Movie: (1968) Super-thief Diabolik performs several daring heists, then sets his sights on a shipment of gold.
First shown: August 8, 1999
Opening: M&TB discover the SOL employee handbook
Intro: Pearl has a new joystick, which leads to re-entry protocol
Host segment 1: Crow and Mike are packed; while Servo disposes of the many extra hims
Host segment 2: In Castle Forrester, everybody is lining up new gigs
Host segment 3: Crow is worried, so Mike sings a reassuring song
End: After the crash, M&TB settle in to their new home with a familiar pasttime
Stinger: “Is that stud coming?”
• And so we come to the final episode, and, of course, this is one where the host segments outweigh the movie. Like all the big premise-changing episodes, the host segments are once again a marvel of tight, efficient (and funny!) story telling. As for the movie, it’s sort of “Danger Death Ray”/”Double 007″ meets “Batman” and, well, yes, it certainly is pretty to look at. The riffing is steady and workmanlike, but there’s little that’s memorable. Maybe that was somehow intentional, so as not to draw too much attention away from the segments.
• Mary Jo (with an assist from Bill, Patrick and Paul) offers her thoughts.
• References. (And this will be the last time we use this site for a while. They never tackled any KTMAs or Season 1 eps.) I noticed a couple they missed: “Okay, I’ll go hang with Nova for a while” is a reference to the fact that the woman looks a bit like the female lead of “Planet of the Apes.” Also “Flaming truck at Brixton, 20 minutes late” is a
Monty Python “Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin” reference.
• While this episode was being made, Jim Mallon stalked the halls with a video camera, documenting the event. The footage was later released on video as “The Last Dance: Raw.” I watched it before actually watching this episode, and it is interesting in a couple of respects. First, if it does nothing else, it captures the tedium of TV production. There is a lot of standing around waiting, and this gives us a real sense of that. Second, it gives a brief shot of where I scrawled on the back of the SOL set. Kewl. Finally, yes, the MST3K process has been described many times, but there’s nothing like actually seeing people doing it. So, if you haven’t given it a look, it’s worth one. But I doubt you’ll want to watch it again.
• I think a lot of MSTies agree that this was a strange choice for a final movie. We discussed it here.
• But I do have one question for the movie: What is the point of covering your face with a form-fitting mask that doesn’t disguise you at all? As proof of this I simply have to note that, despite the face coverings, every cop who encounters him immediately knows who he is.
• Many, many naughty riffs during the “rolling around in the bed full of money” scene.
• There’s a strange little moment I’d never noticed in previous viewings. In one scene, the lovely Eva climbs into Diabolik’s car and as she does so we get a very brief glimpse of VERY high (stocking covered) inner thigh. Crow is the only one who reacts, and he does so only very quietly. I wonder if they just couldn’t decide whether to make a big deal out of it or not.
• I wonder if Esso (now Exxon) paid for the blatant product placement they got. Having the service station attendant actually say “Tiger’s in the tank, ma’am” is a little over the top.
• I really like the little explosion sound effect they use in segment 1 as Tom disposes of the extra Toms. It’s a very satisfying little “boom.”
• Callbacks: “Welcome, Dr, Meecham!” (MST3K: The movie) “Ha-ha! I’m useless against your weapons!” (Prince of Space).
• Mike references the “giant fiberglass muskie in Hayward Wisconsin,” a landmark that is also depicted in the movie “Blood Hook,” directed by Jim Mallon.
• Crow’s concern about “traffic accidents” echoes a similar concern by
the little girl little Akio in the movie in episode 312- GAMERA VS. GUIRON. I wonder who on the staff made that connection.
• During the song, Mike produces Crow’s “mother” from episode 602- INVASION USA. Wonder how much they had to dig in the prop room for that!
• I just want to note that the song in segment 3 is the second time in the series that a song rhymes “Earth” with “Colin Firth.”
• The final bit in Castle Forrester makes a reference to the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” finale, where the cast similarly huddled together and sang “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Or maybe there’s a law that any TV show connected to the Twin Cities has to end that way.
• That’s the voice of Peter Rudrud as the TV announcer.
• The final bit, in which Mike and Bots settle in and start riffing on “The Crawling Eye,” the movie Joel and the bots riffed in the first national episode, is cute and kind of satisfying. But a lot of fans noticed a little goof: We can’t see the screen, of course, but based on their riffing, it seems that the first thing they see is opening credits. The problem is that “The Crawling Eye” doesn’t start that way. It starts with a cold opening, showing some characters mountain climbing (and then one of the characters is killed). The credits don’t begin until several minutes into the movie. Kind of ruined it for some people. But the bit is such a lovely bit of closure I can’t fault them.
• Fave riff: “Member FDIC…”
Reminder: Next week we will begin our journey through the KTMA years with episode K04- GAMERA VS. BARUGON.