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Sampo & Erhardt

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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 1011- Horrors of Spider Island

Movie: (1960) A manager and his all-girl dance troupe survive a plane crash, only to find themselves on an island with a giant mutated spider.

First shown: July 25, 1999
Opening: Crow has a syndicated newspaper column, ala Larry King
Intro: Pearl has moved Castle Forrester to a new neighborhood
Host segment 1: Mike gets himself trapped in the giant spider web Crow and Tom have put up
Host segment 2: Mike is auditioning dancers, and Pearl, Brain Guy and Bobo try out
Host segment 3: M&tB want to know if it’s true that you become languid and sexy when you survive a crash–and there’s only one way to find out
End: Mike has become a giant spider–well, sort of; as Pearl calls in from a rest stop on the way to moving Castle Forrester back, Bobo finds some toys
Stinger: The girls scream from the void
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (303 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

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• This one’s not super great, but I think it’s a bit better than “good-not-great.” You figure that one out. I just think the movie is SOO stupid, and the riffing is really strong and most of the host segments (though I contend they are in the wrong order) are pretty good. I laughed a lot watching it this time, and that’s what counts for me.
• Paul’s thoughts are here.
• References http://www.annotatedmst.com/episodes/spiderisland/index.htm
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 11.”
• Larry King’s pointless and rambling column in USA Today was parodied by so many people over the years, so the opening doesn’t really tread any new ground. But their take on it is fun.
• I’m not really sure what the point of the “moving the castle” thing was. It never really gets any traction.
• Probably the biggest downside of this episode is the terribly dark print. I don’t know if it was intentionally shot this way or it’s just a terribly degraded print, but the watchability factor is WAAAY down for this one.
• Naughty lines: “Quit doing your Sharon Stone impression.” Also: “Try crossing your leg now, pal.”
• I believe that the three internal host segments are in the wrong order. I want to think it was a mistake in the editing room, because if this order was intentional, somebody took their eye off the ball. The biggest problem is segment 1, which includes a parody of the “shocking” man-in-a-spider-web image that the movie has NOT SHOWN US YET. I think the order should be segment 2, then 3, then 1.
• Callbacks: Crow mutters “MrXL” after Tom does a cheerleading bit. “He has Torgo area!” (Manos)
• In segment 2, Bill a riot as the Flashdance girl; and Mary Jo is very funny too–and Beez made a great outfit for her!
• In the theater, Servo passes out twice from the sexiness.
• Segment 3 is silly and fun and doesn’t make a lick o’ sense.
• Late in the movie we get a nice example of “good-natured brawling,” a topic discussed by Joel and the bots way back during one of the Hercules movies. I guess there really is such a thing.
• Crow takes a brief “break” from watching the movie, but soon returns.
• No cast and crew roundup for this episode.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike (his last episode as director). Interns Erin F. Erskine and Josh Huschke, who were interns for episodes 1001-1006, return for this one, which may mean that the Brains produced this one out of order. Rob Brantseg, obviously related to Patrick, is listed as an “art department assistant.” Mike did the music for “Those Little Audition Numbers.”
• Fave riff: “I’m not just wondering if there’s a point to the movie, anymore. I’m wondering if there’s a point to ANYTHING.” Honorable mention: “Settling: The Movie.”

130 Replies to “Episode guide: 1011- Horrors of Spider Island”

  1. Sitting Duck says:

    I’m rather surprised they didn’t use, “There’s absolutely no reason yet to fear the worst. until now, we only know that the plane caught fire and that we’ve lost radio contact,” for the stinger. True, it’s rather lengthy. However, the Good and the Beautiful monologue used as the stinger for The Phantom Planet wasn’t exactly a model of brevity.

       6 likes

  2. jjk says:

    Still one of my favorite episodes. There are awful movies you can’t sit through or ones like this that fun to watch over and over. Enjoy bad film making at it’s best. Babs isn’t too bad either.

       3 likes

  3. Brandon says:

    “Interns Erin F. Erskine and Josh Huschke, who were interns for episodes 1001-1006, return for this one, which may mean that the Brains produced this one out of order.”

    So, you think we might have another “104” scenario?

       0 likes

  4. After a string of good-not-great episodes, Horrors of Spider Island gets Season 10 back on track with this (mostly) great entry.

    It should be noted that this is the last black and white movie they would do on MST, and only the second to be done in Season 10. Season 7 also only had two black and white movies, but that season also only had six episodes.

    Horrors of Spider Island is a flimsy, bare bones attempt at a movie. I still think there is something to the idea of the whole thing (see post #70) but the execution leaves more than something to be desired. The dubbing makes the movie extra weird, as does the softcore saxophone soundtrack.

    The riffing is pretty good throughout, but really hits a nice stride once they crash land and get to the island and the girls start fawning around and Gary does his Gary thing.

    The Opening is pretty okay with Crow’s Larry King-esque reviews. Servo’s excitement is the best (“Television shows DID air last night!”). The stuff in the Intro and Ending with the moving of Castle Forrester is completely pointless and none of the jokes really land, but I will say this: in the ending, that bathroom set that the Mads are in is very realistically made and convincing (wait! was that a real bathroom?).

    Also, Spider-Mike mentions that he was going to make himself a braunschweiger melt. BLECH and GROSS!

    Host Segment #1 with Mike in the web is totally “meh.”
    HS#2 starts off as only okay, as the dancing doesn’t really do it for me, but Mike’s subtle little Gary-laugh with the murmur of “Gary likes that” is hilarious, as is the “little leg” punchline.
    HS#3 really just makes me wonder how they can “crash” the SOL. Also, if I’M ever in a plane crash, will I become languid, helpless, and sex starved? And will I murmur a lot? Hopefully, I will never know. . . . .


    RIFFS:

    Mike: “I’m Bob Boxbody.”

    Servo: “Dr. Strangelove!”

    Mike: “Babs plays fullback for the Lions.”

    Crow: “OW, my tender man-skin.”

    Servo: “It’s the Leatherface residence.”

    guy caught in the web,
    Servo: “He was caught in the middle of a cheerleading move.”

    Crow: “Taaaaaaaaking off your clothes music.”

    Crow: “I’ve been lifting. Whaddya think?”

    Mike: “Give us all your Pamprin.”

    Crow: “He attacked me and now we’re engaged.”

    Servo: “She dances as well as Bruce Springsteen.”

    Crow: “So should we get our filthy raincoats to watch this?”

    Mike: “The HORRORS of Spider Island.”

    Servo: “Settling: The Movie.”

    Servo: “Hm, boy, these woman-hater cigarettes are good.”

    **Crow takes a break towards the end of the movie, his first in 10 years. It lasts about 20 seconds. Mike covers for him.**


    Gary!
    GARY!
    GAAARYY!!

    This is a great episode,
    I give it 4 out of 5 Island HORRORS!
    :island: :island: :island: :island:

       3 likes

  5. trickymutha says:

    Babs.

       3 likes

  6. snowdog says:

    @96, it’s kind of ironic that this is one of the few MSTed films that passes the Bechdel Test. Whoever wrote the screenplay obviously didn’t think very much of women. Even Georgia becomes nearly helpless once Gary (gary) is missing. In general, “amazon” characters in movies tend to annoy me, but even I found this one a bit insulting to the llllladies.

       4 likes

  7. JC says:

    Sampo’s coming down pretty hard on season 10 this time around, while I think it’s their best season. I guess it’s all about what you think of Bill, who really seems to have shaken up this bunch of polite, stoic Midwesterners with his East Coast sardonic bitterness. Being from Jersey, I dig it. The Sci-fi era riffing focused more on ripping into the movies, and was definitely different from the good-natured ribbing that dominated the average CC episode. Hard to imagine Trace slapping Mike around like Crow does in the spider web segment.

    “Their governor’s a huge bald Nazi.”
    “Spider Island, home to the stars!”
    “None of that modern stuff, just shake your dinners.”
    “We’re looking for someone who will… sleep with us.”
    “But there’s absolutely NOTHING to worry about.”
    “No… you go the five feet to shore without me…”
    “I’m going to fashion you all into a crude hut.”
    “A hammer, with a long handle…” “That’s me!”
    “He has LESS back hair as a spider.”
    “Try saying ‘Gary’ to him.”

    Great dubbing on the movie, too. “Who has been rescued, we perhaps?”

    Oh, and while I have all your attention: HALLOOOOOOO! TAKE US VIT YOOOOOOOOOO!

       8 likes

  8. JC says:

    I take it back, I said that wrong. Sampo’s not “coming down pretty hard on season 10,” that’s not really the impression I got. What I should have said is that he just seems weirdly down on it in general. Even Girl in Gold Boots and Merlin, which are easily two of my favorite episodes of the whole series, didn’t affect him much. Weird how that happens, was my point.

    Well now that I’ve gone to the trouble of posting again, better leave ’em laughing:

    “If it was in the low ’70s, I would never have rammed my tongue down her throat.”

       2 likes

  9. fatbarkeep says:

    Bought this movie in the Un-MSTied version.
    I like thick women and won’t apologize for it!!!

       5 likes

  10. littleaimishboy says:

    “The Spider Islands are a small archipelago in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. The archipelago is situated near the eastern shoreline of the lake, north of the mouth of the Belanger River.

    “The archipelago consists of eight small islands, and together with reefs the islands form a chain that reaches nearly four kilometers or two and a half miles into the north basin.” – Wikipedia

    Huh.

       5 likes

  11. asdf says:

    So does the lewder version exist?

    I google image searched the German title, you know, for science’s sake, and didn’t see anything more than what we saw from the Spider Island version.

       1 likes

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

    #96: So how does a long-handled hammer indicate that uranium was being mined?

    Well, uranium was a bigger deal back then, so maybe that’s something people were more likely to know in 1960; as recently as two years earlier, an episode of “I Love Lucy” revolved around the presumption that one could easily detect uranium and get rich (I remembered the plot but I needed to consult Wikipedia for the date). A few years before that, Ralph Kramden invested in a uranium field in Asbury Park. And so on.

    The long handle is (I’d presume) so that it’s safer to mine radioactive material.

    The handful of spider-related incidents notwithstanding, those must have been some really boring 28 days the women were stuck on the island. Kind of a wonder that none of them killed each other or themselves. A few years too early for a “28 Days Later” riff. What a shame.

    Mildly odd that Mike and the Bots (IIRC) offered us not one riff about the women’s, uh, “cycles.” They gave us one of those for the slumber party scene in “Horror of Party Beach” and that scene only lasted a few minutes.

    As was arguably self-evident, I needed to check several online reviews of the film to determine which woman was which in my earlier post. A few reviewers seemed to find it odd that Mike and Bobby kept moving their attention from woman to woman.

    They were sailors (OSLT) who’d been away from women for six months. I’d have thought that the cliche spoke for itself.

       2 likes

  13. Numanoid says:

    There are several versions of this film out there besides the English public domain edited “clean” version. A German DVD that includes extended scenes and additional scenes; a French VHS that includes topless scenes not included in the German release; and a Something Weird Video DVD which has nudie versions of the skinny dipping scene and luau scenes (the German version has the same scenes with the girls clothed). If you know your way around the Internet, you can find all of them.

       3 likes

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

    #5 (old post): the woman showing up for a dance audition not knowing how to dance

    Ahh, she was probably just bored and had nothing else to do that day, so she’s like, Hey, maybe it’ll turn out they’re super-desperate, might as well give it a shot, nothing to lose, stranger things, right?

    Maybe she thought she could get a job as a roadie or whatever the equivalent is in a dance troupe. Or maybe she just thought there’d be donuts.

    Plus, again, she might have come across as slightly less stupid in the original dialogue.

       2 likes

  15. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #106: If you examine the results I’ve collected so far, you’ll find that more than a few passed. In fact, I have currently identified more movies as having passed than failed.

       4 likes

  16. Cornjob says:

    Lots of great riffs in this one. The movie frustrates me. It looks like there’s some pretty ladies that would be nice to look at. But between the film stock borrowed from Coleman Francis and what looks like a degraded print, it creates an experience that’s like looking at a Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine through a dirty ashtray. It looks like something sexy is going on, but I can’t make it out clearly enough for it to matter. They needed the cinematographer from Fire Maidens of Outer Space to do the ladies justice.

    That this film can pass the Bechdel test illustrates what a meaningless barometer it is, unless there was some feminist subtext I missed.

    I guess the unrefined unprocessed Uranium mutated the spider(s?) which is why Gary turned into a man spider (sort of). Whatever, but I guess that’s better than the lycanthropy in It Lives by Night where any spider bite would result in a spider person.

    “Tomorrow I’m going to try to pull my pants up to my chest.”

       6 likes

  17. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Ah yes, the ‘Whores of Spider Island’

    I love this episode but honestly both the movie and even the riffing kinda fall apart after Bob and Joe show up.

    Babs is the scariest woman I’ve ever seen.

       1 likes

  18. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Servo: “I’d love to be chased by these villagers!”
    Crow: “Yeah! Savaged, beaten and burnt!”
    Servo: “No, no- that’s not what I meant.”
    Crow: “Oh, I guess that’s just my thing then…”

       2 likes

  19. Depressing Aunt says:

    For me, it’s all about the dancer auditions–both in the movie, and the host segments. Brain Guy as Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance”? How crazy is that? Mike as oily Gary, Brain Guy, Pearl and Bobo’s immediate rabid desire to be chosen, it’s all good.

    As for the movie, when the troupe actually lands on the island, I admit that it slowly goes downhill for me, till I feel sort of exhausted by the end.

    I perk up immediately at the Mads’ various reactions to the condom machine, though. Hilarious.

    3 Shapely Babs legs. Bring on “Squirm,” I love me some “Squirm.”

       0 likes

  20. Depressing Aunt says:

    #109 fatbarkeep

    We who have cushy thighs salute you!

       2 likes

  21. thequietman says:

    For me, this one starts off strong but kind of peters out towards the end as the characters start to flee the film. On the other hand, this episode does hold a special place in my heart. I was on my first military deployment and found Rhino’s DVD set with this episode in the camp library. So one day, our office decided to take a day off and just relax with some movies. I popped this in and it killed. One of my co-workers was already a diehard MSTie (he and I had fun trading lines back and forth!), but everyone else enjoyed it too. M&TB didn’t even need to riff the ‘long hammer’ line as everyone immediately gave a “are you kidding me?” scoff at Gary’s instantaneously correct presumption that the hammer is for mining uranium.

    Good times, good times indeed.

       5 likes

  22. JC says:

    Watching it now, and I just noticed that one of the boxes in the opening segment says “PANDORA’S (DO NOT OPEN!)” Nice touch, funny to think that Pearl just has that lying around.

       6 likes

  23. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #116: I’m reasonably sure that I’ve explained this before. In any case, I believe the point of the Bechdel Test is to establish if a film can be bothered at all to not exclusively focus on the male characters. In that respect, it sort of works.

       2 likes

  24. Cornjob says:

    “I’m not that omnipotent!”

       1 likes

  25. Rich says:

    I don’t think this has been mentioned but if so forgive me. The thing that leapt out at me was the speed and angle at which the plane struck the water. How did anyone survive that, and manage to be so flesh-ly and sultry on top of that? Maybe all the people were constructed of uranium.

       2 likes

  26. fatbarkeep says:

    Depressing Aunt: Just callin’ ’em like I see ’em. And boy do I like to see ’em!!!! WooHoo
    Rich: You should really just relax!

       2 likes

  27. VeryDisturbing says:

    “Water! Water!!”

    –That’s what dried soup mix needs!!!

       2 likes

  28. Cornjob says:

    Re:#123

    I don’t think that it’s so much that we don’t understand what the B. Test measures, so much as we think that what it measures is so small and disconnected as to be rendered pointless. Like judging a movie according to how many grasshoppers are in it, or using relative humidity to evaluate a novel. A measure of independent focus on and development of female characters is something I can only assume is supposed to be a measure or aspect of progressiveness or feminist empowerment or gender equity or some such. And if this movie and Girl in Gold Boots and Mixed up Zombies can pass the Bechdel test, then the test is like measuring a highway with a microscope, or maybe looking at microscopic life through a telescope. It needs serious recalibrating.

    Don’t get me wrong. I understand that women have been treated like crap throughout history and have a long list of legitimate grievances, especially in places where female circumcision is still practiced. But the Bechdel test becoming a kind of litmus test that some countries are even including in their ratings system seems odd to say the least. Or maybe it’s just me.

       1 likes

  29. Sitting Duck says:

    Truth be told, I regard the Bechdel Test and my application of it to MST3K movies largely as a curiosity. Results such as with this film merely add to said curiosity. In the end, it’s just a test, so we should really just relax.

       4 likes

  30. Dr. Batch says:

    Host segments 1 and 3 should be switched. I believe segment 2 is in the right spot because it is much longer than the others. The middle segment is usually where they put the longer one.

       0 likes

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