Thursday, September 27, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1007 - Track of the Moon Beast

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

Episode 1007: Track of the Moon Beast

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 13 June 1999
Availability: fan copy

Definitely NOT the right track.
This episode is another one of those that I missed when the show was on the air. It aired 11 times from 1999 to 2003, but for whatever reason, I missed them. The only reason I've seen it now is that I obtained a fan copy as part of my project to watch all the episodes. So, I have no one to blame but myself.

Actually, this episode is a good one. Track of the Moon Beast is a pretty bad film, but not stick an icepick in your eyeballs bad. The riffing is great. And the Host Segments feature one of my favorites: the VH1 Behind the Music kinda segment on The Band That Played "California Lady."

Getting hit in the head by a moon rock.
I first saw the segment of The Band That Played "California Lady" on Play MST For Me, which is now part of the Play MSTie For Me Triple Decker DVD. It was great! Still is, by the way.

Seeing The Band That Played "California Lady" actually in context doesn't really change anything. There's the "Oh, this is where that skit comes from" moment, but seeing it neither adds to nor subtracts from Mike's bit. It's great, and by itself, gives the episode a bump up.

Actually, though, the whole episode is good. From the renaming of one of the characters to "Johnny Longbone" to Johnny Longbone's stew ("... *sigh* ... onions ...") to the whole "we gotta save him, oh, wait, let's kill him instead" attitude... this episode is a winner.

The cast.
Some 70s guy digs for rocks and such but one night gets hit in the head by a meteorite from the moon and turns into a giant killer lizard-man, but only when the moon is fully, which happens for about 29 days in a row, but his friends, including stew-master Johnny Longbone, decide he's not to blame for his wild killing sprees, but then a doctor tells him that he can't help him and that he'll eventually spontaneously combust or something, so he climbs a hill but Johnny Longbone goes after him and kills him with a bow and arrow ... actually, with the arrow since the bow was just used for deliver. The end.

The Moon Beast gets killed.
You noticed there was no mention of The Band That Played "California Lady," huh? That's because the segment where the band plays "California Lady" has nothing to do with anything, except for 70s Guy to tell Johnny Longbone he has a headache. I don't think they were implying the song gave it to him.

The other Host Segments are fun, but kinda pale to The Band That Played "California Lady." So, I suppose you can tell I liked that segment, huh?

How I missed all the airings of this episode, I just don't know. Bad luck, I suppose.

The other day, I mentioned that I hadn't seen Episode 1005: Blood Waters of Dr. Z until this project, but didn't care for it. Not the case here. I missed it during the broadcast run, but love this episode.

As a film, Track of the Moon Beast is awful. As part of an episode of MST3K, it's a winner.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1006 - Boggy Creek II: and the Legend Continues...

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

Episode 1006: Boggy Creek II: and the Legend Continues...

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 9 May 1999
Availability: Amazon DVD (Volume 5), Rhino (Volume 5/out of print)

The third Boggy Creek movie.
Me and this movie have a history. And, yes, it's as bad as that grammar.

Well, not exactly this movie. But another movie related to this one.

Back in 1972, a movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek was released. It made a lot of money. Cost around $100,000 to make and made around $20,000,000. Yes, that's $200 return on each dollar spent.

The movie was presented as a documentary, and claimed to be true. And that's where I come in.

This film should not be confused with The Deer Hunter.
Back then, I was into conspiracy stuff, like "who really killed Kennedy?" and such.Wy that's important is, in case you hadn't noticed, that group of people kinda drift over into UFO and Bigfoot and that kinda stuff, too. If you hadn't noticed, start paying attention. I think you'll see that, for a lot of people, those kinda things go hand in hand.

Now, while now I see that both groups are off-base, back then, I didn't. I was right in the middle of it. Bigfoot stuff, UFO stuff, and Kennedy assassination stuff all fascinated me. Today, I realize it's all bunk. Then, though, well, you couldn't tell me anything.

There were lots of people wearing shorts in this movie.
Where is this leading? Well, when The Legend of Boggy Creek hit the theaters, I wanted to go see it. Not being old enough to drive, well, that meant someone had to either drop me off or go see it with me. And, since it was at the drive-in, that ruled out dropping me off. So, I inflicted the pain that is The Legend of Boggy Creek on others. I never apologized for that, and for that fact, I am wrong.

So, we're kinda caught up now. The first movie, The Legend of Boggy Creek, was one that I wanted to see, and talked others into taking me to see. It was awful.

The film Boggy Creek II: and the Legend Continues... is a sequel, as you can tell. Only, you'd be thinking it's the second Boggy Creek movie. And, you'd be wrong.

There were too many people wearing shorts in this movie.
You see, in 1977, Return to Boggy Creek was released. It had nothing to do with the original film. It was another group capitalizing on the success of the first film.

Now, in 1985, Charles B. Pierce, the person behind the original film, made his own follow-up called The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II, which was the original title of this film. Unlike the original, which was presented as a documentary, this was more of a narrated film.

There have since been other Boggy Creek titles, but Piece wasn't involved in any of them. He died in 2010.

But, let's look at the film in this episode.

A phone call interrupts a professor and two of his students at a football game at the University of Arkansas, so they load up, taking a friend with them to southwest Arkansas to look for the Boggy Creek monster, running into skeptics along the way, but setting up camp in the woods anyway, getting lost and running around in really short shorts and getting terrorized by the monster, which must be real after all, only it turns out that all the trouble is because Jimmy Clem had kidnapped the monster's baby, so they freed it and everybody lived happily ever after. The end.

Jimmy Clem, Arkansas sex symbol.
I've never been to Arkansas. I don't think I have, anyway. If this movie is anything like what Arkansas is like, and if I had been to Arkansas, I would have blocked it out. So, I'm going to continue to say that I've never been to Arkansas, because, as far as I know, it's true.

Oh, and based on this movie, I'm never going to Arkansas. In fact, I'm wanting them expelled from the SEC. We'll take Tulane or Georgia Tech back. At least, neither of those schools had any Boggy Creek movie filmed during one of its football games.

Remember how bad I said the first Boggy Creek movie was? Well, this one was worse.

The riffing was fun, though. They really got into the characters, the plot (what there was of it), and even the music ("On the wings of a snow-white dove ...") with the riffing. It was awesome!

The Host Segments? They were all okay. Nothing really jumped up and stood out, but they were all good.

Really bad movie, really fun episode. I'm just thankful I was with M&tB when I saw this film.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1005 - Blood Waters of Dr. Z

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

Episode 1005: Blood Waters of Dr. Z

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 2 May 1999
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 17), Shout Factory (Volume 17), Best Brains (Volume 17)

Should have been a lost episode.
Until I bought the Volume 17 DVD pack I had never seen this episode. It only aired three times, and two of those were on back-to-back weekends in May 1999.

So, what did I miss? Not much. Not much at all.

If any episode of MST3K should have been a lost episode, this would have been a good choice.

The movie was gosh-awful, the riffing was okay but not great, and the Host Segments kinda just sat there for me.

Nothing special about this episode.

The fish-monster cops a feel.
Which is kinduva shame. You see, since I missed all three airings, when I got this episode on on DVD, I was a little bit excited. After all, this was like a lost episode to me. I was sorely disappointed.

Oh, sure, it was cool seeing one I had missed. But, beyond that ... nothing.

Crow took up smokeless tobacco in a Host Segment. Kinda disgusting, actually. And, the other Host Segments, well, they kinda just sat there, as I said. Crow copying the voice-over from the movie, Mike fishing ... nothing special.

The movie? Well, there are some interesting (if that's the word) facts about it.

The Blood Waters of Dr. Z was released under a couple of names. Zaat was the alternate title. But, when it was bootlegged in Canada, it was under the name Hydra.

Now, before you start laughing at the Canadians for bootlegging such a turd sandwich as this film, you may want to know that there was a U.S. bootleg, too. It went by the name Attack of the Swamp Creatures. So, the Mexicans win this round.
Dr. Z.Dr. Z. as a fish.
Ex-Nazi Dr. Kurt Leopold is our title character, Dr. Z., and the waters in Florida become his blood waters, at least I think that's what happens, because Dr. Leopold (abbreviated Dr. Z., of course) wants revenge on those who laughed -- HA! -- at his proposals to turn people into walking catfish or something, so he turns himself into Trumpy from Episode 303: Pod People -- which neither Mike, Crow, or Servo seem to notice -- and goes around killing people and spraying Formula 409 on fish, all the while narrating in a style nothing at all like Orson Welles' until he kidnaps a chick who was swimming in his Blood Waters and tries to turn her into a fish, but he just kills her instead, which can play havoc on one's love life, but then the sheriff and his band of scientist misfits figure it all out and stop Dr. Trumpy, and nobody else gets turned into a walking catfish. The end.

Okay, it doesn't sound that bad when you read it out loud.

And, by that, I mean, as bad as that totally accurate description of the movie is, the actual movie was worse.

Not an episode I particularly cared for. But, at least, it's not a sequel to The Legend of Boggy Creek. Could you imagine if they actually made a sequel to that?

Monday, September 24, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1004 - Future War

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

Episode 1004: Future War

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 25 April 1999
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (20th Anniversary/Volume 13), Shout Factory (20th Anniversary/Volume 13), Best Brains (20th Anniversary/Volume 13)

Not set in the future.
When I began this long project of watching all of the MST3K episodes, I started watching them in the order the episodes aired. The only time I've varied from that was when we covered Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The Movie ... and that wasn't really an episode.

During the Sci-Fi Channel years, the production number order of the shows has matched the air-date order. Until now.

Episode 1003, which would be next one, was, as I understand it, planned to air after Episode 1002: Girl in Gold Boots, but something happened.

Attack of the killer dinosaur puppets.
Supposedly, there was a question over the rights to the content of the movie, with one party claiming the plot was stolen from another's work. Or something. Anyway, it was pulled, but did eventually air. We'll cover more about that when we get to that episode.

Right now, though, we're going to cover the next episode to air. And that one contained the movie Future War.

The movie isn't set in the future. In fact, it's told in flashback format. And, it's not so much a war as it is one guy hunting down another guy. So, it's Future War, but not in the future and not a war. Other than that, the title sums it up perfectly.

Soultaker vs Jean Claude van Darn
Maybe it's the dinosaurs that make it futuristic. Let me think. They all died out 65-million years ago, so ... nope, that's not it.

Maybe I should really just relax. I'll just accept that the movie is what it is.

A fellow captured from Earth's past escapes a space ship in a snow monkey pod and lands on present-day Earth and hooks up with a nun who used to be a drug dealer and a hooker but who now runs a halfway house for fat people, but the cyborgs on the space ship are hunting him with little tiny dinosaur puppets, but he eludes them and kills all the puppets, but the lead cyborg tracker, who used to be a giant-faced Soultaker, brings big dinosaur puppets to track the runaway, but the police think Runaway is the bad guy, but the real bad guy and his puppets show up, and there's a big old fight in a church, but the good guys win, and everyone who isn't dead lives happily ever after. The end.
How Servo sees the world.How Crow sees the world.
The Host Segments were most memorable to me for us getting to see the world through the eyes of Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot. Crow's seeing Mike as a clown, as well as his freaking out over a Milky Way becoming a Snickers were, to me, hilarious. Then, Servo's seeing the world as a jumbled mess resembling a bad trip ... funny stuff.

This is one of those episodes I saw a lot. It only aired 8 times, and I must have seen them every one. And enjoyed them all.

Funny episode, including a bad, but mostly watchable, movie, great riffing, and some inspired Host Segments. Another winner.

Friday, September 21, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1002 - Girl in Gold Boots

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

Episode 1002: Girl in Gold Boots

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 18 April 1999
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (Solo), Amazon DVD (Volume 4), Rhino (Volume 4/out of print), Shout (Solo DVD), Best Brains (Solo DVD)

These boots are made for dancing.
This episode seemed like a bit of a letdown after the awesome pie that was Episode 1001: Soultaker. But, in reality, it's not.

Girl In Gold Boots is really, really bad, but not drive you bananas bad. Just ... bad. Almost, but not quite, watchable. But -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- bad.

Sleazeball Buz (short for "Buzz," I think) picks up a waitress in Nevada and takes her to Los Angeles where he promises her his sister will make her a star because she's famous, which turns out to mean she dances in a sleazy strip club run by a really oily guy and his henchman, The Count from Sesame Street, and is all pilled up and burned out, so the waitress girl becomes a dancer and ends up taking her job as lead dancer, meanwhile Buz gets into the drug trade with Mr. Oily and The Count, and the draft dodger named Critter they picked up along the way gets his dream job as a janitor, but then Buz kills a guy at the county jail and steals a bunch of drugs, but then conscientious objector Critter beats everyone up and calls the cops, then joins the military and everyone lives happily ever after, except for the drug addicts and everyone who was killed along the way. The end.

The Host Segments feature a storyline about Pearl being audited by the Guild of Calamitous Intent or something. The representative looks like Tom Petty (it's MST3K staff member Paul Chaplin) and isn't impressed, until he sees Observer, inspired by the movie, doing a go-go dance. Bill Corbett seemed to have way too much fun for my comfort.
Buz, Mr. Oily, and The Count.Pearl gets approved.
The rest of the Host Segments are more directly related to the movie, and are all pretty good. The episode overall is good. Again, it just seems like a letdown compared to the previous episode. And that's really unfair, but it's still the reality.

The DVD pack that contained this episode, MST3K Volume 4, and though the volume is out of print, it wasn't exactly pulled from distribution. It seems like Rhino simply ran out after Shout Factory took over distribution rights. Two of the episodes in that four-pack have been released as singles by Shout, including this one. The other is coming up later in Season Ten, while the other two are from Season Eight. No idea if they'll be released as singles, but it's certainly possible.

Lots of good riffing, mostly fun Host Segments, and, of course, a bad movie.

This episode is a winner.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1001 - Soultaker

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

Episode 1001: Soultaker

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 11 April 1999
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 14), Shout Factory (Volume 14), Best Brains (Volume 14)

Not starring Don Cornelius.
Season Ten opened with an episode chock full of awesomesauce.

It's got a bad movie that you don't want to watch, but, really, kinda have to.

The Host Segments aren't so much classics as they are setups for some special guests. Not one, but two. And, yes, they are special.

But, the show is all about the movie, right?

No. At least not this episode. They could have shown just about any movie at all and this episode would still be a classic because of the guests. But, the movie works better than most others, because of the tie-in between the movie and one of the guests.

TV's Frank, soul taker.
You see, TV's Frank shows up. And, like the title character, he's a soul taker. Seems he had a rough time in Second Banana Heaven, where he went with Torgo in the last episode of Season Six. So, he got a job as a soul taker.

Then, to top it off, Joel shows up. Seems he discovered that Dr. Forrester had set the Satellite of Love to fall apart after ten years. And, since this is Season Ten...

So, the appearance of both TV's Frank and Joel Robinson help make this a special episode. But, quite honestly, this is a great episode even without the former cast members showing up. The riffing on the movie is just that good. Mostly because the Soultaker is that bad.

Soul takers at work.
Joe Estevez is a soul taker, taking souls from the dying and giving them to big-faced Robert Z'Dar because he killed his wife or girlfriend or something a long time ago, but when he's sent to collect the souls of five teens who are going to run off the road and die, he finds out the crash was so hard their souls were knocked out of their bodies, but when he finds them, the girl who wrote the movie script looks just like his dead wife so he hesitates, then has to hunt them down again, only the kid who was driving got a job as a soul taker, and he helps them get away, which screws Estevez over, and everybody lives happily ever after, except those that died. The end.

The riffing is top-notch, and the episode doesn't need the Host Segments to bring it over the top. But, with the Host Segments having Frank's and Joel's visits, the level of awesome is way over the top.

Season Ten, the last season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, started off with a bang.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MST3K: Shorts Volume 1

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

Video: Shorts Volume 1

First released: 21 July 1998
Availability: Rhino VHS (solo/out of print), Rhino VHS (Twin Pack/out of print), Amazon DVD (Volume 2/out of print), Rhino DVD (Volume 2/out of print)

Yes, another release that wasn't an episode. Let me tell you about it.

In 1996, around Season Seven, MST3K episodes were first released on VHS. Best Brains had previously released Play MST For Me, Play MST For Me 2, MST Poopie!, and The MST Scrapbook. Then, they began releasing episodes on VHS through Rhino. Best Brains still did the occasional special release of outtakes and such, but the episodes were all through Rhino. Rhino also re-released MST Poopie!

Towards the end of Season Nine, Rhino released a special three-pack called the Shorts Twin-Pack. One of the selections was Episode 622: Angels Revenge. The other was a collection of shorts from episodes that hadn't been released.

What about the third part? It was actually a pair of shorts. Really. A pair of boxer shorts. And, yes, I own a pair. No, they've never been worn.

The boxers were only available as part of the Shorts Twin Pack. Though Episode 622: Angels Revenge and Shorts Volume 1 were released separately, the shorts weren't. So, no, there never was an official line of Mystery Science Theater 3000 underwear.

Let's focus on this video. It contained:
At the time of release, none of the episodes that contained any of these shorts had been released. Commonly, when a short is released, it is seen as an indicator that the episode won't be forthcoming anytime soon, however, this first selection of shorts shows why that's not always true.

Three of the shorts on this volume were later released along with the episode in which they appeared. Though Episode 407: The Killer Shrews wasn't released on video until the DVD on 19 April, 2005, two others were released much sooner. Episode 515: The Wild Wild World of Batwoman made its appearance on VHS on 16 March, 1999, while Episode 609: The Skydivers appeared on VHS on 5 October, 1999, eight and 15 months later, respectively.

These shorts are all fun ones, with lots of great riffing.

If your MST3K collection doesn't include unreleased episodes -- that is, episodes only available from fan copies; the "Keep Circulating The Tapes" episodes -- you'll want to make sure you at least have the shorts collections.

This one is a great one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MST3K: Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments

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

Video: Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments

First released: Spring 1998 (Volume 1)
Availability: Best Brains VHS (all volumes/out of print), Amazon VHS (out of print), Best Brains DVD (Volume 1 only)

Okay, this isn't an episode. You know it. I know it. I know you know it. And you know that I know that you know it. You know?

We're done with Season Nine and ready to start Season Ten, but during and shortly after Season Nine, some videos were released. These were made available during the run of MST3K, and, since I've covered others, I'll cover this one. Only, not so much.

Let me explain.

In the Spring of 1998, around the start of Season Nine, Best Brains released a VHS entitled Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments. It contained Host Segments from the first seven seasons. Here's a list.

The video contained an intro by Servo, stating that this was the definitive collection of his favorite Host Segments.

Apparently, it was successful. So much so that they released Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments Volume II later in the year. It came with a brand-new intro, with Servo saying he had found another great batch of Host Segments. A list of those are here.

Around the beginning of Season Ten, Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments Volume III was released. There was no introduction. The tape just started playing Host Segments. Here's a list of that tape's contents.

About the time Season Ten ended, Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments Volume IV was released, again, without an intro. Here's the list of the Host Segments on that tape.

In early 2000, the final tape in the series, Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments Volume V was released. Here's a listing of its contents.

I really need to sit down and compare all of the Host Segments on the five tapes with the actual Host Segments, but I think they actually covered all the Host Segments from the Comedy Channel/Comedy Central years. There are no Host Segments beyond Season Seven on any of the five tapes.

I don't know if they didn't get the rights to those episodes, but I don't think that's it. I suspect -- I don't know this, mind you -- that they began planning this series around the time Comedy Central canceled the show. If that's the case, they'd have made up the different volumes then, before they filmed any of the Sci-Fi Channel episodes.

Just because the results fit the scenario don't mean the scenario isn't true. I'm just taking a shot as to why there are no Sci-Fi Host Segments on any of the volumes. Again, I don't think it's a rights issue, as the entire Episode 908: The Touch of Satan was released on VHS by Best Brains, along with three episodes from Season Ten. Of course, it could be that they didn't get the rights to release those episodes until after the Favorite Host Segments volumes were already released. Of course, they could have done Volumes VI and VII with the Sci-Fi episodes. Maybe.

Anyway, the Host Segments tapes are fun to watch, but they do go about 90 minutes each. It's like watching an episode that's nothing but Host Segments. Five episodes, actually.

If you already have all the episodes, you have all the contents from these tapes. But, if, like me, you're a collector, you'll definitely want them.