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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: 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, a la 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 (331 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.
• 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 is 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.”

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

  1. touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    SAMPO: In the theater, Servo passes out twice from the sexiness.

    Which was odd when you think about it (“So don’t think about it.”), because when was the last time anyone was turned on by black-and-white sexiness, anyway?

    Babs certainly makes the blood drain from my brain and rush to support other body parts.

    I mean my skeletal muscles, in preparation to defend myself in case she tries to violently assault me.

       2 likes

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

    OFF-TOPIC
    Occasionally occurs to me to wonder:

    Are the bridge and the theater supposed to be on opposite ends of the ship? Wouldn’t that mean that the human and the bots must travel the full length of the ship EIGHT TIMES per episode?

    One might reasonably have expected Joel to set up some sort of back-and-forth tram system (and for Mike and/or the Bots to have broken it), but who knows.

    AND NOW BACK TO OUR FILM.

    losingmydignity:
    But there are plenty of missed opportunties through out (the Brains actually did very little with the ridiculous dubbed voices) and this one never quite takes off to greatness.

    Well, after all, the ridiculous dubbed voices aren’t attributable to the original filmmakers; no point in OVERLY mocking the film about it.

    Mel:
    – Brain Guy writing “For a good time, call Mike Nelson” on the ladies room wall.

    I don’t recall, was he seen going as far as to write down a phone number?

    Sitting Duck:
    Hundreds of dancers are loaded into a C-31 transport and dropped on Singapore.

    “Hundreds of young girls, packed in ice and shipped to the Columbia Valley!”

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Crow:“He attacked me and now we’re engaged.”

    Did that call for a Luke-and-Laura riff as a follow-up? Or not…?

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Servo:“She dances as well as Bruce Springsteen.”

    And here, should that have been “Elaine Benes” instead of “Bruce Springsteen”? Would that have sold the bit better?

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    **Crow takes a break towards the end of the movie, his first in 10 years.

    Well, yeah, except for the Five-Frickin’-Hundred-Frickin’-Year break he took between Years Seven and Eight…

    Cornjob:
    “I’m not that omnipotent!”

    When Observer uses that word, I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

    Rich:
    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.

    Well, if so, and if one COULD eat uranium, it might have ended up as an Italian film instead…

    It occurred to me that the Brains’ use of words like “whore” and “hooker” and “skank” during the SFC years — in contrast to the CC years, where I don’t right off recall them doing so — can be perceived as just another example (I might try to collect them all if it wouldn’t be such a disheartening endeavor) of the resentment and bitterness that the SF Channel and/or Bill Corbett brought to the table. IMHO. Beaulieu-Crow would never have used words like that. IMHO. Unless he did, of course.

    In “Girl in Lovers Lane” Joel referred to a female character as a prostitute but she was in fact a prostitute so that doesn’t really count. Saying that it was impossible to shame her because she was a prostitute, though, well, that struck me as a little harsh.

       1 likes

  3. Sitting Duck says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    When Observer uses that word, I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

    It means what he chooses it to mean.

       1 likes

  4. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: And here, should that have been “Elaine Benes” instead of “Bruce Springsteen”? Would that have sold the bit better?

    Well, they did reference Elaine Benes in “Girl in Gold Boots”

    “She(Michelle) makes Elaine Benes look like a good dancer”

       1 likes

  5. Cornjob says:

    “It was 28 Days Later.”

    I thought that was a rage virus zombie movie set in the U.K.

       0 likes

  6. Cornjob says:

    Was Gary choosing the dancers by crossing his legs supposed to be subtle. Because it really wasn’t. I’m surprised the agent didn’t catch on. And what was the point of the deception? To make the dancers think the lady pretending to choose them was their advocate or something. I fail to see the point

       0 likes

  7. Jason says:

    Guy In Movie: Better dead than continue living.
    Crow: As a general rule, I’m not sure I agree…

    The final black-and-white feature of the Eden Prairie Era is a winner. The movie can drag, but at the same time it’s so goofy and provides so much fodder, and the gang really makes the best of it with what feels like higher engagement compared to the previous episode. And anyway, the presence of a Sideshow Bob reference definitionally ups the resell value.

    Crow snapping at an innocent inquiry about whether Spider Gary is strong is a nice Corbett moment, as is the gravid break that Crow feels entitled to take soon after. And I know the category is competitive, but “Hey alright you really don’t know where to start here” has got to be one of the stupidest lines in an MST3K movie both on paper and in delivery, and Mike’s laugh is the perfect reaction to it. Sometimes, a riff would be redundant.

    I love the relocating-the-castle storyline precisely because it’s pointless. Brain Guy pointing this out only to get kicked in the shin is vintage Pearl. The whole premise would have been worth it if all we had gotten was Mary Jo’s casual reference at the end to having “the castle back up on the flatbed out there.” I enjoy that even when they converted Pearl into a mad scientist wannabe in Season 9 they still let that Midwestern Trailer Trash Aunt persona bubble up on occasion. Mary Jo’s work in the Sci-Fi Era really holds up for me.

       2 likes

  8. I feel that I must have missed something. There are eight women to begin with. One does early by the water. Gladys dies near the end after she falls off the cliff. That should leave six women. But I see only five on the boat at the end. Did one more die and I missed it somehow? (I might have, since I had a distraction going on while I was watching)

       0 likes

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