Mystery Science Theater 3000: C/D, S/D.

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Guess we finally know the answer to your question in the first response itt ;)

As I said, '...what episodes *don't* I have on tape.' And since the tape copies are thrashed or gone now, thus.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 14:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Girls Town easily in my top 10 eps.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Tuesday, 8 August 2017 15:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah it's great to have that one and Diabolik at least. Transparent has some good bits but the Auntie McFrank segments may be funnier in the end.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 16:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Full details on Volume 39

The bonus disc with the preorder will be the collection of all the Poopie tapes plus the infomercial style thing they did, which is hilarious in its own right. Seems like a good way to go!

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 23:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Good time for a thread bump, as I just watched The Time Travellers this afternoon. Not a great episode, though it does illustrate the point that the quality of the episodes does have a lot to do with the material they have to work with. The Time Travellers] is actually not too terrible a film--I liked the rather thoughtful turn it took in the last 10 minutes or so, plus the ambiguous ending--but it is plodding and mediocre enough that there are stretches of it that simply don't give them much to riff on (though they do get off some good jabs in specifically on the subject of the film's clunkiness and padding). An Alison Bechtel reference and a spot-on riff on an improbable line of dialogue about "lovely liver" gave me my biggest LOLs here.

the general theme of STUFF (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 9 August 2017 23:40 (one year ago) Permalink

god but i wish the pace of knee-jerk, fear-of-blank-space riffing would drop. really got fed up near the end of the hercules one, it's like hanging around with hyperactive kids. guys... you write this stuff in advance. take a deep breath, pick the funniest of the three to five jokes you've thought of for this bit, let the other ones go, and give the good one space for the delivery to feel natural.

yellow is the color of some raisins (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 9 August 2017 23:46 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, it probably sounds like I'm contradicting myself a bit here, as I complained about the pace of the riffing in the Reptilicus episode (though that was more to do with their tendency to riff too quickly, to the point that some of the jokes were coming out in advance of what they were responding to in the film). My issue with this episode wasn't so much that pace of the riffs was too much, but rather that the film didn't always give them a lot to work with. Or maybe it is just that the film was boring and average enough (for the bulk of its running time, anyway) that I was unable to be carried along by the film itself--as I was with the spectacularly odd Cry Wilderness, for example--and just noticed the blank spaces more. Less a matter of dead air in the commentary than one of dead air in the film, I suppose.

the general theme of STUFF (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 9 August 2017 23:55 (one year ago) Permalink

i left during intermission at the live show

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 10 August 2017 01:07 (one year ago) Permalink

I was going to ask if anyone went. So...that bad?

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 10 August 2017 01:16 (one year ago) Permalink

I didn't get a chance to go to the live show, but my brother enjoyed it. He said the way it was put together was handled well, felt like watching the real show

Finished the new season, the last few episodes were a slog. the amount I enjoyed the movie depended more on the movie than the riffs, and after the two Wizards of the Lost Kingdom movies (season highlights), the movie quality goes way down. I don't know who said the pace of the riffing gets more comfortable - I thought the riffs were overdone even in the better movies towards the end, and too wordy a lot of the time. There are times they rush through a line so fast you can barely understand it. Overall, the season was fine: mixed quality, with some strong highlights

Vinnie, Thursday, 10 August 2017 01:40 (one year ago) Permalink

In a weird way this might be even more of a revive-from-the-dead than Manos, because at least that actually got released.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 17 August 2017 16:20 (one year ago) Permalink

that's so awesome. I always thought it was a made up movie

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 17 August 2017 16:41 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Uh. It's turkey day isn't it?

President Keyes, Thursday, 23 November 2017 18:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Yep. Twitch steam is region locked for me & YouTube buffering like crazy, gave up watching it :/

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Thursday, 23 November 2017 18:37 (one year ago) Permalink


Well the youtube stream is working fine for me!

Evan, Thursday, 23 November 2017 18:48 (one year ago) Permalink

ps4 app streaming was bad but i can stream it through Tivo & that is working good

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 23 November 2017 18:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Haven’t been able to tune in today — busy in the kitchen! But hope viewing is all going well.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 November 2017 18:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh they've added a second YouTube stream & delayed it to the start, that's kinda awesome of them.

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Thursday, 23 November 2017 19:15 (one year ago) Permalink

night of the blood beast on now

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 23 November 2017 19:17 (one year ago) Permalink

preceded by Honeymoon short

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 23 November 2017 19:18 (one year ago) Permalink

switched to alternate stream, def much much better

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 23 November 2017 20:05 (one year ago) Permalink

great line up this year!

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 23 November 2017 20:57 (one year ago) Permalink

So I gather the big news is they got renewed. Still, strange that announcement has come so relatively late.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 November 2017 06:45 (one year ago) Permalink

good news either way

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 24 November 2017 06:47 (one year ago) Permalink

good for them! very cool that the bootstrapping of the first batch rolled into something that could keep going on its own. i actually still haven't finished watching the first batch though! to my fan shame. we just got busy around the house with other things and finding time that me and my roommate can share with it has gotten harder. but stoked to see what they do with the second batch, wonder if they make any substantive adjustments.

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Friday, 24 November 2017 13:42 (one year ago) Permalink

I caught Overdrawn at the Memory Back and Warrior of the Lost World. I don't remember watching them before. A good time was had.

Einstein, Bazinga, Sitar (abanana), Friday, 24 November 2017 22:18 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm irrationally fond of warrior of the lost world... maybe it's the talking motorcycle. got funnier after i visited corviale and realized that nearly all the locations were just that, under construction. or sometimes nearby office buildings of the same vintage.

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Friday, 24 November 2017 22:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Warrior of the Lost World is so much fun, and that motorbike is hilar

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 25 November 2017 01:57 (one year ago) Permalink

"Awww, now how does he know they're bad mothers?"

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 25 November 2017 02:07 (one year ago) Permalink

...and the bad fathers who love them

YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Saturday, 25 November 2017 02:08 (one year ago) Permalink


Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 25 November 2017 02:10 (one year ago) Permalink


Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 November 2017 02:26 (one year ago) Permalink

So our own tylerw posted this on Twitter, a nice little snapshot of a moment:

NYC, December 1967

— Tyler Wilcox (@tywilc) November 27, 2017

But I'm posting it here because note what is the other film on the bill with Dylan's _Don't Look Back_ there.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 27 November 2017 21:54 (one year ago) Permalink

If only they could have gotten Dylan onto that party boat. Hijinks ensue!

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Monday, 27 November 2017 22:14 (one year ago) Permalink

They already had Little Richard!

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Monday, 27 November 2017 22:19 (one year ago) Permalink

Such a strange film. That one band covers a Ray Davies song that the Kinks might not have recorded themselves, I think.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 27 November 2017 22:25 (one year ago) Permalink

Anyway I'm just trying to imagine who would go see that in 1967 and honestly enjoy both films. (These days, yes.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 27 November 2017 22:26 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

The Avalanche episode is decent, though I agree with what was said upthread about their not always knowing the best way to fill the many blank spaces in action and incident that the film leaves. The best joke: "Tonya Harding in Sophie's Choice on Ice!

Avalanche itself is a truly dreadful film, btw. It has everything that I hate about the disaster genre--the sadistic deaths of random extra characters, the way these films always busy themselves with boring relationship melodramas as filler before the disaster happens--in addition to just feeling lazy and undercooked: the genre was obviously breathing its last gasps in 1978 (or, this first wave of disaster movies, at least) and this movie just felt like a quickie last-ditch cash-in on a movement that already running on fumes by the time this would have gone into production. Occasionally, I come away from some of these episodes with a tiny bit of affection for the films being skewered (say what you will about the nutso Cry Wilderness, but it is certainly trying to be...something), but this is precisely the kind of junk product that truly deserves the thrashing the show gives it.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 9 January 2018 03:46 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Watched the Starcrash episode today. My favourite thing about it was that I wasn't always sure if some of the Southern (???) robot's lines were actually in the film or just part of the riffing.

Whatever they paid Plummer, it wasn't enough.

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

"...halt the flow of TIME!"

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 01:28 (eight months ago) Permalink

i love Starcrash. it is worth watching without riffs imo. if you decide to do so there is an extended international cut that is even funnier, as some scenes were cut short and there are additional lines/reactions.

also it's kind of funny that Star Wars has now ripped off Starcrash.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 14:07 (eight months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

this podcast on WFMU, Night People, has an interview with Joel Hodgson from September 29, 2014:

in the interview he says he initially got the idea for the show from an illustration in the gatefold art for Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" LP. the image in question:

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 22 June 2018 17:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Yup, been part of the lore for a while -- nice to see this again though!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 June 2018 17:37 (five months ago) Permalink


Evan, Friday, 22 June 2018 18:19 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I was probably wrong to side with Fujiwara upthread. These days, I dig MST3K a little bit more than the entire concept of movies.
― Eric H., Friday, November 2, 2007 1:28 PM (ten years ago)

The pendulum. It always swings.

I Never Promised You A Hose Harden (Eric H.), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:10 (four months ago) Permalink

(Informed by a re-read of the infamous article.)

I Never Promised You A Hose Harden (Eric H.), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:10 (four months ago) Permalink

Which I'm posting here in its fullness because it's no longer on the original site, far as I can tell.

One sign of the death of the cinema is the zombie-like persistence of the "bad film" cult that rose to public-nuisance status in the late Seventies, feasting noisily on things like the Ed Wood films. From the start, this was just an especially obnoxious manifestation of a general intolerance for films that try to free themselves from the dominant mode of cinematic realism.Thus it's but a short step from sneering at the budgetary deficiencies of Plan 9 from Outer Space to scoffing at, e.g.:

1. Any non-state-of-the-art special effects and visions of the future, even though these things date themselves anyway from period to period, and future generations may find Independence Day less "realistic" (whatever that will mean) than the 1956 aliens-smash-the-state programmer of which it is an unacknowledged remake, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers;

2. Overtly non-realistic visual and acting style used for expressive purposes, as in Soviet master S. M. Eisenstein's outrageous Ivan the Terrible, which uses actors' bodies as components of a delirious architecture;

3. "Implausible" plots like Vertigo—as if we're supposed to ignore the holes in the stories Hollywood tells now just because men don't wear ties to walk around the block and no shot lasts longer than 1.4 seconds—and "banal" ones like the potboiler-like thriller stories from which Orson Welles made his superb Lady from Shanghai, and Touch of Evil—as if Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes working together could have come up with an original story or cared less about it;

4. Mythic dialogue and situations like those in Rebel Without a Cause and Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind, The Tarnished Angels, and Imitation of Life, whose emotional power intimidates audiences lulled by the rituals of appeasement enacted in nighttime soap operas.

The irrelevant yocks that frequently greet the films just mentioned when they show at a revival house or a college auditorium are the voice of a viewing public paralyzed by fear, desperate for any externalization of a comforting "distance" to protect them from recognizing their own anxieties writ large in the image unspooling from the past not dead enough to suit them.

Such a distance is abundantly provided by the robots on the cable (now also broadcast-syndicated) show Mystery Science Theater 3000, devoted to stomping on "the worst movies ever made." The big gimmick (the "plot" behind which isn't worth explaining) is that these robots are sitting in a mockup of a theater and we the lucky TV audience are watching the films from over their shoulders and ostensibly being entertained by their scornful running commentary. The numbing, irritating effect thus achieved is not unlike watching a Josef vos Sternberg film in the eighth row of the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square the week after midterms. What is most amazing about MST3K (the acronyum preferred by the show's adherents) is that the robots can blather on for an hour without saying anything witty or interesting—and people can't get enough of them! (As of this writing, MST3K, which has been in hiatus, is due to be "revived" in new episodes [it was—ed]; meanwhile, the repeats are still shown contantly on Comedy Central.)

(A similar dead-end sensation can be found by watching what is supposed to pass for heady, unsettling stuff in recent cinema. I refer to the ubiquitous superficial irony that has become the stock-in-trade of Robert Altman, the Coen Brothers, and many less skillful directors, the maddening profusion of brain-eating detail in one of Terry Gilliam's nasty conceits, and the pompous theatricalized events of Peter Greenaway.)

I'd like one of the misties (in-group code for the shows devotees) to explain to me (a letter in care of the editor of this magazine will do, thanks) why if these mechanical creeps are such Oscar Wildes don't they take on something just a bit juicier, a tad more worthy of their withering satire than The Beasts of Yucca Flats. What about, say, Fellini's La Dolce Vita? There's a film that has everything the robots love to disdain: pretentious dialogue, long dull stretches, and people with funny clothes and big asses. Obviously, the contempt for cinema, history, and the audience that fuels the whole robot insanity can be applied to low-budget horror and exploitation filmmaking.

MST3K isn't really about "bad movies" anyway. This is proved by the choice of 1955's This Island Earth as the film basted in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, the recent theatrical spinoff from the show. In a kinder, gentler era of genre film appreciation (whose tone was set by Forrest J. Ackerman, the benevolent editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland), This Island Earth was regarded as a classic. Whatever you think about the film, to rank it one of "the worst movies ever made" is clearly absurd. Of the 30,000 features released in the United States from 1915 to 1960, This Island Earth is probably in the top 3,000-4,000. Considering that countless films have been made since (most of them bad in ways that could scarcely have been imagined in 1955), I would guess that This Island Earth is sitting comfortably in the top five percent of all films.

(That's right, I'm saying that 19 out of every 20 films are worse than This Island Earth. Prove me wrong.) Why pick on This Island Earth? To raise the intellectual stakes a little ? Probably not—it's doubtful that many members of the intended audience of MST3K:TM had ever heard of This Island Earth or could distinguish it from Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. Anyway, the level of humor in MST3K:TM is preposterously low: roughly a third of the robots' remarks are alarmed, sniggering references to homosexuality, putdowns of the hero's sidekick's virility, and other manifestations of male adolescent sex-role anxiety. (Another third are mostly farting and toilet jokes, which possibly belong to the same category.) In its treatment of Faith Domergue's sexy scientist, This Island Earth may betray what we now recognize as the sexism of the Fifties, but what are we to make of the fact that the woman aboard the MST3K spacceship is a maternal vacuum cleaner with no arms? MST3K is obsessed with sexuality and afraid of it. The absence of women highlights the show's treehouse psychology.

MST3K's use of robots for heroes is no accident. MST3K's sarcasm at the expense of the past is techno-elitism at its most self-congratulatory, asserting mastery through acts of cultural misrecognition. Perhaps the reason the MST3K people despise so much that they choose to mount an attack on it in the nation's theaters is that they're disturbed by the way the film reduces the unimaginable future of interplanetary communication to the level of an erector set. MST3K's creators, who resemble science nerds using their first grant as an excuse to lord it over their former peers, would probably be thrilled to be drafted for a totalitarian planet's nuclear program (the fate of the protagonists of This Island Earth).

The robots on the bottom of the MST3K screen are scotomas that indicate a more fundamental visual disturbance, the inability to see anything in films except the same things over and over again: hot women, men who match masculine stereotypes either too well or not enough, and supposed defects of representation (too slow, too cheap-looking, not realistic enough, etc.).

Then there's The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. Just as MST3K represents a depressing low in "golden turkey" television, TMST3KACEG marks a stupefying new milestone in "golden turkey" film books by having no information about any film, apart from short, inaccurate plot summaries. Instead, the book recounts supposed highlights of the robots' parasitic interventions and explains how the robots behind the robots "strived to make [the films] funny." Readers are thus treated to 172 large-format, haute-design pages filled with pointless descriptions of robot skits and unreadable writing-room anecdotes ("I recall this episode as being the first time we decided to write sketches having nothing to do with the movie..." —from the section on Monster a-Go-Go). Nauseatingly self-important, TMST3KACEG leaves wide open the door I wish had remained shut; I expect to see a new wave of film books that focus on the writers' bus rides home.

The book exposes the cluelessness behind the smug sensibility evident on the show. MST3K writer Kevin Murphy proclaims reverence for Frank Zappa (and in real goo-talk yet: "When all his tapes are played and his music is studied, I'm guessing he'll go down as one of the finest composers and performers of the century," p. 109) but makes fun of an angry viewer for wanting to hear Eddie Cochran in Untamed Youth without robots talking (p.16). It makes sense that someone who thinks it's cool to put robots in front of The Killer Shrews would have no problem revealing in print that he thinks the composer of "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" and "St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast" is a greater artist than the man who recorded "Something Else" and "Nervous Breakdown."

There's nothing new about MST3K—it's just a tasteless crossbreeding of the tradition of the TV horror host (Zacherle, Ghoulardi, the Ghoul, Elvira) and the "Golden Turkey" way of misreading films that was codified by inane right-wing reviewer Michael Medved and his equally vapid brother, Harry. All this comes indirectly from the surrealists, but the MST3K robots, following their idols the Medveds rather than André Breton and Ado Kyrou, deny and trivialize the power of strange films to disturb, confuse, and give hope.

It's time the "bad movies" movement died a quiet death. This goes not just for MST3K-style vendettas against low-budget films but also for the would-be more sophisticated "camp" onslaught against glossy major productions like "Valley of the Dolls" and the Delmer Daves-Troy Donahue cycle (A Summer Place, Susan Slade, etc.). Of the many possible ways of enjoying a film that deviates from standard criteria of adequacy, the least interesting is to treat it as a source of unintentional humor. Robot Monster, The Sinister Urge, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, Hercules and the Captive Women, It Conquered the World, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Aleksandr Ptushko's fantasy films—"bad" as some of these films may be (although many of them are, in fact, "good"), all of them will be admired long after their potential for robot humor has been exhausted (i.e., starting right now) for the unique aesthetic experiences , strange personal visions, and precious cultural documentation they offer.

Someone should invent MST3K glasses with the robots printed on the bottoms of the lenses for people to wear to movies, except that it would be unnecessary, since the robots are already built into the cognitive and aesthetic faculties of an entire culture. MST3K assumes its audienes are so impotent that they can't enjoy even "bad" films first hand but can derive pleasure from them only over the shoulders of robots.

I Never Promised You A Hose Harden (Eric H.), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:16 (four months ago) Permalink

Still think he has no idea about how comedy can work, but if it was just the newer incarnation of the show he was addressing I'd be more understanding.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 27 July 2018 16:19 (four months ago) Permalink

Reads like early eruption of the contemporary irony backlash

devops mom (silby), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:22 (four months ago) Permalink

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