Thursday, September 13, 2012

MST3K: Episode 912 - The Screaming Skull

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 912: The Screaming Skull

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 29 August 1998
Availability: MST3KVideos.com fan copy

It's a skull! That screams!
This is one of those movies that I knew about when I was younger, but never saw until much later. It came out before I was born, so there's that.

I'm thinking it either made the rounds later on, or it was advertised as one of the "creature features" that local stations aired, or something like that, because I seem to recall seeing commercials or movie trailers for it.. Either way, I didn't see it until much later.

I remember another movie about a skull, but it wasn't this one. The other one was a British film with Peter Cushing, but I never did see it. The Screaming Skull was a film that I eventually did watch.

I can't say MST3K was the first time I saw The Screaming Skull on TV. I just don't have a separate memory of watching it, though I think I did, years ago. Of course, the last MST3K airing of this episode was years ago, too.

Preacher, preacher's wife, the new wife of the killer, the killer, and the patsy.
I did see it on MST3K during one of its 10-12 airings (12 showings over 10 weekends from 1998-2004). This was also the last episode to air. The last new episode was aired in September 1999, but reruns continued through January 2004. This one, though, was the last rerun shown on network TV.

It's not a bad episode. It's not a good movie. It's one of those where someone is trying to Gaslight the wife into thinking she's crazy. Hint: she really kinda was, but got better.

Creepy Husband brings home Whiny Sand-fearing Wife from Episode 906: The Space Children because his old wife died of a crushed skull, which seems to be natural causes in this film's universe, and the new wife is rich and needed a husband to keep her out of the looney bin or something, so it was a win-win for everyone, except it was Creepy Husband that killed the first wife to begin with, which we're not supposed to figure out, because we're supposed to think that Even Creepier Gardener killed the first wife, but that's really because Creepy Husband tried to lead everyone in that direction, but Space Children Mom knows that Creepy Gardener couldn't have done it, and wonders who could have, but then she figures out she's crazy because skulls start turning up and screaming, except it's the peacocks or something, so anyway, he decides to kill her outright by strangling her and hanging her, but he doesn't get it done because the skull of the first wife shows up, and he ends up drowning for some reason. The end.
Crow pranks Mike.It doesn't go well.
If it sounds a little convoluted, it's because it is. And I didn't even mention the preacher and his wife who figure into things somehow -- probably to represent how ignorant everyone could be about an evil husband murdering his wife.

The Screaming Skull goes after the killer.
The movie, that bad, is almost watchable. Notice that I said "almost." It's not unbearably unwatchable, and you can sit through it, but you won't like it. The riffing is great, though.

The Host Segments are a little bit of fun. Silly at times, like the one with the penguin costumes. The Host Segments related directly to the film, though, are great. Crow plays a prank on Mike, pretending to be a screaming skull, with predictable results. And Servo orders a free coffin.

We get a Gumby short. They were always kinda weird. Not the MST3K ones, just Gumby shorts in general.

Overall, this is a fun episode. The episode never been released on video. I suspect it's rights issues with the movie. The owner of the film probably thinks they're sitting on a gold mine. They're actually sitting on a turd mine, but MST3K could turn it into gold.



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