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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: 807- Terror from the Year 5000

Movie: (1958) A scientist builds a time machine, allowing a scary woman from the future to appear.

First shown: 3/15/97
Opening: Tom “comfort rates” everything
Intro: The Observers make Pearl and Bobo fight, but the M&TB aren’t getting the message
Host segment 1: The Observers offer their superior food
Host segment 2: Mike sends Crow back in time, but soon regrets it
Host segment 3: The Observers croon “When I Held Your Brain in My Arms”
End: Mike sets Crow up with a blind date from the year 5000, while Pearl declares her humanity
Stinger: Observers
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (224 votes, average: 4.26 out of 5)


Get Kevin’s take here.
• This ranks up there as one of the most incompetent movies they’ve ever done and, as you know, that’s saying something. An amateur cast playing unlikeable characters, a glacial pace to a plot that makes zero sense. Laughable special effects and a story with no payoff. Bleah. The segments are all pretty good, especially the song, but I think the riffing is a bit sub-par this time. There are still plenty of great riffs, but they seem a little thinner than usual. All in all a fair-to-good outing.
• This episode has not yet been released on DVD.
• This was the seventh new show in seven weeks. I remember the incredible feeling of being overwhelmed with new MST3K episodes with barely enough time to assimilate it all (a little like getting 14 new episodes at once). I was almost happy to have the two-week break that followed this show, just so I could catch my breath (figuratively speaking).
• Daleism: As the nurse/alien takes off her gloves, moist guy says “Your hands!” and of course the riff is: “I thought you were Dale!”
• For those who want a full list of the colors of Mike, Ward E has it.
• Mike once again channels “The Frugal Gourmet” Jeff Smith. Last time was in episode 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD.
• Then-current riff: “I’m Jaye Davidson.” Davidson was still being talked about for his performance in “The Crying Game” five years earlier. “Suddenly Susan” then a popular sitcom starring Brooke Shields.
• Obscure references: The short-lived 1995 series “The Single Guy,” Mrs. Pynchon, a character in the TV series “Lou Grant.” Also: Servo sings the jingle for the long-defunct Northwest Orient airlines. Also: Nice obscure Beatles reference: “He’s a clean old man.” Classical music fans probably enjoyed the reference to the Brodski Quartet, a British classical string ensemble.
• Several Jimmy Carter references in this one, since the handyman vaguely resembles him. Of course, Carter’s administration was decades ago now. To a lot of this show’s young fans, they may as well be making Chester A. Arthur references.
• Kevin breaks out his great Flash Bazbo impression. The character was a creation of Chris Guest back when he was making records (and I do mean records, not CDs) for National Lampoon. “Hellooo?…Hellooo?”
• That’s Beez as the sparkly “Terror.” Not sure how I feel about uglying her up (if such a thing is even possible).
• “When I Held Your Brain in My Arms” was an immediate hit and the channel was nice enough to put the entire song on their web site. It was the first song since Trace bid farewell to Frank, and it really brightens up an otherwise rugged episode. Note that Mike lip synchs to Kevin’s vocals but Bill lip synchs himself.
• Annoying commercial: The special message from America Online boss Steve Case. To refresh your memory, AOL went to a flat-rate, unlimited-use pricing structure and, naturally, usage skyrocketed. Problem was: AOL’s system wasn’t ready to handle the jump in usage. For a couple of months, connecting (for you kids, we used to have to connect to the internet via telephone lines … and we liked it that way! We liked it just fine! Now get off my lawn!) was hit-and-miss at best and busy signals were the order of the day. Anyway, in this commercial Case strolls through what is ostensibly an AOL customer service call center and apologizes for failing to remember the first day of Business 101, when they explained that when you cut the price of something, there’s more demand for it.
• This is another movie in which all the sets seem to have filth covering the walls. Weird.
• For non-Trekkies, Pearl’s little speech about the nature of humanity is the sort of thing Captain Kirk would spout about once every third or fourth episode, usually after refusing to take part in some staged fight.
• The Observers steal the stinger again. What would you have picked? I think I would have gone with a shot of Angelo enjoying his magazines in his shack.
• Cast and crew roundup: No need to go through the Arkoff/Nicholson litany again. Producer/director/scriptwriter Robert J. Gurney Jr. (the guy you can blame for this mess) also wrote the script (i.e. ripped off somebody else’s script) for “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Production coordinator Mark Hanna also worked on “Gunslinger” and “The Undead” and wrote the script for “The Amazing Colossal Man.” In front of the camera, Ward Costello was also in “Code Name: Diamond Head.” Frederic Downs was also in “The Hellcats,” “The Skydivers” and “Red Zone Cuba.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the produced and directed by credit. Kevin is associate producer. As noted last time, Lane Stiller and Steve Zocklein were interns for only two episodes, the last one and this one.
• Fave riff: Of all the plot holes to fill, they choose the scuba gear plot hole!” Honorable mention: “Do you have cartoon music playing in your head, too?” and “They are implying: POOM!”

130 Replies to “Episode guide: 807- Terror from the Year 5000”

  1. snowdog says:

    I got hit by a psychic lawn dart watching this last night. At one point, a character (by this time, I no longer cared who) shouted something that sounded vaguely like “Una Paloma Blanca” and Mike sings “I’m just a bird in the sky”, and I realized that I knew the song, but hadn’t heard it in decades. So, I went iTunes and downloaded it.

    With this movie, I’m beginning to see how some people might have gotten tired of all the B&W films early in the season. This one is especially dark and murky.

    I agree with Sampo that the riffing is workman-like. Loved the song.

    Missed riff:
    Dumpy-always-shirtless-guy “Why didn’t you tell me about the skin diving gear?”
    Riff: “Because I didn’t want to see your skin again.”


  2. Thomas K. Dye says:

    Beatrice “Miss Blake” Furdeaux was… wait for it.. the director’s wife. Explains a lot.

    And you really have to love health care in the fifties. Not only did doctors make house calls, but they also sent nurses to traipse through jungles to homes that didn’t have phones. That’s dedication! Of course, then again, their hospitals were so ineptly run that they let patients escape without even signing out. Not that the lead characters are all that concerned; by the time they’re at the bar, they’re joking about overly strong drinks.

    My choice for stinger? Jimmy Carter has disco fever, no question.


  3. ToolAssist says:

    Love this episode, easily the best out of the dreary black and white eps. Segments are great, movie is insanely stupid and perfect fodder, and the riffing is terrific.

    Fav riffs:

    “Um, Terror from the Year 5000 called in sick, I’m Terror from the Year 4543” – Crow
    “You are here” – Tom
    “Sorry teenage boys of the 50s, this’ll have to do.” – Mike


  4. Professor Gunther says:

    ToolAssist–excellent selection of riffs! I love the cheesy arrow that points to the glowing button/thingy; at least these bad-movie makers had a sense of humour when they were dealing with the sets.


  5. rcfagnan says:

    @Dan #96- The song was being done in the style of the Ink Spots, a mid-20th century group of popular singers witha distinct sound. Kevin’s impersonation was spot-on, but he didn’t play one of the Observers, prompting the lip-sync (or so I’m guessing).


  6. "Hotcha!" says:

    After living in S FLA for 14 years, there’s no way you’d get me to even get IN the gator-infested swamp water, much less dive in head first.


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

    >>>Final Thought: You can’t carbon date metal objects.

    Well, you can’t pull objects through time, either. What’s your point? ;-)


  8. F Burroughs says:

    I love the observers, if for nothing more than to test out all the Star trek trope/meme/themes on the seemingly omnipotent beings who also happen to be annoying and pretentious. The best example is the “food pill” diversion, another chance for the observers to demonstrate their utter superiority to our existence. The bit escalates quickly in classic comedy style, but in an unexpected turn when Mike (always the optimist) turns all Jeff Smith on us. “When life gives you lemons…” However, when life gives you buckets and buckets of (non-)food pills, make a tasty culinary treat!

    I didn’t think this ep. was sub-standard at all. Nor dull either, even when the troupe goes to town, and seemingly lose the plot, and the movie is (shockingly, even for a bad movie) is at a standstill while the characters sit and wait in bars. Miss Blake steals every scene she’s in, as does the Terror, too bad that’s only the first and last 10% of the film. The real star is Angelo (it’s true Jimmy Carter jokes never get stale); sort of made me think this is the future of the dad from Warrior. (“eat some Malaise, suckers!”)

    Also: I agree with others that the amoral attitudes of the principles creeped me out. Bob makes out with his mentor’s engaged daughter; she pouts and leers at him in every scene; Victor is sneaking around and insulting everyone, yet seems the most refreshingly honest one outside of Angelo the wacky pervert.

    While I’m venting, I got a little annoyed with the cracks about swimming in the lagoon. There was a time when Americans stripped down to their cut-offs and took a dip in the local swimmin’ hole to cool off, be it a pond, river,or lake; they didn’t wait for someone to build a 8×20′ sanitized, chlorinated Jacuzzi with filtered water. And they didn’t worry about getting a actual big bite or touching a fish. However, in Florida, I might check for alligators.

    I didn’t like the Observer’s Song, exactly because the lip-syncing messed it up.

    Angelo mesmerized by lights would be an awesome stinger; I also suggest a clip of Victor attacking Bob in the water, some of the lamest fighting you’ll see recorded on film.


  9. BIG61AL says:

    This is a top notch episode. Me likey!


  10. “Filmed in glorious black and not-so-black!”

    That pretty much sums up Terror from the Year 5000. It’s grayness is only matched by the non-existence of its plot and the unlikeability of any of its characters. Not a very good movie.

    But, the episode is pretty okay. I like it better than the last couple Observer episodes, but I still consider this to be Season 8’s rough period.

    The Host Segments are pretty good, I like how Mike effortlessly dives into a subtle Jeff Smith/TV food guy mode in the end of HS#1 and I have to admit that the Observers do a good job with their song in HS#3, although the lip syncing is slightly distracting. Has anyone mentioned that HS#2 features the return of STILL STORE when Crow is showing Mike his photos from time traveling? Oh wait, I just did. . .


    Servo: “They look like Kraftwerk.”
    Mike: “Look at those keyboards back there.”

    Crow: “Now there’s an interesting line read.”

    guy carrying two suitcases,
    Crow: “I’m going to the city to be a stud.” ——reference to Midnight Cowboy, I believe

    Crow: “Stay off the moors!” ——AWIL reference

    Mike: “The wacky sexual predator.”

    Mike: “Epic battle between moist and moister.”

    Crow: “Gary Numan: Scientist.”

    Crow: “Send. More. Porn.”

    Mike: “The Terror has 5000 rushing yards.”

    Servo: “Dick Smith from the Year 5000.” ——-reference to the legendary makeup artist, Dick Smith

    Crow: “I like milk.”

    That Angelo is quite the peeper…

    I give this one 3,000 out of 5,000 terrors,

    or just 3/5 if you prefer.


  11. Depressing Aunt says:

    As #105 sez, yeah, Kevin was no Observer. And, an Observer with a beard? Forget it! :) (And writing this just now made me think of the Observers on the show “Fringe”–who were hairless and were not as special as they thought they were cuz *our* Observers were here first, heh heh.)

    The icky fiance is very icky and I was pleased that he lost the water fight. But Professor Drill Sergeant? I rather admire Miss Blake, it seems like she’s been working for him for a long time yet she’s managed to resist his overwhelming sexual magnetism(sarcasm mode), way to go! Thanks Thomas K. Dye at #102 for info on the actress.

    A favorite moment for me is this exchange, when Victor is sneaking around Bob’s room–

    Crow: I’m gonna put on his pants!
    Tom: They’re still warm! (Butthead-like laugh)


  12. trickymutha says:

    This was the first one I ever saw- early 1997. The Ink spots nod is excellent. My Dad loved them, and, I heard their music all my life. Salome Jems is the future woman- she also was in the cult series “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” I watch this one on a regular basis. Love the “clean old Man” bartender. To me, a classic that makes me laugh hard and often


  13. Angie Schultz says:

    No love for, “Sorry, got a really old Johnson here. And the motor doesn’t work either.”? It was an instant classic!

    I like this movie! (This is true for all of the Season 8 movies so far, except for Leech Woman, though it was not without its charm.) The idea of trinkets from the future arouses my sense of wonder.

    I’m a scientist, and there are times when I say to myself, “I’ve been probing relentlessly for hours! I’m grabbing me a juice box.”


  14. Maggie says:

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode. However, Kevin’s remark in the colossal transplanted sci-fi channel episode guide about “buttery emollients” made me laugh harder than anything in the episode itself.

    Also, for some reason, despite being a pasty porcelain-pale person myself, I always enjoy it when they make jokes about the unpleasant dough-like skin tone of certain characters.


  15. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice article.


  16. Creeping-Death says:

    You should learn article very much more!

    4 Stars, a good episode. I always thought the titular “Terror” was a classic butterface. Very ugly, but you can see she’s got a nice figure. The host segments were mostly good, enjoyed the food sketch, “When I Held Your Brain In My Arms”, Crow’s date, and sending Crow back in time were all good.

    Mike: Now we’re gonna watch people watching a movie? What’s that about?!

    Crow:(as Victor) “I’m going to the city to be a stud.”
    Mike: Please! That’s a hideous thought.

    Mike: Hey! They whacked Toonces!
    Crow: Well, he killed a made canary, so they had to do ‘im.


  17. Hey Cabot! says:

    My. God. This movie is terrible. This movie ranks up there in terms of sheer awfulness with Monster a Go-Go. This movie is too terrible for me to even sit through this episode. The riffing might make the movie tolerable for some, but not me. Maybe I need to torture myself by watching it again. I’ll probably start squirming and hurting myself.


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

    Iggy Pop’s Brother Steve Pop:
    “This ranks up there as one of the most incompetent movies they’ve ever done”

    Oh, come now.I could name thirty less-competently made MSTed movies without breaking a sweat.

    Well, that’s why Sampo said it was ONE of the most incompetent ones.

    That…seemed so obvious…



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

    Off-topic as sort of a general thing, I stumbled across a film review site where the reviewers are even nitter-pickier than the nittest-pickiest of commentators around here. Surprised me, too. ;-)


  20. Lisa H. says:

    I really liked “When I Held Your Brain In My Arms” (still do actually). Another one of those that shows off Kevin’s musical ability (the Observers’ lip-synching abiliuty, maybe not so much). I vaguely remember recording it onto an audiocassette mixtape from the off-air VHS. (For some reason I thought this was great fun and also did it with the “Tongue Tied” song from Red Dwarf, among others. Hey, it was the 90s.)


  21. thequietman says:

    Never get off the goshdarn boat, absolutely gollydarn right!

    Wow, I’d remembered this episode, but I think that’s only because initially I only saw the third act when something finally starts happening. It left me with the impression that the titular ‘Terror’ shows up way earlier than she actually does. Watching the episode again I realized this film takes the whole ‘don’t show the monster and leave the audience guessing’ far too literally.

    As deathly dull as the film is, I do hope we can get this on official release some day. The host segments alone would be worth it. The Observers are funny enough, but I love Pearl and Bobo’s increasingly desperate battles in the background as Pearl KOs Brain Guy and the sword fight with that great “CLANK!” sound effect.

    Fave riffs

    Capricorn, this is Capcom. We’re currently in a holding pattern, T-Minus fifteen minutes to plot resumption. There’s a leak in the narrative and the movie could implode!

    June 5, 1944. I was early…

    So he left the hospital, put spats on and came back with his pool cue.


  22. Sitting Duck says:

    I never understood why futurists of days past were so giddy over the concept of food pills. The only practical difference between food pills and an IV is that the former at least does away with the unpleasantness of being stuck with a needle. Otherwise, they’re just as stupid and pointless as having appliances connected to the internet.

    John Seavey:
    I do remember the bit about “We have developed a plot leak, we’re putting the movie on standby” as killer, though.

    Perhaps it’s leaking KingaChrome. Better have Ardy check.


  23. Raigely says:

    The riffs about the “terror” being missing remind me of similar riffs in “Monster A-Go Go”, regarding the same sort of dreary, meandering nonsense. “Perhaps I was mistaken, the horror must be in a later scene!”

    This movie begins with “materializing statues in a machine from seemingly not a damned thing” as a typical occurrence. Maybe if it were pitched further into the future as a starting point, I could have bought it, but the surroundings are so solidly 1950s that it makes that concept too much to swallow.

    This is another one of those old movies that makes references to radioactivity before we fully understood the implications of it. It’s not really fair, but I always find it pretty amusing. Dousing your 5250 Oscar in a wash bucket isn’t going to cut down its current radiation, nor the radiation you’ve already been exposed to, but of course I wouldn’t expect the chintzy 50s filmmakers to have known that.


  24. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Watching this one, it’s sobering to realize that the poster outside the movie theater is probably the closest MST will get to featuring “I was a Teenage Frankenstein”. In fact, it’s probably the closest anyone will get to that movie.

    Oh, Salome Jens also appeared in “Seconds”, a disturbing thriller that has the scariest ending I’ve ever seen in a movie.


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

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    >>>Final Thought: You can’t carbon date metal objects.

    Well, you can’t pull objects through time, either. What’s your point? ;-)

    I stand by this earlier remark of mine. Admittedly, the film’s makers would’ve done better to make up a name for the process, but come on, it was the 1950s, caring about details hadn’t caught on yet.


  26. Cornjob says:

    I think something like radiometric dating is used on metal and stone to determine it’s age.


  27. Cornjob says:

    BTW Teenage Frankenstein is a fantastic Alice Cooper song.


  28. Scott Strong says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one Sampo. I love it. The drill sargent riffing, Angelo, the wimpy, greasy antagonist. And, as an added bonus, the lovely Salome Jens. One of my favorites of season 8 and that’s saying something.


  29. Cornjob says:

    Jimmy Carter is still a public figure even if his presidency was decades ago (I was 5 when he was elected), so the references might not be quite as obscure as they seem. And it was the late 70’s so maybe he did get disco fever.

    “And you might notice that you don’t have a face.”


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