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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: 819- Invasion of the Neptune Men

Movie: (1961) When robot aliens attack Japan, Space Chief takes to the air to battle them.

First shown: 10/11/97
Opening: Tom and Crow worry about Mike’s eyelash mites.
Intro: The nanites take on the mites; The Mad Goth (Bobo) is getting more attention than goddess Apearlo
Host segment 1: Mike’s love of Noh theater causes confusion
Host segment 2: Tom comes down with Roji Panty complex; Pearl and Observer have no luck with Bobo
Host segment 3: M&tB are near despair, then Krankor visits
End: Crow has some suggestions, while a conk on the head from Pearl restores Bobo’s memory, with unfortunate consequences
Stinger: Little boy faw down
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (246 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)

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• This is one of those movies. There are bad movies like, say, “Revenge of the Creature.” There are VERY bad movies, like, say, “Prince of Space.” And there are the dregs: “Manos,” “Fu Manchu,” “Red Zone Cuba” … and now this “little cockroach of a movie” (as Servo calls it in a fit of rage toward the end) joins that wretched roll call. Segment three works because (in addition to Bill’s hilarious return as Krankor) it so piquantly makes the case that, as Servo noted many seasons ago, “every time I think I’ve seen the worst movie ever made, along comes the worst movie ever made.” The final 20 minutes or so, which feature a solid 10 minutes during which essentially the same four or five shots are repeated again and again and again and again, is easily one of the most punishing bits of film MST3K has ever subjected its viewers to. Because of that, I predicted there would be wide differences of opinions on this one. Some MSTies love these bottom-dwellers; others will retreat to the oft-used line: “even Mike and the bots couldn’t save it.” Pro tip: One way to get through it: stop watching the episode just after segment three and wait a day or so before watching the final half hour.
That said, the riffing is really quite good, all things considered, and, as in the other recent eps, the SOL segments are funny and fun (the wonderful “Noh Theater” sketch, especially) while the “Roman Times” segments are unremarkable, though I think Kevin’s performance is great.
• This episode was included in Shout’s MST3K: Vol. XXXVII.
• Kevin’s take on this one is here, including his wonderful reaction to the Hitler Building shot.
References.
• That’s Paul as first hapless nanite soldier, and again Paul, Beez and Patrick are “Roman day players.”
• Kudos to Beez or whoever created the tiny garbage around Mike’s eyes.
• Yes, that’s Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba as Space Chief. Chiba would go on to star in many martial arts movies, most notably as Terry Sugury in the “Street Fighter” series.
• Then-current reference: At about the time of this episode the aging Russian space station began to have a series of mechanical failures. The Mir fell from the sky long ago.
• All I can say about The Noh Theater bit is: Somewhere Abbott and Costello are smiling.
• This show had several complicated moments — note that both Tom Servo and Bobo are on camera at the same time, then Callipygeas and Bobo are on screen at the same time, as are Krankor and Crow later on. Patrick was probably running the puppets in all cases.
• Servo has a breakdown, contracting Roji Panty Complex. He sure does break down a lot.
• This show explicitly answered the question that has so often been asked by fans: “why do Mike and the bots put up with these bad movies?” In this show, Mike is so appalled he gets up to leave, only to realize that there is no air in the rest of the ship.
• Callback from the old days: Gooood morning!”
• Cast and crew round up: Scriptwriter Shin Morita also wrote “Prince of Space” (dull surprise).
• Produced by Kevin. Directed by Mike. This was Jill Roozenboom’s last episode as production manager. It was also intern Meshach Weber’s last episode.
• Fave line: “Our quick and pointless plot cul-de-sac is over!” Honorable mention: “Say, has anybody seen my record?”

159 Replies to “Episode guide: 819- Invasion of the Neptune Men”

  1. Wampa Joe says:

    I’m not the type of fan that will laud Manos or Red Zone Cuba, as I think there’s zero entertainment value to be found in those “films.” This one, however, actually works for me. Maybe it’s because the quirky cultural differences make it a bit more of an appealing trainwreck, or maybe it’s that the Brains threw everything they had at making this one bearable.

    And I don’t know about you, but the phrase “whispy bachelor” is a regular part of my lexicon.

       0 likes

  2. Flying Saucers Over Oz says:

    This episode left such an impression on me I was honestly astonished when I discovered it hadn’t been released on DVD yet! I was certain I’d just watched it a couple weeks ago or something… (And no, I wasn’t confusing it with PRINCE OF SPACE.)

    “They blew up the Hitler Building!”

       0 likes

  3. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I kind of wonder if this film would SEEM better if we didn’t have Prince of Space to compare it to.

       0 likes

  4. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ Servo has a breakdown, contracting Roji Panty Complex

    Host segments were pretty uneven for me after Joel left the show, sometimes hilarious and sometimes a bit flat, but this one is one of the greats. It really cracks me up. Great job with a rather dull film.

       0 likes

  5. losingmydignity says:

    Eh, I’m on this doesn’t work for me side of the Neptune equation…

    The first twenty minutes or so are pretty funny and looks like it’s on its way to being at least close to the same ballpark as Prince of Space. Ugh, but, boy, does it slow. The final bits of Mike and the Bots battle with endless stock footage does get funny…some of the best lines have already been quoted, and it’s fun as hell to watch them break down, but can’t make up for the middle slog. Not one I turn to often.

    C

       1 likes

  6. Dr. Batch says:

    The segment where Bobo is signing autographs is hilarious. “Hello, fine foxy lady. I’m gonna write down a room number here.”
    And, of course, the Krankor bit. “I suppose that I am fine.” “YOU SCUM!”

       1 likes

  7. When I first learned of the DAP, this was the first episode I got. One of my favorites, and I’d argue the second worst movie of the Sci-Fi era. Bill in particular really shines in this one, from Observer after the Bobo statue reveal (“How to explain this to the likes of you…Bobo ripples time itself, the Nabisco Company never comes into being, no more Chicken In A Biscuit”) to Crow having a boatload of great lines both in the first half of the movie (“Japan’s only stupid guy”) and in the Noh Theater sketch (“Mike, I’m gonna grab a stepladder so you can jump up my butt!”) and on to his tour-de-force as Krankor (“I have been working hard…I suppose you could say I am hardly working HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH”).

    Whenever someone asks “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in a movie?” my first answer is always, bar none, the Hitler Building.

       1 likes

  8. Brainchild has a song about stock footage says:

    I love this episode, although of the two Prince of Space is definitely the more watchable. I remember that in college, near the point where SciFi stopped reruning the show altogether, they only had the rights to half a dozen episodes that they would show over and over, and this was one of them. I was always disappointed, though, because if I tuned in during the middle, I always thought (and hoped) that it was Prince of Space.

    That being said, I’ve come around to the point where I enjoy this one, although I agree that this is one of the tough ones to watch. The skits are top-notch, and frankly this one is worth it for Servo’s stock footage song, which I have referenced many a time.

       1 likes

  9. big61al says:

    Seen some pretty weird stuff on the show but that hitler building is one that just never fails to make me go WTF? :???:

       2 likes

  10. rcfagnan says:

    “Whatever happened to Space Chef?”
    “Space CHIEF.”….five minutes of dull reppetitive footage later…
    “Cause this is a Space Chef vehicle right?”
    “It’s Chief. And, yes.”
    “Y’know, Space Chief should really try going into SPACE sometime!”
    “He’s more like ‘Lower-Atmosphere Chief”
    “Barely-off-the-stupid-ground Chief.”
    And, of couse, Roji Panty Complex. My, I enjoy this episode, the third SciFi ep I ever saw. The Krankor bit didn’t click until I saw Prince of space almost a year later, but I love this episode from start to finish.

       0 likes

  11. rcfagnan says:

    “What’s next, the Mussolini Mall?”

       1 likes

  12. snowdog says:

    “Callipygeas and Bobo are on screen at the same time”

    This means that someone else had to don the smelly monkey suit.

    Never mind. I just watched it and noticed Callipygeas was never fully on camera. It was he that was played by someone else.

       1 likes

  13. Oh yes, there’s also the fact that in this movie, Observer explains to Pearl the “butterfly effect” concept that she had already explained to him in “Prince of Space.” Sloppy writing there that was noticeable the first time I saw it. But I love them anyway!

       2 likes

  14. Wampa Joe says:

    Yeah, but, by this episode, the fear of losing the slot machine had faded, so Observer had to bring out the big guns: Chicken In A Biscuit.

       2 likes

  15. JCC says:

    “Not MediTechComCorp!”

    I love how throughout the series the MST gang continually lampooned the banality of giant faceless corporations.

    This is a good ep, although the last 3rd drags as Mike & The Bots begin to despair more. I think it would have helped if the movie had more colorful villains like the chicken men. The dubbing on the kids is hilarious. “My Barue Barockers really work!” Wow – that’s un-P.C.! Awesome.

    Does anyone know what “We’re Unghoul (En Goule?)” means? They’ve used variations on this a few times in the show. I’ve tried spelling it out multiple ways but I can never find anything. Also sometimes they say “Serpentine!” when people are running, can anyone clear up these riffs for me?

       0 likes

  16. JCC says:

    “Mike mentions Sailor Moon. Servo also utters that series’ name at the start of the movie.” (47)
    ========================
    I somehow doubt they watched it for their own entertainment. Keep in mind Sailor Moon became notorious in the media (briefly) over the lesbian under/overtones. Or maybe the writers kids watched the show.

       0 likes

  17. JCC says:

    “That reminds me, does the fact that Crow tries to lie about having Rhoji-Panty Complex, which would require the administration of panties to him, make him a pervert?” (46)
    ==============================
    I just watched Radar Secret Service and Crow is portrayed as a panty freak with an underoo collection.

       1 likes

  18. Finnias Jones says:

    JCC @ #65:
    “Does anyone know what “We’re Unghoul (En Goule?)” means? They’ve used variations on this a few times in the show. I’ve tried spelling it out multiple ways but I can never find anything. Also sometimes they say “Serpentine!” when people are running, can anyone clear up these riffs for me?”

    These were both foreign to me also, but other MSTies have explained them online. Maybe someone here has better definitions (?):

    • “On gool” is a midwestern pronunciation of “goal” used in a kid’s game (like “tag”) meaning that you are safe or untouchable.

    • “Serpentine!” is a quote from the 1979 movie “The In-Laws” (which I’ve not seen yet) featuring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. Basically, it’s running in a wavy line so a sniper can’t hit you. Google it and you’ll find a clip on YouTube. And yes, this riff originated back in the Joel days.

       3 likes

  19. Brainchild has a song about stock footage says:

    #57: I can’t believe I forgot the stepladder line was in this one! That’s one of my favorite Crow lines ever! I am ashamed.

       0 likes

  20. Wampa Joe says:

    Both Crow and Servo were always a bit pervy, but Joel usually stifled those urges. Mike, being the older brother, let them run unchecked but usually just ignored them (as he did with Crow’s feigned-Roji Panty Complex).

    As far as the movie itself, why did they evacuate the populace to the country after just establishing that the heat shield keeping the frigid temperatures at bay only extended to the city’s boundaries?

       1 likes

  21. mikek says:

    Steve K says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    NO. Better science is more in line with actual physics. This movie does have better plot consistency, but “sigma band”, the “electro-barrier”, and “roji-panty complex” are pure bunk, and, crucially, would be recognized as pure bunk by any respectable physicist of the time.

    Whether this episode is better that Prince of Space, for me, comes down to whether “Have you seen my record?” is a better bit than “Your weapons are useless against me”. :grin:

    I’ve watched them both, over and over again, and I’m still not sure. Ah, well, I guess I’ll have to watch them again… :mrgreen:

    What I mean is that Neptune Men has better BS science for the purposes of the movie. Those sigma waves, alpha electron rockets and what-not are far better than Dr. Makken’s assumption about why Krankor was attacking Earth.

       0 likes

  22. Nutcase says:

    @ 66

    Keep in mind that was only really seen in the original, undubbed Japanese version of the show and the original magna. And while I’ve never really gotten into the series, I haven’t heard or seen much of those themes in the American version of the show, even though the censors were more lenient at the time.

       0 likes

  23. Finnias Jones says:

    Great dirty (?) riff — Bobo on the reveal of his statue:
    “Could have used a little more marble here and there… but still a credible effort!”

    A couple of years back, I caught this movie unriffed late one night on Cinema Insomniac (a Bay Area “creature feature” type show, complete with host and silly skits) and kept waiting for the Phantom Dictator of Krankor to appear. Huh? I knew I’d seen it before: a wispy bachelor, annoying kids in a natural setting witness to an inept space invasion… It’s a classic! But no, the comforting Phantom never appeared.

    Dumbfounded, I spent a good 10 minutes perusing all my Rhino MST DVD sets for this episode. Seems I confused Neptune Men with Prince of Space. I’d seen them both in the final years of SciFi Channel repeats, probably never realizing they were different movies. (Hell, back then I didn’t even know what a “Joel” was.)

    This is my long-winded way of saying “This movie sucks.” Mike and the ‘Bots tried their best to… oh wait, no they didn’t. Even THEY bailed on this movie near the end, even leaving the theater out of pure frustration (which is funny in itself). This is one of the few MST episodes where I’d say the host segments (SOL-only: nanite eyelash-mite war, Noh theater, Roji-Panty Complex, The Return of Krankor!) are funnier than the movie riffing itself.

    In fact my favorite bit is mostly dialogue from the original dub of the movie, about 11 minutes into the episode as the kids are at “cram camp” with telescopes:
    Kid 1 (Piggie): Look at those two — Lovers! (giggles)
    Mike: Jeez, they’re all over each other…
    Kid 2: No one looks DOWN for a satellite.
    Kid 1 (Piggie): I got mixed up.
    Kid 2: He’s very young.
    Kid 3: Yeah…

    P.S. Did Japanese film-makers of this era actually fantasize about the alien invasion of their homeland in response to the U.S. nuclear attacks which were ostensibly meant to avoid such prolonged land-based, urban civilian-targeted warfare?

       1 likes

  24. mikek says:

    For the longest time now, I’ve suspected that the Japanese have a desire to have a mighty, technologically advanced army once again. It may conscious in some Japanese and subconscious in other Japanese, but it’s there. It would explain all of the manga and anime that feature giant robots piloted by humans.

       0 likes

  25. The Bolem says:

    I don’t think it’s just a desire for a high-tech military, but a semi-conscious promise of mind-blowingly advanced technology all around in the future. This likely comes from a positive attitude they had to adopt after getting the bejezus bombed out of them in WWII: Having all your cities destroyed doesn’t matter, because you’ll just rebuild ’em ten times better afterwards. Mecha are just the ultimate embodiment of technology.

    This is why my most quoted quip from IOTNM is Tom’s great zinger from near the end: “Due to the apocalypse, cram-school will be delayed by 45 minutes” There’s soooooo much anime where Tokyo or whatever made-up besieged city gets damn-near leveled…and daily life just somehow resumes amidst the ruins IMMEDIATELY after the enemy is defeated, like they just suffered a few rolling blackouts. I most recently used it at the roughly 2/3 point in “GaoGaiGar”.

    The best example of this idea is probably the original Macross (first third of Robotech), where refugees from a destroyed island have to keep rebuilding their city inside a giant salvaged alien spaceship as it’s ruined time and again not only by attacks from associates of the original owner, but their own ignorance for building stuff in areas where it’s crushed or sucked out into space when the ship occasionally transforms itself…and then the main Zentradi armada arrives and carpetbombs Earth, revealing that the plight of Macross City was the best thing that could’ve happened in the big picture, since it gave the inhabitants great practice for rebuilding all of human civilization later on.

    The weirdest permutation of this idea I’ve seen wasn’t in anime, but “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” from the early ’90s, where humans from our future go back in time to replace the former monster with the latter, to ensure that our cities are even more thoroughly destroyed, because then they could show us how to rebuild even better (because, naturally…WHAT?!?!?!?) This film was briefly controversial for a WWII scene in which a young Gojira crushes American soldiers, accidentally saving a Japanese platoon, but should really be remembered for finally breaking both any remaining shred of continuity from 60s-70s Godzilla movies, as well as the longstanding tradition of dumb, forgettable human subplots bearing a contrived connection to the monster action, replacing it with a time-travel plot so convoluded that it reaches the epitome of deranged nonsense by the one hour mark.

    Ah, but getting back to THIS movie…few experiments give you that great feeling of having endured something epically brutal. From TISCWSLABMUZ on, I saw Season 8 completely in order, and there is just no way it’s closing trilogy “…of the FUTURE!!!!!!!”, would have tasted as sweet without the satisfaction of having just survived the virtual Bataan Death March that was 819 (If that’s too offensive a metaphor, I blame Paul for putting it in my head in ACEG). Kind of like the satisfaction of finally finding one’s record…for the lone second one gets to savor it. I need this one on DVD, not DAP, ASAP.

       0 likes

  26. First, let me say, Japan is just weird.

    This movie is a prime example of the Brains ability to take a dog turd and turn it into a diamond. The worse the movie is, the better the riffing. The last quarter of the movie was Mike and the Bots finest hour, culminating in Servo’s epic “EAT IT MOVIE!” tirade.

    The Hitler Building bombing, I believe, would qualify as a ‘Big Lipped Alligator Moment’ according to the Nostalgia Critic’s definition.

    Theres so many great riffs that I couldn’t list them all. But, heres a few of my favorite.

    “Soldiers are popping up everywhere asking if the war is over.”
    “Well a look at traffic. It looks like its a straight shot in to your stiffling workplace. Later, going to the bar to avoid your family should be no problem.”
    “We’ll call our friends the Russians! Er…no. The Koreans! Er…um, the Chinese! Er…”
    “Its over 200 maaAAAAAS!”
    “Scientists labor around the clock to figure out what the hells the deal with Japan.”
    “Oh no. I have trenchmouth. Wait, I’m okay now.”
    “Space Feeb!”
    “Space Dink!”
    “Space Late!”
    “Barely-Off-The-Stupid-Ground Chief.”
    “I’m coming too! Wait for grampa rocket.”
    “Suppository Man!”
    “Suddenly ‘Independence Day’ is a richly nuanced movie.”
    “Now we aim the rockets at San Francisco…I mean the Neptune Men! The Neptune Men.”

    If MST3K had gone on a little longer, they could’ve done some of the Starman movies starring Ken Utusi. These were just as hilariously bad as “Prince of Space” and “Neptune Men” and the hero wears an even fruitier outfit. Some of the Starman movies include “Evil Brain From Outer Space” and “Attack From Space”.

       1 likes

  27. Gillian says:

    As painful as it is to see Space Chef-er, Chief shooting down one crispix after another, I still consider this a decent episode. Not Pumaman enjoyable, but not Red Zone Cuba bad either. It’s not quoted often but one kid says at the end “I’ll make clothes that glow!” I’m surprised that strange line hasn’t been picked up much. I suffer from Roji Panty Complex so much I have to shop at Victoria’s Secret! I’m glad the employees never ask me if it’s for a girlfriend or wife… “He was trained by Bruce Le…bowitz.”

       1 likes

  28. Rich says:

    Oh, the humanity!
    OH, THE JAPANITY!

       0 likes

  29. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    One thing about Space Chief, it makes somewhat more sense for a scientist to own a flying vehicle than it does for a shoeshine guy to own a flying vehicle.

    Off Topic, is there a “Jack Frost” review around here somewhere? I can’t find it.

       1 likes

  30. Kouban says:

    After watching Neptune Men, one thing that really confuses me is how did Prince of Space, which, while completely cheesy and utterly formulaic, is in every respect a better movie, come out three years *before* Neptune Men. Perhaps it’s just the dubbing, but Neptune Men seems like the stumbling first attempt at making an effects film by a novice film-maker rather than the work of a studio that had been making films for over 10 years.

       1 likes

  31. MC says:

    #51, I use “wispy bachelor” a lot too.

    Has anyone figured out what the hell “Roji-Panty Complex” was actually supposed to mean?

       1 likes

  32. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>how did Prince of Space, which, while completely cheesy and utterly formulaic, is in every respect a better movie, come out three years *before* Neptune Men

    That’s sort of like asking how did “Star Wars” come out before “Robot Holocaust.” Anything even a little good is inevitably followed by plenty of stuff that’s not-so-good.

       2 likes

  33. Fart Bargo says:

    Concur with Mr Hanna@76 relative to the Starman flicks. The alien council alone is worth viewing. These films are really out there. Special effects there is one scene where Starman throws this guy across a large room and you can actually see the pully system which resembled a backyard clothesline. Perhaps CT or RT would be so kind to consider the movies mentioned @76.

       0 likes

  34. Kouban says:

    Reading about the WWII footage, and especially the effects of the invaders’ guns on the soldiers, really puts the whole movie into a brand new light.
    I think the primary motivation for the film had nothing to do with copying the trendy action hero films and shows of the time and everything to do with the director publicly venting his feelings about WWII.

       0 likes

  35. Tim S. Turner says:

    Where will get our Hitler memoralbilia?!?

       0 likes

  36. Preston P says:

    Kouban: ‘I think the primary motivation for the film had nothing to do with copying the trendy action hero films and shows of the time and everything to do with the director publicly venting his feelings about WWII.’

    …and that’s why I find it so hideous. It’s reactionary. It’s a knee-jerk bit of pandering on the filmmaker’s part. The use of the aerial bombardment footage seems like a potshot at the US’ bombing of Japan, but once again, in the context of this film, it’s dreadfully inappropriate. I would make some comment about it being propaganda, but I won’t give the movie that much credit.

    Admittedly, a lot of Japanese movies at the time used metaphors for WWII. The 1954 “Godzilla” is the most notable, but keep in mind that it was taking itself seriously as an adult drama. You know what… everyone here needs to rent the Japanese version of the 1954 “Godzilla” (the version that doesn’t have Raymond Burr). Believe it or not, it’s a really strange and compelling science fiction movie that uses discomforting metaphor effectively, sort of an opposite to “Neptune Men”. In spite of the fakey effects, it’s one of the only good disaster movies out there.

       1 likes

  37. mikek says:

    How much WWII footage is in the movie? I was watching the battle at the end of the movie and all I saw was pretty good looking models being blown up? I guess some shots of crowds of people fleeing could be from WWII, but where’s the rest of it?

       0 likes

  38. The Bolem says:

    From a thread on IMDB:

    “This is not true. Despite what IMDB’s trivia section says (it’s wrong), footage of destruction in “Neptune Men” was culled from the long-thought-to-be lost “The Final War” also produced by Toei in 1960 (and not to be confused with Toho’s “The Last War” from 1961).

    The Hilter Building is footage from “The Final War” but it’s unknown what its context was in the original movie.”

    When I first read this, I assumed that it was posted by someone who also frequents this site, so I’m surprised I was the first to post it. I think most people just assumed that actual bombing footage was the only logical explaination for ol’ Adolph’s cameo.

    There’s just so much stock footage at the end that it could have come from multiple sources, but that’s just a guess on my part.

       2 likes

  39. Preston P says:

    Re: The Bolem

    Not all of the street-level footage in the finale is authentic (obviously), but there are a few shots the Brains left in that look like authentic bombing footage. It doesn’t surprise me that some of the more competent looking effects are from another film… back before VHS even big-budget movies would use stock footage from other films (look at “Meteor”). Now keep in mind, I didn’t see the whole of the dubbed “Neptune Men” so I’ve never actually seen the uncut finale.

    I’ll see if I can find a copy of “The Last War”… reading the plot synopsis makes that Hitler building seem even more out of place (the film apparently takes place post-WWII). It apparently had a US release.

       0 likes

  40. Phen375 says:

    After all this time…still makes me laugh…

       0 likes

  41. The Bolem says:

    Aw nuts, I misspelled “Adolf”? Sheesh, and I minored in German too…

    It’s also a tad odd to me that no one’s mentioned the stinger, which is easily in my top 5. The way “Piggy” falls on his butt from being startled looks quite unnatural, and the noise they dubbed in is almost exactly like the “m-ACHK-um” sound Jon Lovitz used in ‘The Critic’ whenever Jay Sherman chomped or gagged on something. It’s a strange little moment, overshadowed by far more inexplicable and scarring things later on, so it was perfect to rehash at the end.

       1 likes

  42. Wampa Joe says:

    Another thing I love about this episode is all the Beatles references they manage to cram in: The Hard Day’s Night riff, the Ringo-as-Thomas-The-Tank-Engine-Narrator gag, and the perennial favorite of “Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him.”

       1 likes

  43. Joseph Nebus says:

    Re #81 MC:

    Has anyone figured out what the hell “Roji-Panty Complex” was actually supposed to mean?

    Yes, in fact: the original line is about identifying the metal used in the aliens’ spaceship. The scientist notices that it contains a roji-panti complex, presumably some alloy of made-up alien metal names which identify the invaders’ origins. It’s probably just an unfortunate coincidence that part of the name has a particular meaning in English.

       1 likes

  44. Preston P says:

    They actually do another ‘Paul is dead’ gag when the scientists listen to the deep-voiced Neptunian’s message: Tom says “I buried Paul” during the dialogue. Great stuff.

       1 likes

  45. Nutcase says:

    @94

    I thought Servo said “I married you” at that point?

       0 likes

  46. @93:

    That’s exactly what it is. At one point one of the scientists mention that “we have found rojium and pantium in the hull” or something of that sort, so the Roji-Panti Complex is likely some sort of alloy. Still, it’s kind of hard to believe no one picked up on that during the dubbing.

    There’s a moment in here that really crystallizes why I prefer the Sci-Fi riffing crew to the Comedy Central ones (and, as a result, Rifftrax to CT). When they first show the “prefab Lutheran church” there’s a little acoustic guitar riff that doesn’t fit in context at all, and if you listen you can hear Bill chuckle under his breath and say “What’s with the guitar?” like he’s whispering it to the other guys. Little things like that always made it feel more like I was just hanging out with my buddies watching a movie and making fun of it, and those moments seemed to be a lot rarer in the Comedy Central era (especially while Joel was there). To me, it’s proof that Mike, Kevin, and Bill were a lot more comfortable with one another than any of the other riffing lineups, and it still shows today. Rifftrax feels more to me like you’re hanging with your friends, whereas CT feels more like you’re watching performance art. That’s not a knock on any of the other guys, it’s just a statement of personal preference.

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  47. Big McLargeHuge says:

    I always thought they said “Rho G/Pannium complex”–rho, as in the greek letter, and pannium being some sciencey-sounding metal. My God, why did I even devote any brainpower to this?

    Watching crappy sci-fi movies like this one sometimes make me wonder how today’s crappy sci-fi (e.g., 2012, Transformers) will be regarded 50 years from now.

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  48. The Bolem says:

    Another interesting bit in the riffing is how M&TB’s attitude toward the children slowly changed over the course of the movie. When the Neptune Men first appear and surround them, and the scene is genuinely horrifying for a few seconds, it’s a sarcastic: “So they came to Earth to strangle little kids – Thank you Japan!” But near the end, as they cower in front of the Untouchables’ ride, it’s: “Gee, I hope that car doesn’t LURCH FORWARD! CRUSH THEM! END IT NOW!” A gradual tonal shift like that must have been a bit hard to nail just right after 10 consecutive viewings.

    And there were at least 2 references to “caning” them in the middle. Everyone remembers that incident where a dumbass American youth learned the hard way not to tag cars in Singapore, right?

    And having Sonny Chiba play Space Chef was kind of a waste. He didn’t really even get to show off any martial arts ability since his opponents in the only hand-to-hand scene couldn’t react in real-time. Sure he’s more impressive than Prince of Space who just shot at everyone, but watching him bounce around without knowing who was under that Protoman getup, I wasn’t sure if he was a martial artist or some sort of acrobat. (Not that I could jump half as well, but still…)

    And for the sake of being nitpicky, he actually looks a lot more like Speed Racer villian Snake Oiler of the Car Acrobatic Team. Still, “SpaceChiefisactuallyRacerX, Speed’sbrother”, is one of the best riffs.

    Wasn’t there some debate as to whether his actual name in Japanese was IronSharp, since IMDB seems to indicate that IronSharp was a different character than Space Chief? Possibly the Neptunian leader? Did we ever resolve that?

    And my favorite riff, which I don’t think has been mentioned here despite being quoted a lot in other threads, is of course when our hero arrives nearly an hour too late to save half of Tokyo, and Servo sings along with his heroic entrance music:

    “Space Chieeeeeef,
    failed mis-rablyyyyyy,
    and tried to cooo-verrr-up
    his shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!”

    I still say I love this episode precisely because it seems to be consciously trying to kill anyone foolish enough to sit all the way through it, and that’s exactly the type of movie MST3K was created to tackle!

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  49. Cornjob says:

    Here is a movie that is refreshingly unashamed to blatantly hate the audiance. It didn’t help that those us watching it’s premier had just seen this movie a few weeks ago. It was called Prince of Space,and it was a lot better. The story and elements are almost identical. It’s like someone watched Prince, and thought, “I can tell this same story, but a whole lot worse.”

    The cildren were straight off the Japanese Lord of the Flies island. Each one was individually more annoying than all the other japanese monster children, including the near psychotic Kenny from the first Gamera movie.

    I’ve seen Sonny Chiba in the Street Fighter movies, and connecting that actor with the spastic dork in tights called Space Chief involves too much cognitive dissonance. I can’t do it. Sorry.

    And Dorko the Gay Blade is facing off against a bunch of mute stumbling garbage cans that can be defeated by a strong breeze, who invade earth with no particular plan, and no special abilities to carry it out with, aside from making a record play backwards.

    And I can’t think of worse padding in any movie besides the endless loop of indestructable wheat thins attacking each other in null-space. The rock climbing in Lost Continent wan’t half as painfull to watch. How can a starship fight be rendered so boring and inert.

    And of course, no comment on Neptune Men would be complete without some mention of (drumroll) The Hitler Building. I’m not sure there is a greater WTF! moment in MST history. All I can speculate is that the director thought blowing up a big image of Hitler would be a gesture of rejection of fascism, and by implication japanese militerism, as a gesture of goodwill to western audiances. Instead of making us all wonder why on earth there would be a hitler building in postwar Japan (or anywhere for that matter), and what other monuments to fascist dictaters were in the area.

    The director was either the biggeset screw-up in film history, or he hated the human race and wanted us all to suffer. What did we ever do to him?

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  50. The Bolem says:

    And about the first two host segments: In Leech Woman, we saw that the nanites have tanks, which they used for union-busting. Wouldn’t those have been pretty useful in the war with the eyelash mites? Of course, if the terrain of Mike’s eyelids really is that much like Vietnam’s, that would mean airlifting…

    *ahem* All I mean is that the eyelash war sequence was just so neat that seeing those tank props recycled and blown to smithereens is the only thing that could’ve made it even better.

    And for the record, I’ve always liked all the Roman Times segments. They made the whole Endless Chase eclectic enough to be a true Space Odyssey.

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