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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 1001- Soultaker

Movie: (1990) After they are killed in a car wreck, the spirits of some teens try to elude the “soultaker” sent to collect them.

First shown: April 11, 1999
Opening: The bots are confused about why their “wet T-shirt contest” is so dull; commercial sign malfunctions
Intro: The malfunctions on the SOL get worse; nobody in Castle Forrester cares
Host segment 1: With Gypsy malfunctioning, Mike tries to take command, with the expected results
Host segment 2: Everything goes wrong on the SOL; in Castle Forrester a soultaker has appeared–and it’s TV’S FRANK!
Host segment 3: The mysterious visitor who saved the ship appears on the bridge–and it’s JOEL! He fills in the bots on what he’s been up to, and he and Mike share a tender moment
End: Joel’s completes repairs on the SOL, says hi to Frank, and departs with some uplifting words to M&tB; in Castle Forrester, Bobo and Frank hit it off
Stinger: Mom ogles her daughter (ew!).
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (292 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)

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• Season 10 begins with a big episode, and it was especially big for Erhardt and me because, well, we were there. More on that in a minute. Personal stuff aside, I have to say this ep is a pretty good one. Legendary host segments, of course, but also a watchable but supremely dumb (and somewhat creepy — and not in a good way) movie and very strong riffing.
• The stretch between the end of season 9 and the beginning of season 10 was 197 days, the fourth-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between seasons.
• Paul offers his thoughts here.
• References are here. One small mistake is “Frank Booth cam!” which they mishear as “Frank Booth camp.”
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XIV.
• This season got a new set of theme song lyrics that incorporate the whole Castle Forrester premise.
• Okay, so here’s the story. BBI invited us to attend the taping and, despite that fact that I couldn’t afford it and couldn’t really take time away from work, I dropped everything and got on a plane. Brian was able to get there ahead of me and witnessed the Castle Forrester scenes being taped. I got there after the taping was over. The next day we both got to watch (and then contribute to) the SOL scenes being taped (the theater scenes had already been done).
• It was my first face-to-face meeting with Joel (we’d exchanged emails, but had never actually met) and he did not disappoint. Brian and I sat down with him in a conference room for a little while and began to pepper him with some really obscure MSTie-level questions about the show, stuff I’d knew only Joel could answer. I was a little worried he would find this stuff tedious, but he seemed delighted to delve into it. He then went off to read lines with Paul and, as he notes in his ACEG entry, immediately began rewriting his dialog. I never saw a script, so I don’t know what changed, but he later said he was just making the dialog more comfortable for him to say.
• They were getting ready to shoot the first scene, but there was some sort of delay. Apparently somebody hadn’t shown up. Brian and I were milling about on the set when Jeff Stonehouse turned around and looked at us and asked: “Hey would you want to help us out, here?” It was thus that we became “guest interns,” as you can see if you check out the credits at the end of the show. I was given the job of pulling open and pushing closed the right side door at the back of the set (through which Joel entered). Brian was given the job of controlling a studio light and, later, the left side door. I wrote my name on the back of the door (many others already had).
• There seems to be more stuff sitting around in Castle Forrester. To send Mike the movie, Observer puts the movie can into what appears to be the same projector used by Dr. F in “MST3K: The Movie.” He never needed to do this before. And in segment two, Bobo dashes away from Frank, only to bonk his head on the same object Dr. F gets bonked with in “MST3K: The Movie.”
• As the first movie sign goes off, Mike heads straight through the doors and is run over by Cambot. My memory is that this was not planned—it seemed to be ad-lib, though I suspect it was a little acknowledgment of Joel being there, since he did something very similar in a couple of episodes.
• Callbacks: The appearance of Joe Estevez prompts several callbacks to “Werewolf,” including the use of the word “yannaglachi.” Also: “Aren’t you due on the set of ‘Werewolf’?”
• At one point Mike takes Servo to task for reading in the theater. What was Servo reading?
• Here’s a rare opportunity: A chance to argue about which take they used. They did five or six or more takes of each sketch, and the performers made a point of varying their performances and doing their lines a little differently each time, hoping to get something special. Later on, of course, somebody had to choose which of the takes to use. While I agree with the choices for all the other host segments in this episode, I have to say that I would not have used the take of segment 1 they chose. I think they—specifically Mike—did it funnier in a different take. Just my opinion.
• Joel does a terrific job in his segments and seems completely at home, though he and Mike sort of have to crowd in on that little platform. I’ve stood there, and it’s really not a space for two sets of feet.
• Joel gives props to the band Man or Astroman, which have been playing the MST3K theme song as part of their set for a long time.
• A lot of fans (including me) wished this episode could have featured Joel in the theater. And it was talked about. But ultimately Joel wanted to be part of the writing process if he was going to do that, and he just didn’t have the time to devote to that. It’s too bad.
• When Joel said: “I…don’t really want to…” I was standing about 15 feet away in back of the set and his delivery was so perfect I wanted to bust out laughing. Instead I had to walk quickly away to the far end of the room and chortle into my hands as quietly as possible. It’s lucky I didn’t trip over something in the dark!
• Classic line: “Don’t compare yourself, man. It ain’t healthy.”
• Another St. Blaise mention.
• Movie comment: The laws of physics in this movie are really confusing. Even the riffers begin to notice toward the end. The ghost characters seem to be able to manipulate some things but not others. As Servo says, “A 7-iron knocks him cold but a gun does nothing.” Later they’re capable of pressing an elevator button. They appear to be subject to some sort of gravity, but not enough to get hurt in a fall. It’s confusing.
• Remember gorditas? I was in a Taco Bell not long ago (don’t ask) and they still have them!
• At one point, a little dog appears and Servo says: “Humphrey!”
• Classic theater moment about midway through the show as Crow gets something in his eye just as nudity appears about to break out. During that bit, Gypsy makes a comment to Crow, which we can hear in the theater. That’s something that’s never happened before.
• Yet another great “talking over the closing credits bit in which the bots take Mike to task for assuming that a rosy future lies ahead for our heroes.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects guy Jerry Kitz also worked on “Space Mutiny.” In front of the camera, Joe Estevez was also in “Werewolf” and Robert Z’Dar will be back in “Future War.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. After taking the last two eps of season 9 off, Mary Jo is back on the writing staff for the entire 10th season. Interns Erin F. Erskine and Josh Huschke begin their run of episodes.
• Fave riff: “I’ve just got to write mom out of this story.” Honorable mention: “The movie’s story arc.”

173 Replies to “Episode guide: 1001- Soultaker”

  1. bad wolf says:

    Thanks for the personal anecdotes, Sampo. I’m certainly glad i finally got to meet Joel and the CT cast at a show last year. BTW, did you interact with Frank during the taping as well? Or was he gone after the Castle Forrester scenes?

       1 likes

  2. I'm Evil says:

    Overall a nice start to season 10. Good riffing and nifty host segments with appearances by Frank and Joel. Would have been nice to get Joel in the theater for a stint, though, as Sampo notes it just was not in the cards. The stinger is among my favorites of all time–one has to wonder what the director told the actress to go with on that one. In thinking about this episode’s host segments I always think about Frank and Joel, forgetting entirely about the wet t-shirt contest; that is a genius bit.

    For me, the movie itself almost overwhelms the riffing, as it is just so bad on its own. Moreover, it sets up rather questionable concepts about how death the afterlife work–so if you killed people in life, your punishment is to collect souls? The movie portrays the soul takers as bad guys, but people have to die right? I should really just relax, I guess.

    Mike: The balloons convince me it’s festive.

    Brad: You still don’t get it, do you?
    Crow: We get it, can we go home!

    Fave riff (as Mayor reacts to his not dead daughter)–Crow: She’s here there everywhere. Look at her go, she’s like a ferret!

    Some tidbits from from imdb:
    –“Soultaker” won the 1992 Saturn award for best genre video release (can’t imagine what it was up against). There’s a picture of Vivian Schilling with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also won that year.
    –Beyond Estevez and Z’dar (of ‘Future War’), David ‘Shark’ Fralick (Brad) has carved out a decent, working career. He seems to specialize in drug dealers, thugs, and a host of other characters named by what they did in the movie (eg Hold-up Man, Male Dancer, Porno actor)
    –Some quotes from the movie poster:
    “Very intriguing…more consistently presented than … ‘Ghost.'”
    “Star and writer Vivian Schilling could quite possibly be the leading lady of the ’90s.”
    The hell?

       3 likes

  3. Graboidz says:

    I actually saw this film at my local drive-in with my brother when it first came out!!!! I had completely forgotten about it until catching the ep, and my brother and I looked at eachother about 5 minutes in and both started chuckling as we knew what we were in for. (For some reason I still remember the double feature we sat through that night as Soultaker followed by The Spookies)

    Great episode, great host segments, one of the best of the sci-fi years.

       4 likes

  4. Colossus Prime says:

    A new season, which will turn out to be the last, and the Brains come out swinging hard and knocking everything out of the park.

    This episode has one of my few moments of not being able to get passed the “It’s just a show” thing; when Servo says the ship is 10 years old (and Joel says this again later). It’s actually hundreds of years old. Not a big deal obviously, it just makes me sad because I enjoy the out of theater mythos of the show just as much as I do the in theater segments.

    Throughout all the segments of the crew dealing with ship malfunctions, Mike is just incredible. Good natured, confused, and bumbling the entire time. Then Joel shows up and while I love Joel he almost immediately reminded me of why I prefer Mike over Joel in that Joel seems to fumble and stutter a lot more in the host segments where Mike seems a more natural actor. Do not confuse that as my dislike for Joel, ever. This appearance by him (and Frank) is possibly one of the greatest moments of the Sci Fi years and would have only been greater had he joined M&tB for a single theater segment, something I’m sure everyone thought of as a missed opportunity the moment the episode was over, though Sampo’s explanation of why they didn’t makes sense. Still sad.

    The movie itself is almost infuriating how it blazes down the line of an interesting concept vs horrible execution. As Sampo points out, the riff to best sum that up is Crow saying, “So a seven iron knocks him cold but a gun does nothing.” Fortunately it provides for perfect riffing material. Cheezy 80’s-ness, clunky dialogue, undeveloped characters we were supposed to feel something for, vague development of the main concept (afterlife), and the power combo of Joe Estevez and Robert Z’Dar’s face.

    That whole scene of Zack talking to the store clerk who just happens to say things in perfect sync to sound like he’s responding is just embarrassingly bad.

    Favorite Lines:
    (As Natalie’s friend waves while kissing some guy)
    Crow: Found a gay man.

    Detective: So what do you figure the chances are of a door opening by itself in a head on collision?
    Crow: Quite good, really.

    Tom: Where does that guy keep his acorns?

    Mike: Oh that’s right; dogs can’t see idiots.

    (After Zack’s been thrown out a window by Joe)
    Mike: Your mom’s weird.

    Zack: God help me!
    Tom: There is no God, there’s just Dude. (Tom’s inflection is gut busting)

       2 likes

  5. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    I’m almost convinced that Bryan Fuller (creator of Dead Like Me) saw Soultaker at some point and thought, “Hmm….”

    This episode was only so-so for me when it first aired, but it’s become one of my favorite eps over time.

    Part of it is that the movie itself is decent, by MST standards. Goofy, yes, and it falls apart when the characters race endlessly through the hospital in the last third, but I really appreciate a great deal about it. For one thing, the use of the song played over the radio to tie all the characters together, and the dialog that actually establishes character and background, is quite tidy. I also don’t find myself hating any of the characters; sure, they’re lame, but I’m not annoyed by them as I am by many in MST eps. And the fact that this has an 80s vibe going, without milking it like Hobgoblins did, makes me enjoy the nostalgic feel it gives me. Overall, Soultaker is technically well-done, for a MSTied movie. (I’ll get flak for that remark, but what the heck.)

    I even like that when the orderly on the elevator is getting jiggy with it, the actress can be seen biting her lip behind him.

    But, above all, I love the soundtrack. Love it. Really really love it. The opening song (“Rock the Nation”?) is decent. And more than anything, I can’t get enough of Kevin Danzig’s “Happy Today”. That’s one that I have tried to find somewhere, on CD or any place, but no luck.

    Great to see Frank, and the moment when he goes after that burrito always makes me laugh. Good to see Joel, too, though I didn’t think the segments with him were as strong.

    Two fave riffs, playing off the dialog: Zach: “Natalie!” (Crow): “Don’t tongue the reaper!”

    Brad: “Zach, Led Zeppelin was wrong, man….” (Tom): “Shut up!” Brad: “There is no stairway to heaven.” (Tom): “Zeppelin’s never wrong, man!” Brad: “And even if there was, you couldn’t buy your way in.” (Mike): “Is Sabbath wrong too, man?”

    Also, for any other parent out there of a certain age, does the scene where Joe Estevez is striding down the hospital hallway, looking large & menacing, remind you of the scene from the Arthur episode (“Night Fright”) where Binky is striding down the hallway in much the same manner? I suppose this could be an ultimate geek-off question…do I win?

       3 likes

  6. robot rump! says:

    this really was a great episode. the host segments did have the same feel of a Joel era dialogue-wise. it was kinda sad to see Joel leave..again. i also enjoyed the back and forth between Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy in the opening segment. i too have often asked myself “why do i always have to be the thimble?” and in closing i see nothing wrong with straining grain alcohol through a piece of burnt toast behind Nadine’s Diner. i’ve done it plenty of times and, except for my fits of time travelling back to the 16th century, i’ve turned out just swell. Huzzah!

       2 likes

  7. I'm Evil says:

    Anyone have an idea as to the significance of Martin Van Buren showing up in the beginning? Yes, I realize that things were breaking and all manner of things were crazy inexplicable things were happening, but was there a joke or reference I’m missing?

    The hero in “Soultaker” was Zack Taylor. Zachary Taylor ran against (and beat) Van Buren in 1848…that’s all I got. Anyone else?

       3 likes

  8. Timber says:

    My wife finds this episode particularly painful, but will go around shouting Bus-Taker! when I watch it. It’s definitely a special episode (for obvious reasons), and the movie was just crappy enough to top it all off. It’s also great to see that Joe Estivez has a great sense of humor about all this. :smile:

       1 likes

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

    >>>when Servo says the ship is 10 years old (and Joel says this again later). It’s actually hundreds of years old

    One could theorize that what Joel meant is that Dr. F programmed the SOL to self-destruct on THE EXACT DATE of ten years after its creation…

    Except that when the SOL returned to “the present” at the beginning of Season Nine, Gypsy said they were right where they had been when they left…and that was at the end of Season Seven. So, chronologically, the SOL’s 20th century existence went straight from Season Seven to Season Nine, making it one year short of ten years after its creation when the self-destruct kicked in.

    THEN AGAIN, when Crow, after being transformed into pure energy at the end of Season Seven, returned to the SOL and lived there alone, he eventually would have had to deal with this situation by himself. So maybe he fixed it so it wouldn’t self-destruct ten years after its creation THAT time around — and he then remained there, mostly alone, for over 500 years until the others returned — by convincing the self-destruct sequence that the ten-year-point had ALREADY passed, in the preceding year. Then, when the SOL again existed IN that preceding year (by which time Crow had forgotten the whole thing), the self-destruct activated again.

    Or…

       3 likes

  10. bobhoncho says:

    JOEL!!!! And FRANK!!!!

       1 likes

  11. Sitting Duck says:

    I’m Evil #2: –”Soultaker” won the 1992 Saturn award for best genre video release (can’t imagine what it was up against).

    IMDB is your friend:

    http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000004/1992

       1 likes

  12. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Ah yes, I remember how much I was looking forward to seeing this episode for the first time. I saw Future War before this and noted Crow’s mention of “This is about that time when Joel stopped by a few weeks ago, isn’t it?” After a little research and finding out that this was the cited episode, I eagerly watched for it to appear on Sci-Fi’s rerun calendar. Thankfully it aired before the contract expired in 2004.

    Movie:
    * I’m still seeing articles and op-eds today that talk about the Tonya Harding scandal. Servo will drop a huge bomb related to it in Horrors of Spider Island, later this season.
    * When Natalie’s friend’s gay navy boyfriend arrives, someone says “Ahoy, darling!” Is it the actual man or Crow who says that?
    * Did anyone else notice that the characters failed to notice that, despite the fact their souls were thrown from the car, the windshield did not shatter? And doesn’t Joe throw Zack through a window that DOES shatter later on?
    * Too bad the clerk wasn’t paying attention when Tommy threw the bottle of soda onto the floor. He would have only seen the floating bottle.
    * One thing I do have to give the actors credit for is they do a good job in knowing that the main characters aren’t really there. I couldn’t find a single instance where someone looked over at one of them by accident. Though the 911 operator rushes a bit.
    * Favorite Riffs:
    “Administration and Billing” – Mike (After Natalie asks Joe, “Where are you taking me?”)
    “We all got thrown from the car in an equidistant fashion.” – Crow
    “I thought we had enough gas. I’m sorry.” – Servo

    Host Segments:
    * I like how the episode begins with the wet t-shirt contest rather than just jumping right into the malfunctioning SOL.
    * Another good Frank moment from this episode is when he calls Brain Guy a “Hostess snowball.”
    * Favorite Line: “I dunno who you are but get your filthy paws off my monkey!”

    Things I Learned From This Episode:
    * Despite no longer having a physical body, souls are completely substantial.
    * Glow rings are powered by human souls.
    * Shotguns have a secret trigger behind the main one.

       2 likes

  13. Tork_110 says:

    Martin Van Buren was a president but I don’t think anybody knows too much about him. If you were to make a joke about Washington, Lincoln, or any presidents from the last century, you would end up getting more than a few complaints, but Buren? Who knows anything about him? Goofy name, goofy look! Hilarious! Take THAT, Mr. Eighth President of the U.S.

    I’m looking at Vivian’s website and there’s not much but she is advertising a couple novels. Any fans want to take one for the team and tell us if Quietus or Sacred Prey is any better than how Soultaker ended up?

       0 likes

  14. Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood says:

    At one point Zack declares that he did not know anything about the coke in the car. How does Zack even know to mention this?

    Just look at this clown. I’d put the odds of him having drugs on him at any given moment at about 85 percent (factoring in time in police lock-ups and county-ordered rehab).

    Was there ever any talk of somehow getting the other original cast involved?

       0 likes

  15. Gummo says:

    Yup, this one was hotly anticipated by Misties everywhere, and for the most part, it did not disappoint.

    I too preferred Frank’s bits to Joel’s — they were just funnier and fit in more naturally. The callback to Frank & Pearl’s always warm relationship (at Dr. Forrester’s expense, natch) added a nice element to their scenes, especially when they were insulting Bobo and Brain Guy (“Where’d you get the Hostess Snowball?”) While it was great to see Joel again, the situation and the dialogue was just so awkward; I’m not sure why but it just sounded more forced and wasn’t as funny.

    The movie, though, is a home run from beginning to end. Ugly in that special 80s way, incredibly stupid, the Brains go after it like a dog with a bone fresh from the butcher, and they never let up. This one still gets lots of replay around our house.

    “Interior: me, tousled but tawny.” Or whatever that line is when Ms. Schilling is in her bedroom. Never fails to crack me up, as I truly believe it could have come straight from the script.

    And Dark Grandma of Death, I thought I was the only one in the world who liked that “Happy” song. Mrs. Gummo thinks I’m nuts, but I always found it really pretty.

       4 likes

  16. Gummo says:

    But then again, I figured out how to play “California Lady” on the gee-tar so obviously my musical tastes are a little twisted….

       5 likes

  17. mike says:

    “Hi folks, you may be wondering if im Martin Sheen, well i’m not, turns out im his more talented yet vastly underappreciated brother, thank you.”

    This is a pretty solid episode, still have it taped from back when it was on sci-fi. Forgot a lot of riffs from this one but a couple still stand out. I never understood the part where Joe Estevez looks like hes in the civil war, what was his backstory supposed to be?

    “They picked up Jimmy Page”

    meximullet guy: “I’m gonna go.”
    crow: “..and since no one knows who i am, it doesn’t really matter.”

       1 likes

  18. bootblacking says:

    Best riff IMO

    “This guy is preparing for the mother of all comb-overs”

       2 likes

  19. Bat Masterson says:

    “MAN, THAT GUY’S GOT A SMALL FACE.”

    I love this episode, like I love all 80s movies done on MST3K (or RiffTrax).

    One thing that’s always bugged me – why did they leave the green screen when Joel first appears on the SOL?

       2 likes

  20. Finnias Jones says:

    The Souuuuuuuuuultaker!

    4 stars.
    I’m presuming a lot of people are gonna praise the host segments for the cameos, but I find the first few to be way too low-key for the series’ final season opener. And for someone not familiar with the old hosts, the appearance of Frank and Joel were more WTF than OMG.

    Call me crazy, but I actually like this movie. As dopey as it is, I feel for the two leads and their doomed romance. I dig the nerf-metal soundtrack (“We are planning to rock”) and the oh-so-eighties hairstyles: the guys with their power-mullets and the gals with poofy Aqua Net-enhanced ‘do’s. I have fond memories of making-out with girls with crunchy hair that would leave a weird chemical taste in my mouth after kissing their ears and neck, and…uh… Sorry, lost myself there for a second.

    Some riffs I love:
    Leak Taker / Bus Taker
    Frank Booth cam.
    Is Sabbath wrong too, man?

    Special note (via Kernunrex’s Blog):
    Total Episodes with Joel’s Goatee
    207, 208, 209, 307, 410, 1001 (3.1%)

       1 likes

  21. Colossus Prime says:

    #12 “* Shotguns have a secret trigger behind the main one.”

    Most double barrel shotguns have two triggers, one for each barrel.

       1 likes

  22. ck says:

    political trivia:

    Chant by MVB’s opponents during the New Yorker’s failed
    reelection bid:
    “Van, Van, tired old man!”

       1 likes

  23. Fingal says:

    Souptaper?

    I use that more than you’d think.

       1 likes

  24. Mikey says:

    “Cant we just rock man!”

    “If i’m Bob Villa, I wont return your greeting.”

    “I’m sorry, I cant drive under 65!”

    “Souptaker??”

    “Thank you, thank you, our hand widdled cd’s are now available.”

       0 likes

  25. So if nobody claims the protganonists’ souls now, nobody will ever? Are SoulTakers some sort of wardens who bring souls back to safety in an uncertain afterlife? They seem genuinely concerned about this, or at least claim to be . . . do they have quotas? Why wouldn’t they reassign someone more competent if the first ‘Taker failed? Is it a bureaucracy thing? Why do souls need to employ technology (glow rings) to store other souls – which are ostensibly metaphysical entities? Why all the secrecy in the afterlife? Why force ‘Takers to “obey the laws of time and space” when it would be so much more efficient and humane not to do so? This movie has some messed-up theology.

    I find this episode a little hard to watch ’cause of the movie itself, but there’s no fault on the riffer’s part. The host segments are a nice touch, and are appreciated, but they’re not especially funny in and of themselves (although “I take my corn black” is always awesome.)

       2 likes

  26. mataglap says:

    Ms. Schilling: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
    Mike: “Well you wrote this crap”

    One of the greats of the sci-fi era, the movie is easy to watch and an easy target and the riffing makes the most of it.

    “I call it ‘gas-taker'”

       1 likes

  27. Brandon says:

    At one point Mike takes Servo to task for reading in the theater. What was Servo reading?”

    I always thought Mike said Servo was EATING, which would make anyone sick in car.

    Gorditas? The snack food? Yeah I remember those. I still eat them occasionally.

    My dad hates this episode. The movie is too “dark” for his tastes. I think it’s one of the more watchable episodes.

    This is probably the last episode where Gypsy seems to have a large role in the host segments. By this point she was either only in one segment, or didn’t appear at all.

    There was much speculation on the MST3K Review forum about the real reason why Joel didn’t/couldn’t bring M&TB with him. I think it was agreed that Joel didn’t want to bring the bots down to earth, because it risked the government taking his bots away from him and taking them apart.

    There have also been people on YouTube who think Joel died when returning to earth, because of his name being on Frank’s list of souls to collect.

       1 likes

  28. mikek says:

    Well, here’s another one that convinces me that the newer bad movies make for better riffing fodder. There’s also a connection, unintentional I’m sure, with episode 913. I see the “pain leakage” from the movie viewing screen as just the start of troubles that culminate in this episode.

    This episode gets 5 stars.

    The movie requires a lot of suspension of disbelief from the audience. I always allowed that gun shot scene because I decided that physical contact has to be made between whatever the souls are touching. That’s why hitting Joe Estevez with the golf club works and the shotgun doesn’t. I have no explanation for the falling souls, though. The acting is quite good considering the circumstances. Despite that, the movie is still goofy enough to be good for riffing.

    I wonder if cocaine comes in time-release capsules? I ask because that seems to be what Brad took before he started driving. The coke appears to kick-in a lot later than it should have, considering that Brad started snorting the stuff as soon as Zack left him in his car.

    The host segments are all good. It was good that Gypsy malfunctioned too, since she is part of the SOL.

    I noticed that the rear of Joel’s ship is made of the same part as Crow’s waist.

    I like how Mike is instantly filthy once the shower doesn’t work.

    TV’s Frank as a Soultaker was a great idea and a perfect way to connect to the movie and the character’s death. It’s a little sad that Frank couldn’t make it in Second Banana Heaven.

    Joel commenting on Crow’s different voice, and quickly explaining it was good. I’ve read about the hot fish shop thing and it does seem like a nice way for Joel to settle down after years on the SOL. Mike’s envy of that is funny. Now

    Now, while I’m not as incompetent as Mike, I do feel a kinship with his inability to fix stuff on the SOL.

    Favorite riffs:

    “Leak taker.”

    “Just as I suspected. Hungry Jack Complete, just add water.”

    “Where does that guy even keep his acorns?”

    “Being low-class, we only had corncobs for windows.”

    “If you can’t be careful name it after me man.”

    “Unfortunately it’s ‘Christine’.”

    “I call it ‘Gas Taker’.”

       3 likes

  29. klisch says:

    This one caught me by surprise with Frank and Joel’s appearance, I too would have liked Joel do a segment in the theater but seeing him with Mike was tastefully done.

    Mike: The balloons convince me it’s festive.

    What a low budget, cheesy ‘Summerfest’. Here in Milwaukee our Summerfest is billed as The World’s Largest Outdoor Music Festival and worth the price of admission. Sorry, just a small plug.

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  30. Fart Bargo says:

    A nostalgic winner for me. Guest spots by Joel and Frank were magic. Tons of class by all involved in the show. Rarely do we see this type of graciousness in the ‘Look at Me!’ profession. Shows a lot of respect to the fans and the work itself. A top show for these reasons alone.

    The movie itself was a very ripe for riffing. Lotsa goofy scenes/dialogue to riff. Mama issues very creepy. What was even creepier was close ups of Z’Dar’s face! OMG, he should be working in a circus sideshow. One huge hunk of big assed face.

    Great episode to start the wind down or should I say The Beginning of the End.

       0 likes

  31. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    #21

    Yeah, I should have specified that, IIRC, she’s using a single-barrel shotgun. Regardless, there’s no actual trigger that she pulls to fire it.

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  32. Brandon says:

    BTW, I think the reason Observer didn’t send the movie with his mind power was because Pearl was twisting his eyeball at the time, and he couldn’t do it because of that.

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  33. Mela says:

    Great, I don’t know who mentioned it, but now I have “California Lady” stuck in my head. It hurts. On the other hand, I’m now craving gorditas.

    While the host segments were the highlight for this episode, it also had some fun riffing. Besides my favorite over-the-movie-end-credits discussion ever, it also has the bit Servo did where we get a long, lingering shot of Natalie lounging on a bed for no reason (right before Mom starts peeping… ew…), where he transcribes the script. “Focus on my prettiness.” Like a lot of people said, in more capable hands, this could’ve been a decent movie, but there’s a good deal to work with nonetheless. And for some reason, I got a kick out of surly, insulting malfunctioning Gypsy (“Jump up my tube, white boy!”).

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  34. mikek says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention the ants in the movie theater. Crow notices that amazing action . . . of the ants that are all of the Jujube that Mike dropped. I like Mike’s comment, “It does provide a stark contrast to the film.”

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  35. Roman Martel says:

    A very good season opener, but one that works best for long time fans of the show. I watched this with a pal who’d only seen a couple episodes and so he didn’t think much of the host segments. But my wife and I were cracking up when Frank appeared and even cheered when Joel made his big entrance.

    The movie is one of those that is almost good in places, but just doesn’t ever come together. I think they needed to figure out if they were making a horror film or a supernatural thriller. That would have decided how complex the script should have been. The way it stands now, it tries to straddle both lines and ends up being confusing and goofy.

    Perfect for riffing, and this movie has lots of great lines. It slows down a bit during the climax at the hospital (the whole movie slows down there), but all in all it’s a solid effort.

    I give it four glowy rings out of five.

    By the way, the video store I worked at had a poster for this fine film up on the wall for years. It was in a corner and no one really noticed it. But I remember having Joe Estevez peering down at me. Got a kick out of the episode when I realized it was that particular movie.

    Click on my name for a full review.

       2 likes

  36. Spector says:

    Nice behind the scenes notes on this classic episode, Sampo.

    Of course it’s classic because Joel and Frank return for this episode, which was a nice way to both start off Season Ten and at the same time kind of bring things full circle for the series.

    It was also a tip-off to me that the series was going to wrap up. In those days I wasn’t the internet junkie I am today so I had no idea Season Ten was to be the last, so seeing Joel and Frank return for a episode clued me in big time that things were going to come to a close,which I would discover shortly after this episode.

    The host segments were well done, with the SOL suffering all sorts of malfunctions after ten years and Joel coming back to save the SOL after revealing Dr. F has planned for the SOL to self-destruct after a decade. Nice tie-in with the past on that one.

    How great was it to see Joel and Frank again, they were so missed. My wife especially loved Joel and Frank and didn’t enjoy the show nearly as much after they left, and pretty much quit watching after Trace (her favorite) departed, so she was thrilled to see them return one more time.

    Wonderful moment but also bittersweet given that this was the “beginning of the end” for the series.

    As for the movie itself it wasn’t bad, certainly gave Mike and the ‘Bots plenty of material to work with, but the return of Joel and Frank pretty much overshadowed the movie. It was a pity Joel didn’t want to return to the theater for a segment at least as that would’ve been fabulous, for old time’s sake, and that was my only disappointment with this one. I understand Joel’s reasoning not to do it, but still, to return to the show for an episode and not at least do a bit in the theater was a bit of a letdown.

    All in all, a wonderful show although I wouldn’t rank it amongst the best in the series history. It does deserve honorable mention of course for the return of two wonderful, beloved characters, but as I noted earlier their return overshadowed the theater segments. Four out of Five stars.

       0 likes

  37. Johnny Ryde says:

    I’ll have more thoughts in a little while, but just wanted to throw a question out there.

    This is the beginning of the third season of Bill Corbett as Crow… If the show had continued, how many more seasons would it be until they removed the “I’m different” from his Roll Call?

       0 likes

  38. creepygirl says:

    This has has always been in my Sci-Fi era top 2. I too love everything about it. I don’t know why, but I seem to remember folks not being very nice to this episode on the board when it was announced for DVD release. I may be thinking of something else? This one is great in my book and love the Joel and Frank bits. Along with THE FINAL SACRIFICE, I give this one 5 stars. :grin:

       2 likes

  39. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Gummo mentioned California Lady. Thanks a lot. “I forced my skull right through my face, and refused to wash my stringy hair!” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Love me some Soultaker, that’s for sure. Tom and Crow’s rant about the fate of the film’s stars over the end credits is a really great bit.
    Some other fave riffs:

    “Man, where does that guy even keep his acorns?”
    “We are going to rock.”
    “Was Sabbath wrong too man?”
    “Art Garfunkel! Like a Bridge…”
    “His long hair in back completely distracted me from the fact that he’s balding in front.”

    I was also a HUGE Man or Astroman fan, so it was nice to see them get some love. I was actually a fan of the band a good 3-4 years before I got into MST3k, even though the band was playing a version of the theme song. Some of the best shows I ever went to were for Man or Astroman. Aw, memories.

       1 likes

  40. Apollonia James (yeah, right) says:

    “Look, can’t we just rock?” and the deadpan “we are planning to rock” were favorite quotes whenever my boyfriend and I were about to play some Rock Band. Unfortunately, the consoletakers came for the green soul of our xbox recently, leaving us with the red ring of death instead. I miss that game…

       1 likes

  41. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    He’s making violent love to me, Mother.

    very good riff and reference ( rifference ? ) that hasn’t been mentioned yet… from It’s a Wonderful Life.

    Who makes an uglier woman: Joe Estevez or Natalie’s mom ( is this mean ? sorry )

    I’ll go 5 on this one… since the host segs get 6 or 7, I can’t go less than that :)

    It was very exciting at the time to see Joel and Frank back on the show, and it STILL feels pretty darn good.

    jump up my tube, white boy.

       1 likes

  42. incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:

    :smile: Joe Estevez: “Is that your sheshizzshin?”
    :smile: The shot of the breathing tube hooked up to Natalie in the hospital, prompting Servo to do Frampton’s: “I wanna thank you”.

       3 likes

  43. JCC says:

    I like this episode a lot, and not just because Joel and Frank are in it.

    Mike does the stoned burnout/dopey underachiever guy voice very well.

       1 likes

  44. Johnny Ryde says:

    Good, solid, funny episode.

    At the first airing, I wondered if Joel’s two second cameo in static at the beginning was going to be the entirety of his appearance as a joke on the fans who were excited in anticipation.

    I love the Summerfest scenes. There’s a girl who looks like Tina Fey holding balloons. I agree with others about the “I want to be happy today” song. Made me nostalgic for early ’90s ballads.

    Are the Soultakers killing people before their time or are they taking souls at the moment of death? Movie seems to suggest both…

    Why can they pick up a phone but their vocal cords don’t move the air to produce sound?

    Do people really wear underwear like Natalie’s? That seems incredibly complicated…

    Joel seemed to rush through his dialog. He wasn’t quite the same laid back, sleepy-eyed guy he was when he was a regular. He seemed to get back into that character towards the very end (“Yeah, that’s the thing, people don’t think about it…”)

    There are parts of this movie that I really like. For some reason, I really enjoy the fact that Father Dude goes through the afterlife still carrying his bottle of Jack Daniels…

    There’s a line about Alfred Hitchcock’s being proud that his pet chimpanzee could have directed something better than this… There seemed to be more of these gags towards the later years of the show (or possibly that’s just my imagination). I never really cared for them as they were really too generic and could have been used about any bad movie. It never seemed to have any relation to what was going on on-screen. It’s just an insult.

    When Joel fixes the satellite he says something to the effect of the repairs being good for “Next 10 years…” I don’t think they official knew at the time, but I wonder if they suspected that not only would the show not last another ten, it wouldn’t last another two. (I can’t believe it’s been over ten years since Joel said the repairs would last ten years.)

    For some reason the line “Let’s play ring-toss… with your soul!” was repeated by us often in college at the time.

       5 likes

  45. Ator In Flight says:

    I was watching Star Slammer just a week ago wich Vivian Schilling was also in. If you thought this movie was bad…

    Anyway good episode. I thought the riffing was pretty good,but the fact that Joel and Frank are back kind ofovershadowed the movie. Wet t-shirt contests in parts of Wisconsin. Hmm,I must be living in the wrong parts.

    Favorite riffs

    “He’s going to start a radio hitting business.”

    “Would you like a balloon? Heh heh heh.”

    “Can’t do it then,gonna be a lunch taker.”

    Natalie’s dad after she wakes up.”She’s over there,over there.”

    I don’t know why,I find the fact that Gypsy is so mean really funny.

       2 likes

  46. Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh, and while I thought Joel took some time to get back into character, Frank Conniff nails TV’s Frank instantly. I’ve never met him, but I suspect that Frank Conniff’s personality *is* TV’s Frank in reality (minus the evil, of course).

       1 likes

  47. ...there was no monster! says:

    I’d like to see Z’Dar’s chin have its own talk show! I kind of got to meet him once, very classy fellow!

       1 likes

  48. Revlillo says:

    Remember Gorditas?!?!?!?! They’re still available at Taco Bell the last time I looked, which was last night, which I also ordered, which was last night. Baja Gorditas rule! :mrgreen:

       1 likes

  49. Tim S. Turner says:

    Love it, love it, love it!!!!
    Favorite riff: “Father Dude.”

       0 likes

  50. Kenneth Morgan says:

    It was nice to see Joerl back on the SOL again, and Frank & Bobo frolicing (sp?) was just darling. The movie wasn’t too bad, actually; it was dumb, sure, but not too bad.

    My favorite lines in the theater weren’t the riffs, but the lines when Crow gets back from his Visine search.
    CROW: A ROBE? What the HELL?
    SERVO: I saw EVERYTHING!

       1 likes

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