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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: 1010- IT Lives By Night

Movie: (1974) A scientist is bitten by, and then begins turning into, a bat.

First shown: July 18, 1999
Opening: Mike quizzes Crow and Tom on colors and the moods they cause
Intro: Pearl tries tactical misdirection so M&tB won’t notice that she’s spraying poison on them, causing mutations
Host segment 1: Mike and Tom can’t deny that they didn’t forget that Crow’s not Mary Tyler Moore
Host segment 2: Finding Mike unconscious and foaming at the mouth, Crow and Tom assume the worst
Host segment 3: Mike seeks Pearl’s opinion on his new moustache, but Crow’s larger ‘stache impresses her more. Tom takes the premise too far, however
End: Tom is dissatisfied by his franchisee kit from the Buddy Ebsen Hat Distressing Corp.; Pearl tortures Bobo and Brain Guy with slides from her many honeymoons
Stinger: Bat guy says “Well?” then convulses.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (280 votes, average: 4.24 out of 5)

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• This one’s another season 10 good-not-great outing for me. It’s a dumb enough movie, of course. Why on earth would being bitten by an animal turn you INTO that animal? I get the whole werewolf thing, but that’s some sort of supernatural curse. But I don’t think the movie is suggesting that anything supernatural is going on here. Just some sort of weird form of rabies or something? I don’t get it. Anyway, the riffing is fine, the sketches are pretty good, I laughed a lot, but there’s not too much that’s very memorable about this one.
• Kevin’s thoughts are here.
• This episode was included in The Mystery Science Theater 3000 collection, Vol. XXX.
• Lathrop’s (emblazoned on the bots’ hats in the opening) was apparently a local Benjamin Moore-owned chain in the Twin Cities, apparently absorbed by another retailer about a year after this was shot.
• I’m a big Talking Heads fan and Tom’s “Look at these hands!!!” cracked me up.
• Tom suggests he should be called “Bob Huge Hands.” Hmmmm… Is he related to Timmy?
• Apparently this movie was originally titled “Bat People.” This resulted in no end of confusion whenever it appeared on the schedule, as Sci-Fi Channel insisted on calling it “Bat People.” Our rule is that we call the episode whatever actually appears in the title card on the screen (which is why we use the title “Attack of the the Eye Creatures”). So, no “Bat People.”
• By the way, last time around I noticed that the “IT” in the title is capitalized on the title card. Information Technology? So that is now its official title.
• Then-current reference: Mary Slaney.
• There was almost a “Dale” in this one. Looking at our hero’s hands somebody says “…your hands!” and the riff is “So young looking!”
• Callback: “He’s turning into a damned wirwilf!”
• Segment 1 is classic insane Crow, driven even more insane by the Mike and Tom’s taunting.
• Of course, that’s the always-enjoyable Michael Pataki as Sheriff Menacing W. Pervert.
• Segment 2: Eh. Doesn’t do much for me.
• At one point, Crow admires himself in a mirror on a car in the movie.
• Tom briefly hums the “NBC Mystery Movie” theme, once verboten by Joel.
• LOTR reference: “It’s just a balrog.”
• Riffs that made you want to slap them: Mike’s “bat master’s son” joke.
• Segment 3 a little low-key, but Mike’s expressions save it. Note another instance where Pearl calls Crow “Art.”
• The Satellite of Love has a loading dock?
• Nice job from Mary Jo in the ending bit.
• Cast and crew roundup: director Jerry Jameson and cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti also worked together on “Superdome.” Photo effects guy Howard A. Anderson also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” “King Dinosaur,” “Twelve to the Moon” and “The Amazing Transparent Man.” Sound guy Rod Sutton also worked on “King Dinosaur” “Hangar 18” and “The Slime People.” In front of the camera, Michael Pataki was also in “Superdome” and “The Side Hackers.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. This is editor Bill Gibb’s last episode; he’d been brought on three episodes previous. The credits say that this was also interns Ed Dykhuizen’s and Sarah Lemanczyk’s last episode; they too started three episodes prior, however Ed himself has posted in the comments to say that this was a mistake and they both actually finished up the season.
• Fave riff: “Well, I do feel closer to you since you opened up to me about your stink.” Honorable mention: “Hunter Thompson, Texas Ranger.”

131 Replies to “Episode guide: 1010- IT Lives By Night”

  1. The Bolem says:

    Ah, so we come back to this ep less than 48 hours after Rifftrax’s epic quest for that elusive Demon Bat? It MUST be the work of a Mayan deity! I need to go study some inscriptions…

    Alas, there’s not much to say about this one, bland as it seems between the other two slightly more interesting non-lupine were-creature experiments of Season 10.

    The VHS of Bat People was pretty common in rental stores, which always made me pessimistic about this one coming out on DVD, so even though 1010 was never a personal favorite, it feels like a triumph on Shout!’s part. Not Revenge of the Creature or Pumaman caliber, but an accomplishment.

       2 likes

  2. Ed Dykhuizen says:

    Hey, this actually wasn’t my last episode. Brad Keeley just did the credits wrong on later episodes. Interns always worked on six or seven shows, and Sarah Lemanczyk and I worked on the last seven. So it also wasn’t her last episode either.

       15 likes

  3. Shrike says:

    “Well, no sense putting off the lovin'” never fails to make me laugh so hard I have to pause the movie.

       4 likes

  4. Depressing Aunt says:

    I agree with #98, this episode is light and silly, and it has absurd host segments, the kind I most enjoy. I’m glad it’s coming out in the next set.

    Recently, I finally tracked down the Talking Heads song “Born Under Punches” on iTunes. The “Take a Look at THESE hands!” riff had always mystified me. (Now, if only there were an explanation for “You have a kind face…”)

    Johnny was an idiot. I would’ve done all I could to avoid turning into a hideous, pretentious-tape-making human bat.

    4 stars!

       3 likes

  5. Richard the Lion Footed says:

    This is one of those few (very few) episodes I have no recollection of.
    I know I have seen it. I have it on DVD. I watched it when it first aired and again when you first talked about it back in 2010 (The year we make contact).
    But for the life of me I cannot remember one thing about this episode.
    Sorry guys. No disrespect. I even remember WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN, and I hated that episode.

       0 likes

  6. Cornjob says:

    Re:#104

    I think “You have a kind face” is a reference to a blind man feeling the monster’s face in the 2nd Frankenstein movie.

       5 likes

  7. thequietman says:

    I think a previous commenter’s description of this episode as a ‘sleeper’ is an apt one. I actually liked the sketches more than the film, particularly the housepainting opener and the MTM sketch. I’ve never actually watched an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show, but Mike’s impression was hilarious to me anyway (plus, he also keeps practicing his little “Please!” gesture into the commercial sign), as was Crow’s line “I can turn the world on with my stinkin’ SMILE!”

    As for the movie itself, when did this get retitled? The card for “IT Lives by Night” that M&TB see was seamlessly integrated into the title sequence, unlike others such as “Bloodwaters of Dr. Z”. It even had the nifty (though completely pointless) zooming effect. It makes me wonder if the film didn’t play as “Bat People” for very long before AIP decided to retitle the film and reshoot the title sequence. As someone else also noted, there aren’t really a lot of bat PEOPLE in this film.

       3 likes

  8. Depressing Aunt says:

    #106 Thanks, Cornjob, that makes sense.

       4 likes

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

    #97
    I’m not sure exactly what they were thinking. The bat infected Johnny by biting him. That implies that Johnny infected Cathy (if he indeed did so) the same way, by biting her.

    So he gave his wife a hickey. So what?

    Or did someone on the show just finish reading Theodore Sturgeon’s “Some of Your Blood”?

    #100: He’s a bat loving spineless weenie, and she’s a shrew.

    Well, at least they’re both rodents.

       4 likes

  10. Cornjob says:

    I see your point. It would have been really awkward if Mrs. man-bat got bitten by the Mothman and became a weremoth. I suppose bat people and the Mothman are natural enemies.

       2 likes

  11. Cornjob says:

    Darn, I got bit by a mosquito. So now I’ll be turning into a mosquito man. And with bat people on the loose too.

       9 likes

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

    MiqelDotCom:
    I can’t believe there was not a single callback to Sidehackers!

    Such as? IMHO Sidehackers was too unmemorable to have any callbacks that would be effective.

    I’m prepared to be proven wrong, though. :-)

    klisch:
    It was an okay episode but at least it isn’t Hamlet.

    Which itself at least wasn’t Final Justice, so it worked out.

    Other Stephanie:
    Since SciFi That Was repeated this one a lot, I’m very familiar with it.My OB/GYN was so laconic that he became known as Dr. Mellow Ski Bum.I still can’t remember his real name

    Didn’t that get kind of awkward when making appointments?

    Son of Bobo:
    Fave riff: “Wow, Batman has really let the place go.”

    IMHO that one was just too obvious. If you’re going to riff on caves, why not riff on the caves of that mainstay of cinema, Bronson Canyon?

    Yes, scenic Bronson Canyon, for over eighty years the preferred habitat of serial villains, hairy hominids, giant monsters, hidden civilizations, and so much more! Enjoy our tour of landing sites for alien invasions from Venus, Arous, the Moon, Galaxy 27, Kallar, and elsewhere!

    Not Merritt Stone:
    the longest cave tour ever

    Yet another thing which seemed odd to the Brains but not to me. Maybe she just enjoys cave tours and takes them every few days or so. Or maybe she came back because the earlier one was disrupted by a whiny pair of batarangos…

       1 likes

  13. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Agree about it being a good but not great episode. I swear, the pervy sheriff could be a brother to the one in “Squirm.” Bet they were at the law enforcement academy at the same time.

       1 likes

  14. jay says:

    One of the great stingers. Whenever someone says “bat****” I think of it.

       3 likes

  15. Sitting Duck says:

    It Lives By Night fails the Bechdel Test. None of the female characters converse with each other, with Mary Tyler Less as the sole speaking female character for most of the film.

    And now we come full circle in the Trilogy of Ineffectual Loser Werebeasts. Werewolf and Track of the Moon Beast are both about an ineffectual chump named Paul who sporadically becomes a rampaging man-beast, but still receives aggressive emotional support from his paramour. Track of the Moon Beast and IT Lives By Night are both about an ineffectual chump who sporadically becomes a rampaging man-beast, but still receives aggressive emotional support from his paramour Cathy. IT Lives By Night and Werewolf are both about an ineffectual chump who sporadically becomes a rampaging man-beast, but still receives aggressive emotional support from his paramour, who also becomes one through sexual intercourse with him.

    Having the motel manager burst into your room when you’re in a state of post-coital nudity can’t help but be awkward. It’s probably a small consolation that it didn’t occur at the Bates Motel.

    Does the uncut film let us know if the virginal straggler was killed or just mugged for her car keys?

    Loved the reaction when they realized how Mary Tyler Less got turned into a bat person (though admittedly it’s at best implied).

    Kouban:
    Does anyone know what happened to Multi-Armed Crow?

    That one was last seen in an abandoned trailer on the outskirts of Humboldt, Wisconsin.

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: IMHO that one was just too obvious. If you’re going to riff on caves, why not riff on the caves of that mainstay of cinema, Bronson Canyon?

    Which was used as the entrance of the Batcave in the Sixties Batman TV series, thus bringing us full circle.

    Favorite riffs

    I hate it when you get bats in your pajamas.

    Mutual of Omaha’s Mild Kingdom.

    Hey honey, there’s the millennial death cult.

    But Doctor Mellow Ski Bum said it would be fine.

    “Doctor, one of the nurses told me what happened.”
    You pinched her bippy.

    It have been a better movie if he had gotten bit by a cow.

    “The reason I ask you is I found this near the body.”
    A signed confession from you.

    I ought to be able to have a reaction to that. I’m an actor. Ah, it’s not worth it.

    Got a little fruit for my fruit bat.

    Forget it. I’m leaving you for Dr. Mustache Love.

    With bitter irony, he realizes he now has to call an ambulance.

    I’m sorry, liquor. He hurt your feelings.

    Okay, he’s wearing the drunk’s clothes. Which means there’s a dead, smelly, naked drunk somewhere!

    Welcome to Landfill National Park.

    Please be careful. This will be boring.

    O Negative, now in the new Wide Mouth Slam Can.

    I’m definitely leaving and not hanging around to eavesdrop.

    You have the right to remain ultrasonic. Anything you squeak can and will be used against you.

    I was just pimp slapped by a bat. How the hell do I put that in a report?

    I’m concerned for the hostile, creepy, ineffective, panicky sheriff.

       3 likes

  16. Lisa H. says:

    I noticed that the “IT” in the title is capitalized on the title card. Information Technology?

    Hm, IT (people) do often live by night…

    The Satellite of Love has a loading dock?

    Do you even live here?

       5 likes

  17. thequietman says:

    But I like it here! I love the pudding!

    This seems to be one of the less-considered episodes of the Sci-Fi years, looking at the number of previous comments compared to other episodes. I shared most of my thoughts last time, but on rewatch this episode seemed to just zip by. I remember having a hard time following the plot when it aired on TV (it seemed to have been rerun very little) but that might have been partly the fact that we go from arid desert to snow-covered mountains within the space of a jump cut.

    Fave riffs
    “No straggling, no wandering off…”
    No fun!

    These nurses are on the site Pink Lukewarm Nurses.

    Is THIS your hand?

    …and on your right you’ll see ‘Idiot’s Crevasse’…

       0 likes

  18. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Yeti of Great Danger: I swear, the pervy sheriff could be a brother to the one in “Squirm.” Bet they were at the law enforcement academy at the same time.

    If movies have taught me anything it’s that there is no end to the amount of sleazy, incompetent law enforcement officers.
    Joel: “oh, this guy is the sheriff of everything!”

       1 likes

  19. Jason says:

    “HOW’S OUR MARRIAGE GOING?!”

    This one is a lazy Saturday afternoon episode for me. It makes for a great double-feature with Track of the Moon Beast, though that episode is the superior one. The riffing here is good, it just feels like they’re running on autopilot a little. Then riffs like “Hunter Thompson: Texas Ranger” and the Flying Circus intro imitation come out of nowhere and put a huge smile on your face. The incessant Dr. Mellow Ski Bum 70s jokes are definitely the highlight. Servo’s deadpan delivery of “You’re just a bad wife” slays me as well.

    The Crow As Mary Tyler Moore host segment is my favorite from this episode, though I like what the closing sketch represents in terms of the Brains latching on to the smallest thing in the movie and taking it to a ridiculous extreme. The bum in the movie has a beat-up hat, so they extrapolated that into the Buddy Ebsen Hat Distressing Corporation franchisee kit. Love it.

    The geography in this movie is a little confusing. The ski resort the couple stays at is in Bishop, California, but the cave tour they stop at on the way is more like New Mexico. They don’t really sell us on the idea that Johnny traveled that far a distance to return to The Longest Cave Tour Ever at the end.

    It’s a shame that the Brains had to cut out the groadier scenes from some of these movies, because often the practical effects are the most competent craft on display. Squirm suffers in a similar way from the censorship. In this movie, the fate of the sheriff is truncated – in the uncut version, we linger on him being attacked repeatedly by the bats until he finally resorts to putting himself out of his own misery with his rifle. It was a good cut in terms of comedy, but it always feels a little unfair when the movie’s more impressive shots are amputated. Of course, even the uncut version fails to explain why Johnny turns into an Ecuadorian bald-faced monkey.

       2 likes

  20. Johnny Drama says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: I can’t believe there was not a single callback to Sidehackers!
    Such as? IMHO Sidehackers was too unmemorable to have any callbacks that would be effective.
    I’m prepared to be proven wrong, though. :-)

    That was number 5! Chili Peppers burn my gut! That’s pretty good!
    Sidehackers, along with Rocketship XM and Jungle Goddess are among the most called back episodes, especially in the early seasons. Not so much in the later years though

       1 likes

  21. Ray Dunakin says:

    The geography in this movie is a little confusing.The ski resort the couple stays at is in Bishop, California, but the cave tour they stop at on the way is more like New Mexico.

    It’s actually Mitchell Caverns, in the Mojave desert. (If you watch closely you can even see the sign that says so, in the movie.) Despite the name, it contains no Shlitz cans or baby oil.

    Still, it’s nowhere close to Bishop, though the editing certainly implies otherwise.

       2 likes

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

    SAMPO: I’m a big Talking Heads fan and Tom’s “Look at these hands!!!” cracked me up

    It was used at least as far back as “The Unearthly.”

    BTW in the unlikely event that anyone will recall my comments in earlier threads about Goosio, it turns out per MST3K wikia he sang a song during his visit (I haven’t revisited the scene in years and had thus forgotten most of its content) with the lyric “Gather ’round, children, and hear my song!” which would clearly imply he was a TV character, not a book character. Like it matters. :-|

       1 likes

  23. docskippy says:

    Johnny Drama: That was number 5! Chili Peppers burn my gut! That’s pretty good!
    Sidehackers, along with Rocketship XM and Jungle Goddess are among the most called back episodes, especially in the early seasons. Not so much in the later years though

    Also “They hit Big Jake!” and many variants (e.g., the bit where The Paper Chase Guy tosses the midget in Warrior of the Lost World).

       1 likes

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

    Bruce Boxliker:
    Obviously these two were-bats are the origin of the infamous Bat Boy.

    It’s a bit more complicated than that…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_Boy_(character)

    Cornjob:
    I see your point. It would have been really awkward if Mrs. man-bat got bitten by the Mothman and became a weremoth. I suppose bat people and the Mothman are natural enemies.

    And yet, as seen in the link above, Bat Boy was allegedly discovered in West Virginia, home of the cryptid Mothman, as seen in the link below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothman

    Here’s a review of a movie about a vampire who is also a weremoth, or possibly vice versa.

    http://www.aycyas.com/bloodbeastterror.htm

    “It needs nourishment.”
    “Blood?”
    “Yes, blood. Human blood.”
    “The blood of a young girl?”
    “That would do perfectly…”

       1 likes

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

    As others have noted, the movie itself raises the question of how Johnny could’ve demonstrated symptoms prior to the bite (and then utterly fails to answer it), so at least the filmmakers KNEW that they weren’t making sense. Maybe some explanatory sequences were omitted. Or maybe They Just Didn’t Care…Enough.

    kismetgirl88:
    I love the ending bit. Who knew Pearl was married so many times. Very creative.

    May as well revisit my “theory” that “Jerome” spelled his name with a G and was actually G[erome] Octavius Neon from “Wild World of Batwoman.” If he was the husband who was Dr. F’s father, that would “explain” why he and Dr. F so resemble each other. Neon even created his own set of “Mole People” (presumably using genetic material from the ancient Sumerian city within reasonable walking distance from the surface, somewhere in California; maybe that was the helter skelter city Manson kept talking about but probably not), two of whom later, if you’ll pardon the expression, re-surfaced as Dr. F’s employees Gerry and Sylvia. :-)

    Sure is an odd coincidence that the Brains created a mad scientist character served by mole people who just happens to so strongly resembles ANOTHER mad scientist character served by mole people. I’m sure that is in fact what happened, I’m just noting that it’s an odd coincidence.

    losingmydignity:
    There’s a nice moment when Mike does Joel: “UMMMMMMMMM that’s good……”

    Actually, that’s Mike doing Joel doing Jackie Gleason doing Reggie Van Gleason III.

    “Ohhhhhhhhhhh, that’s good booze…”

    monoceros4:
    Yeah, we can all make fun of the not very wolf-like creatures in Wurhwilf or the wretched were-lizard costuming in Moon Beast but, by God, at least both movies actually bother to show something.

    When a horror movie doesn’t showcase its monster, that’s generally a sign that the filmmakers are well-aware that they’ve got a really crappy monster on their hands.

    Kouban:
    Does anyone know what happened to Multi-Armed Crow?

    I just figured they added extra arms to the “usual” Crow, then later removed them.

    Gorn Captain:
    I got Paul Carr’s autograph at a con a few years after this aired, and my brain just didn’t connect him to MST at the time! Must have been the lack of moustache. I’ll always wonder if he knew about “Dr. Mellow”.

    Well, there is this thing called the inn-ter-nett that allows one to receive unsolicited messages about obscure points of one’s life from total and not-infrequently disturbing strangers…
    ;-)

       2 likes

  26. Cornjob says:

    Why wasn’t the man-bat named Paul? Isn’t that protocol for wienie shapeshifters?

       0 likes

  27. yelling_into_the_void says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:

    When a horror movie doesn’t showcase its monster, that’s generally a sign that the filmmakers are well-aware that they’ve got a really crappy monster on their hands.

    Maybe they just couldn’t afford to show the monster…

       1 likes

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

    Ray Dunakin: It’s actually Mitchell Caverns, in the Mojave desert. (If you watch closely you can even see the sign that says so, in the movie.) Despite the name, it contains no Shlitz cans or baby oil.

    Yet.

       1 likes

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

    “Mike seeks Pearl’s opinion on his new moustache, but Crow’s larger ‘stache impresses her more”

    While re-watching the Beast of Yucca Flats episode not long ago, I noticed that during the Host Segment where the SOL encountered a ship of partiers, the partier played by Mary Jo Pehl (who of course also plays Pearl) flirted with Crow. Looks like a whole other thing going on with Mary Jo and Crow…

       1 likes

  30. Cornjob says:

    I love Servo’s giant mustache. Always makes me laugh.

       0 likes

  31. Lisa H. says:

    I “love” Crow’s creepy heh-heh-heh, heh-heh-heh…

       1 likes

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