Blood Waters of Dr. Z
Summary: Welcome to the wacky
wonderful world of Dr. Z, a bitter nutball of a scientist
who lives in Florida and -- what else? -- oh yeah, he wants
to turn himself into a giant man-fish. Why, you ask? In
addition to the usual reasons people do this, Dr. Z wants to
"get revenge on his friends" -- at least that's how the John
Prine-like folk song at the beginning of the movie explains
the premise. Apparently he was denied tenure and/or
permission to use humans as experimental subjects. So quite
logically, he goes the giant man-fish route, intending to
lead an army of squirmy walking catfish on to world
conquest. Wouldn't you, if you found yourself in his
position? Be honest, now.
Anyway, after some very long expositional voice-over
monologues, Dr. Z -- who is never identified by that name in
the movie -- succeeds in turning into a man-fish by
stripping down to his lumpy boxer shorts and immersing
himself into an indoor tank full of icky, mad-scientist
treated water. The elaborate level-and-pulley system he uses
to dunk himself in the water shows that he has thought this
through well, and is quite serious about being a man-fish.
It's not the kind of thing one should take lightly, is what
the movie seems to be saying.
He succeeds in turning into a man-fish, though
he seems temporarily disheartened that his dreamed-of
resemblance to a catfish wasn't achieved. These are the kind
of disappointments that stop other mad scientists cold,
wallowing in their own self-pity for weeks. But damn it if
Dr. Z doesn't just pull himself up by his shin-fins and keep
his eye on the prize, whatever that is. In no time he is
swimming around mucky lagoons spraying ZaAt, a compound
which will -- what? Turn fish into half-men? Make them
bigger, more aggressive? Give them opposable thumbs and a
taste for Geno's Pizza Rolls? You'll have to ask him. In any
case, he at least seems to have prioritized his work nicely
with a large paper wheel which functions as his Franklin Day
Planner: full of nice homemade graphics, notes to himself,
and done in suitably large magic marker. His sketches of
victims-to-be show that Dr. Z. most likely graduated from
one of those matchbox art correspondence schools.
So once the spraying is done, he checks the wheel and moves
on to his next two goals. First on his "to-do wheel" is to
kill two former colleagues who doubted his work. Mad
scientists, as you probably know, have famously thin skins
and shaky ego boundaries. This murdering he does with great
dispatch, though no particular elegance -- just a couple of
pimp slaps by his beclawed hand, and those who have wronged
him go down hard. And probably a little embarrassed.
But he also wants a fish-lady queen. Yup, our man wants to
spawn, baby. Hell, who doesn't? But rather than hitting
Florida singles bars, where his fishy visage might not make
him much of a chick magnet, he kidnaps a busty bikinied
blonde and tries to make her into Mrs. Fish. Alas, he kills
her by accident. These things happen, to be sure -- ask
Kevin sometime about some of his similar mishaps -- but from
here Dr. Z is really off his game, and the to-do wheel
stands in mute irony as his plans go ker-flooey.
I forgot to mention - there are other humans in this film,
or at least pale simulacrums thereof. There's a redneck
sheriff working with a black scientist who is almost
ridiculously patient with his racist innuendo; then two
other bland jumpsuited white scientists who join the hunt
for Fish-Guy halfway through the movie. (Note: people who
habitually wear jumpsuits are always suspect, in my book.)
The white guy just rides around on the runner of a truck
sticking a microphone out; the white girl almost undresses
but doesn't and is eventually captured by our buddy Dr. Z as
his new FishLadyQueenHoneyBabe. In the end everyone's dead
or dying, especially us.
Prologue: Crow takes up chewing tobacco, spitting big
gooey wads of it into an array of pop cans -- and then, to
our horror, into Mike's shoe.
Segment One: Servo accidentally drinks out of Crow's pop
cans full of tobacco-ey spittle, further ruining our
dinners. Down in the castle, Pearl performs an experiment in
withholding love to the SOL. Servo and Mike feel no
difference, but Crow panics until they get back the symbols
of her love--lemon-flavored gin, hot pads, a pawn shop
receipt for a shotgun, etc.
Segment Two: Crow, hiding in the rafters, taunts and
threatens Mike a
la Dr. Z's voiceover
monologue. Mike, trying to polish his shoes, is mostly
annoyed. And then of course, as per tradition, Crow falls
Three: Inspired by the fishing
scenes in the movie, Mike and 'bots orbit over Bass Lake,
trying to catch some sunnies. Nice day for it, after all.
Mike catches one and reels him waaaaaay up from Earth.
Unfortunately, the fish freezes in the upper atmosphere and
goes through explosive decompression. Gotta throw 'im back,
yah. Yer gonna see dat.
Segment Four: Disappointed by the movie's teasing shots of
women starting to take off clothes and then not doing it,
Servo and Crow try to convince a skeptical Mike that any
movie scene is better off with nudity. To demonstrate, they
enlist Brain Guy and Bobo into performing a scene from
Ross, starkers. Needless to
say, it does not make their case.
Segment Five: Taking a cue from Dr. Z's neat, portable ZaAt
cases, Servo and Crow show Mike a variety of handy plastic
food carrying cases, in just the right sizes and shapes.
They explain it to him long, long after he's gotten the
Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl has invented a Mer-Monkey,
using a giant grouper, a Sawzall, and a Bobo. Seeing that
Bobo now attracts lonely, rugged sailor men, she decides she
will be become half-grouper herself, enter mermaidenhood,
and get some old salt action.
Reflections: I had a slight fondness for this movie, not as
a movie per se, of course, but as fodder for that particular
little thing we had going, many years ago. (Well, a month
and a half ago, as I write this...) It seemed to have lots
of the things that make for a good solid day of MST-ing: a
pompous mad scientist; a ridiculous, badly costumed monster;
a fat redneck sheriff; a few vapid good-looking heroes; and
a nice silly theme song. At least compared to some of the
others we watched for Season 10, this seemed benign.
The most memorable host segment for me, based on
the experience, was Segment 4, Bobo and Brain Guy's nude
scene. One technical note: it was always a challenge for our
brilliant director of photography, Jeff Stonehouse, to light
scenes with both Bobo and Brain Guy, as their colors were so
aggressively different. After Season Eight, we made some
adjustments with make-up and masks so that Brain Guy wasn't
wearing clown white but a slightly more flesh-colored white;
and Bobo was given a somewhat lighter face mask. So that
helped. But once "nude" -- what with Brain Guy's pasty torso
(and for the sharp of eye, actual purple nipples --
eeewwww!) and Bobo's dark full body ape suit -- the
challenge was back, and worse than ever. So poor Bobo was
almost invisibly black.
Leaving Brain Guy all too visible. My god, I apologize! None
of you did anything to deserve that. I'm so sorry. -- Bill