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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: 1005- Blood Waters of Dr. Z

Movie: (1972) A Florida scientist turns himself into a catfish monster and … seems to have some sort of plan after that. But local authorities are on his trail.

First shown: May 2, 1999
Opening: Crow enjoys a nice chaw
Intro: Crow labels his chaw cans; Pearl conducts a maternal love deprivation experiment
Host segment 1: Mike becomes wedged in the bulkhead of Crow’s evil voiceover
Host segment 2: Gone fishin’
Host segment 3: Brain Guy & Bobo demonstrate Crow & Tom’s naked acting theory
End: Crow & Tom show off their specialized food carrying cases; Pearl’s mer-monkey has an admirer
Stinger: “Sargassum! The weed of deceit!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (317 votes, average: 4.10 out of 5)


• I really think this one rises above the last few “good not great” outings and is one of the best of the season. Insane movie, great riffing, mostly good segments. I like it.
• Bill’s thoughts are here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVII
• Don Barton, the man to blame for this movie, talks about his film here. You can also read about a screening/celebration of the movie here. This movie even has its own Web site.
• The opening bit is very funny, but also may be the most disgusting host segment ever. Yuck.
• Pearl’s IMF experiment on the bots is reminiscent of the maternal love sketch in episode 602- INVASION U.S.A., and I’m not sure they did anything the other sketch didn’t do, but the look on Bill’s face as he looks into the “love basket” is priceless.
• The movie has a very familiar plot. We’ve seen plenty of these “mad scientist is ridiculed and dismissed by his peers and plots revenge against them using the very technology they claimed was ridiculous” movies. “Mad Monster” comes immediately to mind.
• I’m assuming the filmmakers got a lot of the score from various PD needle drops. Some of it sounds familiar. Anybody recognize any snippets?
• Another movie observation: Why does the scientist create the elaborate block-and-tackle hammock when THERE’S A LADDER?
• Segment 1 is one of those great “one or more of the bots seize on some insane element of the movie and take it to heart” bits. Great line: “Soon it will be YOU who becomes wedged in the bulkhead of my plan!”
• Riff I didn’t get: “Then I gotta go kill Farley Granger’s wife.” That’s certainly a “Strangers on a Train” reference, but why? Somebody explain.
• By the way, I DO know what Cabela’s is. I just heard “Chavella’s” and was baffled.
• The movie was apparently going for a sort of “In the Heat of the Night” vibe between the sheriff and scientist guy. But it just comes off as offensive.
• Segment 2, well, there’s not a lot going on, but it’s cute.
• M&tB still have their fishing hats on when they head back into the theater.
• Movie continuity mistake: As Leopold attempts to convert the girl into his mate, we first see her hands tied down as he gives her the injection (preventing her from stopping him, of course) but her hands are free seconds later when he dunks her (apparently so the actress could hold her nose).
• Callbacks: “rice a pipple” (Bride of the Monster), “Think I’ll head over to Party Beach and see how The Horror is doing.” (Horror of Party Beach) and “I had such a pretty miiiiind!” (Girl in Gold Boots).
• Slam on Sally Forth outta nowhere!
• Note to the Brains: Catfish Hunter did NOT change his name to Chapstick. He just appeared in a now-nearly-forgotten Chapstick commercial in which it was suggested that he might want to do so. He seems disinclined. So I say Servo’s Catfish Hunter joke stands as funny.
• Segment 3 is fun, but that’s more of Bill than I want to see (no offense, Bill).
• The last third of the movie is dominated by “riding on the running board guy.” His amphibious clown car is particularly funny. “Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, Snork. They’re cops!”
• That’s Paul as “Barnicle” (that’s how it’s spelled in the credits) Bob. Paul was definitely the guest star guy in the later years.
• Cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved with this movie was involved with any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike.
• Fave riff: “Thank goodness I have my provolone carrying cases.” Honorable mention: “Jack Ruby at home.”

166 Replies to “Episode guide: 1005- Blood Waters of Dr. Z”

  1. mike says:

    All i remember about this episode is a guy in a fish suit swimming around spraying chemicals into the water.


  2. Fart Bargo says:

    This is one loopy film. The villain was certainly original although his hair was not done by Crow of Beverly Hills. I did like the opening song, same group that was in Moon Beast? I really like his Wheel of Fortune/Day planner and I am considering making one for my self. I just don‘t know what to make of Sheriff Cracker and Marine Biologist Rex who must have been channeling MLK. Then I realized that when Sheriff Cracker was referring to Rex as ‘Boy’, he was spinning the chamber on his handgun, brrrrrrr. Nothing like a little home spun racism to start things off.???

    Cat fish monster was pretty lame although his spray bottle did make him much more menacing. The INPIT agents, played by jump suited Barbie & Ken in their Research Mobile Home, were what? Heroes? I will give this flick credit for some really strange voice over work. Last, certainly not least, ‘Please enjoy the fish anus’ just about sums up this film quite nicely.


  3. Colossus Prime says:

    A just shy of middle of the road episode for me, but that’s in comparison to other episodes since it’s still very funny. I think that general opinion (for me) has more to do with how watchable the movies themselves are, and this one is plenty dull and silly but not really in a funny way. Granted it makes for a lot of amazing riffs but it’s still dull and silly. Plus the host segments, while funny, aren’t remarkable.

    The opening/intro reminds me of a CC era segment like last week’s, which again gives me a nice warm feeling. The latter half of the intro is a great bit to further how screwed up Pearl is with additional great banter with Observer as she tries to remember what love is.

    The dialogue of Crow’s vague threats in the first segment are awesome, especially when he belts out, “Sargassum,” and then switches from talking normally and back to vaguely threatening. Nothing outstanding about the second. The third segment isn’t laugh out loud funny but properly disturbing especially with the non-chalant, run of the mill reaction by Bobo and Brain Guy. The progressively ridiculous scenarios to cause need for special carrying cases for food is quite enjoyable. And of course; Haarrr, I stand rejected.

    I love the fact that the doctor’s plan, according to the silly introduction voice over, is to conquer the universe. Not just Earth, his goal is to rule the entirety of the greater cosmos with mutated fish-men and man-fish. Maybe he has the lead on a group of intelligent, MIT level guppies to build rockets/shuttles/space ships for prolonged deep space travel.

    Favorite riffs
    [As Dr. Z is preparing for his transformation]
    Tom: I need to simplify my masturbation ritual.

    [As the sheriff and scientists split up]
    Tom: [as the sheriff] Heh, heh… they’ll never see me again.
    Crow: [as scientists] Heh, heh… he’ll never see us again.

    [As guy continues to trip in the swamp]
    Mike: I guess I could be stupider but it’d be hard.

    Also, all of the riffs that poke fun at racism. Always love those.
    Black Scientist: Just doing my job, Sherrif.
    Tom: Avoiding your drinking fountains.


  4. robot rump! says:

    a pretty good movie with some average to strong riffing. i just can’t get excited about it because it reminds me of the old 70’s movie that looked like a couple of guys sitting in a basement on a saturday afternoon wrote, casted, directed and filmed it while coming down from some killer brownies. apologies to those who love it, i just feel like i need a shower and a Jolt Cola after watching it.


  5. Apollonia James (yeah, right) says:

    This is one of the few episodes I own (and have had since before Shout! Factory released it) that I’ve never seen all the way through. I think the farthest I’ve ever gotten is the scene with the painter by the water’s edge… and I’m not entirely certain that I’m thinking of the right movie.

    I do remember, though, that Crow’s utterance of “I love you” in Segment 1 is hysterically funny.


  6. trennerdios says:

    Really? I hadn’t seen this one until the Shout Factory release, and so I was quite excited for it. I found it particularly boring with very, very few memorable riffs. So few that I can’t remember a single one off the top of my head. I know, I know; one MSTie’s favorite is another one’s blah blah blah blah blah. IMO this one pales in comparison to the first 4 of the season, especially compared to Girl in Gold Boots and Merlin’s Shop.


  7. Steve Laughery says:

    re: Public Domain Needle Drops in “Blood Waters of Dr. Z” –
    I am quite sure that I’ve heard snippets from the overly-dramatic music used during the “chase” scenes (with the scientist standing on the running board, swinging the mic around)on old cartoons like “Yogi Bear” or “Huckleberry Hound” during some of THEIR “chase” scenes.


  8. Dan in WI says:

    I don’t want none unless she’s got buns hun.


  9. Dan in WI says:

    And seriously, what is the deal with the guy who can only ride on the Jeep’s running boards. I thought the dog sticking its head out the window type riffs were spot on here.


  10. Invasion of the Neptune Man says:

    I watched some of this earlier this year and I find this to be dreary movie even with Mike & the bots. This is definitely on my least memorable list. When I want to watch a MST movie about a self-important crackpot of a cracker scientist, I’ll take Boggy Creek anyday. At least it has a almost happy feel. That’s just my IMHO.


  11. Joseph Nebus says:

    I think the point of the block-and-tackle is that the ZaAt mutagen stuff is inherently painful to apply, much like the movie, and if you aren’t tied down and immobile then like any sane person you’re going to run out the moment the stinging and the ouching and the ZaAtting get started.

    The MST3K version is edited in some big ways from the uncut movie and I don’t know who did it. The uncut version, as ZaAt, turns up on Turner Classic Movies’s TCM Underground every couple months, though. The big stuff missing is that Doctor ZaAt’s scheme for mutating fish goes a lot farther, which much more Windex-spraying of the waters and this actually resulting in fish walking on water and terrifying the locals in the way that only fish out of the water can do. There’s shreds of this left over in the movie, but not much; I think maybe one weird scene of the reporter guy following ZaAt’s rampage through the convenience store covers it.

    There’s also a really weird scene where Racist Sheriff hears there’s some ruckus going on in a house, and wanders in, and it turns out to be a little hootenany with a guitar-playing folk singer at its core. The Sheriff — in a touch which actually left me liking him — smiles at this and sits down a bit, listening for a while to the kids just having fun despite the mayhem and chaos. You don’t see a lot of sheriffs in these type movies doing stuff besides harassing the kids having pointless fun.

    And then it gets really weird, as the Sheriff somehow telepathically summons the hootenany to stand up and, as the performer continues playing the guitar and singing, leads them on a musical walk out the house and through town, all the way to the jail, where he puts the contented kids in for their own safety, a cause which the kids seem to agree is right and just.

    This is such a bizarre thread I have to suppose it was cut before MST3K got their hands on it, since even though it doesn’t have a lot to do with anything it’s a real mind-boggling moment. I suppose they might have cut it for time, but why cut the most inherently bizarre stuff and leave all the poorly-framed scenes of doughy white future victim guys in?


  12. Creepygirl says:

    I give this one 3 stars. I have only seen it maybe 3 times since it aired so I watched the DVD when it came out. With only a few moments here and there I don’t remember much at all and I watched it like 6 weeks ago! I do still like it, just don’t love it.


  13. jjb3k says:

    “Typical male, sitting in his chair, playin’ with his rod…”

    I’ve heard this one described as depressing, but to me, the riffing really helps to lift it up. On its own, though, I don’t doubt this movie would crush me. It has that hazy, uncomfortable air about it that so many 1970s movies on MST3K seem to possess, and combining that with endless scenes of our catfish-man lumbering around doing nothing, I can see how it’d hurt.

    One thing this movie does have going for it, though – the bikini babe who decides to “lay in the sun underwater”. Rrrowl… (If only Dr. Leopold hadn’t killed her. What is it with these movies that keep killing off all the hot girls?)

    The “Catfish Hunter” bit always makes me smile. Anytime Mike and the bots start talking amongst themselves, it’s usually great, as well as a clever way of covering up the fact that nothing is happening onscreen. “Tom, are you sulking?” “NO!


  14. silentseason says:

    Love this episode. I live in North Central Florida and everytime I drive through Green Cove Springs I wonder where it might have been filmed at (there was a May-Hughes drug store still there last time I went). Favortite line was when Mike threatened Servo with destruction if he sang any more of “Amos Moses”, whereupon Crow thanked him.


  15. Cubby says:

    • I can’t find it on the net now, but I distinctly recall reading somewhere that director Barton was furious when this episode came out and claimed in a public statement that Sci-Fi Channel had not gotten the proper rights to the movie. He was wrong.

    I remember that too, but I think I heard it from you lot. ;-)


  16. Tim S. Turner says:

    “I really need to simplify my masturbation ritual.”-One of my all-time favorite riffs. Makes me laugh every time.


  17. Sitting Duck says:

    #5: Yes you are thinking of the right one.


  18. Other Stephanie says:

    It’s not “Chavella’s,” but Cabela’s, a hunting/fishing/camping supply chain. I just watched this episode a week or two ago, and I recall getting that riff for the first time, as I hadn’t heard of Cabela’s til about three years ago. I don’t recall exactly what was going on in the scene, but there was some sort of gear involved that one might buy from such a store.


  19. MiqelDotCom says:

    “Next week on Invisible Cracker Mom”
    Perfect mst3k film, ridiculous monster costume, so-so host segs, decent riffing but oddly still not one of my favorite episodes.
    Odd film, very low budget, almost Manos level but a bit more competent. Sorta boring too, but i like the wheel of destiny chart he uses for the master plan – somebody put a lot of time into that uniquely kooky piece of set design. Ok riffing, but nothing that really gets me rolling. Entertaining, but not highly rewatchable for me, so overall i’d give it 3.5 stars.
    The scene with the monster walking around with a red spray bottle & the scene where he attacks the pharmacy are funny enough even without the riffing.


  20. M "Now... DIGEST!!!" Sipher says:

    I think my favorite line from this episode is NOT one from the SOL crew, but from Running Board Scientist Guy, and I know I’m going to get the exact wording wrong, but…

    “They look like the claw marks of a large animal, like an ape…”

    The claw marks of an ape.

    An APE.

    You have got to be $#!++ing me, Pyle.

    Any rate. I enjoy the host segments all around here. Yeah, the Love Deprivation bit is reminiscent of the wire mother bit long ago (mostly because of Crow’s ability to form instant attachments), but the highlight is indeed Pearl here. Her inability to remember what love is, followed by the contents of her convenient basket of “Love Stuff” is priceless. That’s the absurdist humor I know and love.

    #13 jjb3k: Oh yes indeed, I love it when they get off on an extended in-theater conversation. This one you get the feeling was something that had played out in the writing room a few times and ended up on the screen. Plus the idea that they’ve been doing this so long that they’ve developed “rules” for what riffs they can do, and debate the viability or a certain riff… wonderfully meta. Plus Tom sulks so well.


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

    “”Fish bites”, mother!”

    Supposedly the sheriff (Lou) and the black scientist (Rex) got along better in footage that was cut from this version.

    The thing about Dr. Leopold being an escaped Nazi seemed to come out of nowhere and go nowhere. Wasn’t just being a mad scientist enough? He seemed kind of Kramer-esque before turning into a fish.

    Personality-wise, Leopold might be sort of close to what a mad scientist would be like in real life. He’s a disheveled and ridiculed “lone nut” with no one to talk to but his fish, a laboratory that has a more makeshift feel than average, a goal so far-out that you get the feeling he’s GENUINELY insane (instead of just really enthusiastic and amoral like a lot “mad scientists”), and, as a little extra something, a planner wheel that gives him sort of a misleading harmless Gyro Gearloose vibe.


  22. Timber says:

    Definitely a favorite of my wife and me. Crow’s aping of the voice over from the beginning is hilarious. And, I must confess, I cannot get that cheesy folk song in the intro out of my head. This is one we always put on and laugh at when we’ve had a rough day. And now, a fish anus….


  23. Puma says:

    @21 – You think he’s insane? YOU’RE the one who is insane!



  24. Thomas K. Dye says:

    This is where it started to go downhill for me. Outside of the intro narration and the goofy folk song, this episode is quite tedious, and I seem to notice Mike and the bots getting more and more argumentative. (They did in Future War as well… I always found Crow’s snapping at Tom over “Ray Adash” irritating and unfunny.)

    In my opinion, they had two more great episodes (“Track of the Moon Beast”, “Diabolik”) and one okay one (“Boggy Creek II”) but this one just showed that they were becoming tired and dispirited.


  25. Joseph Nebus says:

    Re #21:touches no one’s life, then leaves

    Supposedly the sheriff (Lou) and the black scientist (Rex) got along better in footage that was cut from this version.

    They do get along better, with more evidence that the Sheriff actually appreciates that the Scientist is a pretty sharp guy doing a tough job of fish-mutation-doing-stuff-about, in the uncut version.

    I’d guess the director had some idea about showing some move toward racial harmony by introducing them with a scene that makes the Sheriff look racist and pigheaded and then proceed to show him being decent to folks, although it would’ve made the point better if he’d just been nicer throughout.

    (Of course, too far in that direction and you get Alan Hale Jr in The Giant Spider Invasion, whose Sheriff clearly never had a bad word to say about anyone who wasn’t making the line at Dunkin’ Donuts unnecessarily slow.)


  26. Fart Bargo says:

    Sipher @20-I checked with my girlfriend who worked for Dr Goodall at her Primate Research reserve in Gombe Africa many years ago and she confirms that apes do use their claws in an attack. She points to the attack that occurred in recent years whereby a poor womnan’s face was torn off by a 200 pound chimp here in the states. My girlfriend herself was attacked by two male chimps but knew enough about their behavior, and luck, to escape relatively unharmed. I am sure that the writers in this movie probably blundered into this fact. Don’t mess with Bobo!


  27. rcfagnan says:

    “Sargassum. The weed of deceit. That’s what I smoke.” The twenty minute intro monologue and the riffing that goes with it are easily the best part of this episode. Then the actual movie gets started…ugh. I do like this episode, but it’s so painfully seventies, a sensation that everything onscreen (and, by extention, you and your surroundings) is covered with a thick slimy oily film and all the world’s a hazy poorly colored picture. I think it was best said in “The Incredible Melting Man”: “I learned it was impossible to look good in the seventies.” Segment one is priceless. Crow’s delivery as Dr. Z is killingly funny (though it DOES sound just like Bill as Krankor…) Now excuse me while I go sashay through the sarcasm…


  28. Mela says:

    Didn’t they just re-air this one on TCM under the “ZaAt” title? I think they did, at three in the morning. If what Joseph Nebus said is right, I’ll have to catch it again to see the sheriff’s telepathic powers in action.

    This movie is a poster child for the pre-Star Wars downer sci-fi ending. About the only cheesy 70s sci-fi movie I can think of that doesn’t have a “our heroes are dead/dying/something similarly bleak because we want to be taken seriously” ending is Logan’s Run. For no justifiable reason other than possibly running out of film or good ol’ fashioned pretentiousness, our film closes with the heroes dead except for hypnotized fish-girl and threats of a fishy apocalypse. Very, very 70s but not in the fun way. The fact that the director apparently threw a hissy fit over it being featured shows that it was entirely intentionally non-fun, too.

    As an episode, I enjoyed the segments (I like the narration one and the sailor-baiting mermonkey the most), but the riffing is lacking. There’s some sharp stuff in the beginning, during the transformation sequence, and some good stuff at the climax, but there’s long stretches where the jokes are sparse. Still, I like it when they go off on their own little conversations, too; oddly, they livened up this episode. It sounds weird, but they were almost too nice to this movie in a weird way. Still, it has some really good riffs in there, especially “I need to simplify my masturbation ritual”.


  29. Brandon says:

    I watched this the other day. The movie is so ridiculously slow! I don’t think it gave them much to riff on. This is probably one of the weaker Season 10 shows.


  30. “I checked with my girlfriend who worked for Dr Goodall at her Primate Research reserve in Gombe Africa many years ago and she confirms that apes do use their claws in an attack.”

    Nope, sorry. Apes (including humans) lack claws, just like nearly all other primates. We have nails, which are handy because they free up space on our fingers for the ridged pads that we use to get traction on whatever objects we’re grasping – tree branches, fruit, etc, stuff that’s harder to handle with claws sticking in the way.

    Would a chimp use its *nails* in an attack? I can’t see why not. They’re extremely vicious animals when they’re mad.


  31. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    “They think I’m insane. They’re the ones who are insane!”

    4 Stars. Much better than I remembered, and it has all the things I love in a vintage B-movie that I missed in The Final Sacrifice (featured in the same box set, Vol. 17): strange seventies vibes, some cute babes, and very weird science. The bland main characters lead to more random riffing references. Very strange score/sound FX. Hypnotic, like Phantom Planet is for me: Boring? sure, but a pleasant trip. A sleeper episode that I’ve woken up to. Host segments are OK, favorite being “Crow acts like Dr. Z while Mike shines his shoes.”

    (The following is more about the original movie so if you don’t care about ZaAt, feel free to skip it. Joseph Nebus in comment #11 above mentioned some of this aleady)

    I recently DVR’d “Zaat” showing on TCM and it’s quite a revelation. Filmed in 1971 (copyright 72), but not widely released until 75. The picture is crisp and colorful, though not widescreen. The 100 minute film had approximately 20-30 minutes cut by the Brains that while not adding much to the plot, does flesh out the atmosphere/mood quite a bit. While certainly not a masterpiece, I can now see that the filmmakers had a lot of ideas in mind, but did not possess the means (or discipline) to execute/synthesize them properly (as in Future War and many other failures we see on MST). So while I would never make the claim that “Zaat” is too good to be riffed on MST, I will say that it is a better film than what the Brains showed us.

    • Soundtrack is much more effective and revealed to made up from three distinct sources:
    1: Primitive analog synthesizer drones/loops (credited to Jack Tamul), akin to the groundbreaking electronic soundtrack of 1956’s Forbidden Planet by Bebe & Louis Barron.
    2. Contemporary acoustic folk-songs by Jamie DeFrates & Barry Hodgin. The theme song and a strange tune about Jesus and His disciples heard later on…
    3. Orchestral music cues taken from music libraries (“needle drops” as Sampo called them). More conventionally ominous and dramatic. (Mike: “Someone got a Wagner soundtrack.”)

    • Dr. Leopold is much more relatable in the extended intro with his various fish friends. He explains the science and his plan in a bit more detail. Still strange that the actor is never shown speaking, implying the voiceover is by someone else. Once he transforms, the man-in-suit is definitely a different actor.

    • In clear resolution and color, the monster suit is fascinating. Still cheap looking, but the tufts of red and green moss-like fur add bits of detail. Wonder where this costume is now?

    • After his fishing-net fiasco, marine biologist Rex phones HQ for assistance. Sets up arrival of… Inter-Nations Phenomena Investigations Team.

    • A big deal is made when INPIT arrives in their Winnebago. Strange parodic tone as we can never really take them seriously as scientists. Almost comes off like a franchise attempt or failed TV pilot (proto X-Files?). Also, one of the townsfolk calls the sheriff “yellow-bellied” and a “damn nig*erlover”, which is decidedly uncool.

    • From IMDb’s trivia section:
    Originally the film was suppose to have scenes of gigantic catfish destroying the countryside but footage of the walking catfish on miniature landscapes proved to be too hokey. However one shot still made it into the film as one catfish can be seen squirming next to a miniature fence during one sequence.

    A total non sequitur, but we do indeed see a flopping catfish knock over a fence in what looks like a model train set. If the film-makers had had access to today’s CGI-technology back in 1971, this would have been a very different film.

    • After his failure in transforming the bikini-clad camper, there is a macabre bit were Dr. Z dumps the dead blonde into a vat of acid to dispose of her body.

    • Sheriff gives a rousing speech to the rowdy townspeople – reminiscent of Giant Spider Invasion.

    • Wounded from his encounter w/ “Dr. Z”, a bed-ridden INPIT agent Walker gets a scene with Rex and Martha where their sexual tension is highlighted (again, like the X-Files). Rex has developed the photos he took of the creature. Leopold watches them all from the window. This is when he fixates on Martha as his future mate for his imagined “perfect” aquatic race.

    • The sheriff visits and describes Dr. Leopold’s purchase of an old laboratory to Walker and Rex, then Martha strolls in wearing denim cut-offs (HOT!) to feed them news from INPIT HQ about the heavy water/radioactivity connection.

    • The porch-swing assault on the young make-out couple ends with Dr. Z sucking blood from his male victim. This leads to the comments made later at the drugstore investigation:
    “A vampire rape…?”/”For the same reason he became a vampire last night, to satisfy some physical need or urge.”

    • What follows is one of the strangest scenes ever:
    The sheriff responds to a disturbance at the town’s “Community Hall”. A folk-song hootenanny that turns into a hippie march down Main Street towards the police station. Even the creature shows up to listen for awhile from outside the hall.

    From Wikipedia: The movie strangely diverts from the storyline (…) to show a lingering scene of the town sheriff Lou, watching a small group of youth playing religious folk music. After one of the youth (an acoustic guitarist) finishes leading the group in a song, the sheriff places them all in the town’s jail, presumably for their own protection.

    This is when I felt the director had more on his plate than he could handle. The movie really goes off the rails here when the sheriff smiles and nods approvingly at the hippie gathering. I wish the Brains hadn’t cut this, as it’s a truly weird scene.

    • The End: No major edits. As intriguing as his voiceover is in the beginning of the film, it’s sad that we don’t hear the mad doctor again during the finale. Maybe his fish-brain took over and he could no longer articulate his thoughts?

    Curious how this “downer” ending connects with so many other 70s/80s MST monster flicks with the damsel in distress choosing to become one with her monstrous other: Werewolf, It LIves By Night, and Touch of Satan (genders reversed).

    BTW, I watched the MST episode again after seeing the uncut original and the riffing fell a bit flat the second time around. More a 3 star show, but I’m fond of the movie so I’m sticking with a 4.

    “Nothing at all like the catfish…but it’s beautiful!”


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

    I went 4 stars for rewatchability.

    I NEVER saw this one on broadcast, and i think it is the only one since discovering MST3K sometime around season 2 that I ever missed . So I had some catching up to do. I ended up watching this 4 times in the last few weeks ( on DVD ).

    And in my book that adds up to pretty darn good.

    Question: Does the actor that plays the Doctor also do the Voice-over ? The voice-over actor sounds intensley familiar to me but I can’t quite place it. Of course he may just sound like someone better known….

    I kind of like the way the subject film ends… with the future Mrs. Limpet wandering off into the ocean. That was not terrible. Showed some kind of thought, fish brained though it may be.

    and I am a big fan of highly specialized protective food carriers. Here and IRL.


  33. Roman Martel says:

    You know Finnias, I’m not sure if Best Brains cut anything. Looking at IMDB there are a lot of alternate names for this movie. When you see that, it usually means that several cuts of the movie exist with different names. I suspect that “Blood Waters” is actually the television cut of “ZAAT”. I can’t imagine the Brains cutting some of that odd material out, the riffing potential is too great.

    In fact this whole movie has a lot of riffing potential. The voice over, the suit, the little buggy. But as others have mentioned it’s also got the dour dreary 70’s tone that can sap the energy right out of the movie and riffing.

    And that’s what happens to me in this episode. The host segments are the bright spots for me in this one, and while some riffs do connect, most of the time I found myself not laughing much at all. I’ve given this a spin twice and both times I enjoy the opening sequence and some of the stuff at the end (especially with the buggy), but overall this episode is a real dud in my book.

    It doesn’t happen often but I give this episode only one walking catfish out of five. This is the low point for Season 10 in my mind and maybe one of the weakest episodes of the Sci-Fi years.

    Click on my name for a full review.


  34. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I love you! Soon, I’ll SWIM with you!

    Fantastic episode. Consistently good riffs on one of the best worst movies the Brains took on, for me anyway. I actually feel there’s a fantastic dark energy that many of the “color” films from the 60’s and 70’s have. It looks like they dunked the reels in coffee before running them. Some fave riff:

    I’ve got to get this back to Camp Snoopy and attach it to the ride!

    Invisible Cracker Mom and her Invisible Cracker Car!

    I need to simplify my masturbation ritual.

    A poor catfish blames his tools!

    It’s his ‘What shirt should I wear’ wheel.

    C’mon! Let’s have an Alabama Getaway!


  35. kismetgirl88 says:

    This movie remind me of “blood hook’ the movie some best brain did before Mst3k. (I think it was just Kevin and Jim.) A lot fishing and girl in swim suits.


  36. CG says:

    When I was in grad school, I knew a professor who reminded me of the mad scientist in this film. He’d stare at younger female grad students (including me) for long stretches of time, with a strange smile on his face. He’d often wait around for them after events – but he wouldn’t talk to them, he’d just stare at them. Whenever he was alone, in public, he often talked to himself.

    The point of this story is, I think the movie lost creepy points by having the guy change into a fish. It would have been MUCH scarier if he had remained a real person. The fish monster costume is scary for about 0.0005 seconds, and then it’s silly. But if they’d done a movie about an unhinged, fully human scientist that plots revenge on people who “wronged” him? And, like in my experience, the protagonist had been a person who actually exists in the world, as opposed to a mutant fish? Now THAT would be a scary film.

    On a completely different note, I think it’s cool that the stinger comes from the very first line of the movie. That would be like if they riffed Moby Dick and the stinger was “Call me Ishmael.”


  37. Fart Bargo says:

    RT-I bow to your correction on ‘claws ve nails’ issue. I stand corrected.


  38. Johnny Ryde says:

    Before the recent DVD release, I hadn’t watched this one since the initial broadcast (I may have watched a rerun once). I really really hated the movie the first time, because it was so unbelievably dull and dreary. Literally the only thing I remembered about it was the opening “Sargassam” monologue and shots of the monster walking up and down some basement steps. When the DVD came out, I was surprised by how much I liked it.

    As Sampo says, we’ve seen this basic plot before… But this has to be one of the most ludicrous movie they’ve done. Turning himself into a fish-man by lowering himself into his bath-tub… Why does he have to turn himself into a fish-man before committing his revenge? Couldn’t he have done everything while still a human?

    “Now performing high above the bathtub!”

    Is it just me, or does the fish-man look like an evil Trumpy?

    “It is I who will be right back… To rule the universe!”

    “Fish bites, mother!”


  39. Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh, and they’re drinking Leinenkugel in Segment 2, correct? (I think they call them “Leinies” or something.) I only found out about this brand recently, and IMHO they aren’t bad for an inexpensive beer…


  40. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Gee, I can’t remember any riffs from this one at all…

    Just kidding. Besides the one that gave me my handle, I enjoyed the “Chapstick Hunter” sequence. And “Make him stop, Rob,” with Bill’s perfect delivery, always cracks me up.

    And also one I’m surprised no one’s mentioned (unless I missed it): “Hmm, I wonder what’s on the Sci-Fi Channel tonight.” Kind of a slam on their soon-to-be-ex-employer as the network for maladjusted, basement-dwelling nerds. Which they sort of are, of course. I mean, were. Respelling it “SyFy” made all the difference, as we know.


  41. smallerdemon says:

    I recently watched this one and was actually surprised at how good an episode it really is. The movie is bizarrely “progressive”in some weird ways, giving a black character essentially the upfront scientist role for a big chunk of the movie (even though we get the obligatory redneck sheriff calling him ‘boy’, even though the redneck sheriff totally defers to the guy’s knowledge) until the white guy scientist shows up. It’s so strange because the white guy scientist is basically a complete moron as is his female attachment. The movie may be one of the oldest of the type that gives us a smart, sympathetic, charismatic black protagonist only to kill him off (but at least they waited until the end and he pretty much tries to save the frakin’ day). I like that the movie totally ends on a downer, too. The cinematography on land really is awful, but the underwater work, static though it may be, is not that bad. But it’s basically the equivalent to what the Cine Snob calls “shot on ****teo” when it’s on land: washed out direct lighting on EVERYTHING indoors and underlit natural lighting on everything outdoors.

    The MST3K, though, is fantastic. Great riffing throughout.


  42. Creepygirl says:

    Just a quick note on films produced in and around the early to mid 70s:

    I seem to remember back in a college film class we were told that around 1970 the film indusrty changed to a different and less costly color film stock. I believe it was part of Eastman Kodak. This is why the many B movies we’ve seen look all brown and orange and dull and drab. The colors no longer pop, they just smeer and look ugly and dark. The sound was also in analog mono and optically read off the print which tends to mute and muffle over time.

    But hey! What do I know? ;-)


  43. Ator In Flight says:

    I haven’t seen this episode since it first aired and after watching it a week ago I thought it was just OK. 3 stars. I just can’t really get past the movie,so damn BORING! It’s up there with Manos in terms of a movie standing on my head and crushing it.

    There are a few good riffs like the “ape claw” and “masturbation ritual”.


  44. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    This is a movie that depresses me beyond belief. The combination of inappropriately lighthearted folk music in the opening credits with the greasy little scientist, and the horribly inept sheriff (he FORGOT about Dr. Z.’s attempt to turn humans into fish??!!), along with the typical ’70s downer ending, is just overwhelming.

    There are some fine riffs, however, including Crow’s “Fish bites, Mother!” line that we still quote from time to time; it’s especially useful during our local newscasts.

    But for me, the host segments are just outstanding. Usually I’m all about the movie, and enjoy the segments as an often amusing bonus. Here, however, they’re winners. Crow lurking above Mike in the bulkhead, while parodying Dr. Z’s narration, is one of the best host segments ever written. “Heh heh heh. Skulking biped!”

    Almost as good is the fishing segment. The fish going through decompression, being tossed back so it can “have a chance,” and the way Mike & the bots become more and more Minnesotan, is priceless.

    Colossus Prime, your analysis of the plot was very salient, and I especially appreciated this:

    “Maybe he has the lead on a group of intelligent, MIT level guppies to build rockets/shuttles/space ships for prolonged deep space travel.”

    Now THAT’S a movie premise I’d like to see!


  45. Tork_110 says:

    I was shocked that they said masturbation on the show, especially the way it was set up. It’s a funny riff, but it’s a moment where I don’t want to watch the show with my family.

    Didn’t this air only a couple times? I remember because I missed my opportunity to record this one while Merlin was showed far more times that you would assume after its rights problems.


  46. It shouldn’t surprise you that the relationship between the sheriff and the scientist comes off as offensive. In the uncut version of this film, the sheriff calls him the “N” word.

    My favorite line: (after the scientist descibes fish behavior in detail) “All things not to say on a first date.”


  47. Gummo says:

    This is one goofy-ass movie.

    And yes, I’m under the impression there are at least 2 very very different cuts out there. At least one cut does away with the whole voiceover introduction segment. So I doubt the Brains chopped up & rearranged the film so much as just trimmed the particular version they got the rights for.

    Alas, I forgot to record ZAAT when it was on TCM, dammit.

    Is this the most ineffectual take-over-the-world mad scientist ever, or what? He seems to have spent most of his adult life making his big wheel of revenge rather than actually working on his plans. And I liked that even the filmmakers felt they had to add a line to the monster’s voiceover acknowledging that the final results looked “nothing like a catfish!” As if THAT was all that was tugging at our disbelief!

    “Tom: I need to simplify my masturbation ritual.” The single most out-and-out dirty riff in the 10 season history of MST. The first real acknowledgment to me that the run was ending and they were damn well going to make any jokes they pleased.

    I’ve watched the first half of this episode many times, but rarely make it thru to the end. 45 minutes of the Weed of Deceit seems to be all I can take.

    Nothing like a plaintive folk song to announce your fearsome monster movie! Perfectly emblematic for the muddled mess that is The Blood Waters of Dr. Z.


  48. trickymutha says:

    Great riff- “I’m glad my name is Edward Boy” (or something like that)


  49. Mr. Ball says:

    “‘Tom: I need to simplify my masturbation ritual.’ The single most out-and-out dirty riff in the 10 season history of MST”

    I dunno, there’s a couple mentions of shemales in Horrors of Spider Island that surprised me, personally.


  50. NormalView82 says:

    Having just watched this ep for the first time a month ago, I found myself laughing not as a result of the riffing, but out of unbelievable frustration at the directorial choices.

    I can’t believe the first 15-20 minutes of this thing was composed solely of a middle aged guy walking around and voice over (which didn’t even come in until the last 10 minutes of the first segment).

    Halfway through the ep I realized that this is the only movie I can remember seeing where the monster just goes about his daily/nightly business as if he’s not a hideous fish-beast. THAT cracked me up.

    I’ll have to see it again to remember any of the riffing.


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