Thursday, August 9, 2012

MST3K: Episode 812 - The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

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

Episode 812: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 14 June 1997
Availability: iTunes, Amazon DVD (Solo), Amazon DVD (Volume 9/Out of print), Rhino (Volume 9/out of print), Shout (Solo DVD), Best Brains (Solo)

Not Nicolas Cage.
With a name like The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, you can tell that the film is a spoof.

Only, it wasn't.

You see, there's a story behind the name of this film.

According to producer/director/star Ray Dennis Steckler's DVD commentary, the movie was originally going to be called "The Incredibly Strange Creatures, or Why I Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-up Zombie," kinda like Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, but, according to Steckler, Columbia Pictures threatened to sue. So, he changed the name.

Fortune Teller and Ortega at work.
Which means that this film was to be taken seriously. Or, as seriously as you can take the self-described First Monster Musical. Except, there aren't any songs in it. Unless you count the dance numbers that some characters performed as part of the shows that some of the characters attend -- kind of a show-within-a-show thing.

Let me explain.

There's a carnival where a fortune teller takes revenge on those who reject or scoff at her by getting her henchman Ortega to hold her targets down while she pours acid -- labeled "poison" -- in their faces and then throws them in with the other "zombies," meanwhile, there's a weird dancing couple where the girl is having a drinking problem or something, screwing up the act, but then a guy who looks like a caricature of Nicolas Cage, his girlfriend, and his Foreign Buddy, come along, so Not Cage falls in love with a carnival dancer, who happens to be the sister of Fortune Teller, which cheeses off Girlfriend, so when Not Cage goes to meet Carnival Dancer, Fortune Teller, still ticked over Not Cage dissing her earlier, turns him into a zombie, then Zombie Not Cage goes on a rampage, killing a bunch of people before the police show up and kill all the other zombies, but Zombie Not Cage escapes and runs along the beach until the police decide to kill him there. The end.

Tom has t-shirts for his cause.
When you make up a list of some of the worst films, you want to put this one on it, or run the risk of being ridiculed. And you don't want that.

This is a bad film. But, it's almost watchably-bad. Yeah, you can watch it, but it want drive you away. Doesn't make it any less bad. Just a different kind of bad. Still bad. Really bad.

The riffing is wonderful. Mike & the Bots are on fire with this one. I laughed and laughed.

The Host Segments are fun, too. This one has the classic bit where Servo is raising money for what sounds like "Helping Children Through Research And Development." Only, it's not. It's for "HELPINGCHILDRENTHROUGHRESEARCHANDDEVELOPMENT," which stands for "Hi, Everyone. Let's Pitch In 'N' Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then. Hateful Rich Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod."

Give generously, won't you?
That's an outfit, not an out-of-control ... well, you know.Crow hires Ortega to cater the movie breaks. It doesn't go well. 
By the way, although the title of this movie is 79 characters long, it's not the movie with the longest title to appear on MST3K. That honor belongs to the 84-character The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent.

There's so much I want to say about this film, but the best thing really would be to just watch it for yourself. Be sure to take a couple of robots with you.

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