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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


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

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 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 (254 votes, average: 4.48 out of 5)

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

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

  1. Horace Rumpole says:

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

       1 likes

  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.

    Whatdoyouthinkwecameherefortoeat?

    On final though…MADISON!

       4 likes

  3. Graboidz says:

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

       7 likes

  4. Michael says:

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

       5 likes

  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!

       1 likes

  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…

       4 likes

  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! :P

       2 likes

  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!

       4 likes

  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!
    GETCHER TICKETS HERE!

    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”!

       4 likes

  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.

       1 likes

  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? :mrgreen: )

    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:

       5 likes

  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?

       0 likes

  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!

       0 likes

  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.

       0 likes

  15. Tim S. Turner says:

    Oh dear. He should not frolic.

       5 likes

  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.
    GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!!!!!

       0 likes

  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?

       1 likes

  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

       2 likes

  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.

       0 likes

  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.”

       1 likes

  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.

       0 likes

  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.

       1 likes

  23. Comic Book Guy says:

    Excuse me, but Paul wrote down that Carmelita was the ugly fortune teller when it was actually Madam Estrella. :roll: 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:

       0 likes

  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.

       1 likes

  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.

       1 likes

  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.

       0 likes

  27. big61al says:

    :shock: this was one very odd film :roll:

       0 likes

  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’ . . . “

       0 likes

  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.

       3 likes

  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…

       0 likes

  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.

       1 likes

  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.

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  33. Loran Alan Davis says:

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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”?

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!”

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  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.

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  41. robot rump! says:

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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
    —1964
    Goldfinger (with Pussy Galore)—1964.

    Coincidence – you decide. :eek:

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  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.

    Randy

       1 likes

  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.

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  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.

    A+

       1 likes

  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…”

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  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.

       4 likes

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