Friday, March 30, 2012

MST3K: Episode 410 - Hercules Against the Moon Men

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

Episode 410: Hercules Against the Moon Men

First aired: Comedy Central on 22 August 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 7), Rhino (Volume 7/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 7)

Hercules returns!
This is another episode where I own both the DVD collection that contains this episode, as well as the iTunes download, but haven't watched it much.

This episode isn't one of my favorites, although there are some great bits to it. That's not to say I don't like this episode. I do. But it's not top-tier.

The Host Segments are funny. Crow and Servo running away to the other side of the satellite ends as expected. There are lots of bad puns in the Booby Trap skit. The tough guy names bit is funny. And the bit about actors in a movie series being replaced is fun.

The Mads promise Deep Hurting.
And Deep Hurting. DEEEP HUUURRRTINGGG! Yes, Deep Hurting debuts here.

It's just ... oh, I don't know ... something about the overall episode that didn't quite bring it to the top.

The hot French & Italian chicks are a treat to look at. The riffing is good all the way through.

It's just ... something.

I thought maybe the fact that I don't care much for the sword and sandal movies might enter into it. But I enjoyed Episode 408: Hercules Unchained. So that's not it.
Joel really misses home.Hot Greek (French) She-Villain.
It's just ... something.

Maybe if I watch it again, I'll get more enjoyment from it. Maybe.

Joel springs a leak.
Let's talk about the movie.

The Moon People crash on earth and demand a sacrifice from the people of Samar. The people do it until Hercules shows up. The queen of Samar has a pact with the Moon People to run things. They want to bring their queen back to life. Or something. Hercules beds the queen and saves the day. The end.

These aren't the same Moon People that Commando Cody had to fight back in back in Season One. At least, Hercules didn't have to go "nipple nipple tweak tweak fly fly fly" to beat them. And the Lone Ranger wasn't around working for the bad guys.

No, this one had different Moon Men. And the Hot Japanese She-Villain was Greek. Queen Samara was played by Hot French She-Actor Jany Clair.

There were plenty of reasons to like this episode. And, I suppose I did. I just didn't really really really like it. And I wanted to. Maybe one day.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

MST3K: Episode 409 - Indestructible Man

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

Episode 409: Indestructible Man

First aired: Comedy Central on 15 August 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 11), Rhino (Volume 11/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 11)

Lon Chaney, Jr is ... Indestructible Man!

Some sources ... heck, most sources ... call the movie The Indestructible Man. But, if you look at the title card, the "The" isn't there. If you look at the DVD of the actual movie, there's no "The" there. So, properly, it's like he's some super hero or something. Indestructible Man!

Here's the plot: Lon Chaney, Jr. is a robber and killer who was double-crossed by his accomplices. He goes to the electric chair, but a mad scientist accidentally brings him back to life and makes him ... indestructible! Then the killer goes around exacting vengeance on those that testified against him. At the end, it turns out he's not so indestructible after all, and dies. Again. The end.
A face only a mother could love. Or not."Blink! Blink, I say!"
The movie wasn't the only thing in this episode, though. We got to see Chapter 2 of Undersea Kingdom, starring Crash Corrigan. We won't get to see any more of this Republic serial, though. Not that I'm complaining.

Officers Mike and Kevin tell the Mads to keep it down.
The short is just kinda there. Not much happened in this chapter, and the riffing was ... eh.

The movie, though, was much better. The riffing. Not the movie.

Not that the movie was bad. I mean, a convicted killer brought back to life and who goes around killing everybody. Sounds like ... a bad movie starring Lon Chaney, Jr.

Of course, it's unfair to pick on Lon Chaney, Jr. He was a good actor. Not a great actor, but good. While he's best known as The Wolf Man, his role as Lenny in 1939's Of Mice and Men * won him universal acclaim.

This movie? It didn't do much for his career. But it did do something for my funny bone. Good riffing. Good Host Segments. And, we got to see the appearance of Mike and Kevin as cops, telling the Mads to hold it down and to stop disturbing the neighbors. Oh, and J&tB promised no more cop-donut jokes.

The didn't promise no more funny. So I'm expecting more funny in the next episode.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MST3K: Episode 408 - Hercules Unchained

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

Episode 408: Hercules Unchained

First aired: Comedy Central on 1 August 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 7), Rhino (Volume 7/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 7)

"... which translates into big sweaty guys pushing girls around."
This is an episode that I had seen one time, but didn't really care for. It sort of grew on me, though.

I have the Volume 7 DVD pack and the iTunes download, but have only watched this episode a couple of times. The iTunes version, by the way, has the chapter markers where they need to be. I wish they did that with all their MST3K episodes.

I love the Steve-O-Meter skit in the Invention Exchange. Word is that when Steve Allen saw a tape of the skit, he loved it and let the MST3K crew know.

The plot of the film doesn't exactly follow the Hercules mythology. It's like Michael Moore or Oliver Stone made a documentary: 80% is just plain wrong and the other 20% isn't quite right.
I'm not a fan of any movie where the leading man's chest is bigger than the leading lady's...... although Sylvia Lopez does her best to make up for it.
In a mixture of The Seven Against Thebes (Aeschylus), Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles), and the story of Hercules and Queen Omphale, the film has Hercules getting back from a trip with Jason and the Argonauts, then goeing to settle a dispute over who gets to rule Thebes. Along the way, he loses his memory and is held as willing captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia. He escapes and saves his wife, who was going to be fed to tigers or something. The disputed rulers of Thebes kill each other and somebody else gets elected. The end.
Steve Reeves (Michael J. Nelson) pays a visit.For the first time in Season Four, Dr. Forrester's name is spelled correctly.
There is no Hot Japanese She-Villain, since it's not a Japanese movie. On the other hand, French actress Sylvia Lopez plays a Hot Greek She-Villain in this Italian move, which is fine by me. She died the year this film was first released (1959).
The Steve-O-MeterGypsy sings!
Lot of good things about this episode, including the Steve-O-Meter and Gypsy singing her song. It shows that you can not care much for an episode the first time you see it, but love it on later viewings.

Well, I can.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MST3K: Episode 407 - The Killer Shrews

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

Episode 407: The Killer Shrews

First aired: Comedy Central on 25 July 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 7), Rhino (Volume 7/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 7)

Thereby hangs a tale.
This episode is funny. Of course, every episode is supposed to be funny. This one made it.

The movie? It's bad. Really bad. But not unwatchably bad. It's ... watchably bad.

It's Gunsmoke second banana bumpkin vs Dukes of Hazzard second banana bumpkin in this effort. The hero is played by James Best, who, despite a long career and appearances in many early classic TV shows, is best known as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coletrane in The Dukes of Hazzard. The primary antagonist -- other than the title critters -- is played by Ken Curtis, who gained everlasting fame as Festus Hagan on Gunsmoke.

It's Festus vs Roscoe.
A supply captain and his first mate are stranded on a research island by bad weather. The professor has mutated shrews so big, they look like dogs with carpet glued onto their backs. The killer shrew-puppies trap everyone and eat all but the captain, the professor who created them, and the professor's hot daughter who dumps her drunkard boyfriend for the captain. The couple kiss as they decide to overpopulate the world all by themselves. The end.

Oh, there's a short feature, too. Junior Rodeo Daredevils features the fun side of getting thrown around by bulls.

The riffing was great, and the Host Segments were fun. My favorite was when Joel handed out presents. It played well, even though it would seem to be more appropriate for a Christmas episode. The disappointing give for Crow was ... familiar to everyone.
The dogs' handler made a shrew decision instead of a shrewd decision.Frank ODs on "Killer Shrew"
Frank and Dr. Forrester were hilarious when they realized their evil invention was indeed evil, but not very beneficial to the forces of evil. And we find out what happens when Frank drinks too much. Fortunately, there was no alcohol involved.

I've seen this episode before. I own the DVD four-pack, and the iTunes download. Of course, just because I own an episode, even multiple versions of an episode, doesn't mean I've seen it. There are some I have on DVD, on iTunes download, or both, that I've not watched. This, though, isn't one of those. I've seen this one more than once.

I don't know if it's because I'd seen this episode before that when I watched it this week, I enjoyed it, or if it's just a fun episode. I'm beginning to suspect it's the former. Which means that for all those episodes I didn't care for, I need to watch them again.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MST3K: Episode 406 - Attack of the Giant Leeches

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

Episode 406: Attack of the Giant Leeches

First aired: Comedy Central on 18 July 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 6), Rhino (Volume 6/out of print)

The movie sucks more than the leeches suck.
It's a Roger Corman film. Which means it's not a good film. But, it will be short.

Of course, a short running time on a feature film means that Dr. Forrester will send up a short film for Joel & the Bots to watch. And, this time, it's another Republic Pictures serial. It's chapter one of Undersea Kingdom, starring Johnny Weissmuller's stuntman, Crash Corrigan.

Here's the plot: there's strange earthquakes going on, which can only mean... something's happening in Atlantis! An evil Atlantian -- not, not Ted Turner -- wants to take over Atlantis and then the world. Okay, maybe it is Ted Turner. But it's up to Crash Corrigan, a professor, a hot chick reporter, three sailors, a parrot, and a stowaway kid to stop him. Unga Khan (that's the evil dude's name) sends his minions on horseback to capture Crash and crew. Will they stop the evil Unga Khan? Will the world be safe? Will the Braves make the playoffs? Tune in next time. Or not.

A giant leech attacks!
The movie, as mentioned, is a Roger Corman exercise in futility. Strange deaths in the swamp can only mean one thing: giant leeches! They attack evil Floridians and nice Floridians. Wait, I don't think there are any nice Floridians in this film. There are some stupid ones, though. Anyway, there's a doctor who wants to go blast fishing for whatever's down there, and a game warden who's all sweet on the doc's daughter. The doc drops his dynamite -- every doctor has dynamite, after all -- into the swamp and convinces everyone there's strange creatures down there. The game warden goes after them. A lot of people die, but not everybody. The end.

It was fun in bits. Dr. Forrester and Frank had some funny bits involving a giant leech (played by Kevin Murphy). The holo-clowns reappear. J&tB are a danger to themselves and others.
A danger to themselves and others.Dr. Forrester finally removes the leech from Frank.
This one just didn't do it for me. I actually hadn't seen it before watching it this week, even though I own the Volume 6 set, as well as the iTunes download. It was one that I fully intended to watch, but never got around to.

I may need to watch it again, in order to get the full enjoyment of it. There were some distractions to this week's viewing, so I'm not prepared to give it a thumbs down. But, I'm leaning that way.

It is a Corman film, after all. It may not improve with a second viewing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

MST3K: Episode 405 - Being from Another Planet

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

Episode 405: Being from Another Planet

First aired: Comedy Central on 4 July 1992

The title gave away the ending
This is is one I had never seen before. It aired 19 times on Comedy Central, but somehow I missed it each and every time.

This episode has never been released on video, so my copy is a fan copy. The quality isn't that great, but I'm not sure how much of that is the recording, how much is from a lo-res transfer to DVD, or how much is my doing a poot job of ripping it to iTunes.

There's also an edit in the final Host Segment, after the movie, that jumps suddenly from Joel talking to Servo saying something.

Even the recording was bad
I'll be obtaining a new copy from, because of my experience with the quality of their recordings. Hopefully, it'll fix both the quality and the edit.

This was a funny episode. Really bad film -- more on how bad in a moment -- with a silly plot. Some of the acting is fine, but some of it is really bad. Plus, it has a spoiler in the title!

It's hard to tell in places how poor the film quality is, because of the sub-standard quality of my recording, but there are some moments when J&tB complain about not being able to see what's on the screen.

What's the film about? A mummy is discovered in King Tut's tomb. No, not King Tut, but another mummy. It gets too much radiation from an x-ray and comes alive. It walks around collecting crystals, then uses them to return to its home world, because ... surprise! ... it's a being from another planet! The end.
Mummy -- and Mumy -- jokesHolo-Clowns (in the sky)
The first Host Segment is a trivia buff's dream. J&tB play Movie Slogan Twenty Questions. The cheer-up party Gyspy and Joel throw for Tom and Crow -- complete with holographic clowns -- is funny. And, the end of the film is also fun, because Tom insists this is the worst movie they have seen. Joel and Crow question that, and name almost every movie they've done on The Comedy Channel/Comedy Central.
"Turn on your heart light...""Honk if you hate this movie."
This is one of those episodes that could have gone either way. It's not a great episode, but it's a good one. It seems like one of those that, the more times you watch it, the funnier it seems. I expect to laugh even more the next time I watch this. And there will be a next time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MST3K: Episode 404 - Teenagers from Outer Space

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

Episode 404: Teenagers from Outer Space

First aired: Comedy Central on 27 June 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 6), Rhino (Volume 6/out of print)

It's as bad as it sounds.
This one may be a little hard to find on DVD. But you can stream it from iTunes and from Amazon Instant Video. I don't know why the DVD is no longer in production, other than Rhino losing the contract to distribute MST3K episodes.

You see, the 4-pack contains three episodes and a collection of shorts. There wouldn't be any rights issues with the shorts, so you'd think it was one of the movies that caused the 4-pack to get pulled. But all three of the episodes are available for streaming, and one has been re-released as a stand-alone DVD episode (though not this one). So, I'm thinking it was just Rhino shutting down MST3K production, nothing more. Perhaps the other two episodes (including this one) will be re-released as solo discs soon.

King Moody without Bernie Kopell? Just not the same.
I have the Volume 6 DVD as well as the iTunes download. The iTunes version is another one of those lazy ones with the chapter markers every 10 minutes rather than at actual breaks in the show. I hate it when they do that.

I had never seen this movie before seeing the MST3K treatment. I don't know if the TV stations I watched didn't air it, or if I just missed every airing of Teenagers from Outer Space. Either way, I never saw it before Joel & the Bots gave it the treatment.

Though I never saw the stand-alone movie -- though it's currently available from several streaming services for free -- I have seen this episode before I began this "watch 'em all" project. This one's a hoot.
Better than Slim Fast!The lobster gets a death scene.
The Host Segments were pretty funny. Joel's behavior modification routine, in an attempt to stop the Bots from mentioning NBC Mystery Movie every time a flashlight appeared, gave me a chuckle, because I, too, always think of NBC Mystery Movie when I see a flashlight scene similar to that show's opening.
Frank calls for help while Dr. Forrester tries to resuscitate Resusci-Annie.Dr. Forrester on a date.
Dr. Forrester's ventriloquist routine with Resusci-Anne is funny. Having Frank call 911 while drinking a glass of water just caps it perfectly. The "Reel to Real" segment, where J&tB compared and contrasted Reel Life to Real Life was cute.

Our hero
The riffing is funny. Even my granddaughter laughed at parts of it -- before she realized that she's not supposed to like things old people like me like.

I really enjoyed this one. Simple plot. Silly plot. Bad acting. Bad special effects. Begged to be riffed ... and was.

A crew of people, led by Starker from Get Smart, arrive from some far-off planet come to earth to wear duct tape and let lobsters loose. They turn people and critters into skeletons and act all pushy. One lisping alien who's actually the son of the leader of the planet (who looks like one of the Smith Brothers) doesn't want to do it, so he takes up with some chick and a guy named Gramps. They foil the plot and kill all the aliens. The dog dies. The end.

J&tB get real. Or reel.
When I sat down to watch this movie, the title made me think it was another episode. I'm not sure which one, but it was a different plot. And, it might not have been a movie that got the MST3K treatment. But, I was thinking it was some movie that had teenagers in it, and there was a space theme. But not this one. Perhaps if it was a movie that got riffed by J&tB (or M&tB) I'll remember confusing it with this one and set things straight. In my mind, anyway.

One thing I've mentioned before, and must mention again. Though my MST3K experience was mostly Mike episodes before this project, I've really grown to love the Joel episodes. Part of it is because they're new to me -- most of them, anyway. The other part is ... they're just plain good episodes.

I'm wondering how I'll feel when Mike takes over during Season Five.