Satellite News - MST3K Debuts in Europe - An Onsite Report


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(Belinda and Mark live in West Sussex, England, and both work at Gatwick Airport. He's 32, she's 28. They've been fans of MST3K since stumbling across it in 1994 "while on holiday" in Fort Myers, FL. Belinda tells the story of her discovery like this:

"We were getting ready to go out, and were doing a spot of channel surfing when we happened across what looked like an ordinary movie -- The Starfighters -- except for the three characters seated in cinema fashion at the bottom of the screen, who were commenting hilariously on the action (or lack of it!). Needless to say, we were hooked -- and very late for where we were heading that day! Since then, we have been sent episodes from fans in the States, and met our very good friend Laurie, while we were attending the Conventio-Con in Minneapolis last year. She has been great, sending us episodes by the boxful and keeping in touch through email. This December, we visited Minneapolis again where Barb was kind enough to give us and Laurie a tour of the Best Brains studios -- a very very memorable day!!"

Last weekend, Belinda and Mark roped in a group of friends for a premiere party at their home. Here's her report, along with comments from herself and the rest of the party:

January 11th: a red-letter day for the EuroMSTies. It was finally time for Mystery Science Theater 3000 to yell "HUZZAH!" and wave copious amounts of bad cinematography playfully in the face of the European Community. The long-awaited Sci-Fi Channel UK premiere was cause for a bit of a celebration for the MST fans who work at London Gatwick Airport, and some other initiates. Present for the launch, consisting of The Making of MST3K followed by episodes 801 and 802 back-to-back, were eight people with varying experience of Mike and the 'bots. There's Mark, Belinda and Paul (the regular EuroMSTies), Derek, Andy and Damon (the enthusiastic MSTies-in-the-making) and Stephen and Mario (who are here to see what all the fuss is about).

Making of MST3K

This half-hour documentary acted as a good introduction to the show, since it helped the newcomers understand MST from the Season Eight starting point, rather than trying to detail an entire history. It also introduced a lot of the cast and crew, who gave personal insights on the show and each other.

Comments from the party:

Mario: That looks like a great job!

Belinda: Where's Barb, though?

Episode 801 - Revenge Of The Creature

In the sequel to The Creature From The Black Lagoon, 'Creat' is hunted down, blown up, shipped to a widely populated area (Paul: Hey, the name's changed on that boat!) and re-animated by a gang of milkmen. One thing leads to another and, after being shocked numerous times by a couple of scientists with an electric prod, he understandably gets a bit miffed and escapes. He then abducts the lady ichthyologist, lugs her around for a bit and kills off a couple of guys before getting shot by the police.

Andy: Why didn't they do that when he attacked the milkmen at the beginning?

We loved the comments of "Waa-a-aahh!" when the guy on the boat had his diving helmet removed after being attacked, seeing the couple "splitting one beer" on their boat and the quip of "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Creature" as the monster wades into the water. One minor detail, the Sci-Fi Channel Europe seemed to be a bit confused about where to put the advert breaks. Some of them were nowhere near the host segments.

Belinda: Personally, I loved the newscaster sections and the police briefing near the end: (Professor: "Don't take any chances". Crow: "Go to the bathroom before we leave.")

Belinda: That was a really pointless movie.

Paul: That's the whole idea! I remember seeing the original in 3D.

All: Huh?!?

Belinda: We finally got to see what happened to Dr. F and Pearl and all on the S.O.L. Crow's changed a lot though, not just with Bill Corbett's voice - he has a whole new personality! The nanites are pretty cool, too.

Episode 802- The Leech Woman

A hundred-and forty-year-old woman arrives at the office of an endocrinologist who is researching a way to slow the ageing process. She lures him and his alcoholic wife to Africa with the promise of sharing the secret of youth. After a ton of stock footage (Belinda: Hey! That's the same crocodile that belly-flopped in the last movie!) they arrive at the old lady's village and watch the ceremony which includes killing a man and tapping his pineal gland. (Mario: So why is this called The Leech Woman? Belinda: Beats me. 'Cos she's leeching out her life?) The endocrinologist's wife is also made young, choosing her husband as the pineal donor. She then gets drunk on youthdom and goes home for a murdering spree to maintain her appearance, eventually throwing herself off a balcony when a nonchalant Detective comes to see her.

The hyena jokes were fun ("I don't see what's remotely funny about that") and Mike's comment of "That's the runway system for Minneapolis/St.Paul airport in a couple of years" when faced with an ink blot pattern really hit home for us airport workers (sad, eh?).

Derek: I liked the Sesame Street gag when those kids were running around the village.

Belinda: My favorite was the shot of the lawyers office with Tom saying "Why does he have a single meatball in his in-box?"

One thing that we noticed: There weren't too many American advertising and political jokes--the kind of thing Europeans wouldn't understand.

Paul: It seems pretty universal (pardon the pun).

Andy: I'll definitely be watching it again.

Mario: Having never seen it before, I have to say that I really enjoyed it, especially the Leech Woman. It was a lot better than I was expecting.

So, a resounding thumbs-up from everyone. We all thought the shows were excellent (and it looks as if there will be a few more people subscribing to satellite TV before next Saturday!). After such a successful evening, we think MST3K will soon be as popular in Europe as it is in the U.S.

As a final comment, this line from a Disney commercial we also saw that night seems appropriate: "People came, and when they left, they carried the magic with them."