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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)


• 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: “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. 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.


  2. 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.”


  3. Warren says:

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


  4. 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.


  5. 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!?”


  6. erasmus hall says:

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


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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!


  10. 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.


  11. Bianca Dick says:

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  12. 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.”


  13. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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…


  16. 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.


  17. 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.


  18. 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.


  19. 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.


  20. "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.


  21. 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!”


  22. GORTO says:



  23. 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.


  24. Yipe Striper says:

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


  25. 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.


  26. [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.


  27. Tim S. Turner says:

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


  28. 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”!


  29. 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.


  30. 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.


  31. 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.


  32. bdtrppr6 says:

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


  33. 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.


  34. 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!”




  35. 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”.


  36. mstgator says:

    :musicnote: The first blade lifts, the second one cuts, get your Schick out of shape :musicnote:

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


  37. 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?


  38. Maggie says:

    Hi Cornjob! Actually, my avatar is me, haha :) 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.


  39. 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?


  40. 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!


  41. 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:


  42. 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.


  43. 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”!


  44. bartcow says:

    I liked this episode a lot more this time than I have during previous viewings, but if any movie needed subtitles, it’s this one. The sound is uniformly horrible, and I’m not sure that even if it was filmed with THX Dolby Surround Hi-Fidelty Digital Audio that I’d be able to make out anything the roommate is saying. I just roll along with whatever M+TB are telling me they’re saying, and hope for the best.

    In other news, I totally fell in love with Madison’s character this time. Much better than Ortega. Stands around grilling cell phones and half-heartedly bantering with other characters until it’s time to ineffectually run across the beach. I can totally relate.


  45. There’s some good riffing in this underrated episode. “Please, ze fuhrer is in the audience! “, Crow humming Christmas songs to the club music “I’ve been asked to explain the Iron and steel joke”. It’s like the guys were let loose in an amateur talent show which is half of what this detestable movie is.


  46. goalieboy82 says:

    off topic, but in honor of June Foray (NFSW, old humor)


  47. Thad Boyd says:

    Then-current references: Crow mentions a “C prompt.” I think you have to be of a certain age to know what that is.

    Of a certain age or currently in an IT or software development field. Windows still has a command-line interface — two, actually, cmd and PowerShell — and both of them use some variation of the C:> prompt (assuming default settings). I don’t know if I’d call it a dated reference, but I guess there’s no category for “thing that was more general knowledge back then but is specialized now”, and that’s quite a mouthful anyway.


  48. Sitting Duck says:

    In the Golden Turkey Awards series, Incredibly Strange Blah Blah Blah was nominated for three awards (though it didn’t win any). The nominations were for Worst Title of All Time (won by Rat Fink a Boo Boo), Most Inane and Unwelcome Technical Advance in Hollywood History with Hallucinogenic Hypnovision (won by The Tingler with Percepto), and Most Idiotic Ad Line in Hollywood History with, “Not for sissies! Don’t come if you’re chicken! A horrifying movie of weird beauties and shocking monsters… 1001 weirdest scenes ever!! Most Shocking thriller of the Century!” (won by Kwaheri). Be thankful I didn’t go with the all caps that were present in that last one.

    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.

    Sounds like someone wanted to be the next William Castle, but didn’t have the aptitude for it. Sad, really.

    spap oop:
    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.

    It was probably for the best. You might not have been able to handle the insanity at such a tender age. :P


  49. thequietman says:

    Halftime at the Orange bowl… never fails to disappoint.

    I think I only saw this episode once after the show went into reruns (I know I didn’t see it during Season 8’s original run) and it truly was like a fever dream you only half remember through the years. I could never remember that this one closes out the ‘Space Children’ arc and is where the ‘Screaming Lemur’ clip in the opening credits came from.

    But having refreshed my memory tonight I’m inclined to agree with all the ‘Manos’ comparisons. Further, between the tinny sound and muddy picture this one seems to have come from one of the worst source prints the show ever had. It makes the biker movies from way back in Season 2 look like The Wizard of Oz.

    I’m holding out hope for a Shout! Factory reissue of volume 9, so I haven’t obtained the single-disc release of this. I know Shout doesn’t go all out on the reissues but this movie is just begging for a Ballyhoo documentary about it.

    Fave riffs
    [Glenn Close Experience sings “Choo Choo Choo!”]
    What, is she singing the Thomas the Tank Engine theme?

    [doomed woman brings out drinks to sit by the radio]
    Pretty elaborate preparations just for ‘Car Talk’!


  50. EricJ says:

    Love this one. I was half asleep a few nights ago with a movie I recorded from TCM playing, Hot Rod Gang (1958). The movie had musical numbers and what do I hear? The Choo Choo song! I was just like “WTF!?” It instantly made me feel feverish and disoriented.


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