Movie: (1981) In the future, a clone is rescued from space, lives on Earth for a while, then leads her friends to her polluted and desperate home world.
First shown: 1/29/89
Opening: The Mads are furious to learn that last week’s ratings were higher, despite being opposite the Super Bowl
Host segment 1: J&TB enjoy a game of tag
Host segment 2: Servo hits on a blender
Host segment 3: J&TB demonstrate surrealism
End: Servo and Joel discuss the Village People and end with a “Dating Game”-style goodbye kiss
Joe’s notes: During the ending segment, Crow discusses what he plans to do in the upcoming week. This segment feels improvised, and it’s one of the few times in MST3K’s history in which Trace can’t think of anything funny to say. It’s almost painful to hear him bluff his way through.
• Three of the host segments from this film were later reused in Season One shows, making this one of the most heavily-plundered KTMA episodes. Segment 1 was later re-shot in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES. Segment 2 was later recycled, almost word-for-word, in episode 103- MAD MONSTER. A sketch somewhat similar to segment 3 appeared in episode 107- ROBOT MONSTER.
• It’s unclear why the Brains think the movie is Czech. It’s Russian. But that doesn’t stop Servo from making a “corn Czechs” joke.
• In the opening segment, after movie sign is announced, the Bots chase Joel down the corridor leading into the movie theater. Both Joel and Mike have run down the corridor, but seeing Crow and Tom follow is new.
• I’ve been noticing something in these episodes: Joel hasn’t really embraced the “the right people will get it” mentality yet. A lot of times Josh or Trace will make a reference and not explain it, and Joel will, almost reflexively, explain the joke. A good example in this episode is the “Kiki Dee” reference which Servo makes and Joel then explains.
• Then-current reference: a “Certs encounter.”
• Obscure reference: “Dirk, Stig, Nasty and Barry.”
• Not sure if this is my DVD or the way it actually happened, but there is no “movie sign” transition between segment 3 and the theater.
• Movie stuff: The movie was originally titled “Cherez Ternii K Zvedam” (in Russian) and was shown in two parts: “Iskusstvennyl Chelovek” and “Angely Kosmosa.” When exported to the west, it was initially titled with the Latin phrase “Per Aspera Ad Astra” then retitled with the rough English translation of that phrase: “To the Stars by Hard Ways.” Sheesh.
• According to the IMDB, the director’s son has reedited/restored the original, which purists insist is far more interesting than the Sandy Frank version. Sounds a lot like purists who swear by restored “Solaris” (which I found impenetrable, but others whose opinions I respect really enjoyed).
• It’s definitely another case, like all the other Russian films that were riffed over the years, that, whatever it’s flaws, it had a huge budget and it’s fascinating to look at, even if you don’t know what the Sam Hill is goin’ on.
• Fave riff: “Why did she crawl inside the espresso machine?” Honorable mention: “I don’t know what installing a roller coaster will do, but…”