Episode 701- Night of the Blood Beast


Episode 701- Night of the Blood Beast
(with "Once Upon a Honeymoon")

Short: Up in heaven, some officious administrative angels send their stupidest worker, Wilbur, down to earth to help a young married couple do something, though we know not what. After snaring himself in their aerial (holy doesn't necessarily mean bright or nimble) he sprinkles dust on them, causing the wife to prance around re-imagining her kitchen while her painfully plain husband chain smokes and attempts to write a Broadway show tune. There are phones in it, too, and they seem to play some sort of role, though the makers won't come right out and say what that role is.

O.U.A.H. was directed by Jerry Fairbanks, the same disturbed mind that brought the short "Century 21 Calling" to chilling life. In his fevered brain is obviously an ever-changing collage of horrors, with industrial Orwellian visions competing with those of sexless, obedient and energetic women, who in turn are mixed up somehow with thin-waisted male choreographers who occasionally toss them around various dark landscapes. Still, some of his dance numbers are peppy.

Movie: Like 78% of the films shown on MST, this one starts with a rocket crash. Whichever branch of the government owns the rocket (it appears to be a sort of cut-rate NASA) sends a flatbed truck out to the crash site. They discover the pilot dead, though the air bag must have deployed because his body is completely intact. The investigator at the scene, Steve, sums up the crash: "He came down pretty hard."

Like 84% of films produced by Roger Corman, this quickly turns to one featuring gray men talking flatly in a gray office. The twist is that they all appear to be named Steve. There are some women there too, but their roles are kept to a minimum to avoid sparking any unnecessary interest or character interaction. Gray men talking is mission number one.

The pilot Steve, it turns out, is alive after all, resuscitated by a stow-away alien so that he might impregnate him with #12 size salad shrimp.

During some talking, of which there is much, one of the characters holds up a small chunk of something gray and says, "Take a look," to which Crow responds, "This was in my tuna." Later, while comforting a grieving young woman, an older doctor in scrubs says to her (courtesy Servo), "You know, my gown opens from the rear." (I laughed at these, so many years after having taped the show, my memory of having done it long since shot.)

Back to the plot: the talking stops momentarily when the titular beast kills the old doctor and hangs him upside down. Why? We don't know, nor do we ever really find out, though later the monster mumbles something about having the essence of Dr. Wyman inside of him -- yuck!

Like roughly 93% of all films from Nicholson/Arkoff, this one ends up in a canyon just outside of Los Angeles. The beast, who is now hiding out there, begins to talk to the humans using the voice of what sounds like Fred Travalena impersonating Humphrey Bogart. He explains rather patiently how the humans are ungrateful, having not thanked him for killing their friend and impregnating another. They tire of his talk and, like roughly 47% of Americans, instead of negotiating, throw Molotov cocktails, burning him to death.

Prologue: Fearful for their personal safety, Crow and Servo carry taser guns and peppercorn mace. When Mike makes the subtlest of moves toward Crow, he spears him with the taser. Servo, confused, fires on Mike as well. Then, per Crow's instructions, Servo blasts Mike with nearly a liter of mace (which looks suspiciously like Silly String).

Segment One: Pearl, Dr. Forrester's mother, is staying with him. Wearing an ill-fitting suit, his hair slicked horribly to one side, he announces that she is forcing him to play a recital on his trombone. He tries to object but she correctly observes, "Nobody wants to hear you talk, Clayton." He makes a hideous sound with the trombone and his rhythm is terrible, prompting Mother Forrester to hit the bell of his trombone repeatedly with a ruler.

On the SOL, Crow demonstrates his own technique by playing a lovely, melodic version of "Getting Sentimental Over You" (which sounds suspiciously like it was being played on a Roland effects box).

In Deep 13, Forrester blows out more than a gallon of spit from his spit valve while Mrs. Forrester ponders the failure that is her son. She admonishes him, calling him by his full name, Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester and wonders why she didn't have the girl she prayed for.

Back of the SOL, Crow effortlessly plays a spunky version of "Hold that Tiger," and they head into the theater.

Segment Two: Gypsy does her best "Mary" from the short, singing about things that she wishes she could have. The robots, dressed as angels, deliver the goods, even as they get more difficult. Includes a very nice "fly-over" from Tom, which, while taking up less than a second on screen, most assuredly took more than four hours to shoot.

Segment Three: Mrs. Forrester interrupts Mike and Servo while arm wrestling to announce that Clayton has something to confess to them. He doesn't have the foggiest idea, but makes a few guesses at it before asking, reasonably, "Is it poop related?" The whole thing is embarrassing and leads to a fight wherein Clayton pulls a knife on his beloved mother. She wastes no time, producing a semi-automatic pistol and shooting glasses. She expertly blasts the knife from his hand and when he starts running she leads him beautifully and puts a few rounds into him. Where, we never find out. I would guess they are leg shots.

Segment Four: Crow has determined that pregnant women get all the attention and that life must be a piece of cake for them. He attempts to trick the others into thinking he's pregnant (like Johnny, from the film) by taping some peel and eat shrimp to a phony fluoroscope. They find him out and he delivers a stinging indictment of pregnant women everywhere. In it, he refers to their "ever-widening a**es." Wow.

Segment Five: Crow takes after babies, angry that they too get a free ride. Mike reads an overwhelming amount of letters. Down in Deep 13, Mrs. Forrester cradles Dr. F. like a baby, and in fact, insists that he is one. It is deeply disturbing -- or at least, it should be.

Reflections: This was our first show after having shot Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Motion Picture or as I now call it, The Life-sucker. It was a great relief to be back doing a show that took roughly two weeks as opposed to one that consumed two years of our lives and involved more pinched executives than you could shake a stick at. It is a lesson for all of us: Never bring something you love and care for to a behemoth corporation and allow them to punch it and kick it and insult you and laugh at you and ignore you and rob you -- even if they do occasionally provide you with fresh cold cuts and a cheap commercial plane flight.

I do remember feeling in my bones when we started on season seven that it was to be our last. Comedy Central ordered seven shows and didn't return our phone calls. There was a slight sense of insecurity but that was swamped by feelings of freedom to be back doing a project that was largely in our control. I remember laughing like jackanapes while writing the segment in which Trace tries to think what offense he needed to apologize for. We could all easily dredge up some shameful act and I believe that those he mentions are all based in reality with one writer or another.

There was also a sense of excitement at having Mary Jo on the set. We were certain that as talented as she was, she was sure to be a good measure better than the last replacement the show had made.

A note of trivia: I had by this time spoken to Jack Perkins now and again and had been e-mailing him about the upcoming Turkey Day, hoping to get him on the show. He wanted to do it and thought that something could be done when he came to visit his son, Eric, who is a sports reporter for KARE 11 News here in the Twin Cities. It never came to be, but I remember feeling slightly sheepish about telling Jack that we were depicting him as a drunk who was hitting on an androgynous pan-being named Mr. B Natural. By that time, I felt that the "character" Jack was so far removed from the actual Jack that it would be fine, but since I haven't spoken to Jack since, I'll never know. My guess is that it went by unnoticed by Jack -- not to mention the large majority of the world -- and that he is right at this moment pulling a leather-bound volume of Proust from a mahogany shelf in his library having never given it a single thought.

The memory I will take with me from this whole show is that of Trace in the writing room doing his killer Charles Nelson Reilly whenever the angel in "Once Upon a Honeymoon" appeared onscreen. If he had done it 4000 times, it wouldn't have been enough for me.

Mike Nelson

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