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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode Guide: 406- Attack of the Giant Leeches (with short: ‘Undersea Kingdom’–Episode 1)

Short: (1936) In part one (“Beneath the Ocean Floor”) of a serial, a submarine expedition to Atlantis discovers a hostile kingdom.
Movie: (1959) Folks begin vanishing near a Florida swamp, and a game warden discovers the culprits are mutant leeches.

First shown: 7/18/92
Opening: Joel manages to shut off the holo-clowns
Invention exchange: The Mads introduce Patches the leech, while J&tB present the insty-adolescence kit
Host segment 1: J&tB discuss taking over the world and what you’d wear to do it
Host segment 2: J&tB chat about dreams over coffee
Host segment 3: J&tB sing: “Danger to Myself And Others”
End: J&tB try to understanding the leeches, Joel reads a letter; meanwhile in Deep 13, Patches has been on Frank too long
Stinger: Billy gets into it.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (230 votes, average: 4.38 out of 5)

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• Plenty of fun here, in an episode that is deservedly a fan favorite. Most of the host segments are great and the riffing is terrific. A great all-around episode.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 6.”
• Part two of the holo-clowns bit is classic MST3K: “Get on your orange and yellow knees and kiss my clown feet that I haven’t killed you!!!” That bit may be a true litmus test of MSTiedom. If you don’t think it’s hilarious, you really shouldn’t bother with this show.
• Joel says he started up the holoclowns “about three weeks ago.” Actually it was two weeks since the previous episode aired.
• Dr. F is reading “Putting the One-Minute Manager to Work” (the edition he’s reading is now out of print but a new edition was published in 2006 ) while Frank is reading “Working with Difficult People.” Again, that edition is rare since an updated edition came out in 2002.
• That’s Kevin, of course, as the giant leech. That bit gave us another great moment in the poopie tape: “Is it my sucking you?” By the way, doctors have in fact found useful medical applications for leeches.
• Yay! The first short of season 4 and the first in 10 episodes. By the way, “Undersea Kingdom,” made in 1936, is the oldest thing (movie or short) MST3K ever riffed on.
• Joel feels “blindsided” because the Mads fail to mention the short before “movie sign.”
• Then-still-somewhat-current reference: Mayor Dinkins. Remember him?
• Tom Servo attempts a complicated joke that sort of misfires and Joel responds: “That’s a Swiss army joke.”
• For the third episode running, the song “Hot Child in the City” is referenced.
• This movie has a pretty much classic Corman cast, including Bruno VeSota, Michael Emmet, Russ Sturlin and Gene Roth. Suprisingly, no Merritt Stone.
• Servo’s coffee head is a nice touch, and the best part is that nobody even really mentions it. It’s just kinda there and nobody thinks much of it.
• Joel pours some cream for Gypsy and she interrupts him to say “when” and that seems to amuse Joel.
• Movie comment: Our cuckolded store keeper Dave clearly has a double-barreled shotgun. Now I’m no firearms expert, but I believe such a weapon, assuming it is fully loaded, has the capability of firing (at the most) twice before the user has to reload, correct? And in fact, we do see Dave reload, placing a shell in each barrel. But that’s after we’ve heard him fire at least four shots. And after he reloads, he fires another four shots before backing Liz and her paramour into the lake. Now it’s possible he reloaded off-camera, but if I was Liz’s boyfriend, I wouldn’t shrink in fear of that obviously empty gun.
• Sexy Liz is played by Yvette Vickers, who met a very sad end.
• The exterior swamp shots were done at the Arboretum in Arcadia, Calif., where shots for TV’s “Fantasy Island” were done years later.
• Some of the cast were almost electrocuted on thee set when a water tank full of actors collapsed.
• Joel quietly hums a line of the upcoming song in the theater.
• Lots of characters are humming internal songs in this episode. I remember this being one of my favorite kinds of riff for a while.
• “A Danger to Mahself and Others” is one of the truly great MST3K original songs. Joel and Mike share the writing credit, by the way. My only complaint is that they taped a pipe to Tom’s lower lip and we can hear it bonking loudly against his torso during the song. Very distracting.
• Tom Servo’s head practically FLIES off as they leave the theater for the last time. They cover beautifully.
• Cast and crew roundup (it’s Corman, so strap in): Gene Corman, Roger’s brother, produced both MSTed films which Bernard L. Kowalski directed: “Attack of the Giant Leeches and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Scriptwriter Leo Gordon appears as an actor in “Kitten With A Whip.” Cinematographer John Nicholaus also worked on “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Editor Carlo Lodato also worked on “High School Big Shot.” Costumer Ross Sturlin (who also acts here) also worked on “Teenage Caveman” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Costumer Ed Nelson also worked on “Superdome” and “Riding with Death.” Production manager Jack Bohrer worked on “Night of the Blood Beast” and was assistant director on “Teenage Caveman” and “Viking Women.” Art director Dan Haller also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” Prop man Richard Rubin also worked on “Bloodlust.” Sound guy Al Overton worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “The Phantom Planet” and “The Screaming Skull.” Score composer Alexander Laszlo also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast,” “Manhunt in Space” and “Crash of Moons.”
In front of the camera, Ken Clark also appears in “12 to the Moon.” Michael Emmet also appears in “Night of the Blood Beast” and “Untamed Youth.” Bruno VeSota also appears in “Gunslinger,” “Daddy-O,” “The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman” and “The Undead.” Gene Roth also appears in “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Tormented” and “The Rebel Set.” Tyler McVey also appears in “Night of the Blood Beast.” George “doughy guy” Cisar also appears in “Teen-Age Crime Wave.” Ross Sturlin also appears in “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Joseph Hamilton also appears in “Teenage Caveman.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from the short: “This looks like a fine place to set down my pasty white bottom.” Honorable mention: “How come they all turned when he said ‘Dad’?”
• Fave riff: “…or someone might stab you in your sleep…” Honorable mention: “Looks like the cave of Dr. Calamari.”

114 Replies to “Episode Guide: 406- Attack of the Giant Leeches (with short: ‘Undersea Kingdom’–Episode 1)”

  1. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Still can’t get over the very obvious cop-a-feel moment of the short…it surprises me every time.

    This was not by any means the worst movie they ever did. Bruno Vesota was very good as Dave, I liked the actor who played Doc Grayson, and Yvette Vickers was pretty decent as Liz. But the Steve Benton character was intensely annoying. The worst, most Corman-y moment was when Steve hears Liz screaming, runs up to her with his gun drawn, and then holds her, with the gun pointing at her face while he gazes at the dead guy. It’s such a “hey, look, here’s the movie poster picture!” shot, it makes me cringe every time I see it. Yech.

    “Hurry, Diannnne!”

       3 likes

  2. JBagels says:

    Mr. Dinkins won’t you please be my mayor?

    This isn’t one of my favorites but still a good episode, particularly the song and of course the Holo clowns. I was never a fan of the ancient sci-fi serial shorts even though they’re kind of a staple of the Joel years. Radar men from the moon begat Phantom Creeps which begat Undersea Kingdom. They’re kind of boring after a while though.

       2 likes

  3. Charles says:

    #27, I think the one big difference is that Crash is no Adam Chance. With Adam Chance in Agent For H.A.R.M., you were just waiting for him to do something sleazy like that with the female lead. Crash’s action can be easily ignored as possibly inadvertent.

    #33, And yeah, Liz’s death at the end (although it was suggested because it wasn’t clear one way or the other) was a real bring-down. You mention that it would be cheerier for a 50s audience to have her survive, but that’s also overlooking the unwritten moral code of 50s movies that states that since Liz was an unabashed adulteress, she needed to die as punishment.

    Anyway, this one was absolutely drenched with the Corman dreariness that infected every film they did that he had a hand in. That’s why it’s not one of my favorites. Still, it has its moments.

       3 likes

  4. Insect Man #47 says:

    #50 – I don’t know if He likes her coffee, but she certainly got enough practice making it in the movie, eh?

       2 likes

  5. Neptune Man says:

    Maybe she died because the scriptwriter thought it would be clever, or a better resolution, I can’t figure some guy in front of a typewriter saying to himself: “Golly, I’m a man from the 50’s, I’m gonna kill this woman in name of some vague values people from 2010 think we had.”

       1 likes

  6. eegah says:

    This sentence confuses me:

    “Some of the cast were almost electrocuted on thee set when a water tank full of actors collapsed”

    A water tank full of actors collapsed??? Why did they put actors in a water tank and how does one get electrocuted from that?

       0 likes

  7. JLH says:

    I remember that “Space Travellers” repeated between this ep and last. What was nice was they aired the promo for this one a few times during the repeat of 401 (featuring the gang in their “Danger to Myself and Others” get-ups).

       1 likes

  8. eegah says:

    Ok, I think I get it now (see #56). The water tank that they were filming in burst and flooded the studio which, according to another website, would have electrocuted them all if not for a “quick thinking tech.”

       1 likes

  9. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Great episode all around. From little Billy’s episodes to blastin’ some big ol’ leeches.

    Favorite Line: “HURRY DIANA!”
    Favorite Riff: “Only half a cup? Don’t I like my coffee?”

       1 likes

  10. Fred Burroughs says:

    I too like all the coffee riffs, it’s a pretty lame although harmless way to continue the scene, advance the plot, and smooth over family tensions. Many women did in fact communicate exclusively through coffee. And the lead in Leeches really is a jerk. He lives by the book, and a darn good game warden a-la-Mark Trail, but while he’s protecting the Snail Darter, giant mutant leeches are using the townsfolk as semi-coma horsdoeuvres. And though they discover the mystery that the missing folks are still alive, they fail to save a single one. Thanks a lot.

       1 likes

  11. pondoscp says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_ywWY9dTog&list=UUOTnf28INDFoLNZneX4A-dg&index=64&feature=plcp

    The promo for this episode. Hilarious! This is a truly classic episode.

       2 likes

  12. Stressfactor says:

    @ #55,

    No, it was actually common in a lot of movies from the early days on up to the 1960’s.

    You had “the Bad Girl” and the “Bad Girl” character was often juxtaposed with the “Good Girl”.

    The “Bad Girl” was never allowed to “get the guy” and usually either ended up meeting a gruesome fate or else was allowed to “redeem herself” with a “heroic death” sacrificing herself for the good of others or else she was “redeemed” and allowed to live in order to complete her redemptive transformation.

    Liz is the typical “bad girl” character — she’s insolent/disobedient to her husband, she dresses and acts provicatively — i.e. she’s a “vamp”, or “tramp” — and she does actively cheat on her husband… and it’s hinted that she’s done this more than once.

    Oh, and from her talk about her first husband we, the audience, learn that she wasn’t very devoted to him either AND that she tends to pick not-very-good-guys to marry which could also be interpreted as a moral failing.

    Really, the person I felt the most sympathy for is Dave. He really didn’t kill Cal or Liz, he feared being railroaded by the justice system and he killed himself. And really, he ended up killing himself over nothing because he would have been exonerated when the giant leeches were discovered. Sure, he lost his head with the whole ‘chasing them through the swamp thing’ but really, if he HAD meant to kill them he had ample opportunity at a range where even a blind person could have shot them.

    But I’ve often thought about doing some kind of study into the portrayals of women in 1950’s sci-fi movies looking at the who-lives-and-who-dies ratio.

    Someone elsewhere once pointed out that Will Smith’s girlfriend in “Independence Day” actually breaks the mold because she fits many of the attributes of 1950’s “Bad Girl” character — she has a child out of wedlock, she’s a single mother, and she’s a stripper — yet she survives and she’s actually a heroic character.

       8 likes

  13. EricJ says:

    @43 – This movie was coupled with a short (the first episode of Undersea Kingdom). Favorite lines:
    I’m assuming Ep. 1 was the one that had
    (Armed boiler-tank robots): “I’m a lit-tle tea-pot, short and stout/Here is my han-dle, here is my…gun/One is for shoot-ing, and one is for fun.”

    Although thought the character humming “Oh, I’m a danger to myself and others…” was funnier in the movie before we knew it was plugging a host seg–
    Just seemed like the perfect heckling riff for the movie, eg. “Oh, here I am, a nameless colorful extra strolling off to my doom, la de dum…”

       0 likes

  14. Professor Gunther says:

    It’s all been said, and said very well, but I want to quote one of my favourite lines (from Joel):

    “That’s where my daddy met my pappy.” That one gets me every time.

    Great, great episode.

       2 likes

  15. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Is it a measure of how mediocre the feature is when the stinger is taken from the short? Or am I reading too much into that?

    This wasn’t one of my favourites–apart from Yvette Vickers, there wasn’t much to look at in the feature, and for a 62 minute film it sure dragged–I notice that when Servo says “We’re getting to the slow part of the movie” (or words to that effect) there actually was about a minute of barking dogs cut out (if you really want, you can watch the Internet Archive complete version). The stuff in the store at the beginning was the best part, and maybe the part where Dave chases Liz and Cal throught the swamp. The riffs were OK, but nothing spectacular. I think the Corman formula was beginning to wear thin–apart from the novelty of the hillbilly setting, they didn’t have much to inspire them.

    That being said: the holo-clown bit was magnificent, as was the “Danger to Ourselves and Others” song–anyone know why this wasn’t included in the Clowns in the Sky collection?

       1 likes

  16. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Oh yeah, and has anyone else commented on the the little Billy doll that Crow carries with him throughout the episode? Billy obviously made the biggest impression here (I guess carrying an Yvette Vickers doll would have seemed a little creepy).

       1 likes

  17. Charles says:

    @55.

    Heh, I don’t even know where to begin. I take it you’ve never heard of the Hays Code, which essentially governed what could and could not appear in American movies from 1934 to the 60s. The Code explicitly stated that adultery could only be portrayed negatively. No one could commit adultery and emerge unscathed. They had to be “punished”. And let’s not even get into the discussion about how adulteresses were held in even greater contempt than adulterers. Look up the Hays Code sometime, it’s a remarkable piece of cultural history.

    But the most amusing thing is that it hardly even matters! I can’t accept your assertion because there’s nothing “clever” or “better” about Liz’s resolution. She floats up to the surface of the swamp, gets pulled out of the water, limp and unresponsive, and is promptly NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. I can only conclude that she’s dead because if she was still alive but unconscious, the other characters would have to be more concerned about her and getting her medical attention. (Although maybe not, and if they weren’t, why might *THAT* be?) Even if she’s dead, they were appallingly callous by completely ignoring her. There was nothing there at all!

    Seriously though. How can you watch all of these American 1950s MST3k movies and NOT notice a certain morality to all of them. Do you really think that was just a coincidence?

       7 likes

  18. jjb3k says:

    This episode has what may be one of the darkest riffs they ever did. In the “Undersea Kingdom” short (which, mind you, had been released 56 years prior), over a huge sweeping shot of a packed football stadium, Joel just casually says “You know, all these people are dead now.” Rough, but the way Joel says it makes me laugh every time.

    After my Essentials DVD, I bought Volume 6, so this was the third Joel episode I ever saw. It does have a creepy fever dream-ish quality to it – one of those episodes I prefer to watch at night because of its eerie atmosphere. Such a dark movie with murderous leeches and cheatin’ wives and Bruno VeSota hangin’ himself…but at least there’s jovial Gene Roth and his breakfast beans.

       2 likes

  19. Stressfactor says:

    @ #67,

    I’ve heard of the Hays Code but I’ve not studied it extensively — I’ve spent more time studying the CCA (Comics Code Authority) — which was a later but similar thing for comic books — but which focused as much on violence as on sex.

    And as for Liz’s callus treatment in the film — keep in mind, this is a Corman production we’re talking about here…. when does anyone really seem to care about anybody in those things? Even Steve and his girlfriend here have zero chemistry and don’t do much that make them seem like they care about each other. Also, if you look in the background of the scene where Steve and his friend make it to shore two men do pull Liz’s body out of the boat and you do see someone drape a blanket over it. But really, the problem is the film doesn’t have any epilogue to pull the whole thing together. There’s no Peter Graves style speech, there’s no capper on the whole thing. It’s just a weird ending. They blow up the leeches and then just…. walk off. The first time I saw it I was like… “That’s the end?! REALLY?!” Talk about your low key ending. If the script had been halfway decent they would have said something about all the deaths and the strangeness of the leeches and maybe wondering what else might be out there.

    But then again, if the script had been halfway decent they wouldn’t have riffed the movie.

       1 likes

  20. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This is another solid Season 4 outing. As mentioned, the holoclowns opening is classic, Joel’s line about “tasting metal” kills me. All the Host Segments are good, funny stuff, the Invention Exchange is serviceable on the Mads side (really it just sets up Kevin’s appearance in the final part as the large leech) and J&TB’s Insty-Adolescent Kit contains lots of neat gags, I like the series of reply cards, such as “You guys are so phoney!”

    The Undersea Kingdom serial is vastly superior to the Commando Cody & the Radar Men from Season 1 (and The Phantom Creeps from S2), at least in my opinion. Little Billy running around going, “HURRY DIANA!” and those water cooler robots. . .classic. The “Hurry Diana” line is something a friend and I used to quote often, usually when one of us was trying to hurry.

    other quotes from Undersea Kingdom:

    -shot of a goat at the football game,
    Crow: “I am the God of Hellfire!”

    Joel: “They bomb horses, don’t they?” —classic movie reference.

    Joel: “This looks like a fine place to sit down my pasty white bottom.” —I’m going to say this all the time now!

    Joel: “Fisher. .fisher. . fisher. .” —I have no idea what this refers to, but my friend and I used to quote this all the time too. The way Joel says it is just creepy.

    Crow: “Oh I hate when they talk during the movie. .”
    Servo: “Huh?”
    Crow: “Oh. . .”

    Joel: “GE, we bring good things to death.”


    Servo: “Oh no they’re shooting hot dogs at them!”
    Crow: “Oh, hold the mustard on that one.”
    Joel: “Admiral, deploy the cheddarwurst.”

    As for ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, this is some Corman crap right here. I know it’s GENE Corman, but still. . . .the icky Southernness of this one (much like SQUIRM) is oppressive. Were there any scares or anything happening at all in this movie? No? I didn’t think so..


    RIFFS and THINGS:

    Servo: “It’s a Hee-Haw writing session.”

    Crow: “Joel, i though underwear was supposed to match?” –Joel doesn’t answer, too busy looking at Yvette Vickers.

    Joel: “He’s a mess. A chocolate mess.” —-Another quotable!

    Joel: “What is she on her lunch break from Wendy’s?” —This is a response to what Jan Shepard is wearing, which to people not familiar with early 90’s Wendy’s fashion might not get.

    Crow: “We now return to Fat Guy Goes Nutzo, a Troma presentation.”

    Crow: “Swamp Blanket Bingo.”

    Joel: “He’s loading his gun with tootsie rolls!”

    Joel: “Look at all the weed, where are they, Tommy Chong’s backyard?”

    Servo: “Oh look, it’s Jim Henson’s Cracker Babies.”

    Joel: “EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL!!”


    This episode would make a great double feature with ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES.

    As much as I like this one, it doesn’t quite make it to 5 star level for me,
    but I would still call it a great episode,
    4/5

       7 likes

  21. Matthew Shine says:

    I love Undersea Kingdom(FOR YOU AND FOR ME AND IT’S FUN!), the Holoclowns and “Danger To Ourselves And Others” but the feature film just leaves me cold. It’s too…dull. I love the other Corman episodes but this one…eh. On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing the big buttery nightclub owner/drug pusher from Daddy-O again.

    Between this, Night Of The Blood Beast and Attack Of The Crab Monsters, how did Corman ever get a lifetime acheivement award in film?

       2 likes

  22. lancecorbain says:

    Sampo’s Theorem definitely applies for this one, it puts me out every time. I get as far as the big lug in Undersea Kingdom swinging on the rings, usually, or maybe as far as the fat guy getting ribbed by the yokels in the general store for having a hot wife. And then my body puts me to sleep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one through, which makes me sad, as I’ve probably missed some good jokes, but sleep is nice too. Not everything is for everybody, there are MST episodes that I LOVE that I’m sure everyone else hates.

       3 likes

  23. Stressfactor says:

    @ #71:

    “How did Corman ever get a lifetime acheivement award in film?”

    Sometimes it’s quantity over quality.

       1 likes

  24. Cornjob says:

    “Maybe it’s the rocket fuel you’ve been drinking.”

    I agree that Liz is really hot. I prefer demure ladies like Betty from Teenagers from Outer Space and Kendra from Phase 4, but I don’t think I’d mind being stranded on a desert island with her. As long as Dave and the leaches didn’t try to kill me whenever I get near her.

    I agree that Liz’s death at the end seemed like a pointless bummer. Was she killed by leaches or the dynamite anyway.

    Weird surreal movie. Top notch riffing. And a great performance by Bruno Vesota. Poor Dave.

    “Bow down son of Jor-El, bow down!”

       2 likes

  25. ck says:

    Charles, #67

    “the Hays Code, which essentially governed what could and could not appear in American movies from 1934 to the 60s. The Code explicitly stated that adultery could only be portrayed negatively. No one could commit adultery and emerge unscathed. They had to be “punished”. And let’s not even get into the discussion about how adulteresses were held in even greater contempt than adulterers. Look up the Hays Code sometime, it’s a remarkable piece of cultural history.”
    =========================================================
    Good point about the Hays Code. So how about an ending with redemption?

    Liz is taken to a hospital to recover. Cut to hospital. Ranger Rick (Ken) is altruistically
    concerned about her health. While they are platonically hugging Jan shows up with coffee for
    everyone, takes offense and calls their tepid dating off.
    Last scene, Ranger Rick and Liz are married as Ken revives from his caffeine highs.

    What do you think, sirs? :)

    Oh, and if Corman wants a sequel it could start with Jan meeting Ken in a lighthouse and
    falling to her death while chanting “Ken Clark killed me. Ken Clark killed me.”

       1 likes

  26. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Charles (re: #67):

    I’m not convinced that Liz’s death is there to satisfy the Hays Code. To begin with, this is an AIP picture we’re talking about, and my understanding is that AIP, while not free of the code entirely, certainly wouldn’t have been too concerned with following it as closely as you suggest (i.e. having an adulterous character punished by killing her off). I also think that by 1959 the code was on its last legs, and even big studios were beginning to challenge some of its sillier rules. Note the fact that Dave, an innocent victim, is shown having hanged himself (remember that, at this time, suicide was still considered a mortal sin in the Catholic church)–something that I’m sure the Hays Office in its heyday would have objected to. But the biggest argument against Liz’s death (if, in fact, she really is dead) being Hays-induced is that there’s no specific connection between her death and her extra-curricular activites. If they wanted to make a point of it, they might have had her live, or at least live long enough, to be told that Dave is dead, that it’s her fault, and have her break down in remorse–maybe even have the news itself finish her off. I just can’t see that level of moralising in an AIP film. I honestly don’t know why Liz is kept alive as long as she is, except perhaps to keep the audience in some kind of suspense. I actually thought the other three guys were killed by Dr Dad’s dynamite blast (they seem to throw themselves into the water, a bit like the girl in “Creeping Terror” who crawls into the monster’s mouth)–and the script had to tell us otherwise. As you say, there’s not even much concern for Liz once she’s pulled into the boat (they do make sure to give us a solid closeup of her in a wet dress). Note the guy who has to jump into the water to retrieve the boat floating back into the middle of the tank–er–lake. It’s as if they just wanted to finish the picture and go home. As Stressfactor says, if the script had been decent we wouldn’t be watching it on MST.

       1 likes

  27. Sitting Duck says:

    @#73: Keep in mind that MST3K used Corman’s weaker films, and he’s actually done some fairly decent stuff. His Poe adaptations are held in comparatively high regard, and Death Race 2000 is darkly hilarious.

       5 likes

  28. JBagels says:

    There’s a new documentary out about Corman that I’d like to see. I wonder if they’ll dwell on his crappier movies such as this or mention the attention he got thanks to MST3k. The review I read mentioned a lot of quotes from famous directors and actors like Scorsese and Robert Redford all praising him (sort of). I think Scorsese’s quote was about how quickly he worked.

       1 likes

  29. EricJ says:

    @77 – True, although it depends on the screenwriter (Richard Matheson, Charles B. Griffith), the Corman who directed “Masque of the Red Death” is NOT the same Corman who directed “Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent”, and you can throw “Bucket of Blood” on the cool-Corman pile as well. :)
    Ahem, SOMEONE on the Brains’ riff-trust was a little heavy on the default trademark blame-the-director name-bullying riffs…Although can’t help that the show’s acquisition department got stuck with most of his cheesy titles that fell into public domain for free.

    If you listen to the director commentary on the Poe DVD’s or “Man With the X-Ray Eyes”, Corman comes off as a fairly smart cookie, who knew he was allowed free artistic reign, so long as he could deliver the picture to the studio heads on time and at least deliver something the poster promised.

       1 likes

  30. Mr. M. says:

    “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”

    “Yeah…CREST!”

       1 likes

  31. JCC says:

    “Ahem, SOMEONE on the Brains’ riff-trust was a little heavy on the default trademark blame-the-director name-bullying riffs…”

    =========================================
    I’m going to blame Colleen Henjum- Williams just for fun and because no one can prove otherwise.

       8 likes

  32. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Adulterers?
    Hays Code?

    C’mon guys, it’s just a show, you should really just relax.. ;-)

       3 likes

  33. Neptune Man says:

    #Giant Leeches, man, serious business.
    Just one more thing, how many of you hate Corman just because he was featured in MST3K? He has some good movies, the Poe inspired one, but also X, the Man with the X Rays, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Little Shop of Horrors, A Bucket of Blood (I don’t remeber if he produced it or directed it), Monster form the Ocean Floor, Steel Magnolias…Oh, wait…

       0 likes

  34. DerekJ says:

    Typical of the Colleen Henjum-Williams era. Take a mediocre at worst director and drag their name into the ground like the bullies they are. Compare it to the Jann Johnson era when there was still an innocence to the proceedings, not “let’s beat up on all the awful directors because we’re so cool” just like the jocks in high school. I’ll be back with more Henjum-Williams hating on every post no matter if it’s related or not.

       13 likes

  35. Neptune Man says:

    Jann Johnson rules, Henjun Williams drool.

       3 likes

  36. EricJ says:

    @83 – And might as well throw in “The Undead”, which, in Corman-buff circles, is actually considered a fairly darn good movie by Charles B. Griffiths standards…If it were not that we were “supposed” to hate it because it was riffed (and public domain), of course.
    Leeches, however, was a snorefest of Viking Women proportions.

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  37. Sorry, no sale. Apart from Death Race 2000, I’ve never seen a Corman movie I thoughr was worth the eye-effort, and that includes the Poe movies.
    And you’d have to go a long way to convince me that the good things in DR2K couldn’t have come from Paul Bartel.

       4 likes

  38. Jimmy Doorlocks says:

    I watched this episode recently and realized that both this movie and “Blood Beast” have that spastic Alexander Laszlo title theme. It reminded me of how “Robot Holocaust” and “Laserblast” share incidental music. Are there any other MST3K movies like this?

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  39. Blast Hardcheese says:

    DerekJ:

    Would you care to elaborate on why you have such a hate on for C H-W? Not that you shouldn’t, necessarily: it’s just that inquiring minds want to know. How much of a contribution did she make to the final script?

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  40. Neptune Man says:

    #87 Why do you think I’m trying to convince you? I’m only commenting in the sheepish mentality some fans of this show have. But how do I dare to answer to the guy who takes so much pride telling the new fans that he has been here since The Green Slime.

       0 likes

  41. EricJ says:

    @90 – And besides, you wouldn’t have to go a LONG way, just look at Charles Griffiths’ other scripts after Corman left Amer.Int’l to know who was the genius on DR2K–
    I’m not saying Golan/Globus’s “Dr. Heckle & Mr. Hype” was absolutely brilliant, as Little Shop of Horrors-esque comedies go, but it feels more like one of Griffiths’ tongue-in-cheek movies for Corman than anything Bartel ever came up with after “Eating Raoul”.

    (But yes, Nep, there did start to be a cult-of-personality hive-mind among the fans during the more contentious name-dropping years of the show…Remember when the Mike era had to bring Leonard Maltin on for a peaceful cameo, just because running-gag mentioning his name in one end-credit-filler sketch a few episodes back convinced hordes of devoted Mike-fans that Maltin was a spawn of Satan and must be purified with fire?
    Look, guys, they were just complaining that Corman had quick, cheap shooting schedules, you don’t have to torture his family in the basement!)

       0 likes

  42. Sorry to have upset you, Neptune Man. I was just responding to your list of proposed good Corman movies, and the question of whether the bad opinions of Corman just came from MST3K. Of course everyone’s allowed their opinion.

       1 likes

  43. Sharktopus says:

    @ #84, DerekJ:

    Bravo. And they say subtlety is dead… ;-)

       4 likes

  44. Neptune Man says:

    EricJ don’t use me to spew you anti-Mike venom! I wasn’t complaining about them making fun of Corman, I was talking about the FANS, and not all of them, just the ones who think any movie featured in MST3K is “the worst ever”. But you couldn’t resist the opportunity to insult Mike, don’t you? Are you aware that Mike doesn’t even know you? Do you think he is in a cornered, crying because the Almighty EricJ dismiss his contributions to the world of comedy?
    God, I should ask Santa for a girlfriend…

       17 likes

  45. Mr. B(ob) says:

    This is another one of those movies that was on UHF “creature feature” programming a million times when I was a kid and I saw it a lot, then didn’t see it for years before it turned up on MST3K. As always, fun to see them take on an old gem like this one. The movie drags a bit and never really gets going beyond the plodding pace it establishes early on, but the combined film noir and horror aspects of it aren’t too bad for such a low budget film. It has atmosphere if not exactly great pacing or production values.

    The host segment sketches are whimsical fun as they often were in the heyday of the show and really brighten up the drab film experience. Undersea Kingdom is a lively blast of fantasy fun and really brings some great riffs. Years ago we bought the whole serial on VHS we enjoyed it so much on MST3K. Overall a very enjoyable episode.

       5 likes

  46. Dan in WI says:

    I got a question for those of you who remember seeing movies like this in (I’m assuming) non-hosted UHF creature feature settings. When starting with a movie like this that is so short, what kind of time block is it put into? 90 minutes?

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  47. Mrs. Dick Courrier says:

    This is probably my fave Corman film. And I’ve seen a LOT of Corman films. Probably because of the whole backwoods thing, reminds me of home. I grew up with people like this. Sad really.

    I found the movie unriffed with five other horror movie gems (Mega Shark vs Giant Octupus anybody?) at Walmart for 5.00. A steal if you ask me.

       2 likes

  48. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ Dan in WI: Wow, it’s been a long time since we had programming like that and even though I watched about a billion hours of that stuff it’s hard to remember. If I recall correctly, sometimes the programming block was a bit variable based on the length of the movie and other times, surprise, surprise, they showed a short! In fact, I used to see old serials occasionally on those UHF channels at odd hours or great classic shorts like Laurel & Hardy or W.C. Fields. Of course, they also showed a TON of commercials to make up for what were probably very modest advertising rates compared to network channels.

       1 likes

  49. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ Dan in WI: One more thing, then there were the variable length host segments by the local “creature feature” host to make up for variable running length in films. I grew up in Maryland and one of the guys in the CT riffed movie Alien Factor was our local UHF channel 20 from D.C. “Count Gore De Vol” live SF/horror movie host, the exact kind of thing they made fun of on SCTV with Count Floyd. Shorter movies meant more time with the host just like they did with the sketches on MST3K as needed.

    The lamer local thing on UHF channel 45 was called Ghost Host and the same video of the host was used every showing. It was shot so that the host’s mouth could not be seen, it was always in darkness. That way they could just record new voice introductions and comments for each movie without having to shoot any new video. It was cheap even by cheap standards.

    Movies without a host shown were not necessarily stretched to fill a set time block, they just showed more or less other programming that day based on the length of what they planned to show that day.

    I remember seeing Gamera in the afternoon on local UHF channels when I was a kid, back then it would have been the superior AIP dubs as opposed to the Sandy Frank ones done about a dozen years later. Some other movies shown on MST3K that I actually saw independently when I was young: Amazing Colossal Man, War Of The Colossal Beast, Giant Gila Monster, Beginning Of The End, Creeping Terror. At the time I saw creeping terror I think I was near the end of high school and I officially dubbed it the worst movie I’d ever seen up till that time, so when it appeared on MST3K many years later I was delighted.

       1 likes

  50. RGA Dave says:

    One of the oddest scenes in the movie is early on; when the game warden hears Yvette screaming, and finds her (with the male ‘giant leech’ victim). He has his gun drawn, when he puts his arm around her to comfort her, which results in the barrel of his gun being aimed into her face! Comforting, huh?

       3 likes

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