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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 (333 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)


• 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.
• 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. Chuck says:

    I saw this at the drive-in when it came out. Thought it was hysterical! I’ve loved this film ever since.

    MST3K did a beautiful job doing to it what should have been done to it.


  2. Johnny Ryde says:

    Related to the out of order host segment, there’s a riff in RIDING WITH DEATH when Ben Murphy first takes to the wheel of the big rig and Tom yells out, “Oops! The tropotine fell over an exploded already!”… before the movie actually reveals that it’s unstable and explosive.


  3. JimmyBruce says:

    Is the Horrors of Spider Island near the Horror of Party Beach?

    Favorite line when the girls run away from the cabin after seeing the dead guy on a spider web.

    Crow: Murmur, murmur, slighty more intense murmur.


  4. Spector says:

    Definitely in the “good-not-great” category, but one of the better episodes of Season 10. Certainly a lot to work with here and the Brains did a very good job with it. Really enjoyed the host segments, especially Mike evaluating Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy in the dance audition! Did anyone other than me find Brain Guys’ “Flashdance” disturbing?

    Overall a pretty good episode and certainly worth watching again. I’d say 3.5 out of five.


  5. Tim S. Turner says:

    One of my favorites of the SciFi era. Dumb, goofy sexiness with a big beefy male lead in a “spider” getup. “Enjoy my beefiness!”


  6. Eric Clap's Biggest Fan says:

    just watched it. I felt violated afterwards.


  7. Dr. Batch says:

    In the ending host segment, Mike perfectly delivered the line, “I got bit by a giant spider, so now I’M a giant spider.” That makes this episode a winner for me.


  8. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Gary: “Careful girls!”
    Tom: “Don’t let my raw sexuality overwhelm you!”


  9. ducksoup says:

    Doesn’t Gary look a lot like Jean Reno the actor?


  10. fathermushroom says:

    I LOVE this movie and the episode it spawned, and agree with all the clever things everyone else has already said.

    Gimme Babs, gotta have some Babs.


  11. H says:

    This is a good one. Movie’s solid and so are the host segments. I can’t believe you had to look up Camryn Manheim though. She was in almost every joke about The Practice back in the day.


  12. Sharktopus says:

    Crow: “This is too much, even for me! Can’t we see a couple elderly scientists in labcoats debating for a while?”


  13. This Guy says:

    Re: host segment order: The Brains have admitted in the ACEG that they sometimes did segments that telegraphed elements of the movie (e.g. Joey the Lemur.) This might be another instance of it, and the way they (Kevin, anyway) described it, I got the feeling that it wasn’t really a post-production mistake. Then again, I haven’t rewatched the episode yet.

    @59: Hasn’t M. Reno suffered enough from having been in Emmerich’s Godzilla remake?


  14. “I usually have to go to a website to see this kind of thing. Like…”

    This might be my favorite episode of the season (It’s either this or Merlin). So much of the movie is completely ridiculous, the movie doesn’t really try to cover up the fact that it’s an exploitation film by including actual horrors (which makes Mike’s repeated “The Horrors of Spider Island” all the more amusing), the dub work is awful, and the riffs are superb. I particularly like the fact that the guys point out on numerous occasions that Gary’s not really looking at this like, well, any other guy would:

    Gary: Don’t you think I’d rather be in a bar in Singapore, with a nice cold drink, than to be in this God-forsaken place?
    Mike: With eight hot babes?

    Georgia’s one of my favorite female characters in a MST’ed movie: attractive, intelligent, natural leader, doesn’t lose her head under stress. Big thumbs up.

    The host segments are all pretty good, with the Mike-as-Gary-hiring-dancers bit being the best (though Crow and Tom’s reenactment of the plane crash scene kills me every time). I can’t be the only one who thinks of Harvey Birdman when they all start laughing when Mike mentions wanting to make a Braunschweiger melt, can I?

    Also, this movie gets bonus points for having another Harold Stassen joke. I’m a big fan of Harold Stassen jokes.


  15. Nutcase says:

    Servo: Hairy palms! MOTHER WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!


  16. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    IMDb lists some alternate titles of this as:

    “Ein Toter hing im Netz” – West Germany (original title)
    “A Corpse Hangs in the Web” – International (English title) (literal title)
    “It’s Hot in Paradise” – USA

    Agreed. This whole debate about the correct order of the host segments is a non-issue for me.


  17. Pixiesnix says:

    I’m completely stunned that there wasn’t any actual nudity that was cut out in this one. The movie positively screams, “They’re all going to get naked and writhe! Just wait a while!”

    I too enjoyed the whipping sound effects during the telephone scene. And why is that guy wearing sunglasses indoors?

    My favorite bit, though, is at the end, where Crow is doing his Woody Allen impression and the movie just ends.

    “Well, that was the time I spent at Spider Island. Did I learn anything? Maybe not. But in the end…what? Hey screw you too, movie.”

    And of course, in a crisis, the women turn into murmuring, helpless jelly (even Babs) and the big, strong man has to take care of them all. Almost all of the women are childish, incompetent at even the simplest tasks, and willing to throw herself at anything with an XY chromosome. Up yours, movie.

    If I recall correctly, the woman going through three accents in once sentence played the “Southern Belle” of the group. Whoever dubbed her needs be forced to spend some time with the casts of “Boggy Creek 2” and “Squirm”.

    I’m off to go make myself a braunschweiger melt.

    Favorite riffs:
    “He learned too late that Coco Wheats can’t be beat.”
    “Reporting for bed, SIR!”
    “Pat Nixon getting down in the White House.”


  18. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Finnias ‘Critter’ Jones (#66): “It’s Hot in Paradise” – USA

    For those with any interest:

    The print on the Something Weird Video edition had this title (although the DVD itself still had the more familiar title). It was maybe two minutes longer than the MST version, none of it any more explicit.

    As I recall, the extra bits amounted to:

    1) Somewhat longer opening title sequence, including a black-screen musical overture (!)
    2) A shot of the first girl killed (you know, the published medical ethicist), with her head in the water. This is just before the long shot where the other girls run up.
    3) A complete version of the discussion at the table, which has a film break in the MST version. The complete one has one or two extra lines.
    4) One or two extra shots during the segment with Bobby and Babs exchanging looks.
    5) The beginning of the scene where Georgia and, uh, the other guy enter the cabin, looking for ammunition (which is in progress as Movie Segment 9 opens in the episode).
    6) A slightly longer ending, with a different title card.

    There are also no signs this print was a cut version of a still longer American version– no sudden breaks in the music, scene jumps, etc. So apparently, despite what IMDb says, “It’s Hot in Paradise” was never a nude version. Considering the original length was allegedly 89 minutes, though, the German version might well have stuff to make Servo swoon. Or maybe it was just more of the same.


  19. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Dr. Batch (#57): “In the ending host segment, Mike perfectly delivered the line, ‘I got bit by a giant spider, so now I’M a giant spider.’ That makes this episode a winner for me.”

    I thought it was a nice touch that for his voiceover over the shot of the missing castle, Mike had the hillbilly teeth in, so his voice had the same slightly slobbery quality it does in the rest of the scene.


  20. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I used to have a cat named Gary. It was extra fun to go outside a call for him. “Gary! Garryyyyy!!”.

    On a side note, Gary has to be one of the funnest names (along with Debbie!) to yell out loud, whether in seriousness or in jest.

    As for the Horrors of Spider Island, call me crazy, but I’ve always kinda liked the idea of this movie. It’s execution is dirt-poor, but there’s something there. Someday I’ll get around to writing that remake I’ve been kicking around……..

    As for the controversy surrounding the out of sequence host segments, it doesn’t really bother me. I don’t really think they’re out of sequence, anyway. It’s how it was made, and that’s how it is and will always be. I’m choosing to just relax on this one.

    Riffs: Before Gary gets bitten by the puppet spider, there’s a quick shot of the spider flexing its legs, Crow says in weightlifter voice, “I’ve been lifting, what do you think?”

    -“Good backstory, Ray!”

    -“Leatherface’s cabin!”

    -“He attacked me, and now we’re engaged!”

    Servo and his multiple faintings is funny as well. Overall, a very enjoyable episode.

    *Also, on my old VHS copy that I watched, it has a commercial spot for the final episode of MST3K. “every show gets…..cancelled.”. I can remember they played that spot ad-naseam, but I hadn’t seen or thought of it in years. Kinda nice to see it again.


  21. Warren says:

    This is above-average for me. Not too boring, great riffing, and some good scenery (I don’t mean the island). It does kind of drag when the two sailors get involved with the women. The stinger is definitely one of the best, along with the way M&TB parodied it. “I won’t go out with a half-man/half-spider, I’m sorry”


  22. Rich says:

    This is a minor point- I’ve been mostly a SciFi era fan and just recently began transferring all of my VHS tapes to digital. I can say I’ve never seen this one and I’m barely aware of it. Why would that be?


  23. Not Cory says:

    This was in fact the first episode of MST3K I’ve ever seen. I’m so new a fan that I wasn’t aware of the show’s existence until after it went off the air. I was introduced to it by Wikipedia, and Horrors of Spider Island was the first episode I watched in full on YouTube. The movie’s so silly that even as a feminist I can’t get mad about it. An all-time favorite for me, this one, if only because it was my first taste of the show.


  24. RockyJones says:

    “Well, let’s go check on your totally monogomous boyfrie…HEY!”

    This one’s definitely a high point of the season. 5 stars!


  25. ck says:

    I used to have a cat named Gary. It was extra fun to go outside a call for him. “Gary! Garryyyyy!!”.

    On a side note, Gary has to be one of the funnest names (along with Debbie!) to yell out loud, whether in seriousness or in jest.
    Speaking of calling Debbie out loud:
    Crow: “DEBBIE! I love you Debbie! I broke my hand smashing out
    a window for you.” (or something like that). (Now what movie was that? :razz: )


  26. Brandon says:

    “Paddle with your panties or your breasts!” I just know that particular riff was just PANDERING to the Sci Fi executives that wanted dirtier riffs.

    One of the girls wears a bikini that I swear must have been the same tone as her skin when they filmed it because in some shots it looks like she’s not wearing anything at all! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Segments 1 and 3 are definetly in the wrong order. Incidentally I feel the same way about 212 Godzilla Vs. Megalon.


  27. fathermushroom says:

    Godzilla and Megalon paddle with their panties and their breasts?


  28. All things considered I’d rather be marooned on Spider Island than Bloodlust! Island.


  29. Brandon says:

    @fathermashroom, um no see what I meant was…. never mind.


  30. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    you got it, my comment on the pleasures of screaming “Debbie!” is a reference to Crow doing said action. For the life of me, I can’t recall what episode that’s from. Anybody out there remember? Sampo? Anybody??


  31. Truck Farmer says:

    To #76 and #81 I believe that was from Devil Doll. And this is my favorite episode from Season 10.


  32. Mighty Jack says:

    Sadly, season 10 had 2 of my all time least favorite episodes. Hamlet and this one. I tried watching this again recently, ever hopeful it will click… but nope, Spider Isle doesn’t cut it. By the end I’m pretty bored with it. It offers up a few chuckles here and there, little else.


  33. Cornjob says:

    “Take comfort in my beefiness.”


  34. Crenshaw's Missing Shirt says:

    “Let’s take this inside!”


  35. Creeping Terror says:

    I’m late joining in, but here are my thoughts:

    1. Better than average episode. Lots of missed opportunities for riffs. For example, when the women are calling, “Gary! Gaaary!” I wish Tom had started singing “Gary, Indiana.” I also would have loved a “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” riff when the Dr. Strangelove lookalike stands up. There were also potential callbacks to several other movies that were missed. (Giant Spider Invasion, Earth vs. the Spider, Angels’ Revenge, etc.)
    2. Dance auditions where you don’t need to see the dancers dance? What parallel universe does this movie take place in?
    3. IMDb says that this movie was a German-Yugoslav co-production. That explains the East German she-males (future Olympic swim team members?) and the obviously non-tropical island.
    4. LOTS of jokes at Minnesota’s expense. Hehehe.
    5. As many others have mentioned, the dubbing is horrible… perhaps the worse since the Russo-Finnish trilogy of films.
    6. The jazzy “chase” music (which is also featured earlier in the music) strongly reminds me of Irving Berlin’s 1911 hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Another missed riff.
    7. Segment 3 is one of the funniest ever. For me, it ranks right up there with Mike becoming Captain Janeway, the swing choir competition, Crow and Tom doing mid-air refueling, and the recreations of the “Pod People” recording scene and the “Are You Happy With Your Work?” scene from “I Accuse My Parents.” Yeah, the segments are out of order, but that doesn’t bother me much. Segments 2 and 3 are just too darn funny.


  36. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    “I am one lucky bastard!”


  37. losingmydignity says:

    This one is all about the movie for me. As an ep I’d file under pretty great, but with diminishing returns. In other words, an excellent ep but not one of the ones that hold up on repeated viewings.

    I really like this surreal sick little flick. Coming at a time just before true exploitation films took over, with their copious nudity, drugs, and degrading violence (I’m not being Puritan here–I like copious nudity and degrading violence in B movies), this film seems relatively innocent, yet desperate to let its freak flag fly high–its just bursting with barely contained hedonism like the buttons on Bab’s shirts (now that metaphor was a, um, stretch). I like exploitation movies and this as close as they ever came to doing one though there are a few other obvious candidates. Somewhere above someone mentioned Dada (and not as a reference to Gary being a kind perverse father figure, ahem)and indeed, this one is so surreal my girlfriend, who came in on the end of it during the torch lit chase to a quick sandy death, was reminded of Bunuel. There is certainly enough in this film for a good graduate thesis…if you have the stomach.

    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.

    Babs is quite the plus-sized girl. I think she owes her appearance here to Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, quite the hit only a few years before Spider. I would like to ad that as hot these girls are the ones in Wild World of Batwoman are the ones I’d prefer seeing all hot and bothered in Yugoslavia (Dubious Yugoslavia: setting of this film and a war or two).

    My favorite riff: When Gladys is alone and says hello to the shrubbery.



  38. Cornjob says:

    “Gary, this is thy God! Tug your pants down a titch, and put on a shirt!”


  39. rcfagnan says:

    Solid ep. Favorite riff: “Is he strong?” “HEY LISTEN BUD! He’s got radioactive blood!”


  40. Scott Bateman says:

    The amazing thing is, the actress who plays Babs plays a pivotal role in Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz.” This is 100% true.


  41. Mel says:

    One of my favorites! It has some really great moments, like the dance auditions. Gotta love a dance audition where dancing isn’t required. I thought the host segments were terrific. Brain Guy pouring a cup of water on his forehead for his Flashdance bit = GOLD. :lol:

    And I could just be incredibly slow, but I had never even noticed that Mike in the web came BEFORE the professor’s body was discovered. But then again, the order of host segments in regards to the film were never that important to me. As long as they were funny, I never really think much of the connection between them and the movie.

    While I do love the movie’s riffing, there were little things about the host segments that I found hilarious as well:
    – Brain Guy writing “For a good time, call Mike Nelson” on the ladies room wall.
    – Mike saying in a perverted, low whisper after Pearl’s dance: “Yeah, Gary likes that…”
    – Servo’s arms as he’s screaming in front of a black screen when the SOL crashes (because it’s blatantly obvious that they’re holding him upside down).
    – Bobo and his little condom balloons, with Brain Guy sympathetically laughing while Bobo touches him with the “tickling” one.

    Oh. And @ 70:
    “DEBBIE!! Debbie, I need ya baby! I can’t handle it! Debbie! I punched a window in for ya, baby!!”
    Haha. Devil Doll is one of my favorites too.


  42. Rupert Honma says:



  43. Fittingly, in the penultimate episode


  44. Dan in WI says:

    If Crow would only put the same effort into his syndicated column that he does his essays, reports and screen plays he’d be a lot more successful.

    Riffs that make you want to slap them. Gary “There you are Georgia.” Tom “Just north of Florida.”

    The dance audition sketch may not be laugh out loud funny but it is fun. I like how Mike mutter’s “Gary like” during Pearl’s audition. But how come Brain Guy isn’t white skinned during his audition? It must be his stage make up.

    Mike may not look much like a spider in that last bit. But I really don’t think it would be a very good idea to give him matches.

    This episode is no classic but very solid and workmanlike. Gary like’s it very much.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Tom commenting on the ballerina’s bodysuit. “Thank goodness she has that belt or her outfit would fall right off.”

    The flaming plane is diving straight down. Mike “I think they’ll pull out of it.”

    Crow as Gary “How big can the ocean be anyway?”

    Mike as Bob watches the girls frolic. “Poor guy thinks they’re manatees.”

    Bobby leans against a tree. Mike “Hey here’s a crotch. Oh. Wrong kind.”


  45. Sitting Duck says:

    Horrors of Spider Island passes the Bechdel Test. There are multiple non-male conversations between the members of the Shrill Harpy Dance Troupe.

    HS1 and HS2 seem to have been mixed up. The only reason I can think of for why they did it this way is because HS2 was better suited for being interrupted by Movie Sign.

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

    I’m surprised no one reacted when Gary said “Now stop it or I’ll take care of both of you.”

    Favorite riffs

    It’s a dancer and her seeing eye dancer.

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

    “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.”
    Well there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about.

    I see a tall Spaniard in a white suit with a midget.

    I can’t believe Northwest only offered us mini-pretzels.

    Don’t let my raw sexuality overwhelm you.

    Charlotte’s killing spree.

    “I simply can’t stand this frightful heat any longer.”
    Ah, the movie reveals its true purpose.

    Man, this is too much even for me, Mike. Can’t we see a couple of elderly scientists in lab coats talking nonstop instead?

    So this is a sexy, spider-filled version of The Tempest.

    You see, if it was in the low seventies, I would never have jammed my tongue down her throat.

    You know Susan, before she died, she told me she thought you were fat.

    We’ll have to eat the Hormel stuff.

    “I’m really fond of you.”
    In a one night stand sort of way.

    My famous Rubber-Armed Puss Punch.

    You’d better hurry. He’s probably French kissing a conch.

    Another character flees the film.

    Maybe I just misunderstood what spiders are. They’re large, hairy bipeds with pants.

    And now they’ve got to stop at Preying Mantis Island for supplies.


  46. Mr. Patient says:

    The credits on this one are incorrect. Ed Dykhuizen added a comment in the IT Lives by Night thread that Brad Keeley screwed up the credits, and that he and Sarah were still interns on this one (and the next one).


  47. Ang says:

    Most of the season 10 eps are some of my overall faves and get rewatched a lot. This one is a great episode for me but my faves do tend to be the black and white 50s\60s monster movies. It’s a shame this season was so short because the show (at least to me) just got better and better the longer it went on. I guess it’s better to go out on a high note than just fade away but it does make me wonder if season 10 had been longer what other gems we would have gotten. At least there was\is CT and Rifftrax to get to the bad movies MST didn’t cover.

    The host segment with Mike in the web is fun (although out of place) b/c the bots are so proud to have caught and cooked up the dead bugs they got in the web. It’s gross but cute how excited they are to eat the roasted potato bug and the bubbling hot with cheese mantis fingers. Yuck!!


  48. Bruce Boxliker says:

    *Crosses legs*


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

    I have to wonder if maybe part of this movie’s problem is substandard translation. Maybe the original dialogue wasn’t QUITE as bad as what we get.

    “Can you eat uranium?” Well, if you’re from the planet Bismoll, yes…

    Per the IMDB, the eight women were named:

    Ann (The One From Minnesota)
    Babs (The One Who’s Been To Singapore, Has “Had All The Boys She Can Take,” And Has No Faith In Cops)
    Georgia (Gary’s Assistant)
    Gladys (The Last To Die)
    Kate (The One Who Thinks Uranium Might Be Edible)
    Linda (The First To Die)
    May (The First One To Audition)
    Nelly (The One Who Does The Whipping)

    So, that might be useful in telling which one’s which upon subsequent re-watching.

    It’s unclear (to me, anyway) which two of these are the duo act.

    “And don’t forget! We work for the Professor and we’ve been gone six months!”


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