Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MST3K: Episode 810 - The Giant Spider Invasion

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

Episode 810: The Giant Spider Invasion

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 31 May 1997
Availability: Amazon (Volume 10), Amazon (Volume 10.2), Rhino (Volume 10/out of print), Rhino (Volume 10.2/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 10.2)

Not all the spiders were giant.
This episode is a classic!

It's one of those bad movies that's both horribly bad and watchably bad.

The Giant Spider Invasion stars Barbara Hale, who gained fame playing Della Street on Perry Mason. Hale's husband, Bill Williams, also has a role. There's also Alan Hale, Jr., who was The Skipper, Jonas Grumby, on Gilligan's Island. And, of course, Robert Easton.

Sure, you've heard of him. You just didn't know it.

"Is he lactating?"
He had lots of roles over the years, from appearances on Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Wagon Train, Andy Griffith, Get Smart, all the way up to Star Trek VI (he was the Klingon judge), and even a part in a movie scheduled to come out later this year, although he died late last year. He was a renown voice actor and dialect coach, helping Forrest Whitaker win an Academy Award.

Easton played the main human villain, the disgusting adulterer on whose farm the spiders landed.

There's also Steve Brodie in this film. We encountered him in Episode 515: The Wild Wild World of Batwoman, which was Mike's third episode.

Sheriff Skipper.
This episode, as I said, is a classic. It's great. And the movie? Bad. It's a wicked, naughty, bad movie. Even though it's reported to have made millions at the box office.

At the most disgusting farm in Wisconsin, run by the most disgusting people in Wisconsin, a meteorite crashes with some special effects, but not special enough for the white trash farmer to go see about, but when he does the next day, he finds rocks with diamonds inside, so he sells his dead cows to the local restaurant, or something, but Della Street comes to town to see about things, meanwhile The Skipper, who's sheriff, gets a lot of phone calls about electronics devices not working and a preacher working too loud, so when Della goes to investigate, she and some just-as-old scientist from NASA who's got the hots for her figure out it's a black hole or something that crashed to earth, causing spider diamonds or something, so they tumble around over each other while a Volkswagen Spider chases them, then the townsfolk go after the spider but the scientists find a way to close the wormhole or something and the spiders all die. The end.

"Woo! Packers!"
After all the episodes where Joel/Mike & the Bots make fun of places like the south, it's nice to see them make fun of their own backgrounds, what with all the Wisconsin references, and such, so...

Wait. Mike's actually from Illinois. Kevin, too. Bill's from Brooklyn. And Mary Jo is from Minnesota. Bridget Jones is also from Minnesota. And Paul Chaplin is from Illinois. So, no, they didn't make fun of their own backgrounds in this one.


Still, the episode had me laughing all the way through first time I saw it. And every time since.

Oh, and the DVD pack it came in, Volume 10, was pulled from release because of rights issues with another movie in the set. So, rather than pull the entire pack, they replaced the offending episode and re-released the pack as Volume 10.2, ensuring that this episode was available for years to come.

For that, we should all be thankful.

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