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Episode guide: 301- Cave Dwellers

Movie: (1984) An evil overlord imprisons a wise man in order to learn the whereabouts of a powerful weapon. Ator the barbarian and his pals are determined to rescue him.

First shown: 6/1/91
Opening: J&tB consider new names
Invention exchange: The renaming thing gets out of hand, while in Deep 13, Dr. F loses patience with Frank’s “Mike Douglas Show” recreation; Joel’s invention is a smoking jacket, while the Mads demonstrate robotic arm wrestling
Host segment 1: J&tB reenact the half-screen slo-mo credit sequence
Host segment 2: Joel explains how giving extraordinary names to ordinary things can dress them up a bit
Host segment 3: Joel gives a foley demonstration
End: J&tB rail against the movie, which pleases the Mads
Stinger: “Thong! The fish is ready!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (189 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)


• This one takes a little while to get going (it doesn’t help that a big chunk of the first part of the movie is flashbacks to the movie this is a sequel of), but once it does, the riffing gets up to speed and it really is hilarious. The host segments are mostly in the more-clever-than-funny variety, but we’re so comfortable with these characters by now, clever is usually enough. The movie, as Joel and the bots note in the ending segment, is a bit of a hard ride, but it’s perfect for our experiments.
• One of the first things Joel says is: “Looks like we’re back on, everybody!” implying that there’s been some sort of break in communication. And, well, there had been, but not that long: The stretch between the end of season 2 and the beginning of season 3 was 119 days, the ninth-longest (or second-shortest, depending on how you look at it) amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 2.”
• It was with this episode that the real heyday of the series began. In the ACEG, Kevin notes it was the first of SEVENTY-TWO contracted episodes (in fact, they’d do at total of 96 episodes from this point before Comedy Central grew weary of them). It was an almost unheard-of situation in the TV business, and you can almost feel them settle in for the long haul.
• That massive contract is perhaps the best evidence of how much CC officials considered this the network’s “signature series.” More evidence: June 1 was the day CC officially went on the air (after two months as “CTV” ): this episode was one of the shows that ran that day.
• Many of the catchphrases that we’d hear again and again are heard for the first time in this episode, including “…later…later…,” “bite me, it’s fun!” “It’s not a comic book, it’s a graphic novel!” “they’re kinda dumb and easy to kill” and “Go to bed, old man!”
• Dr. F. gives the whole “stranded in space” premise a boost by asking Joel, “How did you fare going through the asteroid belt?” (Apparently not well. Jeepers, ow.)
• Tom is wearing a fez.
• The whole “Mike Douglas Show” bit (a decade before “Seinfeld” would explore similar terrain) establishes the “Man in My Little Girl’s Life” as a piece of mental furniture for this show.
• In the invention exchange, Dr. F. is wearing his baseball cap backwards in a homage to the movie “Over the Top.”
• Before, FVI got hold of it, this movie was called “Ator The Invincible.” On video it was titled “The Blade Master.” It was a sequel to “Ator the Fighting Eagle” (1983) and the prequel to “the Iron Warrior” (1986).
• One of the commenters identified the movie that the clips used during the opening credits came from. It’s a sword-and-sandal flick called “Taur: the Mighty.”
• Oddest non sequitur: Joel says, “and…bring me the head of Gallagher!” apropos of nothing on the screen.
• Segment one just kind of establishes the premise then kills time. The credits are moderately amusing, though.
• Segment two feels very season two-ish: very wordy but funny.
• Segment three also feels like something out of early season two, akin to Joel’s zero-gravity or gobos lectures.
• At the end of segment three, Trace does the voice of TV’s Madam, but gets mixed up and makes Crow’s mouth move for a moment. Oops! They keep going.
• Callbacks: “The driver is either missing or he’s dead!” (Phantom Creeps); “Pyuma?!” (Ring of Terror) “I say it’s foggy!” (The Crawling Eye) “It’s the Aztec mummy!” “What’s Your Dream?” (Rocketship X-M)
• Obscure riff: As the cave man eats human heart: “I wanna Barney Clark bar!” In 1983, Clark was the first person to receive a permanent, implanted artificial heart; he lived 112 days.
• Vaguely dirty riff: “It’s the speedy delivery guy and has he got a package!”
• Great wordplay: “I think it’s the Kurds.” “And whey?” “Yes, way!”
• Tom’s little “Ator’s kite” song is great, and Joel’s little harmony at the end really makes it charming.
• I just love that face Joel pulls at the beginning of that final host segment.
• How much Keeffe does this movie have? Miles O’Keeffe, perhaps best known for 1981’s “Tarzan the Ape Man” with Bo Derek, apparently doesn’t take his acting ability too seriously. He reportedly contacted BBI after seeing this episode and told them he loved it.
• Cast and Crew roundup: Art director Massimo Lentini also served that role on the “Escape 2000” and Casiomeister Karl Michael Demer is back doing the credits music as mentioned previously.
• CreditsWatch: Several changes have taken place in the credits. For one, former production assistant Jann Johnson is now production coordinator (while Alex Carr remained production manager–wonder how that worked). That’s intern Christopher Wurst as the moleman Gerry, refereeing the robot arm wrestling. Wurst must have put his foot down during the making of this episode about how hot it was inside the mask: Gerry and Sylvia would never be seen again. Trace and Frank are no longer “Special Guest ‘Villians’ (misspelled)” as they were throughout season two. The lines “Special Effects and Other Fancy Stuff: Trace Beaulieu” have been removed, as has “Additional Visual Effects: Industrial Plumbing and Heating,” which I suspect was just a joke anyway. New to the credits are technical supervisor Timothy Scott and manager of business affairs Heide LeClerc. And in the thank yous: Randy Herget has been removed and Bill W. has been added (probably at the urging of Frank Conniff). The interns were Thomas Alphonso, Cyn Eells, Tom Henderson and Christopher Wurst. Wurst also got a “Contributing writers” credit, along with Briget. Also, the music during segment 1, which he titled “Jupiter,” were written and arranged by Mike. I tweeted him about what “Jupiter” means and he replied, “that may have simply been the name of the tone on the keyboard.”
• Fave riff: “Gomez! I’ve invented the wheel!!” Honorable mention: “I say: You could drive a Mack truck through your cues! Tempo! Tempo!”

181 comments to Episode guide: 301- Cave Dwellers

  • 1
    Zee says:

    While a big fan of season three the first two episode of it, CAVE DWELLERS and GAMERA, kind of leave me cold. I always had trouble following this movie and the internal host segments are kind of forgettable. I like the intro and outro host segments, though. Oh, and the scene where Ator build a hang-glider is classic.

    Anyone know why Dr. F wears different glasses in this and only this episode?

    Sampo, in your episode count (96) are you not counting the six season seven episodes because they were after the point comedy central got tired of MST3K?


  • 2
    Wilford B. Wolf says:

    What I want to know is what is with the disjointed bit with Joel’s invention exchange. Joel starts, and then suddenly cuts back to Deep 13 for a short gag, and then Joel resumes. Was that intentional? Did they have a goof, and used the cut to hide the gaff? A little of both?

    Also, what is whole thing when Joel says “Do what I do” deeply into a microphone laying on the table?


  • 3
    swh1939 says:

    I was gonna ask about Dr. F’s glasses, but Zee beat me to it.

    For me this episode is firmly middle-of-the-road.


  • 4
    Dan in WI says:

    For my money this experiment was below average all around. The movie is horrible; the host segments range from blah to okay but out of character and the riffing just don’t help much. But you know what, this genre in general does nothing for me and that is probably coloring my opinion of the episode as a whole. I’m a life long “Weird Al” fan and there to I’ve always found if I don’t care for the music of a song’s parody source the best Al lyrics in the world will not save the parody as a whole.

    So do we know what movie the scenes in the FVI credits are from?

    I enjoyed the slow motion credit host segment the first time I saw it. But I found it doesn’t hold up all that well under repeated viewings.

    I do still enjoy the foley sketch. But I’ve always wondered what inspired this. Yes there is a bit of humor when the Bots request specific sounds. But all in and all it just educational and that is not something MST was known for.

    I do enjoy Frank’s non-sequitors after the Mads declare how evil they are.

    I love the “Over the Top” backwards cap. Despite it being Mike solo that remains one of my favorite Rifftraxs to date.

    Sampo says we’ll never see Jerry & Silvia again. I think he’s forgetting the wraps for the first Turkey Day marathon where they appear as guests at Frank’s feast.

    Oh well, bring on Gamera.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Crow “This is CNN…Luke.”

    Guy is tossed in snake pit. Joel: “Ouch, I landed on my eight sided dice.”


  • 5
    pondoscp says:

    Somebody’s been four-wheelin’

    Five stars all the way, even though I always get lost during the movie, and the next thing I know Ator is on the hang glider.


  • 6
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    I had an “Hey, it’s that voice!” experience when watching Yor, Hunter from the Future (starring Reb Brown of Space Mutiny!) and noticed that his dub voice sounded familiar. After stewing on it for a while, I realized that his voice was the same as Ator’s. Said voice in the English dub of both movies was provided by Greg Snegoff, son of Marc Snegoff who was in agent for HARM and a makeup artist for Catalina Caper.

    This is by far my favorite episode in Season 3 as both the movie and host segments make me laugh every time. So I have plenty of memorable lines.

    Favorite riffs:
    Joel: “Made this in shop class. It’s a letter opener!”
    “I don’t believe it, they were too cheap to hire villains for this movie!”
    “You see, I use two blades. The first lifts the guy’s head off and the second…” <– I always wonder if Joel just flubbed the rest of that line.

    Crow: "Music by the Super Mario Brothers."
    "Look out, it's Koko the Terrible!"
    "No, no, no! You've got your mohawk on sideways. You look like a turkey!"

    Servo: "It's the man who invented the wedgie."
    "Wait a minute… this is the Magna Carta!"
    "Mankind, you make me want to vomit. Go away. Just, go away!"


  • 7
    Stephen says:

    I love this episode and really love the slo-mo host segment. Then again, I love almost every host segment where they re-create scenes from the movie (esp. “I Accuse My Parents”). Always hated that they got so far away from the movies in subsequent host segments (most notably in the Sci Fi years).


  • 8
    epileprosy says:

    I have a vague memory of tooling around on a music teacher’s Casio and laughing pretty hard when the “Jupiter” setting sounded exactly like that song in the credits sketch. Of course, my brain could just as easily be making all of this up subconsciously to make myself feel/look cool on a MST3K fansite…


  • 9
    Rob(ot roll call) says:

    For me this is one is pretty much unwatchable, too many long pauses between riffs where you’re forced to deal with movie dialog.


  • 10
    epileprosy says:

    No, wait. My grandma used to own one of those keyboards. So that story might actually be true. Still, though…


  • 11

    I remember this as being one of the first episodes Rhino released as well. When I worked at Suncoast, I snatched up this, Mitchell and the Amazing Colossal Man. Until then, I had only seen bits of episodes from dubbed tapes my friend from Arizona had shared with me. So, I love this episode, but I’m a little biased. I love the exaggerated double takes during the new names segment: “Well, I could see tha- HUUUH?!?” which are dropped almost immediately. And the Valley Girl voice they give the girl in the movie always cracks me up. “Stop shakin’ me, Dad!”


  • 12
    ck says:

    Come on. This is a brilliant episode. Just seeing Ator’s ability to
    go through hundreds of years of invention evolution and technological
    improvisation in minutes with his hang glider (not to mention time and
    space warping through Bavaria- and exactly where/when did he make the
    bombs dropped on the befuddled guards)?

    Come to think of it, this movie would have made a great comic book (I mean
    a graphic novel). Side Frown


  • 13
    Sitting Duck says:

    The Invention Exchange had a T-shirtworthy line which AFAIK has not been used as such:

    “Everyone knows that smoking kills, but it’s cool! Whacha gonna do?”


  • 14
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “As far as I know, nobody has identified the movie that the clips used during the opening credits came from.”

    I’ve long suspected it’s this film:


  • 15
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Because this is one of the first episodes I acquired and thus one I’ve re-watched most frequently, I’ve had more time to contemplate the riffs. Here are two from the end, where Ator’s riding a horse:

    Crow: “Raised [the horse] from a pup.” In the Honeymooners episode “Two Men on a Horse,” Norton impersonated a racehorse owner and claimed he’d “raised that horse since he was a pup!”

    Crow: “Wherever there’s kids laughin’ ’cause they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready…wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up on a guy.” This is a paraphrase of Tom Joad’s speech in “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), where he declares himself the personification of the common man OSLT.

    “I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. And when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build, I’ll be there, too.”


  • 16
    Revlillo says:

    Dan in Wisconsin,
    I really liked Frank’s non-sequiters too and I really kind of wished that they would have continued into the credits like the list of performers you can hear on “Frank” radio.

    Possible weekend discussion: What other final bits do you wish they would have continued doing during the final credits. I would have loved to hear M&TB continue their discussion of “femmy” movies, for example (not a final bit, but they could have gone back to it.

    What do you think, sirs? Grin


  • 17
    Revlillo says:

    Someone at the IMDB message board on this movie claims that the footage in the opening seqence comes from a movie called Taur: The Mighty (Taur, il re Della Forza Bruta — 1963). Anyone familiar with this movie?


  • 18
    Fart Bargo says:

    Very goofy movie with the most Non menacing villian I have ever seen. Zor had the build of a five year old and his Swan helmet in no way makes him any more intimidating. Yes I know that swans can be fierce but more associated with beauty and grace. Love to see arm wrestling between him and Prince Senja (Viking Babes…).

    Speaking of arm wrestling, Dr F’s reaction to winning puts me in stitches every time, “…in your FACE!”. The riffs were very good throughout the movie. If I could, I’d rate this 4.5.


  • 19
    Revlillo says:

    Here’s a link with pictures from Taur: the Mighty.

    I think we have our winner. Cool


  • 20
    Johnny Ryde says:

    The slo-mo host segment is the answer I would give if I was ever asked for the Joel-era host segment I could least imagine happening with Mike as the host.

    I almost never watch this one, but when I do I’m usually pleasantly surprised. It’s not fantastic, but it’s definitely watchable. As has been mentioned, I crack up at the Valley Girl voice they give the female lead. (Speaking of which, is it just me, or is this one of the best looking casts in an MST3k movie?)


  • 21
    Creeping Terror says:

    @11 and @16: Something that I’ve never said on the discussion boards before: The “exaggerated double takes” are one of my LEAST favorite running gags of the series. I don’t find them funny at all and I find it to be lazy joke writing. (Any non sequitur can turn into this joke.) What makes it particularly infuriating here is that it’s the first joke of the episode and is done AGAIN before we go to commercial for the first time. Less than 5 minutes later (in the opening credits), they do it again and then the Brains use the SAME joke a fourth time about 20 minutes later. That’s 4 times in the first twenty-five minutes. IT’S ANNOYING. (Although not as annoying as “Jim Henson’s _____ babies,” which takes the cake for the “Riff Most Likely to Make Me Pull and Elvis and Shoot My TV” award.)

    That said, there is a special affection in my family for this episode. It was the first one we saw all the way through when the series was airing in syndication as the “Mystery Science Theater Hour” in my market. We had seen the last half of “Pod People” the week before and made a special effort to learn more about this HILARIOUS show. It doesn’t hold up as well on repeated viewings, but it’s creative gold and very much sets the tone for the next two or three seasons.

    And I always get a chuckle out of “How much Keefe is there in this movie? Miles O’Keefe!” HA!


  • 22
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh, and I have to mention that the flashback at the beginning of the movie is incredibly painful.

    Seriously, can anyone figure out what the producers thought would be conveyed in a five minute long flashback? For all the impact it actually has on the plot, they would have imparted the same amount of information by having the old guy state, “Thor is a great warrior who lives at the ends of the Earth…”


  • 23
    Sampo says:

    #14 & #19–So it’s definitely a Joe Robinson movie. Somebody needs to get hold of these and compare them to the footage here.


  • 24
    trickymutha says:

    Hey hey chickenhead…


  • 25
    lpydmblb says:

    One thing that should be mentioned: this was the first episode that many people ever got a chance to see, including me. Since Comedy Central was by no means a basic cable staple in 1991, those of us who had heard of the show but did not have access to the circulating tapes were out of luck.

    But I guess the folks at Viacom figured a way around this; in the run up to the Cable Ace Awards, they would broadcast nominateds shows on other, more universally broadcast networks. So MTV (I think) showed Cave Dwellers, although I’m not sure of the date. They later did the same with Alien From L.A..

    From my perspective, however, this stunk, because both shows IMHO are terrible introductions to the concept.


  • 26
    snowdog says:

    Ah, my first exposure to MST3K… just happened across it while flipping channels back in the early 90’s. Love at first riff!


  • 27
    Jedzz says:

    I do believe this was the episode that was running when I stumbled upon this show for the very first time. I remember being mystified at the very beginning trying to figure out why the guy and the talking monkey were cracking wise at some weird movie.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t bring up the final host segment, in which Joel & the Bots point out a number of anachronisms in the final scenes. I remember being absolutely confused at most of them, as they had never been pointed out during the movie proper. It wasn’t until I rented and watched the original movie that I confirmed what I had suspected: most of the moments they were discussing had been cut from the episode, and only the “tire tracks” shot is seen in the episode proper. There’s a similar thing with the stinger clip; the episode cuts to commercial just before the payoff moment. Why were these moments cut? Didn’t the editors know that they would be called back to later on?


  • 28
    Tork_110 says:

    Hands down the best Joel-era episode.

    “No! NO! Noo! No!”


  • 29
    Revlillo says:

    Sampo @ 23 —

    O.K. I double checked the footage in the opening credits and Joe Robinson is definitely wearing a white loincloth with a leather belt thing at the top. That’s the “costume” he’s wearing in Thor and the Amazon Women. Shock

    Now we truly have a winner!


  • 30
    Son of Bobo says:

    Good, but not great. The Valley girl stuff is hilarious.
    I recently saw an unrecognizable O’Keefe in a bigfoot movie with Dylan Purcell. Evidently, he hasn’t done much since.
    “I’d shoot Donald Reagan for Lisa Foster.”


  • 31
    dsman71 says:

    This was another great episode….
    Ator was such an awful film and I love the look on Joel’s face at the end sums it up..I dont think it’s an all time classic but it was the beginning of the show reaching new heights…
    My HAIR observation tells me that this episode was shot after Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster as Joel’s hair is still growing out – about as full as we’ll ever see it
    And Dr. F’s hair which was cut in Season 2 is still growing in this episode..
    This could have easily been Episode 214 if CC asked them to do one more…for some reason I feel like even though Season 2 ended with the Sea Monster, I think the guys kept making episodes without a break or a vacation until Gamera vs. Zigra – because when we get to Viking Women and the Sea Serpent they made a few changes – the Godzilla Sliding on his tail during the intro replaced The Crawling Eye + Joel ,Frank & Trace had some cosmetic changes..
    I feel like once they had that contract for 96 episodes, they needed to get started right away to make sure they were able to meet their end of the contract.
    Joel’ hair
    Joel’s knees
    Godzilla sliding on his arse…
    Time for my weekly Therapy Grin


  • 32
    neesygib says:

    This was also my first episode, found while flipping channels about 20 minutes into the show…nostalgia may account for some of my fondness for it, but I was pretty much hooked right off the bat. (“Why is she limping?” “Because she has an arrow in her chest.” “Oh, I can see how…HUHHH???”) By the time they sang the ‘Love, American Style’ theme for the exploding cell door, I knew this was the show for me. Another fave riff: “Geez, Tolkien couldn’t follow this plot.”


  • 33
    monoceros4 says:

    This isn’t my first ever MST3K episode–that distinction belongs to Warrior of the Lost World–but it was my first re-introduction to the show several years ago. I’d watched MST3K a few times in the ’90s thanks to a college chum who had cable access in his apartment and, while I liked what I saw, it wasn’t anything I could watch for myself at home. Then other things happened and I more or less forgot about the show for a good while until a few years ago, when I noticed that a Seattle friend of mine had several MST3K tapes on her shelf. She cued up Cave Dwellers and that was it; I realized I’d missed out on a whole lot and since then I’ve been working my way through the entire catalogue. I’m still a few episodes short of having seen them all.

    The thing that strikes me most about Cave Dwellers is all the gay jokes. There are at least thirty of them in the episode and, yeah, I kept count on one viewing. I happen to think it’s hilarious whenever Joel or the ‘bots refer to the movie’s gay subtext–and I do think there is a gay subtext, even if it’s completely and inexplicably accidental. I think of all those low-angle shots of Miles O’Keeffe’s chest, and how the John Saxon-y villain takes time out to poke one of Miles’s pecs, and all I can conclude is that MST3K got this one right: this movie is gayer than a Castro Street parade. “It’s Speedy Delivery Guy and has he got a package!

    And remember, it’s not a comic book, it’s a graphic novel! (To think there were people who actually made that careful distinction in real life.)


  • 34
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I’m the best lookin’ man in the middle ages, my my!

    What a great episode. One of the first that I watched, and that helped get me hooked. Prior to this, I thought they only did 50s scifi, so it was nice to see the variety.

    I remember seeing Miles O’Keefe in Sword of the Valliant with Sean Connery from around the same time as this film, I think. It was a lot better than this movie, but still not great.

    How much O’Keefe is in this movie anyhow?
    Oh, MILES O’Keefe! I love that one!


  • 35
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Graphic novels actually ARE distinct from comic books. They’re customarily one-shots, larger (often about the size of a “regular” magazine) and made out of sturdier paper.

    With the riffs, the film IMHO actually turns out to be MILDLY interesting. It’s just that without the riffing, the average viewer might lose interest very early and change channels. MST3K salvages many films in this way.

    >>>Miles O’Keeffe, perhaps best known for 1981?s “Tarzan the Ape Man” with Bo Derek

    Back then, perhaps. Now I think it’s safe to say he’s best known for THIS movie, which made him (like Joe Don Baker, Coleman Francis, and others) sort of a second-hand MST3K icon. Whether that’s a step up or down, well, “What do you, the viewers at home, think?” Wink


  • 36
    Zeroninety says:

    One other major change in the credits–Bridget Jones is credited as a writer for the first time. In a few episodes, we’ll meet Paul Chaplin and long-time home writer Colleen Henjum (later Williams). Also in a few episodes, Jim Mallon will drop to “contributing writer”: presumably, he stopped attending the movie-watching sessions?

    31: I suspect that may have been true. Of course, considering the amount of time needed to make an episode, I assume that, from the beginning of season two until shooting wrapped on The Movie, MST3k was essentially in continuous production, with only occasional breaks of a few weeks at a time. Nothing like the long “between seasons” summer breaks most tv series had, and still have.

    “God, I love Seinfeld!”


  • 37
    monoceros4 says:

    “Graphic novels actually ARE distinct from comic books.”

    I knew it! Grin Being published in trade paperback format is very important to the comic book fan, I’ve noticed.


  • 38
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    This is one of those episodes I regularly use to get potential new fans hooked on the show and I’ve yet to see it fail. The movie if fun, goofy, lively fantasy fun and the jokes are all pretty terrific from beginning to end.

    I remember waiting anxiously after season 2 when Ha! and Comedy Channel announced their merger, hoping that MST3K and a few select other shows I loved would survive it. When Comedy Central started advertising that MST3K would return I was elated. I can still remember sitting down with my wife to watch this episode on the premiere night after months of no new shows. We were not disappointed, it’s fantastic. One of the best episodes ever. I still have fond memories when I put this one on and Joel says “looks like we’re back everybody, check it out” right near the start.

    I can’t say enough good things about the host segments. The one where they recreate the credits is great and the ones about giving ordinary objects special sounding names and how to do foley are even funnier.

    A few favorite riffs and jokes:
    “Why is she limping?” “Because she has an arrow in her chest.” “Huh!?”
    “This is the part of the film you call, ‘she had to ask’.”
    “Oh, man, they were too cheap to hire villains.” during the invisible villain fight scene. Which leads to one of my all-time favorite riffs ever. It’s about why Ator and Thong leave their cloaks after the fight, “because they must have invisible blood on them.”
    “It’s the speedy delivery guy and has he got a package!”
    “He’d never killed that big a puppet before.”
    “Everybody loves tar, sure who doesn’t?”
    “It’s kind of a buddy picture.”
    “Hey now look here you can actually see the driver turn and shoot Kennedy.”
    “I’d shoot Donal Regan to prove my love for Lisa Foster.”
    “Everybody’s evolving and stuff and it’s really neat!”
    “Wow everybody did drugs then I guess.”
    “Sheesh, Tolkien couldn’t follow this plot.”
    “And the secret decoder ring.”

    This one is just too good, so I’ll stop here before I transcribe every line in the show. 5 stars!


  • 39
    Ator In Flight says:

    One of my favorite episodes mainly because it was one of my first episodes and I actually used to watch this movie when I was a young lad. I loved the cover art for the Blademaster VHS box and I still have it sitting in my closet somewhere.


  • 40
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    This was also one of the first eps I ever saw, thanks to the MST3k Hour. I love this one, thanks in large part to Miles O’Keeffe and his magnificent pecs. Sure, the riffing & host segments were all very strong, the movie itself was pleasantly goofy & watchable, but, really, Miles O’Keeffe without a shirt is quite the piece of eye candy.

    I liked Thong, too.

    “Hey, did you just turn into an owl and back again?”


  • 41
    Stefanie says:

    This was the very first Joel episode I Watched WAAAY back in ,I think, 1997. It was a video tape I got from the library.


  • 42
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I couldn’t finish this episode, the movie is just so slow (and this is from someone who loves Manos). While seasons 3 and 4 are my favorite, this episode just doesn’t work for me. Host segment 1 goes on at least a minute too long and the episode just seems to have a labored pace, which I blame on the movie. 2 stars for me although things get a lot better next week.


  • 43
    EricJ says:

    “How much Keefe is in this movie? MILES O’Keefe!”

    “It’s a caveman version of West Side Story: ‘Unh…I just met girl named Unh.'”

    “Hey, look, anal-retentive snakes, they lined up the skulls.”

    (Fred Sanford) “I’m the best lookin’ man in the middle ages, my my my.”

    And of course:
    “Vaguely dirty riff: ‘It’s the speedy delivery guy and has he got a package!’”

    @21 – (Although not as annoying as “Jim Henson’s _____ babies,” which takes the cake for the “Riff Most Likely to Make Me Pull and Elvis and Shoot My TV” award.)

    MSTies Know Everything Alert: Accdg. to accounts, and contrary to the pop-cliche’, Elvis didn’t shoot his TV out of annoyance–Robert Goulet was missing a backup singer while they were both in Las Vegas appearances, and had borrowed one of Elvis’s backups to fill in for a couple nights…Later, when Goulet reportedly called to say “Thanks for the girl!”, there was some unfortunate mixup in communication, and Elvis was a bit, er, resentful.

    And the More You Know. Smile The riff’s still overdone, though.


  • 44
    Johnny Ryde says:

    I’ve seen Miles O’Keeffe in a few B-movies over the years (the line “How much Keeffe…?” always runs through my head).

    Lisa Foster has had an interesting post Cave Dwellers career… She does CG work on animation and video games…


  • 45
    Shark says:

    I always wanted them to go back and riff the first and third movies of this trilogy. I wonder why they didn’t (or were unable to). Did they get a chance to screen them? This would be a good question to ask BBI!


  • 46
    MPSh says:

    Weren’t the scenes form the opening ang closing credits from Thor and the Amazon Women?

    Anyhoo, great ep. One of my all-time favorites.

    Favorite riffs:

    “How much Keefe is in this movie?” “Miles O’Keefe!”

    “What do you, the viewers at home, think?”


  • 47
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    And some favorite references:

    “This is CNN…Luke” (done in an imitation James Earl Jones voice)
    “Before the dawn of time there was a race of Druids. No one knew why they were there or where they came from.” Done in a cheesy British accent, it’s a reference to a really funny sequence in This Is Spinal Tap
    “They’ve jumped into a Kurosawa film.” At the sight of a mounted armored warrior with a back-banner.
    “It’s the Pillage People.” Obviously, the Village People.


  • 48
    John Paradox says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves says:

    “As far as I know, nobody has identified the movie that the clips used during the opening credits came from.”

    I’ve long suspected it’s this film:

    I have that movie… downloaded it from the Internet Archive along with a lot of other ‘Hercules rip-off’ films (Sons of Hercules, etc.)



  • 49
    Sitting Duck says:

    monoceros4 #33: And remember, it’s not a comic book, it’s a graphic novel! (To think there were people who actually made that careful distinction in real life.)

    It’s worse than that. There are some who insist on calling them sequential art (I wish I was making that up).

    While Andrew Borntreger of BadMovies.Org hasn’t reviewed this film, he did do the first Ator movie, which apparently was responsible for the conception of his third kid.


  • 50
    aprilmay says:

    Add me to the list of people who have seen it over and over. Also one of the first I ever saw. Its one of my favorites. Love the slo-mo fight scene and the foley sketch.

    And Trace is adorable with his cap on backward *swoon*

    Some fave riffs, excuse me if I don’t get all the wording right. Its been a while since I’ve seen it. Maybe I’ll watch it tonight!

    “And then he broke for a light lunch…”
    “Geez, Tolkien couldn’t even follow this plot”
    “Tuesday’s are human sacrifice night at the Sizzler”
    “What’s Ator sitting on?”
    “Music by the Super Mario Brothers”
    “I think your cape is FABULOUS”
    “I just invented air sickness”

    Oh and the entire flying scene. And the whole walk softly and carry a big stick thing. This episode is just gold. Just too many fave quotes to list.


  • 51
    Kouban says:

    Okay, the stickler in me insists that I reiterate that a prequel is ONLY an installment in a series which is released after but set chronologically before another installment in the same series.
    That said, this is one of my favorite MST3K episodes, partly because I like high fantasy movies, and partly because the host segments are just plain classic. And I could’ve sworn I’d heard Mike’s “Jupiter” tune in a podcast recently, as highly unlikely as that is.


  • 52
    Brandon says:

    It’s season 3 now! The show keeps getting better and better! And now, I present to you, one of the first Joel episodes I ever saw. I used to not care much for this episode, but it has grown on me over the years.

    301- Cave Dwellers

    Opening: J&TB consider new names.
    Invention exchange: Smoking jacket, robotic arm wrestling.
    Host segment 1: Reenacting the half-screen slo-mo credits.
    Host segment 2: Giving extraordinary names to ordinary things.
    Host segment 3: Foley demontration by Joel.
    End: J&TB rail against the movie, the Mads are delighted.
    Stinger: “Thong! The fish is ready!”

    Memorable riffs:
    Servo: “This must be in shoebox format.”

    Joel: “How much Keefe is in this movie? Miles O’Keefe!”

    Crow: “Hey, Grog just threw a bone into the air and it turned into a spaceship!”

    (shot of a sword)
    Servo: “A rear-view mirror?”

    (upskirt shot of a woman)
    Servo: “Saaaayy..”

    Joel: “How come she’s limping?”
    Crow: “Cause she’s got an arrow in her chest.”
    Joel: “Oh, I can see– HUH?”

    Joel: “Come with me… no not you, her!”

    Servo: “Uh-Oh, fog’s covering up the action!”
    Crow: “What action?”

    (Ator gets attacked by invisible people)
    Joel: “Oh I don’t believe this, they were too cheap to hire real actors here!”

    Joel: “Don’t they want their capes back?”
    Crow: “No, there’s invisible blood on them.”
    Joel: “Oh… what?”

    Ator: “The castle of the great one is far away.”
    Crow: “And the end of the move is even further.”

    (Ator kills the giant snake)
    Crow: “I’m coming… Beany… Boy.”

    Joel: “My hubcap’s chaving!”

    Servo: “They hit Charlie McCarthey!”

    Fav. Riff:
    Servo: “You know, they probably shouldn’t have filmed this at Yellowstone.”

    -My copy of Cave Dwellers is a VHS Rhino tape. Damn these things don’t keep for long. The audio and picture is terrible.

    -Servo is still wearing a fez during the host segments.

    -I’m not pervy or anything, but I don’t think Lisa Foster had underwear on underneath that outfit. At one point I swear it looks like you can see… um.. a certain female body part during her first fight scene.
    [NEW NOTE: Keep in mind though, I only have this episode on VHS, where the quality is less superb. And it’s not something I was deliberately looking for, it’s just something I caught during a single viewing years ago.]

    -Segment 1 contains one of the last references to Gizmonic Institute. Not counting the theme song.

    -Servo says “Hi-Keeba!” about 3 times in this episode.

    -Servo comments Cave Dwellers as being the worst movie they’ve ever seen. I’m sure his opinion will change towards the end of season 4.

    Best Segment: Segment 3 is great from start to finish. One of those segments I never get tired of watching. Those poor little hamsters!
    Worst Segment: Segment 1 went on far too long. It’s not even that funny. And all Joel is really doing is just prancing around the set with a fake word, and it’s not like the robots can really do anything in terms of fighting. Have to agree with Servo on this one, “Isn’t this kinda fruity?”
    [Additional Note: Hearing Servo use the word “fruity” threw me for a loop the first time I saw this more than 10 years ago. I just didn’t think that term existed in 1991.]

    Overall: Not season 3’s best, but at least the movie is watchable, and some cute riffs here and there. *** star rating.


  • 53
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    Why does Joel call Thong “Gomez”?


  • 54
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    And let’s not forget, “Ouch, I fell on my 8-sided dice.” Hilarious reference to Dungeons and Dragons when a “gamer-type” looking character is tossed into the snake pit. I love that one.


  • 55
    EricJ says:

    @53 – He, um, looks sort of like Mr. Addams.

    (And for some unknown reason, I keep cracking up at the guys’ blue-collar imitation of the guard who has to throw the girls into the snake-pit:
    “Okay, honey, move it, c’mon, insy-winsy, let’s go…” )


  • 56
    Dalty Smilth says:

    Re: the “Mack Truck” line, my youth group used to do plays in the summer and the director (who’d done some semi-professional productions, including one featuring future Broadway star Ken Page) would always use the term “Mack Truck” any time there was a needlessly long pause between lines during rehearsals. Until I saw this episode, I thought it was just something he’d come up with, I didn’t realize it was professional slang.


  • 57
    Sampo says:

    #48 John Paradox–If you have Thor and the Amazon Women take a look and see if you can spot the footage used in this movie and confirm Revillo. If we have two confirmations I will officially update the FAQ.


  • 58
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    #55: Boy, that’s a stretch, though it’s not the last such stretch MST would make in comparisons by any means.


  • 59
    JCC says:

    Great episode! This is my favorite Joel season, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I watch an episode from it, although there are some brutal sodes.

    Lisa Foster is so hot, reminds me a bit of Shirley Manson who was beginning to get popular when I first saw this episode. The Dull Old Guy looks like Bill Maher. The sketch making fun of the FVI credits is a classic.


  • 60
    bartcow says:

    The half-screen credits host segment is probably one of my favorites of the show (top 34, anyway…). Shows what I know, eh? And I started watching the sequel to this one a few months ago (on Netflix streaming, of all things). How much O’Keefe is in Ator III? None. Zero O’Keefe. Pity.

    And not to become one of those creepy message board pervs, but Lisa Foster… .


  • 61
    Laura says:

    This movie is absolutely atrocious. Crap plot, crap actors, snakes that growl (really???), pointless FVI footage, cheap props, no actual villians, the list goes on. The actual episode, however, is pretty good. I love the first segment. They do a much better job of the opening credits. The riffing is good, and I concur with the complaining at the end. How the heck does Ator make the bombs and how does he have the eyesight to make those accurate bombings???? Never mind the handglider that appears out of nowhere. My brain hurts from the effort.

    FYI, Miles looks like Chris Jericho before he became the ultimate awesome hotness that he is today!


  • 62
    klisch says:

    Joel: How much Keefe is in this movie anyway?
    Tom Servo: Miles O’ Keefe.


  • 63
    Matt Sandwich says:

    “Drink it all, sometimes the poison’s on the bottom.”
    “I’m all out of blue stuff.”
    “I’m the best-lookin’ man in the Middle Ages, my my my!”
    “Careful, I just mopped there!”
    “Well… maybe just a little.”
    And of course over-emoting the word “No!”

    For quite a while, I considered this the go-to episode for introducing people to the show. A (then relatively recent) color film that’s entertainingly cheesy on its own merits, a genre that most contemporaries recognized from childhood (I still think it’s absolutely bizarre that there was a pop culture sword & sorcery boom in the late 70s/early 80s), and the fact that there’s just so damn much hokey stuff going on in the movie helps make for some quality riffing. Not to mention a TON of riffs that became staples of the show, including a whole slue that’ve already popped up in the thread.

    There isn’t the slightest whiff of self-awareness in this film, and that makes for a great target. And makes the movie sort of endearing. It’s just so sincere in its fur-clad, wig-sporting, invisible-monster-fighting, cheap mediocrity that I actually find it appealing. Unlike the deadly seriousness of a Coleman Francis movie, for example, that’s grimy, creepy, and off-putting.

    Stringy hair and all (all but the hubcap, that is), Lisa Foster just looks like the quintessential D&D dream girl here. And I always thought the way she squealed when hit by that arrow (“She’s in love!” ) was just adorable. Speaking of creepy and off-putting, I guess.

    And while Foster deserves some credit for the arrow that causes her to limp, the villain really takes the biscuit here. “You do amuse me. And… provoke me.” And that embarrassingly dramatic pose he strikes during the climactic fight scene. Wow. The Brains seemed to relish this sort of performance (for obvious reasons), and identify it with ‘community theater,’ which I’d guess one or more of them had some personal experience with.

    Yeah, I’ve always been hugely fond of this one, and it seems like as good a place as any to set my arbitrary marker for the beginning of the show’s Golden Age. (And I suppose that information about the massive contract they’d just been given lends it a bit of justification, sorta.)

    And I realize how much I put in here about D&D, barbarian movies, etc. But to date myself, I was right there in elementary school as Dungeons & Dragons became a (genuinely baffling) national fad, so that whole movement/subculture/whatever had a pretty big impact on my pre-adolescent mind, and still makes me nostalgic. Bit of a disclaimer, there.


  • 64
    Spector says:

    I agree with Sampo that this one takes a little while to warm up, but once it does Joe and the ‘Bots are in fine form. This episode is widely considered one of the best in the shows history. It’s also obvious by this point that they’ve gotten all the lingering bugs from the first two seasons ironed out. The patter between Joel and the ‘Bots during the host segments, and between Dr. F and Frank, now moves along seamlessly, without any of the lingering awkwardness that at times was evident in Seasons One and Two. Everyone’s comfortable with their characters by now and it shows in their performances. This movie, a lousy “Conan the Barbarian” knockoff, is perfect for riffing. My favorite scenes are toward the end, when Ator suddenly goes hang-gliding, and Joel and the ‘Bots rip him mercilessly. This is one of my favorite episodes, which I’ve also found works well to introduce friends to the show. Four and a half stars out of Five.


  • 65
    dad1153 says:

    Just watched “Cave Dwellers” at work during my (extended) lunch break on my Panny DMP-B500 portable Blu-ray player with wireless streaming (Amazon Prime On Demand). It’s amazing how consistent it is with me regardless of how many times I’ve seen it (as far back as VHS): starts slow (too much talk, not enough O’Keefe even though there’s allegedly ‘Miles’ of him around Really Angry) and can barely stay awake through the ‘fake’ credits, gets going after the ‘fishing’ conversation (the arrival of Speedy Delivery Guy’s ‘package’ to the village signals we’ve turned the corner) and, when Ator whoops up hundreds of years’ worth of human discoveries/inventions in one fell swoop (i.e. the handglider), “Cave Dwellers” soars as high as its hero and ends on a strong note (the exchanges between the Mads and SOL captives are priceless). If we were ranking “MST3K” episodes by how well they close an episode on the final two segments “Cave Dwellers” would be in the Top 5, no questions asked. It’s as if the movie’s complete disregard for logic with the glider stunt invigorated the Brains with a shot of riffing Spinach; from ‘Charlie McCarthy’ to the many ‘Nooo!’ exclamations, the last 15-20 minutes of “Cave Dwellers” are, to quote Joel. boss! Thinking

    THREE-AND-A-HALF STARS (would be a weak two-and-a-half without the post-glider appearance riff-a-palooza) for “Cave Dwellers,” the beginning of the most consistent and productive run of “MST3K” episodes ever made and almost a step-by-step warm-up (including the credits-from-another-movie schtick) for the magic that comes from outer space (and the Bay Area’s new age musicians) in just two weeks. Soldier


  • 66
    Chris L. says:

    Boring Old Guy: As Ator nursed his wounds…
    Servo: I nursed a scotch.


  • 67
    schippers says:

    Post with only marginal connection to the ep under discussion:

    If you want to see EVEN MORE of the actor playing the bad guy and the actor playing the dull old guy, check out the movie The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story. It’s one of dozens of cheap Italian copies of Tinto Brass’s awful (but profitable) film Caligula. Anyway, The actor playing the bad guy plays Caligula, and if I remember correctly, the actor playing the dull old guy plays, um, a dull old guy who advises Caligula. Anyway, it’s kind of fun to see them paired up, two years before this Ator movie was made.

    Man, you gotta love the Italian film industry of the 1960s-1980s: grabbing hold of profitable genres (peplum, cannibals, zombies) and churning out product. Some of it’s even worth watching.


  • 68
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    YAY! Season 3!!

    This one is good, not great. I love the sword and sandal type films, and if they’re from the 80’s, they’re even sweeter. This movie suffers from too many flashbacks at the beginning and too many awkward pauses in the dialogue. And stupid things like invisible enemies and the hang glider scene. And the John Saxon-y villain’s stupid helmet. Overall, a 4/5.

    (Curious to find out if Season 3 has any 3/5 episodes, or lower…..I’ve only seen the majority of Season 3 once, I just got a complete Season run from DAP Central about a year and a half ago, and watched all the ones I hadn’t seen only about once, so this re-watch will be good for me)

    During the opening invention exchange, Joel has they nice line: “Everybody loves tar. Sure, who doesn’t?”

    As the Bots point out, Host Segment #1 IS fruity. The credits are sorta funny; “the John Saxon-type guy,” for example. (By the way, I think it is a disservice to the great John Saxon to refer to the dude in the swan helmet as a Saxon-type. Just my opinion)

    Host Segment #2 is only okay. There’s a reference to “Jake & the Fatman” which is obscure-ish. (Anyone remember that one? )

    Host Segment #3 is probably the best of the three this episode. It’s humorous and informational!


    Servo: “The Hills Have Eyes! They have glaucoma, though.” —>In reference to the blurry credits.

    Joel: “That’s my spice rack!”

    A catchphrase not yet mentioned I believe, the girl with the hubcap saying “dad” and then CROW mockingly saying “DAD?” in that stupid voice of hers. Dad? dAD? DAD??

    Crow: “Use the handrails. I invented them for a reason.” —>HA! The castle has handrails…

    Joel: “…and bring me the head of Gallagher!” —->jeez, Joel REALLY doesn’t like that guy! Razz

    Servo: “Willie Nelson’s a tough audience.” —->I didn’t think the guy looked like Willie, but this line really had me cracking up!!

    Crow: “I think your cape is FABULOUS!!!

    After an immense amount of fog rolls in, Servo: “We’re getting close to Ridley Scott now.”

    Crow: “On NO! Not a mime!”

    Joel : “I’m the luckiest boy in the world.” —>during the hang glider, I think.

    Servo/Crow: “It’s not a comic book, it’s a graphic novel!” —->Yes, they are, but not always. Sometimes a comic book can become a graphic novel (when single issues of a book are collected into one edition, Watchmen for example) but a graphic novel can never become a comic book. Either way, it’s all sequential art to me. Grin


  • 69
    Jeyl says:

    Confirmed. Clips from both the beginning and ending of the movie are from Taur: The Might. Here are some scenes.

    2:36 is where the ending credits occur.


  • 70
    Joseph Nebus says:

    There’s all sorts of fun stuff here but I wanted to ask about whether I saw something or whether I’m all on my own here.

    When A-tor and Wo-man get to A-tor’s village and he’s trying to rally them to fighting back against the slaver/snake worshipper/whatever guys, there’s one villager who rallies to A-tor’s call, saying, “I will. I want to fight”; the immediate riff is “for my right to party”.

    Anyone else get a Jonathan Frakes vibe off the guy? I don’t know who it is and the last time I tried checking I couldn’t figure out who it was supposed to be, but I’m curious.

    (I imagine if it were Frakes, the Internet would have confirmed this over and over again since who could resist an MST3k/Next Generation link.)


  • 71
    Yipe Striper says:

    This is a 5 star episode to me.



  • 72
    kismetgirl88 says:

    Anyone else wonder what happen to Jerry and Sylvia the mole people and why they stop using them


  • 73
    Sharktopus says:

    I repeat Zee’s question from the first response – What’s with Dr F’s glasses? I had assumed they were part of the Mike Douglas Show bit, but now that I look into it, Mike Douglas didn’t wear glasses. Question

    As a fan of “sequential art,” I want to pontificate on the difference between comic books and graphic novels, but I think we’re all missing the bigger point – those riffs aren’t funny. I’ll admit that there are stretches of this movie where there’s not a lot to work with, but if you’re going to run a gag into the ground through repetition, it should at least have something to do with the movie.

    ANYWAY, I suspect this is the first episode many MSTies saw all the way through, uninterrupted, thanks to it being among the first eps Rhino put out on VHS. My memory’s a bit hazy, but it was probably Cave Dwellers or Pod People for me – both tapes got played a lot back then. (I was aware of the show, and had seen bits and pieces, but I don’t think I’d ever seen a whole episode on TV before they moved to SciFi.) For that reason, it’s difficult for me to make a fair judgment on those episode’s quality, as they’ve become so familiar. Both Cave Dwellers and Pod People feel especially weak to me, but that might be simply because all the novelty has worn away. I can probably play those movies on mute and recite the riffs from memory.


  • 74
    Kali says:

    #72: I think Mike admitted once that the interns simply revolted about getting into those costumes again.


    Anyway, I always assumed (in story) they just man the cameras in Deep 13 and have the self-control from this point on not to step in front of the camera…

    One of my first MST experiences – not the greatest episode, but shows the potential to come.


  • 75
    Sharktopus says:

    I seem to recall one of the Brains saying somewhere that Jerry & Sylvia were retired because the costumes were so very uncomfortable. They were so hot and difficult to see out off that forcing interns to wear them started to feel abusive. Plus, they never really added much to the show anyway.

    So, how could the SOL go through an asteroid belt if it’s in orbit? Huh? HUH? But, is it actually in orbit? Did they ever say it was, or did I just make that assumption, since they call it a satellite? I know, I know, just a show, relax, etc…


  • 76
    Kali says:

    I used to love the Mike Douglas Show – a lot more interesting than some of the talk shows they’ve got now. You had fun on Mike’s show – all the other shows, they’re just trying to plug.

    Here’s an appearance by Moe Howard of the Three Stooges:

    Ted Knight pops up too.

    This is called: how to REALLY get hit with a pie…


  • 77
    Sharktopus says:

    I see a few of you say this a good introductory episode. I must admit I find that suprising. Details, please?

    Did any other of us younger fans first learn what foley is thanks to this episode? (If I had seen Jungle Goddess all those years ago, I would’ve known that Gobo was more than a Fraggle.)


  • 78
    Laura says:


    Yes, thanks to this episode, I first learned about foley. I had never heard of that term before but thanks to MST3K I am that much smarter.


  • 79
    Sampo says:

    #52 Brandon– I KEEP FORGETTING to mention Tom Servo’s fez! He’s been wearing it for a few episodes now. Does anybody know when it first appeared?

    Also another thing I forgot to mention: In segment three Joel says “heavy metal punching bag.” (Even the bots seem confused.) They keep going.


  • 80
    Sharktopus says:

    They’ve said that MST3K has the smartest fans, which may just be true, but it helps that the show teaches us stuff. Chic

    …Unlike most TV shows, which can actually make you stupider, if not at least painfully misinformed.


  • 81
    Sharktopus says:

    Hey yeah, what is the deal with Tom’s fez? And I’m still awaiting an explanation for Dr F’s glasses.

    And what about Scarecrow’s brain?!


  • 82
    Professor Gunther says:

    “Give my moustache to….”

    That’s one of my favourite moments in the movie. The timing is perfect, just a glorious way for our villain in the “Cher wig” to go. I also love it when he gives Ator a “ping” on the chest with his finger. That HAD to be improvised. Smile

    This one never fails to cheer me up when I need cheering up.


  • 83
    Torgo's Pizza's on my speed dial says:

    Ah, my first visit to the Satellite of Love – via the then-in-syndication MST Hour. Junior year of college, watching my 13-inch color TV in my dorm room on a Saturday night (like usual), when I flipped the channel to the local ABC affiliate and there it was.

    I knew what MST was, but I’d never actually seen it before – or understood how truly funny and sharp this little show was. I don’t think I’d ever laughed that hard in my entire life. From that point on, I was hooked, and I still am to this day.

    Long story short: Cave Dwellers holds a special place in my fanboy heart.


  • 84
    John Ellis says:

    I’ve found that this serves as a great “gateway episode” for those unfamiliar with the series.


  • 85
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Five-and-a-half stars. And speaking of the Mighty Taur movie, I guess its a shame they never did a Joe Robinson movie to torture Joel Robinson, just for irony’s sake. Remember, each man’s fate is pre-determined. Where did Ator learn calvinism? Or did he invent it himself?


  • 86
    Jeff McMahon says:

    Who’s Bill W.?


  • 87
    pablum says:

    One of the best of the series. I can’t heap enough praise upon this episode even with some of its flaws.

    The movie is hilarious. Its also an 80s movie which puts it up at the top for me. I assume the movie was created as a serious piece of film, but it sure does not leave that impression while watching. Quite the comedy. Miles O’Keefe as Ator cracks me up. Whether its battling invisible enemies, getting suckered by his parents’ neighbors and nearly sacrificed to a snake puppet, or making a hang glider and bombs from nothing in what appears to be an instant, Ator is the ultimate Conan the Barbarian wannabe.

    The riffs here hit their mark every time. Well, maybe except for when Joel does what may be the worst line flub of the series during the battle with the samurai warriors. Even that cracked me up because it was so bad. Great work, Best Brains.

    Great on-topic host segments as well. Especially the goofy FVI posterized credits spoof.

    The best part is the show only gets better here on out.


  • 88
    CaveDweller says:

    I think it might be over-stating the obvious to say that this is one of my all-time favorite episodes. Wink But honestly, one of the biggest reasons I look back on it so fondly is because it was one of the first MST3K episodes I ever saw and was one of the episodes that got me hooked on the show. Sure, the movie itself is terrible and extremly hard to follow (it took me several viewing to fully figure out what was going on), but I have always thought that everything else about this episode was spot-on. It’s also always been one of the first episodes I show to people who have never seen MST3K before. I always figure that if they watch it and don’t say, “What in God’s name is THIS!?!?!” then they have the potential to be an MST3K fan!


  • 89
    mstgator says:

    So, I guess I’m not alone in this episode being my introduction to MST3K. I didn’t have CC on my cable system (we didn’t get it until MST3K had been axed prior to the move to SciFi), but had read plenty of good things about the show, so imagine my excitement when the MST Hour went into syndication in 1995. TV32 here aired it late Saturday nights, and I taped the first episode they showed (which happened to be part 1 of Cave Dwellers). I still have that tape somewhere…


  • 90
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Bill W is the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    #52, I think she’s wearing ’em, but that they’re flesh-colored (which is a very very odd wardrobe choice)…

    BTW, why didn’t they re-do the line that Joel flubbed about the first blade lifting the head and the second blade…?


  • 91
    WeatherServo9 says:

    Seasons three and four were really this show’s heart and soul, and this was a great start. I love this episode so much it makes me want to go build a hang glider. The movie is so goofy and earnest and inexplicable (sword and sandals and giant snakes and nuclear bombs). I imagine the pitch meeting with the studio was quite interesting. This, along with just a handful of other episodes (say, I Accuse My Parents, Eegah, Pod People, Prince of Space and Space Mutiny) will always make me laugh every time.


  • 92
    En4cer45 says:

    What about the opening hey everybody there’s a monolith outside everyones evolving yeah Grog threw a bone in the air and it turned into a spaceship


  • 93
    Larry says:

    LOVE this episode. IMO the real start of MST3K’s golden age. Watched this one over and over when I got the Rhino VHS in ’97.


  • 94
    Steve Vil says:

    This was one of the first episodes of MST I ever saw and it almost killed me.

    I should explain.

    I made myself lunch and sat down to eat it while the episode was on. Some absolutely hilarious joke got me and I almost choked on my pasta. I have since learned to never, EVER eat during MST3K.


  • 95
    big61al says:

    Holy grand slam Batman. Killer Diller. Super Duper A++++. This is a GREAT episode. The host segments of the credits is one of the best ever.


  • 96
    Edge says:

    ‘Who’s Bill W.?’

    Here let me Google that for you:


  • 97
    Apollonia James says:

    I have a special fondness for this episode… when I first moved out of my parents’ home and got my own apartment, without a roommate, and my boyfriend lived an hour’s drive away, I spent a lot of nights trying not to feel quite as lonely as I was. My MST collection was a wonderful way to keep myself company, and this episode was a particular favorite to help me fall asleep. I think it’s due to the low synthesizer soundtrack; very soothing. Anyway, that was about 7 years ago, and to this day I still put on an MST episode almost every time I go to bed. Smile


  • 98
    Brandon says:

    About Dr. F’s glasses. Maybe the regular green ones broke, and they had to resort to just a regular pair for this episode until they were rebuilt.


  • 99

    Agreed that this season and the next one were the heart and soul of the series.

    I always felt like the movie was a little rough to get through on this one, but something interesting happened recently.
    In our last MST3K-watching meetup here in town, we watched Cave Dewllers and then Deathstalker. The room of around 20 people laughed loudly and frequently through Cave Dwellers, and not much at all during Deathstalker. I also found myself enjoying Cave Dwellers more. Go figure.

    And the Mike Douglas Show bit kills me every time.


  • 100
    Matthew Shine says:

    And so, season 3 begins with a bang.
    Cave Dwellers is easily one of my favorite episodes. I’m not really a huge fan of the Swords and Sorcery episodes, the only other S&S movies that even come close to making me laugh this hard is Deathstalker and Quest For The Delta Knights.

    Can someone explain to me WHY exactly did FVI use opening credits from a different movie? Cave Dwellers has Chicken-Head, Pod People has that weird Creature From The Black Lagoon thing, Stranded In Space has that teleportation machine, etc…


  • 101
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Wilford B. Wolf:

    What I want to know is what is with the disjointed bit with Joel’s invention exchange. Joel starts, and then suddenly cuts back to Deep 13 for a short gag, and then Joel resumes. Was that intentional? Did they have a goof, and used the cut to hide the gaff? A little of both?

    I meant to say… I noticed this when I just watched it. I assumed it was a break in the shot to allow them to hook up the special effects to the “smoking” jacket… But I may be wrong…


  • 102
    Chris Lark says:

    One of the my ALL TIME FAVORITE episodes to be sure. If “Catalina Caper” didn’t hook me on MST3K this one certainly did. And I fully believe that Season 3 & 4 are the greatest of the Joel&TheBots era and perhaps as mentioned earlier the heart & soul of this series.

    FWIW I thought Film Ventures used clips from other films that were maybe in their catalog to generate interest from the audience? I’m just as surprised that other distributors who had the films FVI got the clips from didn’t try to sue the pants off them.

    But what really surprised me about this film is that Miles O’Keefe was actually good natured about their riffing of his film. I still hope that if Shout! re-issues Cave Dwellers that they’ll try to interview him for a Bonus Track.

    And on my own personal list of “Films I’d Like To See Cinematic Titanic &/or Rifftrax Riff On & Release On DVD” “Ator The Fighting Eagle” and “The Iron Warrior” are both still pretty high up on itSmile


  • 103
    robniles says:

    Add me to the list of those who lost their MST virginity to this one. Ironically, it hasn’t worked that well for me as a recruiting tool—it’s slow, the riffing’s not quite as sharp as it would soon become, and the hang glider, while one of the greatest/silliest payoffs ever, can feel a little too late for newbies. Pod People takes almost as long to get in gear, but I think I’ve had better luck indoctrinating people with that one. (We’ve done “Best recruiting episodes” in some form, haven’t we?)

    Still, I have a soft spot for this one. Aside from the riffs already mentioned, I love that they get in at least two shots at music from 1986—”What is this, a Heart video?” and Crow’s wonderfully dismissive “The Bangles?”—and Joel reviving “It’s boss!” for two seconds. Oh, and Mila sliding on the wet cave floor. I can’t believe there was no other take they could’ve used.

    Was Thong’s lack of dialogue ever explained in the uncut movie?


  • 104
    CMWaters says:

    This is always one of the fun episodes to go back to when I wanna just randomly grab out an MST3K ep to watch. It may not be the best, but it’s pretty high up there if you ask me.

    Also, Lisa Foster was FIIIIIINE back then.

    Lastly…after seeing reviews for the FOURTH Ator movie (a re-imagining of the series)…I’m thinking they got off pretty easy now as far as the Ator movies are concerned.


  • 105
    FordPrefect says:

    Jerry and Silvia actually make their last appearance at the end of 316 – Gamera Vs. Zigra if I recall.


  • 106 says:

    One of my favorite episodes! It seems to be more than the sum of it’s parts. Quite a few so-so riffs, but the brilliant ones put it over the top.
    Also the Ator’s Kite scene/Tom’s song was one of my favorite moments of the whole show at the time.

    Fave riffs:
    “I’d shoot Donald Reagan for Lisa Foster.”

    “I don’t believe it, they were too cheap to hire villains for this movie!”

    “Hey now look here you can actually see the driver turn and shoot Kennedy.”
    **There’s a TON of JFK conspiracy riffs in mst3k, wonder who was writing these lines. That driver-shot idea was a pretty obscure meme at the time.

    “How much Keefe is in the movie?”
    “Miles O Keefe”
    – I’ve always wondered if this was both funny wordplay and a drug reference to KIEF, an uncompressed form of Hashish that hippies make. The term was coming into popular use among stoners around the time of this episode.


  • 107 says:

    During the glider/bombing the castle scene:

    “Alight you dirty rats, Henry Kissinger says Merry Christmas”


  • 108
    Sharktopus says:

    “I’d shoot Donald Regan to prove my love for Lisa Foster” is the kind of multi-layered referential joke you just can’t get anywhere else.

    I’m rewatching Cave Dwellers right now and I don’t think I’ve ever played it on DVD before. (I only picked up Volume 2 within the last year or so – I was never in a hurry to replace those particular videotapes.) The movie doesn’t make any more sense on DVD but wow, you can actually see it! That guy really does look like Bill Maher.


  • 109
    Zee says:

    I like that when Dr. F introduces the movie, he’s only seen the credit sequence- “It looks to be a modern-day Defiant Ones!”


  • 110
    Zee says:

    And as a post-script to all this mole people talk, I believe in their final appearance Jerry & Sylvia are played by Jef Maynard and Joel (!) (during the first Turkey day marathon)


  • 111
    PrezGAR says:

    This was the first complete episode I saw. I had seen a chopped up version of Robot Holocaust (no host segments, no short, one segment of the movie missing) but that was enough to get me hooked. So, when this aired on Lifetime during a Cable Ace Awards weekend, I was ready. I had a VHS tape ready and recorded it.


  • 112
    Cornjob says:

    Great episode. One thing always bugged me about the movie. Is it supposed to be pre-historic or post-apocalypotic? The whole atomic nucleus and nuclear explosion thing makes me wonder if it’s supposed to be post-apocalyptic. Maybe Ator and the old guy were reclaiming/preserving remnants of civilisation. That would explain why there might be a hang glider lying around somewhere, though not why Ator could pull one out his armpit in 2 min.

    Did he have it and the bombs stashed nearby in case he’d need to raid the castle sometime before moving to the ends? Talk about planning ahead. How many other equipment caches did he have and where?

    The well lit highly maintained secret passage always cracks me up.


  • 113
    Sharktopus says:

    You’ve been thinking about this WAY too much, Cornjob. Laugh


  • 114
    ck says:


    Steve Vil learned almost too late that man is a feeding creature. Pizza


  • 115

    The graffic novel always gets me because it seems that hardly anyone, even those in the comic business, can get it right. A graffic novel is a self-contained one shot that is usually longer than a regular one shot. A trade paper back or hardcover trade is a collection of previously published material, although some stuff hasn’t been published before. Yet, it seems that nearly everyone calls trades graffic novels and it seems every time I see a listing for a manga trade/collect it is always refered to as {name of series} GN.


  • 116
    Ang says:

    When I started college I moved to a town that did not get Comedy Central so I missed the 6th and 7th season. I had started watching during the 5th season and had only seen those eps and some repeats from season 4. I found Cave Dwellers for rent at Hastings along with a few others and I loved them. I did get to see some eps on the MST Hour during those years but the ones that I rented and watched over and over again hold a special place in my heart because I was so happy to have found them again. Thankfully we did get the sci-fi channel later on I was able to watch again starting with season 8 and have since gotten all the eps on dvd thanks to MST3K Videos and official releases. So to make a long story short…I love Cave Dwellers!

    Fave Riffs:

    “How much Keefe is in this movie?” “Miles O’Keefe”.

    “My my my, I’m the best looking man in the middle ages!”

    “Last night I had a strange dream…about a chick in a black bikini.”

    “Get in a line, the Time/Life photographer is here.”

    “It’s the wango zee tango!!”

    I like the bit too about Sandor the magician who looks like Willie Nelson.


  • 117
    Sharktopus says:

    Y’know, I can’t help but wonder if the writers of the upcoming movie Real Steel (basically Robot Boxing + Over The Top) may have, in some way, been influenced by the Mads’ invention this week. Razz


  • 118
    Tom Carberry says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes of all seasons. This is one I periodically pop into the DVD player and enjoy all over again. The overly long “flashback” sequence shown of Ator’s life comes from the first movie titled “Ator, the Fighting Eagle”. It was available from Netflix (as a DVD) for a while but is no longer available. I was fortunate (if I may use that term) to get it and see it while it was. I think BBI could have done that as a companion piece and done it justice. I also think this movie has the gayest subtext of all the episodes. The sexual tension between Ator and Zor was only amplified by BBI’s brillant riffs. “may I cup your pec”, “come on girls”, and “speedy delivery guy, and does HE have a PACKAGE”.

    Favorite lines:

    No, you’ll get fingerprints all over it. (re: the nucleus)
    This has more pauses than a Pinter play.
    Heff, we’re all out of Evian.
    oooh, Cher at the funhouse.
    While Ator nursed his wounds, I nursed a Scotch.
    Drink it all, sometimes the poison’s on the bottom.
    Champagne makes me giggly.
    They worship the Munsingwear penguin.
    Wicker armor courtesy Pier One.
    It’s Coco the Terrible…Crazy old mime.


  • 119
    california calico says:

    This was my very first exposure to MST3K. I saw *Cave Dwellers* on Lifetime (for the Cable Ace Awards) and thought it was the funniest thing ever because it was so new. Even compared to many other episodes, this one is still strong.

    The movie itself is exactly the kind of movie a UHF station would air on the weekend as part of its “Saturday/Sunday afternoon movie”, and that I would come across it because I was bored and wanted to see what was on TV.

    “Willie Nelson’s a tough audience.” A lot of good riffs in this one.


  • 120
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I just rewatched this last night, and it’s no wonder that it was one of the first episodes to be released by Rhino. One hilarious riff after another. Someone asked earlier in the thread about why this is such a good ep to introduce a newbie to. IT’S FUNNY! While there are definitely some in-jokes, I think most of the riffs are very accessible to a newer viewer. The joke about Heart (they only show the fat one from the head up now) still makes me cringe! That’s got to be one of the meanest riffs of the series, right?


  • 121
    fathermushroom says:

    I totally understand why this (or any) episode would be a great favorite for those who first encountered MST3K at that time….

    … but I really don’t like this one very much. And I INVARIABLY fast-forward through the slow-motion credit sketch. Way too stretched out for the payoff IMHO.

    I like the girl in the movie though. But the episode puts me to SLEEP.

    Sorry about that.


  • 122
    losingmydignity says:

    A solid ep that I didn’t initially like all that much–but it has grown on me. But still, too many slow patches to be in my “A” category.

    The whole Ator and Wong (sorry, Thong) operating on the chick scene is hilarious. (at least the filmmakers didn’t have her pulling out the arrows on her own which, by the way, would kill you if you ever happen to run into Ted Nugent on a dark, stormy night–do not try to pull out the arrows yourself, you will die) The hang glider stuff too, of course.

    Host segs are great. The slow motion credits send up is probably one of my top ten favorites.

    I think I might have caught the Brains at a mistake. During the scene when they are throwing people in the “snake pit” they riff something like, we’ll throw in Susan Hayward next. Well, it was Olivia De Havilland who starred in the film The Snake Pit, so I’m not sure why Hayward. Unless they’re referencing something that happened in one of Hayward’s Biblical flicks…otherwise seems to be a mistake. Anyone know?



  • 123
    losingmydignity says:

    p.s. did anyone else enjoy one of their best Robert Frost references? (during the fog scene)


  • 124
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>I like that when Dr. F introduces the movie, he’s only seen the credit sequence- “It looks to be a modern-day Defiant Ones!”

    Shouldn’t that have been “a pre-Biblical Defiant Ones”? Or whatever one calls the Conan Era.

    Re Charlie McCarthy: Way back when, his catchphrase/threat to his ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was: “I’ll clip you, Bergen, so help me, I’ll mow ya down!”

    In total hindsight, this could have been played with after the “They hit Charlie McCarthy!” line.

    in a Charlie McCarthyesque voice: “They clipped me, Bergen! They mowed me down!”


    Bergen: “Young man, every time you tell a lie, the Devil laughs!”
    Charlie: “Is that right…I sure must keep the Old Boy in stitches!”


  • 125

    “The Hills Have Eyes…but they have glaucoma right now.”

    I started watching MST3K in reruns on Sci-Fi back around 2002, and for Christmas that year I got Rhino’s Vol. 1. As you know, the composition is three Mike episodes, ranging from decent at best (Bloodlust) to still-in-my-top-10 (Creeping Terror), and one Joel episode (the interminable Catalina Caper). The weakness of the Joel episode vs. the Mike ones, coupled with my constant exposure to the Sci-Fi episodes, put me off Joel until just three years ago (right around the time when I got back into the show). The episode that convinced me that Joel was alright? Cave Dwellers. The combination of very nice riffing and the goofiness of the movie just hit me right at the time, and after watching Pod People the next day any disdain for Joel was long gone. For the record, I no longer have a preference between the two, though I probably watch more Mike episodes because of my affinity for Bill’s Crow.

    This is still a highly enjoyable episode, again largely because the movie is really goofy and completely earnest in its goofiness (the spider puppet in the flashback sequence, the invisible villains, the swan helmet, “Thong, the fish is ready!”, the dionaga-esque snake in the snake pit, and on and on and on). The hang glider scene is an iconic one, as is Servo’s “Oh, come on!” Speaking of Servo, what’s the deal with Kevin adding a little chuckle after about half of his lines? It’s kind of distracting, and I hadn’t really noticed it before now (though I haven’t seen every episode yet, and certainly not every season 2). By season 4 that wasn’t anywhere to be heard, so I’m just wondering if it was a nervous tic or something to that effect.

    The host segments are very hit and miss. The foley effects and renaming of mundane objects do nothing for me, but the reenactment of the credits is dumb enough to really amuse me (“YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE”). Frank in particular is awesome in this one (“Daddy? There’s a boy outside. His name is -” “Shut UP”), and his and Forrester’s reaction to JaTB’s response to the movie (“What? Oh, come on, it wasn’t that bad. I liked it.”) is priceless.


  • 126
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    #125: Speaking of Servo, what’s the deal with Kevin adding a little chuckle after about half of his lines?

    I find that the single most annoying aspect of Servo in the third season… his Dr. Hibbert-esque chuckle, and it’s always after his most mildest witticisms, as if he feels like he has to “sell” the joke.


  • 127
    Cornjob says:

    “You’ve been thinking about this WAY too much, Cornjob.”

    Thank You!!
    My mom was a philosophy major. My dad taught phil for two years at Fullerton State. Thinking about things way too much runs in the family


  • 128
    Sharktopus says:

    @ #s 125 & 126:

    Glad I’m not the only one who’s bugged by that. Fake laughter is one of the most annoying sounds on Earth, right up there with nails on a chalkboard and Nancy Grace. On the other hand, I love when there’s genuine laughter by the performers in MST3k and its spin-offs. It helps to know they’re enjoying themselves.

    And Mr Dye gets bonus points for the term Hibbert-esque. Laugh


  • 129
    Warren says:

    This is above average, not a home run but very enjoyable. It’s reasonably paced and not too slow, there’s some actual plot/action going on, and the whole sword & sorcery vibe makes it watchable. Mike Nelson’s Jupiter is a memorable composition and the host segments are okay. If only Mila wasn’t so distracting In Love


  • 130
    Badgerfansam says:

    “Oddest non-sequitur: Joel says, “and…bring me the head of Gallagher!” apropos of nothing on the screen”

    isn’t he saying this as a riff on the John Saxon-type guy saying “Bring me the map!” ? It cuts away right after he says it, but that’s what Joel is riffing on. Of course it has nothing to do with what is on screen at that second, the timing just makes it so…


  • 131
    MikeK says:

    5 stars.

    What is the riff, “I’m the best looking man of the middle ages! My, my my!” in reference to? Crow says it when that snake worshiping guy with the mustache and turban is standing there. I’m pretty sure that it refers to a pro-wrestler, but I can’t think of the man’s name.


  • 132
    ck says:

    Physically the guy looks like The Iron Sheik.


  • 133
    thecorman says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s interested, but I found an interview with David Cain Haughton\David Brandon (The sort-of-evil villain guy) it’s a few years old, but he seems like a very nice, old-school actor; never a bad word to say about anyone. There’s a short paragraph about making Ator (Cave Dwellers).


  • 134
    GypsyJr says:

    Several years ago I was hanging out with a MSTie friend (Hi Linda, if you’re reading this) and we got on the subject of riffs that make you laugh regardless of context. “BAD country singer!” made me do a spittake in the middle of the mall food court.


  • 135
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    What’s a remarkable coincidence is that, even though David Cain Haughton is (presumably) not an assassin, years later, DAVID CAIN *was*:

    On another note, I thought it mildly odd that, after the mime fight, there was that brief monologue on how Ator had encountered the mimes before. Even by this film’s standards, it seemed sort of out-of-nowhere.

    #103: Thong is described as a “sage,” or a wise man/monk, so maybe he took a vow of silence.


  • 136
    MikeK says:

    As far as movies that the filmmakers made up as they went along go, I think Cave Dwellers is better than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.


  • 137
    rainmakerrtv says:

    My most used riff from this one :

    “You know, it’s not just Ator that’s flying … it’s the human spirit!”


  • 138
    Markedman says:

    I think my favorite portion is the banter between the disposable henchmen in the caves with “Cave Dwellers.” Their back and forth is great. I keep hearing the voice of Crow: “I know there’s walking. I know there’s walking.”


  • 139
    crowschmo says:

    Apparently the “ends of the Earth” are just down the road apiece. Thinking

    This one is a little slow, but enjoyable all the same. It’s one of those weird ones that CAN be a favorite, but I have to be in the mood for it. So, when the mood is right, it’s hilarious.

    I liked all the host segments, even though, as was said, they’re more cutesy and clever than bust-a-gut funny.

    Loved the foley bit: It’s like they were kind of realistic at first with the sound effects, then just went off somewhere and got totally ridiculous. Hamsters in a box? Water buffalo? Just, add some milk! Grin That one actually did make me laugh. Woman’s scream? Just set fire to TV’s Madame!

    Even though this was kind of a laid back pace, riffing-wise, there was still quite a few lines that I liked.

    Joel speaking of smoking: “But scientists have known for well over a year that it’s bad for you…”

    Joel: “Director of the top half of the photography…”

    Crow: (When old guy says to his daughter, ‘Come over here, my dear’) “Where the camera moved to.”

    Crow: (When old guy says, ‘I wonder if it’s worth the risk of counting on that’) “Or the risk of ACTING.”

    Crow: “This is the part of the film we like to call, she HAD to ask.”

    I liked when they were making fun of all the goofy names during the flashback, making it sound all exotic and mystical Giggle

    Crow: “Son of Flougmar, keeper of the Seven Keys of Fantoozler.”

    Servo: “Then, he worked out on the charismatic Solo-Flex of Zontar 13.”

    Joel: “Are we still in a flashback?”

    (When old guy tells evil guy that all men are born equal) Joel: “Oh, let me get a pencil – I wanna write THAT one down.”

    Joel: “All we can do is pray, although, we haven’t thought of any gods yet.”

    (When Ator and Dong – I mean, Thong – weren’t sure if Mila was who she said she was, old guy’s daughter) Crow: “If you can look bored and speak haltingly, you’re in.”

    (When they couldn’t find Mila in the fog, then Ator and Thong are suddenly at the caves) Servo: “After exhausting every possibility, the men move on.”

    Servo: “So, let’s recap the action, shall we?”
    Joel: “Uh, nothing really.”
    Servo: “You’re right, let’s move on.”

    Servo: “You know, the reason this scene is so good, is because we CARE about the characters.”

    (As a spaced-out Mila) Joel: “Ator, what’s your dream?”
    Crow: “How big is God?”

    (When those villagers appeared and Ator said, ‘What do you want?’ ) Joel: “Look, you captured US.”

    (Yeah, some village: five huts on stilts!) Silly

    (When Ator says, ‘We’ll have to fight them’ and Mila says, ‘The THREE of us?’ )
    Crow: “No, just me. You were a BIG help with the snake.”

    Servo: “Nice, well-lit secret passage.”
    Joel: “Well, it’s secret, but they didn’t want to get carried away.”

    And I liked TV’s Frank at the end discussing his and Dr. F’s ‘evilness’.

    “Guess you can say we’re more evil than a 3 dollar bill. Guess you can say the factory’s still open, but we’re making different stuff. Guess you can say we’re buying it wholesale and passing the savings on to you.” Smile

    Oh, and who among us hasn’t made flashpowder from our own filth?

    Goodnight, won’t you?


  • 140
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    A relative rarity about this film is that, when the guys “have to” leave the theater (does that transition have a name? “it’s Exit Sign” OSLT?), they comment “it was just getting GOOD.” TWICE. They rarely say such a thing about the movies.


  • 141
    crowschmo says:

    Those winks were just closing parentheses with periods after them. I have to remember to put a space before the period or it come out like this Wink


  • 142
    MikeK says:

    One more riff:

    “Oh yeah, this is gonna be my regular Saturday night thing,” Crow. This refers to the movie Road House.

    Crow says that during Ator’s hang gliding scene. There’s that close up shot where Miles is moving around in the harness of the hang glider. It kind of looks like he’s doing something else. If you know that line from the movie Road House, you know why the riff is funny.


  • 143
    Tom Carberry says:

    The relevant portion of the interview with David Cain Haughton (Zor) regarding “Cave Dwellers” is below:

    Q: You worked again with Massaccesi a couple of years later on the lighter-hearted sword and sandal fantasy, THE BLADE MASTER (1984) in which you played the maniacal Zor. Do you think that playing Caligula typecast you to play the ruthless ruler in this film?

    DAVID: This film was originally meant to be a kind of remake of Jean Jacques Anaud’s QUEST FOR FIRE. About three days before shooting was due to begin, Miles O’Keefe decided that, after his role as Tarzan with Bo Derek, a second film where he expressed himself through animal grunts might make people think he had a limited vocabulary, and therefore declared he didn’t want to be involved. Massaccesi didn’t seem overly worried, and said we’d start shooting on the Monday as planned. “Shooting what?”, I asked. “A scene in the cave location we’ve already paid for. We’ll make up the story as we go along”, he said with a shrug, “you’ll play the baddie.” I said alright, so long as I had a big wig and a moustache, so that if the result was a disaster I wouldn’t be too recognizable.
    It was a wonderful example of Massaccesi’s (and Italian cinema’s) capacity to improvise…a rough storyline was thrown together, to be developed day by day, with quite a lot of suggestions from the actors. My role was a parody of the villainous villain…a delight!

    Q: What was burly Miles O’Keefe like to be around and what are your opinions of his acting?

    DAVID: He mostly kept himself to himself, and was unassuming. Despite his muscles, he was distinctly nervous about the remotest personal danger involved in any scene he was performing, but he was always friendly and dedicated. Goodness knows what he thought about the mad situation in which he found himself!

    Q: If you had a choice, would you choose to remember or forget THE BLADE MASTER?

    DAVID: As is clear from the above, I remember it with great affection and amusement! I don’t think a situation like that could happen in today’s more industrialized cinema-practice, which is a pity.

    Wow, what a revelation–the movie was improvised?! Smile


  • 144
    MikeK says:

    That’s pretty much how Michael Bay made Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, thanks to the writer’s strike.


  • 145
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    #131 MikeK – I always thought it was a Little Richard reference, although the voice is a bit deeper.


  • 146
    Aaron Hagel says:

    The Movie in the opening credits is called ‘Taur, the Mighty.’


  • 147
    toot-toottoot-toot says:

    Here we go!!! The best episode of season 3 is the first…actually one my all time favorites of the whole series. I love when they did 80s films, especially films like this and Deathstalker. The hang glider scene is one of the best of all time. And I love when they uncover the truck tracks in the field, haha…five out of five all the way!


  • 148
    Pulatso says:

    “Tolkien couldn’t follow this plot!” is still used frequently in my household to denote any overly complicated way of explaining anything.


  • 149
    Ima Pseudonym says:


    Hey yeah, what is the deal with Tom’s fez? And I’m still awaiting an explanation for Dr F’s glasses.

    And what about Scarecrow’s brain?!

    We now know that Fezzes are cool! Servo made Fezzes cool, before they were cool.


  • 150
    Joseph Klemm says:

    @143 That definitely would explain a lot of things (i.e. the caveman scene at the beginning that has no connection with the rest of the film; the invisible enemies; Ator’s hang glider scene).


  • 151
    Sitting Duck says:

    Cave Dwellers passes the Bechdel Test, but just barely. The key moment comes when an old peasant woman tries to dissuade her granddaughter from volunteering as a sacrifice.

    Dr. F. has finally gotten rid of that horrible ponytail. And there was must rejoicing. Yay.

    The Defiant Ones crack is quite appropriate, since those guys in the opening credits do kind of look like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier.

    Perhaps it’s because of Dull Old Guy having so many pauses, but there seem to be a lot of tack-on riffs in this episode.

    So was the dog suppose to be in the scene where Ator was patching up Mila, or did it just wander on set and they didn’t bother to reshoot?

    Favorite riffs

    The hills have eyes, but they have glaucoma right now.

    “I’ve always wanted you to be wise…”
    But we’ll settle on looks.

    “The next most important thing…”
    Is peanut butter.

    “As Ator nursed his wounds…”
    I nursed a Scotch.

    “When you seem to have reached the ends of the Earth…”
    Ask for Earl.

    Lady, can we have our arrow back?

    Don’t they want their capes?
    No, they’d have invisible blood on them.

    Tuesdays are Human Sacrifice Day at The Sizzler.

    “The Kungs have always demanded the blood of Man.”
    Yeah, they’re funny that way.

    Who is this gentle stranger with pecs like melons and knees of fringe?

    “He was a proud, courageous man…”
    But dumber than a box of hammers.

    Drink it all. Sometimes the poison’s on the bottom.

    Henry Kissinger says Merry Christmas!

    “I’m not afraid of you.”
    Well, maybe a little.

    Hey, thanks a lot, Dong. I’ll visit you in prison and bake you a rice cake with a saw in it, buddy.


  • 152
    schippers says:

    Personally, I think this movie represents Cave Dwellers’s best work.

    Regarding my post of four years ago in #67 – I have absolutely NO memory of the film I mention. I must have watched it, but it is gone from my head. Probably didn’t take anything all that valuable with it when it left.

    The second Ator movie (this one, in other words) spends a lot of time recapping the first one, but the Ator character is much changed from his origins. For one, he’s no longer hot for his sister. (I guess maybe she died?)


  • 153
    Lisa H. says:

    @149 “Servo made Fezzes cool, before they were cool” – kinda makes me want to dress up Tom and Crow as Eleven and, oh, probably Ten, although some other options for Crow could be fun too.


  • 154
    Murdock Hauser says:

    I remember seeing only a few episodes of MST3K in the early and mid 90’s when I was a kid. I thought the show was interesting and neat, but most of the riffs flew over my head and I grew up in a large family, so getting the TV to yourself was impossible. It’s the year 2000, I’m fourteen years old with some left over Christmas money and some paper route money in my pocket at a Sam Goody. I look around for a bit and find a VHS copy of MST3K: Cave Dwellers on the self and decided to pick it up. I took it over to a friend’s house that afternoon and after watching it I became a fan instantly. It’s still by far my favorite episode,so I have to give it five Star Star Star Star Star.


  • 155
    Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Dan in WI:
    For my money this experiment was below average all around. The movie is horrible… this genre in general does nothing for me and that is probably coloring my opinion of the episode as a whole.

    Favorite Riffs:

    Guy is tossed in snake pit. Joel: “Ouch, I landed on my eight sided dice.”

    People sure are a bundle of contradictions. If that was your favorite riff I’d have wagered big money you’d love this genre. I agree, that’s one of my favorite riffs. But, unlike you, I love this genre!

    Tits all over for you Ator…


  • 156
    Into The Void says:

    “Played here by Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention.”


  • 157
    snowdog says:

    A few observations from this viewing:

    The “How much Keeffe…” riff is one of the rare moments that the Brains feel the need to explain a joke by having Servo answer “Miles O’ Keeffe”. I’m glad they never made a habit of that, as it would have made for a lesser show, imo.

    As I mentioned above, this is my first ep. I was hoping each show would end with J&tBs pointing out flaws and continuity errors in the film like they did here. It didn’t turn out that way, but no matter… Still a fave after all these years.


  • 158
    Bruce Boxliker says:


    Actually, yes! This is a fantastic episode. And a fantasy episode, too! A Fantastic Fantasy episode! ….Yeah, anyway it’s a great start to one of MST3k’s best seasons.
    I’ve been using the overly dramatic ‘Noo!’ line fairly regularly ever since I first watched this episode.

    I loved the robot arm wrestling, since I actually had one of those robot arms way back in the early 80s. Don’t think I ever arm wrestled another robot arm with it, though.

    All the host segments in this were great. I’m also one of those people that learned about foley from this episode.

    You can’t really call Ator a barbarian, since he’s actually (supposedly) pretty smart. Just because a guy runs around in leather underwear & carries a sword does not make him a barbarian. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with that generalization mys…uh… never mind.

    @112 – I’ll bet he had a jeep or something tucked away somewhere, thus the tire tracks!


  • 159
    sol-survivor says:

    I wonder whose idea the doorbell riff was…


  • 160
    david f white says:

    Cave Dwellers is my Favorite Mst3k!!!


  • 161
    Lex says:

    “god, I love Seinfeld.”

    This episode had a Seinfeld joke. I saw this not so long ago and couldn’t believe Seinfeld was on yet. I didn’t remember that. It didn’t really get popular until around 94. After a few years, your emotional timeline gets warped I guess.

    The pixelated Film Ventures International movie sequences at the beginning were so strange. I never understood why they were there. I still wonder. Not to mention they changed the name of some of the movies. I guess this was a sequel. I could swear they actually played the first on one of the Turner networks.

    Personally, I love the episode.


  • 162
    JCC says:

    Mike in Portland:
    Agreed that this season and the next one were the heart and soul of the series.

    I always felt like the movie was a little rough to get through on this one, but something interesting happened recently.
    In our last MST3K-watching meetup here in town, we watched Cave Dewllers and then Deathstalker.The room of around 20 people laughed loudly and frequently through Cave Dwellers, and not much at all during Deathstalker.I also found myself enjoying Cave Dwellers more.Go figure.

    And the Mike Douglas Show bit kills me every time.

    I figure there has too be a bit of laugh fatigue going on during the second half of an MST3k double feature. Deathstalker is F’ing hilarious, packed with great riffs.


  • 163
    Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    One of the best episodes, a great start to season 3.

    Does anyone else find it odd that it takes Mila all of 5 minutes to reach Ator’s place “at the ends of the Earth” AND with an arrow stuck in her… yet it takes forever to get back to the castle?

    I still want to know what that movie is that FVI used for the credits.


  • 164
    Cornjob says:

    See #112 for my musing on whether this movie is supposed to be prehistoric or post apocalyptic. I’m still not sure. Most of the movie has a prehistoric feel, but post apocalyptic would explain the atomic nucleus talk and the hang glider.

    Hilarious episode. One moment that sticks with me is when Ator declared that they must take immediate action and everyone just stands there. Way for the director to make the actors look dumb by having the blocking contradict the dialogue.


  • 165
    can you feel me near you? says:

    Great episode. One thing always bugged me about the movie. Is it supposed to be pre-historic or post-apocalypotic?

    Out here in the fields
    I fight for my meals
    I get my back into my living
    I don’t need to fight
    To prove I’m right
    I don’t need to be forgiven

    Don’t cry
    Don’t raise your eye
    It’s only teenage… caveman!


  • 166
    thunder bucket says:

    Cabbage Patch Elvis:
    #131 MikeK – I always thought it was a Little Richard reference, although the voice is a bit deeper.

    I always thought it was a take on James Brown, the hardest working man in show business!


  • 167
    JCC says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight:
    One of the best episodes, a great start to season 3.

    Does anyone else find it odd that it takes Mila all of 5 minutes to reach Ator’s place “at the ends of the Earth” AND with an arrow stuck in her… yet it takes forever to get back to the castle?

    I still want to know what that movie is that FVI used for the credits.

    This was answered in #17, Taur The Mighty.

    Hopefully FVI released the movies used in the credits for our MSTied films with blurry, pixellated clips from the MSTied movies for the opening credits.


  • 168
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    I was just looking at the title slate at the top of the page. Is that the saddest one for any movie here? It’s got to be near the top of the worst title images. Especially taking into account that the freeze-frame above the title is from an entirely different movie. I know it’s FVI, but still…


  • 169
    senorpogo says:

    re: Crow’s mouth moving as Trace does the Madame voice

    I always took it as Crow’s attempt at ventriloquy for the Madame puppet, just not doing all that well at first. Yeah, I’m pretty forgiving.


  • 170
    Angie Schultz says:

    One moment that sticks with me is when Ator declared that they must take immediate action and everyone just stands there. Way for the director to make the actors look dumb by having the blocking contradict the dialogue.

    That was when the the two girls from the village come across their camp? I’ve always thought the delay was to give the girls a chance to do something that would reveal their motives to Ator. Like run away. But he walks into the trap anyway. So this bit was supposed to show the subtlety of our hero, but it failed.

    The last time I watched the movie I noticed that those same two girls are feeding Ravanni(sp?) his poison. I’ve watched the movie a thousand times, and never noticed that.


  • 171
    Cornjob says:

    I was thinking of Teenage Caveman while typing my post. The exercise machine, the surgery, the chemistry beakers in Ator’s and the old guy’s labs, all hint that maybe it’s all post apocalyptic. Or maybe it’s just the improvised script. In any case, “We’re All Caveman!”


  • 172
    pondoscp says:

    I actually followed the plot this time. I guess I’ve finally seen this one enough that it’s started to make some sort of sense to me.


  • 173
    EricJ says:

    thunder bucket: I always thought it was a take on James Brown, the hardest working man in show business!

    Way, way, back, four years ago in @43, I had it pegged for his resemblance to Redd Foxx in the shot.
    (And certainly not the first or last Sanford & Son reference to ever grace the series.)


  • 174
    ahaerhar says:

    yeah, given they they later exactly bring up “Crow isn’t very good at ventriloquy” I figured that was what was going on.


  • 175
    Thom Sirveaux says:

    Count me among those for whom this was an early episode. I was aware of the show, but the local cable affiliate did not carry Comedy Central yet. I picked up this episode on Rhino Home Video one day at Suncoast. It was love at first viewing.


  • 176
    thequietman says:

    “They’ve just jumped into a Kurosawa film!”
    “So it’ll start making sense?”

    No such luck, Crow, no such luck…

    I hadn’t watched this one in a long time, and it probably would have been even longer had it not been for this weekly episode guide. I don’t think there’s really much left to say, except I wonder if the wise sage type person (the guy the villain kidnaps) was hired because of his resemblance to Burgess Meredith, who was in the 1981 version of “Clash of the Titans”.


  • 177
    littleaimishboy says:

    5 stars.

    What is the riff, “I’m the best looking man of the middle ages!My, my my!” in reference to?Crow says it when that snake worshiping guy with the mustache and turban is standing there.

    It’s definitely a Little Richard reference. “I am the handsomest man in rock and roll!” he avowed from time to time in his typical understated way.

    Interesting (OT) trivia: Richard had a guy called Maurice James in his band, troublemaker who wouldn’t follow the rules, finally had to can him. Probably all for the best.


  • 178
    Dan in WI says:

    Johnny’s nonchalance: People sure are a bundle of contradictions. If that was your favorite riff I’d have wagered big money you’d love this genre. I agree, that’s one of my favorite riffs. But, unlike you, I love this genre!

    Tits all over for you Ator…

    I’m not sure what you see as my contradiction here. I’m coming out and saying my favorite episodes are largely from movie genres I do enjoy. So chances are your wager would be right on the money.


  • 179
    Thad says:

    Continuity by:


  • 180
    mnenoch says:

    My very first Joel episode. Rented the tape of this sometime in 1997 after catching the first run of episodes on SciFi. With that said it’s one of my favorites. I love these cheesy 80’s sword and sandal type flicks and this certainly is an awful one.

    The skits are fun and the riffing is fantastic including many riffs that would become the staples of Joel episodes for the rest of his run.


  • 181
    with 3 you get "pizza" says:

    At/or + cokeenuts
    Always wondered if that faint murmering during the opening reenactment was on the Jupiter track, or a female voice on-set directing J&tB’s to “do what they do”.