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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode Guide: 801- Revenge of the Creature

Last modified on 2017-05-07 17:06:02 GMT. 198 comments. Top.

Movie: (1955) Sequel to “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” in which the creature is at last captured and taken to a Florida aquarium for “study.”

First shown: 2/1/97
Opening: Mike, Tom and Gypsy reappear on the bridge of the SOL. They find Crow already there, but he seems different. As they are about to crash into Earth, Mike saves the ship but cripples it. They contact the planet, and it’s NOT Dr. Forrester who responds
Intro: After a good scream, Prof. Bobo and Dr. Peanut explain just what’s been happening on Earth lately. Bobo sends a bad movie because it’s “Ape Law”
Host segment 1: Servo tries to repair the SOL’s engines with a little help from the nanites. Crow still seems different
Host segment 2: An irate Phil the alien demands to speak to Servo
Host segment 3: Crow may be different, but he makes a great espresso
End: The bots make an embarrassing discovery about the love lives of Mike’s descendants. Then they learn who The Lawgiver is
Stinger: John Agar swims softly and carries a big stick
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• When the show was canceled (by Sci-Fi), we learned that Sci-Fi was simply going to delete the MST3K section of their web site including the episode guide entries the cast had written. We asked if we could have them. They agreed, as long as we designed new web pages for the text. We took the stuff and ran. The upshot is that you can still read the episode guide entries they did for seasons eight through ten here. You’re welcome. Bill offers his thoughts on this episode here.
• This episode is included in Shout! Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXV.
•The stretch between the end of season 7 and the beginning of season 8 was 259 days, the longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes (not counting wait between seasons 10 and 11, of course),
• I was incredibly nervous about this episode. I guess I should have had more confidence in them, but, at the time, I really didn’t know what to expect. All that long summer, fall and winter I began to wonder if maybe MST3K was just a ridiculous chance thing, and whether they could catch lightning in a bottle again. And it seemed to me that in the last CC episode the writers had painted themselves into a pretty tight corner. Could they get out of it with their usual aplomb? Sci-Fi Channel sent me a preview tape of the first show, and on the day it arrived I practically dashed to the TV and shoved it into the VCR. I was pleasantly surprised and hugely relieved.
Using the narrative economy this show is known for, it took them less than five minutes to extricate themselves from that corner, set the premise back up and get back into the theater. Was the opening bit terribly funny? No, but it was silly, and that was enough. I think that segment was much more about pushing the reset button than about the big yuks. And once they were back in the theater again, everything started to click into place. Almost immediately the riffs got funnier and funnier, and when Crow sings: “Egrets, I’ve had a few…” I cracked up and said to myself: “They’re back.”
• Of course, with this episode, we have another new version (or verse, as I prefer to say) of the theme song, and all-new visuals. But the new lyrics were a bit of a problem. They set out the new “endless chase” premise, including the Widowmaker space ship, etc. The problem is that in this episode, the “endless chase” has not yet begun, and after coming to grips with that premise, viewers then have to re-adjust to the whole “Planet of the Apes” thing that we are introduced to here. When this show first aired, more than a few viewers expressed confusion at this, wondering which premise the show was going with — the endless chase or the ape business. It would take several episodes before they figured out that the Ape premise was only a temporary sub-plot to the larger endless chase scenario.
• And, of course, with this episode Bill Corbett took over as Crow. Erhardt and I visited the studio the week before the show aired. See our report here.
It was there that Bill forthrightly said to us: “Crow has had a stroke.” And, yes, there definitely was a settling-in period for Bill’s Crow (those with long memories will recall that it also took several episodes for Kevin to settle into the Tom Servo character and voice). But the process was already under way by the end of this episode.
• And there are an array of new characters: Drs. Bobo and Peanut, the nanites and a completely revamped Pearl. I really do give Mary Jo a lot of credit for finding the funny in her character. Even when she was essentially a straight woman, setting up punch lines for Kevin or Bill, she did it well.
• Younger fans may perhaps wonder why one of the apes is playing with a suitcase in the background. That’s a reference to an old American Tourister commercial, in which they demonstrated their suitcases’ strength by throwing it into a cage with an angry gorilla.
• Gone, of course, is Deep 13. In its place (for now) is a set the cast called “Deep Ape” though it was never called that on the show.
• On the SOL, things are, well, darker. Gone for good is the brightly lit SOL of, say, season three. It’s just part of the look of this later period, largely the creation of Jeff Stonehouse, who liked it better. It took some getting used to.
• I have to say that I was never really comfortable with the whole “Crow doesn’t remember Mike” concept and I was glad when it only lasted a few episodes.
• In the opening, Crow is reading George Magazine, a “politics-as-lifestyle” glossy co-founded by John F. Kennedy Jr. It folded in 2001.
• Mike is almost unrecognizable in the ape makeup as Peanut, but the voice is a dead giveaway. That’s Jim and Bill in the background in the ape costumes — the first time Jim actually appeared in a sketch in several seasons.
• Bobo says he is descended from Godo. Unfortunately Godo is a character in “Time of the Apes” who was NOT an ape. Oops.
• There were some complaints, I remember, following Mike’s line: “Crow, this is what we’ve been doing for seven years!” That’s certainly not true of Mike’s character, but then again, it’s just a show, I should really just relax.
• Callback: During segment one, Tom says, “jerking around must have cause a flameout,” a line from “This Island Earth.” I also thought it was interesting that one of Mike’s first segments when he started as host had him on the floor helping the bots who were digging around in the wiring below the deck, and that’s again what he’s doing in one of his first segments on the new channel. Coincidence? Possibly.
• Segment 1, in which the nanites are introduced, is a lot of fun. Of course that’s Kevin and Paul as Wade and Ned, respectively. It’s another tightly written, very funny, spot.
• Segment 2 introduces yet another running gag — the notion that Tom has had all sorts of wild adventures out in the galaxy. They kind of toy with the idea but it never really pays off. That’s Bill, of course, as Phil the alien.
• Again and again in this episode, all sorts of odd fish float into view and the riffers give them all sorts of weird and silly voices. Funny stuff.
• Segment 3 is kinda silly but doesn’t go much of anywhere.
• The final bit is carried entirely by Mary Jo’s energy. Her explanations make no sense, but she makes them with such bravada that it works.
• Cast and crew roundup: Okay, now begins a stretch of Universal B-movies, most of which were created by the same bunch of people. So strap in: producer William Alland also produced “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” (for which he also got a story credit) “The Space Children” and “This Island Earth.” Director Jack Arnold also directed “The Space Children.” Scriptwriter Martin Berkeley also wrote “The Deadly Mantis.” Somebody whip up some gowns! Jay A. Morley Jr. did for this movie and also did for “The Mole People” and “The Deadly Mantis.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore also worked on “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Leech Woman,” “San Francisco International,” “The Thing That Couldn’t Die and “This Island Earth.” Hair stylist Joan St. Oegger also worked on “The Mole People,” “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “This Island Earth.” Art director Alexander Golitzen also worked on “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die,” “Kitten With A Whip” and “This Island Earth.” Set designer Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die,” “The Brute Man” and “This Island Earth.” Set designer Julia Heron also worked “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth.” Sound person Leslie I. Carey also worked on “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth.” Music director Joseph Gershenson also worked on “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die,” “Kitten with a Whip,” “This Island Earth” and he produced “The Leech Woman.” Score composer Herman Stein also worked on “The Mole People” and “This Island Earth.” Score composer Henry Mancini also worked on “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth.”
In front of the camera: John Agar also appears in “The Mole People,” and “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Nestor Paiva also appeared in “The Mole People.” Robert B. Williams appeared in “This Island Earth.” Brett Halsey also appeared in “Girl in Lovers Lane.” Ned LeFevre also appeared in “The Deadly Mantis.” Don C. Harvey also appeared in “Beginning of the End.” Bob Wehling wrote the script for “Eegah.” Robert Hoy also appeared in “The Mole People” and “Master Ninja II.” Sidney Mason also appeared in “Teenage Crime Wave.” Lori Nelson also appeared in “Untamed Youth.”
• CreditsWatch: The “produced and directed by,” “directed by” and “produced by” credits will change hands all season. This week the show was produced and directed by Jim, with Kevin listed as “associate producer.” Jim is also listed as a contributing writer. Something called “Blue Thumb Scenic” gets a set design credit. Patrick Brantseg — intern in season 4 and “utility infielder” in seasons 5 and 6 (he doesn’t seem to have worked on season 7) — now takes over as “art director.” Brad Keely returns as “technical supervisor.” Beth “Beez” McKeever takes the place of Jef Maynard, taking the title of “prop diva.” Barb Tebben takes the place of Julie Walker as “Info Club poobah.” We say hello to production manager Jill Roozenboom, grip Mike Parker and interns Elliot Cobb and Mytch Parks.
• Fave riff: “Of course, a couple of the chimps drowned…” Honorable mention: “Does he got a thing?”

Episode Guide: 802- The Leech Woman

Last modified on 2017-05-18 17:31:03 GMT. 153 comments. Top.

Movie: (1960) An aging woman travels to Africa to gain the secret to renewed (albeit temporary) youth. But murder is part of the recipe.

First shown: 2/8/97
Opening: Crow deals with the SOL’s prairie dog problem
Intro: The Apes discover that devolution can be fun
Host segment 1: The nanites are on strike
Host segment 2: Pearl is forced to give some laws, and asks M&TB for suggestions — and Tom has some
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom have a plan to get Mike’s pineal juices
End: Tom’s “Beverly Hillbillies” sketch ends in chaos, but the Apes are oh-so-civilized again
Stinger: The wily cop outwits his suspect
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• The last time through, I put this one in the good-not-great category, but, again, I guess I was in the right frame of mind for this — I laughed a LOT this time. Maybe it’s because you can really see them settling in and really feel them enjoying themselves.
• Read Kevin’s take on this episode here.
• This episode is included in “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: The 25th Anniversary Edition, (aka Vol. XXVIII).”
• Crow still cannot remember Mike. Not too much longer for that.
• Bill’s version of Crow’s voice is still all over the map in this one, but for the first time we begin to hear little snippets of the voice we would soon get to know.
• Cute prairie dog in the opening!
• Kevin is particularly funny in the intro. His mannerisms and his delivery are great.
• The “original Ray Kroc” was a popular piece of Universal set decoration — it was also on Exeter’s office wall in “This Island Earth.”
• Trivia: The African wildlife scenes were reused footage from Universal’s 1954 movie “Tanganyika.”
• Segment one is more clever than funny, but it’s such a change from the sort of host segment we used to get in the CC days that it’s kind of mesmerizing. The voices are Kevin and Paul as Ned and Wade again, along with Mary Jo as Jody.
• Kevin sings a little Zappa, when the soundtrack sounds like “Moving to Montana.”
• In segment two, we once again get hints at how Tom spent his time at the edge of the universe.
• This ep contains the first of what would be a running gag for most of the season: As Mala looks at her hands after becoming young, Tom says “I thought I was Dale!” What does this mean? Well, It’s actually a complicated goof, and thereby hangs a tale. Back in the 1970s, there was a series of commercials for Ivory dishwashing liquid, in which mothers were mistaken for their daughters, because the mom used Ivory and so her hands were young-looking. At around the same time, there was also a commercial for Grape Nuts, in which a teenage boy mistakes teenage girl Dale’s mother for Dale and utters the deathless line: “I thought you were Dale!” Best Brains only vaguely remembered these two completely unrelated commercials, and apparently mixed them up in their minds. There were apparently never any Ivory Liquid commercials in which a character said “I thought you were Dale!” And the Grape Nuts commercial in which that line was spoken had nothing to do with hands. So basically they goofed. But the writers thought they were making a reference to the Ivory Liquid commercials.
• There were a total of 12 “Dale” riffs this season, and there were Dale riffs in 11 consecutive episodes beginning in episode 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE. (And there were some in previous seasons! For a complete list, visit Ward E.) From this point forward, they will be referred to as “Daleisms.”
• LOTR reference: Tom gets all enty. (Hom-hoom!)
• Local reference: The Blainbrook Bowl. Do a lot of drunk girls dance there?
• Obscure reference: Tom invokes Earl Camenbert, a character from “SCTV.”
• Mike and Servo take another brief swing around the dance floor, something they haven’t done since 612- Starfighters.
• Firesign Theatre reference: Crow refers to “Arnie’s Whole Beef Halves.”
• What is with the HUGE front door on the house in this movie? Very weird.
• In segment 3, Mike crawls up in front of the “hatch.” First (and last) time for that, I think.
• The ending sketch is one of those sketches about not doing a sketch. They liked those. Not everybody did.
• The stinger in this one is rather unsatisfying. Feels like it was quickly plucked from near the end of the movie without much thought.
• For the record, Kevin holds that “Jeeeeed!” for 52 seconds.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Joseph Gershenson also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth. He was also music supervisor on “Kitten With A Whip.” Scriptwriter David Duncan also worked on “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “Black Scorpion.” Story writer Ben Pivar was the producer of “The Brute Man.” Cinematographer Ellis Carter also worked on “The Mole People” and “The Deadly Mantis.” Costumer Bill Thomas also worked on “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore worked on a ton of stuff. See last week’s list. Likewise art director Alexander Golitzen, set designer Russell A. Gausman and sound person Leslie I. Carey. Art director Robert Clatworthy also worked on “The Deadly Mantis.” Set designer Clarence Steensen also worked on “Rocketship X-M.” Sound guy Joe Lapis also worked on “The Brute Man.” Score composer Irving Gertz also worked on “The Deadly Mantis” and “Jungle Goddess.”
In front of the camera: Coleen Gray was also in “The Phantom Planet.” Gloria Talbott was also in “Girls Town.” Arthur Batanides was also in “The Unearthly.” Murray Alper was also in “Lost Continent.” Charles Keane was also in “Project Moon Base.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim retains the producer title, but Kevin is listed as director and associate producer. For the last time ever, Jim is listed as “contributing writer.”
• Fave riff: “We’re all just so RESTLESS.” Honorable mention: “She’s lettin’ the hair play her.” “Are you okay? How many fingers of whiskey am I holding up?”

Episode Guide: 803- The Mole People

Last modified on 2017-05-24 00:00:08 GMT. 160 comments. Top.

Movie: (1956) Pompous archaeologists find a lost civilization underground.

First shown: 2/15/97
Opening: Crow’s thinks his goofy eyes make him a “space child”
Intro: The space child is overthrown. While Bobo suffers through the 32nd Annual Lawgiver Daze, Tom offers baked goods and Crow takes a fall
Host segment 1: Mike tries an imitation of the gesture professor from the movie. It brings everyone down…down…down…
Host segment 2: Tom tries–and fails–to sing a ballad about his adventures in space
Host segment 3: Crow the archeologist, searching for evidence of a previous him, has a breakthrough
End: Crow believes there’s life beneath the floorboards…and he’s right. Meanwhile in Deep Ape, The Lawgiver is presented with a hunky gift
Stinger: “The Load” hits the wall
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• We’ve had a number of examples where the riffing is good and the segments are good but the movie just drags everything down. Well, let’s also note when it’s other way around. I think this episode is a good one, but I think a lot of the credit goes to the wonderfully stupid movie. I mean, you got The Gesture Professor, Ward Cleaver, Alfred the Butler, John Agar and Nestor “The Load” Paiva. And you got ropes and asses, whipping the mole and all sorts of outlandish stuff. The segments are okay and the riffing is good, but I think it’s the movie itself that puts this one over the top.
• References here.
• Mike’s take on this episode can be found here.
• Pearl’s float is not very convincing — but, then, it’s pretty tough to approximate a full-scale parade in about 10 square feet of set space.
• The strange blue light still suffuses the set, and it’s especially strong in segment 2. Stonehouse was experimenting.
• The concept of “the sketch that never really gets started” is a long tradition on this show (see “The Emotional Scientist” or “The Life of Fu Manchu” or “Joel wants to be a soda jerk”). This episode has not one but TWO such segments—Mike’s attempt at being the gesture professor and Servo’s aborted folk song.
• Crow finally remembers who he is, and who Mike is. At last.
• Crow’s voice begins to settle down a bit in this episode.
• Robert Smith was the first actual guest star for the show.
• Ward E has a list of the pastries in the intro segment.
• That huge underground cavern and those Mole People should look familiar to you … they were briefly (and incongruously) seen in episode 515-THE WILD WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN.
• It’s been widely reported that this movie’s original ending had Dr. Bentley and Adal happily strolling off together. The studio insisted that a new ending be shot two weeks after filming was completed, because there was reluctance to imply an inter-racial relationship. After all, Adal was a Sumerian. So she got clobbered with a column instead. Sheesh.
• By the way, Dr. Baxter, the gesture professor, was a University of Southern California professor of ENGLISH, not science.
• That’s Paul and Patrick, of course, as “pale day players.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer William Alland also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Space Children” and “This Island Earth.” Screenwriter Laszlo Gorog also worked on “Earth vs. The Spider.” Cinematographer Ellis Carter also worked on “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Leech Woman.” Editor Irving Birnbaum also worked on “The Phantom Creeps.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “This Island Earth,” “The Creeping Terror” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die.” Costumer Jay A. Morley Jr. also whipped up some gowns for “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Deadly Mantis.” Makeup guy: Bud Westmore worked on lots of MSTed movies. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “This Island Earth and “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art Director Alexander Golitzen, set designer Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and music supervisor Joseph Gershenson worked on a bunch of MSTed movies too. Score composer Hans J. Salter also worked on “The Brute Man” and “This Island Earth. Score composer Herman Stein also worked on “Revenge of the Creature and “This Island Earth. Score composer Henry Mancini worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth.”
In front of the camera: John Agar also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature and “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Hugh Beaumont also appeared in “Lost Continent” and “The Human Duplicators.” Nestor Paiva also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature.” Robin Hughes also appeared in “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.” Marc Hamilton also appeared in “This Island Earth.” Patrick Whyte also appeared in “Kitten with a Whip.” Eddie Parker also appeared in “This Island Earth,” “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom.” Regis Parton also appeared in “This Island Earth.” Ben Chapman was production manager for “The Giant Gila Monster” and appeared in “The Killer Shrews.” Robert Hoy also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature” and “Master Ninja II.” Bob Herron also appeared in “The Slime People.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the “produced and directed by” credit this week and Kevin gets the “associate producer” credit. This is the last episode, for the duration of the show’s run. for which Jim gets a “contributing writer” credit.
• Fave line: “Disney’s Dominatrix World!” Honorable mention: “Why, thank you! Oh, you mean the flashlight.”

Episode guide: 804- The Deadly Mantis

Last modified on 2017-05-31 22:43:40 GMT. 152 comments. Top.

Movie: (1957) A monstrous praying mantis is awakened from hibernation, and attacks the East Coast. Smug scientists are dispatched to stop it.

First shown: 2/22/97
Intro: Tom sets the rules for the SOL’s “business casual day”
Opening: The apes fix their mutant neighbors’ malfunctioning thermonuclear device; an alarmed Pearl skeedaddles
Host segment 1: The rumors of Pearl’s death are greatly exaggerated and she has a stowaway; Gypsy shakes her off their tail
Host segment 2: Mike searches for something good on the radio…and fails
Host segment 3: Tom hits something that really likes Crow!
End: Crow serves up juicy revenge, a letter from Dr. Peanut, a last word from Pearl
Stinger: The smarmy corporal out Donny Most-ing
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• I love this one, largely because, after dopey rocketship movies, giant bug movies are my favorite kind of dumb ’50s sci-fi. I only wish MST3K had done more of them. But this one’s lots of fun. The riffing is also terrific and the promised “endless chase” premise finally kicks into gear, and does so with considerable flair.
• Mary Jo’s take on this episode is here.
• This episode was included in “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXVII.”
• I think that’s Beez’ voice as the bomb recording, but it’s uncredited and we neglected to ask at the time, so now I’m sure they (including Beez) have probably forgotten.
• That’s Bill, Beez and Paul as the bomb worshippers. I believe this was the first time Bill face was actually shown on the show.
• The opening segment is LONG, at least compared to what we’re used to.
• Note that Mike does the patented Star Trek shirt tug (aka “the Picard maneuver”) before giving a command to engage.
• This marks the first appearance of the bridge steering wheel, which seems to materialize and dematerialize at will. It also marks the first appearance of The Widowmaker, Pearl’s VW astro-bus.
• Callbacks: Starfighters music, “Gamera!” “Shut up, Iris!” (The Beatniks) “Poopie suits” (Starfitghters) “Everyone’s legs are sticking out!” (reference to a line in MST3K The Movie) Also: “Your crank is turned to Frank,” during the host segment.
• After several episodes in which the Sci-Fi Channel logo, or “bug” was obscuring Crow in the theater, fans began to gently gripe online about it (mindful that their incessant griping seemed to piss off the LAST channel that ran the show). In response, going WAY out of their way, they arranged to move the bug to the left side of the screen — just for this one show (this apparently involved hacking some computer at the channel). By this episode, the bug had officially moved.
• Segment two features the voices of almost the entire cast as country music singers, radio announcers, etc.
• Crow’s voice really settles in with this episode. Compare to his voice in 801, it’s much more natural, with more less strain, much more like Bill’s real voice.
• Gypsy has a nice moment as the “Shirley Muldowney of deep space.” Note that she uses the phrase “Out out out!” just as Mike did to her in MST3K: The Movie.
• I love the riffs as the old scientist. “Marie died, ya know!”
• Then-current reference: “The final desperate hours of the Dole campaign,” (might as well be the Dewey campaign, now) “Kelsey, throw us the keys!” (referencing actor Kelsey Grammar’s run-ins with the law).
• That’s Patrick inside the big blue monster suit.
• Nice job on the digested version of Crow
• When Crow is doing the voice of the Mantis, he sounds just like Observer.
• Cast and crew roundup: producer William Alland also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People.” “The Space Children” and “This Island Earth.” Scriptwriter Martin Berkeley also worked on “Revenge of the Creature.” Cinematographer Ellis Carter also worked on “Leech Woman” and “The Mole People.” Special effects guy Fred Knoth also worked in “This Island Earth.” Costumer Jay A. Morley Jr. also worked on “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Mole People. Makeup guy Bud Westmore did a whole slew of MSTed movies, as did art directors Alexander Golitzen and Robert Clatworthy and set designer Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and music supervisior Joseph Gershenson. Set designer Oliver Emert also worked on “Kitten with a Whip.” Score composer Irving Gertz also worked on “Leech Woman” and “Jungle Goddess.” Score composer Henry Mancini also worked on “This Island Earth,” “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People” and “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.” In front of the camera, John Close was also in “Slime People” and “Beginning of the End.” David McMahon was also in “It Conquered the World.” Paul Frees can also be heard in “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Sword and the Dragon” and “The Beatniks” (which he also produced and directed).
• CreditsWatch: This time the show is produced by Jim, directed by Kevin. “Additional music” (the various performances on the space radio) by the “Best Brains Ad Hoc Radio Band.”
• Fave riff: “Get back in your little boat, Grandpa!” Honorable mention: “But ah got a mantis in mah pantis…”
• Great host segment line: “Foghat, Lawgiver?”

Episode guide: 805- The Thing that Couldn’t Die

Last modified on 2017-06-07 23:07:39 GMT. 161 comments. Top.


Movie: (1958) A traysure-hunting family at a dude ranch digs up a severed head with evil powers.

First shown: 3/1/97
Opening: Artiste Tom creates negative images of patron Crow
Intro: We meet The Observers, super-intelligent beings who carry their brains around with them. Pearl and Bobo are their guests
Host segment 1: An irritating Observer arrives and observes
Host segment 2: The Observers enable Mike to materialize anyone from his memory
Host segment 3: Crow premieres his documentary on the Civil War
End: Tom has a plan to make Crow do unspeakable acts; Pearl and Bobo get ready for bed
Stinger: Observers
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• Check out Paul’s take on this episode here.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIX.
• This episode definitely causes me a lot of playsure, but it’s also a bit of a comedown after the wacky fun of “Deadly Mantis.” Some of the segments are more clever than funny, and this is a classic example of a movie that would be unwatchable without the riffing. But it’s there, and it is very good. That’s one thing I have to say about this whole period we’re getting into where some fans began to complain (about the loss of the stingers, about the sameness of the movies (see below), about the new premise, blah blah blah): I maintain that the riffing in all these episodes is as consistently good (and occasionally better) as what we saw in the Comedy Central years. There, I said it, I’d say it again if I had to.
• It was about at this point that the string of black-and-white Universal b-movies began to wear on some fans. In retrospect, the relief that was “Giant Spider Invasion” was only a few episodes away, but at the time the sameness of the movies irritated some. My sense is that Sci-Fi Channel lined these up for them, thinking that these were the sort of movies fans wanted them to riff. (Though, to be sure, there were at least two others reasons: because they were compatible with the channel, and because, at that time, the company that owned these Universal movies was the same one that owned the channel, making them cheap to acquire.) But the complaints were less about each movie taken by itself and more about the sameness of the sequence. Had they interspersed these movie with some other types of films, the issue might never have come up. The moral: a little variety is always nice.
• Of course, the big news in this episode was the introduction of The Observers, characters not directly from any particular “Star Trek” episode, but certainly reminiscent of many of the sort of supposedly omniscient beings that Captain Kirk seemed to encounter often.
• Tom notes that much of the music in the movie is essentially a needle-drop on the “This Island Earth” soundtrack. It’s hard to miss.
• Callbacks: “She’s getting squishy!” (A Young Man’s Fancy); “Old Timer Billy Slater” (Junior Rodeo Daredevils).
• Early in the movie, something called a “trade rat” is mentioned. The writers apparently never heard the term before (neither had I), and so they have a lot of fun with the phrase. Well, the Columbia Encyclopedia says a “trade rat” is synonymous with “pack rat ,” a rodent of the genus neotoma, noted for its habit of collecting bright, shiny objects and leaving other objects, such as nuts or pebbles, in their place; also called trade rat or wood rat … the pack rat stores the objects it collects to decorate its nest.” There, don’t say you’ve never learned anything from Satellite News. :-)
• As Jessica prepares to leave, Crow wonders aloud where the heck she’s going. Pay attention, Crow. She said loud and clear she was going to her cousin’s.
• Paul is hilarious as the Observer. “I hate him, and can take solace only in my own cool detachment.”
• There were a total of 12 “Dale” riffs this season, and there were Dale riffs in 11 consecutive episodes beginning in this episode. (And there were some in previous seasons! For a complete list, visit Ward E.) From this point forward, they will be referred to as “Daleisms.” This episode’s Daleism: Mike the lunkhead (in the movie) looks at his hands and Mike (the lunkhead, in the theater) says “I thought you were Dale.”
• When Kevin’s appears as Hadrian, his helmet begins to come loose almost immediately and eventually falls off even though he attempts to secure it in mid-scene.
• Then Mike shoves Bridget in the face … THAT must have been a delicate rehearsal…
• Obscure references: Larry Wilcox, who played Officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker in TV’s “CHiPs” and Tracy Gold, best remembered as daughter Carol on the TV’s “Growing Pains.”
• One movie complaint: Toward the second half of the movie, the inhabitants of the ranch decide to dig for the coffin containing the head’s body. I have to ask: Why is the oily beat artist guy digging? He’s a GUEST at the ranch! Sure, both the ranch’s hands are dead, but that’s Flavia’s problem, isn’t it? If I were a guest at a dude ranch (an unlikely prospect, I assure you), you wouldn’t catch me doing heavy labor for the ranch’s owner without a serious cut in the room rate.
• There’s a classic moment in this one when the two women crawl into bed together, and Crow and Tom celebrate in great style.
• A lot of fans were very surprised and not many were pleased when the Observers usurped the stinger. It would continue for three episodes, and the howls of dismay grew louder each week.
• In a thread we did a while back, the consensus choice for the stinger was “You’re all evil and I hope you die!”
• Cast and crew roundup: Screenwriter David Duncan also worked on “Black Scorpion” and “The Leech Woman.” Cinematographer Clifford Stine also worked on “This Island Earth,” “The Creeping Terror” and “The Mole People.” Costumer Bill Thomas also worked on “The Leech Woman.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore blah, blah, blah. Same with art director Alexander Golitzen, set designer Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, score composer/music supervisor Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
In front of the camera: Robin Hughes was also in “The Mole People.” Peggy Converse was also in “The Brute Man.” Phil Harvey was also in “The Deadly Mantis.” Thomas Browne Henry was also in “Beginning of the End.
• CreditsWatch: Bill’s credit as “Observer” begins; it will run though the end of the series. Paul and Mike’s credit as “Observer” begins and runs for three more episodes. Jim gets both the producer and director credit this time, and Kevin continues as associate producer. That’s Paul as Finnigan, Kevin as Hadrian and Bridget as Adrienne Barbeau.
• Fave riff: “Oh E.G. Marshall, you ARE a bold one…” Honorable mentions: “Well, there’s that all-night historical society.” “Now I want her more than ever!” and “Here’s lookin’ up your neck hole!”

Episode guide: 806- The Undead

Last modified on 2017-06-14 23:59:21 GMT. 160 comments. Top.

Movie: (1956) A “psychical researcher” hypnotizes a prostitute, causing her to regress to a previous life as a woman accused of witchcraft.

First shown: 3/8/97
Opening: Trying to fill in the viewers, Mike seethes about past injustices
Intro: The Observers test everybody and Servo tests well
Host segment 1: Servo becomes an Observer–then the spoons go missing
Host segment 2: The witch from the movie appears, but she’s going through some changes
Host segment 3: Mike plays his Digger Smolken album
End: Crow is an imp, Tom and Mike lash out at Leonard Maltin, and Bobo makes a brain sammich
Stinger: Observers
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• My memory of this one was that it was all drab and smeary, kind of like the walls in the psychicical researcher’s office, but this was one of those episodes that was a lot wackier than I remembered. To start with, it’s Corman, and that means funny. And it’s the first non-Universal movie since the season started. Plus you got Billy Barty, the always-fun Bruno VeSota, Digger Smolken and the STAY! chorus. What’s not to love? Well, maybe the last host segment…
• Bill’s take on the episode is here.
• This episode is included in Shout Factory’s “MST3K: Volume XXXIV.”
• It’s in this episode that Bill breaks out and begins to become the Observer we know. He has some nice moments in this one.
• Why did Corman think audiences would go for this hokey tale of psychic regression? Well, it was, briefly, all the rage. In the mid-1950s, a book called “The Search for Bridey Murphy” became a best seller. It supposedly was based on a true story about a woman who regressed to former lives via hypnosis. In 1956, a movie based on that book, with the same title, was released, and did pretty well, well enough to get Corman working on a ripoff. But by the time he was able to get it filmed, the craze had peaked, and a new fad was hot: zombies. So they changed the title from “The Trance of Diana Love” to “The Undead,” even though there’s nothing particularly undead in the movie.
• When Livia and her imp change into bats, they may look familiar to you. Corman used them a year earlier in “It Conquered the World.”
• Daleism: As Quintus hypnotizes the girl, he says: “Do you see my hand?” Mike adds: “Do you think I’m Dale?”
• LOTR references: Rivendell, Strider, Mordor, Mithril.
• Bridget is lots of fun as the witch unable to control her shape-shifting.
• A rare riff retread: “This guy is Satan … from hell” is a riff originally done in “Santa Claus.”
• Callback: “You’re stuck here!” (Fugitive Alien)
• The old “spoons dropping from the sleeve” bit was probably most famously done in the 1930 Marx Brothers movie “Animal Crackers.”
• The “Servo as Observer” bit goes on a bit, I have to say. This long segment, plus the long segment at the end, are obviously drawn out because the movie is so short. A short might have served them better.
• That’s Kevin singing on the Digger Smolken album, of course.
• I wonder if Leonard Maltin saw the bit at the end before he agreed to be a guest star a year later.
• The final bit—the lengthy brain sandwich-making scene—sparked fierce debate among internet fans. Some loved it, others saw it as long, labored, pointless and emblematic of a growing problem they were having with the revived series. It really is a tour de force for Kevin. On the other hand, it’s definitely a long walk for a little joke.
• One other note: Kevin, his hands — or paws — probably slippery with mayoNAISE — drops the tape and it rolls a little way away and he has to run after it. They keep rolling.
• The Observers steal the stinger again. What would be your nomination? Mine is: “STAY!”
• Executive producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “It Conquered the World,” “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Night of the Blood Beast,” “Terror from the Year 5000,” “The She-Creature,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “The Screaming Skull. Producer/director Roger Corman also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Gunslinger,” “Night of the Blood Beast,” “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “High School Big Shot.” Assistant director Lou Place directed “Daddy-O,” appeared in “Swamp Diamonds,” was a production manager on “It Conquered the World” (he probably wrangled those bats), and “Agent for H.A.R.M.” Screenwriter Charles B. Griffith also worked on “It Conquered the World” and “Gunslinger.” Screenwriter Mark Hanna also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Gunslinger and was production coordinator for “Terror from the Year 5000.” Cinematographer William Sickner also worked on “The Phantom Creeps.” Prop Master: Karl Brainard also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The She-Creature.” Choreographer Chris Miller also worked on “Gunslinger” (and appeared in it as well). Score composer Ronald Stein also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Gunslinger,” “The She-Creature,” “Attack of the the Eye Creatures and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” In front of the camera, Allison Hayes was also in “Gunslinger,” “The Crawling Hand” and “The Unearthly.” Bruno VeSota was also on “Daddy-O,” “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” “Gunslinger” and “The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman.” Richard Devon was also in “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Aaron Saxon was also in “Gunslinger.” Richard Miller was also in was also in “It Conquered the World” and “Gunslinger.” Paul Blaisdell also appeared in “”It Conquered the World,” “The She-Creature” (for which he also did special effects), “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “Earth Vs. the Spider” and “Teenage Caveman.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the producer credit and Kevin gets the director credit. A guy named John Sims joins the crew for six episodes. His credit is “SFX/foley.” For some reason, interns Elliot Cobb and Mytch Parks, who worked the first five episodes of season 8, did not work this one and the next one. In their place are Lane Stiller and Steve Zocklein. They worked this episode and the next one, then Cobb and Parks returned for two more episodes. Hm.
• Fave riff: “You have one litter of toads and people won’t drop it.” Honorable mention: “I have never known more about what isn’t going on in a movie” and “This is one tough spelling bee.”

Episode guide: 807- Terror from the Year 5000

Last modified on 2017-06-22 09:45:10 GMT. 130 comments. Top.

Movie: (1958) A scientist builds a time machine, allowing a scary woman from the future to appear.

First shown: 3/15/97
Opening: Tom “comfort rates” everything
Intro: The Observers make Pearl and Bobo fight, but the M&TB aren’t getting the message
Host segment 1: The Observers offer their superior food
Host segment 2: Mike sends Crow back in time, but soon regrets it
Host segment 3: The Observers croon “When I Held Your Brain in My Arms”
End: Mike sets Crow up with a blind date from the year 5000, while Pearl declares her humanity
Stinger: Observers
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


Get Kevin’s take here.
• This ranks up there as one of the most incompetent movies they’ve ever done and, as you know, that’s saying something. An amateur cast playing unlikeable characters, a glacial pace to a plot that makes zero sense. Laughable special effects and a story with no payoff. Bleah. The segments are all pretty good, especially the song, but I think the riffing is a bit sub-par this time. There are still plenty of great riffs, but they seem a little thinner than usual. All in all a fair-to-good outing.
• This episode has not yet been released on DVD.
• This was the seventh new show in seven weeks. I remember the incredible feeling of being overwhelmed with new MST3K episodes with barely enough time to assimilate it all (a little like getting 14 new episodes at once). I was almost happy to have the two-week break that followed this show, just so I could catch my breath (figuratively speaking).
• Daleism: As the nurse/alien takes off her gloves, moist guy says “Your hands!” and of course the riff is: “I thought you were Dale!”
• For those who want a full list of the colors of Mike, Ward E has it.
• Mike once again channels “The Frugal Gourmet” Jeff Smith. Last time was in episode 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD.
• Then-current riff: “I’m Jaye Davidson.” Davidson was still being talked about for his performance in “The Crying Game” five years earlier. “Suddenly Susan” then a popular sitcom starring Brooke Shields.
• Obscure references: The short-lived 1995 series “The Single Guy,” Mrs. Pynchon, a character in the TV series “Lou Grant.” Also: Servo sings the jingle for the long-defunct Northwest Orient airlines. Also: Nice obscure Beatles reference: “He’s a clean old man.” Classical music fans probably enjoyed the reference to the Brodski Quartet, a British classical string ensemble.
• Several Jimmy Carter references in this one, since the handyman vaguely resembles him. Of course, Carter’s administration was decades ago now. To a lot of this show’s young fans, they may as well be making Chester A. Arthur references.
• Kevin breaks out his great Flash Bazbo impression. The character was a creation of Chris Guest back when he was making records (and I do mean records, not CDs) for National Lampoon. “Hellooo?…Hellooo?”
• That’s Beez as the sparkly “Terror.” Not sure how I feel about uglying her up (if such a thing is even possible).
• “When I Held Your Brain in My Arms” was an immediate hit and the channel was nice enough to put the entire song on their web site. It was the first song since Trace bid farewell to Frank, and it really brightens up an otherwise rugged episode. Note that Mike lip synchs to Kevin’s vocals but Bill lip synchs himself.
• Annoying commercial: The special message from America Online boss Steve Case. To refresh your memory, AOL went to a flat-rate, unlimited-use pricing structure and, naturally, usage skyrocketed. Problem was: AOL’s system wasn’t ready to handle the jump in usage. For a couple of months, connecting (for you kids, we used to have to connect to the internet via telephone lines … and we liked it that way! We liked it just fine! Now get off my lawn!) was hit-and-miss at best and busy signals were the order of the day. Anyway, in this commercial Case strolls through what is ostensibly an AOL customer service call center and apologizes for failing to remember the first day of Business 101, when they explained that when you cut the price of something, there’s more demand for it.
• This is another movie in which all the sets seem to have filth covering the walls. Weird.
• For non-Trekkies, Pearl’s little speech about the nature of humanity is the sort of thing Captain Kirk would spout about once every third or fourth episode, usually after refusing to take part in some staged fight.
• The Observers steal the stinger again. What would you have picked? I think I would have gone with a shot of Angelo enjoying his magazines in his shack.
• Cast and crew roundup: No need to go through the Arkoff/Nicholson litany again. Producer/director/scriptwriter Robert J. Gurney Jr. (the guy you can blame for this mess) also wrote the script (i.e. ripped off somebody else’s script) for “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Production coordinator Mark Hanna also worked on “Gunslinger” and “The Undead” and wrote the script for “The Amazing Colossal Man.” In front of the camera, Ward Costello was also in “Code Name: Diamond Head.” Frederic Downs was also in “The Hellcats,” “The Skydivers” and “Red Zone Cuba.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the produced and directed by credit. Kevin is associate producer. As noted last time, Lane Stiller and Steve Zocklein were interns for only two episodes, the last one and this one.
• Fave riff: Of all the plot holes to fill, they choose the scuba gear plot hole!” Honorable mention: “Do you have cartoon music playing in your head, too?” and “They are implying: POOM!”

Episode guide: 808- The She Creature

Last modified on 2017-06-28 23:24:44 GMT. 93 comments. Top.

Movie: (1956) A carnival mesmerist uses hypnosis on a woman to summon the spirit of a murderous female sea creature. A drab guy tries to stop him.

First shown: 4/5/97
Opening: Crow and Tom confuse similar sounding household products
Intro: The Observers prepare to dissect Bobo, Pearl begs for a distraction, Mike asks the nanites for help and they provide a Number 7
Host segment 1: Crow presents the “Tickle Me Carlo Lombardi” doll
Host segment 2: Pearl and Bobo have a stowaway
Host segment 3: Mike demonstrates the non-acting method of Lance Fuller
End: Questions about the movie, and M&tB find out they are being held in place by Observer’s mind
Stinger: Bobo investigates a planet…closely
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• Mike’s take on the episode is here.
• This episode was included in Shout’s “MST3K: Volume XXXIV.”
• This one, despite being deep in the season-eight string of black-and-white B potboilers, tickles me in a weird way, kind of like what one might do to a Tickle Me Carlo Lombardi doll (ew!). While Lance Fuller drags down every scene he’s in, it’s balanced out by the weird vehemence of Chester Morris. The host segments are nearly all great, and the riffing was steady and reliable. Plenty of fun.
• This is the final episode in the Observer story arc and the last one with no stinger.
• Mike blows up a SECOND planet and Pearl gets a second sidekick, creating an terrific three-way personality dynamic that carries the series forward.
• Callbacks: “Guard! Sick man!” (Red Zone Cuba); and the ever-popular “Sleeeeep!”
• Like “The Undead,” this movie tried to cash in on the craze about regression to past lives via hypnosis, as popularized by the book (and movie) “The Search for Bridey Murphy.”
• The term “squarehead” was new to me when I saw this. They seem to be using it refer to Scandinavians, but apparently it’s more popularly used to refer to Germans.
• Daleism: [Lombardi is hypnotizing the recumbent Andrea, waving his hand in her face.] Mike: Do you think I’m Dale?
• That’s Kevin as the voice of the Carlo Lombardi doll.
• Obscure riff: “(flatly) Hello Max.” A reference to Hymie the robot on the TV series “Get Smart.”
• The MSTie classic “Does this bug you?” makes a return. As does another MSTie classic: “Sessions presents!”
• The end of the ep brings the show to what later was called “The camping planet” by BBI, though it was never referred to like that on the show.
• Mary Jo calls M&tB “schmucks” and got bleeped by a nervous channel. Fans were a bit upset about it at the time, but BBI seemed only to find it funny (or so they let on to fans).
• Suggestions for a stinger?
• Cast and crew roundup: I won’t go through the Arkoff/Nicholson again. Producer Alex Gordon wrote the story for “Bride of the Monster.” Screenwriter Lou Rusoff also wrote “It Conquered the World.” Cinematographer Frederick West also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Gunslinger” (was she a pal of Beverly’s?). Editor Ronald Sinclair also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Swamp Diamonds. Special effects guy Paul Blaisdell also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “It Conquered the World,” “Earth Vs. the Spider” and “Teenage Caveman.” Costumer Marjorie Corso also worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Tormented” and “Bloodlust!” Makeup guy also worked “Bloodlust!” Supervisor/assistant director Bartlett Carre was production manager for “Swamp Diamonds.” Set designer Harry Reif also worked in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” “I Accuse My Parents,” “Radar Secret Service” and was assistant director for “Gunslinger.” Prop master Karl Brainard also worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The Undead.” Sound guy Ben Winkler also worked on “War of the Colossal Beast.” Score composer Ronald Stein also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Gunslinger” “The Undead,” “The Girl in Lovers Lane” and “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.”
In front of the camera, Tom Conway was in “12 to the Moon.” Cathy Downs was in “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Lance Fuller was in “This Island Earth.” Frank Jenks was in “The Amazing Colossal Man.” William Hudson was in “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Jack Mulhall was also in “Undersea Kingdom.” Edward Earle was in “I Accuse My Parents.” Luana Walters was in “The Corpse Vanishes.” Paul Blaisdell was in “It Conquered the World” and “The Undead.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the “produced & directed by” credit and Kevin gets the “associate producer” credit. After two episodes off, interns Elliot Cobb and Mytch Parks return for the first of two more eps.
• Fave riff: “Big Balinese wheel money!” Honorable mention: “He’s got a list of his facial expressions taped to her back” and “I can’t help but feel that was directed at me.”

Episode guide: 809- I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Last modified on 2017-07-06 16:15:00 GMT. 120 comments. Top.

Movie: (1957) An unethical doctor turns a short-tempered teen into a monster.

First shown: 4/19/97
Opening: Mike is to be removed as captain
Intro: While camping, Pearl lowers the SOL’s shields, and Tom meets a face-hugging alien
Host segment 1: Crow’s proximity detector malfunctions
Host segment 2: Servo goes after the alien
Host segment 3: It’s alien egg omelets for everyone, but Crow is a critic
End: The alien is draining the SOL’s energy and Mike is forced to become really repulsive. And at camp, Pearl tells some scary stories
Stinger: “People bug me, too!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• Get Mary Jo’s take on this episode here.
• This episode has not been released on DVD.
• This one is just irresistible. The riffing is great, the movie is an iconic bad movie with a great bad movie cast, the segments are some of the best “parodying the classic sci-fi conventions” stuff they did and the ending is a classic.
• This episode debuted just as the movie “Volcano” was gearing up to hit movie theaters, and after the opening segment, Sci-Fi ran a short bumper with the “Volcano” logo super-imposed over the door sequence. Which means somebody actually thought this movie would appeal to MST3K viewers specifically…
• Not-so-much-annoying-as-amusing commercial: A Radio Shack ad that takes credit for helping people “understand cellular phones.” What was to understand?
• In this, the first full episode with the new evil trio, Pearl clearly prefers Observer to Bobo. It’s a dynamic that doesn’t last very long.
• Tom is still wearing the alien facehugger when he comes into the theater for the first movie segment.
• During segment 1, Crow accidentally bumps the “Mousetrap” game Mike and Tom were playing and sets some of it in motion. Kevin and Mike just roll with it, so to speak.
• Movie observation: That song is weird. What is with the tempo of the lyrics??
• In segment 2 we get another recall of the “Tom did some stuff while on his own in the universe…” backstory, but I think maybe this is one of the last.
• Daleism: [As Michael Landon looks at his hand] Mike: “I thought I was Dale!”
• Then-current reference: The first of several episodes to make reference to Richard Jewel. Now largely forgotten.
• This is the third straight movie featuring psychological regression!
• That’s Beez in a now-rare appearance as Magic Voice.
• Most of the time, when an actor or actress from a popular TV show appears in a movie, they purposely limit themselves to only one or two jokes about it. They did that here with Guy Williams of “Lost in Space” present: they limited themselves to “You’re worse than Dr. Smith!”
• Malcom Atterbury plays almost the EXACT same suicidal dad character he played in “High School Big Shot”!
• Tom enters the theater from the left after segment 2.
• In the ending segment, Tom uses the phrase “sour its milk,” a direct reference to a Star Trek: TNG plot line.
• Once again in a moment of extreme stress, Mike’s preternatural ability to transform himself comes in handy. I gotta say I did NOT see the Adam Duritz slam coming. I consider myself a Counting Crows fan, but Mike was hilarious. Does anybody know if Adam ever commented on it?
• The camping planet story arc — such as it is — begins with this episode, and the stingers thankfully returned.
• Cast and crew roundup: I will not go through the Arkoff/Nicholson litany again. Director Gene Fowler Jr. also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Assistant director/production manager Jack R. Berne also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Costume guy Oscar Rodriguez also worked on “The Magic Sword” and “Phantom Planet.” Set designer Morris Hoffman also worked on “War of the Colossal Beast.” Score composer Paul Dunlap also worked on “The Rebel Set” and “Lost Continent.”
In front of the camera, Yvonne Lime also appeared in “Untamed Youth.” Whit Bissell also appeared in “Lost Continent. Malcolm Atterbury also appeared in “High School Big Shot.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets a producer credit only. Kevin gets a director credit and is also listed as associate producer. Interns Elliot Cobb and Mytch Parks finish up their final stints as interns.
• Fave line: “Um, mistakes were made?” Honorable mention: “Boy, does he ever!” “Sir, I gotta get back and transfer Oswald.”

Episode guide: 810- The Giant Spider Invasion

Last modified on 2017-07-13 14:38:57 GMT. 181 comments. Top.

Movie: (1975) A meteor crashes in Wisconsin, laden with the eggs of otherworldly spiders. Incompetent local officials try to respond.

First shown: 5/31/97
Opening: Tom shows spirit, but Mike and Crow only offer MRxL
Intro: The campers recall their trip, Tom portages and Pearl shares some pod-like “zucchini”
Host segment 1: Pod-Gypsy suggests sleep, but Mike is suspicious
Host segment 2: Mike and the bots try to stay awake, while Bobo is skeptical
Host segment 3: Pod-Servo seems convincing, until asked about his “collection”
End: Bobo saves the day, but Pearl declares movie sign … again!
Stinger: Pthpthpthp!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• At last. With this episode you can sense that the channel begins to trust BBI more, and the result is a memorable gem. We get the first color movie of the Sci-Fi Channel era, and what a movie! A real departure from the sameness of the film choices up to this point. The segments playfully take on another classic sci-fi trope and the riffing is top-of-the-line. All-in-all a landmark, breakthrough episode.
• Get Paul’s rather dyspeptic take here, which includes some mild satirical slander to which director Bill Rebane himself, in humorless email to us, took personal offense, causing us to add a disclaimer on that page.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 10
• Callback: “Down and down…” (The Mole People), “Somebody tampered in God’s domain,” (Bride of the Monster), “Did you beef?” (I Was a Teenage Werewolf).
• During the intro, Tom gets even for getting clobbered during the very similar “board routine” in episode 614- San Francisco International.
• Of course, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers'” (and other pod-based horror movies) have their turn at being parodied.
• Bill Williams, who played bar owner Dutch, and Barbara Hale, who played scientist Jenny Langer, were real-life husband and wife, and their son is William Katt, best remembered for his starring role in TV’s “The Greatest American Hero.”
• Daleism: As the we see the dying girl’s hand: “He thought I was Dale!”
• When amped-up Crow is in the theater, a heart beating sound effect continues for several minutes.
• The giant spider sat on a Volkswagen chassis; a driver and another eight men were inside to control each leg. That must have been fun.
• Those who’d never seen “MST3K: The Movie” were probably baffled by the host segment reference to Tom Servo’s underwear collection.
• Of course, the cry “PACKERS!!!!” became an immediate catchphrase.
In fact in February of 2011, on the night the Packers DID, in fact, win the Super Bowl, I was retweeted hundreds of times after I tweeted this Youtube video.
• In 2013, what was left of the giant spider, a rusting metal frame, was stolen from a field in Merrill.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer-Director Bill Rebane also did “Monster A Go-Go.” Assistant director/unit manager Barbara Rebane did the costumes for “Monster A Go-Go.” In front of the camera, Steve Brodie was also in “Wild World of Batwoman.” Alan Hale Jr. was also in “The Crawling Hand” and “Angels Revenge.” Robert Easton (who also got a screenwriter credit for this movie) did the voices in the British 1965 TV series “Stingray,” episodes of which were included in the the TV-movie that was featured in episode K01-INVADERS FROM THE DEEP. He was also in “The Touch Of Satan.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim is listed as producer for the last time in the series. Kevin is director. He is also associate producer for the last time. Interns Tamara Melloy and Randy Smith begin a four-episode stint.
• Fave riff: “I hate it when a movie kills off a beloved character … this is great, though!” Honorable mention: “His Hagar slacks have a waistband with repressed memories.” “Admit it! You felt something when I rolled on you!”
• Oh, and remember: honor the umlaut!

Episode guide: 811- parts: the clonus horror

Last modified on 2017-07-15 17:45:09 GMT. 173 comments. Top.

Movie: (1979) At a remote facility, clones are being bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful.

First shown: 6/7/97
Opening: Mike has a mustache and the bots like it — sort of
Intro: Three runaway space children awaken the campers
Host segment 1: The campers are forced to play games with the kids
Host segment 2: M&tB help Pearl out by putting on a public TV show
Host segment 3: Pearl, Bobo and Observer have “that” talk with the kids
End: Crow has a nosejob, and Tom has written a poem for the kids
Stinger: “Sure!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• This is a (comparatively) thought-provoking idea for a movie, even if it is hamfistedly written, acted and directed. Still, it’s in color, it’s in focus, and its budget was (compared to most other MSTed movies) pretty big, so it’s pretty easy to look at, which helps make it a very watchable episode. The riffing starts slowly, but builds, and by the time of the campfire love scene, they are really clicking. The segments —- featuring a new, brief, story arc with the temperamental and omnipotent space children —- are fun. Not sensational, but there are definitely some laughs there.
• Paul’s take on the episode is here.
• Rhino included this episode in its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12.
• In 2005, when DreamWorks released “The Island,” also about a colony that breeds clones to harvest organs for the elite, the makers of “clonus” filed suit, claiming copyright infringement. DreamWorks settled out of court.
• As you enjoy Peter Graves’ performance, remember that he HATED MST3K.
• Just to make a fool of me, the guys completely disregard what I’ve said in the past about them usually showing restraint when a popular TV actor shows up. The presence of Dick Sergeant prompts quite a large number (this time I counted about 10) of “Bewitched” jokes and references. There are plenty of “Biography” references as well.
• I enjoyed Mike’s use of the famous Belloq taunt from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve used it myself a time or two since this episode aired. It does have a certain insouciance.
• Daleism: Shot of man’s hand on podium. Servo: “Hey it’s…oh, I thought it was Dale.”
• For those of you playing along at home, this movie was shot a year after Keenan Wynn did “Laserblast,” so pretty much the same Keenan-ey era.
• Speaking of Keenan, I always feel sorry for the Nobels. This complete stranger shows up on their doorstep and they pretty much do the right thing right down the line, and they get blown up as a reward. Sheesh.
• Nice use of Dorf-style camera trickery during the segments. It works especially well on Paul, for some reason. Mike and Bridget are the other two children, of course.
• As Dr. F learned when he asked M&tB for help with his bed and breakfast, NEVER ask M&tB for help! Pearl learns this in segment 2.
• They would actually do a movie called “The Space Children” next season, but I don’t think they are really making a direct reference to that movie here.
• There’s a residual Adam Duritz riff.
• Best host segment line: “Tanta Bobo has to go see Uncle Reconstructive Urologist.”
• Mary Jo is hilarious in the “facts of life” segment.
• Then-current reference: Tom’s cry of “50 free hours of AOL???” Which was an offer Americans were getting at every turn.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Steve Karkus also worked on “The Touch of Satan” as did makeup guy Joe Blasco (he also did special effects for “Track of the Moon Beast.”)
In front of the camera, Peter Graves, of course, was in “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” “SST: Death Flight” and was a narrator for “Attack of the the Eye Creatures. Keenan Wynn, as noted, was also in “Laserblast.” Lurene Tuttle was also in “Untamed Youth.” Greg Brickman did some stunts in “Hangar 18.”
• CreditsWatch: Beginning with this episode, Jim gets an “executive producer” credit that continues through the end of season 10. Kevin gets the first of several “produced and directed by” credits this season. This is the last week Brad Keeley gets an “audio mix” credit. And this is the last week John Sims gets a “SFX/foley” credit (but he’ll be back).
• Fave riff: “She really WAS on top of old smokey, wasn’t she?” Honorable mention: “Just making sure he hates this…”

Episode guide: 812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Last modified on 2017-07-27 19:41:39 GMT. 157 comments. Top.

Movie: (1964) A couple of slackers stumble across a cult of monsters at a carnival.

First shown: 6/14/97
Opening: It’s walk-a-thon season
Intro: Pearl is taking the space kids home and has Bobo and Observer send the movie
Host segment 1: The bots try to read Mike’s future for 50 cents
Host segment 2: M&tB ask Shelli the Nanite for the “big hair” look
Host segment 3: Crow hires Ortega to cater the break
End: Crow and Tom build a roller coaster; Pearl meets the kids’ parents
Stinger: “What do you think we came here for … to eat?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• Ah, what’s not to like about this episode? Unless, of course, you count the movie itself, which is less a coherent story than a particularly vivid fever dream. Still, the riffing is great, the segments are funny and, if that wasn’t enough, there’s … MADISON!
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode was released by Rhino on its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9 and was more recently re-released as a single disk by Shout!Factory.
• Daleism: During the first dance number, during a shot of the dancers hands, all sing: “I thought you were Daaaaale…”
• Obviously the idea for the acronym sketch came from the movie’s very long title and accompanying acronym, TISCWSLABMUZ. The part where Tom keeps reciting the very long name of the charity is very reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch about Johann Gambolputty-de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crass-cren-bon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelter-wasser-kurstlich-himble-eisenbahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm.
• It’s with this episode that a new occasional character arrives: Ortega, who will occupy a similar spot in sketches that Torgo did in the Comedy Central days.
• Obscure reference: Theatrical director JoAnne Akalaitis.
• This is one of those movies that posits the existence of a burlesque/strip joint in which nobody actually takes any clothes off and which is attended by as many women as men (see “Flashdance”). I maintain that such places never actually existed, especially in the time frame of this movie.
• Call back: “o/` Night train…“
• Mike is still sporting his very high hair in the theater but only for about a minute.
• Tom has a brief freakout during the movie, but who can blame him?
• The Angel’s Flight trolley, also seen in “Indestructible Man,” is briefly visited by a distraught Jerry.
• Some behind-the-scenes stuff about this movie:
–> It was shot on a budget of only $38,000. Can you tell?
–> It ran into trouble with Columbia Studios, which was releasing another long-titled movie: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Apparently there was concern that people would mix up the two long-titled movies. To stave off Columbia’s lawyers, director Ray Dennis Steckler agreed to re-title this movie “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Etc.”
–> It was released in so-called “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision,” which basically meant that just after a turning hypnosis-inducing spiral would appear on the screen, a few people wearing rubber masks of the movie’s characters would run down the aisles and try to scare the audience. I don’t know how many theaters this happened in, but I can’t imagine it was very many.
–> Believe it or not, a soundtrack album was released.
–> Steckler directed and performed in 1962’s “Wild Guitar,” starring Arch Hall Jr., star of “EEGAH!” Steckler also appeared briefly in “Eegah!” (You can see a poster of “Wild Guitar” in this movie: it’s on the wall of the boozing dancer’s dressing room).
• Then-current references: Crow mentions a “C prompt.” I think you have to be of a certain age to know what that is. During the fortune teller scene, Crow invokes Nancy Reagan. Again you would need to be old enough to remember that the former first lady had a personal astrologer.
• Bill and Kevin are the voices of the space kids’ dad and mom, respectively.
• The “space children” story arc ends.
• That’s Paul as the voice of Ned the Nanite and Mary Jo and the voice of Shelli the Nanite.
• Pearl calls Crow Art again.
• Cast and crew roundup: Script writer Robert Silliphant also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli also worked on “The Atomic Brain.” Editor Don Schneider also worked on “Eegah.” Assistant director Mike Harrington also worked on “The Skydivers.” Score composer Henry Price also worked on “Eegah”
In front of the camera, Titus Moede a.k.a. Titus Moody was also in “The Skydivers.”
• CreditsWatch: Kevin gets the “Produced and directed by” credit. With this episode a new line in the credits appears: “Audio Post Production: Fred Street, PostAudio, Inc.” It will continue for the rest of season 8.
• Fave riff: “You know what I’m looking at right now? That exit sign.” Honorable mention: “This whole movie has an oily T-zone.”

Episode guide: 813- Jack Frost

Last modified on 2017-08-06 03:26:37 GMT. 164 comments. Top.

Movie: (1966) A Russian version of the Cinderella story includes a mushroom sprite, a bear-headed hero and house with legs.

First shown: 7/12/97
Opening: Mike Nelson IS Lord of the Dance!
Intro: Mike mediates a squabble between Bobo and Brain Guy
Host segment 1: Crow hires a Russian expert
Host segment 2: Crow’s a bear, while Bobo and Brain Guy find common ground
Host segment 3: Crow hires another Russian expert–or someone like him
End: Tom fails in his attempt to be cute; Bobo and Brain Guy discuss ape movies, but Pearl returns to settle the matter
Stinger: “Bring on my fiancee!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• For the longest time, there was the “Russo-Finnish troika” of “Day the Earth Froze,” “Sinbad” and “Sword and the Dragon.” The Sci-Fi era needed one too, I guess, so now it’s a quartet, and wow, is this one ever out there. It’s not directed by Aleksandr Ptushko, as they other ones were, but it definitely has that weird vibe that gives them plenty of riffing fodder, and they do a great job with it. Some of the host segments are great, others don’t do much for me.
• Check out Mary Jo’s take on this episode here.
• This episode was included on Shout!Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVIII.
• To start things off, we get one of the host segment highlights of the season as Mike parodies human peacock Michael Flatley, especially his deeply self-satisfied, nose-breathing smirk.
• Mike almost puts one over on Brain Guy, who is almost sucked into the theater, but not quite.
• Obscure reference: Hildegard von Bingen. Even I needed to look that one up. The next time somebody tries to tell you all MST3K does is fart jokes, remind them of THIS.
• The segment where Crow becomes a bear is another gem, a great example of Bill’s slightly demented Crow, very different from Trace’s Crow but very funny. Grr!
• Crow is still a bear when he returns to the theater.
• That’s Patrick as Yakov Smirnoff; and that’s Paul as Earl Torgeson. Both the “Crow hires an expert” segments didn’t do much for me. Yakov’s standup act wasn’t quite as lame as they make it out to be, and the second bit just sort of wanders off without a real payoff.
• In the comments, a number of readers have noted that by about eight episodes in, Bobo’s character had totally, well, devolved. When we first met him at the beginning of the season, he was a sophisticated gentleman and scientist. Slowly but surely the writers changed him into the happy-go-lucky, termite-eating dimwit who so exasperates Brain Guy and Pearl. Not really a criticism. Just an observation.
• Dalesim: As thug smells his hand, Mike: “Hm. I thought I was Dale!”
• Cast roundup: Georgiy Millyar and Valentin Bryleyev were both in “The Day the Earth Froze.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Kevin again gets the “Produced & Directed” credit. Following this episode, Grip Mike Parker takes two episodes off. And this was the last episode interns Tamara Melloy and Randy Smith worked on.
• Fave line: “Apparently there’s no Finnish word for ‘subtle.’ ” Honorable mention: “I thought Jerry Garcia was Father Mushroom.”

Episode guide: 814- Riding with Death

Last modified on 2017-08-10 11:33:45 GMT. 210 comments. Top.

Movie: (1976) Two stitched-together episodes of the TV series “Gemini Man,” about a hero who gains the power of invisibility.

First shown: 7/19/97
Opening: Mike, who was once a teppanyaki chef, has a relapse
Intro: Pearl and company are under fire! She begs Mike for air support … and she gets it, and then some
Host segment 1: Tom sings about the 70s (and the 50s, too)
Host segment 2: Tom acquires a buttless truck driver body
Host segment 3: Crow is Turkey Volume Guessing Man!
End: Mike, Crow and Tom spoof the end of the film, while Pearl is weighed down with medals
Stinger: Jim Stafford is really happy!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• I like this one. The movie — two poorly spliced-together episodes of a forgotten ’70s TV series (a la “Master Ninja”) — is not painful to watch, but gives them plenty to work with. The riffing is great and the segments are mostly pretty good. So rock it, you turkeys!
• Kevin offers his take here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “MST3K: Volume XXXVI.”
• The opening, with Mike as the mindless teppanyaki chef, is hilarious. “There’s about a 1-in-4 chance were gonna get out of this alive!”
• This episode is the last one in which Jim is listed as providing the voice and puppetry for Gypsy, but Gypsy isn’t in this one. I had thought that meant his last actual performance as Gypsy was the previous episode’s “Lord of the Dance” sketch, but a commenter corrected me. More on that in the next episode’s writeup.
• Daleism: During the bar fight, the big guy tries to punch Buffalo Bill, but his fist is held back by invisible Sam. He looks at his fist. Crow: “Thought I was Dale.” Big guy tries again, and is again held back. He again looks at his fist. “Again, I thought I was Dale.”
• I love the way Mike answers the phone in this episode. His cheery little “Helloo?” is great.
• Mike destroys his third planet so far this season. This sets up the premise for the segments in the next episode.
• Crow and Mike reenact a memorable moment from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
• A perfect example of the genius of this show is the scene early on in which four characters are just standing around explaining the plot. Not much to work with. Then they pick up on Ben Murphy’s boss compulsively wiping his (apparently filthy!) glasses and suddenly the otherwise dull scene is a riot.
• Tom’s songs about the 70s and the 50s are a lot of fun. “The apostle Paul traveled to Greece…”
• I think the “Tom’s trucker body” segment seemed funnier on paper. Nice job on the body creation, however.
• Tom still has his trucker body in the theater. Mike and Crow are already there.
• The Turkey Volume Guessing Man segment is another gem, another hilarious example of Bill’s slightly deranged Crow.
• The “Pearl gets medals” bit at the end is cute, but doesn’t really go anywhere.
• This movie has two completely baffling elements, which probably only made sense in the context of the series, context which is completely lost in the movie. First there’s this Elliot guy, who angrily, even bitterly, berates Driscoll, who I think is his boss. Why is he doing this? Is he working for Denby? Is he just naive? As the movie plays out, it becomes clear that Denby is exactly the elusive crime boss Driscoll thinks he is. But we never see Elliot admit he was wrong (though he does seem a bit less grouchy in a later scene — maybe by then he’s seen the light).
Then there are the shots of Abby in the lab, watching some sort of super duper camera feed (it can pan and change angles and do closeups). Apparently the makers felt the need to include Abby, but why? (Note: A commenter had a plausible explanation for this.)
• On a related subject, you’re not seeing things: two different actors appear as Driscoll: Richard Dysart portrayed Driscoll in the pilot (and is seen briefly in the flashback sequence, which was taken from the pilot), while William Sylvester played Driscoll in the series.
• Then current reference: Kelly Flynn.
• Callback: “Look, a couple of VAAAAAANS!” (“Giant Spider Invasion”)
• Cast and crew roundup: “Village of the Giants” also gives H.G. Wells an amusing story credit. Costumer Charles Waldo also worked on “San Francisco International.” In front of the camera, Ben Murphy was also in “Being from Another Planet.” William Sylvester was also in “Gorgo.” Ed Nelson was also in “Superdome,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Night of the Blood Beast,” plus he did costumes for “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Austin Stoker was also in “Being from Another Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Brad, who has been listed as “Editor” on and off since season five, is listed as “Editor” for the first time this season, a credit that will continue until the end of the series. Bob Seabold begins a two-episode stint as grip. Intern Joseph Olson begins a four-episode stint; intern Meshach Weber begins a six-episode stint. The music for “The Funky Seventies” and “The Fifties” was written by Michael J. Nelson, with lyrics by Bill Corbett.
• Fave line: “Dear, sweet, homicidal Murray.” Honorable mention: “Okay, now, who wants their butts kicked first?”

Episode guide: 815- Agent for H.A.R.M.

Last modified on 2017-08-17 00:39:33 GMT. 152 comments. Top.

Movie: (1966) A fey spy is assigned to protect a scientist from foreign agents.

First shown: 8/2/97
Opening: M&tB are into “extreme” things
Intro: Mike is put on trial for his crimes against the universe
Host segment 1: Pearl and Bobo give their opening statements
Host segment 2: The bots give their video depositions
Host segment 3: Observer takes the stand
End: Crow and Tom hold a candlelight vigil, and the judge gives his verdict and sentence
Stinger: Spaz chop!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• This is another one of those episodes where the segments kind of overwhelm the movie and the movie riffing. I hadn’t seen this episode in a while, and my memory of it was that the movie just kind of laid there and didn’t give them a lot to work with. I liked the movie segments more on this viewing, but still I think the segments are the real standout element. Kevin and Mary Jo are both terrific.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIII.”
Bill’s take is here.
• As Bill notes, that’s Bill as judge, except when Paul fills in at one point.
• This was the episode in which Patrick took over as Gypsy—and with his arrival every single actor who had been an on-camera regular when the show began had been replaced with other performers. Has that ever happened on any other show?
• I believe the opening segment features the first mention of Mike’s love of rice.
• As somebody noted in the comments, Mike is really not responsible for the first two planets being destroyed. The monkeys destroyed the first one and the nanites destroyed the second one. Camping Planet is on him, however.
• The one henchman looks vaguely like Prince, and that’s enough for an avalanche of Prince references. Mike tries to put an end to it, but then HE does one a little while later!
• The preppy looking henchman also prompts a lot of funny preppy voiced riffs.
• Mike wears his prisoner hat during all the movie riffing segments. No way to know for sure if he’s wearing the full costume.
• The last time we saw Brad “Little Amish Boy” Keeley on camera was in episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS when he played Rodney the exotic cake dancer.
• Oh, and: my copy has a commercial for Sci-Fi Channel’s “extra-sensory summer” that includes a mention of the “Making of MST3K” documentary.
• My copy also has a commercial for a repeat of episode 803- THE MOLE PEOPLE.
• Daleism: As Dr. Stefanik dies, he holds his hand up: Crow: He thought he was Dale! Note: This may be the final Daleism. It’s the last one I have a notation for.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Joseph F. Robertson also produced “The Crawling Hand” and “Slime People.” Special effects guy Harry S. Woolman also worked on “Hangar 18,” “The Incredible Melting Man” and “Laserblast.” Makeup guy Marc Snegoff also worked in “Catalina Caper.” Production manager Lou Place also worked on “It Conquered the World,” he directed “Daddy-O” and was assistant director for “The Undead.” He also acted in “Swamp Diamonds.” Score composer Gene Kauer also worked on “The Atomic Brain” and “Beast of Yucca Flats.”
In front of the camera: Wendell Corey also appeared in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” and Rafael Campos also appeared in “Girl in Gold Boots.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced by Kevin Murphy and directed by Mike Nelson, the first time he’s directed this season. Patrick is listed as Gypsy for the first time. Bob Seabold finishes up a two-episode stint at grip.
• Fave line: “They’re out of fumar! Now what do we do?” Honorable mention: “First rule of women everywhere: First, do no HARM.”

Episode guide: 816- Prince of Space

Last modified on 2017-08-23 22:13:55 GMT. 183 comments. Top.

Movie: (1956) When the chickeney Phantom of Krankor attacks Japan, a slim-hipped hero arrives to save the day.

First shown: 8/16/97
Opening: Crow and Tom’s “Dog and Bear” game gets out of hand
Intro: Bobo, then the Widowmaker, then the SOL are dragged into a wormhole
Host segment 1: M&tB are unstuck in time
Host segment 2: Mike is transformed into a small robot
Host segment 3: The wormhole deposits M&tB in a rather lovely sylvan glen
End: All seems normal again on the SOL (except for the presense of Krankor), but Pearl and Observer have arrived on Earth in Roman times!
Stinger: The Phantom says: “Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• Bridget’s take on this episode is here.
• Of course, with this episode, into the wormhole we go. And while the “Roman times” story arc is, in my view, a mixed bag at best (more on that in the next installment), this episode, which takes place in the wormhole itself, is one of the best of season 8. The movie is profoundly stupid and feels very season-three-ish, the riffing is excellent and the host segments are clever and fun.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 7.
• Is that “dog and bear” dialog from something? (A commenter suggested it was inspired by Jack London’s “Call of the Wild.”)
• “I like it very much!” became an immediate catchphrase and soon appeared on an MST3k bumper sticker.
• Some fans got a bit fed up with all the Japan bashing in this episode, and while I don’t agree that it was as bad as they made out, I WILL acknowledge that this show has FOUR “cram school” jokes.
• Did you enjoy the “Hardrock and Coco and Joe,” reference. Watch the whole thing here.
• Also: When there is a high-pitched, evil laugh, Crow intones “Rrrrraceway Park!” that’s a reference to radio commercials for this drag racing venue, (which is still in operation at this writing). I assume that riff came from Bill, who at this point replaced Frank as the source of East Coast references.
• Kudos to the Brains on getting the complicated time lag sketch right! That must have been tough to write! After the sketch, Mike and Tom are already in the theater and Crow, still lagging, joins them.
• Robot Mike does a theater segment. I like a nice detail on the Mike puppet in theater — he has a headset!
• Very typical of this show, when Mike returns as himself, he simply announces that he “got better.” Nuff said!
• Callback from the old days: a Gamera reference!
• Note that the door sequence leading to the “sylvan glen” segment ends with a real bone slamming over a wooden door. The segment is a little startling: It reminds you how studio-bound the show was. I don’t remember where I saw this, it may have been one of the IRC chats, but at some point one of the Brains said that the sylvan glen was only a short walk from the studio. I believe that. The area around the studio was definitely a mix of office park and what I presume was as-yet-undeveloped former farm land.
• That’s Bill as Krankor, or course.
• Cast and crew roundup: The producer of the American version, Walter H. Manley, did likewise for “The Green Slime.” Screen writer Shin Morita also wrote — dull surprise — “Invasion of the Neptune Men.”
• Creditwatch. That’s Kevin, of course, as Callipygeas (which roughly means “fat ass”) and Bridget as Favia. Kevin produced and directed. Andrea Ducane did hair and makeup for every season 8 episode except this one, when one Sharon Davis filled in. Mike Parker is back as grip (after two episodes off) and will be for the rest of the season. John Simms, who had an “SFX/foley” credit for six episodes earlier in the season, reappears as “boom operator,” which will continue for the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Oh, fer cryin’ out loud … EACH OF YOU…” Honorable mention: “Oh the inanity! Oh the Japanity!” “o/` Isn’t she lovely… o/`”

Episode guide: 817- Horror of Party Beach

Last modified on 2017-08-31 16:37:57 GMT. 163 comments. Top.

Movie: (1964) Teeners in a beach community are oblivious when dumped radioactive waste creates a batch of monsters.

First shown: 9/6/97
Opening: Tom harmonizes his overtones with the fundamental
Intro: Servo’s “fundamental” turns out to be pre-recorded; meanwhile “Apearlo” and “Brainguyus” settle in with a delighted Callipygeas and suspicious Flavia
Host segment 1:The manly beach dance is postponed because Mike’s trunks are a bit small
Host segment 2: Apearlo & Brainguyus’ jam becomes a beef commercial
Host segment 3:Tom’s a newsy with very up-to-date news
End: M&TB sing “Sodium;” meanwhile as Callipygeas and Brainguyus bond, Apearlo and Flavia trade…er…pleasantries
Stinger: A less-than-manly beach dance
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• I was generally a fan of the “chase through time and space” thing in season eight, and I contend that more host segments worked than didn’t. But when it comes to the “Roman times,” story arc we’re now into, well, for me, not so much. Everybody tries real hard, and I bet it seemed funny in the writing room, but many of the Roman Times host segments just don’t come up to the level I expect from this show. Call it the exception that proves the generally witty and hilarious rule. Fortunately it only lasted a few episodes, and fortunately for this episode, the goofy movie, and the terrific riffing of it, more than make up for any shortcomings elsewhere.
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVII
• Crow is referred to as a “golden spider duck”—that sounds like something that was in a fan letter, though I don’t think they ever said that.
• One reference the reference guide doesn’t note: Observer mentions “Bitter Dregs,” during segment 2. He’s referring to tune sung in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” Watch it here.
• During that bit, they eventually begin playing Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo,” and Kevin yells “Beef!” That’s a reference to the now-largely-forgotten “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” commercial campaign that featured that Copeland piece.
• By the way, the music is actually being played by Lisa Fuglie (of the group Monroe Crossing) and Karen Mueller.
• Movie comments: Did the makers of this movie really think the monsters would look scary? Really? Also: The voice of our heroine Elaine is dubbed. But I’ve never heard an explanation as to why.
• When this movie was in theaters, movie-goers had to sign a “fright release” before they entered the theater.
• I hadn’t seen this one for a while, and I’d forgotten Eulabelle. Wow. Were these kinds of characters really still acceptable in 1964?
• The movie was filmed in the Stamford, Conn. area, (although it has some very nice shots of 1964-era Manhattan, when our hero makes his Sodium run).
• According to this bio, the Del-Aires broke up not long after shooting this movie.
• This movie “was billed as ‘the first horror musical,’ but we MSTies know better. The similarly-hyped 812-THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES was released the year before.”
• The great “Sodium” song has one extra joke connected with it—check out the credits where the song’s “lyric” is credited.
• No cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved in this movie worked on any other MST3K movie.
• CreditsWatch: Produced by Jim, directed by Kevin. With this episode Patrick is added to the “Set Design” credit and he will be there for the rest of the run of the series. A Jennifer Turner helped Andrea with hair and makeup. Intern Joseph Olson finished up a four-episode stint. This is the last episode that “The authors of the First Amendment” would be thanked at the end of the credits.
• Fave line: “Look Polish, everyone!” Honorable mention: “Do farts have lumps?” “I had a generally positive impression of white people before this movie.”

Episode guide: 818- Devil Doll

Last modified on 2017-09-07 13:09:03 GMT. 187 comments. Top.

Movie: (1963) The relationship between a ventriloquist and his dummy is even creepier than it seems.

First shown: 10/4/97
Opening: It’s Friday at the dorm and M&tB have a window!
Intro: Tom agrees to send the window back, but a drunken Crow smashes it; meanwhile Apearlo and Brainguyus liven up a dull Roman party with pants
Host segment 1: Crow expresses interest in Pitch’s line of devil dolls, Mike disapproves
Host segment 2: The bots set up a British pub, and it has a *very* stout ale on tap
Host segment 3: Pitch helps Crow transfer Servo’s soul, Mike disapproves.
End: Crow dresses Mike up as Hugo, Mike disapproves. Meanwhile Apearlo and Brainguys, attending Lesser God Day at the Colosseum, see a familar face!
Stinger: Hugo takes a licking and keeps on ticking
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• This movie is so weird, but it’s a little dark for MST3K and I think the darkness drags the episode down a bit. Still, the riffing keeps up for the most part. Host segment-wise, it’s a mixed bag. The Roman Times stuff is good for a chuckle, but not many. I do like the bits with reasonable, affable Pitch and intemperate, outraged Mike. Paul and Mike are both terrific. The British pub sketch, however, is too long for a one-joke bit.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XIX.”
• Paul’s take on this one is here.
• Not included in that list is “Papers, Fawlty!” which is an evocation of the gruff Colonel from the British comedy series “Fawlty Towers.”
• That’s Patrick, Beez and Paul as the “Roman day players.”
• As the Roman Times segment begins, Kevin is singing “And now to Eden” from the “Star Trek: TOS” episode “The Way to Eden.”
• A nice callback to season four with “pants” business, but it takes a while to get there. Another callback from the old days: “Does this bug you?”
• What’s fairly clear, as you watch, is that they used a lot of real-life locations, not studio sets. Example: In the first scene with William Sylvester and his assistant, it appears they are in an actual office somewhere. As he dials the phone, watch the window sill behind him. A tiny shadow goes by. At first I thought it was a mouse but then something transparent goes by, and it becomes clear that that is actual city traffic going by outside the window.
• Callbacks: The appearance of William Sylvester prompts several “Robert Denby” riffs.
• If I recall correctly, there was some trepidation when the Sci-Fi Channel’s counterpart channel in the U.K. began running the show and this episode — featuring the observation that England is populated by “chinless, jug-eared stomach eaters” — first aired. From what we heard from MSTies in the U.K., they loved it.
• Then-current reference: Warren Christopher. The former Secretary of State was an easy target because of his dour persona.
• Servo the toaster strudel riffs for an entire segment.
• Cast and crew roundup: Director Lindsay Shonteff also directed “The Million Eyes of Su-Muru.” In front of the camera, we’ll see Bryant Halliday again in “The Projected Man.” William Sylvester was also in “Riding with Death’ and “Gorgo.” Alan Gifford was also in “Phase IV.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Intern Dan Breyer begins a stint that will last until the end of the season.
• Fave riff: “Look! There’s the proof: There’s no God. Not a single God…” Honorable mention: “So how many hours have rotary phones added to movies over the years?”

Episode guide: 819- Invasion of the Neptune Men

Last modified on 2017-09-13 23:35:49 GMT. 159 comments. Top.

Movie: (1961) When robot aliens attack Japan, Space Chief takes to the air to battle them.

First shown: 10/11/97
Opening: Tom and Crow worry about Mike’s eyelash mites.
Intro: The nanites take on the mites; The Mad Goth (Bobo) is getting more attention than goddess Apearlo
Host segment 1: Mike’s love of Noh theater causes confusion
Host segment 2: Tom comes down with Roji Panty complex; Pearl and Observer have no luck with Bobo
Host segment 3: M&tB are near despair, then Krankor visits
End: Crow has some suggestions, while a conk on the head from Pearl restores Bobo’s memory, with unfortunate consequences
Stinger: Little boy faw down
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• This is one of those movies. There are bad movies like, say, “Revenge of the Creature.” There are VERY bad movies, like, say, “Prince of Space.” And there are the dregs: “Manos,” “Fu Manchu,” “Red Zone Cuba” … and now this “little cockroach of a movie” (as Servo calls it in a fit of rage toward the end) joins that wretched roll call. Segment three works because (in addition to Bill’s hilarious return as Krankor) it so piquantly makes the case that, as Servo noted many seasons ago, “every time I think I’ve seen the worst movie ever made, along comes the worst movie ever made.” The final 20 minutes or so, which feature a solid 10 minutes during which essentially the same four or five shots are repeated again and again and again and again, is easily one of the most punishing bits of film MST3K has ever subjected its viewers to. Because of that, I predicted there would be wide differences of opinions on this one. Some MSTies love these bottom-dwellers; others will retreat to the oft-used line: “even Mike and the bots couldn’t save it.” Pro tip: One way to get through it: stop watching the episode just after segment three and wait a day or so before watching the final half hour.
That said, the riffing is really quite good, all things considered, and, as in the other recent eps, the SOL segments are funny and fun (the wonderful “Noh Theater” sketch, especially) while the “Roman Times” segments are unremarkable, though I think Kevin’s performance is great.
• This episode was included in Shout’s MST3K: Vol. XXXVII.
• Kevin’s take on this one is here, including his wonderful reaction to the Hitler Building shot.
• That’s Paul as first hapless nanite soldier, and again Paul, Beez and Patrick are “Roman day players.”
• Kudos to Beez or whoever created the tiny garbage around Mike’s eyes.
• Yes, that’s Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba as Space Chief. Chiba would go on to star in many martial arts movies, most notably as Terry Sugury in the “Street Fighter” series.
• Then-current reference: At about the time of this episode the aging Russian space station began to have a series of mechanical failures. The Mir fell from the sky long ago.
• All I can say about The Noh Theater bit is: Somewhere Abbott and Costello are smiling.
• This show had several complicated moments — note that both Tom Servo and Bobo are on camera at the same time, then Callipygeas and Bobo are on screen at the same time, as are Krankor and Crow later on. Patrick was probably running the puppets in all cases.
• Servo has a breakdown, contracting Roji Panty Complex. He sure does break down a lot.
• This show explicitly answered the question that has so often been asked by fans: “why do Mike and the bots put up with these bad movies?” In this show, Mike is so appalled he gets up to leave, only to realize that there is no air in the rest of the ship.
• Callback from the old days: Gooood morning!”
• Cast and crew round up: Scriptwriter Shin Morita also wrote “Prince of Space” (dull surprise).
• Produced by Kevin. Directed by Mike. This was Jill Roozenboom’s last episode as production manager. It was also intern Meshach Weber’s last episode.
• Fave line: “Our quick and pointless plot cul-de-sac is over!” Honorable mention: “Say, has anybody seen my record?”

Episode guide: 820- Space Mutiny

Last modified on 2017-09-21 10:04:15 GMT. 259 comments. Top.

Movie: (1988) The leaders of a space colony must fight back when their security chief plans to take over the ship.

First shown: 11/7/97
Opening: Crow and Tom think Mike’s encyclopedias are outdated
Intro: Mike has new encyclopedias; Pearl, Bobo and Observer are in prison
Host segment 1: Mike’s tea time is interrupted by the bots trashing some escape pods
Host segment 2: Crow’s a Bellerian…or is he?; Bobo’s escape plan fails
Host segment 3: Servo installs railings
End: Tom is buff, Crow less so. Meanwhile Pearl, Bobo and Observer escape, and a fire begins!
Stinger: Our hero bravely screams like a girl and bails out
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• First of all, has everybody signed Sherri’s birthday card?
• For several episodes now, the show had been going very strong, but many fans point to this show as probably the zenith of season eight, where everything worked and they were firing on all cylinders. It’s good, okay, at least in terms of the riffing. Still, a geeky scandal plagues this episode and many of the segments are only so-so. I’m not sure the next two eps aren’t just as good.
• The many many names of Dave Ryder just got funnier and funnier—and one, “Big McHugelarge,” later became a bumper sticker BBI sold. Scarcely a week goes by that someone doesn’t tweet that video.
• Paul’s take on this episode is here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s (and now Shout’s) “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 4.”
• The big scandal about this episode was the “Battlestar Galactica” footage nobody at BBI recognized. I remember at the time that several online fans simply COULD NOT CONCEIVE of the POSSIBILITY that they would not recognize this footage. It seemed simply out of the realm of possibility to them. I said at the time that this lapse pointed up the painful lack of nerds on the Sci-Fi Channel-era writing staff. If Frank or Trace were still on the staff, I don’t think this would have been missed.
• The encyclopedia segment sort of predicts Wikipedia, which would launch a few years later.
• That’s Patrick and intern Dan Breyer as the Roman guards, and that’s Best Brains Controller Tim Johnson, hopelessly typecast as Mike Down, CPA.
• Classical music buffs: What is the piece Mike is listening to in segment 1?
• Movie observation: Reb Brown’s character is supposed to be a military officer, isn’t he? Then why the heck is he walking around in a wife-beater?
• Trivia: The Mitchell family infests this movie. In addition to Cameron Mitchell, his son Chip Mitchell portrayed mustachioed crew member Blake and his daughter Camile Mitchell provided the voice (but not the body) for Jennera.
• The rest of us may not enjoy Cisse Cameron’s portrayal as Lea (and btw I cannot BELIEVE they gave the female lead in a space action movie that name). But Reb Brown apparently liked what he saw. The two are now married and the set of this movie is where they first met.
• Callback from the old days: The line “Guard! Guard! Sick man!” is a bit from “Red Zone Cuba.”
• Of course, another classic moment in this movie is when the character we saw killed in the previous scene is quietly back at her station on the bridge.
• Mike does a very good impression of SCTV’s Ed Grimley at a couple of points.
• Segment 2 is another of those “Crow is not right in the head” segments. I think they work because Bill really commits to the concept.
• Crow is still wearing his Bellerian costume in the theater.
• Mike, channeling protective father figure Joel, covers the bots eyes during some suggestive moments.
• Segment 3 gives Mike a chance to do some nice physical comedy. He nails it.
• Servo thinks the movie is Canadian. Nope, South African.
• Another closing credits conversation.
• The final segment is not the first time the bots have bulked up. They also tried it in episode 410- HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Jerry Kitz also worked on “Soultaker.” Makeup person Debi Nichol worked on “Outlaw of Gor,” as did production designer/art director Geoff Hill. In front of the camera, John Phillip Law was also in “Danger: Diabolik” and Cameron Mitchell was in “Stranded in Space.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced & directed by Jim. This was intern Todd Severson’s first episode.
• Fave riff: “JUST STOP AND AIM, YOU IDIOTS!” Honorable mention: “She’s presenting like mandrill!”

Episode guide: 821- Time Chasers

Last modified on 2017-09-27 23:39:19 GMT. 216 comments. Top.

Movie: (1990) A small-town inventor builds a time machine, only to see it misused by a greedy corporation.

First shown: 11/22/97
Opening: Mike explains what’s happened since the last show, but Tom just needs him to say “Lost in Space”
Intro: Mike & Pearl have a nice chat
Host segment 1: Tom sends Crow back in time to convince Mike the dude to stop taking temp jobs
Host segment 2: Crow succeeds and, returning to the SOL, finds Mike’s big brother Eddie in Mike’s place, and learns that Mike’s new future was worse than the old one
Host segment 3: Having seen the future, Crow returns to the past to keep Crow from performing his mission
End: Mike refuses to say what needs to be said, and, during another nice chat, Pearl points out a troubling detail
Stinger: “Matt, it’s time for you decide if you’re gonna be one of my team players or not”

• Another very strong episode, with great host segments (now that the Roman Times stuff has mercifully ended), a baffling movie, great riffing and a guest star of sorts in the theater.
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode appeared on Rhino’s (and now Shout’s) “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5.”
• Two notable things Mike’s surly, pun-hating older brother Eddie does: most notably he does two theater segments. Also, he pauses to grab a smoke at one point. It’s a very memorable turn for Mike.
• There was something very satisfying about Mike’s two little chats with Pearl.
• This episode got internet fans talking about the number of Crows that are out there — remember you also need to count the one that went back in time in episode 807- TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000.
• Patrick gives his most powerful performance yet as the cheese factory worker. “Dude!”
• Tom’s “Nicknicknicknicknick” is a Firesign Theatre reference. We don’t hear them as much anymore.
• Nice callback to the old days with Mike’s reference to “chinderwear,” an invention exchange in episode 505- MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.
• Cast and Crew Roundup: None.
• CreditsWatch: Produced by Kevin. Directed by Mike. An intern named Scott Bowman worked on this and only this episode.
• Fave line: “I’m gonna buy some Liva-snaps and a hosta!” Honorable mention: “Oh, he’s like poo, alright.”

Episode guide: 822- Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

Last modified on 2017-10-04 23:47:28 GMT. 214 comments. Top.

Movie: (1983) In an dystopian future, a corporate drone discovers a way to project himself into his a favorite movie.

First shown: 12/6/97
Opening: Crow wants to cash in on his catchphrase: “You know you want me, baby!”
Intro: Mike tries to find himself a catchphrase, while Public Pearl TV begins its dubious pledge drive
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom order a monkey, which escapes and throws stuff
Host segment 2: While Mike continues to struggle with Henry the monkey, PPTV presents a preview of “Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl!”
Host segment 3: Tom asks to be doppled to the nanite world, and soon regrets it
End: Bobo tries and fails to talk Henry down, so Mike takes deplorable action. Meanwhile, Pearl is counting her ill-gotten gain
Stinger: “Mom … ‘m I nuts?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (295 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• And so season 8 comes to an end, and does so with a flourish. Another strange …er… movie, lots of great riffing and memorable host segments.
• Bill’s take this episode is here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 4
• The “You Know You Want Me, Baby” T-shirts hit the Info Club store very quickly after this show aired. The boxes we can see in the opening are probably real.
• This season started on the first of February and it was December when this last episode of the season aired. The first seven episodes were shown in seven weeks, an almost dizzying bounty of new MST3K. But after that we got exactly five episodes every three months. This would be the last new episode until season 9 began in mid-March of the following year.
• The “Public Pearl TV” pledge drive in the opening is inspired. And, of course, Ortega (that’s Paul under that mask) makes a return appearance. “The Nature of Bobo” bit-within-a-bit is great too.
• TV’s Frank is invoked twice, including an “eyukaeee!”
• actually exists (update: it STILL exists). It allows you to send a cute ascii picture of a monkey to a friend via e-mail. It wasn’t very instant when I tried it, though.
• Mary Jo and Bill managed to top the pledge drive sketch with the instant classic “When Loving Lovers Love.” The pair show a tremendous chemistry.
• The endless fat jokes might begin to seem unfair after a while, except, let’s face it, the movie itself keeps calling the character “The Fat Man.” That seems, to me, like permission to go nuts.
• Paul and Patrick are the voices of the hoodlum nanites. This is pretty much the one clunker segment in this episode.
• That’s Beez and then-recent BBI hire Peter Rudrud as the voices of the “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank Technical Support” team.
• By the way, the RiffTrax team actually did a very respectful, but still very funny riff of “Casablanca.”
• Cast and crew round up: Another brief one, since this was mostly done by Canadians. Costumer: Mary Jane McCarty also worked on “The Last Chase.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Fred Street, an audio guy who appeared in the credits in seasons 2 and 3 and then returned for season 8, falls off the regular credits after this episode, as does Post Audio Inc. (Both return one more time for special thanks in a season 10 episode.)
• Fave riff: “Thank you, Floyd the pervert.” Honorable mention: “Ah, the call to script rewrites.”

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