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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: 901- The Projected Man

Movie: (1966) A scientist builds a teleportation device and tests it on himself. It doesn’t go well.

First shown: 3/14/98
Opening: The SOL exits the wormhole; they’re back orbiting the Earth in the present
Intro: Pearl arrives at Castle Forrester, the Forrester ancestral home; she decides to move in
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom have invented a projecting machine–or have they?
Host segment 2: Mike tries to convince Lembach to stay; Pearl learns more family history
Host segment 3: Crow acquires the Touch of Death, and accidentally kills Mike
End: Tom and Crow vie to get funding from Mike’s new foundation; while in Castle Forrester Pearl rededicates herself to taking over the world
Stinger: Lembach is staying!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (252 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)


• There are many terrific episodes ahead of us in season nine, but, in my view, this is not one of them. The riffing is steady and most of the riffs make me smile, but there are too few real gut busters. The host segments are clever but not really memorable. And the movie … you know, it may actually be a little TOO good. Plus, there was a terrible technical screwup for the debut. All in all, a less-than-rousing start to the season.
• Paul’s take on this one is here.
• The stretch between the end of season 8 and the beginning of season 9 was 98 days, the shortest amount of time MSTies had to wait between seasons.
• This episode is included on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXX.
• One reference not in the list: Rosemary Woods.
• During the debut of this episode, as soon as M&tB headed into the theater, viewers could tell something was wrong. Essentially, it sounded like their individual mics were off, and all the riffing was being picked up by one mic that was about 10 feet away. Surprisingly, it took online fans a couple of days of complaining before BBI or Sci-Fi Channel would even acknowledge that there even WAS a problem. Eventually, the problem was fixed, but it would be 4-and-half months before the cleaned-up version made it to air. (Incidentally, somebody in the comments said that he/she recalls that “getting warned a day or so ahead of the premiere that there was an audio issue in the theater” and that it may have come from this site. I don’t have any memory of the former and I very much doubt the latter.)
• This movie is a bit overwrought, and the premise is wacky, but it’s not dreadful. Perhaps the worst aspect, in terms of watching it on a regular TV, was that it was that it was a wide-screen movie, forcing the print to resort to some major “pan and scan” — as Tom mentions at one point. You can tell what you’re in for with the very first frame of the movie when the studio logo is seriously elongated.
• Of course, the most notable plot development of this episode was the arrival of the Castle Forrester premise. I remember thinking on a previous viewing that the bit with organ — in which Pearl sits down to play but can only pound out baseball stadium tunes — went on a bit long. But on this viewing, it seemed okay and pretty funny.
• Callback: “Mitchell!” “And bring some ham” (and several other lines from Devil Doll).
• Turns out St. Blaise really is a patron of the throat, but who knew Mike was Catholic? Or maybe it’s just his relative that is?
• After Mike is killed by Crow’s “touch of death,” the bots drag his lifeless body back into the theater and prop him up for some of the riffing.
• There are not one, not two, but three Pink Floyd references: a mention of “Mister Floyd…”, a little chorus of “Pigs” and an observation that a shot of a factory belonged on a PF album cover.
• A character says “You cahn’t!!” in a very English accent and Tom asks: “What’d she call him?!” Pretty spicy!
• You can clearly see there’s no wine in the bottle during the last host segment.
• As the final segment ends, Pearl firmly re-establishes why she’s sending movies to Mike. I have a suspicion the suits asked for this.
• Cast and crew round up: Surprisingly short, considering how many British movies they did. Sam Kydd was also in “Moon Zero Two.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. For many seasons there was a post production “coordinator” but beginning with this ep Brad becomes post production “supervisor.” (I suspect he was the one stonewalling — and eventually taking the blame — for the audio snafu.) The entire season of episodes is produced by Kevin. Jim is executive producer and that’s it.
• Fave riff: “Oh sir! Finally!” Honorable mention: “I declare this movie suddenly great!”

146 Replies to “Episode guide: 901- The Projected Man”

  1. MiqelDotcom says:

    Good start for season 9
    However I think “Castle Forester” is their least creative set idea and feels like a lame substitute for Deep 13. but Deep 13 was funny, more visually creative and had a funny backstory, Castle Forrester is much more of a generic monster-movie host set, a combination mideval castle and mad scientist lab. It didn’t seem to inspire many good host segments with the mads.

    BTW, anyone notice when the arrive Brain Guy and Bobo are singing a native sounding version of Crow’s mysterious song “hum diddy he-he, hua-hua” that appeared multiple times in the CC era. This tune appeared over such a span of time there must be some story behind it.

    Awarrd for worst sound-effects in MST3K history for the projection machine – totally annoying.
    Mike – “I’m gonna kick on the sheet metal cutter now … switching on the evanrude ..”

    I like the running gag of Lembach as a big hero in the movie to M&TB, since nobody else in the film is interesting or likable or the clear ‘hero’ of the film. Crow – “and Lembach rides back into the movie, on a big white, horse singing a big production number and giving everybody grants!”
    The host segment with them phoning him wasn’t very funny though.

    Bill really gets me with his hilarious line delivery when Dr. Hill is discussing ideas for the projection machine.
    Dr. Hill – “Would it be possible for the direction of the magnetic field, the polarity to ..”
    Crow (abruptly) “NO! We thought of that .. No!”
    Dr. Hill – “to change in projection?”
    Crow (mockingly)”Nooo!”

    “Does he know of my strolls by the ducky-pond and my sunday visits with mummy?”


  2. Joseph Nebus says:

    So what was going on this season and the next that they got so many monsters named Paul? It’s really not a traditional monster name.

    I thought I remembered it being announced through the MST3K community — well, at least on — before the episode debuted that there was some freakishly horrible thing wrong with the in-theater sound but they knew about it and they’d air an actually audible version sometime later. This didn’t prevent mass panic, of course, but I thought everyone involved admitted to the glitch early.


  3. DON3k says:

    Never has the color Orange blazed across the screen with such force!

    Legendary Hollywood Movie Monsters; Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula….. Paul.

    Can someone diagram why the money-men wanted Paul to fail? So he would leave, and they could use his research to invent the thing themselves? It’s not very clear. And wouldn’t that look a bit odd, to do research in a field, come close, have your grant funding cut, then a year later, the place where you did your research ‘invents’ the same device?

    Why didn’t they film their invention, or have a reporter come in and film and photograph the experiment, the night before their funding was cut. I’m sure with that evidence, someone would throw a pile of money at Paul.

    You know, even if living stuff couldn’t be transported, and clockwork stuff may suffer effects… Still, just for bulk-shipping of non-mechanical objects, his existing tech would be worth billions! If Amazon could beam you your books or cookware, the moment you click Purchase, wouldn’t that be worth a lot?

    Otherwise, not much to say about this episode. It’s pretty good, but not great. The picnic-underwear, Elly Mae’s Secret underwear secretary was the highlight for me. Like Tom, I want her!

    But, at least S09E01 brings back a Deep 13, of sorts, with Castle Forrester.


  4. Colossus Prime says:

    This movie is great if for no other reason than putting Shiela in her underwear for no good reason.

    Love the Crow, Tom projector bit as it’s another great example of them still treating Mike like the new guy. Of course in the end Mike gets even with Tom and Crow doesn’t flinch, simply shifts the focus of ridicule. And you’ve got to wonder if the whole touch of death thing was done for the sole purpose of the Tom’s footsteps joke.

    Shiela. Underwear.


  5. Mela says:

    This was just an episode that never clicked for me. I can’t place why, but maybe the sound error killed it for me (I never bothered with the reruns after disliking the premiere, so I never saw the fixed version). Also, like Miguel said, Castle Forrester wasn’t a very creative lair – they’d have good segments there later, but for its big debut, they used it to set up some weak, overlong segments. It still has some funny moments, but I consider it one of the weakest Sci-Fi era shows. But that’s just me.


  6. The “Pigs” reference goes with the album cover (“Animals”) reference, since it’s on the album, so it’s more like two references.

    Okay film, nothing special. A lot of British jokes in the riffs (and yet at one point they say “three for a dollar” instead of “three for a pound”). Some hilarious puns (“Yes, that’s Lowe all right, right near the ground.”) But it’s mostly average and I think they try to get more mileage out of “Lembach is staying” than it really warrants.


  7. Graboidz says:

    “Pretty you may be…”

    The sound thing was tough to get past, so this wasn’t an episode I re-watched often. It wasn’t until I traded up to a “clean” version long after the show quit airing that it became part of my regular rotation. I still have the “Cone Of Silence” echo-version tranferred to DVD, I’ll most likely hang onto it for the usual nerdy reasons.


  8. Kenneth Morgan says:

    I still have a copy with the original sound mix. It’s never really bothered me, actually.

    I think the movie is pretty good, but quite goofy. And I agree that the teleporter has one of the most annoying sound effects in movie history. The host segments are OK, and I liked the way they noticed Tom’s “footsteps”.

    Favorit riff: “Don’t force me to go to the larder and unseal a tin of whoopass.”


  9. Chris says:

    This movie has some decent jokes. Though, on the whole, I find this episode drags a bit. I do love the Touch of Death segment. It just seems so Crow. And a good, if unintended, extension to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, when Crow asks, for Christmas, to be able to decide who lives and who dies.

    I actually found the Callbacks to Devil Doll pretty funny. For some reason, I crack up when Paul calls his assistant his “ugly, little dummy.”

    And, I don’t know why, but the host segment in which they try to get Lembach to stay always clicked with me. I find it very funny.

    Any thoughts on the idea that if they’ve arrived back on Earth “at the exact moment we left, so long ago”, there are two Pearls there. I suppose, at this point, there would be two Crows as well, due to the events of Time Chasers. Lots of spare MST characters.


  10. Droppo says:

    Not a fan.

    To be fair, the audio issues completely turned me off from the start and dampened my enthusiasm for the episode.

    But, in general, I could never really get into this one.

    As far as Castle Forrester…again, not a fan. As I have stated numerous times, I LOATHE the Pearl character and Mary Jo’s performance. This truly breaks my heart because I adore every other performer on the show. I like Bobo and Brain Guy, although they’re nowhere near the comedic perfection of Dr. F and TV’s Frank. In the Forrester/Frank era, I genuinely looked forward to any segment with the Mads. It was a treat. In the Sci-Fi era, it always presented a genuine obstacle towards my enjoyment of the show. I’d dread the opening and closing segments not to mention the seemingly endless amount of times that Pearl appeared in mid-episode segments (a pity given that it was such a rarity for the vastly superior Frank and Dr. F). All that said, the “traveling through time and space” device of Season 8 helped me tolerate it. At least there was a new environment to look forward to and potential additions/changes to the dynamic. Castle Forrester was just a bummer. Same set, Pearl hamming it up even more and just no real creative spark. The only laughs I’d ever get were from Bobo and Observer…and even they were few and far in between.

    I liken my MST preferences to food allergies. It’s like MST is the greatest dish ever. I love it and I got to eat it every week. Then, suddenly, there was shellfish (Pearl). At first, it was just a little shellfish and I could take it off the plate (Season 7), then there was more shellfish (Season 8). Finally, I was forced to eat some shellfish (Seasons 9-10) and I vomited profusely.

    This metaphor has taken a terrible turn.

    In sum:
    Don’t like the episode, hate the Pearl character, don’t like Castle Forrester, like Bobo and Brain Guy, adore every other character.


  11. John Seavey says:

    Oddly enough, I remember this episode as being pretty unmemorable. I know I watched it, even taped it, but nothing sticks out in the mind for me. I gotta agree with Sampo here, a fairly unremarkable start to a classic season.


  12. pablum says:

    An average episode at best. There isn’t much the Brains could do to save this plodding film. The movie is so bad the bad guy has to kill himself just to end it (at least I think thats what happened at the end).

    The riffing is okay here, but nothing special. Mike and the bots don’t even try to beat up on England all that much here unlike their treatment of Japan (and later Canada and Malta).

    I just can’t say much about this episode because its never made that much an impression on me due to its average-ness.

    The only thing I can really note this episode for is Pearl calling Brain Guy gay. Usually the show tries to beat around the bush a little more when calling out characters over their sexuality. Season 9 seems to bring an end to that.


  13. Droppo says:


    Good point. Season 9 has some incredible episodes. Werewolf, Hobgoblins and A Touch of Satan are among my all-time favorite eps.


  14. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Apart from the already-mentioned “tin of whupass,” the two riffs that spring to mind are both from the opening credits:

    “The incredible, edible Earth! Ding!”
    “Starring Mary Bryant and Peach Halliday!” (I don’t know why I like this one so much. Kind of sounds like a female folk duo.)

    I’ve never had a problem with Pearl, per se. But I thought the Three Stooges-like dynamic between the new Mads was much less interesting than the Dr. F/Frank interaction. What’s more, I think too many SOL sketches in this era were based on all the characters being stupid, which I don’t find nearly as fun as when the characters are clever.


  15. alex. says:

    I agree with Joseph (#2). I, too, remember a statement before the episode aired that warned us about the audio. I think it came from BBI claiming that it was Sci-Fi’s idea, and that the effect was supposed to make it sound like Mike & the bots were sitting in an actual theater, which explains all the reverb on their voices. I remember that this made their comments nearly inaudible. But I want to say that BBI wasn’t too happy with it and were forced to try it.


  16. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    This is like the Monster-A-Go-Go of MST3k episodes – so unmemorable that, in the end, maybe there really was no episode…

    I share the view that while I know I’ve seen this episode, not much really sticks, except possibly the whole “Lembach is staying” bit that was just tedious and forced. It was incredibly unfunny too. It was nice to see the Great Vorelli with orange hair and a diaper on his face, though.


  17. pablum says:

    I also want to note the “Mitchell” references in this episode. Mike and the bots say the riff a lot here and every time they try to bring back memories of how funny Mitchell was, they only showed me just how bad The Projected Man and its riffing were in comparison.

    Just because you can do a callback doesn’t mean you should.


  18. Timber says:

    Weird, both me and my wife love this episode. Then again we love processed cheese spread, so that’s not accounting for much. There are several riffs that we loved, and regularly will drop a “But you’re my sweet cookiepants!” on each other. We also lost it on the “This IS British sex” line. I also believe this is where the series finally starts to find some stability in the brief Sci-Fi era. Granted, Castle Forrester is no Deep 13, but it beats being whipped around aimlessly while trying to maintain a story arc for the suits… We agree that this movie does suffer from almost being too good for this venue, but all in all it was still above average for us.


  19. Fart Bargo says:

    I liked this episode although I can’t disagree with most of the posts. Colossus Prime, I have to respectfully disagree that with you concerning Sheila. The reason that Sheila was told to strip down to her ‘knickers’ was because her eyes hurt!? Should have sent this one in on last weeks thread. Love the bots reaction to this segment of the movie.

    As Paul Chapin points out, the evil guy who rides in the ‘boot’ of the car has the eye brows of a Maltese women, just warming up for the Final Sacrifice.

    All in all, not a barn burner but pays the rent.


  20. Brandon says:

    I haven’t seen this episode in a long time because the tape I had with this episode broke years ago. But, the version I had was the “fixed audio” version, and I still felt the riff audio was too low.

    The Sheila-in-her-underwear sequence would have been better if her underwear hadn’t looked so… “frilly”. I mean really, what woman wears THAT kind of underwear? To WORK, yet! Did Sheila originally have a date planed that evening?

    I love Servo’s freakout at the end.

    BTW, this is the last episode where we see Bobo in his professor suit, but it is not the last episode where we see Brain Guy in his regular Observer clothes. He’s seen wearing them at the end of Quest of the Delta Knights.


  21. Fart Bargo says:

    Forgive me, Final Justice.


  22. Kouban says:

    I agree with #8 about the whoop-ass line. That riff completely makes the episode for me. Also, I think Bryant Haliday should have always worn the fake Vorelli beard, regardless of role.


  23. Roman Martel says:

    Not the best way to start out a season, especially after the glorious triple threat of “Space Mutiny”, “Time Chasers” and “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank”. But Mike and bots are game, so that’s a good thing.

    The movie itself isn’t horribly executed, but very dull. The plot makes sense. The acting is pretty solid. There are attempts at tension and even a tepid romance, but mostly the movie just sits there. The main character is Paul, I suppose, even though it might be Dr. Hill since she opens and closes the movie. Still, Bryant Haliday doesn’t do much with the character to make him a credible threat. He’s better as the orange haired scientist. The goofiest thing about the movie is the bizarre projection machine and it’s noise is more annoying than goofy. When that’s the highlight, you know you’re in for a dull time.

    Of all the elements to have in a MST3K film, dullness can be the hardest to overcome. Energy and wit are needed, and as I mentioned Mike and the bots are filled with energy. They attack the movie as best they can and actually get in some very good zingers, but the movie doesn’t give them enough to work with. Take “Red Zone Cuba” a very dull film, but also badly acted, edited, and executed. So the dullness is just one factor to the bad film. In a way “The Projected Man” reminds me of the slog episodes early in season 8 where the Universal movies made their appearance, but even those had some wacky sets or costumes. The most interesting things about “The Projected Man” are the diaper on Paul’s face and Sheila in her underwear.

    The host segments are fun, but fairly light. Even the discover of Castle Forrester isn’t enough to energize things too much. They provide a few laughs, but mostly just act as filler. I actually enjoy the Castle Forrester setting. It works well enough. But the endless chase element seemed like it could have been a fun thread to keep. To bad BBI didn’t enjoy it.

    The end result is a below average episode. I can only project two stars for this one.


  24. norgavue says:

    There’s a couple of British movies in this season. This movie isn’t as bad as it could be but I still like the episode. The lembach bit isn’t as funny on the fifth or tenth viewing but the projector bit never gets old and the tom footsteps bit is classic. Favorite riff occurs within the first few minutes where crow says “lets just torch the theater and get out of here” As for the monster being named paul that would get a little silly the next time we see a monster named paul.


  25. JCC says:

    Mmm…Tracey Crisp.

    This was one of those episodes that I rarely busted out until fairly recently. I actually found it more hilarious than I remembered it and it’s now in my regular rotation. The post-coital morning sequence between the two scientists is riffed gloriously. It also helps that the movie has such weird characters/character actions. “Pretty you may be!” “Piggie for you” (Is that what she says?). The guy with the diving board eyebrows. The horny thieves. That’s just prime riffing material.

    Can anyone tell me what BlanCHARD was being blackmailed about? I never seem to be able to catch that…


  26. JCC says:

    I also wanted to add that I loved when Mike tricks Crow into Projection Machine-ing the heck out of Servo’s beloved Shirley Jones picture. My only issue with the Sci Fi episodes (besides the Pearl character) is that Mike gets treated like crap way too often. It really bugs me when they shout him down in the theater, so when he is able to extract a bit of revenge it’s always a delight to me. This is in stark contrast to the Comedy Central episodes where typically Crow is the whipping boy (Bot?).


  27. Colossus Prime says:

    Re: Bart Fargo

    Oh yeah, I forgot that her eyes hurt. Man, do I ever feel like an idiot. :)

    Shiela. Underwear. Yay.


  28. MSTJon says:

    I have a vague memory of watching this on a first run. Last week was the first time I’d watched it since then. To be honest, I haven’t missed it. I think it’s the blandness of the movie. Not horrible, there’s something of a story and a budget, but nothing stands out good or bad.

    Pearl playing the organ always (well both times) gets a chuckle, but the fake playing is awful. I hate to nitpick just one person, but she couldn’t even pretend to move her hands to the music? Maybe it bother me because that’s the highlight of the ep for me and that flaw just stares me in the face.

    IMO, no such things as a bad ep, but there’s surely better to come.


  29. rcfagnan says:

    This is a “meh” episode for me. There’s some really good riffing and the host segments are funny, but the dullness of the movie and the start of the “Castle Forrestor” era seem to negate the positives. “Shh! I’m chatting up the freak!” is one of my fave riffs from this ep that hasn’t already been mentioned. I think the Lembach host segment is funnier than a lot of other people do because the movie really seems to make a HUGE deal out of how long Lembach is going to be in town (without ever seeming to explain who the Sam Hill he is and why anyone cares), the Touch of Death and projection sketches left me in hysterics too. I just miss the fun unpredictable time and space segments and Castle Forrestor is no Deep 13 (or even Deep Ape for that matter).


  30. Spector says:

    I concur with Sampo’s take on this particular episode. Not a bad episode but not particularly memorable. Fortunately there would be better ones ahead in Season Nine.

    As for Castle Forrester, I agree that it appears as a lame knock-off of Deep 13 but I understand the rationale behind it, since in the first season with Sci-Fi the network had requested a “story arc”, which Kevin would later complain was absurd because of the confusion it would subsequently cause when the network would start re-running some episodes midway through Season eight.

    I believe the “chase through space” premise resulted in some of their most creative and funny host segments in the show’s long history. Still, having a static set for Pearl’s host segments undoubtedly meant less work on the set designer’s part and did alleviate the potential for continuity problems in re-runs and later on in box set releases.


  31. creepygirl says:

    This one is also on my hardly ever viewed list. I think I’ve only seen it three times since it aired and time number three was about a half hour ago. I still find the riffing to be fine and the host segment to be alright, but the movie is sooooo boring and slow. It reminds me of THE DEADLY BEES in the way it’s a well made film were NOTHING IS HAPPENING! Characters talk and they move around and a crazy ray gun makes noise, but NOTHING IS HAPPENING! Now don’t get me wrong. If this film comes on a box set I’ll still buy it. I just won’t watch it that often. IMO This is a fine episode and I just don’t dig the movie.


  32. fish eye no miko says:

    I actually rather liked this episode. It’s not awesome, but there’s a lot about it I enjoy. And, like Kenneth Morgan (#8), the sound issues never bothered me, either, really. It made a few of the riffs hard to hear, but for the most part, it’s wasn’t a problem. The host segs are ok. The Lembech one doesn’t thrill me, and the fact that Pearl isn’t actually touching the organ keys in the first segment is a little too obvious, but the touch of death segment is funny.
    As good as the riffs are, I have to mention a “funny without any riffing” line; it’s in the scene at the morgue, when the cop is looking at one of the dead criminals. [pardon the paraphrase] “Ah, yes, I’ve seen [whatever-his-name-is] in a good many positions.” :shock:


  33. Dip says:

    I think I’ll give up and accept my status as a MST misfit; I love most episodes that people hate, and think meh to many classic favorites. Of course being somewhat of an anglophile, I love All the British movies they did. I watched this just a few weeks ago and pretty much laughed throughout. Oh well, once a misfit, always a misfit I guess. :???:


  34. mikek says:

    I like this episode enough to give it 4 stars.

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one to notice that MST3K had several movies with a protagonist named “Paul.” Some kind of coincidence huh?

    The movie actually is a bit too well made, but that doesn’t stop it from being really dull. It still want to know what that one guy’s “warm and cozy private life” was all about. I’m sure it’s something sexual, probably into S&M or some other fetish or he might even homosexual.

    The host segments are adequate. Not bad, but more utilitarian than anything else.

    While I did get used to Castle Forrester, I preferred the chase through time and space. I’m sure that the Sci-Fi Channel had something to do with it. However, it must have gotten to be a real for BBI to come up with new sets and scenarios for the Pearl host segments. In the end it was for the best.

    Favorite riffs:

    “Because I can if you must know.” This riff is kind of dirty. Mike says this when they show the rat in a cage. The rat is grooming itself and Mike says the riff just as the rat’s head gets near it’s “area.” I had never gotten that riff until I watched the movie again for this discussion.

    “Don’t make me go the larder and unseal a tin of whoop-ass.”

    “Can I get on?” “He’s dead but knock yourself out.”

    There is one lame riff in this episode. It’s almost like the lack of Battlestar Galactica riffs in Space Mutiny. There’s a shot of small white car and Mike says,

    “That’s a British sport ute.”

    Now I think that’s just so inaccurate and lazy on the part of the writers. Did the Brains never hear a truck called the “Range Rover”? Hell, the British practically invented the SUV. This inaccurate riff will appear again during The Deadly Bees.


  35. JimmyBruce says:

    Haven’t seen this one yet.


  36. M "My Ugly Little Dummy" Sipher says:

    This movie is just so boiled and bland. I think that hurts the episode more than anything else. It’s like English food. Just sitting there in a tannish-gray, vaguely-sweating lump. (Coincidentally, that also aptly describes English sex.) Well, also the confusion over what the bloody ‘ell the badguys were specifically trying to do. With even the cheesy z-flicks that were the series’ bread and butter, there was a certain earnestness to them that made them stupidly endearing. Here, it’s just lying back and thinking of England as you go through the motions.

    On Castle Forrester… by itself, it’s hardly a bad setting. It led to some fun nonsensical bits (I’m particularly fond of the whole “cruise ship” bit from Devil Fish), and I’m always up for some Mad Scientistimonology. But I have to agree that “knockin’ about in time and space”, playing on whatever sci-fi trope happened to catch the Brains’ eye at the time… I miss that a lot. I thought that was in general a pretty energizing and entertaining setup. For my money, just about everything on the Observers’ planet was gold, I enjoyed the Body Snatchers riffs… Just kind of feels like it made them work a little harder.

    I thought the Lembach stuff was great, another in the wonderful line of “why did the filmmakers think this was worth pointing out?” extended riffs, akin to the width or narrowness of a lake. Also, I love Mike’s little phone-receiver flip.


  37. Sean says:

    “Sshh, hush, Lambkins…”

    I was rolling around on the floor.

    “Shocking, isn’t it?”

    And that just sealed my love for this episode.


  38. Joseph Nebus says:

    It’s not just that the protagonist for a couple films was named Paul. It’s how they kept having these monsters named Paul. It’s kind of like following mad scientist Danny Frankenstein or the vampire Mark Dracula or supervillain Ted Luthor.


  39. RPG says:

    Patricia: “And piggy to you.”
    Crow: “Well, CRAM IT, you big…!”

    As annoying as the sound of the machine was, anybody notice they were using it for Pearl’s projector/transmitter?

    I’d like to point out that the English “You cahn’t” joke was reiterated in a Rifftrax. I might almost call that a callback.


  40. Colossus Prime says:

    On the Lemback is staying host segment: I liked the drop down to Castle Forester where Pearl is reading about her family history. I’ve just always enjoyed the different ways her ancestors attempted the same experiment like trapping someone in a cave and showing them poorly made carvings of the hunt.


  41. Nutcase says:

    I’m suprised no one’s mentioned Collossus Prime’s observation yet, when all they’d rather do is nitpick. :roll:

    Anyway I love this episode, mainly because I delight in all the british films seen on MST3K. Devil Doll, Gorgo, and this are personal faves.Wouldn’t one consider Castle of Fu Manchu a british film?


  42. Yeah, along with a few here I also love this film (well, this film riffed). Like “Killer Bees” and “Gorgo” it’s fun to see the Brits get theirs (and they are so silly about it).

    And I do like Pearl — I understand how she’s a bit too much to take at times, but she’s grown on me over the years. So for me the whole thing works.


  43. The Bolem says:

    This ep debuted on the last day of my freshman year’s spring break. And though I didn’t go anywhere, it was possibly the greatest week of television in my life, what with Toonami debuting the best 5 eps of Beast Wars, and Rhino having just released their first MST3K VHS 3-pack, introducing me to my all time favorite experiment, Red Zone Cuba. So despite a new season starting, there was no way it could have ever lived up state of euphoria I was in, especially with that pesky sound problem, and I wrote it off as an average ep, made underwhelming by circumstances beyond its control. But considering I’ve only watched my tape once in the past decade, purely to show it to a friend, I guess it must be one of my least favorite episodes.

    Said friend had one reaction to 901 that surprised me, regarding a riff no one’s mentioned: During the party/mixer/whatever in the second or third scene, Tom’s sudden cry of, “PRO-JEC-TED MAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!!”, seemed to him a completely random unprovoked outburst, while to me it just seemed like a natural reaction to how dull the movie had been thus far. Perhaps the difference was that I’d seen TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000! and he hadn’t? There, Tom (and the rest? I can’t remember) kept mock-screaming the title to point out the contrast to how powerfully the narrator boomed it out in the first few minutes, followed by a solid hour of nothing happening. Maybe that gag didn’t work as well here, since all PM’s titles gave us was the fabrige Earth?

    That’s one example of them trying harder than usual to find something, ANYthing, to play off of, and whether this feels forced and desperate or an example of the Brains’ using their enthusiasm and experience to claw their way out of the pit of boredom depends on how much each of us cared that Lembach was staying in the end. The example of spotting some little background thing that really redeemed it for me was that shadow from the pipes somewhere in the 3rd quarter: the idea the Charlie Parker was there playing his sax somewhere in the dark amidst Paul’s killing spree, while not a callback, managed to evoke shades of similar tangents that abounded in the Joel era, especially Cave Dwellers and Pod People.

    Another plot-hole: why didn’t Paul just give Shiela the necessary safety suit and goggles when she fired up the projector? It would only have taken a minute. The only thing I can think of is that deep down, he was still simply as evil as Vorelli, negating any sympathy one might have for him. I assumed he decided she needed to strip down afterwards due to her clothes being contaminated with radiation which was also burning her eyes, kind of like how in the first G.I.Joe cartoon, Snake Eyes was cured of martyrdom-inducing radiation by stripping down and having his clothes purified…with a crazy hermit’s herbal remedy. Between that and its ability to bring people back from the dead, either entirely, or as zombies, or give them all manner of superpowers without cancerous side effects, oh beloved radiation, is there nothing you can’t make happen in the movies? Then why did you only deign to give us Shiela in her picnic-undies once?!

    And when this gets the DVD treatment many years from now, am I the only one who actually wants Shout! to include a second audio track with the initial sound problem? Y’know, for completism’s sake, though not as essential as both sets of host segs for Blood Beast. And wasn’t the official explanation that they were breaking in new equipment, not a weird mandate from the suits?


  44. Fingal says:


    I love it when they get so bored with plot that they just start screaming the title.


  45. fry1laurie says:

    The real crimes against Host Segments comes in Season 10, when riffing off song titles becomes the norm.


  46. fish eye no miko says:

    #43: “And when this gets the DVD treatment many years from now, am I the only one who actually wants Shout! to include a second audio track with the initial sound problem?”

    No, you’re not! I was thinking about that earlier. As weird as it is, I’d love to have both versions.


  47. clonus says:

    I will now share my useless piece of trivia….after the show got cancelled in 99, SciFi had a marathon in which viewers got to pick the top 5 eps from the ones they had the rights to. I still remember that this very site reported that the only episode to not recieve a single vote was….The Projected Man. (That also means someone voted for Hamlet.)

    thank you.


  48. clonus says:

    and @43 that mock-screaming of the movie’s title was definitely a running gag-they did it several times in “The Horrors of Spider Island” due to the lack of actual “horrors”.


  49. To paraphrase Roger Ebert’s comments on North:

    I hated this episode. Hated hated hated hated HATED this episode. Despite slogging through it three times, I can’t remember any riffs that I liked. Not only that, the bots are just plain cruel in Host Segment 1; it has to be their lowest point ever but thankfully Mike does get a little revenge. The only one worse than this left in the run of the show is The Deadly Bees.


  50. MPSh says:

    Ho-hum episode. The only things I remember were Lembach staying, the evil science administrator with the G.I. Joe fuzz beard, and the girl who gratuitously strips to her underwear in the office. Other than that, nothing to report here….


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