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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 & 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 & 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 & 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 Corporation; 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 (255 votes, average: 4.21 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. I don’t get the sense that the movie makers are trying to suggest 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 will be included in The Mystery Science Theater 3000 collection, Vol. XXX, later this year.
• 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 as Joel/Mike and the bots are watching it (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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Decker
• 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 late 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 also directed “Superdome.” Cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti also worked 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. This was also interns Ed Dykhuizen’s and Sarah Lemanczyk’s last episode; they too started three episodes prior.
• Fave riff: “Well, I do feel closer to you since you opened up to me about your stink.” Honorable mention: “Hunter Thompson, Texas Ranger.”

111 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.

       11 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.

       3 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.

       4 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.

       3 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.

       3 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.

       7 likes

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