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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders

Movie: (1995) A grandfather tells his grandson a pair of stories featuring the legendary wizard Merlin.

First shown: September 12, 1999
Opening: M&tB are into 1920s-era college pranks
Intro: Pearl’s latest IMS assignment makes Servo a despotic ruler, briefly
Host segment 1: “Niche reviewers” Crow and Servo review each other
Host segment 2: Servo acquires a magical spell book, which turns Mike into an infant. Waah
Host segment 3: Mike shows off his collection of Ernest Borgnine childrens’ books
End: Bobo is disguised as an evil toy monkey
Stinger: Little kid sings: “Rock ‘n’ roll martian…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (292 votes, average: 4.48 out of 5)


• I’m doing these in episode number order, but in fact this was the last new episode of MST3K shown until season 11 came along. A rights problem developed with the movie, and the episode was put on the shelf for many months, and it was still on the shelf when the series finale aired in August of ’99. Finally, a few weeks later, it was finally cleared and shown. It WAS nice to get one more episode, but watching it was a little weird.
• But taken on its own, and leaving out the context, this one is pretty much in line with the “very good not outstanding” level of work we’d already gotten in the previous two episodes. The riffing is great, most of the segments are at least mildly amusing and this movie is very watchable.
• Mary Jo’s thoughts are here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5
• It’s certainly not the first time we got a movie that was in fact two shorter films slammed together (see “Monster A Go Go” or any number of combo TV episodes) but it’s happening here too. The second half, the one involving poor bedeviled David and the evil monkey, was originally a short film called “The Devil’s Gift.” More about it here. The movie the kid is watching is clips from “The Devils’ Gift.”
• Lots of then-current references in this one, including then-household names like Madaleine Albright, Larry “Bud” Melman and Kenneth Starr.
• Segment 1 is great fun. Very well written.
• Obscure reference: “Mona!” It’s a reference to this commercial.
• I’d forgotten about all the many John McEnroe jokes. The guy does look like him. “Grow some hair, son.”
• Segments two and three are low-key and fun but not hugely memorable.
• In joke: “They just got ‘Barb Wire’ at Blockbuster!” The Pam Anderson movie “Barb Wire” came out, produced by the same movie company, as “MST3K: The Movie.” The cast managed to find out that a shortage of funds meant that only one of the two movies was going to get a wide release and plenty of promotion. “Barb Wire” was the horse they backed.
• LOTR reference: Shadowfax
• It’s not like this movie has any shortage of stupid dialog, but the line “You look like a man who likes his trinkets” takes the prize.
• I wonder who’s running Servo in last bit. Probably Patrick.
• The end segment, with Pearl addressing the camera while Bill and Kevin upstage her with a parody of the vacuuming bit from the movie, is very funny.
• Cast and crew roundup: No crew and only one member of the cast: George Milan was also in “War of the Colossal Beast.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike.
• Fave riff: “Remember to believe in magic, or I’ll kill you.” Honorable mention: “Tonight on ‘Old Lady Gets Killed.'”

193 Replies to “Episode guide: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders”

  1. robot rump! says:

    rock’n’roll martian!


  2. robot rump! says:

    i could alsosay i know a few current world leaders who could use some fire ants down their pants…but i won’t


  3. Graboidz says:

    This is a personal favorite of mine, the odd “Tales from the Darkside” like stories aren’t too bad actually, sure the execution leaves alot to be desired, but not bad. Forgot about the “Intellivision” riff….man I loved that gaming system!! Still one of the best.


  4. I'm Evil says:

    A solid if not great episode. Initially I was kind of “meh” toward this one, but it has improved with multiple viewings.

    Watching this you can’t help but notice that the whole evil monkey of doom portion is from a movie made about decade before the rest of the movie. As Sampo points out, it’s actually footage from “The Devil’s Gift” made in 1984 and is by the same director. That and “Merlin” are his only credits (go figure). When they edit in Merlin collecting the monkey the hat changes sides and in general looks like a different monkey. Surprised there wasn’t more riffing on the patchwork nature of all this.

    A have to quibble a bit with Sampo–Intellivision was not a current reference in 1999.

    Seeing th E.T. poster and t-shirt as well as the Star Wars t-shirt I was reminded of the advice from “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank,” to paraphrase: don’t remind viewers of a better movie during your crappy movie.

    Oh, and the psychic gets my award for best overacting in a MSTed movie (though Borgnine’s grandson puts in a strong showing in that race). Not sure what the director told her, but it came off as anger and frustration. Servo’s riffs on that bit sum it up.

    The host segments don’t do too much for me in this one, with the exception of Crow and Servo reviewing one another. I also like Observer in the final bit: “I’m Endusting!”

    Mike shows off his Dr. Pepper in one host segment, quickly followed by a Dr. Pepper riff; was Dr. Pepper sponsoring the show or that segment?

    The anime the kid is watching is “Battle of the Planets” aka “G-Force” aka “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman,” aka a few other titles. I was all over that (and “Star Blazers”) in the early 80s. Sandy Frank, who licensed the Gamera films, “Mighty Jack,” “Time of the Apes,” etc. owned the license for this show and did the English-language adaptation.

    Some good riffs:

    “Honey, I’m busy being a jerk here.”

    “I bid you lick me.”

    “I’m benign.”

    “Well, rock and roll martian I guess.”

    Fav Riff: “It bores me.”


  5. Tork_110 says:

    Every single gag where they reminded us that this was a story being told by Grandpa Borgnine was gold.

    That last sketch was great because I didn’t even notice what Brain Guy was doing in the background the first time I saw it.


  6. Colossus Prime says:

    As I rewatch all of these episodes along with the weekly reviews I’m realizing more and more how awesome some host segments are and feel I have to control myself from fawning over how awesome they are. The same holds true here. Everything about the opening from the way Crow says “I’m cold and lonely,” to Mike’s expressions through out the whole thing, all just amazing. Then the follow up of Mike trying to swallow a large mouth bass, dropping it and thinking he swallowed it… awesome. And then how quickly Tom’s despotic reign came into being… ok I’m done fawning.

    On its own the movie is so insanely dark for a family movie. But in turn it provides for equally dark riffing that in turn mocks the movie for being inappropriately dark. Dark and of course, pretty darn incompetent. I know that at least the Monkey story was tacked on, but the integration is just insane. Why in the world would Merlin leave such a powerful thing in the main room of his shop instead of locked in a vault with other dangerous/evil items? Plus they show that Merlin is clearly aware that someone broke in, but he just slinks away and lets the thief wander around. And what would happen if someone came in, picked it up and asked to buy it? Are they just going to say, “Oh sorry, that’s not for sale. I just have it sitting out for no good reason”? By the way, run that line through your head in M&tBs exaggerated Merlin voice, it’s quite entertaining.

    And on its own the monkey story is just ridiculous, especially the scene where David is talking to his psychic friend who is just bizarrely mean. Plus I love the whole thing on how she can’t do anything because if she got close to the monkey, “all hell would break loose,” but didn’t she go over and observe it already and nothing happened?

    This movie also led to a rare phenomenon for me; calling riffs moments before M&tB. Normally I just sit back and enjoy, but for some reason my mind jumped at these two:

    Tom: Tito Puente!
    Crow: Are these two dating?

    In fact I sat down and watched this with a friend once and he also said that second one moments before Crow.

    Fav Riffs:
    Tom: The kid looks sort of like a mouse, I guess I can give it a shot. (this is 100% inflection use at its best)

    Tom: Meow, meow safe. Meow, meow very safe! (I have no idea how many times I saw this before I caught this as a Marathon Man reference)

    Tanta Borgnine: Uh oh.
    Mike: I farted.

    Mike: (after the monkey clangs his cymbals) I’m sorry, I thought you said, “[1812 Overture]”

    And a favorite line of dialogue –
    Bobo: I love bags!


  7. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Ironically the first time I watched this episode I was sorting cards for a party game called “Curses.”

    * This is one of those that I really didn’t like the first time I saw it. Not because of the riffs, but because of the content of the movie. Being an animal lover I was seriously p***ed off at the gruesome deaths of the cat and dog.
    * Question of the day: Does Johnathan retain his memories of adulthood after he’s turned into a baby?
    * I also have a Bethagram, it goes off whenever my sister-in-law (whose name is Beth) is around.
    * “My God, David!” makes for a great Windows error sound. Especially since that’s my real name as well.
    * Favorite riffs:
    “So… she just threatened him with sex?” – Mike
    “But Dad, I’m a ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MARTIAN!” – Crow
    “Look, my reviews have destroyed whole cities!” – Servo

    Host Segments:
    * I agree with Sampo in that they’re kind of “blah” in this one. There are chuckle moments but nothing really stands out.
    * Favorite line: “Would you just get in the bag. PLEASE!”

    Things I Learned From This Episode:
    * Merlin’s magic shop is just a little side job when he’s not busy up in the clouds with Santa.
    * Gifts that women give my children are inherently evil.
    * Merlin is out there… Somewhere… Watching… Waiting…


  8. Gummo says:

    I’ll have to give this one another try. It’s always been among my least favorites of the SciFi era, right up there (or down there?) with snoozefest Hamlet.

    But I trust you folks too much to just dismiss it out of hand….


  9. ck says:

    As the hyper psychic might say:

    Oh well, just picture David and (Susan?)engaging in muskrat lovin’.


  10. Joseph Nebus says:

    The freaky cartoon the kid is watching is Ub Iwerks’s Balloonland, which you can find on every third public domain cartoon DVD ever. It’s a real Iwerksian nightmare piece in which life is playfully given to inanimate objects, in this case balloons, and then cruelly and repeatedly snuffed out.

    In the story the genial yet vague characters sing around a bit until the female lead is kidnapped by the villainous Pincushion, and the bland male lead leads an assault on the villain until he’s vanquished and we suppose it’s a happy ending, like two-thirds of all Betty Boop cartoons.

    I really like this episode particularly as a bizarrely “lost” episode. Going out on the promised continuity-thing of Pearl working for her mad scientist accreditation (and doesn’t that sound like a fanfic theme running through the old Web Site Number Nine days?) and insisting the movies will continue and will keep getting worse and worse feels like a promising staring-into-the-unknown-yet-hopeful-future scenario. If you didn’t know the show was over, it’d feel like a nice way to close still.


  11. Brian says:

    “The power’s out!”

    “Better eat all the ice cream! :lol:


  12. mataglap says:

    I don’t remember seeing this on tv more than once or twice, but according to your broadcast schedule archive it was shown periodically during the 4 years of re-runs after the show was canceled, although not as often as Prince of Space and some of the other classics. So I guess whatever rights problem they had wasn’t as bad as Gorgo, which was never shown again after its initial airing.

    Fav line is at the very beginning: “I wonder whose kid that is?”


  13. Johnny Ryde says:

    I find this one good-but-not-great(tm). I almost never put this one into my viewing rotation, but not because of a dislike of the riffing. I’m terribly squeamish about that bit where the monkey is trying to kill the kid by having him run over by the distracted idiot driver. The deaths of the animals doesn’t help either.

    Also, the extreme episodic nature of the movie is a turn-off for me. I know we’ve had that before (and RIDING WITH DEATH is one of my all-time favorites), but here, not even the main characters cross over from one film to the other. Merlin is basically in a filmed cameo in the second film. The first segment doesn’t even have a monkey!

    What name does the fortune teller spell out on the ouija board at the beginning? The riffing blocks a few letters and then she just starts screaming…

    “I’m Bob Jackass.” — This guy has to be one of the best blatantly evil, over the top characters we’ve seen in a MST3k film.

    “This pitch is over, old man!”

    Chess Master 2000. Who else remembers those full page ads in computer magazines in the ’80s and ’90s?

    Moosehead drinker.

    The family in the second film are Dallas Cowboy fans. So, basically they do deserve it. :)

    For me, the second segment is the film that reminds me of what the early ’80s was really like to live through. The clothes, the fashions, the cars, the decorating, the toys. No evil monkeys that I remember from my childhood though…

    It was sort of weird seeing this premiere after 1013 had already aired weeks before. And sort of sad too. Mary Jo Pehl’s line of “The movies are only going to get worse…” is sadly true. The movies are going to get worse… but for a while we had no MST3k or replacement to help us get through it.


  14. GonzoRedux says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the monkey story originally ended with the entire family dying. Not to get too macabre, but I’d kind of wish that could have been the ending of the episode. The whole movie would begin looking as demoralizing as Manos and put it in an elite class of wretched movies…

    Not that there’s not enough here already. This was a great way to end the show–a great episode to get me over the blues I felt after August 8th…


  15. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    A lot of disturbing factors of this “movie” – the horrible dickweed of a husband turning into a baby, the kid riding a Big Wheel into the street, roasted pets, a tacky, used toy monkey as a birthday gift, the over-the-top enraged psychic….it doesn’t get much more MSTiable.

    This episode has provided two not-uncommon phrases around our house: The odd “You’re welcome,” that Servo echoes several times, and (my favorite) Crow’s “I’ll give you a cookie if you shut up.”

    I’m pretty sure the stinger shows the Rock ‘n’ Roll Martian kid saying exactly what they think he’s saying.

    Wonderful host segments, great riffs, great episode!


  16. Patrick says:

    Favorite riff – “And then there’s the pollups in my colon.”


  17. RPG says:

    “You’re weeelcooome.”

    The trouble is, I think there are more douche-y ‘critics’ like the guy in this movie in this day and age. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all big babies too.


  18. trickymutha says:

    One of my favorties- great family entertainment- the first time I watched this I had two teenage boys and an eight year old- we laughed out loud at how absurd the “plot” was- two lame films linked together. Merlin was rather a dickweed, but the cruel reviewer stole our hearts. For weeks after the first showing we were “reviewing” each other. Years later (last summer to be exact) I played this episode for my GF, she laughed so hard at it- well, to say the least, she and I snuggled up on the couch while the “plot” unfolded. She likes TCM, and couldn’t believe the star of “Marty” had become a beached whale terrorizing his grandson (while he wasn’t a shill on QVC)- Five ***** think I’ll watch it this weekend!


  19. badger1970 says:

    This movie actually hurts (maybe because of the clothing of my youth). The riffing is good with the pointing out of too many convenient coincidences.


  20. Bat Masterson says:

    I love this episode so much. My favorite joke:

    “Magic makes me hungry for grilled brats!”


  21. Edge10 says:

    Hey Chatty Cathy were you gotta go?

    Your Welllllcome!


  22. Roman Martel says:

    Wow, I love this one. It’s gotta be the last of the top notch episodes in my book. The weakest part of the episode is the opening segment and that is still funny.

    What I love about the movie is all the layers to it. The piecemeal aspects, the fact that grandpa Borgnine is telling these horrible stories to his grandson, the way Merlin is shoehorned in there, the conflicting decades. Its all great stuff.

    The extremely dark nature of the two main stories really makes me wonder what they were thinking about using Merlin as a framing device. Especially since Merlin was described as all magical and mystical and a generally nice guy (if a bit of a moron). I get the feeling that the director really wanted to make horror films and ended up trying to package this as a family film – for some unknown reason.

    Anyway this is easily five out of five rock and roll Martians in my book.

    I’m not sure that the anime is “Gatchaman”. The outfits don’t look quite right to me. I think it might be “Starblazers”, but I’m not as familiar with that show. It reminds me of a anime movie I rented as a kid in the 80’s called “Ultraman” that didn’t feature the giant robot Ultraman.

    Click on my name for a full review.


  23. Sitting Duck says:

    Among my favorte riffs are when they speculate on Borgnine’s narration, typically during scenes which are either exceedingly mundane or exceedingly nightmare-ish.



    Was it this film that was the most recently-made film they ever did? I can never keep that straight.


  25. The Balloonland cartoon is a perfect example of one of my wife’s pet peeves about movie reality: in what world are cartoons like this regularly on TV, aside from Pee Wee’s Playhouse?
    The “You’re welcome” line got a lot of mileage with one of my roommates and I. And Rock and Roll Martian is one of my all-time favorite stingers. Along with This is where the fish lives and Mom, my nuts?


  26. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I’ve just got to get this out: I completely LOATHE the Rock-n-Roll Martian Kid. “Deeyad! Deeyad!” Of course, the other actors in this movie(s) are pretty unlikable, too. Except for Borgnine. Lord knows why he felt he needed to do this. One of the best movie heavies (no pun intended) of all time. From Here to Eternity, Bad Day at Black Rock, and Johnny Guitar are a few of my favorite performances. That being said, some of the best riffs are at his expense, with my favorite being Servo’s labored groans as Borgnine hoists himself up and down from the couch.


  27. H says:

    I’d agree with good-not-great for this one. The movie’s good and so are the host segments but nothing really stands out to me. Still, nice to have a sort of bonus after the show ending. Very appropriate, considering episode 104 was produced last in Season 1 so a bit of a reversal there.


  28. Brandon says:

    #24 Nope. This film was made in 1995.

    The two “most recent” films they had ever done were Robot Holocaust (made in 1986, riffed in 1989), and Future War (1997, 1999).

    If anyone’s wondering what caused the rights issues for this movie, I vaguely remember Hallmark running this film several times over the summer of 1999.

    Sampo, usually the riffs you pick as your favorite, are riffs that just sound completely mundane out of context. But here you’ve picked two very funny riffs, where you don’t need to know about what they’re responses to, in order to laugh. “Tonight on Old Lady Gets Killed”, just sounds humorous right off the bat.

    I’m a LT fan, so “Bugs Bunny must have taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque” gets me.

    Also, I know this is cruel, but “We’ll change the dog’s name to Crispy” floors me.

    Random observation: SEVERAL people on have whined about this being the darkest, and most horrifying film that was riffed on MST3K. I look at this film and think, “Um… I don’t have a problem with this film.” Nothing about it scares me in the least. Hell, “Incredibly Strange Creatures” was more unsettling to me than this film, or any other.


  29. CG says:

    Wow, one of my top ten episodes and easily a 5 out of 5 for me. Great stuff!

    Random observations:

    -Did anyone else think that Mr. Cooper bears a strong resemblance to Senator John Kerry? (Before Cooper’s Satanic transformation, of course.) They even sound like each other!

    -Not only was the second movie once a completely different film, but it allegedly ripped off a Stephen King story, called “The Monkey,” which dealt with – you guessed it – a possessed toy monkey.

    And doesn’t the monkey on the cover of King’s book look a little familiar?

    – Here’s a link to the plot description of original movie with the monkey. As you can tell, the original was even darker than the MST3K version. Oh, and as mentioned above: In the end, the monkey kills everyone. Grandma, Dad, kid. You hear them screaming and it cuts to black. Thanks, Grandpa Borgnine!

    Someone uploaded the entire “Devil’s Gift” movie to youtube, which you can watch here:

    -I agree with the poster who loved all of the “Grandpa Borgnine” descriptions during the lulls in the movie. “By this time, Billy, a kid threw a chicken while an infertile couple browsed a store!”

    -One of my favorite moments is when Mr. Cooper finds a potion to a youth spell, and then says in that weird voice, “Well, we must remain young and vital!” The incredulous way Mike laughed at that was better than almost any riff they could have created.

    -I met Ernest Borgnine once. He’s really cool.

    -Nicholas is so cute!

    -The ending to the first movie is very similar to the ending of a famous Twilight Zone episode. Just like here, an older man is drinks a youth potion and accidentally turns into a baby for his wife to raise. (Love Servo’s line, “Based on a story by Sigmund Freud!”

    -I also agree that the animal abuse, particularly with the dog, was disturbing. Mike and the bots were somehow able to pull off some excellent riffing here, which looked tough to do. I have a feeling that if this were a Joel movie, they’d just be yelling in outrage at this part (which would also be funny.)

    -The riffing in the first half is absolutely spectacular: the Ouija board lady, the grandpa conversations, the stuff going on in the store. The second half is also hilarious. I always laugh at Uncle Pusher the flirtatious neighbor, among other things. So, a hearty “Rock ‘n roll Martian” to all!


  30. Johnny Ryde says:

    @Brandon, #28:

    I think the reason this seems more terrifying/horrific to some (including me) is that the danger is more mundane and realistic. The threats in more fantastical settings or from more ridiculous sources don’t seem as frightening to me. To take the ISCWSLABMUZ route, a zombie created by a man fortune teller who throws acid on the faces of middle aged executives who spurn her is not something I ever realistically expect to encounter in everyday life. By contrast the thought of a kid on a Big Wheel hit by a car sends a shiver up my spine because I can imagine it happening in real-life (and I hope I never ever see or experience anything remotely like that in real-life).

    My two cents, anyway…


  31. Colossus Prime says:

    Also, why doesn’t David try breaking the monkey’s arms off or just sticking a small pillow between the cymbols? Both seem like incredibly simple solutions compared to pretending to accidentally knock it into a bag and put it in the trash (“Why couldn’t the monkey orchestrate this from inside the garbage?”) or trying to burry it.


  32. Ator In Flight says:

    5 stars for me. The riffing is great and the host segments are all at good except for the opening and the intro. I never thought I would see Mike in a diaper,um not that I wanted to. The movie gives them alot to work with,but if this is suppose to be a kids movie? It’s kind of dark. They kill off a dog and cat by burning them plus the goldfish. Also Johnathan is a giant a-hole.

    Favorite riffs
    “Taste the rainbow of fruit pain.” I still love saying that.
    “Okay let’s predict some crap.”
    “Excuse my juicy belches.”
    “Uh oh,we better eat all the ice cream.”
    “What did that quack have to say? He blamed your wiener.”
    “Yeah I got a crack this guy can crawl out of.”
    “I’m stiff and dry and I have a big lumpy butt.”

    Sometimes the lines in the movie are just funny on their own.
    “Ah yes we must stay young and vital.”
    “You’re welllcome!”


  33. Smoothie of Great Power says:


    Werewolf was also made in 1995 so Future War, that and this are most likely the most “modern three” on the show.


  34. Ator In Flight says:

    Yes another post. I wanted to write “the host segments are all good” no at in there. Ooops.

    Anyway I thought “Rock n Roll Martain” was kind of catchy.


  35. Bobby 23-Skidoo says:

    ‘Brought to you by LSD’


  36. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I fogot this episode has one of my favorite animal cruelty riffs:



  37. Apollonia James (yeah, right) says:

    One of my favorite riffs ever:

    “Ride, Shadowfax, riiiide!” :lol:


  38. afrgarga says:

    The anime clip in it is from “The Ultraman” the animated Ultraman series. “The Ultraman” does have a normal giant Ultraman, btw. At one point Our Hero is confined in a small chamber, so he transforms into Ultraman and destroys the space ship in the process.


  39. As was noted in #32, Werewolf was from 1995 as well, and according to Daddy-O’s Drive-in Dirt, Future War was originally released in 1994, not 1997. I’m not sure about the exact timing, but I’m under the impression that Merlin here was technically later than Werewolf, which would indeed make it the youngest. I still want to confirm that . . .


  40. Roman Martel says:

    Thank you Afrgarga! I ended up looking Ultraman up on Wiki and it described the anime. I thought I remembered it pretty well. I blew me away back in the early 80’s. So when I saw it in this movie, I was pretty sure it was “The Ultraman”.
    Wiki mentions that it was released in two parts on VHS, so I wonder if I only ever saw one part, and that part didn’t have robot.
    Thanks again. :)


  41. JCC says:

    Seems like a pretty dour review of the episode, but I love it, one of my faves. And that includes the sketches as well.

    “Which chin should I put my hand on?”


  42. Tim S. Turner says:

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing. This is one of the funniest episodes of season 10. It’s waaaaaaay funnier than “Diabolik”.
    “I’m being a jerk, honey!”


  43. Brandon says:

    “I can’t seem to find my monkey.” “Have you checked under your robe?”

    “Is that you, Beany Boy?!”


  44. Spector says:

    I realize this one’s a favorite for a lot of you but for me this is amongst my least favorite episodes. The host segments are great but I don’t find the riffing in this one particularly good. I agree it’s waaaaaay funnier than Diabolik, but for me the riffing just lacks the usual snap. I got the feeling they were going through the motions with this one. Probably just me but after repeated viewings I still can’t get any real enjoyment out of this one. This ranks with the Fugitive Alien series and most of the Gamera movies amongst my least favorite episodes. Happily there would be better ones than this to come in Season Ten. Two stars out of five.


  45. Creeping Terror says:

    Two of my favorite riffs that haven’t been mentioned both remind you that Ernest Borgnine’s telling the story to his grandson:
    “So then an infertile woman picked up a stone and a kid threw a chicken.”
    “No, Grandpa Borgnine! Leave light and hope for me in the world!”

    I also love “He’s going around town dressed in a robe asking people if they’ve seen his monkey.”

    Not much more to say about the movie besides what’s been mentioned. I just can’t figure out who it was marketed to, though. It’s obviously not a kids’ film, but what teenager or adult would be interested in this “horror” film in a post-Nightmare on Elm Street/Exorcist/Halloween era?

    We’re obviously missing earlier scenes from the psychic, possibly where she visits the house and investigates the monkey. I’ve never seen the uncut “The Devil’s Gift,” so I can’t be sure. If she had earlier scenes where she was scared or overcome by the monkey’s evil influence, it could explain her OVER THE TOP acting in the scene.

    As for how dark/scary this movie is, I don’t see it. The “tension” of a toy monkey crashing toy cymbals isn’t there for me. The jerk reviewer getting his just desserts (sort of) isn’t scary so much as it is bizarre. (The pedantic writing setting up the obvious plot points for the story doesn’t help with the suspense.)

    All in all, I think that this episode is a great introduction to MST3K. I’ve initiated a few people into our little cult with it, and it seems to go over well. The riffing is really accessible and the host segments do a good job at introducing who the characters are if you’ve never seen the show. (Mike being a lunkhead by thinking he’s swallowed a large mouth bass. Pearl being a mad scientist with her fire ants experiment. Bobo beings Bobo. The list goes on.)


  46. Spalanzani says:

    I used to not be overly fond of this one, but it’s grown on me.

    I love how Merlin saves the day at the end simply by using his hand to stop the monkey’s cymbals from clashing. Why couldn’t David have done that? Apparently he’s just too stupid.

    I also love Mike and the bots’ incredulity during the scene where Merlin just happens to run into the guy who sold the monkey to the kids grandma, who luckily and improbably has her address. guy: “It’s the damnedest thing!” Crow: “It sure is…”


  47. afrgarga says:

    @Roman Martel
    I’m pretty sure it was in the “ADVENTURE OF ULTRAMAN” dubbed bit found in the raw set of the series. There’s a torrent of the whole set on tokyotosho if you don’t mind being evil and would download a car.


  48. Normal View82 says:

    Crow: “See the problem is he’s walking the streets in a robe asking people if they’ve seen his monkey”

    The patchwork nature of this film along with the completely accurate time warp that is the “Hello, 70’s house” makes this one of my favorites. Borgnine’s jaded grandson is a hoot, Merlin is creepy as hell and the cameo by the goblin puppets from the criminally-never-riffed movie Troll is awesome (anybody else notice them?).

    I do have one question though, “Why is she wearing a doggy bed on her head?”


  49. kismetgirl88 says:

    @ 44 “We’re obviously missing earlier scenes from the psychic, possibly where she visits the house and investigates the monkey. I’ve never seen the uncut “The Devil’s Gift,” so I can’t be sure. If she had earlier scenes where she was scared or overcome by the monkey’s evil influence, it could explain her OVER THE TOP acting in the scene.”

    I just I like the idea the psychic was mean and thought David was idiot which he was. “My God, David!”

    Other fav riff “So she has raise her husband”
    “Well that what most wives think that what they do”


  50. Jeyl says:

    It’s a pity the Rhino release of this movie was plagued by having the picture be so dark. Usually you could see Mike and the Bots when there was nothing but black on the screen, in here you can’t.


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