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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 206- Ring Of Terror (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 3)

Movie: (1962) A seemingly fearless college kid must perform a ghastly task to be accepted into a fraternity.
Short: (1939) West bails out of the car before it crashes. Zorka, still invisible, steals another car and escapes. Everybody heads back to Zorka’s, where the Feds revive Monk. Before they can take him in, the invisible Zorka rescues him and the two escape. Back in his secret lab, Zorka shows Monk the mysterious box holding his powerful formula. As Zorka tries to sabotage Mallory’s research, Monk attempts to betray Zorka and make off with the box, but is nabbed by the Feds. As they drive him back to headquarters, one of the Feds starts to open the box, causing nearby power line towers to topple toward the car.

First shown: 11/3/90
Opening: The bots trick Joel into thinking it’s Movie Sign
Invention exchange: The Mads have an oversized “Operation” game, Joel shows off his “pin-bolus”
Host segment 1: J&tB do a commercial for The Old School
Host segment 2: Joel conducts an autopsy on Mr. Hoover
Host segment 3: The bots use subliminal suggestions as they complain about the movie; the Mads send a short!
End: J&tB react to the short; Frank sings “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World”
Stinger: “Weird. I guess that is the word for it. Weird.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (167 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)


• This is a middling episode at best, with the highlight coming at the end as Frank belts out a classic song. The movie really drags everything down. Dumb, bad acting, dark, poorly cast … as Crow says in segment 3, it’s a dog. The short doesn’t help much either, though at least there’s some action. The host segments — all of which are at least mildly amusing — really save this one.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 11.”
• Joel’s has returned to the teal jumpsuit.
• Tom Servo still has his alternate head.
• In the opening we actually see Joel jump into the hatch that we assume leads to the “spiral on down.”
• The “bonk!-thank you!” bit in Deep 13 is a Firesign Theatre reference. And for you members of the Church of the Subgenius, the Rev. Bob Dobson is also mentioned.
• One of the first things Tom does when they get into the theater is look the movie up in Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. As I’ve noted before, in these pre-World Wide Web days, I get the sense that that book was one of their few movie research tools. No, it wasn’t the only movie book they had, but they seemed to default to Maltin.
• The bit at the beginning of the movie with the gate getting closer and closer is a classic example of how a dull moment in the movie into something funny.
• Instant catchphrase: “Puma? Puma!”
• Callback: “Chili peppers…” (Sidehackers) “Puma?” (Joel notes they’re calling back the same movie… ) “It’s the Power Station.” (Robot Holocaust)
• Naughty almost-riff: Movie character says “It’s going to start getting pretty sticky in here in a minute.” The bots start to respond, but Joel stops them. Also: “Why are you sore?” (The bots whistle and try to sound casual.)
• Then-current word/concept: “Wilding.”
• The first segment is another one of those funny but long-winded season 2 sketches. And it would be 13 years before the Will Farrell movie of the same name. And, all these years later, having Garrett Morris as a speaker would not be that inexplicable.
• One issue I have with this episode is the conflicted message about the two overweight characters in the movie. The riffers mock the other characters for laughing at them — then they proceed to do fat jokes themselves. Later they become aggravated with the continued mockery in the movie, but, hey, let’s remember who called them “the fatties.”
• The second host segment is very funny–but a little gross and NOT to be watched while or immediately after eating!
• Yes, the actors playing the college students are all in their 30s, and the first five or ten comments about it were pretty funny. The second 10 or 20 were mildly amusing. The 20 or 30 after that were a bit tiresome. They overdid it, is what I’m saying.
• A commenter below astutely notes a basic flaw of the movie: are the students depicted post-graduate medical students or are they undergrads? They appear to be med students (in which case they WOULD be older, though not THAT old) but the movie has them doing undergraduate things like rushing for fraternities and living in dorms. The movie can’t seem to make up its mind.
• And I would add: what’s with the apparent “no girlz allowd” policy for the medical school? The college is clearly co-ed, so what’s the deal? Sheesh. And what was with that out-of-the-blue swimsuit beauty pageant sequence (other than pure padding)?
• The third segment features the final time Joel asks the bots to play the “give me a good thing and a bad thing for ram chips” game that was a fixture of the first season. They don’t really do it, just focusing on the bad things.
• This is the only episode in which the short follows the feature, necessitating an unusual return to Deep 13 during segment 3.
• Again, the previous episode of the short said this one would be called “Crashing Towers,” but it doesn’t actually appear on this short, so I am not including it in the title.
• And this is also the final episode we will get of “The Phantom Creeps.” Has anybody seen the rest of it who can give us a little synopsis?
• Frank really comes into his own with his first song, the memorable “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World” (featuring the classic Dr. F. line “Oh, push the button, Judy Garland!”).
• Cast/crew roundup: Editor Jodie Copelan also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast” and “Laserblast.” In front of the camera, Eddie Erwin also appeared in “The Amazing Transparent Man.”
• CreditsWatch: For some reason the credits are very different this week: the font size is smaller and there is less spacing. Trace and Frank are grouped together under “also featuring” but the words “special guest villians” (misspelling and all) are missing. Jann Johnson and Alex Carr get credits as “special guest writers.” Trace was the “Creative Pit Boss.” Frank wrote the lyrics to “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World,” and Mike did the music. For some reason, the “Set Design” credit is not included this week. Randy Davis, who was the editor for all of season one, returns for this episode and never again. Fuller Productions is listed as the “online post-production facility,” again it was used all through season one and then appears in this episode’s credits and never again. I suspect those two credits are related.
• Fave riff from the movie: “Cause I’m gonna coat you with bear grease.” Honorable mention: “Because he’s got a squirrel in his stomach.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Hmm. The plot gets weaker over here.”

121 Replies to “Episode guide: 206- Ring Of Terror (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 3)”

  1. frankenforcer says:

    I have to agree with the above, I don’t think Joel and the bots are making fun of the old students because they’re old. They’re making fun of the fact that the filmmaker is trying to pass off middle age, or close to middle age people off as 18 and 19 year olds. That’s why to me Servo’s riff about Moffet having a practice for twenty years is so fantastic, it points out the sheer ridiculousness of the film’s stars.

    That and the need to make fun of the two plump characters continually as well as the Asian waitress who doesn’t look asian but talks in the most stereotypical asian way. This movie was fantastic to watch due to the sheer inability of anyone involved in it to do a single thing well.


  2. toot-tootoot-toot says:

    I may have to change my opinion regarding Rocket Attack U.S.A. being my least favorite of season 2. I remember really liking this episode back when I first saw it but when I revisited it I was nearly put to sleep several times. And the fact that the Phantom Creeps, which is in my opinion the worst “short” they’ve ever done, is after the movie adds further injury. I’m glad things pick up after this.


  3. Matt D. says:

    As someone who really didn’t like most of the host segments, I, like others, think that the Hoover dissection is amazing and one of my favorites of all the times. I dig the movie too, although the old jokes get…um…old after a while.

    “Look for the Union label, when you are dying.”


  4. schippers says:

    Ah, I love this movie so, so much. It’s so empty and vacuous, and at the same time so naive and innocent. It’s like a perfectly preserved little gem of a past that never, ever was. Sort of like the “Home Economics” short, which I also love a whole lot.

    This is an example of an episode that I did not care for when I was a middle schooler watching the show, because I had not at the same developed an appreciation for the (bizarre and awful) aesthetic on display in the movie. But now, wow, this is one of my favorites. But I never watch the short that follows it – I find the Phantom Creeps to be, as the ACEG says, unwatchable and unfollowable, and that would be my guess as to why the Brains put the final (sort of) chapter of it after the feature – who the hell wants to watch the Phantom Creeps?

    The old jokes never get that way for me – the best one is when our, um, hero, attempts to put on his sweater, and his face betrays some small effort on his part, to which Crow quips in Trace’s best old geezer voice, “I better put on a sweater.” Perfect synchronicity between on screen action and joke.

    I love that the college cafeteria has no name; the “kids” just call it the cafeteria. When have colleges NOT had, you know, proper names for on-campus eateries?

    I will also echo the previous comments about the age of grad school students. Shoot, even for grad school (even for doc students) these actors look a bit long in the tooth. There were hardly any people in my doc program that looked that old.


  5. tinaw says:

    The book, “150 Movies You Should Die Before You See”, by Steve Miller, says of Ring of Terror:

    “It’s as if a group of actors whose starring roles had been in health education films wrote a script outline on a napkin from the strip-club they were working at, rented a camera, and ad-libbed the whole thing. No exaggeration.”

    I haven’t seen this episode in a while, but I do remember the “Puma” riff, because I’d heard them use it in later episodes. I also remember them making fun of the middle-aged people trying to pass as young college students.

    I think that each time you watch an episode, you watch it for a different reason. That’s why some things stand out to you, while others don’t. I don’t remember the host segments at all, and I’ve seen the ep more than once. Each time I’d viewed this ep, I was focused on the movie segments and the riffs therein. Now I will watch it for the host segments.


  6. Cronkite Moonshot says:

    This episode is alright. I always thought of it being a big drag, but when I watched it again a month or two ago it was more fun than I had remembered. Not at all as good as so many other season 2 episodes, but WAY better than something like Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy.

    I have two theories about why this features the short after the movie. One is that they had the idea for Frank’s song, which if I remember correctly is based on the short, and for some reason thought it would work best at the end of the episode, so they waited to show the short there so the sketch/song wouldn’t be recalling something from way back at the very beginning of the show.

    My other theory, which I think is much more likely, is that they just wanted to change things up a bit and try showing the short after the film for once. I definitely can see why it wasn’t done ever again though. The way Joel and the Bots act on the show, like they were being punished by having to watch the short after the film, is funny, but after watching a movie like Ring of Terror it actually is kind of punishing for the REAL audience to then realize it’s not over yet, and they have to watch an episode of Phanton Creeps as well. Personally, I think it could have worked fine occasionally showing a short after the film instead of always before, but only if you had a more fun film experience paired with a more fun short. It would have been like getting a little bonus after having a great time watching the film. I can imagine if I had just gotten done watching a movie like “I Accuse my Parents”, which is an episode I really like, and then they came back after the movie and showed “The Truck Farmer” as well, which is a very solid short, then I would have been delighted that the show wasn’t over yet. But I’ve NEVER liked the Phantom Creeps shorts, and Ring of Terror is definitely kind of a slog to get through, so in this instance it did feel a little like a punishment getting through the slog of a movie, and then still having to watch a Phantom Creeps short on top of that.


  7. Creeping Terror says:

    @3: THANK GOODNESS the Brains tired of the serial shorts. I find them to be some of the least interesting shorts. If they had finished both serials, we may have never known the joys of “Mr B. Natural” or “Design for Dreaming.”

    @14: Yes, there are adults of all ages at most universities, but the thing that’s odd about “Ring of Terror” is that at this school NONE of the students (or their significant others) seem below 35. BTW, I’m looking for a job professorship right now… at the ripe old age of 27. At one university where I interviewed last week, they told me that the average age is 29! That said, I LOVE the sketch about the Old School.

    @17 and @25: Well said. I know a few med students, and when I saw this movie I thought, “What medical student has time to be in a fraternity?!?!”

    Like Rachel (#40) and some others, I find this episode to be priceless. I think it was the best one up to that point (an honor that I had previously awarded to 106: “The Crawling Hand”) and would be the best ludicrous season 3 premiere, “Cave Dwellers.” All cylinders from the Brains seem to have been firing properly and the movie is so incredibly stupid in conception, execution, and purpose that it begs for the generous riffing that M&TB give it.

    And isn’t it just awful that ALL of the medical students are male? To me that’s worse than the fat jokes.


  8. Professor Gunther says:

    “These are the battered faces of men in their forties.”

    I’m actually a big fan of this episode. The invention exchange is excellent, and the riffing is nice and steady. I also love the stinger, and Frank’s song of course. And I love the sound of Crow’s voice when he says, “hey, a little kittie.” It all works for me, even the lousy short at the end.

    “Push the button, Judy Garland.” :-))


  9. Professor Gunther says:

    #56: Your theory about why they showed the short after the movie makes excellent sense!


  10. fish eye no miko says:

    I think the Old School skit is hysterical. And “Puma? Puuma?” Aside from that, I think it’s a pretty forgettable episode.


  11. dsman71 says:

    The voice drops during the scene where the autopsy is happening..its hilarious..I also 100% agree with MrB(ob)’s assessment of the episode..great stuff overall..


  12. fathermushroom says:

    Hey, what kind of cemetery employs a funeral director who has a HUMAN SKULL LAMP on his office desk?

    Would that be balm for YOUR soul?


  13. Sharktopus says:

    Oh, the Dr Phibes ref is right in the Invention Exchange, derf. Nevermind.

    I just can’t stop thinking of Kid & Play when I see Tom with his “haircut.” And I’d really rather not be reminded of Kid & Play.


  14. Sharktopus says:

    Oh, and as a cat lover, I have to wonder in what world repeatedly calling your cat’s name gets any kind of response.


  15. okerry says:

    @64: Well, sometimes my cats will come to me if they are outside and I walk out there and call them a few times.

    However –

    Their names are not “Pewma”. What self-respecting creature of any species would answer to *that*?


  16. MikeK says:

    I just remembered a riff that made me laugh out loud when I watched Ring of Terror last night.

    When the two fatties are dancing in the cafeteria, Crow, as only Trace can, loudly says:

    “Rattle, rattle, thunder, clatter, boom, boom, boom!” This, of course, is from the CarX commercials.


  17. MiqelDotCom says:

    I also have amnesia with this episode! I’ve watched it a number of times but can only remember the autopsy scene and the narrator calling “Puma!”
    The movie leaves almost no impression but the riffing is good enough to keep the momentum flowing throughout the episode. A fine effort considering the dreary material.
    3 stars


  18. Sharktopus says:

    What genius at Rhino graphic design thought that a close-up of what appears to raw (implied human) meat would make a nice label image for this DVD? :sick:


  19. TarlCabot says:

    Fav riff: *the fat couple dance around each other* An interpretive dance showing how plate tectonics works.

    Just WHO were Jann Johnson and Alexandra Carr? They were both around since the beginning and just sort of disappeared around the middle of Season 4. What happened? How come no one mentions them anymore? Or Colleen Henjum, for that matter.


  20. bdtrppr6 says:

    being an old subgenius myself, it isn’t Rev. Bob Dobson, it’s Bob Dobbs. He wasn’t a
    Rev, He was the god in human form. like jesus, krishna, jim jones, etc. i do believe there was an “actual” tv evangelist named Rev. Bob Dobson tho. i’d have to check it out.

    another subgenius reference i’ve heard on the show was “pinkboy”. i don’t remember which episodes. it referred to someone as a dork, or member of the lowliest orders of humans. unfortunately, the subgenius judgement day has come and went. i wasn’t taken on the spaceships obviously. the book of the subgenius is a very VERY funny read and should be searched out and lived by.


  21. MiqelDotCom says:

    @70 bdtrppr6
    I read the SubGenius book and was a Firesign Theater fan before i saw MST3K, so those references really made the show seem brilliantly subversive & awesome to my teenage mind.

    There were a lot of Subgenius references in the first 5 years of the show, to me it appears to have been mostly Joel & Josh that made the references.

    One that comes to mind is the short “Snow Thrills” the Bob-sled competition is happening and Joel says “It’s the sled of the SubGenius”


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

    “How fortunate! This will simplify everything!”

    Per Jeff Rovin’s “The Encyclopedia of Super Villains”:

    “A scientist, Dr. Zorba and his ex-convict aide Monk work in his secret lab where they specialize in creating tools of warfare and peddling them to the highest foreign bidder. Learning about his operation, U.S. Military Intelligence moves in and Zorka moves out. Sadly, his wife is killed in the process and Zorka vows to avenge her death by using his arsenal to conquer the world. Zorka destroys trains, blows up dirigibles, causes avalanches, and works other mayhem before the army finds his new laboratory and bombs it to rubble. Deciding that if *he* can’t have the world no one will, the fiend tries to escape via airplane and tosses [an] unstable meteorite overboard. Though the space rock causes an earthquake, our planet holds; the same cannot be said for Zorka’s plane, the villain perishing in the cataclysm.”


  23. Mighty Jack says:

    This is not only my favorite experiment from season 2, but one of my favorites of the series. There are a couple of central themes they hammer away at riff wise (age, “They”) but it’s all so hysterical that I don’t mind it.

    I especially enjoy the chemistry between the SOL crew (as well as that had with Frank and Dr. F), they are clicking on all cylinders now and it’s a joy to watch them interact.

    Love the Hoover and Old School skits and Frank’s Chauffeur song is a classic. Thumbs up, waaaay up for this one :yes:


  24. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Meh. This is a two star episode, bogged down my an awful, awful movie. The experiment isn’t a total loss though. . .

    During the opening, I think we get the first of Frank’s many “Don’t you LOOK at me!”‘s that we see throughout the show. (It’s a Blue Velvet reference).

    In Invention Exchange, Joel says of the Mads invention, “They took Milton Bradley and turned him into Dr. Phibes.” Love those movies, some of my fave Vincent Price films!

    The best riff in this thing is the “that gates getting really close!” riff that J&TB’s do.

    Joel: “Look, I said I’ll never eat Spaghetti-O’s!”

    movie: “How does it make you feel to wake up and see a guy standing over you?”
    CROW: “Makes my heart pound!”

    As mentioned above (by DAN in WI @#3) the best part of Host Segment #2 (and maybe of this whole episode) is catching Crow moving the clock ahead with his little claw.

    Servo: “They’re gonna eat the body?”

    After the Mads announce they are sending a short (but first a commercial!), Joel and the Bots stomp and whine like children. Classic. That’s my reaction exactly.

    During the short, Servo: “Oh good, Bob. You killed a sequoia.”

    As we never see the Phantom Creeps again, it bares mentioning (as I don’t think it’s come up) that rocker Rob Zombie appropriated the killer robot from this serial for use in one (or more) of his music videos. Not sure which one, not sure it matters. He was always nabbing imagery from classic and corny horror movies for his stage shows and videos. Well, Phantom Creeps is one of ’em. I’m sure you’re glad you know that now. (Also, this is not intended as any sort of endorsement of Mr. Zombie and his creative output, as I am (to put it mildly) not a fan; just merely stating facts. In fact I’m pretty sure he’s not a fan of MST3k. I think I read somewhere that he actively dislikes the show).

    Frank’s song is great, but a good singer he is not. Which makes the performance even better, oddly.

    In the credits, in addition to being this weeks Creative Pit Boss, Trace is also given credit for Special Visual Effects and Other Fancy Stuff.



  25. Sitting Duck says:

    @ Watch Out For Snakes #74: IIRC Frank did a “Don’t you LOOK at me!” in Catalina Caper.


  26. RGA Dave says:

    Maybe I stand alone here, I didn’t read all the other postings; but “Ring of Terror” is one of my favorite episodes. But I like all the Coleman Francis ones, also, so there’s that. But I find the music in R.of T. creepy, and the story line itself really is an interesting premise…and the ending is certainly perfect. For a scary movie. This is NOT a feel good movie. And all these years after it’s release, it’s not all THAT scary, just gloomy. I also had the hunch that they put the short at the end, because maybe the Best Brains found the movie to be kind of a downer? And wanted to close the show with a bit of levity? Because that Phantom sure did Creep, as Joel quips.


  27. JimmyBruce says:

    The fat couple in the film warranted the funniest lines, but for some who were offended by it, they make fun of everyone, old, short, skinny, fat, ugly, stupid, and so on. This was a pretty good show all in all. I recommend it.


  28. Droppo says:

    Wow….shocked by the negative comments. Absolutely love this episode….always have. It was one of the first episodes I saw and it got me hooked. Perfectly encapsulates the loose feel of Season 2.


  29. Spector says:

    One of my favorite episodes from Season Two. They finish off the “Phantoms Creeps”, which was of course one of my favorite serials they did on the show. And the main feature, about the oldest college students in history, is such a dreary wreck that it’s great fodder for the Brains, as the riffing here is sharp and very funny throughout. Loved the “old school” host segment, though the rest weren’t as good. Yes, it’s a dreary little butt of a film completely lacking in any terror, but the 30-something actors as college students combined with their wooden performances makes it unintentionally funny. For me it’s got almost the same goofy charm as an Ed Wood film. Four stars out of Five.


  30. feelingsquishy says:

    this is a very confusing film to me but i think the riffing is fantastic. yes, even the overdone “old” jokes while at the same time they complain about the filmmakers overdone fat jokes. I even enjoy the Phantom shorts, actually, i didn’t even realize they didn’t finish the serial for the longest time since i tend to see them all out of order anyways :)

    with that said though, this film is just bizarre. others have pointed out the obvious: over-aged undergrad fraternity rushing medical students dating over-aged undergraduate women who complain bitterly about very odd things. Honestly, like most 50’s movies a subplot involving someone’s girlfriend getting mad because of what their friends say is just weird to me. That’s high school stuff and weird to see in such old people. why is behaving somewhat fearless such a problem anyways?

    according to daddy’o, this movie was based on a true story even. anyone ever verify that?


  31. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @75 Sitting Duck: You’re right, I believe. It’s funny because Blue Velvet was only a 3 or 4 year old movie by 1990, so I am guessing that it left quite an impression on Mr. TV’s Frank.

    “Oh, and don’t you LOOK at me!”


  32. schippers says:

    #81 – and Dennis Hopper’s slightly stressed out character in Blue Velvet is named…Frank.


  33. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @#82: HOLY SH–!! Worlds. . colliding. . .


  34. EricJ says:

    Okay, just because I can’t keep them straight–
    Which of the three Phantom Creeps shorts had the guys quickly drive-by repeating all their robot riffs as the camera pans briefly by it?:
    “Oil-can, oil-can!” “Please don’t smoke…”


  35. EricJ says:

    @16 – Also memorably done as a Twilight Zone episode, with Lee Marvin, no less:

    As for why some poor-man’s-John-Carradine goes looking for his cat, has the distinct feeling of an unsold TV pilot that got lumped into somebody’s distribution package…


  36. losingmydignity says:

    Ah, well this one is pretty excellent. I like the riffing. There are always those season two slow spots, but this one is worth a high score for the autopsy scene and the “no one will be seated during the breathtaking walking” scenes alone. Good job with some really empty material. They would do better with Dead Talk Back, a similar film, later on but…practice, practice.

    The host segs are great. I love the rhymes in Frank’s song. “Streep” “Mamet” etc…

    This time around I fast-forwarded over the Phantom Creeps. Watching those serials twice or so was enough for me.

    The old people jokes make sense for two reasons: back in those days few college students were well into their forties (check statistics and let me know if I’m wrong but…) and even if, say, a thirty something guy or gal decided to go to college in 1955 (when the film is set, not made) they should not be rushing or whatever it’s called for a fraternity and acting like these blokes do.

    There are palm trees in the graveyards. California. But are there rattlesnakes in Cali? I didn’t know. Where is that rattlesnake located anyway. It’s in the back seat? Well, get out of the car, freshpeople!

    Fav riff: (not sure of exact wording as always) When the Brains voice our hero, during the autopsy, as being into “it” and not minding too much at all…


  37. pondoscp says:

    I didn’t like this one when I first saw it, but upon re watching it I discovered the true genius of this episode. 5 stars. The host segs are great. I love how the short is at the end. What a dreary, bleak movie. All that just for Moffitt (and his toffet) to die suddenly at the end. Did any of the rest go on to be doctors? We’ll never know. I bet the autopsy scene was pretty gross by 1962 standards though.
    My favorite riff : That Irene Ryan is fine!


  38. losingmydignity says:

    For the record my grade is:


  39. Enthusiastic riffing and solid host segments make this one bearable for me (i.e. better than Rocket Attack USA).

    • Re. the iron gates at at the mausoleum
    Servo: Kind of a Louis Sullivan design. (nice architecture/design reference)

    • Organ music starts
    Servo: Listen guys, all right, it’s Procol Harum doing a sound check… slip the light fandango.
    (s/b “skipped” – still a good call by, I assume, music-nerd Kevin)

    • Short credits
    Crow: Vandergrift Generator (Van der Graaf Generator – yes, a real thing, but also another great U.K. prog-rock band)

    • Lab scene in short @ around 1:26:00
    Servo: Hey, you getting a good draw off that thing? (followed by burbling sound)
    (a very overt nod to bong-usage) I wonder who among the Brains were 4:20-friendly back in the day…?

    • Couple of notes on the DVD: picture is dark, sound is low – I had to crank this one up to really hear it all – the other Rhino disks have this problem also.

    3 stars. Dull movie, but well made at least. Despite the oddness of the casting they perform their roles well. The graveyard scenes are effective, as I’ve always found cemeteries at night to be compellingly eerie.


  40. Sharktopus says:

    @ EricJ: The wraparounds do make it feel like the pilot to a really boring anthology series, don’t they? “This week on Creepy Undetaker & His Cat nothing much happens, again!”


  41. okerry says:

    The narrator at the beginning of the movie (“Pewma? Pewma!”) really, really reminds me of The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Well, the one in this movie is so bony and cadaverous that he does, indeed have a neck. But it seems that somebody must have seen this movie first before writing RHPS!

    Frank’s song at the end didn’t grab me too much. He’s not the singer Kevin is. But it was worth it to hear Dr. F say, “Oh, push the button, Judy Garland.”


  42. Sharktopus says:

    If you’ve ever witnessed Frank performing “Convoluted Man” at Cinematic Titanic Live, you know that Frank’s singing abilities have not grown much over the last couple decades. There’s a good reason TV’s Frank never got another solo song. :eek: A for effort, though.


  43. Thomas K. Dye says:

    #92: There’s a good reason TV’s Frank never got another solo song.

    Ahem… “Nummy Muffin Coocoo Butter.” A sequence I always skip on the rare occasions I actually view “Colossus and the Headhunters.”


  44. Sharktopus says:

    Ah yes, how could I forget Nummy Muffin? But at least that particular song was intended to make our ears bleed. Right? I hope?


  45. Patti says:

    I have The Phantom Creeps in a horror compilation (including many other MSTable wonders) and watched the other night just to answer your query. The movie ends with Zorka and Monk crashing their bi-plane into the ocean by being stupid while what looks like the entire airforce is after them. The magic element goes into the deep with them. The cool robot is blown up by the military (or the spies–this was a little fuzzy), and the plucky girl reporter gets the story. :-)


  46. Cheapskate Crow says:

    3.5 stars, if only there was an option for that. A solid but not memorable episode. It’ll probably be another 20 years before I watch it again. I liked Frank’s song and all the host segments but the movie was painfully dull and the ending was rushed and didn’t make much sense. I think the Brains did as much as they could with this one though.


  47. RGA Dave says:

    Thanks to Patti (@#95) for filling us in on how the ‘Phantom Creeps’ serial ended! Trying to fly a biplane out of the country…


  48. J Master says:

    If anyone wants to see it for themselves, Netflix has it:


  49. Sharktopus says:

    Thanks, J Master! I never even thought of checking Netflix. :-((


  50. Cane Dewey says:

    The weird thing about this movie, to me, is that it seems to be made by a bunch of people who’d heard at second or third hand what college was like but didn’t actually have any direct experience of it, so you have a load of college-y stuff going on but none of it quite rings true. (This goes double for any of the med school-specific stuff.)

    Examples, off the top of my head:
    – The weird are they graduates/are they undergrads thing you point out.
    – The bizarrely inconsistent fraternity initiation stunts, which range from “outright criminality” to “so tame you wonder why they bother”.
    – The women getting mad at the guys for, um, going to class, despite being amply warned beforehand that the guys might have to scramble to the autopsy at any time.
    – For that matter, the anatomy class being scheduled on an emergency basis. Dead bodies generally keep long enough that the professor should surely have been able to schedule the class for a civilised hour rather than dragging people out to the hospital in the middle of the night for the lesson.
    – On top of that, we don’t seem to have any idea of how large the local community is. Is the college out in the countryside somewhere or is it near a big town? If it’s near a big town, they surely are going to have such a sufficient supply of bodies that they could probably schedule the autopsy class in the usual timetable anyway. If it isn’t, what do they do if the course comes to an end and a suitable stiff hasn’t become available?
    – Finally, there’s this bizarre implication that if you can’t stomach your first human anatomy lecture you end up being branded as being incapable of becoming a doctor and flunking the course, when from my understanding it’s generally understood that lots of people will faint and/or run off to be sick the first time without blighting their careers.


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