watch the movie from time to time and get a good laugh out of it each time. Any of its flaws are negligible to me. I was so proud to see it on the big screen. It was unfortunate that season 7 was cut so short because of it but, well, they wanted to make a movie, to follow their desire to do what they wanted.


  • 103
    Droppo says:

    I have a soft spot for the movie. I saw it, opening night, in NYC in a sold out theater of MSTies. They cheered when Joel’s name came up in the credits, so I knew I was among friends.

    I think a lot of the praise and criticisms I’ve read here are spot on.

    Frank’s absence is painful. Dr. F and Frank are a comedy team. You can’t have one without the other.

    Universal’s dumbing down hurts the riffs.

    The host segments were disappointing. I loved seeing more of the SOL, I loved seeing those beloved characters on the big screen…but, the material was not strong. In particular, I thought the lowest point of the movie was having that non-MST actor appear in the shower and at the end. He seemed to be doing a bad Robin Williams impression and I’m not going to a MST3K film to see that guy.

    I also think Sampo is 100% right that the early press conference scene was a disastrous time to go silent on the riffing. I feel that way every time I watch the movie.

    All that said, there’s a lot to enjoy. Great riffing (all my favorites were already mentioned) in spots, the end credits, the thrill of seeing Mike and the bots on the big screen.

    I’m glad it exists, I had an unforgettably enjoyable time seeing in the theaters. But, it’s a flawed product.

    I’d say if it was an episode, it would be good…but, not a classic along the lines of Mitchell, Santa Claus, Master Ninja or Pod People.


  • 104
    asdfasdf says:

    I’d caught the live version at the first con. The whole thing worked a lot better there.


  • 105
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    My wife and I saw MST3K: TM on opening night at a little theater in Washington, D.C. It was the only theater anywhere near suburban Maryland showing it. We went again a few nights later. We got free movie posters. The theater only seated about 150 people, but the place was alive with laughter.

    Much as I enjoyed the movie, the way it was cut to pieces was so obvious that it definitely had an impact on the quality and enjoyment. For example, the movie is so badly butchered that you don’t actually see the “interocitor” destroy the instruction manual in the movie. There’s a jump cut and then everything is just smoldering. This must make it difficult to understand what’s going on in the host segment making fun of that scene if you haven’t previously seen This Island Earth in its unedited form.

    It was great seeing the cutting room floor scenes at the convention in 1996 along with the movie one more time, though it was hardly a substitute for the live show originally scheduled. The live show was cancelled due to the fact that Trace B. had just decided to leave the show.

    In hindsight, we can only imagine what might have been if they had never decided to push for a feature film and if Joel had therefore stayed with the show.

    MST3K The Movie is the first DVD I ever owned. My wife got it for me as soon as it was released even though we didn’t yet own a DVD player because they were still quite expensive. When the price of many players finally dropped below $200, then DVD began to overtake VHS and we finally got a player, the movie went out of print, but we were lucky enough to have it already.

    We can only hope that Universal puts it out of print again and that Shout Factory can get the rights to it and “do it right”.


  • 106
    Ryan K. says:

    Patrick & False Moustache–I was a student at Drake at the time, and to see somebody else post memories of seeing the movie just off campus warms my heart. You’re right about not having CC at the time, instead it aired in syndication on the NBC affiliate. And yes, the “I’ll just gas up in Des Moines” line brought the house down, we probably missed the next joke or two. But it seems to me that “Recognize me now, Ruth?” also drew quite the reaction. Smile


  • 107
    bobhoncho says:

    In response to the how did I see this first, in theater, DVD, or VHS, my answer is none of the above. I first saw this about a year ago on HBO On Demand. Thank you, HBO.
    I think they riffed on TIE because it just happened to be a Universal production just as MST3K-TM was, so they were probably able to get TIE pretty cheap.
    Nothing beats Mike and the ‘Bots riffing on the closing credits of their own film, especially when they get to “The Amazing Rando!”


  • 108
    bobhoncho says:

    Oh, I forgot, that was really good German that Servo used when the hero was confronting the alien. I took 3 years of German in high school and I can safely say that Servo really was speaking proper German. Sehr gut, Servo. Du bist sehr gut mit deine Deutsch!


  • 109

    Wow, it must have been really great to see this one in a theater packed with other fans. I was in transition moving to Nashville at the time and had heard about the movie but due to the sporadic PR & distribution it played here and I never even noticed until it was too late.

    Many years later I finally saw it via a torrent. I have to agree it seems like a 3 star episode with better production values & widescreen. I like it enough to re-watch when i’m burned out on my favorite episodes.

    Fave riff: “Allright, see if this jogs your memory; ‘woof woof … bad dog'”

    Also thoroughly enjoy the riffing on the closing credits!


  • 110
    Schippers says:

    #66 & #101 –

    Nope, it’s from 801, Revenge of the Creature.


  • 111
    crow-Normal-View-schmo says:

    Didn’t think the movie was as good as the series, was kind of bland, but it had it’s moments.

    The host segments seemed forced, and Mike didn’t seem as natural as he normally does on the series.

    I had seen the movie a couple of times before just rewatching it for this discussion, and I had never noticed before that the manipulator arms said, “Manos” on them. Smile (Though I’m sure others had mentioned it on this site before, missed that, too, I guess).

    A line that I liked that I haven’t seen mentioned: When Cal and Ruth are going to be in those tube things, Exeter says that the hand rests are magnetized and Mike says: “And if your hands were metal, that would mean something.”

    Overall, not bad, but not great, kind of draggy, but I do like it better than I did on my first viewing.

    Needs Frank!


  • 112
    TheChad says:

    It never played in theaters around where I live durring the initial run. The following spring our cable company picked up sci-fi channel. To celebrate, the played TM at the local art theater. I was a happy camper! And It was free to boot!


  • 113
    FordPrefect says:

    When Best Brains were in early discussions about doing the movie with Paramount, that studio was interested in doing an “origins” movie showing how Joel got trapped on the SOL and the movie riffing would have been secondary. However, BBI always thought that the movie should focus on movie riffing.

    Jim Mallon mentioned that BBI had considered doing the film independently, but that would have required them to layoff employees. In the end they decided going with a studio was the better option.


  • 114
    Matt D. says:

    To #111- I too missed Manos being on the arms. I must look that one up again. I also missed the Frank “tribute” so this thread has been very helpful.

    I do remember noticing one of the movie mistakes, and I almost never can do that with any movie. It was while Mike and Servo were looking down onto Crow. Mike’s sweat stain changes shape from a circle around the top of his shirt to a square shape in the next shot.


  • 115
    Dr. H says:

    I have many reasons to love this movie.
    I got to see them do it live at the Con. The love in that room!
    Even from those that Frank spilled popcorn on.
    Just scanning the previous posts, I could only spot MstJon (83) as a fellow Con attendee.
    On some sort of promotional junket, I won a captioning contest that led to a comic book store meet-and-greet with Jim Mallon and Trace. The prize included complimentary tickets to an advance showing, well-attended. The shows are a great experience with a room full of like minded people.

    Lest I forget, the movie itself (their movie, I mean) still guarantees more honest laughs than an incredibly high percentage of cinematic comedies.


  • 116
    Patch says:

    I was frankly disappointed in the movie. The riffing never seemed to be “up to par”; I think Sampo’s comment about rhythmn is on the money. Never got to see it in a theater, I was moving to Germany when it premiered. Maybe that’s the reason I’m less than impressed-then again maybe the audience experience convinced folks it was better than it was. By far the least watched episode in my collection.
    My two pfennig on the Jim/Joel thing is the movie discussions had been going on since they got picked up for Season Four (!). Mallon was really pushing it; and Joel with his experience of “Hollywood” was opposed. This came to a head when Gramercy made them an offer. It wasn’t a sudden, “I’m not making a movie” decision.


  • 117
    FordPrefect says:

    Jim and Joel discuss the movie in these interviews:


  • 118
    The Toblerone Effect says:

    Mark me down as “middle-to-good” as to the content of the movie here. Frank’s absence is glaring, and had he been with BBI at the time the film was being shot, MST:TM would have a completely different feel to it. Without having someone directly to bounce his evil doings upon, Forrester comes off more insane than funny.

    As for the movie riffing, while the joke contents are pretty good, they are spread out and therefore the tedium of the movie itself weighs the overall performance down a notch. Along with the press conference scene, there are also a couple of scenes with Rex Reason and Faith Domergue in the alien ship where there’s a good twenty to thirty seconds without a riff. I do think they’re at their best when ripping on the lab assistant Joe aka Weenie Man (or Boy), and the end credits are very funny as well. (The Amazing Rondo!!)

    In the short scene with Coleman Francis, I really wish that they had made some inside-joke remark, like “Excuse me, I have a sky-diving lesson to attend” or “Special delivery from Cuba!” or “Next stop, Tony Cardoza’s house!” It would have been the perfect joke for those who follow the show closely. Who knows, they might have done so if they’d known that was him in the film.

    When it was first brought up, I was neutral on the close-captioning issue. But after watching MST:TM with it on, I think it’s a great idea to include. In some ways, it actually helped with the viewing experience; for example, if they’re trying to riff while someone is talking at the same time, the joke can get muffled or “lost”. The captioning actually allowed me to discern every joke. And while the identification of the one telling the joke wasn’t perfect, at least the joke itself was there. As for CC-ing regular episodes, I think seasons 0-2 would not be much of a problem, since the riffing during that era was still from a slow-to-moderate pace. It would be Seasons 3 and beyond that would present more of a challenge. It can be done, though, and its something Shout! should look into more closely.


  • 119
    Jamie says:

    …this is when science didnt have any specific purpose!
    … I like the blueberry ones!
    … Why did they put the toilet in the middle of the room??
    … And if you dont mind, I have been waiting for this all day………………aaaahhhh.
    …Cal, kiss me goodbye
    …Well the Tangerine Dream music is good
    …Shatner…Shatner…Shatner….No Shatner, we’re safe. (etc) LOL Alien


  • 120
    The Bolem says:

    I’d never seen even part of an episode until the summer of ’96, and then just happened to read the TV Guide article about MST3K-TM a few days later. So despite liking what I saw of “Fugitive Alien 1”, I wasn’t quite a fan at the time, and had no idea the movie was getting such a limited release. So unfortunately, when someone at a party 2 weeks later mentioned that it was playing at the really old theater in Farmington (I live between Ann Arbor and Detroit) that used to occasionally break out old prints of “Gone With The Wind” and “Ben Hur”, I had no idea that they were also my only chance to see MST3K on the big screen, and didn’t jump to take it. Still kicking myself over that one.

    Recieved the VHS for my birthday the following year, and appreciated that there had to be fewer and more obvious riffs for newcomers seeing it with a crowd (making it widescreen by adding more black space under the seats seemed clever too; still haven’t seen any of the three DVDs), but I thought of it as my least favorite experiment at the time, and I don’t think I watched it again until 2 years ago, while running through all the eps I had at a friend’s house. He’d seen it once before and shared my feelings on it, but upon seeing it for the first time in almost a decade, we found it a lot funnier than either of us remembered. So, genuinely mixed feelings about it, I guess.

    We also agreed on our favorite/best remembered riff: “And if you were made of metal, that would mean something” It took ’till #111, but I’m glad someone else finally mentioned it.

    Since TIE features an alien named Brak, I was just a tad disappointed there were no Space-Ghost references, but then Cartoon Planet only started around the time they were making the movie, so I guess that was too much to hope for. I still find myself impersonating Andy Merrill during a lull once every viewing though.


  • 121
    Snackula says:

    I have fond memories of this movie. I was away from home, working at a job that I truly grew to hate, with people that made the whole endeavor marginally bearable. Seeing this movie at that particular time made me feel like I was home again, on a lazy Saturday morning in front of an enormous TV screen.

    While I like this MST presentation quite a bit, I don’t feel this was the right film to bring in a mass of new MSTies. What basically keeps the “new meat” glued to the screen is the rhythm of the show; the rapid-fire riffing and smart skits. I think if you’re not a seasoned MSTie, you may not have the patience to wait for the rhythm to find it’s form. Which is why I feel the opening with Dr. F may have been a mistake. Trey is a phenomenal talent, and the opening may not have been his fault, but when I saw the opening the first time it didn’t feel like real MST3K. And because of that, I don’t think a new audience “got it”, and (by and large) wouldn’t be clamoring to soak up all things MST.

    Overall though, MST: The Movie is very much worth seeing. Anytime with the SOL is time well spent.


  • 122
    Meranalf says:

    This is one of my all time favorite episodes.

    I had a thought on the overall lack of riffs during the interview scene. Since the movie is trying to appeal to a broader audience than just the MST3K faithful, it’s possible they intentionally slowed down the riffs to ease the audience into the practice of listening to both the dialog and the riffs. I know from personal experience that it took me a couple episodes to really get a feel for how to listen to an MST3K episode. This is merely speculation. Anyone from BBI mention something like this in any interviews?

    We get one Wizard of Oz reference.
    Dr. Forrester: “Wait! Help! Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” After interrupting M&TB’s conversation with the Metalunan on the interocitor.

    I often say “I’m going to curl up in my sock drawer and sleep for days,” when I’m pretending to be depressed.

    Favorite riff:
    Crow: “It’s the nicest weather Earth has ever had.” (I say this, sometimes to myself, sometimes out loud, every time I see the Universal logo in front of a film.)

    Runner up:
    Tom: “Thank God I saved you!”


  • 123
    Spector says:

    I loved the riffing on “This Island Earth” which was such an over-rated piece of celluloid that I had a chuckle over those critics who panned the Brains for daring to mock a supposed sci-fi “classic”. Those are probably the same doofuses who consider Roger Corman a directing pioneer.

    I also enjoyed some of the between film breaks, such as Crow attempting to tunnel out of the SOL, Mike “breaking the Hubble” with “Manos” and so on.

    Ultimately though I found “The Movie” lost the intimacy on the big screen that it has on television. I found it funnier when I rented this and watched it on video at home than when I saw it in the theater. MST3K just didn’t translate well onto the big screen. It was a noble failure.


  • 124
    1 adam 12 says:

    The Movie was only playing at one theater rather far from my home, so I neglected to go see it. HUGE mistake, I know. (Btw, the local movie reviews for it were glowing.) I first watched it about three years later at a friend’s house, with a group, and loved it. I still do. It isn’t objectively their best work, and its far too short, but simply getting a MST movie made is its own reward, to me. Cool

    Fave riffs:
    “Thank God I saved you!”
    “Oh, there go the piano lessons! Oh, I can’t remember my dad!”
    “Self-cleaning Mut-Ant. Leaves you with the fresh scent of pine.”
    “A hunky guy and a wormy sidekick don’t amount to a hill o’ beans in this crazy world.”
    “Eat at Joe’s, Eat at Joe’s, Eat at Joe’s…”
    “I’m not an alien!” and its followups.
    “No, that’s paper.”

    My friends and I can do the whole Crow-tunnelling-to-Earth thing from memory, so that whole bit is my favorite host segment line(s).

    A Cincinnati rock-radio station, WEBN, has sometimes used as a between-songs bumper, “I’m experiencing a sensation altogether new to me, and frankly, I love it!” spoken by Tom from The Movie.


  • 125
    1 adam 12 says:

    As an aside, I never really noticed that TIE was chopped to shreds, and neither did anybody I ever watched it with. We were too busy paying attention to the riffing. I’m never bothered by this in other experiments, as they are supposed to be bad movies, right? Excepting of course pasted-together different films like Monster-A-Go-Go, Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, or CT’s Doomsday Machine; where the separate movies really stick out.


  • 126
    kybrowncoatmstie says:

    Because we didn’t have cable until the mid 90’s in the small town I lived in, MST3K:TM was the first full exposure I had, after briefly seeing it featured on MTV or VH1. I worked for a video store at the time (Yep, got the movie poster and like the 40 year old virgin, it’s in my bedroom), so I was able to order it for the store. I absolutely loved it! I remember I laughed so hard that I had to turn the tape off because I thought I was going to be sick. I remember that I had to view it multiple times to hear every riff because I still was laughing. Complain if you will, but I find no fault with it when I compare it to non MST3K so called comedies. Comparing it to another MST3K ep is like comparing 2 Faberge eggs. It’s a matter of taste as to which is better, but both are gem filled masterpieces!

    The only riff I wish they would have said in the movie is when Cal and Ruth are in the tubes, I always sing/shout “Video killed the radio star” but the “and if you were made of metal, that would mean something” riff kind of makes up for it.


  • 127
    BlzBubba says:

    #45 – RevRaven – any replies? Anybody else know where I can get that “10th Anniversary Hamdinger Edition”? Anyone care to make a torrent out of the extra features? Pretty pretty please????? Alien


  • 128
    DamonD says:

    “Now wait a minute!” “Nowwerdamimi!”

    I’ve since learned about the chaos behind the scenes in making this film, but I still enjoy it a lot. The extra gloss and cameras for the host segments make it interesting to watch, and TIE is a good one to pick…it does actually have some brains, but a lot of goofy stuff too so it’s a winner both ways. ‘Normal View’ is a deserved classic.

    “Right…here.” “At goofy clown face.”


  • 129
    This Is Me says:

    “I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.”

    Agreed. I know I’m late to the comments page on this but, as a hearing-impaired MST3K fan, I would love captioning.

    (Yeah, yeah; I know. But to explain: I’m not deaf, but I have enough of a hearing loss that watching video w/o captions is a challenge.)


  • 130
    Let's drink a toast to crazylegs says:

    I think I saw this when it came out, but that was back when I smoked pot…
    I like it. TIE is a fine movie, even when cut to fit. They do a good job, even when there’s no TV’s Frank.


  • 131
    big61al says:

    I like this experiment. It has it’s flaws but what doesn’t after Hollywood gets a hold of it. I suspect the addition of the dude in the shower was a back hand way of giving DR.F. a side kick for possible further film. The riffing shows a lot of polish and the project at times shines very brightly. I think it turned out good. It could have been better but sometime you have enjoy what get. In this case a nut headed monster in slacks. Silly


  • 132
    VeryDisturbing says:

    The Movie is what first introduced me to MST3K. I saw it just before the series itself went off the air. (Right when I started to watch it, it disappeared!)
    Later, when I started watching the series DVDs (Rhino/Shout Factory), I did notice a difference between the riffs of the series and the movie.
    A lot of pop-culture references were missing. I figured that was due to Universal sending them (‘You can’t say that, or we’ll get sued’) notes.
    But I like the movie, and have a MST-First-Timer fondness for it.

    “Hope you had a nice sleep-”
    “-cuz it’s time to die.”


  • 133
    Dan in WI says:

    Dr. Forrester asks a poignant question in his opening monologue. Just who among hasn’t thought about shooting someone into space and subjecting them to an endless stream of bad movies?

    With the recent RiffTrax Kickstarter to do Twilight exceeding $250,000 one has to wonder if that would be an option today to make this movie and make it their way. I have no idea what the budget was from Gramercy for this, but I have to believe it was a lot more than what RiffTrax raised. I’m sure our community could have come through better knowing it was to shoot a movie from scratch but I don’t know if we could raise a new movie budget or not. I’m guess I’m out of touch with the numbers needed here.

    When we see the opening pan of the SOL we here some really good sound. There is that deep rumble of the subwoofer one would expect of an epic space movie. It really seems a bit out of place with this cow town puppet show.
    Along those same lines the SOL set is really much nicer. You can tell there was some budget there. What happened to that set? Why not keep using it after the movie? Did Gramercy own it?

    Crow had some wonderful lines during the pick ax scene:
    Well look at that. Breach hull, all die. I even had it underlined.
    I won’t do that again.
    Believe me Mike. I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid and I went ahead anyway.
    I liked the WWI soldier helmet he was wearing as well.
    As a whole I thought this was one of the better opening segments in a long time. The bow down before Dr. Forrester bit was great and asking if they “went” before starting the movie was a nice touch as well.

    The extra theater seats that come out of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio reminds me a lot of the theater set in the KTMA episodes.

    I’ve noticed a couple things reading over the comments from four years ago. 1) The riffing is a little more easily accessible (fewer obscure references) due to the well-documented Universal interference and 2) the lucky few who saw this film in a packed theater had the time of their lives. While it certainly wasn’t the intention at the time it seems this movie has become the proto-Cinematic Titanic type script. The Titans have talked about on more than one occasion that because they are writing to get reaction from a live audience they too have cut back on the truly obscure. The end result is if you are sitting in a packed house the laughter is contagious and this writing style is serving it up as often as possible.

    I’ll also add that less dense riffing does make this a good introductory episode to a newby. I successfully converted a roommate with this once and then moved them up to more advanced episodes.

    Favorite Riffs:

    Call buzzes the tower. Tom “Maverick!”

    Crow during a lab scene “Increase Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around.”

    Coleman Francis makes a deliver. Mike “Sort this deliver that. I’ll make them all pay.” [And make us pay he did! That is an awesome riff coming off of season 6. But as obscure as it was I’m surprised it got past the focus groups and the Gramercy suits.]

    Tom “In the event the first assistant director is unable to fulfill her duties.”


  • 134
    revlillo says:

    Something to keep in mind the next time you watch this (from the IMDB trivia page for TIE):

    According to Faith Domergue, the pants of her costume were so skintight that she could not wear underwear. A female assistant had to help her put them on and take them off. Shock


  • 135
    klisch says:

    I remember seeing this in the theater when it premiered. About a handful of people were in attendance. It was exciting to see them on the big screen at first but the movie in general was just okay. I don’t think I’ve seen it since.


  • 136
    Creeping-Death says:

    I’m hoping to get the European Blu-ray soon, with my region-free blu-ray player. I’ll give a review when I get it.


  • 137
    Sitting Duck says:

    Where does, “I’m a naughty boy!” come from? In the Shakespeare Skum production Othello: Having a Bad Day, whenever Iago soliliquizes about his latest fiendish scheme, he always concludes by slapping himself on the hinder and saying, “I’m a naughty boy!” So I presume they have a common source.

    When Crow says, “Come, come, boys. We must confound Jerry at every turn,” is he imitating a specific person or just doing a generic British WWII officer?

    You know, film is not the best material to use for smothering flames.

    Is there anyone here who speaks German and can tell us what Dr. Engelborg said about Mozart?

    Here’s a thought for Shout Factory to consider. First, Shout is now getting rights to Universal flicks. Second, unless the Brains decide to release the KTMA episodes on DVD (wildly improbable), there are eventually going to be two episodes left out. So how about Shout do a set with two episodes and a two-disk Special Edition of the movie with theater release and uncut versions, along with a s’load of relevant extras.

    This was the first MST3K I ever saw and left me with a favorable imression.

    Favorite riffs:

    This island Earth can be yours if The Price is Right!

    Hey, you can see the Cubs losing.

    Well, suddenly I have a refreshing mint flavor.

    This is a job for Weenieman!

    Sort this, deliver that. I’ll make ’em all pay.

    Joe, I’m in one of these boxes. Find me.

    I’m your pilot, Claude Rains. Your co-pilot, Harvey the Rabbit.

    You’re being kidnapped by the Light FM.

    Then I ram my ovipositor down you throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But I’m not an alien!

    I’ve got some big-foreheaded sissy butt to kick.

    Eat my photons, smallheads!

    The Jetsons II: After the Armegeddon.

    Captain’s log. A bunch of our ship fell off, and nobody likes me.

    Self-cleaning mutant. Leaves only the fresh scent of pine.

    These are the guys that just sit in basement rooms and figure out ways to make elves disappear.

    And now we’re just seeing guys who drove by the studio one afternoon.

    All rights are reserved, Callahan.
    Oh yeah? Well, how about the rights of that little girl.


  • 138
    Tom Carberry says:

    Jeff Morrow (born Leslie Irving Morrow), who played Exeter, was born in New York City on January 13, 1907. He died in Canoga Park, California, the day after Christmas in 1993. New York-born Morrow developed an interest in the theater as a result of his studies at art school. As “Irving Morrow,” he was acting on stage (in Pennsylvania) as early as 1927; he later appeared in such plays as “Penal Law”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Twelfth Night”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth”, treading the boards opposite stars like Katharine Cornell, Maurice Evans, Katharine Hepburn, Luise Rainer and Mae West. His film career commenced with the Biblical epic “The Robe” in 1953 and continued into the ’70s. In his latter years, he worked as a commercial illustrator while taking occasional acting assignments.

    [recalling the filming of and eventual audience reaction to The Giant Claw (1957)] We shot the film before we ever got a look at this monster that was supposed to be so terrifying. The producers promised us that the special effects would be first class. The director – Fred F. Sears – just told us, “All right, now you see the bird up there, and you’re scared to death! Use your imagination.” But the first time we actually got to see it was the night of the premiere. The audience couldn’t stop laughing. We were up there on screen looking like idiots, treating this silly buzzard like it was the scariest thing in the world. We felt cheated, that’s for sure, but they told us afterward that they just ran out of money. They couldn’t afford anything but this stupid puppet. But it was just terrible. I was never so embarrassed in my whole life.

    Favorite lines:

    THIS ISLAND EARTH can be yours if the Price is Right.
    Oh, look there’s Taurus the Bull…and right underneath it the constellation of Feces.
    Wow, that ringing. Now he knows what the world sounds like to Pete Townsend.
    Inserting the breakfast pastry…the secret government Eggo project…Oh my God, my waffle—oh, the humanity!
    “I beg your pardon Mr. Wilson, your camera will only pick up nothing but black fog.” Oh, it’s a Goldstar.
    So, the aliens live in Hooterville.
    Ah, there are two woodies in this scene.
    “Dr. Adams…Yes, Steve.” What’s this “and the rest crap”.
    [Dinner] Hey, Kreskin, quit hogging the bottle. Hey, Mao, try this–it’ll knock your socks off.
    Yeah, let’s slip away under cover of afternoon in the biggest car in the county.
    [Mutant] Leona Helmsley!
    Give Uncle Scrotor a hug!

    Final Thought: Universal cut way too much out of this movie. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.


  • 139
    Laura says:

    Ah yes, my “first time” with Mike Nelson. Up until then, I was only aware of Joel since my awareness of MST3K was on GTW Channel 48 (anyone who lives in the Philly area will know what I mean. I miss that channel.). Believe it or not, I did get to like Mike a little bit from The Movie. I did receive the old newsletters back then and actually recognized it when Gypsy was giving Mike the latest news feeds.

    I too wasn’t able to see this in theaters but I did rent it on VHS the first chance I got, and I also bought it on DVD. I really do enjoy it and do re-watch it whenever I get the chance. Since I was relatively new to MST3K, I didn’t get a lot of the gags until I saw the actual episodes. Like the scene when Mike was trying to extract the Hubble telescope he rammed into (shouldn’t he have been paying attention to where he was driving?). I had no clue what “Manos” was until I saw that episode.

    The movie itself, “This Island Earth”, has go to be one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen. Exactly who would give a fighter jet to a scientist? In the uncut version, was it ever established was to why Cal was given the plane? I’ve seen only parts of the original version over the years, but I personally don’t think it would’ve helped to understand it any better.

    Some of my favorite lines (not necessarily riffs)

    Crow: “Well, look at that! Breach hull, all die! Even had it underlined.” That still cracks me up.
    Servo (during movie): “When in California, be sure to visit beautiful, oh.” as “Washington D.C. comes up on the screen.
    Mike: “The lights from these credits originated well over several thousand years ago.”
    Cal commenting on plane: “One of the boys from Lockheed gave me this. Hope you taxpayers don’t mind.” SOL Crew: “We do!”
    “NORMAL VIEW!!!!:” (Do I really have to go there? Wink )
    Cal (can’t remember exactly what Exeter said beforehand): “That’s a fine line coming from you.”
    Exeter: “I learned it on your Earth.”
    Mike: “That’s one for Exeter. Ouch!”
    Gypsy when Mike asks for help after he crashes the SOL. “Uh uh! This is YOUR dish washing liquid! YOU soak in it!” Just seeing her get mad is still hilarious.


  • 140
    robot rump! says:

    one thing i learned from this movie was that jerking around like that can cause a flame out.
    i have foced myself to watch TIE all the way through and
    1. no way is it close to the original ‘Day the Earth Stood Still’
    2. there are many, many scenes that scream for riffing.


  • 141
    revlillo says:

    Sitting Duck (#137), here is your answer:

    After Dr. Meacham has arrived at the secret lab in Georgia and the scientists are having a dinner, a woman comments the music playing at the background by saying: “Mozartti on oikein kaunista.” This is Finnish and means “The music of Mozart is very beautiful.”

    After the dinner at the secret facility, what the German scientist says is: “Ladies and gentlemen, the meal was excellent, but after Mozart’s marvelous music I need to be alone with myself for a while. Good evening.”

    Courtesy IMDB trivia.


  • 142
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    I agree with Dan in WI re: maybe a Kickstarter campaign to enable either RT or CT do TIE over, in full. Who knows, maybe it’ll work.

    On the other hand, Shout’s recent successes in getting the rights to movies otherwise thought unavailable makes me more optimistic that they might be able to get this one. Let’s hope the Universal/Grammercy execs who made BBI jump through all those hoops have since moved on, so they can’t muck things up out of spite.

    Note to Sitting Duck (#137): That riff might refer to a line from the “Fawlty Towers” episode “The Builders”. When Polly says Basil was at fault for hiring the inept bunch from Mr. O’Reilly to fix the hotel, Basil sarcastically replies, “Well, I must be punished then, mustn’t I?” He then spanks himself, shouting, “You’re a naughty boy!”

    Now, where’s my bottle of water?


  • 143

    I went to a graduate writing program with Bix Skahill, the second assistant director (his name is riffed with “And his big band!” in the credits) Pretty nice guy, but he didn’t really like to talk about the experience of making the movie. Did a great Morrissey impression, though, almost on par with Mike’s in “City Limits”.


  • 144
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I eagerly awaited this on VHS since it never came to the small town I lived in at the time. I was then and am still disappointed with this movie. Not having Frank seemed strange right off the bat and the riffing, while generally good, wasn’t enough to even put this in my top 20 episode list. The host segments continued the season 6 slump of being not great. I might have had too high expectations but for this movie but I would only give it a C rating as an episode.
    The worse thing about the movie that we only just learned is the behind the scenes turmoil it caused which resulted in Joel leaving and I guess we don’t know if it played any part in Frank leaving as well. This movie helped ruin the show IMO and it wasn’t even that good.


  • 145
    schippers says:

    Regarding the whole “I’m a naughty boy” thing, doesn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that it’s probably just a bit of cheeky physical comedy and not actually a riff on anything? I mean, it’s not as though one would NEED to be inspired by obscure source material in order to think of, write, and then execute that bit, right?


  • 146
    schippers says:

    Four years after the last rotation, that theater where I first saw TIE is still standing here in Tucson, closed down and probably swarming with insects and vagrants. Pour one out for the old Cineplex Odeon on Campbell.


  • 147
    snowdog says:

    The movie never made it to a theater near me as far as I know, but I kept scanning the newspaper for a few weeks anyway, hoping for a miracle. Finally, I ended up taping it off of DirecTv pay-per-view. When the DVD was re-released a couple years ago, I bought an official copy.

    Yeah, it was over-edited and the riffing dumbed down somewhat, but I enjoyed most of it. The host segments struck me as funny.

    In light of Roger Ebert’s recent death, I’d like to recommend looking up Siskel and Ebert’s review of the film on You Tube if you haven’t seen it (and assuming it’s still there). Gene Siskel, in particular, found it clever and funny.


  • 148
    syferdet says:

    I remember seeing the movie at Princeton Market Fair, Princeton, NJ, so I was one of the lucky ones. The movie is so-so for me. I understand the desire to mainstream the show, but I believe it isn’t possible for MST. Not sure if I would have gone to the theater every year to see a new episode of the series. Disney’s considering a similar way of distributing Star Wars films and I have to question the idea.


  • 149
    Gary Bowden says:

    I never seen this in the theater,but would have liked to.I did like the movie and thought the riffs were good,but wished that the studio would’ve left it all up to MST3K and not interfere like they did.Paul Chaplin said in an interview “I wished we could’ve just released “Manos” instead” and I agree.Personally,if I had my druthers,I would have liked for them to choose a really bad monster movie or an Ed Wood movie like “Jailbait” or “Night of the Ghouls” instead.Plus,I would’ve liked for them to use the MST3K theme song,complete with Crow’s head bouncing on each word,like they used to do in old movies and cartoons..Even the host segments didn’t have that “homemade feel” like it does on tv,if that makes sense.Still,it’s a good effort.It’s not something I’d watch all the time,like I would any of the episodes,but it’s nice to have as a backup.I give a’s got a good beat and easy to dance to.


  • 150
    BEERxTaco says:

    The whole “I’m a naughty boy” business and hinder slapping is a direct reference to Fawlty Towers’ John Cleese. Pretty sure it was the episode called “The Builders”, but there are only 12 of them and I highly recommend watching them all! Also, the “just don’t mention the war” and “thank you God, thank you so bloody much!” are also Fawlty Tower references.


  • 151
    Richard R. says:

    In April 1996, I was living in NYC and a few days before MST3K:TM opened, Jim, Mike, Trace, and Kevin did an ACEG signing at a bookstore near NYU (hmm…that’s an awful lot of acronyms for one sentence…). When I discovered that the first 100 people in line–of which I was one–got free passes to the opening of the movie, well, that was the MSTie equivalent of winning the lottery! (My signed ACEG and the movie poster they gave us when we used the passes are two of my most cherished possessions.)

    The theater–I can’t recall exactly where it was; a multiplex around Third Ave and 3rd St., I think–was about 3/4 full. It had been my first “communal” MST experience and was a lot of fun. (Crow’s George Takei impressions seemed to get the biggest laughs.) I was maybe a tiny bit disappointed in the movie having been a fan of the show since 1992 (but I suppose that’s inevitable when one has such high expectations), but over the years I’ve found that it has improved on re-watching. The riffing is a bit sparser than a typical TV episode, but I did read somewhere–probably on this site–that that was intentional so as to allow for audience laughter. Indeed, in a crowded theater, I remember still sometimes missing dialogue or, worse, the next riff.

    I thought riffing on their own credits was inspired, and me and a friend have long been unable to watch the copyright notice on any film or TV show without repeating “All rights are reserved, Callahan” “What about the rights of that little girl?”

    Good times…


  • 152
    zeroninety says:

    *Mumbles* “Put you in the BITCH transformer!”


  • 153
    FS says:

    The FAQ needs to be updated – it says the movie is out of print on DVD, but it was re-released and is currently available.


  • 154
    schippers says:

    Mike does a pretty fair approximation of Rex Reason’s subwoofer vocal range.

    P.S., if you like Jeff Morrow and Rex Reason together (and why shouldn’t you, as they’re both great), then you owe it to yourself to watch The Creature Walks Among Us (second sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon). It’s too bad MST didn’t do that movie, as their treatment of Revenge of the Creature is great.


  • 155
    Depressing Aunt says:

    When I was a little kid, I saw a black-and-white picture of TIE’s mutant in some publication or other, and its appearance gave me the shivers. Seeing it in this context, though? Shiver-free.

    I guess my favorite riffs are Mike’s deadpan “Yum” during the waffle experiment, and Tom’s incredulous “Why?!” when Exeter explains the policy of hiring mutants as guards.


  • 156
    NanooNanoo600 says:

    I know its not an actual episode..but its still one of the funniest MST-3000’s ever!! made me a big fanSmile some of the best riffs ever!


  • 157
    Toyland Chairman says:

    @ “Many of the harshest reviews came from people who felt “This Island Earth” is “too good” to have been the subject of riffing.”

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it annoys the hell out of me when people bad mouth MST3K simply over the film they’re riffing. No film is immune to a riffing, though some have material better fit than others. Same can be said for Rifftrax. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is a classic, but also has one of my favorite Rifftrax commentaries.


  • 158
    Farmland says:

    Saw this at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, OR with my (then) brother-in-law. We were running a few minutes late and didn’t actually get there until Forrester was making Mike and the Bots kneel. It was an afternoon matinee with a decent-ish crowd; everybody seemed to enjoy it.

    As for the movie itself, it’s a watered down version of the show and the host segments are pretty ho-hum, but it’s still plenty watchable and I usually get a good chuckle when I replay it. Three stars.

    And I’m guessing that the PG-13 was for more the innuendos than the “sh**s” (“Oh, there are two Woodys in this scene!”)


  • 159
    Gorn Captain says:

    I feel very fortunate to have seen this in a theater with a friend back in the day. Found my ticket stub I had thought was forever lost a couple years back, and framed it. Over the years, I’ve gotten a copy of the movie on every video format it was released in. Even found a Laserdisc released in Hong Kong with Cantonese subtitles!

    I’ve noticed TIE turns up in a lot of old movies and tv shows. (Mostly Universal stuff of course.) There’s a surreal scene in a Galactica 1980 episode, where those pesky space scouts boo at Scrotor’s demise in a movie theater! Wink

    With Shout Factory licensing a lot of Universal product these days, would it be a good time to start asking nicely for a fully loaded special edition DVD and Blu Ray? Even if the cut footage can’t be restored to the film proper, there has to be a workprint stashed away somewhere. A commentary track from cast and crew would also be great, even if the lawyers won’t let them talk about Gramercy Pictures shenanigans…


  • 160
    trickymutha says:

    The movie is the gift that keeps on giving. We busted it out last Saturday night. It fits in great with any MST marathon- and, my goodness, my girlfriend loved seeing Tom Servo’s underwear collection.


  • 161
    Matty'O says:

    My biggest issue with the movie was how it so massively interfered with the ongoing series. I recall them saying they had to use the same budget they had allotted for the regular show, resulting in some cannibalization; hence why the season we got only had six or so episodes. it’s a shame they could get better financial backers for the movie alone and leave their normal budget intact so we could get a better Misty-fix that year.


  • 162
    Wetzelcoatl says:

    I absolutely love the movie, but boy do I wish they hadn’t cut TIE down so much.

    I used to watch my vhs of the movie pretty much every night when I was in junior high.


  • 163
    MSTJon says:

    Gorn Captain,

    FWIW, I’ve been writing to Rhino and now Shout! twice a year, saying that even if they couldn’t come up with the rights to do release a fully loaded version of this movie, I would happily give up a slot in an upcoming box set for just the supplemental features. There are the deleted scenes, I assume someone had to record the ConventioCon 2 panel on the flick, the full movie theme with vocals and probably some promotional appearances exist too. I’m still waiting to see every ep on DVD, but when the pickings get slim, this would be an awesome way to round out a set.

    Still never got much back that wasn’t a standard form letter.

    And I’m not sure how the rights would work out, but is there reason the guys couldn’t get the old live script together and release it through I’d be willing to pay substantially more for that riff so all of the Brains who contributed could get a piece of that action.

    Or just throw all of that on a super deluxe blu ray. I’m good either way.


  • 164
    gonzoisking says:

    I was lucky enough to see this twice in the theaters at a theater that no longer exists. It was set to be released on my birthday April 20th. I was so excited and was planning to go on my birthday. I was really disappointed when it wasn’t playing anywhere in the area. I stalked the papers for the next month until it finally showed up at a little out of the way independent theater. I was only 14 years old and already a huge fan of the show. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to even see the film in the theater until years later.


  • 165

    I was sixteen years old when MST:TM was released and since I grew up in nowheresville, (southern) Illinois there wasn’t a theater within 2 hours of us that would’ve showed it. My first experience with it was renting it on VHS a few months later. Thought it was okay (as others have stated on this thread) but over time I’ve come to appreciate it more. Compared to the series, it’s only an “okay, good-not-great” episode.

    The riffing is sparse on occasion and they go for a lot of “easy” jokes, but it is still pretty funny overall. The Host Segments aren’t very good and Dr. F seems lost without a sidekick. The shorter running time of The Movie might actually help, if it went on much longer I might of started tuning out or dozing off. This Island Earth is a pretty okay choice, it colorful and science-fictiony, but I personally would’ve chosen something else, maybe something by Corman (Attack of the Crab Monsters) or one of those Harryhasusen flicks, like Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or It Came from Beneath the Sea.

    Those movies I just mentioned I actually enjoy way more than This Island Earth, which is NOT A GOOD MOVIE as some keep trying to claim. The movie has pretty good special effects, I’ll can give it that much. Everything else though, crap crap crap crap. Cal is a terrible hero and the villains suck; the story, the plot, the pacing are all terrible as well. I’ve yet to hear a credible defense of this turkey other than the “special effects are cool!” —->(Admittedly, I’ve used that same line of defense for some movies, but TIE just doesn’t do it for me).

    I taped MST:TM off of Cinemax back when it premiered (in like, ’97 or something) and I had that tape for a long time. Just last year I bought the DVD at a local resale shop for $6, and at a different place I found a copy of The Movie in laserdisc form, which was pretty cool, for only $3 (not that I own or have ever seen a laserdisc player). Back in ’99, I bought the theatrical movie poster at a little comic shop in Indiana for, like, $7, and it was hung up in my room until I moved out of my parents house and then it was on the walls of the next 5 apartments and houses I live in while I went to college (I moved a lot in college…every year actually…is that normal?) and since then I’ve had it rolled up in a tube with a bunch of other movie posters that I haven’t hung up in years now….. I’m past the age where paper tacked to a wall makes for suitable home decorum, so I have a single (very nice and large) poster frame that I swap posters out of semi-frequently; thinking about it now, I might have to throw the MST:TM poster in sometime soon…


    (shot of Universal/International logo)
    Mike: “Doesn’t the fact that it’s universal, make it international? —–I think this every time I see the Universal/International logo.

    Crow: “Those decals are really hard to put on without ripping.” ——Anyone who played with GI-Joe’s growing up can attest to this..

    Crow: “Hey, you can see the Cubs losing.”

    Servo: “Early LSD tests in the AirForce.”

    Mike: “Eat at Joe’s. Eat at Joe’s. Eat at Joe’s.” ——CALLBACK to Being From Another Planet (#405)

    Crow: “Industry! Science and technology!”

    Mike: “We’re hickory curing them.”

    crotch shot of Cal,
    Servo: “Recognize me now, Ruth?”

    Crow: “Must feel like they’re inside a giant bong.”
    ALL: “Woooo!”

    Servo: “Hey they’re landing in Tommy Chong’s backyard.”

    the mutant gets it’s soft head beat on,
    Crow: “Ah! I’m very vulnerable there! Ah! There goes the piano lessons! Ah! I can’t remember my dad!” ———Any time I hit my head or fall down, I quote this, especially the dad part.

    Servo: “Cal and Exeter wake and bake everyday.”
    ALL: “Woooo!”

    One of my favorite things about MST: The Movie is the tagline: Every year Hollywood releases hundreds of movies. This is one of them.



  • 166
    Sitting Duck says:

    For the record, Crow altered the lyrics to It’s a Long Way to Tipperary somewhat. The segment he sang originally went like this:

    It’s a long way to Tipperary
    To the sweetest girl I know!
    Goodbye, Piccadilly,
    Farewell, Leicester Square!


  • 167
    jay says:

    I had been aware of the show, but it was The Movie that really got me into enjoying it. Even renting it and playing it for my parents (who aren’t into this kind of thing) had them laughing.

    I’ve owned both DVDs, and am very grateful for the captioning on the newer DVD. I wish Shout! would either do captions or remix the audio to make the dialog easier to hear.

    I’m also a fan of the uncut TIE. It’s not high-brow science fiction, but it’s one of the few movies from the series that I can watch and enjoy without the riffs.


  • 168
    ToolAssist says:

    I saw this movie in theaters and I remember the crowd, despite there only being around 16 people, were roaring with laughter throughout. Me? I think the movie is funny, but flawed. I own it on iTunes, and I’ve only seen it about three times, but I can’t really remember being that enthralled with it.

    But I still think the fact that I got to see it in theaters is amazing. I still feel extremely lucky to this day that I got to see MST3K on the big screen. Cool


  • 169
    ToolAssist says:

    Oh, and the sh*ts have nothing to do with the PG-13 rating. The MPAA rating is PG-13 for “some sexual humor” so in hindsight, the sbombs are really unnecessary.


  • 170
    pondoscp says:

    I enjoy the Movie. It’s breezy and fun, very lighthearted. Getting to see more of the ship was cool. I like that the Movie fills up my widescreen set! Kind of lets you know what MST3K would look like if if were still on, full HD and widescreen, yet the prints are still bad! I can’t wait for the US BluRay, and I hope with the recent Universal developments, maybe it’ll have the awesome deleted host segment and alternate ending.

    And if you haven’t seen the deleted host segment and alternate ending, please seek it out. It’s on youtube, or it was the last time I looked. All MST fans deserve to see Dr. F tempt Tom Servo to go to the dark side! Man, they should have left that in!


  • 171
    KidFlash25 says:

    I’d love to say the film made it to Rochester, NY in the spring of ’96, but it didn’t. (I haven’t doublechecked, but if it did, it played the local arthouse and that was it. I do recall seeing the Kids in the Hall movie in a theatre Easter week, as that got the same sort of platform release MST3k did. Had a local theatre picked up both, my brother and I would have insisted on a double feature.) I can’t remember where I heard about the film first, but I have a NY Times ad in a scrapbook somewhere.

    In any case, only just saw the film for the first time last year. Don’t have a DVD, but would happily spring for a release with all the trimmings, Blu or otherwise.


  • 172
    zxvc says:

    on the subject of the CC thing, I’m pretty sure that could be done with one of the easy to code subtitle formats, like .ass or .srt
    seems like it would just be tedious work you would want to crowdsource and would need a lot of extra eyes over it to make sure you didn’t bork jokes


  • 173
    Cornjob says:

    “Hmmm. Breach hull. All die. Even had it underlined.”


  • 174
    Cornjob says:

    Was Brack a fan of Norwegian Brack Metal?


  • 175
    Sitting Duck says:

    Some of you may have heard of the Bechdel Test. What it does is measure feminine presence in a movie by determining if two female characters talk about something other than a male. A while back, I applied this test to the movies in the MST3K episodes I had at the time (I’ll get around to updating it eventually), and the results were a bit unexpected. Even more interesting are the ratios when you break it down by decade, as the earlier ones as a group do better than the more recent ones.

    So how well did This Island Earth do? It passed, but it was a squeaker. The critical moment comes when Ruth and Dr. Pritchner exchange greetings.


  • 176

    My high school yearbook senior quote was “I calculated the odds of this succeeding verses the odds that I was doing something incredibly stupid . . . and I went ahead anyways.” While my classmates look back and lament their Semisonic lyrics with shame (as well they SHOULD) I am proud to say I STILL live by that motto.


  • 177
    Kali says:

    So, when Coleman Francis, playing the delivery man, says (thanks to Mike) “Sort this, sort that, I’ll make them all pay!” I guess he did – after all, the fans love MST’s trashing of the Francis oeuvre than many do This Island Earth.

    Now if we could only convince Universal to get the special edition Blu-Ray of the Movie. After all, it’s probably the only MST program that could conceivably work on Blu-Ray.

    Still, The Movie is not all bad, though the uncut version would have provided a lot of riffs. Take the cat (please!). He’s called Neutron, remember, “because he’s so positive,” says Ruth in the uncut version. Um, Ruth, I know you’re a skyintist and all, but neutrons are neutral. That’s why they’re called neutrons. POSITRONS are positive. The Brains would have had a field day.

    Actually, neither Ruth nor Cal come across as particularly effective scientists, although Cal isn’t quite as obtuse as the Brains play him.

    The movie itself is a missed opportunity. We don’t even get to meet the Zahgons – we aren’t even allowed to take sides. Maybe the Metalunans were monstrous killers (they did destroy the earth complex when the Monitor ordered Exeter home). The Zahgons may have wanted to destroy the evil socialists of Metaluna. Or free the Mew-Tants. Who knows? We’re not even allowed to ask the question.

    Maybe This Island Earth was justifiably riffed after all – but, dang, Universal, you own the rights to the movie. You should have let the Brains riff the whole thing. You would have gained thousands of new fans wondering why the special edition of This Island Earth with commentary still hasn’t been released…

    If Grammercy only had enough money (and faith) to release the Boob Fest instead of MST The Movie, you have to wonder about the thought processes of its executives. No, never mind, I really don’t want to know…


  • 178
    Kali says:

    SERVO: “Okay, let’s see, Shatner, Shatner, looks like he’s not in this one – we’re safe!”

    “Captain’s Log. A bunch of our ship fell off and nobody likes me…”

    “Do you want me to talk any more like George Takei, Mike? As you wish, Captain, as you wish!” (yeah, I know, but the Trekkie in me loved that one…)

    When Steve (Russell Johnson) approaches:
    MIKE: “What’s this ‘And the Rest’ crap?”

    “Recognize me now, Ruth?”

    “I’m your pilot, Claude Rains, your co-pilot, Harvey the Rabbit.”

    “I’m not an alien!!”

    “The Secret Government Eggo Project.”

    CAL: “There’s three thousand four hundred eighty six parts in here.”
    CROW: [CRACK] Four eighty five, sir…”

    Oh, and guys, no “Dr. Ruth” gags? And you managed to the “Woody” joke in there? For shame, for shame… Smile


  • 179
    Happenstance says:

    The running time of the movie is shorter than an episode even with the commercials cut out. That’s my only beef with it. (Well, that and the dragged-out weakness of the end seg.)

    “This Island Earth” is NOT a good movie. It pretends to be “deep” (and I suppose being even vaguely anti-war was dangerous back then) but it features a clumsy giant bug with unwieldy claws that wears buttoned slacks, and that’s the end of the discussion because I don’t want to imagine a dent-headed female being forced to dress (or change) him every morning.

    As is not uncommon for MST3K, a lot more of the riffs are reacting to events within the movie than commenting on the movie itself, and the riffs actually dinging the movie’s quality are all fully justified. So shut up, fanboys.

    I’d love to see the movie’s Deleted Scenes (hopefully they’re still on YouTube) in DVD quality someday. They are hilarious.


  • 180
    Rich says:

    I missed Frank early and often. I’m sure a person new to the show wouldn’t notice or care. It might have been useful to attract new fans, but as others have said it seemed way too short, and on balance strikes me as a mediocre MST3k with an amazing budget.


  • 181
    matt says:

    I love that because its the movie not “just a show” Gypsy informs Mike about the oxygen levels on the ship and the lamb roast in the oven. now we know how he eats and breathes!


  • 182
    schippers says:

    You know, I just thought of a question that has long questioned me. Just as TIE begins and we’re still seeing the Universal globe spinning on its axis, Mike says, “Notice how big Japan is?” which the robots seem to find amusing.

    Can someone explain the joke there? Is it a reference to something? Or is Japan unrealistically large or small on the globe?


  • 183
    Fred Burroughs says:

    BTW, speaking of knowing the German dialogue: when Servo speaks German he is saying ‘we want to rent a car,’ another line lifted from Fawlty Towers, probably the Germans episode. Unless I’m in wrong MST episode.

    About TIE, I know the film is chopped up, but I dont get the whole sub-plot about Ruth and Cal having a past. He seems sure, she demurely brushes him off, he keeps hammering her about it, she seems to accept it later. WHY! 1st: Did they really have a fling? 2nd: Why did Ruth pretend to not remember,did she know she was being monitored? 3rd: What difference does it make to the plot anyway, just a cheap way of providing a romance for the leading man, without showing any of it? IN the end , I find myself not caring (Ruth is cute though).

    And Exeter was great in “The Robe” as the tough centurion who tries to track down Richard Burton. I’m pretty sure it won Best Picture that year.


  • 184
    TheDON3k says:

    Come in, Dr Meacham. Sit down. You’re being kidnapped by the Lite-FM

    Put me on intermittent, Joe


  • 185
    schippers says:

    Fred Burroughs: The unedited cut of the movie makes SLIGHTLY MORE sense as to why Ruth is playing coy with Meacham. Yes, they really did have a fling. Now, my memory is a little hazy, but I seem to recall that she wanted to avoid seeming, uh, emotional around Meacham so as to make the aliens think she was either (1) one of them, since the edited print vastly plays down the fact that the aliens have been mind-scrubbing almost all of the scientists working at the compound, although I don’t understand how she could fool the aliens, since wouldn’t they have kept records of who they had mind scrubbed?; , or (2) make them think she was reliable or something? I dunno, I guess I don’t geddit after all.

    But to answer your main question, #3, it really doesn’t make much of a diff to the plot, that I can say for sure. They could just as well have never met, plot wise.

    And yes, Ruth is cute.