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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 (203 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)


• 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.
• 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: “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!” (You can see a poster of “Wild Guitar” in this movie: it’s on the wall of the boozing dancer’s dressing room).
• 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.”

143 comments to Episode guide: 812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

  • 1
    Horace Rumpole says:

    Dr. Strangelove’s subtitle should actually be “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.


  • 2
    DON3k says:

    I think I’m freaking out! No, really, Mike. I’m freaking out! Did she say, “I’m never Jack?”, or am I freaking out?

    I really love this movie, in all its awfulness. Ah, Ray Dennis Steckler, or should I say, Cash Flagg, you and your handsome wife, who’s part of the dance team of Sissy and Sissy, really put together a visual and auditory treat. Using the Edison cylinder for making your talkie, and your pioneering work using your own experimental color film process, using the starch from potatoes as an film emulsifier, and it showed!

    Ortega is great, in the host segment, and I would like to have seen him appear at least once more, than just the appearance on Public Pearl. His catered spread seemed really nice, except for ashing in the quail eggs.

    I won’t bother to shoot holes in the plot, because I don’t think there was one, or at least not much of an attempt for one, anyway. But I will say this – Those weren’t zombies.

    Oh, and what can you say about his sidekick, Harold, except Koka pele bappa boopah.

    And boy, couldn’t you just see what his Girlfriend, Madison’s sister, saw in Jerry? No? Me neither.


    On final though…MADISON!


  • 3
    Graboidz says:

    I’m sorry, but between this flick and “She Creature” there is no way I’m visiting a seaside amusment park!!


  • 4
    Michael says:

    Sampo,you were right the first time. It is a monkey that says “get your tickets here”.


  • 5
    Zee says:

    I’m still working on my entry about the movie, but first let me say the host segments are pretty great in this one. The acronym thing is classic and a favorite around my house. They finally figure out a way to have Bobo fling his poo at Observer and the space children stuff, while not as high-larious as the “Facts of Life” discussion from the previous episode, has some great moments (especially the contents of Pearl’s purse). 2 episodes was juuust enough for those characters.

    Can’t say the silent Ortega could ever match Torgo’s awesomeness but the catering sketch is great. Mike’s big hair is ‘eh but I like the SOL exterior shots. And thumbs up to Mary Jo as Shelli the Nanites…

    Some of the best lines:
    Pearl: Stop hit-ting!

    Observer: Oh, for the love of Heidegger, I’ll take care of it, you addle-pated homunculous!
    Bobo: All right, you cream-faced loon, I’ve had just about enough out of you!

    Darlene: I’m hungry again!
    Pearl: Geeze louise, I just gave you a big jar of garlic salt!
    Darline: I finished it.
    Buddy: We finished our cocktail onions too!
    Pearl: Buddy, grab grandma’s purse, let’s see what we’ve got in there…
    Darlene: Grandma!
    Pearl: …I think there, some, yeah- Jalepenos, um, green cherries, hearts of palm, kraut juice… Oysters, those are mine, and, uh, Argentian Corned Beef Product.
    Darlene: Scooter’s getting sick again!
    Scooter: Shut up, I am not!
    Darlene: You are too!
    Buddy: Cool he’s gonna heft!
    Pearl: There will be no hefting while I’m pilot of this vessel- Scooter, be a man!
    Scooter: I ate too many of Uncle Josh’s Pork Rinds!
    Pearl: Well, finish your Rose’s Lime Juice and you can have more capers…

    Tom: When was the last time you updated your look?
    Mike: Me? I have a pretty basic look- 1985, I guess?
    Tom: So, 500 and some odd years? Mike, it is time for a change!
    Crow: Let’s look you over- you’re pasty and pink, you’re probably gonna want to draw attention away from your face…

    Mike: I think I’ll pass, Servo, I’m about to gag from his body odor.
    Crow: Mike! Good heavens, man, are you trying to humiliate me? Just smile and take a plate!
    Mike: I’m not gonna take a plate, this guy probably has ear mites!
    Tom: Still, these venison and goat cheese toastadas are heavenly!
    Mike: Why would you hire this guy?
    Crow: Well, I guess that’s just the difference between you and me.
    Mike: That you hire deformed psychopaths and I don’t?
    Crow: Exactly.
    Mike: Oh, look, now he’s ashing in the quayle eggs!

    Crow: You can just get the caterer for Servo’s first communion yourself!

    Scooter: I’m gonna miss you, Grandma Pearl!
    Buddy: I’m gonna miss you more than him, Great Grandma Pearl!
    Darlene: I’m gonna miss you most of all, Great Great Grandma Pearl!
    Pearl: Oh, I’ll miss you kids too, Great Great Great Grandma Pearl will miss you too… (they disappear) I am FREE! Good riddance, you little no-neck monsters! Blackjack table here I come!


  • 6
    Nicias says:

    A lot of folks have called Red Zone Cuba “Mike’s Manos.” I would lobby that if there’s a “Manos” of the “Sci-Fi Era,” this film is it. I think the MST3K crew felt the same way, since they seemed to choose Ortega as the “new Torgo.” The film has that same disjointed fever-dream quality as Manos did.

    I’ll argue the film’s qualities (or lack thereof) more later, but for now I must leave for work…


  • 7
    Brandon says:

    “Get yo tickets!”

    “Did I just see that, or did I imagine that?”

    Servo losing it in the theater is one of the most hilarous non-riffing moments in the theater. I also love how Mike and Crow show very little concern for Servo. They both ask him if he’s okay, but even when it’s obvious Servo’s not, they still ignore him.

    Another great touch is almost immediately after Servo recovers from his freakout, he slams Mike, but in a very stern tone, like nothing happened.

    Steckler’s bitterness over the episode just makes it more interesting to see. It’s odd that he would feel so proud of this film when it’s one freaky scene after another. Perhaps if I had been around during the 60s and 70s with all the head films around, I might have been able to appreciate the movie, but I just don’t.

    If there’s any riff that Steckler SHOULD have been pissed off at, it was Mike saying he looks like David Schwimmer. Come on, that’s a huge insult! Razz


  • 8
    MPSh says:

    The scary clown puppet is the one who bobs his head up and down and laughs creepily. It actually was a scary monkey puppet (holding a strip of tickets) who says “Get you tickets here!”

    Anyhow, I love this episode. I even love the movie itself – the murky look, the muddy sound, and the overall air of sleaziness. You can almost feel the film of grease that seems to cover everything. And the 1960’s hairdos can’t be beat!

    I especially have a thing for Carol Kaye, who sings “It’s Not You” and “Shook Out of Shape” (or is it “Schick out of Shape”?), the latter while dressed as a chicken.

    And Atlas King as the astonshingly coiffed and accented Indeterminate Foreign Guy puts the oily crown on this one!


  • 9
    Zee says:

    I love this flick as I do all Steckler movies- I remember the joy I felt when I found 2 box sets with EIGHT Steckler movies- a couple I’d never seen before- all with ridiculously grandiose commentaries by the hard-to-hate Steckler. Now that he’s passed away I feel even luckier to have them. I even wrote a treatment for a biopic about him (STECKLER: THE CASH FLAGG STORY) based partially on his amazing interview in RE:Search. The first scene in my screenplay has him almost killing Alfred Hitchcock.

    Anyway, having said all that, this movie is AWFUL and the SOL crew go wild with it. I tried to jot down all my favorite lines but just couldn’t keep up!

    Mike: Ray Dennis Steckler, that explains a lot.
    Tom: In the tradition of Arch Hall, Jr!

    Crow: I saw the sequel, ISCWSLABMUZ2.
    Tom: The title has appendices!

    Tom: His face is the result of slash and burn shaving…

    Mike: Welcome to the girl pavilion!
    Tom: See the leg waxing demonstration!
    Crow: See the latest in stripping technology!

    “You couldn’t buy enough booze to make me go for you.”
    Mike: But could you try?

    Tom: Rene Richards IS Wendy Carlos IN “Glen or Glenda”

    Tom: You and your stupid ovaries!

    Mike: And now, funny man Herman Goering…

    Crow: She’s the most masculine man I’ve ever seen.

    Crow: No one’s ever attempted an interpretive dance of “Mein Kampf” before!

    Mike: See the dumpy woman with the Dr. Suess hat on!

    “We have girls! Girls! Girls!”
    Mike: And a hamster!

    Crow: He’s gotta be gay, he’s showing concern!

    Mike: I’ll put on your fishnets and dance with Heinz myself!

    Tom: Xanadu! Stately home of Charles Foster Whitman!
    Crow: The storage lockers of Dr. Caligari!

    Mike: Nothing runs like a Bulgarian car!

    Tom: We’ll return to “In Cold Blood Goes to California!”

    “The world’s my college.”
    Crow: He’s taking it pass/fail.

    Mike: Oh, dear, he should not frolic.

    Crow: Let’s tell each other what we’re gonna do before we do it and then do it!

    Mike: I threw up in your hair, I’m sorry…

    Mike: Ray Dennis Steckler may have had issues with women…

    Tom: Rent-a-Balki!

    Mike: Edie Budget Gourmet

    “I’ll try anything once.”
    Crow: Would you lie face down on a porcupine?

    Mike (as Ortega): The, uh, rat had babies again ma’am!

    Tom: She’s subletting Dr. Carlo Lombardi’s place!

    Tom: One of The Mommys in “The Rose”

    Mike (as Ortega): Well, I’m up next, better get my G-string on…

    Tom: It is so cool that behind that thick curtain she doesn’t have all that many clothes on!

    Mike: It’s a mobius strip of music, it leads no where and comes from no where!

    Crow: She has a god given talent… for making tuna salad!

    Tom: I’m going out for some heroin, you want some?

    Mike: Western zombie music, a short-lived fad.

    Tom: Look familiar Mike? Morning after the U.W. Stout Spring Fling?

    Mike: I just want to want up in my squalid, roach-infested apartment and know that everything’s okay!

    Tom: I accidentally ate a no-pest strip, what do I do?

    “I’ve got a date…”
    Crow: …with a CARNIE.

    Mike: Crackle mourns the death of Pop.

    Mike: These are just the carnies, wait’ll the zombies come out!

    Mike: I notice you haven’t soiled yourself yet sir, is there a problem?

    Mike: They’re white people, dressed as Africans, in white face…
    Crow: They’re African ladies-in-waiting who are Inuit and Swedish and dressed in tights…

    Crow: Even the normally sharp Ortega is confused!

    Mike: The cop’s report has to be signed by his mom!

    Crow: We hope you enjoyed “No Moral Theater”!


  • 10
    Zee says:

    Re #2: “Ortega is great, in the host segment, and I would like to have seen him appear at least once more, than just the appearance on Public Pearl.”

    Ortega is one of the witnesses testifying against Mike in 815: Agent For H.A.R.M., and he also shows up with his cousin Staci and her boyfriend Brian to watch “Sliders” with Observer in 903: Puma Man.


  • 11
    ck says:

    How can you not like an episode that gives you Pearl’s primo PBS fundraiser? (Reminder: Always grease your phonebank).

    Nicholas Cage IS Ray Dennis Steckler who IS Jerry! (Well, maybe not). Razz

    Some trivia from IMDb (some rather Shock )
    It is believed that James Woods was an extra in this film.

    The role of Angela was originally given to Bonita Jade, but she pulled out at the last minute.

    The original title was “The Incredibly Strange Creature: Or Why I Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-up Zombie.” Columbia Pictures threatened to sue writer/director/star Ray Dennis Steckler, accusing the title of being too similar to their upcoming Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Steckler, amazed that Columbia would feel so threatened by a $38,000 film, phoned the studio to straighten things out. He made no progress until he demanded that Kubrick get on the line. When Kubrick picked up, Steckler suggested the new title, Kubrick accepted, and the matter was dropped.

    When this movie was released, employees of the theaters would dress as monsters and run through the theaters.

    Filmed in “Bloody-Vision”, and “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision”. The latter consisted of a spinning black wheel with a white spiral on it, appearing when Estella the gypsy hypnotizes her victims.

    All of the musical numbers were filmed in one day. (Why am I not surprised? Alien )

    Marge Neilson’s dressing room has a poster on the wall, to the left of the mirror. The poster is for Wild Guitar (1962) which Ray Dennis Steckler directed 2 years earlier.

    George Morgan, one of the film’s investors, plays the drunk man who Madame Estrella poisons in the opening scene.

    Star Carolyn Brandt was married to director Ray Dennis Steckler at the time of this film.

    Ray Dennis Steckler’s house was used for Jerry’s apartment in the film.

    Sharon Walsh was picked to play Angie at the last minute. The original actress backed out the night of Angie’s first scene, so Ray Dennis Steckler quickly picked a dancer to replace her. If you look closely, you can see Walsh dancing in the musical numbers.

    Joan Howard, who plays Angie’s mother, was also the makeup artist.

    Neil Stillman was a mailman for the business where the sets were built. One day, as he delivered mail during filming, Ray Dennis Steckler asked him to play the Barker.

    The minor characters often played numerous bit parts.
    And some of you guys actually criticise the cinemetography of Time Chasers and OatMB. LOL


  • 12
    Travis says:

    Hey, throwing a question out there. I heard a rumor years ago (before this showed up on MST) that they tried to create a dance craze with this film, something like the zombie-tootsie. Anybody else heard of this?


  • 13
    robot rump! says:

    I just want to go on record as saying the following about this movie:
    Jerry’s fever dream made more sense than any other part of this cinematic train wreck.
    the ‘shick out of shape’singer and the lead dancer who forgot her costume during the NFL referee/ christmas routine were not all that horrible to look at. there, i said it.
    also, where would we all be without Madison to save us?
    so in conclusion, ‘get your tickets here’ you feeeltheee geeeeks!


  • 14
    Shinola says:

    God, I love this episode. I hate that I have it only on home-recorded VHS; one of these days that thing is going to give out and I’ll be up the creek.

    The scenes set at random carnival events produced a couple of my favorite riffs for this ep. To wit:

    Servo, singing: “I’m gonna tell you all a story ’bout a Harper Valley widowed wife..”

    Mike, during the “tribal” dance scene: “That guy’s just in his underwear! HEY!”

    Mike, over a looping track that sounds a lot like a seventh-inning staple: “Take me out to the…take me out to the…take me out to the…”

    TISCWSLABMUZ definitely a highlight of Season Eight and the Sci-Fi era in general.


  • 15
    Tim S. Turner says:

    Oh dear. He should not frolic.


  • 16
    Tim S. Turner says:

    One of my all-time favorite episodes. The ineptness of the film combined with the MST crew make for comedy gold.


  • 17
    GizmonicTemp says:

    Zee – Dude, you sure write a lot!

    I’m gonna be the bad guy and say that I don’t really care for this episode. Through no fault of its own, it was sandwiched between series classics like “Spider Invasion”, “Parts”, “Jack Frost”, and “Riding with Death”.

    Is this just one of those episodes that’s take repeated viewings to appreciate?


  • 18
    Travis says:

    My favorite riff isn’t really a riff so much as a sound. At the end of the movie when the annoying foreign guy is chasing Jerry and he rounds the corner on the beach and starts running at the camera Crow goes “Ackackackckcjerryjerryjerry” (I think that’s spelled right) while doing the foreign guy voice. Gets me every time


  • 19

    Favorite lines: “Your hair won’t clear the door.”

    “You’ll have to do better than that to avoid a date with me.”

    Until Mr. Steckler died recently, he lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. Before MST tackled this movie, I’d heard of him, and I remember looking up his name in the phone book and wondering if I should call him, but fortunately I thought better of it.


  • 20

    Steckler directed and performed in 1962’s “Wild Guitar,” starring Arch Hall Jr., star of “EEGAH!”

    Let’s not forget that Steckler also gets thrown into the pool in “Eegah!” (“Ray Bolger, no!”) and Carolyn Brandt is the one who inaudibly says “That’s Miller’s giant.”


  • 21
    MSTJon says:

    For whatever reason, this ep has lost favor with me on repeated viewings. I still enjoy it and all, but every time I see it, it isn’t as good as I remember. I think I just tired of flicks with a general smudginess. That said, this may be some of the strongest riffing since CC, just dragged down by what appears to be a film over…the…film.


  • 22
    rcfagnan says:

    “So they’re white people dressed as Africans in WHITEFACE?!” Ugh. Despite a good effort, this isn’t an episode I like very much. To call it the “Manos” of the SciFi years is to give it more praise than it deserves. You can just see the influence that Coleman Francis had on Steckler’s filmmaking: lots of repulsive, unlikable characters doing repulsive, unlikable things to other repulsive, unlikable characters.


  • 23
    Comic Book Guy says:

    Excuse me, but Paul wrote down that Carmelita was the ugly fortune teller when it was actually Madam Estrella. Rolls Eyes Carmelita was clearly her stripper sister who was barely in the movie.

    I hope someone was fired or given a voice acting job for this fiasco. Mad


  • 24
    adoptadog says:

    “Is this Confuse-a-Cat?”

    Pretty much describes the whole movie.

    The dance numbers here are among the worst I’ve ever seen, absolutely graceless & uncoordinated, from the “starring” dance couple to the exotic dancers’ odd routines. Naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed them, most especially “Leech Woman, the Musical.”

    I’m grateful to the Satellite News poster who pointed out Carolyn Brandt’s appearance in Eegah during the discussion of that ep. Before that, I didn’t realize her connection to Steckler; that little bit of knowledge just made both Eegah and TISCWSLABMUZ much more fun.

    I’ll second your choice of favorite riff, Sampo.


  • 25
    creepygirl says:

    I do love this episode. I tend to watch it once every couple of years and for me it has stayed fresh. I truly forgot just how much music is in this movie. I didn’t count, but there is certainly enough for a soundtrack album. Not a good album, but an LP all the same. If anyone actually owns or has heard it, please write and tell us what it’s like. I think it was too bad there wasn’t more of the *Zombies* running amok within the carnival. That was probably the most entertaining five minutes in the movie. I agree with a previous post that this is the best riffing since the CC years up to this point. This movie is funny all by itself. The riffing only makes it better. This episode is pure fun.


  • 26
    Fart Bargo says:

    I am not ashamed to admit that I am addicted to bad cinema that involves what I term ‘Hypno-Science’. Hypno-Science, as defined by me, is the science of utilizing the power of hypnosis to create, transmute, destroy, compact, expand, supplement, transcend, immunize, cauterize, translate, suggest, imply, interpret, influence, heal, cure, calculate, degenerate, advocate, explain and codify impossible science facts into really bad scripts. As you might imagine, Season 8 was a real delight for me.

    The movie was silly, insipid, hep, sexy (Sears Catalogue 1957 style), hammy with an upbeat ending. It was a great movie to riff as well. The host segments and gang are really starting to gel and the writing is sharpening up. My favorite prop from this movie is not the monkey, not the clown puppet but the 3 foot hypno disc used on Jerry. I have to rate this one a 4.8.


  • 27
    big61al says:

    Shock this was one very odd film Rolls Eyes


  • 28
    Joe Mama says:

    Saw this first run on SciFi, and I think the riff that set the tone for me was in the opening credits: “Come hear Libby Quinn play the organ with her FEET.” I cracked up and knew I was in for a good time. Just watched it again last week, and it’s held up pretty well for me.

    “Any minute now that organ is gonna break out into ‘Chest Fever’ . . . “


  • 29
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I’ve had a feelthy little love affair with this film since the very early 90s when I was in college. I got it at a closing sale for a local video store and was hooked. My favorite musical number is the “Choo choo choo wow wow wow” song. I really like the MST3k version, but I think the film loses some of its depressing dinginess with all the jokes and all. My favorite riffs:

    I’ve got a date.”With a CARNY!”

    “He looks like he needs something to gnaw on.”

    and of course…”MADISON!”

    As a side note, if I were to recast any role in this film, I’d like to cast Chris Kattan as the “Get your tickets here” robot monkey hellbeast.

    Also, I’m not sure anyone mentioned it, but that’s Titus Moede, dimwitted bad guy Frankie from Skydivers, as the weird guy listening to the radio in the scene with the L train.


  • 30
    Johnny Ryde says:

    I just watched this last week and jotted down notes to remember… Naturally, I forgot them and can’t refer to them now.

    It took me years to notice, but Servo quietly sings “Night Train To Mundo Fine” during the scene where hoodie guy is wandering around the trains…


  • 31
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Wow, this movie is odd. That’s just about all I can say about the movie itself.

    Personally, my favorite riff is at the end with Jerry stumbling down the beach and Servo (as Jerry Lewis) doing a callback to “Planet of the Apes”. (“Whoa, you did it! You finally really did it!”)

    Suddenly, I find myself wondering if anyone stops Nicolas Cage on the street and asks him what he remembers from making this movie.


  • 32
    monoceros4 says:

    It took a while for me to warm up to this one. The first time I screened it I could scarcely focus any attention on it, the movie was that drab and unpleasant. Since then I’ve come to love this episode. It’s the Mike-era “Manos”, the one that illustrates the show at its best, wringing comedy out of a movie without a shred of entertainment value, not even “so bad it’s good” entertainment.

    How many minutes of plot are in Incredibly Strange Creatures? Fifteen, maybe? The rest of the time it’s wretched carnival acts and waiting for something to happen.

    Jerry Lewis references at the end were obligatory but the crew has some great fun with them, with movie references done in the Jerry “Oh laaaady” voice. “You did it you finally did it damn you all to heeeeelllll!” “From Here to Eteeeernity, woaaah!” What the heck happens at the end, by the way? I mean, aside from endless shots of the tide to pad out the film by another couple of minutes.


  • 33
    Loran Alan Davis says:

    By the way, the amusement park in the film was torn down in 1979.


  • 34
    Roman Martel says:

    This is another movie I had heard of before I saw it tackled on MST3K. Some coworkers and I ran into it while flipping through a movie guide at the video store. The long title facinated us, and the short review said something like “A real turkey of a movie with some bizarre cinematography”.

    We are back in the realm of incompitant movie making, with a director striving to tell a story but lacking the skill to tell it well at all. The basic plot shouldn’t be too hard right? Evil Fortune Teller turns a teenager into a killer via hynosis and he runs amok. The only problem is that Mr. Steckler just can’t get a handle on movie construction. Individual scenes have merit, not a lot, but they don’t stink too bad. It’s just the fact that he fused these scenes together in the hope of creating a horror film. His goal was to frighten, and the movie is scary – for the wrong reasons. There is no tension, no horror, nothing. The characters are one dimensional. The endless dance and song sequences stop any momentum he may have generated. And the ending is one that inspires no emotion other than – “Wow he looks like Nic Cage getting shot on a beach.”

    In a way it reminds me of a more colorful Coleman Francis movie. You get to ask all the important “why?” questions that will never get answered. Why the unintellable foreign friend? Why the “Get your tickets here!” monkey?” Why the endless dance numbers and songs? Why the deranged dance/dream montage? Why the follicking by the beach? Why Madison?

    But you can’t complain because the resulting riff fodder is just too good. Like a Coleman Francis movie, this one provides endless commentary. From it’s bizarre opening titles to the Francis-esque shooting, Mike and bots unload on this one. Normally the songs and dances would prove difficult, the the costumes themselves provide more than enough fodder, with the exception of the solo act in the middle of the film. The rest of the time it’s the nut job characters that work best. My favorite is Madison. Was this guy made to be riffed or what? Unlike “Biography”, just shouting “Madison” works rather well especially with our action hero/dweeb running on the beach. Ortega may have become the Torgo of the Sci-fi years, but Madison is the man.

    Good solid host segments in this one too. My favorites are with Pearl trying to get the kids back to her parents. I also enjoyed the silliness of the audio only segments with Bobo and Brain Guy. And who can forget Ortega catering and dousing himself in acid. Good times.

    Consistantly funny episode with only a few slow spots and solid host segments, I give this an incredibly strange grade of four stars.


  • 35
    Gummo says:

    Love this movie, love the MST version, love Ray Dennis Steckler, bless his earnest misguided little heart.

    Once again we have the return of one of my favorite riffs, one that still works its way into conversation: “Ah, good old fashioned nightmare fuel!”

    But there are so many great funny lines in this one, you’d almost have to quote every riff to get them all.

    The music & dance acts, seen un-MST’d, are so astonishingly bad as to be genuinely mystifying.

    The late great Lester Bangs wrote about seeing this movie in a drugged haze at 3 in the morning one night in one of his infamous rambling essays.

    And IIRC, Steckler’s objections to the riffing on this movie — and to most criticisms of his work — were mostly about defending Carolyn Brandt, who seems to have been the love of his life, even if their marriage didn’t last. He didn’t seem to care much what you said about him, but he was VERY protective of her.

    And Wild Guitar is one of my household’s favorite movies, if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a classic — Arch Halls Junior and Senior, Ray Dennis as director AND actor, and Hall music galore. It’s wonderful.


  • 36
    Gummo says:

    Additional mystery for the ages:

    Why do all the women’s stage costumes make them look like they have incredibly large, hairy “areas”?


  • 37
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Gummo – I’ll join in singing the praises of Wild Guitar. It’s somewhat surprising to see that it was done a couple years prior to TISWSLABMUZ. Wild Guitar just seems like a much more cohesive effort, by comparison. Top-notch entertainment, indeed. The Sadist is another entertaining flick that really showcases Arch Hall Jr’s range, such as it is.

    And as you noted the “furriness” of the costuming, it gives us a better understanding of how the dancers get their shick out of shape.


  • 38
    CMWaters says:

    One of the lesser-mentioned riffs is one I like.

    When one of the songs cues up, and the tune is similar to “Little Drummer Boy”, so Crow starts singing it.

    …mostly because my mom DESPISES “Little Drummer Boy” for some reason and we tease her about it often.


  • 39
    Spector says:

    This episode ranks among the show’s best, thanks to a crappy movie that ranks right up there – or should I say down there – with some of the worst they’ve ever faced. This movie is as gawd-awful as Manos, Monster-a-Go-Go, The Skydivers and Bride of the Monster, which of course means a mother lode of riffs from the Brains.

    So, remember to “get your tickets here, get your tickets here, get your tickets, get your tickets…”

    Oh, and before I forget, “Madison!”


  • 40
    diskojoe says:

    Lester Bangs actually wrote about this movie in the early ’70s for Creem Magazine & it appeared in the first anthology of his writings, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, where I first encounted it. It read like a print version of MST3K.


  • 41
    robot rump! says:

    “sir, i noticed you haven’t soiled yourself. is there a problem?”


  • 42
    Toots Sweet says:

    CMWaters (#38), I’m with your mother on “Little Drummer Boy”. I just can’t stand the extremely annoying repetition and silly lyrics of the dumb thing – “the ox and lamb kept time parumpapumpum”. Argh! I also agree with you on the riff. After they do the riff and the music continues, it sounds exactly like LDB.


  • 43

    Ray Dennis, Coleman Francis, the “eegah” crew – they had an entire little subculture of cross-secting micro-budget film makers in the early 60s!

    a top-five episode for me – along with ‘Space mutiny” and “giant spider invasion” one of my most heavily viewed episodes! i did think the girl with the date “with a carnie” was really cute.


  • 44
    H says:

    Hi, Everyone, Let’s Pitch In ‘N’ Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then, Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Every Time Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d’oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod. (obviously, I had to go to Ward E to get all of this)

    I really enjoy this episode. Movie’s great, such a strange … well, everything. Ortega’s a fun character, just love him. Host segments are great too. You can probably guess my favorite.


  • 45
    ck says:

    Gummo #36
    Additional mystery for the ages:

    Why do all the women’s stage costumes make them look like they have incredibly large, hairy “areas”?
    Well, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
    Goldfinger (with Pussy Galore)—1964.

    Coincidence – you decide. Eek!


  • 46
    Fantagor says:

    Dance numbers, lots of them, all performed as though choreographed by Helen Keller. This film is all filler. Name five instances where the plot is established or furthered. Doesn’t happen. Instead of plot devices, we get a greasy hooded geek and his unintelligible companion cruising a carnival for 75 minutes during which a freakish man in a cloth hat mumbles and smokes at the screen.

    In other words, I LOVE this film. It’s the perfect bad movie answer to good cinema. But it still doesn’t make Adam Sandler movies any more endurable. Ray Dennis Steckler was the Adam Sandler of his time.



  • 47

    This has become a real favorite of mine. It started out kind of slow to me (minus the “GET YOUR TICKETS HERE” monkey) until they hit the folk singer right after the iron and steel joke. The highly inappropriate lyrics from other songs riffs pushed me over the edge, and it just kept getting better from there.

    @#18: That’s my favorite, too. There’s something about the JerryJerryJerry at the end that cracks me up every time.


  • 48
    losingmydignity says:

    A bonfide classic.

    The riffing is top notch, and if you love this kind of filmmaking–inept but fascinating all the same–what isn’t to love? Whenever anyone expresses displeasure with this ep it always the grainy plotless nastiness of the film that is mentioned, not the riffing. I love it and wish they had done more of these kind of films.

    Steckler’s idea of Burlesque is quite interesting. He must have known a lot of these people to get so many to work for pretty much free and contribute songs and dances. I wonder how much of what we see were actual acts…
    By the time this film was made the kind of burlesque you see was pretty much already a dinosaur…it may have still existed but what Steckler was doing was essentially an act of nostalgia, or so it seems to me. The kind of strip act you see in Kitten With a Whip or, say, the Graduate, were taking over. Burlesque was (and still is–it’s had a post-feminist revival of late) not exactly respectable but it’s audience did consist of both genders. When more tawdry strip took over that changed to some extent.



  • 49
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    A piece of the puzzle is that the movie was originally billed as a MUSICAL (“The First Monster Musical,” actually). So of course it by definition had a bunch of musical production numbers.

    Oddly enough, “The Horror of Party Beach,” which billed ITSELF as “The First Horror Monster Musical” (and whose monsters were also, and just as inaccurately, described as “zombies”; it was a confusing time in the horror movie industry, I guess), hit the theaters only a month later. I suppose it’s arguable that there’s a difference between a “monster musical” and a “HORROR monster musical.”

    For the two to have hit the theaters so closely like that…was there a 1964 rush on the concept of horror musicals?

    “Before this decade is out, we will put dancing monsters on…”


  • 50
    Incredible Horrible Mr Limpet says:

    To add to the movie’s already creepy atmosphere captured at Long Beach, CA’s “The Pike”, a true story exists about the place that seems right to share for Halloween.

    In 1911, Elmer McCurdy, an Oklahoma train robber was gunned down and was taken to a funeral home, embalmed with fluid containing arsenic. Nobody ever showed up to claim the body so the funeral director began to charge a nickel for folks to come and see ol’ Elmer.

    After his stint, he began to head west, visiting crime museums and side shows, etc. In the early 70’s, he ended up as a prop, hanging in the Pike’s Fun House but by this time he was thought by all to be nothing more than a prop. That is until a film crew for the “Six Million Dollar Man” showed up to make ready for an episode called, “Carnival Of Spies”. One of the crew grabbed Elmer and his arm broke off, exposing bones.

    After forensic people examined him, they determined he’d been shot by an early 1900’s bullet and through much research, they identified him in 1977. He was sent back to Guthrie, OK and finally buried, complete with a local town ceremony.


  • 51
    JCC says:

    Love it, but this is a great stretch of episodes in my opinion so that’s not a big shock. According to the Incredibly Strange Films book (Great book; Awesome interviews), Steckler actually got on the phone with Kubrick himself to hash out the title issues. Also, Eegah! was filmed (illegally) on Harpo Marx’s property.

    “Well that scene explained nothing.”
    “If this is her date then it’s the first thing I’ve understood about this whole movie.”


  • 52
    clonus says:

    “I’ve been asked to explain the Iron and Steel joke” always made me laugh. That nightclub scene goes on so long!
    I remember when SciFi did that odd MST3K marathon after they cancelled the show, this was #1 with the most votes (out of whatever they still had the rights to.) The run from around 810-822 is still one of the best in the show’s history.


  • 53
    courteous martian says:

    Has anyone else noticed how much Steckler and Atlas King look like a live-action Beavis and Butthead?


  • 54

    This episode ranks among the show’s best, thanks to a crappy movie that ranks right up there – or should I say down there – with some of the worst they’ve ever faced. This movie is as gawd-awful as Manos, Monster-a-Go-Go, The Skydivers and Bride of the Monster, which of course means a mother lode of riffs from the Brains. Twisted


  • 55

    I LOVE this film. It’s the perfect bad movie answer to good cinema.


  • 56
    OnenuttyTanuki says:

    Since the ticket line already been said.
    “Good old fashion nightmare fuel.”


  • 57
    Grognarrd says:

    Schick outta shape!


  • 58
    Spector says:

    LOL,Grognarrd! How could we possibly forget the catchiest song in the film? Schick outta shape! Love it!! Smile


  • 59
    BSBrian says:

    …..”Perhaps if I had been around during the 60s and 70s with all the head films around, I might have been able to appreciate the movie, but I just don’t.”… me Brandon, I WAS around then and this movie still sucks!


  • 60
    RockyJones says:

    5 stars! I absolutely love this episode! It never gets old.

    I mean…what a goofy concept! 10 minutes of supposed “horror” and “suspense” wrapped up in a huge bundle of THE most inept musical performances ever witnessed by mortal man.

    WHO on earth picked that horrible song that Carmelita “strips” to?…”IIIIII’m…the pied piiiiiiper…of loooooove”… It’s so cutesy and UN-sexy, and not exactly what you’d expect to be hearing as an accompaniment to public disrobing. Almost as big of a “huh?” as those horrible black and white “referree” dresses in the first group number early on…which brings up one of my favorite riffs…

    “Man…the 14 year-old boys who snuck in with fake IDs have to be feeling profoundly ripped-off right now!”


  • 61
    RockyJones says:

    and…53: courteous martian…

    SO glad you made the Beavis and Butthead reference! I had always thought the same thing! Only, in this case, it’s more like “Butthead and Butthead”.


  • 62
    UberNeuman says:

    One of my favs from the Sci-Fi era – and I always bust out laughing during the folk singer scene when Corbett sings: “my anaconda don’t want none, unless you got buns hon…”


  • 63
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Anybody want to go to Eat and have cocktail?


  • 64
    And Now You Find Yourself in '82 says:

    I met Steckler at his last remaining Las Vegas store three years ago. He was a really nice guy. I had found out that my step-grandfather played Doomed Wino #2 in his “The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher” after first learning about him from Re/Search’s “Incredibly Strange Films” book and then seeing MST3K’s treatment. He said he didn’t care for the Brain’s treatment of Carolyn (the boozy dancer, his ex-wife in real life) and said that he never saw a cent from it being on MST3K. Other than that, he was super cool, and though it is a sad shame that he’s gone, at least I got to meet him before he went.


  • 65
    Timber says:

    A classic in my opinion, this is one of my ‘comfort’ episodes I can just pop in the DVD player and watch anytime.


  • 66
    Nicias says:

    One of my favorites. Unlike so many of the “dreary” films, this one has so much ludicrous, bizarre content that it makes your jaw drop. Definitely not boring. Add in the musical numbers, which leave one gaping at their sheer incompetence, and this is definitely a memorable little film, although for me it would be intolerable without the riffs.

    Steckler certainly seems to have adopted one of Coleman Francis’ trademarks, namely the technique of randomly cutting to bizarre, unrelated images for about 1.5 seconds before returning to a scene, eg. the “get your tickets here” monkey. One of my favorite moments in this film is when the camera suddenly flashes to a carnival ride for a split second, randomly showing a roller-coaster car making a sharp 90-degree turn; Crow rapidly spouts out “Make a right!! Good…” His timing is perfect and it’s such a bizarre aside.

    My favorite character in this one is an easy pick. While he gets riffed on for being kind of rigid and nerdy, Madison is actually the only character in the film with a life and a future. Everyone else in this film is a stripper, carnie, homeless junkie or drunk. Our supposedly “cool” main characters Jerry and Harold are gross, unemployed burnouts. Jerry’s girlfriend Angie is transparently slumming it with these two just to annoy her straight-laced mother. While these three leech off society and are generally worthless, Madison is a busy college student trying to make something of himself; sure he’s not a “cool” rebel, but at least he doesn’t dress like a gross homeless person. The dancing girl Stella is a close second, as she is the only other person who is halfway clean and attractive. So of course she has to die.

    As incredibly bad as it is, I still find “Schick out of shape” somewhat catchy. It’s certainly better than the same singer’s earlier out-of-tune song. Has anyone ever decrypted what she’s really singing? The poor audio makes it nigh impossible for me to figure out. I think instead of “Schick” she’s singing something about a “chick,” which would explain the plumage bird-women.


  • 67
    norgavue says:

    I love that I saw the imdb poster mirror referenced above. Not to brag but I put that there. Was watching for the 12th time and it just jumped out. Course I figure most of the other people on here prolly noticed it way before I did. This episode is one of my personal favorites. Hell this movie is actually good in a bad kinda way. The whole atmosphere just sets the mood and the inept acting makes it better. There is a pseudo sequel that steckler made before he died and I would love to see how that went. Alas I would have to say that at the moment my favorite riff is Go Cyclon Racer Go!


  • 68
    John Seavey says:

    I think she’s singing “ship out of shape”, referring to the fact that the girl in the song has stayed out too late, and her mother is upset and out of sorts (ie, her emotions are not ship-shape.) But I’ve listened to the song dozens of times, and still don’t know.

    And I have listened dozens of times, because this is my favorite episode, full stop. I can (and have) finished watching the DVD, and immediately hit play on it again. It’s just that good. Some of the best riffing ever.

    “Oh, I’ll wash the dishes…” “With my hat.”
    “And the camera pulls back as if to say…sorry. Sorry, folks, it’s all my fault…”
    “Maybe it’s the funk of the hooded sweatshirt he’s been wearing throughout the entire film that’s got him down.”
    “During our newsbreak, we changed station format to ‘All Trumpet Fanfare’!”
    “Cindy ‘Room-Clearer’ Larson!”
    “He won’t sleep if you keep bonking the steadi-cam against his face!”
    “And a young Gloria Steinem stalks off!”
    …and so many, many more.

    Fun fact: On, the description for the trope of something that is (intentionally or unintentionally) scarring and terrifying to little kids is “Good Old-Fashioned Nightmare Fuel”. This episode is even credited as the source of the description!


  • 69
    Ralph C says:

    I enjoyed this episode, laughed a lot and stuff. Out of all the incredibly strange and mixed-up things going on in this film, the most incredibly strangest, mixed-up moment occurred when Jerry and his friend Latka, or whatever his name was, went to his girlfriend’s house to apologize for staying behind at the carnival. She was lying on a lawn chair and then, for no apparent reason, picks up her umbrella and starts twirling it. Why? I know why the had to do it but what’s the explanation for it?? In a film with an armada of incomprehensible scenes and moments, this is the most egregious, incomprehensible action ever.


  • 70
    KSK says:

    MIKE: “Nothing runs like a Bulgarian car…”

    Lays me out every time I hear it. It’s just so appropriate for that barge they drive around in.


  • 71
    crowschmo says:


    This movie is OUT there, man. A fun episode all around, had me laughing pretty hard in most spots. The riffing – host segments were so-so.

    Waaaay too many fave lines to list them all, but:

    Ortega Taco Shells are made of PE-EOPLE! – Mike

    Want to go to Cafe and get cocktail? – Crow

    Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dull. – Servo

    Children of all ages will enjoy our exotic dancers. – Servo

    We take Visa, MasterCard, and dead rats. – Mike

    Somewhere, a purse hits a floor. – Mike

    You know, the fourteen-year-olds who snuck in with fake ID’s – they gotta be feeling profoundly ripped off at this point. – Mike

    The Felize Navidad Dancers. – Servo

    Riverdance! – The strip show! – Servo

    So, Ray Dennis Steckler just filmed an open stage night and made it half his movie. – Mike

    I dedicate this song to Sylvia Plath. – Crow

    Watch as she WALKS AROUND. – Mike

    Thrill as he looks for the men’s room! – Crow

    Is she talking into a kazoo? – Servo

    A dimension not of sight or of sound – but of CRAP. – Crow

    Eva Gabor reads Alan Ginsberg. – Mike

    So – a shot of a rainy street corner somewhere – thank you, movie. – Crow

    Sound – are you getting this? Well, we’ll move on – we’ve got a lot of other lines. – Mike

    But first, I’m going to unnaturally twirl my umbrella at you. – Crow

    Later – in ROME… – Mike

    This was digitally recorded, then erased, then RE-recorded on a dictaphone. – Mike

    Western zombie music – a short-lived fad. – Mike

    During our newsbreak, we changed station format to All Trumpet Fanfare. – Crow

    Get touched by a carnie. – Crow

    Shrimp out of shape? Wha…? – Crow

    Never let your book club be back-up dancers. – Crow

    Gramma always gets drunk and sings at weddings. – Mike

    (When Jerry confronts Carmelita and an uexplained noise occurs off camera unedited)
    Did he drop his marbles? – Mike LOL

    Does anyone know who this is? – Mike

    Hey – a carnival. – Crow, then later Mike in the same bored tone.

    What is with the periodic dog bark? – Mike

    Madison – the boy who SHOULD be in a plastic bubble. – Crow

    Okay, I guess that was a little long.

    Oh, well, what’re ya gonna do? It was funny.



  • 72
    Nicias says:

    #71 crowschmo – If you listen carefully, you can hear the girl with the “golden voice” finishing her song in the background when Jerry is backstage with Carmelita. The “dropping his marbles” noise is actually supposed to be applause as she finishes her number. It’s very badly mixed, of course.


  • 73

    So, Columbia Studios thought “TISCTSLABMUZ” would somehow be confused with “Dr Strangelove”?

    My favorite lines:

    “Get your tickets! Get your tickets here!”
    “Did you guys see that or did I imagine it?”

    “You will be Nicholas Cage!”

    “You all die horrible deaths! 10 bucks!”

    “Never get your book club to be your backup dancers.”

    “Theres some 14 year olds that snuck in who are feeling profoundly ripped off right now.”

    “Hey! This is only 80 proof!”


  • 74

    One last one…

    “Gosh, I advise other people to get their Schick out of shape, but my Schick is nowhere NEAR out of shape.”

    Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing for ten minutes at that one, and I don’t know why. I think it’s just because they got so much mileage out of misinterpreting “All Shook Out of Shape” during the song, that the last silly kick in there after the song is over just zinged me when it wasn’t expected.


  • 75
    Kouban says:

    Just rewatched this one, and got blindsided by Mike quoting Sir Mixalot. Nearly fell outta my chair laughing.

    Off-topic, longtime internet friend got me signed Hobgoblins 1+2 and the soundtrack for my birthday, which I recieved in the mail today Grin


  • 76
    Halomek says:

    One thing I’ll always be grateful about with this episode is that it brought my attention to how Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d’oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes.

    I never knew… I just never knew… Probably because I don’t live in Louisiana. I’ve since sworn off radishes, carrots, and hors d’oeuvres. I’ve also stopped doing the dishes. Those Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys have it bad enough as it is.

    Thank you MST3K, and thank you H.E.L.P.I.N.G. C.H.I.L.D.R.E.N. T.H.R.O.U.G.H. R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H. A.N.D. D.E.V.E.L.O.P.M.E.N.T. (BTW, I’m glad Victor finally got his lunch).

    On a more serious note, up until now, I could never figure out that Rent-A-Balki was saying “to eat?” in that dialogue they used for the stinger. I always chalked it up as some foreign gibberish that snuck in. The closest I could decipher it as was “dwee?”

    The fact that it wasn’t just makes it more hilarious.


  • 77
    Halomek says:

    *looks at his last post*

    Heh, I guess I want to hurt those Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys a little after all. Serves me right for posting so late at night. Razz


  • 78
    Malfeasance says:

    The “girly show” that Ray Dennis attends kills me–butchers me like a hog–because (1) some of the girls are clearly chewing gum as they come out of the doors, and (2) black and white stripes with red capes? They’re all dressed like Hamburglar!


  • 79
    pablum says:

    Maybe I haven’t given this episode enough watches, but the movie just smothers me and I can’t really enjoy it even with some great riffing. The whole thing is just drab, dreary, and depressing.

    The Coleman Francis movies are similar in that respect to me. Although I have no such problem with Manos. Probably due to Torgo and the riffing done with him. This movie? Ugh. I’ll rewatch it again and maybe I’ll find the gold I discovered with Manos.


  • 80
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #69: She was lying on a lawn chair and then, for no apparent reason, picks up her umbrella and starts twirling it.

    A personal quirk? It’s her yard, she probably handles the umbrella all the time. In real life real people can have way quirkier quirks than that.


  • 81
    Travis says:

    Oh, another line that kills me: When the muffled sax (or whatever instrument it is) starts playing and Servo says “Someone’s playing the cow”.


  • 82
    Johnny Ryde says:

    There’s something about this movie that refuses to let my mind pay attention to it. I’ve been watching this episode for years, and it was only well after it was released on DVD that I put together that the dancing girl and the carnie who get murdered were the same couple who were going to go on a date with steaks and dishes. You know how in Hobgoblins (and other films) someone would say “Do we know these people?” at some point where we’ve seen this characters for a long time (the joke being that they’ve failed to make an impression on the audience despite hours of screen time)… That is literally true for me in this film. I have trouble thinking back more than five minutes at any given moment in this film.

    I wonder if the opening gag with Bobo and Observer appearing only in photos was to have a poo-flinging joke or because Kevin and Bill didn’t feel like putting on the make-up.

    So… the title. The film is about creatures who then become zombies… Er, when does this happen? The zombies are regular people who get hit with acid to then become zombies… Who are the strange creatures?

    Cash Flagg!

    A lot has been said about the Ray Dennis Steckler / Arch Hall Jr/Sr connection… but I also recommend Wild Guitar.

    There’s something that occasionally annoys me about some style of MST3k joke, which is that any woman in a film who is over about 5’4″ or so is referred to as a transvestite. It doesn’t always bother me, but I got tired of these jokes in this one because they seemed very repetitive…

    I remember reading an interview of RDS where he complained about MST3k’s treatment being “anti-semitic”. I watched it with that in mind but couldn’t see what he was referring to. The jokes about the blond guy being an Aryan?

    I know the story about why they say “I thought you were Dale”… but why are these jokes in every episode of season 8?

    This gets back to my first point about finding this film hard to follow… but who is Madison? RDS’s girl’s brother?

    I really liked this episode when it first aired, but I missed a lot of the jokes because I couldn’t hear the actual film… So it gets better each time.

    Why in the 50s/60s did everyone in a car sit in the front seat?

    I looked it up and RDS was only 26 when he made this film; a) the same age as Orson Welles making Citizen Kane, b) he looks about twenty years older.

    Dated ref: “I’m getting a C: prompt.”

    When we watched this episode for the first time, my friend thought that Mike’s tall hair in the theater was there to block any nudity…

    I’m a big fan of the dancing girl who has the date with the carnie… Stella?

    Again, I love that Tom sings “Night Train to Mundo Fine” very quietly at one point.

    “All-righty then!” Hilarious.


    There’s a strange Coleman Francis feel to the end. The policeman shoots an unarmed and nonthreatening Jerry for no reason. Is being a zombie a crime punishable by instant death in that town?

    I didn’t realize that the space children story-arc only lasted two episodes… Seemed longer at the time…

    The King Tut (Steve Martin) riff during the last song cracks me up every time.

    “Crackle mourns the death of Pop.”


  • 83
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh, and who is “Bill Ward” and why is he appearing as himself?

    Speaking of the credits, I never knew until someone mentioned it here that the David Schwimmer, slash and burn shaving victim guy of the opening credits is RDS himself…


  • 84
    Fart Bargo says:

    69 & 80-See 26 for the actual explanation of the spinning parasol mystery.


  • 85
    Johnny Ryde says:

    One more thing… Am I right about the plot?

    The alcoholic dancer goes to get her fortune told… While there, she accidentally sees the zombies, so she has to be killed. The fortune teller hypnotizes Jerry to be her hit man. After doing his work, she makes him a zombie.

    Is that it?

    Why does she have zombies? How does the skull juice acid turn people into zombies? Isn’t there an easier way to find a hit-man?


  • 86
    Ator In Flight says:

    Good episode. It’s kind of hard to watch because the movie is SOOOO depressing. I like how Crow mocks Bobo during the intro. Mike,Mike.


  • 87
    thecorman says:

    “And the director picks an eye booger” tells you all you need to know about the late Ray Dennis Steckler’s movie making prowess. It took me a while to warm up to this episode because the movie was soooo bad. Even worse than the plot was the sound! Apparently, Ray Dennis could afford color film, but he had to share microphones with Hal Warren. And what delusion made him think that a balding, black sweatshirt wearing, jobless schlep was appropriate leading man material? I love the idea that the rich girl from the suburbs thinks that it’s dangerous to date the 60s version of Adam Sandler.


  • 88
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh… and the cute dancing girl has to die because she was the one who saw the alcoholic dancer running from the fortune teller’s tent…

    But I’m still not sure why…


  • 89
    The Professor says:

    Ya know, I always thought the line used in the stinger was “What do you think we came here for…the weed?”. But in all honesty, i’m not 100 percent sure I actually understood ANYTHING that guy said. Grin


  • 90
    The Professor says:

    Also, for anyone interested, here is the episode of The Incredibly Strange Film Show that features Ray Dennis Steckler. Some really cool insight into the weird world of Steckler.


  • 91
    Gary Carbo says:

    My second favorite movie. As a child I often visited the amusement park featured (Long Beach Pike). So it’s always good to see it again in all its glory. For me the dancing numbers ROCK! Something about corny synchronized dancing.


  • 92
    pearliemae says:

    “Lawrence Welk reaches out to the Black audience”. That still kills me. Am I the only one (it doesn’t sound like I am) who thinks they WERE a little hard on Carolyn Brandt?


  • 93
    crowschmo says:

    #72 Nicias: Ah. Got it. Applause. (Sure didn’t sound like it). Confused

    And, yes, #92 Pearliemae, they WERE a little hard on Carolyn Brandt. She wasn’t THAT bad.


  • 94
    Jimmy says:

    “Oh I’ll wash the dishes…”
    “with my hat…”

    Is maybe one of the funniest riffs ever, IMO.

    plus MADISON.


  • 95
    Smog Monster says:

    This movie doesn’t have the longest official title of any MST3K movie… I thought that went to The Saga of the Viking Women and the Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent? That’s a longer title than this one is. It just wasn’t used by MST3K, officially.


  • 96
    Dr. Batch says:

    “Let me move my condom outta the way.”


  • 97
    syferdet says:

    “They’re like the Blue Angels of dancers.”
    “Yeah, one wrong move and they all crash!”


  • 98
    Nicias says:

    I also agree that they were a bit too hard on Carolyn Brandt. She’s not a good dancer, but she doesn’t really look manly like they imply. They encountered a lot stranger-looking women in other films (the sister from Squirm, Babs from Horror of Spider Island, Flo from Girls Town, most of the cast from Racket Girls, etc.). Carolyn Brandt is reasonably attractive; I imagine it was just hard to look good amidst the greasiness of the 1960’s. I recall Mike saying something similar about the 1970’s as well


  • 99

    Well, when you first see her, Carolyn Brandt has such a square jaw, and the makeup is really unflattering, I have to admit. Crow’s opening line when she first appears was also MY first thought when I saw her. However, unfortunately, they had to milk it quite a bit.

    She wasn’t really shown off to best advantage in this film at all, and that’s really not her fault.

    Now, the jokes about that lame wig on Sharon Walsh’s head… THOSE jokes couldn’t go on long enough for me.


  • 100
    Dave says:

    I know it’s off topic, but I had to post when I saw what TCM is showing tonight, October 30th at 2:00 a.m. Believe it or not they are showing ‘Zaat’ better known to us MSTies as ‘The Blood Waters of Dr. Z.’ Somebody call Ripley’s.


  • 101
    The Bolem says:

    We finally discuss my favorite SciFi ep, and I can’t get around to commenting until around post #100? ARRGH! Glad to see so many share my feelings on the ep, but interestingly, the movie itself seems rather polarizing. Like my all-time fav, Red Zone Cuba, it’s so freakin’ bizarre that I love it even unriffed.

    “MANOS” of the SciFi era though? While there are oily, inaudible similarities, that reminds me of the one time I watched this with a large group; in addition to the college friends I’d subjected to Batwoman, Red Zone Cuba, Space Mutiny, and a dozen others, we were also joined by a guy who’d followed the show up until just before Joel left (he’d seen “MANOS”, but not EEGAH!, both of which my circle had also seen). At the end, this fellow declared, “Man, that one could go right next to MANOS and Monster A-Go-Go as the worst 3 they ever did”, which prompted the rest of us, without any real collusion, to burst out laughing at him. They were still scarred from Hobgoblins almost a year before, and his non-MSTie GF set him straight on that count as well, having had the misfortune of seeing Hobgoblins uncut, and was so horrified by the prospect of seeing it again, even with the ‘bots, that she’d refuse to let me in their apartment if she so much as suspected I had the tape with me.

    Getting back on topic, I bought the RDS DVD 4-pack that had this one and finally watched it unriffed. Unlike their last 2, this one apparantly didn’t have to be cut for time. The only difference I noticed was in the scene in the middle when Jerry’s just woke up and talking to Atlas King, the audio never cuts out; he says something like, “You know, I’ve been wondering about that myself…” I can’t remember exactly. I guess that means the “Sound? Are you getting this?” moment was either an anomaly on the print the Brains had, or ‘Guilty Pleasures’ did some minor restoration for the DVD. Can anyone who’s seen the VHS shed some more light on this?

    For that matter, without the ‘bots talking over it, you can actually make out what Ortega’s saying in hypnosis/freakout scene! But it’s just “You must obey Madam Estrella”, so whoop-dee-s**t…

    I haven’t watched it with Steckler’s commentary, but I did take in the interviews with him and Carolyn Brandt. Hard to believe he’s the same guy; to me he looks and sounds totally different than in the movie, even allowing for the 41 year time lapse, so maybe he displayed better acting ability than most of us realize.

    The most interesting thing I learned from that extra, Malfeasance@#78, was that apparantly ALL the girls were chewing gum. The music for the burlesque show, and perhaps other numbers, had to be dubbed in later, so Ray tried an experiment of having them all chew gum in unison as a way of keeping time with the non-existant music. Say what you want about the end result, but it worked a bit better than “Eenie Meenie Minie Mo” guy’s singing to later-dubbed-in music 3 shows earlier.

    He also said that the reason for Jerry’s girlfriend’s enormous hair was to make her look as different as possible from the chorus girl with the same face. His original leading lady apparently forgot that she promised to see her boyfriend’s band the same night as her first scene.

    I did watch the first half hour with Joe Bob Briggs’s commentary, and he makes a few of the same observations as M&TB, expecially Estrella using beer coasters as tarot cards. He goes a bit further though: “Now who in the heck picks up the ace of spades and says that’s the death card? So, which card means you might need liver surgery, the 2 of clubs?” He also points out that in the barker’s first scene, he seems to be implying that one of the burlesque girls is going to be auctioned off after the show.

    The weirdest thing about that barker scene though, has to be when Carolyn Brandt’s character runs out of Estrella’s joint, clearly terrified out of her mind to everyone she passes, and the Barker responds, “Never mind folks, just one of the many attractions here on the midway…” M&TB can’t do anything but laugh in disbelief, and that’s totally appropriate.

    I’ll also third the notion that Carolyn Brandt was the second hottest woman in the movie after Ms. Shick Outta’ Shape. Their repeated digs at her might actually bother me if I didn’t love this episode enough to forgive absolutely anything about it. It just always evokes a feeling of outdoor summer fun, like how like “MANOS” makes me want to take another family road trip, Pod People makes me nostalgic for childhood and my favorite cat, and RZC makes me wonder how cool it would’ve been to travel the world in the turbulent ’60s…

    I’m not kidding or being sarcastic about that last part; go fig. I just can’t fit all the joy this experiment fills me with into a single post.


  • 102

    Ah yes, the movie that took me a week to fully memorize the title.

    * Cash Flagg is only one of Ray Dennis Steckler’s many fake names. If you look on his imdb profile, several women’s names are included too.
    * One friend who saw this before I did said it took him about three viewings to fully hear and understand every line of dialogue- I can’t blame him.
    * I’d wager that the makeup that Jerry has on during the freak-out dream cost more than everything else in the budget combined. And, I will admit, that is an awesome look.
    * On the one line of dialogue where Mike says, “Sound? Are you getting this? Well, that’s okay, we have a lot of other lines.” Has anyone who can read lips ever figured out what Jerry’s saying?
    * A riff that I made up for this probably got the hardest laugh from my friends more than any other. During one of the hypnosis scenes the lighting is covering Jerry’s lower face except for his eyes. I called, “That is the lowest budget ninja costume I’ve ever seen.” I dunno, they found it funny.
    * Favorite riffs:
    Mike: “I’ll put on your fishnets and dance with Heinz myself!”
    Crow: “If this is her date, then it’ll be the first thing I understand about the whole movie.”
    Servo: “Yes, yes~ Come, come into the voting booth~”

    Host Segments:
    * How many takes did it take for Kevin to get the full HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT right?
    * I saw Overdrawn at the Memory Bank before this and had thought Ortega was a one-episode character created for it. Glad I was wrong.
    * I can somewhat understand Mike’s pain in the final one a little. I once rode a roller coaster where the safety harness wasn’t lowered all the way and got bounced around like crazy. It hurt.
    Favorite line: “I’d probably melt in your presence anyway.”


  • 103
    Warren says:

    “Ride the….wrecking ball”. I don’t watch this one often, but it’s enjoyable, if not coherent.


  • 104
    Gummo says:

    I’m sorry, we just watched this again last night, and Ms. Brandt does have a rather mannish face, broad muscular shoulders and a generally “butch” air about her, at least in this movie. And she really can’t act, in this or any other Steckler movie.

    But boy, were our guys relentless on her.


  • 105
    JCC says:

    I have to say that aside from her pointy voice I find Sharon Walsh very attractive and I would love to see how she looks without the ridiculous Beehive.

    Random Riff:
    “What is with the periodic dog barking!?”


  • 106
    erasmus hall says:

    how does the audience for burlesque show/nightclub reflect auteur Steckler’s
    vision of his film audience?


  • 107
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>Oh… and the cute dancing girl has to die because she was the one who saw the alcoholic dancer running from the fortune teller’s tent…

    Not so much that she saw her leave the tent as that she confronted Estrella about how she (Estrella) was basically one of the last people to see the dead dancer alive. Lesson: Confronting a suspected murderer without at least having a Step B mapped out NEVER works out.


  • 108
    The Bolem says:

    Okay, I finally watched the scene unriffed again, and I was wrong; you actually can’t hear what Jerry’s saying. I guess we need that lip readin’ after all.

    Like the MSTed disc, the Media Blasters disc has the nice touch of looking like the hypno-spiral.

    I always found it a funny coincidence that they make so many Ed Grimley jokes about Madison, and then the pointiness of “Mohawk”‘s identifying feature in Space Mutiny absolutely demanded more Ed Grimley jokes a mere 8 eps later. At least it wasn’t a problem like the near oversaturation of Prince jokes in 2 consecutive episodes shortly after this.

    I’m not sure if this was clarified, but Stanley Kubrick nearly sued Steckler over the title: “The Incredibly Strange Creatures, or How I Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-Up Zombie”

    I too thought it was lame that they “weren’t really zombies” when I first saw this, but I’ve done my homework since. “Zombie” was a nebulous term in movies when Steckler made this, and most of the earliest appeared to be magically controlled people whose free will was dead, but who never literally died. I believe the first movie to make it 100% clear that its zombies were reanimated corpses was Hammer’s ‘Plague of the Zombies’ 2 years after TISCWSLABMUZ, with the first rising from the grave sequence. The idea of them eating the living only came 2 years after that when Romero’s selfless public domain masterpiece laid out the official rules, and was an idea clearly blurred in from the European concept of ghouls. Since this movie predates those rules by 4 years, mixed-up people mutilated by mysterious acid who roughhouse others to death are zombies enough for me.

    Or could the skull juice be so damned mysterious that it actually zombifies? I don’t remember where the link is, but the TheCastleMonster paints a compelling picture in his Incredibly Strange Confidential tribute. It’s an example of what fanfiction should aspire to be, as opposed to screen-/teleplays that’ll never be produced.

    The strangest thing about this episode’s first year is that its broadcast dates seemed to coincide with horrible car accidents befalling celebrities: When it debuted, I recall at least one of the Detroit Red Wings being hospitalized after a wreck, and when it was first rerun in the fall, Princess Diana and co. were horribly sacrificed to the tabeloids! If there was an incredibly strange curse on limo chauffers, I guess it wore off by the following spring…I hope.


  • 109
    The Toblerone Effect says:

    This is one of those films that’s just so out-there that paying attention to the riffing, even as good as it is here, is really a challenge. The movie just dominates in its unapologetic bizarreness. If I’d seen this at the age of eight or younger, the hypnosis scenes would have given me nightmares; it’s filmed in such a creepy way it would have stayed with me and my then-impressionible mind.

    That said, having movies like this to riff on were a welcome departure from the “b&w 9” of Season 8. The next episode only gets better!


  • 110
    The Bolem says:

    The only other Steckler film I’ve seen is “The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher”, perhaps his second most eloquent title. Carolyn Brandt plays the second title role, and there’s a picture of her character from this movie on the wall in her S&M chamber in back of her bookstore. The most shocking twist is that at the end, after spending over an hour appearing to be in seperate movies haphazardly edited together, the Hollywood Strangler does indeed meet the Skid-Row Slasher.

    I liked it a lot better than most ’80s slasher flicks, and it could’ve been a positive influence if its 1979 release hadn’t been overshadowed by Alien, Dawn of the Dead, Zombi 2, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, Concorde, Angel’s Revenge, parts…

    Man, was I ever born in a great year for film. Unless you were in Iran at the time.


  • 111
    Bianca Dick says:

    You put together an excellent point with what you claimed. People should read your article to allow them to get a better perspective on this subject. It was awesome of you to supply fine info and encouraging reasons. After reading this, I know my mind is extremely certain about the issue. Keep up the fantastic work!


  • 112
    Dan in WI says:

    Always remember. The difference between the Mike and Crow is that Crow hires deformed psychopaths and Mike doesn’t. Knowing that I doubt I’ll ever mix them up again.

    I’m not sure I understand the use of “audio only” as Bobo sends the movie. Perhaps it was just so they could intimate but not actually show him throwing poo? I don’t know.

    Callback from a couple different places: Good old fashion nightmare fuel.

    Incredibly dated riff even at the time: Tom as Estrella looking into the crystal ball. “I’m getting a C prompt. Hold on.” At this point we are probably getting close to the time when you get those annual lists of “things a college freshman never knew” that DOS will be on that list if it isn’t already. I used be somewhat handy with DOS myself.

    So the Bots ask Mike when he last updated his look. I believe the correct answer is last episode. But that mustache didn’t go over so well.

    This episode has so-so host segments but very solid workmanlike riffing that really kept me chuckling.

    Several people four years ago seem to think this movies compares to Manos. I just don’t see it. Ray Dennis Steckler at his core is an auteur that can’t act. But the film certainly has that auteur feel. Hal Warren on the other hand is the guy who made a movie on a dare/bet and the difference shows. Just remember only Hal felt three voice actors were sufficient to loop an entire film.

    Favorite Riffs:
    During the title card: Tom “The title has appendices.”

    A house establishing shot is shown. Mike “If you lived here you’d be depressed by now.”

    The ticket monkey does his spiel. Crow “Did I just see that or did I imagine it?”

    Ray Denis tosses a rock. Tom “and he misses the ocean.”

    Mike “This is a hijack. I’m taking this roller coaster to Cuba.”

    Ray Denis “I’ll try anything once.” Crow “Would you lie face first on a porcupine?”

    Mike as Estrella reading a palm “You’ll have a big house [spits] and there’s the swimming pool.”

    There is a banging noise in the background. Crow “Shots ring out but the people of Bosnia bravely go on with their peep shows.”

    Crow “Even the normally sharp Ortega seems confused.”

    Young looking kids buy tickets for the peep show. Crow “A field trip for scout troop 34.”

    Mike on the peep show “You know the 14 year olds who snuck in with the fake ID’s have to be feeling profoundly ripped off at this point.”

    During the peep show: Mike “you know what I’m looking at right now?” Tom “What’s that?” Mike “That exit sign.”

    Ortega watches the dancing. Mike “Well I’m up next. I better get my g-string on.”

    The police scuffle with a zombie. Crow “You know I’m sick of this Bob. That’s the third zombie I pulled off of you this week.”


  • 113

    This episode was on a tape I made during one of Sci-Fi’s great “chain reaction” weekends, along with “Agent for H.A.R.M.” and a few others. For awhile, my boyfriend was painting theater sets overnight, and I had trouble sleeping while he was gone. After he left, I would go downstairs and put that whole tape on, drifting in and out of sleep over the course of four movies and a lot of commercials for AOL. It was somehow comforting, like having friends stay over.


  • 114
    Weepy Donuts says:

    I’ve said it before but I would gladly buy the soundtrack albums for this and Girl In Gold Boots. I have a strange affection for the musical episodes.


  • 115
    Creeping-Death says:

    I used to think this was just a average episode when I first saw it, but its grown on me, so that I watch it somewhat frequently. 5 stars. This movie has the highest riffs per minute of any Sci-Fi channel episode and is 9th fastest overall according to GizmonicTemp’s site.

    Mike: Nothing runs like a Bulgarian car!

    Crow: Get touched by a carnie.

    The riffs as the terrible folk singer referring to other songs.
    Servo: London calling, yes I was there, too.
    Crow: Really love your peaches, Wanna shake your tree.
    Crow: My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.

    Mike: First blade lifts and the second one cuts.
    All: You get your Schick out of Shape!
    Servo: Now everybody: Shave!

    The riffs on the muffled background music as Jerry wanders around are all great:
    Servo: Are we supposed to assume they have a concert going on across town?
    Mike: This was digitally recorded, then erased, then RE-recorded on a dictaphone.
    Mike: Western zombie music – a short-lived fad.
    Crow: Its the short period where they had the microphone in a saltine box across the room.
    Servo: I love this next part where he sings and I quote: “Mhhmhhm mhhmmm hmmmhmm”

    Crow: Want to go to Cafe and get cocktail?

    Mike: They’re white people, dressed as Africans, in white face…
    Crow: They’re African ladies-in-waiting who are Inuit and Swedish and dressed in tights…


  • 116
    Sitting Duck says:

    Incredibly Strange Blah Blah Blah passes the Bechdel Test. Margie gets her fortune read by Estrella. Plus the “shick out of shape” singer discusses Margie’s murder with Estrella.

    While granted Margie is not what you would call attractive, the remarks concerning her gender were a bit much. Her partner however did look excessively Aryan.

    With the burned-out E in the Cyclone Racer, it was a touch disappointing that no one riffed, “By your command.”

    Though at the time it the episode aired it would have been eight more years before he got really famous, I thought Ray Dennis Steckler looked something like Christopher Eccleston.

    Personally, I think they should have gone with Estrella saying, “You dirty feelthy peeg!” for the stinger.

    @ #38: Well, Little Drummer Boy is a rather grating song.

    Callback to She Creature: She’s subletting Dr. Carlo Lombardi’s place.

    Favorite riffs

    “You couldn’t buy enough booze to make me go for you.”
    But could you try?

    Ortega Taco Shells are made from people!

    The lesson: Have sex with a fortunetelling gypsy if she demands it.

    If you lived here, you’d be depressed by now.

    Come on world, pull my finger!

    Outtakes from the Manson Family Christmas.

    She’s a member of the Vodka of the Month Club.

    Yes, I see an oily fortune teller… oh that’s me.

    Shots ring out, but the people of Bosnia bravely go on with their peep shows.

    You know, the fourteen year olds who snuck in with fake IDs, they’ve gotta be feeling profooundly ripped off at this point.

    Riverdance: The Strip Show!

    Pee Wee’s Playhouse goes bad.

    I just want to wake up in my squallid, roach-infested apartment and know that everything’s okay.

    Never let your book club be back-up dancers.

    I see that feelthy peeg futures are down.

    Ride the Giant Citrus Juicer!

    Sorry, I thought it would be funny. Now I’m just ashamed.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed No Moral Theater.


  • 117
    Tom Carberry says:

    The Pike was an amusement zone in Long Beach, California. The Pike was founded in 1902 along the shoreline south of Ocean Boulevard with several independent arcades, food stands, gift shops, a variety of rides and a grand bath house. It was most noted for the Cyclone Racer (1930–1968), a large wooden dual-track roller coaster, built out on pilings over the water.

    Favorite Lines:

    See the latest in stripping technology.
    …and Joan Collins is checked into the boards.
    [Chuck Heston voice] Ortega taco shells are made from people.
    [acid] Elizabeth Taylor’s poison.
    Cinematography by Zapruder.
    Bill W., Theatrical Manager.
    [Jerry & Harold] I see a killing spree in their future.
    [Blue station wagon] Ah, nothing runs like a Bulgarian car.
    [Margo & Bill / dancers] Guess the gender and win a free cocktail.
    [Carmelita] This whole movie has an oily “T” zone.
    Suddenly a giant girl snaps her tether and kills a coolie.
    Ray Dennis Steckler may have had some issues with women.
    [Carmelita] Isn’t that the guy Danny Bonaduce beat up?
    [Ortega] Poor Emmett Kelly didn’t age well, did he?
    [Marge & Bill] Tab Hunter and Yvonne de Carlo.
    [Blue station wagon] That thing corners like a river barge.
    At long last movie, have you no sense of decency?
    They turned Leach Woman into a musical.

    Final Thought: The drunk dancer Margo was Steckler’s real wife. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.


  • 118
    MikeK says:

    “The Glenn Close Experience!” This is one of my “go to” episodes when I need to just watch some MST3K and not worry about episodic order or theme. TISCWSLABMUZ is a movie I laugh at but I’m also glad that it exists and I thank Ray Dennis Steckler.


  • 119
    generalist says:

    It had been 2+ years since I had seen MST3K in April of 1998. Where I lived did not get Sci-Fi until early ’99. And I hadn’t seen the show since the end of the Comedy Central run. I happened to be visiting someone in a totally different state and they had Sci-Fi channel. That weekend, the episode that played was a re-run of TISCWSLABMUZ. It was my introduction to the Sci-Fi era and Bill Corbett.

    I’m not much of a fatalist but I can’t help but think things happen for a reason. Or it’s just happenstance. I was instantly drawn back into the show from just fewing TISCWSLABMUZ that weekend. I happened to record it and took it back home with me and watched several times throughout that year. So when we finally got Sci-Fi I was more than ready to finally see all of these episodes I had missed.

    Unfortunately, there are still some Sci-Fi episodes I have never seen so they function as my MST3K: Lost Episodes, everytime Shout puts out a box with an episode I haven’t seen it’s like a treasure — to me any way. I digress, sorry.

    TISCWSLABMUZ, easily one of my Top Ten episodes. Probably in the Top 3 of the Sci-Fi era. I have tried before to figure maybe why I like this one so much. It’s probably because it’s the first one I saw from the SF era but then again, the film and the riffing share qualities from earlier seasons. Unlike many of the early SF episodes, it’s just a dark and grimey piece of pulp cinema. It hits all of the notes of a perfect MST3K movie/episode, in my opinion.


  • 120
    "Hotcha!" says:

    It should be noted that the cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, went on the win an oscar for his work on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Imagine that.

    I always compare RDS more to Ed Wood than Coleman Francis in that he had so much passion and drive and so little talent and ability to back it up.

    And yes, many of the women in this flick were pleasing to the eye. I found their comments on Margo not particularly accurate.


  • 121
    Fred Burroughs says:

    I showed this one to my cousin and he was hooked as soon as Mike narrates, “The Indigo Girls try to find the stage.”

    I like Carolyn Brandt in this. I do like all the Nazi references though. “You weigh about the same as Albert Speer.” Never heard an Albert Speer joke in any other show. My co-worker explained the Lawrence Welk reference, their dance team of Bobby and Cissy.

    Best moment, Mike (in saucy voice, during girly number): “Know what I’m looking at right now?” Crow: “That ‘exit’ sign back there?” Mike:”That’s right.” One of my favorite things about the show is how it takes a filmmaker’s attempt at titillation or sleaze and makes it seem wholesome.

    Ortega: “AAAAAAUGGHHH!”


  • 122
    GORTO says:



  • 123
    Cody Himes says:

    A new remixed version of the commercial sign music is used beginning with this episode. Compare the spaghetti ball bumpers here to the ones in any previous episode.


  • 124
    Yipe Striper says:

    i own this on dvd and i still have never made it through this episode.


  • 125
    Depressing Aunt says:

    Another of my favorite comfort episodes. I’ve seen it too many times. I love things that don’t make sense.

    I finally noticed this: When Marge is having her fortune told, there’s a moment where Tom looks quickly at the crystal ball and softly says “Mommy.”

    My fave host segments involve Tom’s acronym (that sentence seems so random), Pearl’s tasty treats and Mike and the bots getting their beehives. It’s wonderful that Mike never complains about it being a woman’s hairstyle, just that it’s too high…and later, he feels ripped off because it’s not real hair and it’s just taped on!

    Madison has a certain je ne sais quoi. I’d take him to Cafe to get cocktail.


  • 126
    [the original] Stan McSerr, Destroyer of Worlds says:

    If Nicholas Cage and an Easter Island statue had a baby it would look just like Stickler.


  • 127
    Tim S. Turner says:

    Can’t say enough good about this one. From MADISON to Ortega, it’s great fun from start to finish.


  • 128
    bdtrppr6 says:

    this was the last episode(besides K year)I acquired, so haven’t watched it too many times, but it’s great. it’s best contribution is the hooded sweatshirt he wore. has to be the first use of making those seem “sinister”!


  • 129
    K Goon says:

    We met Ray Dennis Steckler a few years before he passed at a screening of a documentary on Reading PA. He interviewed everyone coming out of the theater on video asking for their thoughts on the film. Wish he would have done more films; chances are we would have wound up as stock footage. Nice guy (nice wife too), we miss him.


  • 130
    Of no account says:

    I once watched this episode while sick & mildly delirious. It actually made complete sense to me at that time. Unfortunately, I can’t remember now how it did. Next time I’m sick & delirious I’ll watch it again & try to take notes.

    Two important points to take from this episode – future reading doesn’t work on ferrets, and never cross Bobo.


  • 131
    JohnnyRyde says:

    I watched this episode earlier in the week in order to participate in this thread… and then see that everything I wanted to say I already said in 2009…

    One thing I’ve did figure out since the last time was who the Bill Ward is that is credited as himself in the closing credits. He’s the male dancer who’s partnered with the drunk woman. Why he was famous enough to appear as himself is hard to figure out; since he shares the same name as Sabbath’s drummer, googling him is almost impossible…

    But this is one of my favorite episodes in the middle of one of my favorite stretches of episodes.


  • 132
    bdtrppr6 says:

    JohnnyRyde, there is another Bill Ward who did a lot of bad girl/pinup art, I wonder….? Have to do some research!


  • 133
    spap oop says:

    when i was a kid the local tv stations friday night “creature feature” aired this at least twice. i tried watching it least that many times and always wondered why it was such a short movie.
    i didnt realize ’til years later it was because i had fallen asleep in the middle and woke up towards the end. with a movie this incoherent i guess my little kid mind couldnt comprehend that i missed 2/3 of the movie.


  • 134

    You know, I remember liking this episode more, but after rewatching it again this week, I gotta say that it’s a good one, but it’s not great.

    There are some good segments of riffing (the opening is particularly strong) but there are also, at times, some long pauses between riffs, as Mike and the bots are just watching this weird, weird movie, which is okay, because this is one weird mamma-jamma, but it’s also kind of boring. I’ll agree with the assessment that this is “Mike’s Manos,” although I like Manos better (the episode and the movie).

    The walk-a-thon opening is good, but the Host Segments don’t really do it for me in this one either. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like the Nanites, because typically I don’t find any of their segments to be funny. HS#3 is the best of the group, I like Ortega and his subsequent visists to the show would be nice. Also, I’m getting married next summer and I’m still looking for a caterer….so if you’re reading this Ortega. . .get in touch.

    There been some mention is the above comments about an interview with Ray Dennis Steckler in a book called RE/SEARCH #10: INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILMS, which is from 1986 and worth tracking down if you’re into, well. . . incredibly strange films. It’s a good interview, Steckler covers his entire career and it seems to give a good feeling for what the guy was like. He’s got some good anecdotes involving Atlas King, Arch Hall, Stanley Kubrick, and one involving Coleman Francis, the details of which I talked about back in my episode guide post for #621 The Beast of Yucca Flats. The copy of Re/Search #10 that I have was given to me by a guy I used to work with at an old job 4 or 5 years ago. He said, “hey, you like weird movies, right? Well here’s this book. . .” Totally random. Totally appreciated.

    Oscar winning cinematographer extraordinaire Vilmos Zsigmond (credited as William) worked on this movie, one of his first jobs, although he is credited as just “camera operator.” His good friend, future amazing cinematographer, and fellow Hungarian Lászlo Kovács also worked on the film, although he ended up with just an “assistant camera” credit (under the name Leslie). The credit for cinematography went to Joseph V. Mascelli, who also shot Wild Guitar and The Thrill Killers for Steckler. Mascelli also directed a movie called Monstrosity, which was riffed in season 5 of MST3k as The Atomic Brain.


    Mike: “Ah, good ol’ fashioned nightmare fuel.”

    Crow: “She’s the most masculine man I’ve ever seen.”

    Crow: “I see a killing spree in their future.”

    Getyourticketshere getyourticketshere,
    Crow: “Did you guys just see that or did I imagine it?”

    Servo: “Work your magic, Boone’s Farm.”

    Crow: “Even the normally sharp Ortega seems confused.”

    Crow: “I think Liz Taylor’s surgery has made her evil!”

    Servo: “I think I’m freaking out!”

    Crow: “I came to explain about my head.”

    Crow: “The budget zombie.”

    Servo: “SAIIIL AWAAY!”




  • 135
    Maggie says:

    Watching it right now. So far, my favorite lines are “A dimension not of sight or sound, but of crap,” the line about Mein Kampf and interpretive dance, and “Noam Chomsky really needs to find a better warm-up act”.


  • 136
    mstgator says:

    Music Note The first blade lifts, the second one cuts, get your Schick out of shape Music Note

    I’ve seen every episode of the cable run, and I think this might be my favorite MST3K episode, hands down.


  • 137
    Cornjob says:

    Nice to hear from you Maggie. Is your Avatar Lisa Loeb? Nice to know someone your age can understand a reference to Noam Chomsky. Not to be confused with the cannibal dwarf known as Gnome Chompsky.

    I think the master print of this movie was dropped in mud. When the movie isn’t murky and boring it really can be creepy and weird. It certainly has plenty of WTF moments. “Did I just see that”.

    Why exactly was the fortune teller keeping a small army of acid deformed freaks in the storage room? Since they killed her immediately the first chance they got, they didn’t seem to under her control, so what was the benefit of keeping them around? Was Carmelita aware that her sister was using her stage act as bait for luring idiots into becoming hypnotized murderers? And when the carnival was being torn down and moved every couple weeks, did no one notice the fortune teller had an entourage consisting of 20 murderous ghouls, or was that considered to be nothing out of the ordinary?


  • 138
    Maggie says:

    Hi Cornjob! Actually, my avatar is me, haha Smile Thanks, I’ve never read Chomsky but I’ve read a couple articles about him, enough to get a joke like that.

    In a carnival like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the carnies had a posse of deformed zombies. Probably tagged them like sheep, so they didn’t get mixed up.


  • 139
    Cornjob says:

    There was an episode in season 5 or 6 where the Mads were having problems with security and Lisa Loeb got in. This is why I thought you might using an image of her as an avatar Maggie. That and your picture looks a bit like like her. At least in the 1/2 inch version that is visible on this page. So everybody else, what MST character do you vaguely resemble?


  • 140
    Savvy says:

    Oh, jeez. MADISON!

    -There are a lot of things in this movie that could warrant a stinger. “You feeelthy peeeeg!” would be a good choice.

    -I absolutely love the big hair host segment, especially because of the nanites. They are so cute!
    Mike: I was wondering if I could get in to see Shelli today.
    Ned the Nanite: Okay, let me check. Uh, Shelli can’t see you until… now! Hope that’s okay! Shelli!!!
    Shelli the Nanite: Hi, Mike. I’m Shelli. How are you doing today? Great. Let’s just take a look here. Has your head always been this big, errr…? So you had the day off today, errr…? So, you work around here, errr…? Oh, sounds fun. Looks like you’re taking care of what’s left of your hair. Great. There you go, Mark! Do you need some product, errr…? Maybe some coconut algae dijonaise leave-in conditioner, errr…?

    -We have established that there are more stage performances than anything else in this movie, let alone zombies.

    -This movie really is very similar to Girl in Gold Boots.Both movies featured dancing girls, a beach at the end, and a dancer who is an addict off-stage. Coincidence?

    A solid episode!


  • 141
    Depressing Aunt says:

    Cornjob, what a good question!

    I think I sort of resemble Moneypenny in “Double 007.” But on a good day when I feel young, I feel like I by rights ought to resemble the pert-faced Angle of this movie. Neither of the looks is optimal, and both ladies should get more sun. But there it is. (Possible weekend topic?) Worship


  • 142
    Yipe Striper says:

    Breaking News: Update to post 124. I still have not gotten through this episode.

    Question: I am wondering if post #111 has anything to do with this episode. Can someone please advise? if it doesn’t, then the feeling i got reading it is very similar to the feeling it get when i watch this ep.

    if it does have something to do with the ep, I’ll never make it through.


  • 143
    mnenoch says:

    I’ll always remember this episode in a very special way. This and Clonus Horror. My brother and I had just gotten into MST3K during the first run of Season 8 episodes in early 1997. We didn’t end up getting Comedy Central in our city until late 97 I think so we never had the chance to see MST3K on CC.

    Anyhoo we had see the first run of episodes up to number 809 and had just seen 810. After that week I had gone down to see my Grandmother with my Mom while my brother had stayed home with my Dad. My Grandmother didn’t have cable but she did have a vcr. And of course us being msties and having the habitual urge to record the show my brother would record the episodes and then mail them to me while I was out of town. This episode and the Clonus horror plus he mailed me a few earlier episodes to watch. So I ended up watching this episode about a dozen times.

    Of course I haven’t ended up watching the episode since 1998 until today. It’s much better than I remember. I remembered the skits pretty well but the movie I didn’t remember much of except for murder boy being a spaz at the end and all the carnival shots.

    Favorite Riff “Come see all the latest stripping technology”!