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

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Episode guide: 812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Movie: (1964) A couple of slackers stumble across a cult of monsters at a carnival.

First shown: 6/14/97
Opening: It’s walk-a-thon season
Intro: Pearl is taking the space kids home and has Bobo and Observer send the movie
Host segment 1: The bots try to read Mike’s future for 50 cents
Host segment 2: M&tB ask Shelli the Nanite for the “big hair” look
Host segment 3: Crow hires Ortega to cater the break
End: Crow and Tom build a roller coaster; Pearl meets the kids’ parents
Stinger: “What do you think we came here for … to eat?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (247 votes, average: 4.49 out of 5)

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• Ah, what’s not to like about this episode? Unless, of course, you count the movie itself, which is less a coherent story than a particularly vivid fever dream. Still, the riffing is great, the segments are funny and, if that wasn’t enough, there’s … MADISON!
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode was released by Rhino on its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9 and was more recently re-released as a single disk by Shout!Factory.
References.
• Daleism: During the first dance number, during a shot of the dancers hands, all sing: “I thought you were Daaaaale…”
• Obviously the idea for the acronym sketch came from the movie’s very long title and accompanying acronym, TISCWSLABMUZ. The part where Tom keeps reciting the very long name of the charity is very reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch about Johann Gambolputty-de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crass-cren-bon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelter-wasser-kurstlich-himble-eisenbahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm.
• It’s with this episode that a new occasional character arrives: Ortega, who will occupy a similar spot in sketches that Torgo did in the Comedy Central days.
• Obscure reference: Theatrical director JoAnne Akalaitis.
• This is one of those movies that posits the existence of a burlesque/strip joint in which nobody actually takes any clothes off and which is attended by as many women as men (see “Flashdance”). I maintain that such places never actually existed, especially in the time frame of this movie.
• Call back: “o/` Night train…“
• Mike is still sporting his very high hair in the theater but only for about a minute.
• Tom has a brief freakout during the movie, but who can blame him?
• The Angel’s Flight trolley, also seen in “Indestructible Man,” is briefly visited by a distraught Jerry.
• Some behind-the-scenes stuff about this movie:
–> It was shot on a budget of only $38,000. Can you tell?
–> It ran into trouble with Columbia Studios, which was releasing another long-titled movie: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Apparently there was concern that people would mix up the two long-titled movies. To stave off Columbia’s lawyers, director Ray Dennis Steckler agreed to re-title this movie “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Etc.”
–> It was released in so-called “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision,” which basically meant that just after a turning hypnosis-inducing spiral would appear on the screen, a few people wearing rubber masks of the movie’s characters would run down the aisles and try to scare the audience. I don’t know how many theaters this happened in, but I can’t imagine it was very many.
–> Believe it or not, a soundtrack album was released.
–> Steckler directed and performed in 1962’s “Wild Guitar,” starring Arch Hall Jr., star of “EEGAH!” Steckler also appeared briefly in “Eegah!” (You can see a poster of “Wild Guitar” in this movie: it’s on the wall of the boozing dancer’s dressing room).
• Then-current references: Crow mentions a “C prompt.” I think you have to be of a certain age to know what that is. During the fortune teller scene, Crow invokes Nancy Reagan. Again you would need to be old enough to remember that the former first lady had a personal astrologer.
• Bill and Kevin are the voices of the space kids’ dad and mom, respectively.
• The “space children” story arc ends.
• That’s Paul as the voice of Ned the Nanite and Mary Jo and the voice of Shelli the Nanite.
• Pearl calls Crow Art again.
• Cast and crew roundup: Script writer Robert Silliphant also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli also worked on “The Atomic Brain.” Editor Don Schneider also worked on “Eegah.” Assistant director Mike Harrington also worked on “The Skydivers.” Score composer Henry Price also worked on “Eegah”
In front of the camera, Titus Moede a.k.a. Titus Moody was also in “The Skydivers.”
• CreditsWatch: Kevin gets the “Produced and directed by” credit. With this episode a new line in the credits appears: “Audio Post Production: Fred Street, PostAudio, Inc.” It will continue for the rest of season 8.
• Fave riff: “You know what I’m looking at right now? That exit sign.” Honorable mention: “This whole movie has an oily T-zone.”

157 Replies to “Episode guide: 812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?”

  1. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    The “Manos” of the Sci-Fi era? No, that title clearly belongs to “Invasion of the Neptune Men.”
    This is a very fun episode, with a goofy movie. Some of the riffs are a little below the belt (saying Carolyn looks mannish is kinda rude), but in general the tone is light and enjoyable. Crazy movie, too.
    Ortega, while amusing, could never be Torgo. But then again, who could?

       3 likes

  2. goalieboy82
    Ignored
    says:

    NSFW (Monty Python)
    Johann Gambolputty-de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crass-cren-bon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelter-wasser-kurstlich-himble-eisenbahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPqB9i1ScY

       1 likes

  3. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Drama:
    The “Manos” of the Sci-Fi era? No, that title clearly belongs to “Invasion of the Neptune Men.”
    This is a very fun episode, with a goofy movie. Some of the riffs are a little below the belt (saying Carolyn looks mannish is kinda rude), but in general the tone is light and enjoyable. Crazy movie, too.

    Well, like Manos, this is creepy, disturbing, fever-dreamed, has cinematography in which “every frame looks like somebody’s last-known photo”, and was made by a filmmaker who clearly had other interests in making the movie besides the plot. Looks like Steckler sort of put it together just to sell the fairground cabaret performers, and the idea of doing a “monster movie” for the B-audience was just sort of an afterthought.

    And after all was said and done, what did M&tB find MOST comically memorable about it? The fact that the fortuneteller said something catchphrase-giggleworthy at the beginning of the movie, so they could parrot it back at her for ninety minutes, and usher it into the Pantheon of Fan-Cult Catchphrases.
    Y’know, there’s such a thing as just not seeing the forest for the trees… :(

       1 likes

  4. Scott Peterson
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ:

    And after all was said and done, what did M&tB find MOST comically memorable about it?The fact that the fortuneteller said something catchphrase-giggleworthy at the beginning of the movie, so they could parrot it back at her for ninety minutes, and usher it into the Pantheon of Fan-Cult Catchphrases.
    Y’know, there’s such a thing as just not seeing the forest for the trees…:(

    You really are quite an odious person.

    Remember when J&tB blatantly pandered to their fanbase in Pod People with their more than a half dozen “Chief, McCloud…” riffs. Damn you’re right, it’s terrible when Joel shamelessly engages in the fan-cult B.S.

       14 likes

  5. Anthony
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve given this one two different shots, and I just don’t see it as the classic that Sampo (and others) do; not that it’s not funny, it’s definitely that, but it doesn’t grip me the same way that Space Mutiny or Overdrawn at the Memory Bank do. That might just be me having seen those episodes many more times, but those episodes have something this one doesn’t. Maybe it’s the fact that this movie is SO bad and SO drab and SO off-putting that it’s hard for me to really enjoy it. Who knows.

       4 likes

  6. goalieboy82
    Ignored
    says:

    off topic (MST3K related)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvyVWYTe_64

       0 likes

  7. IR5
    Ignored
    says:

    This one always gets my Shick out of shape.

       3 likes

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