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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: 811- parts: the clonus horror

Movie: (1979) At a remote facility, clones are being bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful.

First shown: 6/7/97
Opening: Mike has a mustache and the bots like it — sort of
Intro: Three runaway space children awaken the campers
Host segment 1: The campers are forced to play games with the kids
Host segment 2: M&tB help Pearl out by putting on a public TV show
Host segment 3: Pearl, Bobo and Observer have “that” talk with the kids
End: Crow has a nosejob, and Tom has written a poem for the kids
Stinger: “Sure!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (259 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

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• This is a (comparatively) thought-provoking idea for a movie, even if it is hamfistedly written, acted and directed. Still, it’s in color, it’s in focus, and its budget was (compared to most other MSTed movies) pretty big, so it’s pretty easy to look at, which helps make it a very watchable episode. The riffing starts slowly, but builds, and by the time of the campfire love scene, they are really clicking. The segments —- featuring a new, brief, story arc with the temperamental and omnipotent space children —- are fun. Not sensational, but there are definitely some laughs there.
• Paul’s take on the episode is here.
• Rhino included this episode in its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12.
References.
• In 2005, when DreamWorks released “The Island,” also about a colony that breeds clones to harvest organs for the elite, the makers of “clonus” filed suit, claiming copyright infringement. DreamWorks settled out of court.
• As you enjoy Peter Graves’ performance, remember that he HATED MST3K.
• Just to make a fool of me, the guys completely disregard what I’ve said in the past about them usually showing restraint when a popular TV actor shows up. The presence of Dick Sergeant prompts quite a large number (this time I counted about 10) of “Bewitched” jokes and references. There are plenty of “Biography” references as well.
• I enjoyed Mike’s use of the famous Belloq taunt from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve used it myself a time or two since this episode aired. It does have a certain insouciance.
• Daleism: Shot of man’s hand on podium. Servo: “Hey it’s…oh, I thought it was Dale.”
• For those of you playing along at home, this movie was shot a year after Keenan Wynn did “Laserblast,” so pretty much the same Keenan-ey era.
• Speaking of Keenan, I always feel sorry for the Nobels. This complete stranger shows up on their doorstep and they pretty much do the right thing right down the line, and they get blown up as a reward. Sheesh.
• Nice use of Dorf-style camera trickery during the segments. It works especially well on Paul, for some reason. Mike and Bridget are the other two children, of course.
• As Dr. F learned when he asked M&tB for help with his bed and breakfast, NEVER ask M&tB for help! Pearl learns this in segment 2.
• They would actually do a movie called “The Space Children” next season, but I don’t think they are really making a direct reference to that movie here.
• There’s a residual Adam Duritz riff.
• Best host segment line: “Tanta Bobo has to go see Uncle Reconstructive Urologist.”
• Mary Jo is hilarious in the “facts of life” segment.
• Then-current reference: Tom’s cry of “50 free hours of AOL???” Which was an offer Americans were getting at every turn.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Steve Karkus also worked on “The Touch of Satan” as did makeup guy Joe Blasco (he also did special effects for “Track of the Moon Beast.”)
In front of the camera, Peter Graves, of course, was in “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” “SST: Death Flight” and was a narrator for “Attack of the the Eye Creatures. Keenan Wynn, as noted, was also in “Laserblast.” Lurene Tuttle was also in “Untamed Youth.” Greg Brickman did some stunts in “Hangar 18.”
• CreditsWatch: Beginning with this episode, Jim gets an “executive producer” credit that continues through the end of season 10. Kevin gets the first of several “produced and directed by” credits this season. This is the last week Brad Keeley gets an “audio mix” credit. And this is the last week John Sims gets a “SFX/foley” credit (but he’ll be back).
• Fave riff: “She really WAS on top of old smokey, wasn’t she?” Honorable mention: “Just making sure he hates this…”

173 Replies to “Episode guide: 811- parts: the clonus horror”

  1. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    #73 & 89 – “When the main character is escaping from the cloning facility, Mike says “He’s running through fields of wheat.” What is this a reference to?”

    This is in reference to Woody Allen’s Love & Death. A satire of Tolstoy novels/movies.
    WOW, how is THAT for picking up on an obscure reference. Classic MST3K.

    In the late 1970s it was all the rage to make government conspiracy/science gone mad TV movies. While the country was going disco, the TV industry was torn between social relevance, hippies turned mainstream, and Charlie’s Angles. Post Watergate films were standard, even mandatory, fair back then. Everyone had to make two or three a season.

       3 likes

  2. JohnnyRyde says:

    I don’t really have much to add to what I posted above four years ago. Pearl’s increasingly strange metaphors for love is a wonderful moment. And my favorite under-rated riff is when Peter Graves throws his arms into the arm and Kevin starts making Bobo’s ape-noises…

       1 likes

  3. bartcow says:

    Man, this movie gives me the creeps. I tried rewatching it a few nights ago to be able to give an educated comment here, and it literally gave me nightmares. So…good job, I guess? It’s very 70s and sterile and omninous; and like every movie CT would later do, it’s got that 70s downbeat ending that was apparently in super vogue at the time. But the riffing is quite good, and who doesn’t love a good nutshot? I just have to remember to never watch it at night :)

       2 likes

  4. Scott Strong says:

    I’m I the only one that noticed that our protagonist is basically lippless and the film’s heroine is noseless? They barely have a face between them!

    Okay, I like this one alot. It really isn’t that bad of a movie but has plenty to riff on. And they take full advantage.

    And just remember to mine your rivers for Milwaukee!

       7 likes

  5. thequietman says:

    I don’t think he’s a natural blond, doctor…

    This has been a firm favorite of mine for years, always eagerly awaited during the Sci-Fi reruns and a happy acquisition when Rhino put it on DVD. There’s not a single wasted moment in movie or host segments, with “Rompero!” being the standout. I also love Servo’s proposed reverse psychology: Tell them to don’t not send us the movie that doesn’t exist!

    I’d really like to see an uncut version of the movie though, since I’ve seen the original trailer and it apparently had a lot that the Brains had to cut and not just to fit the time slot. Poor Lena (or EXTRA-Lena?) really has a hard time of it before her final fate is revealed.

    Fave riffs
    Now don’t fill him up with Smuckers like last time doctor, that wasn’t funny!

    My god, the human body is hideous!

    It’s not really the ‘Naked’ city, more the ‘Clothing Optional’ city…

    He’s swallowed his lips!

    “…you wear out, you die!”
    You have one illegitimate son – d’oh!

    “I’m just like you are!!”
    Isn’t that HORRIBLE?

    Ooo, product placement! Now I’m gonna buy NBC.

       3 likes

  6. Sampo
    Just to make a fool of me, the guys completely disregard what I’ve said in the past about them usually showing restraint when a popular TV actor shows up.

    Er, think it was the reverse: I repeat, what made you think, even temporarily, that M&tB EVER showed “restraint” when it came to IMDb-resume jokes when a recognizable actor showed up?
    (I mean, you’re talking about the very bread and butter of their riffing, here!)

       2 likes

  7. One of the things that annoyed me about Paul’s comments, is that every episode it’s something like “Peter Graves is one of the whitest people there’s ever bee”. And you see jokes like that occasionally on the show.

    But uh, until Season 11, MST3K was basically the whitest show ever made in modern times. Hell, even Friends had a Jewish guy. Here, they got rid of him after one season.

       2 likes

  8. Big McLargeHuge says:

    I just recently read David Mitchell’s book Cloud Atlas (and rewatched the Wachowskis’ movie version, which is really an excellent adaptation). There’s a plot point there that reminded me a lot of Clonus. In one of the future parts of the story (involving Sonmi-451, one of many clone-like “fabricants” who are created essentially as slave labor), fabricants aspire towards “Xultation” after 12 years of labor, which is supposedly an idyllic retirement in Hawaii. Of course, when the fabricants think they’re going to Xultation, they’re actually euthanized, and their bodies are fed back into organic growth tanks to build new fabricants, and also to create the foodstuff that is fed to living fabricants.

    Remind anyone of going to America … TODAY?!?!?

       2 likes

  9. IR5 says:

    GizmonicTemp:
    Scariest Moment! – Did shivers run down anyone else’s spine at the end after Richard enters Lena’s room, is captured, her lobotomized body is turned to face him, and she just stands there with that creepy smile on her face? Hands down, THE scariest scene in a MST3K movie.

    Graboidz #3 – When we moved into our house a few years ago, there WERE curtains halfway down the windows. They were quickly removed.

    Hey, I agree. Monster movies don’t scare me- Lobotomies do.

       3 likes

  10. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Jeremy Zharkov:
    One of the things that annoyed me about Paul’s comments, is that every episode it’s something like “Peter Graves is one of the whitest people there’s ever bee”. And you see jokes like that occasionally on the show.

    But uh, until Season 11, MST3K was basically the whitest show ever made in modern times. Hell, even Friends had a Jewish guy. Here, they got rid of him after one season.

    I’m with you in that I never much cared for Paul’s editorializing. It seems like he’s got a Connecticut sized chip on his shoulder, or an overdose of guilt. It’s best to avoid associating with people that dwell on negativity. I find Paul’s acting appearances to be pretty funny, however. I’ll accentuate the positive! Observer: “I pray for his death, as do all things that love rightness and decency”

    They didn’t really get rid of Josh, though. He went off in search of solo stardom, like Elvis.

       1 likes

  11. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Big McLargeHuge:
    I just recently read David Mitchell’s book Cloud Atlas (and rewatched the Wachowskis’ movie version, which is really an excellent adaptation).There’s a plot point there that reminded me a lot of Clonus.In one of the future parts of the story (involving Sonmi-451, one of many clone-like “fabricants” who are created essentially as slave labor), fabricants aspire towards “Xultation” after 12 years of labor, which is supposedly an idyllic retirement in Hawaii.Of course, when the fabricants think they’re going to Xultation, they’re actually euthanized, and their bodies are fed back into organic growth tanks to build new fabricants, and also to create the foodstuff that is fed to living fabricants.

    Remind anyone of going to America … TODAY?!?!?

    You make a really good point and comparison. Also, the movie Moon, directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) and starring Sam Rockwell, has a similar theme although doesn’t involve organ harvesting. It’s one of those “work hard and you’ll get such rewards someday!” scenarios, though, and a friend and I had a long discussion about its similarities to many religions. Hoo boy, didn’t mean to get all serious and deep.

    Anyway, I love “Clonus,” from the slo-mo bike riding scene to the bonfire of the private parts. Fave riff is the one about not storing your old people and your combustibles together. I use that more often than I should when I see a fiery explosion.

    I never understood the writers’ rules, if there were any, about making numerous references or not to an actor’s most well-known role(s). Sometimes they would only mention it once, like in Bloodlust! (a Mike episode, btw), and other times they’d beat it into the ground.

       1 likes

  12. Sitting Duck says:

    At least the Biography riffs had a payoff during the end credits, when they have Peter Graves unloading on James Arness.

       5 likes

  13. goalieboy82 says:

    why did Peter Graves hate the show anyway?

       0 likes

  14. goalieboy82:
    why did Peter Graves hate the show anyway?

    And out of all the bad cable channels in the early 90’s, why did the Mike-era hate A&E?

       0 likes

  15. EricJ says:

    The Original EricJ: And out of all the bad cable channels in the early 90’s, why did the Mike-era hate A&E?

    I never got “hate” out of it, just some playful teasing. Maybe the worst dig was calling it “The All-Hitler Channel”.

       7 likes

  16. EricJ says:

    goalieboy82:
    why did Peter Graves hate the show anyway?

    From the quote I read, it seemed like just the idea of riffing on the movies didn’t sit too well with him. Rifftrax should do some episodes of the show he guested on, 7th Heaven. That show is epic garbage.

       2 likes

  17. EricJ: I never got “hate” out of it, just some playful teasing. Maybe the worst dig was calling it “The All-Hitler Channel”.

    Well, that one was earned. (Seriously, WWII documentaries every night, for most of the early 90’s, after they lost the British shows but before they had to spin off the History Channel?)

    But when you look at the collected aggregation of “Tonight, Jack Perkins introduces Lovejoy, on BIOGRAPHY! It’s TV worth watching”, not even throwing the MST3K Hour into the mix, you do start to wonder a bit.

       1 likes

  18. EricJ says:

    The Original EricJ: Well, that one was earned.(Seriously, WWII documentaries every night, for most of the early 90’s, after they lost the British shows but before they had to spin off the History Channel?)

    But when you look at the collected aggregation of “Tonight, Jack Perkins introduces Lovejoy, on BIOGRAPHY!It’s TV worth watching”, not even throwing the MST3K Hour into the mix, you do start to wonder a bit.

    You do start to wonder, if you’re angry and paranoid and purposely looking for any dirt on people you strongly dislike. I just think they watched a lot of A&E and decided to write some jokes about it.

       7 likes

  19. Johnny Drama says:

    I do believe this is the only episode that references Joe Bob Briggs

       0 likes

  20. Johnny Drama says:

    Cornjob: A bad color movie at least provides a minimal amount of visual stimulation that wet ashtray gray b/w movies don’t.

    Swamp Diamonds is pretty rough looking

       1 likes

  21. docskippy says:

    Clonus is an excellent concept shot through with extreme scientific implausibilities. Still, if you can set those aside, and if you can mentally substitute better acting (and some better scriptwriting here and there), you wind up with a pretty good little movie.

    Note that you do NOT wind up with The Island, which is most definitely NOT better than Clonus.

       1 likes

  22. Been a while since I posted here and it’s comforting knowing that Mike Nelson’s favorite fan is still at it.

    Can any of you who still come here regularly let me know if EricJ still has fantasies where Joel is consulting him about the past, present and future of the show?

       11 likes

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