Monday, May 14, 2012

MST3K: Episode 513 - The Brain That Wouldn't Die

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

Episode 513: The Brain That Wouldn't Die

First aired: Comedy Central on 30 October 1993
Availability: Amazon DVD, Rhino (Solo DVD/out of print), Fan Copy

It's really about a head, not a brain, so the movie is wrong from the start.
It's Mike's first experiment. And this episode made a smooth transition from Joel to Mike.

I've seen The Brain That Wouldn't Die before. It's not a good movie. Which, of course, if why it's featured on MST3K.

What's it about, you ask?

Go ahead and ask. I'll wait.

I'm glad you asked.

Dr. Creepy recovers Jan's head.
Dr. Creepy (or whatever his name is) is an egotistical doctor who is conducting experiments on people, including on dead people, and while assisting his father, who's also a doctor, after the patient in the operating room dies, brings the dead guy back to life, but Dad warns him to be careful, since it's obviously better to let people die than to find a way to let them live, even if they want to live, but Dr. Creepy ignores him because when he's heading to the old country estate with his girlfriend Jan, who used to be Robert Wagner's girlfriend and intended victim in A Kiss Before Dying, he wrecks his car and she loses her head, literally, but Dr. Creepy picks it up and runs to the country estate and puts it in a pan to keep it alive, then spends the rest of the movie trying to find a woman with a body to give to Jan, which, surprisingly, is harder than it sounds, but Jan has been a busy little head, learning to communicate with the Thing In The Closet, who breaks out and burns the lab down killing everybody but the girl with the body, which Jan thinks is really funny. The end.

Stripper fight!
While it's not a good movie, it's not a jab-icepicks-in-your-eyes bad movie. It's one of those bad but watchable movies. Not one of my favorites, by any means, but one of those that you watch anyway.

It's got the over-used head kept alive in a jar plot, like in They Saved Hitler's Brain. It's got some sleazy stripper bar scenes. It's got a hero that's looking to lop off a woman's head to put it on -- or under, actually -- his girlfriend's body.

But then it's got some parts that aren't so good.

Mike & the Bots didn't like the movie. That's understandable. M&tB aren't supposed to. They do have some fun with it, though.

The movie makes a mistake by getting it right at the end.
Of course, you gotta remember, Mike Nelson was a writer with the show from when it went national, 4½ years earlier, and had been Head Writer for 3½ years. Sure, when Joel left, MST3K lost it's originator, but Mike Nelson had led the writing for a while.

The episode has an Invention Exchange, with Mike offering the Gutter-Bumber-Shoot, an umbrella with a gutter. The Mads came up with a way to pop balloons. Yawn.

They did a little character development with Mike. While Joel pretty much accepted his fate, Mike actively sought to escape. They also had a Host Segment that ended with the Bots making fun of Mike.

Mary Jo Pehl makes her first appearance as Jan in the Pan at the end of the episode. With Mike now having a regular role, he won't be making as many guest-starring roles -- although he will make a few -- so Mary Jo steps into that position.
Virginia Leith as Jan, in the pan.Mary Jo Pehl as Jan in the Pan.
A fun episode with a bad but watchable movie. Oh, and it showed that MST3K could go on without Joel.

Now, keep in mind that I haven't seen all the episodes of the show. I have seen all the ones up to this one (except for the KTMA "lost" episodes), and I've seen most of the Mike episodes (and will watch them again). However, having watched all the Joel episodes, I'm used to him as host. Mike is going to take some getting used to.

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