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Episode guide: 912- The Screaming Skull (with short ‘Robot Rumpus’)


Short: (1956) A Gumby cartoon. Gumby builds robots to do his chores for him.
Movie: (1958) Newly married headcase Jenni sees human skulls everywhere in her new home.

First shown: 8/29/98
Opening: Tom has become a beautiful butterfly
Intro: Tom’s still a butterfly, but you can’t really tell; Pearl, Observer and Bobo pull a not-so-fast one on M&tB
Host segment 1: The bots try to work through the pain of the Gumby short
Host segment 2: The bots try to scam a free coffin
Host segment 3: Crow, disguised as a screaming skull, freaks Mike out
End: The coffin arrives from Coffins Etc.; Bobo fails to pull an even-less fast one on M&tB
Stinger: Hubby flings his stool.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (229 votes, average: 4.32 out of 5)


• This is another one of those episode where the spectacularly funny short outshines some decent riffing on a drab, dull movie. I wonder how it even came up that they would be able to use this cartoon. The segments are hit and miss, but a couple of them are real classics.
• Bill’s thoughts on the episode are here.
• This episode is not yet on DVD.
• This was the last episode of the show broadcast on Sci Fi Channel, January 31, 2004.
• Nice build on Servo in the opening segment; kudos to whoever did it.
• Watch Mike as Servo explains his metamorphosis. His reactions are great.
• The opening bit in the castle is one of those long-walk-for-a-little-bit gags, but I have to admit everybody’s costumes are pretty funny.
• I wonder why Pearl didn’t mention the short in her intro.
• M&tB are still wearing their costumes as they enter the theater.
• The short is simply sublime, hilarious from start to finish. The reaction by fans was overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of calls for more cartoons.
• Fave riff from the short: Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!
• Alex Nicol, who plays unhinged gardener Mickey, was also the director. So I think you can pretty much blame him for this movie.
• Again, another nice build for segment 1. And the segment is hilarious, a rare look at the world through the eyes of the bots.
• Last time around I wrote a long plea for somebody to explain the movie to me, and I got several good responses. As I understand it, we are to believe that, in addition to the skulls evil hubby Eric was placing around the house, the ghost of Eric’s dead first wife was capable of conjuring up tangible, corporeal objects (see the skeleton in the wedding dress, which is clearly a physical object–though it is transparent as it runs around the garden) in revenge for what we assume was his murder of her?
• This may not be the worst print of a movie they ever riffed, but it’s up there.
• That’s Barb Tebben as the as operator at Coffins Etc.
• Arty riff: “Pinched lady at Giverny.”
• Jenni disrobes down to her underwear at one point, and I think the movie was trying to titilate the audience a bit, but jeez-louise that is the least sexy bra ever.
• Segment 3 is an all-time favorite, one of those Looney Tunes-style segments that works perfectly. I particularly like the way Mike keeps screaming in horror as he carefully selects just the right golf club.
• Also note, right at the end of the sketch, Mike’s elbow accidentally(?) brushes against Servo’s head — and of course it immediately falls off.
• That’s Patrick in the closing bit as the delivery guy. His “this must be a great place to work” comment is probably something they heard at BBI a lot.
• I have to assume Kevin was boiling in that costume inside a costume.
• And the episode closes out with a little blast from the past: a forced perspective gag. Paging Joel…
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson worked on too many MST3K movies to name. In front of the camera, Peggy Webber was in “Space Children.”
• Creditwatch: Directed by Kevin. Andrea DuCane couldn’t do hair and makeup this episode (the only episode in season 9 where she didn’t) so Mary K. Flaa took her place. Barry Schulman, who renewed them one last time just before getting canned, gets a special mention in the credits.
• Fave riff: “Wow, too bad. So…some?” Honorable mention: “GET A BOX!”

169 comments to Episode guide: 912- The Screaming Skull (with short ‘Robot Rumpus’)

  • 1
    I'm Evil says:

    “It’s like they had two servings of tension they tried to stretch out for seven people.”

    That’s a pretty good summation of this film, or as Mike put it, “okay, you’ve established enough mood, lets move on to plot.”

    Plenty of good moments in this episode–I particularly like the guys’ reactions to the cuts back and forth from husband and wife when they seem like they are in separate dimensions–but I feel like this one never really gets any sustained momentum. Also, hard to imagine this scaring anyone, even in 1958.

    In answer to Sampo’s question on what the hey was going on, I took it as signs that Jenni really was crazy and some of those things were signs of/ figments of her insanity.

    At the risk of getting shouted down, I really didn’t care for the short, but it may have been a case of expectations–I really thought they would tee off on it, but it never takes off for me. I do like the bots’ reaction at the end “They’ve hung his head up!”

    MO this is an episode where the host segments outshine the movie. I particularly like Tom’s call to scam a free casket and Mike’s bot abuse. The “skull Crow” hangs together pretty well while Mike pummels it–good build.

    Discussion topic: Who would you rather be stuck on a desert island with, Peggy Webber’s Jenni from “The Screaming Skull,” or Peggy Webber’s constantly negative Anne from “The Space Children”? I’d bet the underwire overwire bra goes with either one.

    Favorite riff: Van Gogh’s “Hooooowdeeee!”
    Runner up: Out of my way!


  • 2
    klisch says:

    Okay, all together now, “O-ver-ra-ted *clap, clap, clap, clap, clap* O-ver-ra-ted *clap, clap, clap, clap, clap*.” Other than the hilarious Gumby short, this movie goes into my top 10 worst episodes they’ve done. Riffing couldn’t save it, just drab and dull.

    Favorite line: “Well this just squares my breasts.”


  • 3
    Fingal Dopple says:

    This episode features my favorite all-time riff…although to many it probably seems pretty innocuous.

    It’s during that dreadfully long scene where our female lead is contemplating whether or not she may or may not have heard something. At one point…Crow leaps out of his chair and screams “Can we help you movie lady!!!! Do you need a push or something?” For some reason, that gets me every time (I’m chuckling as I type this)…Bill’s timing is just perfect…and the delivery is spot on. He perfectly matches what the audience is feeling. Just an absolute winner. One of my favorite episodes.


  • 4
    MikeH says:

    I’m in agreement too, short much better than the film, cause I only remember stuff from the gumby short.

    “This is CNN”
    “Robot Rump?”
    “Mrs Gumby is stacked”
    “Maybe we can have some white rice too”


  • 5
    Colossus Prime says:

    Hey, a movie that I have a story for. Smile

    Years ago I was visiting a girlfriend at her college. She had a few early classes so I just relaxed in her room, I had brought a few movies and tapes with MST3K on them to kill the time. As I was watching The Screaming Skull a friend of hers came into the room to wait for her. He sat down and asked what I was watching, so I paused it and gave him the run down. A few more friends came in and joined us and by the time my girlfriend got back to the room there were about six of us sitting around laughing. After I left apparently a few of her friends kept asking for me to send her some episodes, which I happily obliged. So while I don’t know how much it spread, I had a hand in getting at least six people into MST3K in one sitting by complete accident.

    Just such a weird opening segment, brilliant but weird. I love the follow up of Tom being back to normal with a completely non-sensical explanation. And yes the way Mike looks up at the antennae which are “so thin they’re invisible” as well as how he was clearly amusing himself inside of his own head before Servo showed up, are all brilliant. And the whole penguin costume thing is hysterical especially with Brain Guy and Bobo’s slow realization of how stupid their plan was. But yeah, all of it is just really, really weird.

    The Crow as the screaming skull bit is simply, too, funny to put into words. Kudos for the highly durable Crow skull prop. And this makes two episodes in a row where someone comes up to the satellite willy-nilly. It never gets old to me. We also get another moment of Mike’s expressions translating to the expressionless robots as they are duped by Bobo.

    The movie has so many great running gags about people ignoring the obvious, how depressed JennI is and Mickey as a deranged homicidal creep. This is one of those movies that could be better with just a little re-writing to remove those really, really ridiculous elements like Reverend Snow just accepting Eric’s ineffectual psychological treatment plans for his clearly insane wife.

    And to Sampo’s curiousity, I always took it as a combination of all two things; Eric trying to scare Jenni while unaware that there really was a super natural presence out for him.

    Crow: One of my class mates died in the kiln today, mother.

    Eric: Jenni, this is Mickey.
    Crow: Mickey’s a wide awake nightmare.

    Jenni: When I was a little girl I used to want to be a caterpillar.
    Crow: I wanted that, too, and it worked out.

    Mike: Oh, he’s growing pot.
    Crow: Get a box!
    Both from when Mickey is rambling and picking up and dropping flower pots.


  • 6
    Joseph Nebus says:

    “The Screaming Skull” makes you really appreciate how good “Rebecca” is. I admit a weird fascination with the MST3K movies that barely try to disguise how they’re ripoffs of real movies.


  • 7
    rcfagnan says:

    “Awww, I thought there was gonna be robot rump!” “The movie’s title should have been “Screaming semicolon Skull.” I guess I’m in the minority, because I think this ep’s REALLY good. Host segments, short, and movie all seem to be clicking on all cylinders. The actual movie itself is VERY dull (which usually for me are the most difficult to watch), but there’s enough “Huh?!” moments and top-notch riffing for me to enjoy it. My opinion, for what it’s worth.


  • 8
    dafs says:

    re: #6

    I dunno why I never thought of that! Mickey isn’t exactly Mrs. Danvers, is he?


  • 9
    robot rump! says:

    i too love the short. would have really loved to have seen more, especially in the Joel era. My take on the movie is this…
    1. the director hates humanity and wanted to punish us with this film.
    2. the husband in the movie marries then kills the first wife, moves on to wife 2 whom he AGAIN marries and playing on some incident where she walked in on her parents or something, tries to make her coo coo for coco puffs by playing haunted house with her. only it would appear that the ghost of wife 1 wants some revenge. and as the Klingons say “revenge is a dish best served cold and in a drab, lifeless movie.” so we have husband biting it as if anyone cared and mickey kept his urine soaked shack in the back.
    3. did i mention that the director hated humanity…?


  • 10
    ck says:

    This episode must be a favorite for psychiatrists,
    given the need of any robots viewing the short for
    years of powerful Adlerian therapy. Shock Shock


  • 11
    ck says:

    P. S. Gumby’s parents were obviously devotees of “tough love.”


  • 12
    pumafan says:

    Fingal dopple — I’m with you brother (or sister!). I laughed until I cried at that one. It perfectly sums up the whole spirit of the show.


  • 13
    Joseph Nebus says:

    Whoa. According to the IMDB Trivia page, this was a double-feature with Terror From The Year 5000 … and this was the top half of the bill. Terror may be about as terrifying as a Mary Worth garden party but it’s still way the stronger movie.

    Also apparently the movie’s original rip-off source was a short story by Francis Marion Crawford which I haven’t had time to read. Huh.


  • 14
    swh1939 says:

    Am I correct in remembering that this was the final re-run episode of MST3K ever?


  • 15
    Tim S. Turner says:

    My favorite riff:
    “Trick or Treat for calcium!”


  • 16
    Wilford B. Wolf says:

    Of course, this movie prompted the question in me “Why do lousy movies have such sweet cars?” (The Mercedes Gull-Wing is a 50’s classic)


  • 17
    trickymutha says:

    I for one like Uncle Lady


  • 18
    Sitting Duck says:

    Shalen of Mutant Reviewers From Hell took a crack at the un-MSTed version.


  • 19
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    While the short is funny, I like the a LOT movie better than I expected. I have no idea how they did it, but they made a dreary “mystery” funny: “Is he reading from a report?” “She had one nostril enlarged for the role.” “It’s the Show Us Your Live Wife and Win a Million Dollars people.”

    Also, I loved the bit where Eric repeatedly slaps Mickey and Three Stooges slap effects are foleyed in. Mike and the Bots notice it, too, and play it for everything it’s worth. “Stop hitting me, Moe!”


  • 20
    Sitting Duck says:

    Oh, and I give this episode five stars. Must say I’m a bit confounded by low average rating this one has received so far (3.85 as I write this). So people, give it some hotpad love.


  • 21
    Finnias Jones says:

    Damn, I need more pigs’ blood.

    Four stars. Solid riffing on a dull movie, made better by the Gumby short and a couple of great host segments.

    Habitat AGAINST Humanity.

    Saw this one a lot in those final Sci-Fi Saturday morning repeat years. Would wake up, make breakfast, then sit down only to find THIS snooze-fest was on again. I finally decided to start taping the series when >poof< it was off the air forever. No onscreen announcement, no nothing. So because I have it captured on VHS, I always misremember it as being readily available on DVD. Over time, it's grown on me.

    Can we help you, movie lady? Do you need a push or something?

    I shouldn’t really like this one at all, but the central performance by Peggy Webber carries the movie. She is both sympathetic and (somewhat) sexy. Her inner strength comes through even while being abused by both her onscreen husband (whose dickishness is apparent 5 minutes in) and her offscreen director (who mostly forces her to grimace, scream, and undress — sort of the Lars Von Trier approach to actresses). I can imagine the time it took on-set for the lighting and camera guys to catch the light shining through her translucent nightgown as she goes down the stairs and retreats from the skull before the fireplace. Hot stuff!

    They have two servings of tension that they’re trying to serve to seven people.

    Her lengthy scenes of walking around the haunted house are similar to last year’s Paranormal Activity (which Rifftrax recently tackled) and House of the Devil. There is something archetypal about the lone woman exploring a dark house (anima/unconscious, etc.); that sensation of “nothing is happening” is part of the horror movie ritual.

    Host segments: Some great ones on the SOL, particularly Free Coffin and Crow-Skull, but the Castle F. animal costume stuff is no good. Tom’s proboscis is a delight. Kevin quotes one of my favorite Elton John songs (Someone Saved My Life Tonight). And the bots’ reenactment of the short contains two phrases I love:
    You wanna unpack that for me?
    Please Mike, just work the lumps!

    Random notes:
    • Mickey (the director/gardener) not only resembles Eric Clapton, but also Beach Boy Brian Wilson during his “crazy hermit” phase.
    • Servo suggests the bots “neck” with Mike, then they make kissy noises at him. Kinda creepy.
    • Mike, on the score: At least some oboe player got a paycheck out of all this horse hockey.
    Gandalf’s outside, scratching things on the door… (nerds!)


  • 22
    Raptorial Talon says:

    I do have to agree that the short is much more lively and well-paced than the movie, and that the host segments are high points, but the film portion is still quite watchable. Dreary as hell? Yes, but buoyed up by pretty solid riffing.

    As for the storyline . . . well obviously there’s an actual pissed-off ghost! As with the film’s other red herrings, the wife’s apparent “insanity” (which may be true to a small degree) is just a cover for the final twist of an actual ghost. And since ghosts have, well, ghostish powers, the tangible existence of a skeleton in a dress doesn’t need a rational explanation. We can assume Wife #1 just really, really hated the idea of hubby going all insurance fraud on Wife #2.


  • 23
    Finnias Jones says:

    Yes according to the Broadcast Schedule Archive on this very website this was the LAST EPISODE of the show broadcast on Sci Fi Channel, January 31, 2004 @ 9am. Surprised Sampo didn’t highlight this.


  • 24
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    As I recall, there’s a quick throwaway Torgo reference in ralation to Mickey. I was surprised that there weren’t more; Mickey is practically Torgo’s long-lost twin.

    The short and the related host segment far exceeded the movie, and I agree that the Crow-Skull segment is tremendously funny.


  • 25

    “Crow skull” marks the second time MST has truly made me laugh so hard I was in pain. Bill has a wonderful scream, both the fakey “rar” he tries to scare Mike with, and his howls of pain as Mike pummels him. Combined with Mike’s great yelling while very carefully selecting a club (and Crow’s panicky muttered “don’t let him hit me!”), and it’s a skit that threatens to make one pee themselves.

    I completely agree… watching Mike’s silent reactions to skits is half the fun. He’s got a wonderfully expressive face. Well, it is a big face, makes it easier.

    I actually really enjoy the movie portion of this one. It’s dull and drab and goes nowhere slowly, yes. But by this point, the SOL crew had some real teeth in their commentary that they didn’t quite have back in, say, the days of Ring of Terror, plus a healthy dose of pure absurdity (“Do you need a push or something?”), so it ends up a lot more fun.

    Since this movie, the term “Styrofoam peanut” has entered my regular lexicon for entertainment. Whole episodes of a TV series can be a Styrofoam peanut.


  • 26
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Is there any other MSTied movie that has only five characters?

    This has long been one of my go-to episodes for dreary days, maybe because it’s such a dreary little movie. The Gumby short is lots of fun, and Crow as the screaming skull is one of our family’s favorite host segments.

    I very much appreciated Alex Nicol’s performance as Mickey. Perhaps as the director, he felt that no one else could do justice to the tortured, nuanced character of Mickey. Or he just wanted to save money by reducing the number of actors.

    Fave riffs: “Alas, poor Yorick, she threw him well.”
    “Why can’t you kill like the other husbands?”


  • 27
    bad wolf says:

    #14 & 23 — and that’s why it’s one of only a couple episodes i have on tape; i didn’t have cable and when i realized they were going to stop re-running it i had a friend tape the last couple of episodes. i think the second-to-last must have been Boggy Creek II.


  • 28
    Dave says:

    Raised Catholic, I never fail to laugh at the religious stuff:
    “Ok I’ll climb in and you confess through the little hole.”
    “I bought some cool ranch flavored host.”
    “My wife and I have an understanding.”


  • 29
    Bat Masterson says:

    “We brought you a night basket!”


  • 30
    jjb3k says:

    When I had all the SciFi episodes on my hard drive, this was one of my heavy rotation episodes. The Gumby short gets it off to a great start (“Don’t you worry your squishy little head about it!”), and that carries over well into the movie. I’m one of those fans who doesn’t mind if the movie is a big bland ball of nothing – it just means that the guys don’t have to focus on story or anything and can just lob riff after riff without stopping. Episodes like “Monster A-Go Go” and “The Starfighters” fit well into this category, and they’re among my all-time favorites. This one is no exception.

    Words can’t describe how hard I was laughing the first time I heard Crow bellow “GET A BOX!” while Mickey fumbles with the flowerpots. Such a simple riff, but it hits head-on.

    At first, I thought Peggy Weber was kinda cute…and then the movie got to that shot of her looking down at the skull on her doorstep and screaming. Ew. It looks like her lips are made of rubber.


  • 31
    Fingal Dopple says:

    Y’Know it’s funny…Crow does have a few outbursts in this one. It always seemed like pre-Mike it was Joel who was prone to those types of displays. It’s interesting how that dynamic evolved over time.


  • 32
    Zee says:

    Great episode. The little robots from segment 1 fueled my already flaming desire for MST3K action figures. Thanks I finally have ’em thanks (sort of) thanks to Shout Factory.


  • 33

    “The movie that dares to graphically depict sometimes seeing peacocks and sometimes not seeing peacocks!”


  • 34

    This is one of my faves, so five stars.

    “Mickey, CNN, Atlanta”

    It was a rainy day-and he shot her.”


  • 35
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    “This film should have been called Looking for Mickey!”

    This is one of those episodes that takes several viewings getting into. Of course, the Gumby short’s fantastic. “Pay for my head bump surgery and I’ll get you down!” I’d never made the connection between this film and Rebecca, but I don’t think I’d watched Rebecca until fairly recently (the last 5 years or so). The Uncle Lady jokes are a little mean, but still really funny. It’s not riff-specific, but I like how this movie just sort of throws up it’s hands towards the end, with Eric wandering around the lawn until he falls into the pond. Thanks, movie. I can’t recall the riff, but I love the shot of the wife’s face where one nostril seems WAY bigger than the other one.


  • 36

    And it’s obvious that all Jenni needs is a good #&*%.


  • 37
    creepygirl says:

    This is a middle of the road episode for me. I have not seen it in years and just watched it 30 minutes ago. I agree with earlier posts that the short is great and O-BOY is the film dull. Mike and the Bots did keep things moving riff-wise, but there were long segments of pure bordom within the film. I will also agree the host segments were on the mark. I wonder if that is because they actully pertained to the movie and short. They just were not abstract skits out of no where. I’m sure this episode will show up soon on a Shout! Factory release sometime and I’m looking forward to a good copy. My VHS looks like someone put this ep in the dishwasher. LOL


  • 38
    Zee says:

    Re: #26: “Is there any other MSTied movie that has only five characters?”

    Good question. “King Dinosaur” has four characters and a narrator. “The Killer Shrews”, “The Atomic Brain”, “Night of the Blood Beast”, and “Terror From the Year 5000” have pretty limited casts too.


  • 39
    M "I Left A Victim In The Oven!" Sipher says:

    #30: I have to agree… it’s movies like this, Starfighters and the like that end up among my favorites -well, later-season ones anyway- simply because it does allow a far greater density of riffs, plus it makes them work just a little bit harder on said riffs. They turn to absurdity and more conversational humor, and that makes me happy. The Film Crew’s Hollywood After Dark is another great example.


  • 40
    Fart Bargo says:

    A good, solid not great, episode for many of the reasons stated above. The Gumby episodes is in my top five shorts wise. I grew up when Gumby was Barny, was the Tele Tubbies… so I loved the robot episode as it was a childhood favorite. Steller riffing and host segs on the short. Mrs Gumbo tickles me to no end with her ‘reverse hair-do'(front bangs at nape/back flip at brow).

    The movie is D&D no doubt, but not enough to bog down the solid riffing. Loved the Snagglepuss reference to Micky! The one riff I expected but never noticed is Tom intoning Jenni’s voice ‘The sand is getting into everything!’, throw back to Space Children. I guess all the memory lane aspects DULLED the D&D effect, thank the gods.


  • 41
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Ah yes, while not the best, this episode has a place in my heart for one good solid reason: In March of 2003, it became the very first MST3K episode I ever got to see and record off the air on TV, despite being at 7:00 am on a Saturday while I was still in school. It turned out to be a very, VERY wonderful introduction to the Sci-Fi episodes. Devil Fish was the second, so I need to go back and comment in that thread after this.

    * Having grown up watching Gumby cartoons as a kid, this became the first example of something I loved being riffed to pieces on MST3K. I laughed. Hard. (Joel read’s in one of the letters in Warrior of the Lost World where the writer’s dad didn’t like how they riffed on what he paid good money to see as a kid.)
    * Despite how often I watch this, I always pick up on a joke that I didn’t quite understand beforehand each time.
    * Other good claymation icons of the time they could have inserted jokes about include the California Raisins and the Noid, or even Michael Jackson (see the movie “Moonwalker”).
    * Favorite riffs:
    “I’ll take the company car.” – Mike
    “Oh, bad move. Robots do not fight clean. You know that, Mike.” – Crow
    “They hung his head! This is worse then Se7en!” – Servo

    * For me, THIS is what epitomizes a bad B-Movie: stagnant plot, vague characters (I do like the reverend though), cheezy effects, and the absurd idea that the audience would take it an angstrom as seriously as the producers (free coffin indeed). Maybe that’s another reason why I like this one more than others.
    * Note that Mike still has his dog ears well into the opening credits.
    * Lord of the Rings reference: “Gandalf’s outside, scratching things on the door post.”
    * Favorite riffs:
    “Martin Luther’s nailing EACH thesis individually.” – Mike
    “I don’t know how to put this tent up!” – Crow
    “Okay who turned up the heat in the hot tub!” – Servo

    Host Segments:
    * Segment 3. Enough said.

    Things I Learned from this Episode:
    * As fun as it may sound, it is NOT a good idea to try and throw an anvil through your dad.
    * Skulls have their own set of vocal chords.
    * Looking for Mickey is the sure-fire way to summon a ghost.
    * There’s a Society for Unstrangled Wives.


  • 42
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    #26 “Is there any other MSTied movie that has only five characters?”

    Night of the Blood Beast comes close with only six.

    And yes, I’m going to say they’re all named Steve.


  • 43
    Bat Masterson says:

    Oh I can’t believe I forgot:

    “He’s having his own three legged race!”


  • 44
    H says:

    I enjoy this one. While it’s true the short outshines the movie, the movie is pretty good for me too. Host segments are a lot of fun as well, especially the intro stuff.


  • 45
    fruitypebbles says:

    @ #36- *Really?*


  • 46
    CG says:

    “Sublime” is definitely the word for the short. Top-notch from beginning to end.

    As for the movie, I have a quick story. Several years ago I was watched a very bizarre episode of The Twilight Zone. In the story, a newlywed couple is about to depart on their honeymoon and stops by the house to pick up some last-minute things. The husband starts acting very strangely – he keeps saying that he misses his mother, that he wants to see her again, that he doesn’t want to get married because he wants to live with his mom to keep her company. Weird, I know. In the final scene, the poor wife runs upstairs to find her husband changed into a boy, and he says that he’s going off to live with his mother forever. (To steal a riff from Merlin’s Shop: “Based on a story by Sigmund Freud!”)

    That viewing experience was strange enough, but when the credits started rolling, I spotted a familiar name: Alex Nicol. I went “WAIT A MINUTE,” looked it up, and sure enough, our beloved Mickey had played the part of the creepy Oedipal husband. It blew my mind.

    Other notes:

    The music is definitely interesting in the movie. (“My Sharona!” “Mickey’s…theme! Mickeystheme!” “Wow, it’s Mr. McFeeley’s music! Busy day, busy day!”)

    All of my favorite riffs have already been quoted (“Habitat AGAINST Humanity!”, “Mickey, CNN, Atlanta,” “Alas, poor Yorick, she threw him well!”) I also love the scene in the short where Gumbo (haha, love the name) comes home to find his wife and son in a clay ball, and listening to the M+TB go “What?” and laugh. As for the movie, the “gay beekeeper,” the depressing Henry James novel that the wife was reading, the skull’s “PARTAYYYY!” and Mickey’s “EX-it! Stage left, even!”

    Oh, and regarding all of the peacocks outside of the mansion: I kinda wish that this episode had been produced ten years later, because they could’ve done a riff on “Malfoy Manor.”


  • 47
    Ator In Flight says:

    I haven’t seen this episode in a while,but it was better than I remember. Of course the short is a classic and outshines the movie. I’ll give it 5 stars for the short alone. I just LOVE Gumby’s voice.


  • 48

    I like to think that a parrot got into the skull and made it move around, just like in those Three Stooges shorts.

    What did they make the Crow skull out of? Normally, the robot’s heads would fall off if someone so much as looked at them. Mike beats the bejeezus out of the Crow skull and it stays intact. They must have been using some strong material.


  • 49
    Edge10 says:

    I’d like to add one question to Sampo’s list of questions about the movie…

    What about Scarecrow’s brain?!


  • 50
    mikek says:

    I’ll review it later, but I just want throw this question out there early on.

    Is there any plausible explanation for the riff made by Mike, “Do you like mayonnaise?”

    Crow doesn’t get it, but Servo says he does. I thought it was something but, now I think it was just a random, nonsensical, creepy riff.



  • 51
    Brandon says:

    I always thought the reason pearl didn’t announce the short, was maybe The Brains wanted it to be a surprise for fans. Who knows.

    On the “Crow Vs. Crow” special on the recent DVD release, Bill mentions that he got to keep the model from Segment 1.

    God, so many great riffs from the Gumby short, and most have already been mentioned.

    Three riffs from the actual movie stand out for me:
    Jenni: “What’s that over there?”
    Servo: “Just some robots I hired to do the yardwork.”

    *a bunch of peacocks appear*
    Mike: “NBC’s after us! HEEEEELLLP!”

    *flower dies*
    “Pepe Le Pew walked by!”


  • 52
    Raptorial Talon says:

    Anyone know if there’s a connection between the MST3k episode here (i.e., specifically) and the reference to “The Hall of Screaming Skulls” in Futurama: Bender’s Big Score? I can’t convince myself that a reference like that would be made directly and out of nowhere to a dreary, obscure movie like this.


  • 53
    CG says:

    “I’ll put you on Don Knotts strength.”


  • 54
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    #25, M AAAAA!…Sipher, yes, the term “foam peanut” is used in our household a LOT for television episodes that do nothing but, well, fill up space. (Many episodes of Lost fell into this category for me, which is why I stopped watching.)

    I’d forgotten about the small casts of Terror from the Year 5000, Killer Shrews, etc., but for some reason Screaming Skull always feels as if there’s no one else left on Earth, anywhere. Sure, they talk about a Mr. Mowrer (Mauwer?), but you never see him; it’s just these people, wandering around among the peacocks & skulls.


  • 55
    Colossus Prime says:

    #52 – I’ve wondered that since I first saw Bender’s Big Score. The Futurama crew are MST3K fans so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were referencing the movie because they saw the Mistie ep.


  • 56
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I’ve seen Screaming Skull issued in several of those 100 Classic Horror Film packs that you can get at Best Buy for around $10, often alongside The Killer Shrews, Bloodlust! and Giant Gila Monster. I just figured that someone from Futurama might have come across it that way, but it sure seems like they were referencing this film.


  • 57
    monoceros4 says:

    It’s been said that The Screaming Skull ripped off Rebecca and maybe Gaslight too. They should have ripped off more–everything they could carry, really–but they didn’t.

    #52: “I can’t convince myself that a reference like that would be made directly and out of nowhere to a dreary, obscure movie like this.”

    I do agree that all the Futurama movies are dreary and obscure.


  • 58
    klisch says:

    On Gumby’s father;

    Mike: He’s very high crotched.


  • 59
    Happenstance says:

    One of my top-ten favorite MSTs. The Gumby short is a consistent scream (save for the “Hey! His bump’s on the other side!” bit at the very end of it, where a joke opportunity is wasted with a complaint), and the ‘Bots reaction to it–The Bollus & Horseflop Diorama Family Program Extravaganza–actually brings me to tears of laughter with their colorful, descriptive language (“wretched lumps of discharge”).

    The main movie itself is complete arse (Director Nicol–Mickey–went on to play the racist jerk colonel from “A*P*E”), but the riffs make it magic, whether they’re commenting on the incompetent technique (“Quick! Clear the frame before the jump-cut!”) or making their own humor (“He just scooped up his stool and threw it at her! It’s a hard stool! He should at least have used some stool softener!” “Okay, that’s enough…”).

    The “Crow as Skull” segment is pure gold. Everybody’s screaming (Servo loses his dome again!), and the performances are perfect.

    Clearly not everyone’s favorite (I confess to being shocked at this), but I adore it.


  • 60
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    Raised Catholic, I never fail to laugh at the religious stuff:

    “My wife and I have an understanding.”

    Um, “Dave”, honey……… to run that by me one more time ???????


  • 61
    Spector says:

    Completely agree with Sampo’s take. A terrific short, and really funny host segments (especially Mike freaking out over Crow as a “screaming skull” and actually taking the time to select an appropriate gold club with which to beat him!), were overshadowed by this clunker of a film. Indeed, if it weren’t for the short and the host segments this would’ve been the worst episode in the show’s history. The Brains do this best but there really wasn’t much here to work with. It’s a dreary little dreck of a film. So, short and host segments, five stars. The film itself, one star. Overall, three.


  • 62
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Re Skull-Crow, just because the heads fall off easily doesn’t mean they can’t take punishment when affixed to a desk. It was probably fortified somehow precisely for that purpose.


  • 63
    OnenuttyTanuki says:

    I’ve actually introduced a friend to other friends for the first time as “Wide awake nightmares.”

    Also, during college a friend of mine, Mike, would wear shorts 99% of the time. (Even during midwestern winters.) So need less to say the few times he would wear pants. After watching this episode, differnt people in my group of friends would say out loud as he walked into the student center in something other than shorts. “Hey look it’s Mike.” “Yeah, it’s Mike and he’s wearing pants today.”


  • 64
    MiqelDotCom says:

    The “free coffin” gag is pretty awesome, also enjoyed the bots reaction to the robot dismemberment scenes in the Gumby short. I don’t tend to play this one very often, but it’s funnier than I remember it to be.

    “this is what happens in the real world, horrid lumps of discharge destroy beautiful innocent robots with impunity”

    Is there a higher than usual number of bad puns in this episode? it seems like it to me.


  • 65
    robniles says:

    Kiri Te Kanawa’s drunk again!

    This one has strangely grown into one of my favorites over the years. Sure, within ten minutes you can see the plot points drawn out like a road map, but the movie sustains its dreary mood in a way that somehow works for me, and I can’t put my finger on why exactly. Maybe it has something to do with there being a such a minimal cast and a single location—it’s almost like watching a playlet, rather than the knocked-out-in-a-weekend movie that it is.

    And as others have observed, having an especially irate Crow never hurts. “Can we give you a push or something?” and “GET A BOX!” have definitely had their uses in real life.


  • 66
    WhereTheFishLives says:

    I really love this episode. Maybe its because I enjoy the frustrated and impatient humor that Bill brings to these type of episodes. This episode has gotten better for me with multiple views, and should not be overlooked. @ #3 I agree one of the best riffs ever, given its context.


  • 67
    fathermushroom says:

    I really enjoy the “dialogue” the robots make up for the “lumps” during their therapy session:

    thneh thneh thnedda thnehthneh THNEH!


  • 68
    Gorn Captain says:

    Shout Factory should include a Crow Skull replica when this finally makes it into a future DVD set.


  • 69
    jake says:

    the gumby short is absoulutly hilarious in this episode


  • 70
    Projected Paul says:

    It hasn’t yet been mentioned yet here in this comments thread, but this episode also has the special designation as being the very last episode repeat to air of the series on the SciFi Channel, when the SciFi Channel’s January 31, 2004 9-11AM PST west coast feed airing of this episode finished, it would become, and still is, the last time any episode repeat would air on any given network, as the SciFi Channel declined to renew their TV distribution rights to the series past the previously-extended contract.

    Comedy Central’s last aired repeated episode of the series during its run at that network, for those keeping track, was episode #622 — Angels’ Revenge, back on December 30, 1996 at 2AM.


  • 71
    Dave says:

    Raised Catholic, I never fail to laugh at the religious stuff:

    “My wife and I have an understanding.”

    Um, “Dave”, honey……… to run that by me one more time ???????

    The line was voiced by Mike as the Reverend. A man of the cloth saying that is hilarious. Hope I cleared that up for you “Save Ferris.”


  • 72
    Fart Bargo says:

    Crow-Skull host seg with Mike swinging that golf club reminded me of Tiger Wood’s home on Thanksgiving.


  • 73
    big61al says:

    Super special show for me. This is the show I rediscovered the show after we moved and did not get comedy central in our new home and we just got the sci fi channel added to our tv lineup and found it. Shock Shock Shock YAY!


  • 74
    Cornjob says:

    Have’nt read the above so forgive redundancy. I figured that the husband was gaslighting his already unstable wife. So it started out as trickery by him and a little hallucination by her. At the end it seemed that either the husband had gone insane, or that the spirit of his first wife was haunting him (driving him crazy) like Vi in Tormented (Tom Stewert Killed Me!!).


  • 75
    GonzoRedux says:

    The short has a very Rifftrax feel to it, for me. Watching such a venerable cartoon doesn’t seem like something BBI would have done a few years prior (I can’t see Trace doing it–the zaniness of Gumby seems like something he would respect). Still makes you wish they could’ve gotten more shorts in the Sci Fi era.

    I love Servo’s rendition of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” Beautiful.


  • 76
    Roman Martel says:

    I agree with most of the posters here. The short is great, but the movie isn’t so hot. It’s so dull and dreary. Mike and bots give it a good shot, and there are some classic riffs but in the end it just never takes off. Even the host segments are hit and miss for me. But I love Crow’s Scream Skull gag.

    I give the episode 2 green balls of clay out of five.

    Check out my blog for a full review:


  • 77
    big61al says:

    After reading all the comments I want to use this as an example for fans who hate one or another episode. Yeah this film is hard like trying to swallow a whole walnut. But add in the great short, the riffs and the host segments and now you got a delicious brownie dripping with chocolate and walnuts…….oh boy lets dig in …. Wink


  • 78

    Eh. In my horror geek opinion, horror movies don’t have to make sense. Plausibility doesn’t hurt, of course, but it’s a lot to ask from a genre that features werewolves, zombies and other patently unscientific mythologies. It’s more an exploration of irrational fear, dream imagery, the mysteries of the unconscious mind and, ideally, sex and violence. Horror fantasy. The Italians were particularly aware of this. Anyway, 90% of horror movies are just completely idiotic. It’s practically a given.


  • 79
    mikek says:

    I watched most of The Screaming Skull un-cut when it was shown on Svengoolie last year. This is possibly the most scratched up film ever. The stuff that is cut in the MST3K version looks even worse than what is left in.

    I give this episode 4 stars. The movie is dreary, but Mike and the ‘Bots do a good job with it. The Gumby Short and host segments keep the energy going in this episode, making it hard not to like.

    Fave. riffs:

    1. Mike: “Clay figures go home.” As the robot is painting the side of the house.”

    2. Tom Servo: “Crackers? Wow! Maybe we can have white rice later.” (Honestly, was Art Clokey just trying to be different or was Mrs. Gumby so poor as to not be able to afford cookies?)

    3. When Jenny holds her book, “Advanced face pinching.” “Well, I better start rubbing lemons on my body.” (I have no real-world reference for them, but I still laugh the mention of old-fashioned beauty techniques.)


  • 80
    incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:


    –Eric, in his suit, attempts a very brief skip/frolic on the way to the house with Jenni after exiting the Mercedes, prompting Mike to utter a deep-voiced, monotone, “whee”.
    –During Eric’s droning exposition to Jenni after carrying her over the threshold into the dreary-looking empty house, Crow asks, “Is he reading from a report?”. Once his explanation was finally over, Mike as Eric declares, “…and so ends my narration”.
    –Mike and the bots help Reverend Snow answer Jenni as to how Eric’s first wife died, one of them coming from Crow: “Well, a lion jumped out and shot her. At least that’s what Eric says”.
    –Mike, as he’s hilariously done before, forces one of the actors (in this case, the matter-of-fact-speaking Reverend Snow) to overreact toward a perfectly civil question with, “so lay off!!”
    –The “windblown” tree slapping the window during Jenni’s lengthy “tension-filled” wondering segment. Mike as the tree pleads like a little kid, “Can I come in? It’s scary out here!”.
    — My favorite of the whole movie: Crow, as Mrs. Snow comforts Jenni, “Shhhh. It’s okay. Uncle Lady is here. Shhhhhh. It’s Uncle Lady”.


  • 81
    incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:

    Sorry. Left one out: “Bugs Bunny sneaking-up music”.


  • 82
    This Guy says:

    “Flat, drab passion meanders across the screen!”

    The “scary tuba music” is the 13th-century version of the Dies Irae, incompetently arranged and performed.

    I remember the Simpsons later had a horror movie supposedly so shocking that it’d been sealed in a vault for decades, and the drive-in theater (they still had drive-ins in the late 90s?) promised a life insurance policy with every popcorn purchase during the showing. I thought at the time it was a reference specifically to this movie, but apparently this wasn’t uncommon in the 50s and 60s.

    I always like it when the riffers just get so frustrated that they start snapping at the movie. It probably would have gotten old if they’d done it more often, but they didn’t abuse it, and it worked.


  • 83
    Pixiesnix says:

    I agree that Mickey is definitely Torgoesque, but the main difference between them is that Mickey is more childlike and innocent while Torgo…well, we all know what Torgo’s problem is.

    What gets me is the thundering gullibility of Reverend and Mrs. Snow. A close friend of theirs dies mysteriously, and her widower gets re-hitched post-haste to a nervous gal who just happens (like wife #1) to be loaded. And then they’re surprised when he tries to kill wife #2. One quote from Mrs. Snow illustrated this: “Why would Eric do such a thing?” Hmmmmmm.

    I’m surprised the movie only takes place over a couple of days. I’d always thought it was longer than that. Boy, that marriage tanked quick. Eric sure didn’t waste his time trying to off Jenny. A *smart* criminal might have waited…oh, at least a week to murder his spouse for the inheritance. But then, given the stupidity of the people around him, maybe he figured he didn’t have to wait that long.

    As for the plot, I always thought it was implied that while Eric was placing the skulls around to drive Jenny insane, the other shenanigans (non-peacock screaming, the beekeeping running back) was all ghost-related. Though why they couldn’t have put a woman in that outfit instead of an obviously burly man, I’ll never know.

    And of course, the plot was hilarious. I agree about wishing they’d do more shorts. I *think*, when Gumby’s mom offered him crackers and milk, she meant graham crackers, which go pretty well with milk.

    Finally, Gumby’s parents may practice tough love, but when your schemes end up with Dad landing crotch-first on the roof, it’s probably needed.

    Fave riffs:
    “Give her your paw, Mickey, that’s a good boy.”

    “Man, that’s a power bra. Underwires, overwires…”

    “It’s a fair-to-partly cottony day today.”


  • 84

    “I’ll give you something to scream about, young skull!”

    I like the score, though. Especially the part where she’s wandering through the house at night. I don’t know how to describe it but like an eerie somber star trekky chorus. I can’t imagine how agonizingly uninteresting that scene would be without the riffing *and* the music.


  • 85
    Finnias Jones says:

    I agree that Mickey is definitely Torgoesque, but the main difference between them is that Mickey is more childlike and innocent while Torgo…well, we all know what Torgo’s problem is.

    Do we? Torgo’s mission was to “take care of the place while the Master is away.” This is also Mickey’s task in the late Marian’s garden. Do his efforts here insure her an eternal resting place? Upon rewatch I think Jenni’s offering of flowers to the grave of Marian ensures her blessing. Additionally, once Mickey senses the living woman’s sincerity, he sides with her, watching the house at night not as a threat but as a defense. The burning of the self-portrait was the final straw. In the end, I submit that it was the land itself, the grounds, which, with Mickey’s guiding hand, re-animated the dead wife’s spirit to wreak revenge upon her treacherous husband.

    After Mickey’s triumph in landscaping magic here, I see him relocating to New Mexico, developing goat-legs, then moving onward… eventually becoming Torgo.


  • 86
    Gorn Captain says:

    #82 Yes, This Guy, they still had drive-ins back then, and some are still around today!


  • 87
    Nutcase says:

    One word: PAAARTY!


  • 88
    Warren says:

    The Gumby short is classic (you’re really slacking off on the houseshaking there Ron) and as dreary as the movie is I find it very watchable, it doesn’t bore me. So I rate this an overall solid episode. The ‘crossdressing beekeeper’ line (not gay as one person put it) is a spot-on riff, a CDing acquaintance agrees with me on that. I’d better go rotate the hostages… and the peacocks are apparently machining tools in the back yard Confused


  • 89
    Pixiesnix says:

    #83 But we don’t see Mickey pawing Jenny awkwardly and declaring her as “his wife now.” That’s the difference I was talking about. The perviness. Pervertedness? Pervosity? If Mickey eventually turns into Torgo, he was probably molested by a carnie somewhere along the way.

    And with that mental image, good night!


  • 90
    Mela says:

    This episode is so… hard for me. I love the short, and I love some of the host segments (Tom trying to scam a coffin, Mike carefully choosing which golf club to use while continuously screaming, the phrase “For the love of God, put on your penguin costumes!”), but the movie itself is just so dry after its sub-Castle opening. Still, there’s some funny stuff (especially with Jenny’s “sexy” negligee and the clueless neighbors). On the whole, though, it’s the short & segments that keep it afloat.

    Favorite lines from the short: “You can throw things through Dad? I’ll get an anvil!” and “Davey & Goliath are moving in next door – there goes the neighborhood.”

    Favorites from the movie: “And then a lion jumped out and shot her.” and “Van Gogh’s ‘HOOOOOWWWDY!'”


  • 91
    I'm Evil says:

    I think I can go with Mickey as sort of an ur-Torgo. He may not be at Torgo’s level of disturbed just yet, but Mickey could be well on his way.


  • 92
    DamonD says:

    If this isn’t a classic episode, it’s still one that I’ve always found consistantly watchable even though it shouldn’t be. The skits and short are tremendous, while they get nice and vicious at times with this drawn-out movie. And hey, this kind of hokey supernatural revenge flick is a laugh on its own.

    The little “he shot her” comments during the Rev’s attempt to explain what happened to the first wife reminded me pleasingly of Tom’s “she died” riffing in Girl’s Town.


  • 93
  • 94
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Peggy Sue Turnpike and I give this ep 5 stars.

    Very well rounded.. Short and Movie, Riffs and Host Segments.

    Short Question: Is this is the only fiction short that was not part of a serial or series ? We could have had more of those, it works really well, and not just because their were bots in it.

    That must have been an XXXL gorilla mask to fit over Kevin and his own gorilla make-up.

    The bots’ therapeutic lumps bit is almost too good, it transcends the rest of the show in its intensity. Those guys were channeling some hurt.

    I am surprised that nobody mentioned Tormented before cornjob @ 74. SS is really a companion piece to that one. Very similar films in tone mood look plot.

    Yes, Hubby was gas-lighting Wife2. BUT there REALLY was supernatural goings on at the same time. ( just because someone is pretending to be a ghost doesn’t mean that the house is NOT haunted ).

    The film-maker is clever or perhaps unfair towards the end in anti-telegraphing this , when the specter of Wife1 runs down the garden path and very clearly looks like a man in a dress ( and the crew riffs on that fact ).

    Though I guess there is an outside Hey Mickey might have been gas-lighting the hubby at the same time, but within the reality of the film, ghosts are real and the house is haunted.

    ( I am reading the source story linked to by JoBebu @ 13. cool & thx. )

    FarBar @72, my thoughts exactly, and yesterday was Tiger’s first day back in competition, same day we start discussing this ep… spooooky.

    Mickey and Torgo : The physical resemblance is notable, but they’re only superficially similar. Torgo is sick and evil. Mickey is merely a special needs case. And the crew didn’t let the fact that they knew Mickey was not the villain stop them from mercilessly ragging on him up and down the entire film.

    Yup, this one is right up my street. Older, low budget, but still mainstream, thriller with odd characters and poor dialogue with plenty of room to riff in.


  • 95
    Sitting Duck says:

    Gorn Captain #68: Shout Factory should include a Crow Skull replica when this finally makes it into a future DVD set.

    Screaming Skull was already released in one of the Rhino sets (can’t recall which one right off).


  • 96
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    SiDu @95. It’s not listed in the DVD section here and it’s currently available from DAP ( they are religious about respecting the rhino-shout releases ).


  • 97
    Shinola says:

    This is one of my all-time favorites. Of course, I was a fan of the Universal flicks that dominated the first third of Season Eight, so take my opinion for what you will.

    I think the riffing is great, and the movie offers so much to work with — flat, undeveloped characters, a weak premise and a porr execution of what could have been a passable cheesy horror film.

    Some favorite moments:

    — The screen brightens dramatcially during one of Eric’s monologues, prompting M&TB to pantomime melting.
    — The whole explanation of the death Eric’s first wife. “And then she got dead.”
    — Any of the invented dialogue for Rev. Snow. “The gospel speaks of losers like you.”
    — Servo proposes the gang follow in true ’50s tradition and start necking midway through the film.

    I’ve seen this ep close to a dozen times, and it never gets old for me.


  • 98
    Raptorial Talon says:

    “I do agree that all the Futurama movies are dreary and obscure.”

    That’s too bad, because they’re actually enjoyable and rather well-known. That’s why Comedy Central is producing a fifth season of the show. Wink

    And are they also in the habit of referring to *themselves?*


  • 99
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    @ #71

    WHEW!!!!! Thanks, honey……. Wink


  • 100
    mikek says:

    Sitting Duck says:
    April 9, 2010 at 8:32 am

    “Gorn Captain #68: Shout Factory should include a Crow Skull replica when this finally makes it into a future DVD set.

    Screaming Skull was already released in one of the Rhino sets (can’t recall which one right off).”

    The Screaming Skull episode was never released by Rhino.


  • 101
    kismetgirl88 says:

    I love the episode. The Robot Rumpus” was so much fun Also I was in College and the story the wife is talking about in bed (i can’t remeber the title now) But it about husband and wife going into wilderness and He discover that She was great something he been searching for but too late because she dead. (It really good story) Anyway show that part to my teacher and go A for the class. Thanks MST3k.


  • 102

    It’s called “A Lion in the Jungle”.

    “That’s what I’m expecting on my wedding night.”


  • 103
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James ( 1903 ).


  • 104

    Whoops! I’m always doing that…


  • 105
    Lucas D. says:

    The Screaming Skull has never been released on DVD, and I have a nagging suspicion that it’s because it’s too difficult to renegotiate the rights for the Gumby (dammit!) short. It has to be that, since the movie itself is in the public domain.

    My favorite line has to be Crow’s response when Jenni asks how Marian died:

    Pastor: “Why, did Eric tell you?”
    Crow: “He sat on her head!”


  • 106
    DON3k says:

    One thing I took note of in this episode, which is not really MST3k related;

    The Reverend and his wife had the last name of Snow. I recalled while watching that on the TV show Three’s Company, Chrissy’s last name was Snow, and her father was a Reverend.

    Coincidence?! Yeah, I’m sure it is.


  • 107
    bad wolf says:

    #70–“It hasn’t yet been mentioned yet here in this comments thread”
    –actually it was already mentioned in #14 and 23 and i responded to that in #27. But thanks for bothering to look at other people’s postings.


  • 108
    evanthered says:

    I’m pretty sure the movie was implying that Eric killed his former wife and her ghost was coming back to get revenge.


  • 109
    mikek says:

    DON3k says:
    April 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    One thing I took note of in this episode, which is not really MST3k related;

    The Reverend and his wife had the last name of Snow. I recalled while watching that on the TV show Three’s Company, Chrissy’s last name was Snow, and her father was a Reverend.

    Coincidence?! Yeah, I’m sure it is.

    Yeah, coincidence, but there’s still a connection. The actor who played Chrissy’s dad was none other than guy who play Adam Chance in Agent for H.A.R.M.


  • 110
    Ator In Flight says:

    I forgot my favorite riff.

    “They’re just like children.”

    “Yeah kids just love hanging drapes.”


  • 111
    Manny Sanguillen says:

    1. I disagree that the short is better than the movie. I like the movie wayyyyy better.

    2. To answer Sampo on the skulls appearing and even frightening dumb eric, I am assuming the movie is implying that there is SUPERNATURAL happenings. I have no clue what theology is being used is, but then again, the world has always come up dumb theologies that contain no follow-through logic.
    I am guessing that somehow the skull represents the dead wife since she fell and hit her head.

    3. I love all the host segments, except for the robot/gumby short based segment.

    4. Great riffing!

    5. An all around excellent episode that has staying power. I can still watch it and laugh a lot, even after seeing it millions of times.

    6. I love these kinds of rogue body part movies. How illogical it is that a skull could be scary in any way, and even move by itself. And knowing that a skull would be no match for even a 3 year old, and that anyone could pick up just about any object close by (like a stapler or the dog’s water bowl, or a can of pork ‘n beans, or a broom, or an onion, or… you get the idea)…and just smack the skull silly, makes me laugh just thinking about it.

    I have always laughed at the idea of even whole skeletons being scary in any way, shape or form.

    7. I like to do things in sevens.


  • 112
    Jamie says:

    Yes! “Shocking-Horror” arrives in style in your 1953 Mercedes!


  • 113
    This Guy says:

    By “implying,” you of course mean “beating the audience over the head with the fact that”.

    Mundane whole skeletons that just kind of sit around motionless aren’t scary, but supernatural undead skeletons that can kick your ass are a different story.


  • 114
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I love reading all these posts where folks are really digging deep to understand the logic of this film. I don’t want to discourage it, but it’s funny how hard some people try to tie it all together, where I have NO problem just going, meh, crap film logic again. Yeah, Eric killed his wife, and was trying to drive Jenny nuts, while taking the opportunity to knock Micky around (who can blame him, right? If I thought Micky had books back in the greenhouse, I’d want to dump ’em too!) …then, somehow, the skulls became real, and the ghost of young Mrs. Clampett came to life and dusted his ass. Ah well. You grab the first part of Gaslight, throw in some Rebecca, and when it comes time to make it all seem like new with a really creative twist, um, well.. you have flowers fall over whenever there’s a thunderstorm. OOOOH, SCARY!


  • 115

    This Guy:

    I guess you haven’t seen Scary Movie 2 (or maybe it’s 3). Don’t worry, it’s not very good.

    I’ve always sort of been amused with the scene in Jason and the Argonauts where the evil wizard conjures up a bunch of armed skeletons to fight our heroes in the climactic battle. I mean, why skeletons of all things? Sure, they look totally metal fighting with swords and shields, and you won’t have much luck stabbing them to death, but it was clear that they were still just bone and it would be a simple matter to just sweep them aside with your sword while laughing merrily. That’s not what happened in the movie, needless to say. But once you’ve reanimated dead bones at all you’ve already reached such a towering level of impossibility that you might as well go whole hog with it. That’s entertainment!


  • 116

    Hey, my proboscis doubles as a party favor!


  • 117

    “Remember, it’s our “monkey love” night…”

    “Don’t hit me, Moe!”

    “Hmmm, I’m going to have to hire a wife-killing service. It’s a lot cheaper in the long-run.”

    “Ohhhh Popeye!”

    “It’s the Show Us Your Live Wife and Win A Million Dollars folks! (bad timing)”

    “More skulls arrive in a cab.”

    “Good riddance ya stinkin’ atheist!”



  • 118
    Doug says:

    This episode happens to contain two of my all-time favorite riffs, both of which reference plays: “Brekekekekex koax koax” (from The Frogs) and “Fruma Sarah!” (from Fiddler on the Roof). It’s nice to see some classical references how and then.


  • 119
    mikek says:

    The Castle Monster says: April 10, 2010 at 12:25 am 115

    I agree that once you have walking skeletons, you just have to go with it and admit how cool it is. And if one must try and explain their usefulness as fighters, think of it this way. If one is going to bother reanimated skeletons, one might as well take the time to make them durable.


  • 120
    Stan McSerr says:

    As a child in the 70’s, I really liked Welcome Back Kotter. Now it plays over and over in my head(make it stop). Any way it was not juan Epstein that said what, where, etc, but Vinnie Barbarino. God help me.


  • 121
    Jeyl says:

    I remember the day when this was the last episode of MST3K to air on TV. My friends and I all watched and mourned after the stinger. Our favorite riff?

    “I think this film should have been called the Search for Mickey.”


  • 122
    mikek says:

    This episode also has two Mr. Rogers references, one regarding Eric’s clothes, “From the Fred Rogers collection,” and the other regarding the music, “It’s Mr. McFeely’s music.” “Busy day, busy day.” References to Mr. McFeely are rare in any context.


  • 123
    Manny Sanguillen says:

    There IS my friend Bob Skull, did I mention him?


  • 124
    losingmydignity says:

    Oh, I like this one just fine…the short too.

    The film recalls Tormented to me more than some of the other famous movies mentioned. Except we are not with the bad guy but the heroine, and the sidekick Mickey instead of the little girl. But the ghost’s doings are just as goofy. A real head trip, if ya get me…both movies. Yep, what with the short this one has a real Season 4 feeling to it. I like it. Doesn’t hold up as well as Tormented on repeat viewings though.



  • 125
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    “References to Mr. McFeely are rare in any context.”

    Clearly “mikek“, you are a complete stranger to the many Fred McFeely Rogers (yes, that is his REAL middle name!) fansites devoted to our “hero”…………..why, it just so happens I had a vulgar, violent argument with another “fan” regarding the sexual orientation of Mr. McFeely on one of the boards over at the official “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” website, just a few hours ago!!!!!! Wink


  • 126
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    So, Ferris, what was your take on Mr. McFeely (I feel a little dirty just typing his name!) Even as a kid, he gave me a kind of creeper vibe, but then again, so do most of the characters on that show. In fact, I guess I never bought into the whole “Land of Make-Believe” setup either. I just thought Fred Rogers must have had a really big basement to put all this stuff into…


  • 127
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    Well, “Elvis”, not to dish or anything, but I have it on VERY good authority that Mr. D.J. “Jazzy” McFeely (yes, that is his real first name!), was bisexual……..believe it, or don’t!

    And speaking of “really big things”……….. Alien


  • 128
    mikek says:

    But Mr. McFeely was married! Does that mean his wife was just a beard? Shock


  • 129
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    It sounds like he might have given her the occasional speedy delivery….


  • 130
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Busy day, busy day… Alien


  • 131
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    ! Alien


  • 132
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    Great short, great riffing and mostly great host segments!! Oh, yeah–and Gumby’s mom is stacked!! 4.9!!


  • 133
    JimmyBruce says:

    I give this 1/2 a star, not much replay value. The short on the other hand is superb!


  • 134
    Richard the Lion Footed says:

    This is one of the best episodes they did during the SciFi (ScyFy ??) era. The opening segment is classic Best Brains and Segment 3 is one of the best “Mike and the Bots” moments in the series. You could not have had a sketch like that with Joel. This is what distiguishes the two eras.

    As for the movie, it may have been made in 1958, but I remember seeing ads for it on TV and I was not aware then. It must have been “re-released” in the mid 60s. I loved scifi/ horror and wanted to see it all my life. I was very glad that THIS was my introduction to it. They made some great, low budget, films in that time. This was not one of them.

    After seeing the film my family and I went to the zoo. As we entered the peacocks walking around cried out. My kids burst into laughter and we spent the rest of the visit looking for Micky’s patting shed.

    Ahh, the effects of MST3K on child development.

    Favorite riffs;

    “Is he reading from a report?”


    “What’s that up there?”
    “That’s where Micky keeps his gardening things.”
    “Who’s Micky?”
    “The gardener.”

    Crow – As Previously implied


  • 135
    Richard the Lion Footed says:


    That’s “POTTING” shed.


  • 136
    Scott says:

    This movie is in my top 5. Solid riffing from the short all the way through. Host segments are really good.

    Although I can’t remember the whole sequence, my favorite riffs are when the reverend is explaining to Jenny how Eric’s first wife died.


  • 137
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Finally had a chance to sit & read more of the comments here. I must ask you, Finnias Jones (#85), PLEASE don’t talk about Torgo coming to New Mexico! We have Val Kilmer…isn’t that enough, for heaven’s sake?


  • 138
    htom sirveaux says:

    Mike: “When are people going to wise up about hiring guys like this?”

    Crow: “Oh come on, Mike. How is he any different than you?”

    How come nobody pointed out that the “screaming” sounds a heck of a lot like a Godzilla noise.

    “Kids love to hang drapes.”


  • 139
    Krav Maga says:

    This is a serious web site. Good clean UI and nice enlightening blogs. I will be coming back in a bit, thanks for the great blog.


  • 140
    robot rump! says:

    ‘…i thought it was gonna be about robot rump…’
    i agree with Sampo, this story kind of wanders around, points at some stuff, sits down for awhile, tells a couple of stories about it’s grandma then gets up and wanders off some more. after foiling ‘psycho hubbies’ evil scheme, i’m kind of surprised Micky didn’t get his own detective series.
    ‘i SAW you WITH herr.. TALKING even…’


  • 141
    Dan in WI says:

    I’m not sure what to make of the Tom the butterfly opening. Yes the costume was nice. But the long elaborate explanation when he didn’t look like a butterfly anymore left me flat.

    Then there is the “fast one.” It seems like something that should be right in my wheelhouse yet also fell a bit flat. This might be a case where it was a bit too long of a walk for a thin joke. I do like the explanation how it was Mike’s fault they don’t have penguin costumes though.

    The free coffin host segment was great. How many times has that happened to me? I start out with a crank call and actually end up with a free coffin.

    There’s not much more to say about the Screaming Crow host segment that hasn’t already been said. I love it.

    No doubt about it. This film has a crappy print. But for me this adds to the ambiance of a crappy old movie that belongs on MST.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Gumby’s Mom “Well I declare. That was a clever idea.”
    Crow “This way we don’t have to hire illegal immigrants.”

    A robot cuts down a tree. Mike “Hey that’s old growth clay.”

    Gumbo hops into the fire truck to drive home to rescue them from the robots. Mike “I’ll use the company car.”

    During credits: Crow “Betty Jane Lane. I knew a Peggy Sue Turnpike once.”

    Jenni “What’s that up there?”
    Eric “Oh that’s where Mickey keeps his gardening things.”
    Jenni “Who’s Mickey?”
    Eric “The gardener.”
    Crow “As previously implied.”

    During a blackout: Crow “Um, I think she’s nude now.”
    Mike “Oh come on.”
    Crow “Mike, she’s nude. Can you at least give me that?”

    The skull screams. Crow “Ah man a hog calling contest right next door.”

    Eric “No Jenni, it may seem selfish.” Tom “I want everything for me.”


  • 142
    gorto says:

    I hate the main movie. It provides no climax or result; stars gross, annoying people; and is visually dead. It depressed me so much that it turned me away from watching mst3k for a bit. Not a high point to reach in my life, which I can only guess was the intent of the filmmakers: to bring us down to their state of existence.


  • 143
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Actually, according to IMDB, John Hudson and William Hudson are different people. John was in this, William was the one in Amazing Colossal Man and She-Creature (but when I first saw ACM I had to double-check to see if they were the same guy).


  • 144
    Sitting Duck says:

    The Screaming Skull passes the Bechdel Test. When they first meet, Jenny and Mrs. Snow exchange general pleasantries.

    A film that has been frequently brought up in comparison to The Screaming Skull is Gaslight. They both have the same premise in a guy who messes with his new high-strung bride’s head. The major difference is that Eric gives some halfway convincing effort in pretending to be concerned for Jenny’s well being, all the while breaking her spirit. OTOH the husband in Gaslight constantly and publicly belittles his wife to an absurd degree. As dull and tedious as it can be, The Screaming Skull still does a better job than Gaslight. There, I said it and I’m glad.

    Since I posted that link in post #18, the Mutant Reviewers have switched to a WordPress blog and have not gotten around to reposting that review.

    Regarding post #95, I have no idea how I got it in my head that The Screaming Skull was in one of the Rhino sets. Guess it was due to the way SciFi constantly had it in repeats after they stopped shooting new episodes.

    I’m going off to have a lie down in my free coffin and listen to some scary tuba music.

    @ #40: You threw me off there. Normally, D&D is used to refer to Dungeons & Dragons, not dull and dreary.

    Favorite riffs

    Clay figures go home.

    Habitat AGAINST Humanity!

    Hey, don’t! That’s Wallace and Gromit’s yard.

    I’m gonna set you on Don Knotts strength.

    Davey and Goliath are moving in next door. There goes the neighborhood.

    Yes, shocking horror rides in style in your 1953 Mercedes.

    The gospel speaks of losers like you.

    Remember, it’s our Monkey Love night.

    Alas, poor Yorick. She threw him well!

    So this movie’s kind of a combination of Tell-Tale Heart, Blithe Spirit, and, well, a piece of lint, I guess.


  • 145
    schippers says:

    This is such a sad, misguided little movie that you can’t help but love it. The opening gambit with the coffin takes balls for a movie as boring as this, and I do admire the filmmakers’ chutzpah, if not their technique and execution.


  • 146
    Of no Account says:

    I thought I died of fright while watching this movie(score! free coffin!), but it turns out I just dozed off from boredom.

    The riffing, however, is excellent, and actually makes the movie semi-watchable. and of course the short is fantastic! In the Screaming Crow segment it looks like Mike is pulling his ‘punches’, but not by much. I can’t believe Crow’s net stayed on (considering the times Joel or Mike just pull it off).

    I have to agree though, I was also hoping the short was about Robot Rumps…


  • 147
    Shrike says:

    Drab and dreary, but M&TBs make it great. Even at it’s slowest parts – which the whole thing could be considered – the riffing keeps me interested.

    The Screaming Crow segment is one of the best ever.


  • 148
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Decent episode, I remember loving the cartoon but I will have to go back and rewatch it this weekend.


  • 149
    snowdog says:

    Screaming; Skull. Another one of these eps where the dark, slow movie tends to drag the riffing down with it. But HS #3 is one of the show’s all-time classics.

    Fave riff: Van Gogh’s “HowwwwDEE!”. For you youngsters who don’t get that one, look up Minnie Pearl on You Tube. You’ll be glad you did.


  • 150
    "Hotcha!" says:

    I’d love to see mickey and torgo fight.

    Remember: You do not get a free coffin if you die of boredom.


  • 151
    Black Doug says:

    @Hotcha: I think that’s unfair; Torgo’s handicapped. Ortega should sub in for him.


  • 152
    jjk says:

    To #143. John and William Hudson were twin brothers who both did a number of similar horror and sci-fi movies in the 50’s. I thought it was the same man too.
    It’s too bad the Gumby short wasn’t the full length movie in this episode. It was a lot better than The Screaming Skull.


  • 153
    Depressing Aunt says:

    I like this one. I don’t even mind the movie. The silly “soundtrack” helps a lot on that score. Did the filmmakers just not know from legitimately scary music? And for some reason, I’m relieved when the Snows realize Eric is a creep at the end. Like, every time. (I think I just hate to see people involuntarily committed into mental wards in movies; you can probably imagine the angst “France” caused me.)

    #141 re: “I want everything for me”–this should really be used in everyday conversation, I feel. It’s funny!

    And oh, the short! I really wish Rifftrax could somehow riff some more Gumby shorts. Seems like a natural fit, to me…

    4 robot rumps all around.


  • 154
    Depressing Aunt says:

    “Frances”, not *France*… Silly spell-correct!


  • 155
    Sampo says:

    Smoothie of Great Power: Thanks for the catch on William & John Hudson. Don’t know how that error crept in but it has been booted out!


  • 156
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    As #152 explained, they were twins. Kind of sad that William died in 1974, but John survived him until 1996.

    #149 while not my favorite in this one, the “HOW-deeee!” riffs in Assignment: Venezuela are mine in that one. The delivery there kills me every time.


  • 157
    pondoscp says:

    I love the short on this episode, but after the opening of the movie, this episode becomes a cure for insomnia to me! Even after the many, many, many Sci-Fi airings of this one back in the day, I can just not focus on it! I tried last week, and sure enough, out like a light! I’ll give it another shot this weekend.


  • 158
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:


    Hey, just think how many circa 1958 films there are that *haven’t* been riffed. There must be much worse out there.

    Hm, according to Wikipedia (so, you know…), “High School Big Shot” (because when you think gray and depressing, you think “High School Big Shot”) was filmed in 1958. Maybe gray and depressing was really big that year.


  • 159
    ToolAssist says:

    I love how awful the print for this movie is. I’d say it’s up there with the worst.

    Mr. Snow: Eric, I think I should tell you that Jenni has conf (cut) in me about the sanitarium.
    Crow: She conf-d you?

    Eric: I told her Jenni was impressionable, but not that (cut) literal (cut) Mr. Snow.
    *M&tB laugh*


  • 160

    The Screaming Skull is one of those old clunkers I remember from my teenage late-night “Creature Feature” watching days. Even then, it seemed a bit dull, and slow to get moving. Still, the MST3K version, while not an instant favorite, was one of those episodes that grew on me very quickly, due in large part to the riffing:

    “Can we help you, movie lady?”
    “The film broke, and it was horrible!”
    “Alas, poor Yorick, she threw him well!”
    “You know, the Bible speaks of losers like you…”

    …and, one of my favorites, one of those brilliant riffs that comes from bad splices:
    Rev. Snow: Eric, I think I should tell you that Jenni has conf (cut) in me about the sanitarium.
    Crow: She conf-d you?

    I’ve seen this episode a million times, and I bust up every time it gets to that bit, probably the funniest bad-splice riff since Racket Girls.

    Btw, while we’re on the subject of Peggy Webber, was she ever in a movie where she didn’t appear constantly distraught and neurotic?


  • 161
    Happenstance says:

    Segment 1 (Mike helps the Bots with their claymation therapy) and Segment 3 (Screaming; skull) are two of my all-time favorites. They put me into hysterical laughing fits every single time. When Crow and Servo explode into unintelligible snarling while portraying Bollus and Horseflop (Horsefly?), I’m in tears. Also oddly fond of Servo’s butterfly stage (probably because of Mike’s revulsion and the party proboscis).

    Strangely, the movie’s utter predictability would normally infuriate me but here it allowed me to relax and concentrate on the riffing…and the riffing is excellent, nailing everything from the condition of the print to the technical incompetence of the film itself, while giving us another peek into the confused and confusing sexuality of the ‘Bots.

    HOLY ****, AND THEN THERE’S MICKEY. I have no doubt that Mickey was the deciding factor in choosing The Screaming Skull and the riffing is merciless and hilarious. Another one that leaves me on the floor is when Crow loses patience with Mickey’s fumble-bumbling: “GET A BOX!!”


  • 162
    Sitting Duck says:

    The Gumby short (as well as some of the riffs) brings to mind the conundrum regarding old-timey cartoons (and even a few modern ones) featuring anthropomorphic non-humans. Namely how females are just about always fully clad, while males either are nude or wear nothing below the waist (Mickey Mouse and Goofy are the only exceptions which come to mind). Discuss.


  • 163
    Nadroz says:

    I was lucky to tape the final re-run of this episode! I was going to record it without the commercials, but my brother had broken his knee, so I just let it tape while I was at the hospital with him. I love the Gumby short!


  • 164
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:


    Still, that’s something that’s not really the fault of the movie itself. Doesn’t seem quite fair to mock the film for something that isn’t intrinsic in it.


  • 165
    Ill Gotten Pants says:

    I’m convinced this episode contains the movie with the fewest actors in any MST3K’d movie. Just five and a half actors. Husband, wife, older couple and Mickey. I count the ghost wife as a half.


  • 166
    Richard the Lion-footed says:

    I was never sure why people had problems understanding the movie. The idea that a husband wants to drive his wife off, only to have REAL supernatural forces at work, is fairly standard horror movie fair.

    This is one of our favorite episodes for most of the reasons already mentioned. The “As previously implied” riff comes up almost as often as “Teenage Werewolf’s” “And that is all the foreshadowing we can afford right now. . .” when watching today’s, what passes for, “television.”

    A solid episode that I wish they would release on DVD someday.


  • 167
    The Grim Spectre of Food says:

    For me, this is up there with Pumaman and The Touch of Satan as the best of Season 9. I have a fondness for the film that vastly exceeds its actual quality, and as others have stated, the highlight is Mickey. Forget Ortega, Mickey is the best ersatz-Torgo of the Sci-Fi years.

    The reason I really love this one, however, is the short. As has been said again and again, “Robot Rumpus” is one of the finest 10 minutes of the series.


  • 168

    This is a good not great episode, saved by the short and some of the Host Segments. The movie portion is the least enjoyable for me actually, which is strange. I don’t find The Screaming Skull (movie) to be very watchable; it doesn’t really engage me as a viewer, it’s not really weird or memorable enough to be an episode that I would return to over and over again.

    The Gumby short is funny, I like it. Wouldn’t be in my Top 10 MST shorts, but still.. it’s good. Plus it leads into Host Segment #1, which is pretty funny, if just for the line “Work the lumps.”

    HS#2 is too long and doesn’t really bring any laughs, but HS#3 is excellent as Mike goes full-Gumby on Skull-Crow, which by the way, seems to be extra durable (note that Servo’s dome takes a whack near the end of the skit. Not so durable).

    The only clunk-clunkers are the opening and closing bits. Tom as a butterfly. . .. .um, okay. Not really that cool, but I do like when they return from commercial break and Servo’s back to normal and in explaining how he got his round shape back he barks “I hit the pecan sandies. Hard.” Gave me a laugh.

    The Mads attempted prank on Mike and the Bots is pretty stupid in my opinion. I don’t like it. HOWEVER, in the closing bit when Bobo is wearing the monkey suit (damn, must of been hot in there!) the unfunniness of the whole endeavor is perfectly captured in the cutaway to Mike and the Bots giving Bobo the death stare. I laughed out loud.

    So yeah, The Screaming Skull is a mixed bag. Not the worst of the season, but still in the bottom tier of Season 9.
    Just like every episode of MST, it does offer some good RIFFS:

    from the short:

    Mike: “Pokey left a big surprise in your begonias.”

    Servo: “Miss Gumby is stacked.”

    Crow: “That squares my breasts.”

    Mike: “Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!”

    from the move:

    Servo: “I went someplace and I’m sad.”

    Servo: “It’s like they had two servings of tension that they’re trying to stretch out for seven people.”

    Mickey runs away,
    Servo: “I had a victim in the oven!”

    Mike: “So they put a tiny bit of movie in a box then filled the rest with a bunch of foam peanuts..”
    Crow: “Yeah. This scene for example. This scene is a foam peanut.”

    Mike: “Yeah, Mr. Snow, then Mr. Horse, then Mr. Mary Jane.”

    Mike: “It’s the society for un-strangled wives.”

    The Screaming Skull,
    gets 3 out of 5, um, skulls I guess.
    Skeleton Skeleton Skeleton


  • 169

    Thomas K. Dye says:
    April 8, 2010 at 9:51 am

    …I loved the bit where Eric repeatedly slaps Mickey and Three Stooges slap effects are foleyed in. Mike and the Bots notice it, too, and play it for everything it’s worth. “Stop hitting me, Moe!”

    D’ahhh ha ha ha ha ha ha haahhh, oh, god yeeaahhh. I wonder how many generations of comedy buffs carry indelible memories of the Three Stooges attached to that sound effect, like a comedic version of the “Wilhelm Scream”. It’s kind of like the “tension hook” theme from the Creature From The Black Lagoon — DAH DAH DAAAAHHHHHH! — turning up in other movies on MST3K, like Planet Of The Prehistoric Women, Hercules And The Captive Women, and The Thing That Couldn’t Die.

    I first saw Screaming Skull in its original form on the local “Creature Feature” as a young teenager in the early ’70s, and I laughed my butt off at that scene. Here’s this supposedly tense, serious scene in a supposedly dark, serious, scary movie, and the sound/foley people were somehow entirely unaware that the slapping sound effect they chose was the same damn slapping sound effect that they used in all those Three Stooges shorts… and there I am, about 16, after having spent almost my entire boyhood watching the Stooges every day after school, watching that “serious” scene and laughing until I damn’ near wet myself.