MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

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Thad
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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:45 am

So, Holy Grail shit here: Kickstarter backers (anybody who donated at any tier that got Classic Bonus Episodes) just got access to the first two KTMA episodes, Invaders from the Deep and Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars.

That leaves the third episode, Star Force: Fugitive Alien II, as the only remaining Lost Episode.

(It's 12:45 AM, so I am not going to go update the Lost Media Wiki myself. But somebody probably should.)

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby sadas » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:16 pm

Thad wrote:So, Holy Grail shit here: Kickstarter backers (anybody who donated at any tier that got Classic Bonus Episodes) just got access to the first two KTMA episodes, Invaders from the Deep and Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars.

That leaves the third episode, Star Force: Fugitive Alien II, as the only remaining Lost Episode.

(It's 12:45 AM, so I am not going to go update the Lost Media Wiki myself. But somebody probably should.)


Just FYI, the REAL Lost Media Wiki is now at lostmediawiki.com The founder and all of the admins moved there ages back (and yes, they have posted about these episodes on the homepage) The only reason the Wikia one (now known as the "Lost Media Archive") is still up is because Wikia refused to close it.

The corresponding page is here, btw
http://lostmediawiki.com/Mystery_Science_Theater_3000_(Lost_Episodes_of_KTMA_Season;_1988)

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:40 pm

Thank you, mysterious stranger. That's as good a reason as any why I shouldn't have been up editing wikis at 1 AM.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Mongrel » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:44 pm

Who'd have ever thought there'd be a sudden influx of helpful strangers?
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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Mothra » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:48 pm

I remember trying to watch The Robot vs The Aztec Mummy back when the only way to see MST3K was to order 10 dollar VHS tapes of individual episodes off some clown on eBay. Looot of dead air. It took them probably till Season 3 to really get their footing.

Still, a lot of these KMTA movies are fantastically, perfectly cheesy. I'm actually pretty excited to check out something that sounds so promising as "Invaders from the Deep" and "Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars," because even if the riffing sucks, the movie's gotta be entertaining.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:24 pm

I haven't seen Robot vs. Aztec Mummy (though I've got it; it's one of the reward episodes) but Crawling Eye was much the same. I think I've heard good things about Robot Monster?

Season 2's got Catalina Caper early on; I remember that one being pretty solid. Lost Continent is a classic; I admit it's literally put me to sleep in its middle act on more than one occasion, but I blame that less on "they didn't have the riffing down yet" and more on "you can only make so many jokes about twenty minutes of dudes very slowly climbing a mountain". And then season 2 wraps up with the two Godzilla movies; I've never seen Sea Monster, but Megalon is top-tier.

I'll agree that season 3 was when they were really consistently firing on all cylinders (it probably didn't hurt that it was mostly do-overs of movies they'd done on KTMA), but season 2 had enough all-time greats that I wouldn't lump it in with KTMA and season 1.

There are still a hell of a lot of them I haven't seen. I think I've seen the entire Sci-Fi run (most of it in its original airing; we didn't get Comedy Central in the Phoenix area until after MST had moved to Sci-Fi; I guess I've probably mentioned that before) but I've seen none of KTMA, one episode of season 1, three episodes of season 2, and there are some pretty big gaps like that on up through the whole CC run. I oughta just go on through them all one of these days, but that is about a 300-hour time commitment.

Incidentally, Joel just posted the full list of top 100 episodes as decided by the recent fan poll:

1. Manos: The Hands of Fate - (424)
2. Space Mutiny - (820)
3. Mitchell - (512)
4. The Final Sacrifice - (910)
5. Pod People - (303)
6. Puma Man - (903)
7. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians - (321)
8. Werewolf - (904)
9. Cave Dwellers - (301)
10. Time Chasers - (821)

11. Overdrawn At The Memory Bank - (822)
12. I Accuse My Parents - (507)
13. Eegah! - (506)
14. Gamera - (302)
15. Prince of Space - (816)
16. Hobgoblins - (907)
17. Laserblast - (706)
18. Soultaker - (1001)
19. Godzilla vs. Megalon - (212)
20. Jack Frost - (813)

21. Santa Claus - (521)
22. Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders - (1003)
23. The Brain That Wouldn't Die - (513)
24. The Touch of Satan - (908)
25. Teenagers From Outer Space - (404)
26. The Day the Earth Froze - (422)
27. Warrior of the Lost World - (501)
28. The Giant Spider Invasion - (810)
29. Catalina Caper - (204)
30. Fugitive Alien - (310)

31. Master Ninja I - (322)
32. Time of the Apes - (306)
33. Gamera vs. Guiron - (312)
34. Final Justice - (1008)
35. Boggy Creek II - (1006)
36. Riding with Death - (814)
37. The Sidehackers - (202)
38. Outlaw (Of Gor) - (519)
39. Future War - (1004)
40. Monster A-Go-Go - (421)

41. "Parts": The Clonus Horror - (811)
42. The Killer Shrews - (407)
43. The Giant Gila Monster - (402)
44. Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell - (703)
45. Red Zone Cuba - (619)
46. The Girl in Gold Boots - (1002)
47. Alien From L.A. - (516)
48. Hercules Against The Moon Men - (410)
49. Diabolik - (1013)
50. Horror Of Party Beach - (817)

51. The Amazing Colossal Man - (309)
52. Danger! Death Ray - (620)
53. The Creeping Terror - (606)
54. Daddy-O + Alphabet Antics - (307)
55. The Incredibly Strange Creatures… - (812)
56. Lost Continent - (208)
57. Attack Of The Eye Creatures - (418)
58. Squirm - (1012)
59. Star Force: Fugitive Alien II - (318)
60. Zombie Nightmare - (604)

61. Hercules Unchained - (408)
62. Quest of the Delta Knights - (913)
63. The Beast of Yucca Flats - (621)
64. The Screaming Skull - (912)
65. The Magic Sword - (411)
66. The Mole People - (803)
67. Operation Double 007 - (508)
68. Wild, Wild World of Batwoman - (515)
69. The Beginning of the End - (517)
70. Magic Voyage of Sinbad - (505)

71. Agent for H.A.R.M. - (815)
72. Girls Town - (601)
73. Devil Doll - (818)
74. Hamlet - (1009)
75. Night of the Blood Beast - (701)
76. The Beatniks - (415)
77. Secret Agent Super Dragon - (504)
78. The Starfighters - (612)
79. Bride of the Monster - (423)
80. It Conquered The World - (311)

81. Rocketship X-M - (201)
82. The Crawling Eye - (101)
83. Moon Zero Two - (111)
84. Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster - (213)
85. Gamera Vs. Zigra - (316)
86. Robot Holocaust - (110)
87. The Incredible Melting Man - (704)
88. Escape 2000 - (705)
89. Gamera Vs. Gaos - (308)
90. Gamera Vs. Barugon - (304)

91. Tormented - (414)
92. Samson vs. The Vampire Women - (624)
93. Angels' Revenge - (622)
94. Horrors of Spider Island - (1011)
95. Invasion of the Neptune Men - (819)
96. Devil Fish - (911)
97. Master Ninja II - (324)
98. The Deadly Mantis - (804)
99. San Francisco International - (614)
100. Wild Rebels - (207)


I was a little surprised by Space Mutiny at #2 and Pumaman at #6; they're classics for sure, but not as obvious as the other four. I totally expected the top four to be Manos, Mitchell, Pod People, and Final Sacrifice, and I was pretty close.

I don't actually think Manos is one of the best episodes, but it's certainly the most memorable; I wouldn't have voted for it, but I had no doubt at all that it would be #1.

I missed most of the marathon; I showed up during Manos, and the video stream allowed me to backtrack up to 3 or 4 hours. So I watched Space Mutiny all the way through, and caught a few of the introduction host segments but not all of them. (They've always posted a video of just the host segments after Turkey Day before; they haven't gotten around to it yet but I expect it's coming.)

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Brentai » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:39 pm

I guess that floorsweeper chase in Space Mutiny was just peak MST3K for most people.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:49 am

And "Big McLarge Huge" is one of the most memorable riffs.

But really, in a lot of ways it's perfect. I'm certain that part of my love for 1980's science fiction cheese is that it's what I grew up with (I still love Masters of the Universe unironically), but I think that a lot of the charm really is intrinsic to the era and not just my personal exposure to it.

Part of it is that, where the 1950's SF movies are all riffing on Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials, by the 1980's they were riffing on Star Trek and Star Wars. The budgets were often just as paper-thin as in the decades before, but people had some pretty good examples of how to stretch money out and achieve a baseline of competence. (For values of "baseline of competence" that include the occasional visible boom mic and/or scene where a character shows up in the background despite having died in a previous scene.)

I've also talked a lot about the difference between older and newer films in terms of pacing. While a bad science fiction movie from the 1980's or '90's isn't necessarily any better than one from the '50's or '60's, odds are pretty good that it moves at a brisker clip. And it's usually a lot less dry; there's usually a pretty good dose of both action and titillation going on. (Outlaw of Gor might be my favorite '80's sci-fi episode of MST3K, and it gave us the "Breasticaboobical" song.)

And on top of that you've got the pure comedy that is '80's hair and fashion. There's something wonderfully excessive about the look of the 1970's and the 1980's that you don't get as much from other decades (unless it's a movie that's conspicuously and badly exploring the Youth Culture, like beatniks or bikers in the '50's and hippies in the '60's).

All that said, personally I don't think I'd put Space Mutiny above, say, Hobgoblins, Cave Dwellers, or Outlaw, all of which are examples of what I love about that period of schlock cinema. Then again, they're not space operas, and Space Mutiny is. (As its name implies. I gotta hand it to Space Mutiny: it is indeed about a mutiny that takes place in space. It has a much more accurate title than Future War.)

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:20 pm

I haven't finished it yet, but I watched the first 17 minutes or so of the first episode over dinner, and Mothra, you were right on the money: the riffing is all but nonexistent (Joel doesn't even enter the theater until about 5 minutes in, then he waits about 2 more minutes to interject a riff, which is "Suuuuure," and then gets quiet for awhile, and as far as I've gotten none of the rest of the cast is anywhere to be seen except the opening titles) but the movie is delightful enough that it doesn't matter.

It is an entirely different show. The germ of the idea is there but it bears a much closer resemblance to its forebears (your Vampiras and Elviras) than to the show it would become; host introduces cheesy movie, host has some bumpers where he talks to the audience before and after commercial breaks; the difference is the silhouette and the occasional wisecrack. The sensation is a lot less that you're watching a movie-riffing show and a lot more that you're watching a movie and there's a guy sitting in front of you who occasionally interjects something.

But I can imagine watching it in 1988 and it being a fucking revelation. Magic is happening here. It's a modest beginning, sure, but you can see even then that he's really on to something here.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Mothra » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:34 am

Yeah... it really was just a show about watching a bad movie. It's weird seeing what Joel's initial idea was, where you'd just chill out, not really say anything, watch the movie, and make a joke every now and then.

It's ultra boring, but like you were saying, it probably was more of an Elvira or Svengoolie concept than anything.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Brentai » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:38 am

"Joel came up with a funny idea while baked and Mike turned it into an optimized joke factory" probably sums up every aspect of MST3K.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:12 am

Hm. Reductive, but could be, more or less.

Joel's gently pushed back against the stoner characterization over the past couple of years and said that he's got nothing against pot use but it's not really his thing, and that his sleepy delivery on the show was actually because he really was fucking exhausted when they shot the first episode, and it went over well enough that that become his persona. So he probably wasn't literally baked when he came up with the idea, but that's not really the point. And I think Mike came onboard at the beginning of season 1 with the move to the Comedy Channel; I think the show's transition to riff machine was already underway, so it's not entirely accurate to credit him for it, but he was certainly in the room. IIRC "head writer" usually just meant "guy who has the remote when everybody watches the movie," so it was more of a first-among-equals position than Mike actually being the main driver of the direction of the show (though I think he probably was that once he took over as host).

Course, if he was the guy with the remote, that could very well mean he was the guy who kept saying "Okay, let's rewind; we can fit another joke in there."

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:05 am

Thad wrote:literally baked


god dammit now I'm doing it.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Mothra » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:07 am

Yeah, I'd say the transition to Comedy Central was kind of forced them to evolve the concept into something that generated comedy, rather than passively watched it.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:36 am

I still haven't quite finished Invaders from the Deep; I'm just watching a few minutes at a time when I have a few minutes. But, more notes:

At one point Joel gets up, leaves the theater for a little bit, and comes back with popcorn. Occasionally he crunches a piece.

Thirty minutes in, there's a host segment. Crow shows up, with giant ping-pong-ball eyes, played by Josh, not Trace. There's a sketch involving Joel's inventions (no exchange yet). Crow enters the theater with Joel after that and the riffs eventually start to get livelier, though Crow gets up to go grab a snack a couple times too.

Gypsy shows up in a later segment. She communicates entirely in horrible, blood-curdling screams. Can't imagine why they didn't keep that.

No Servo yet; he's referred to once in dialogue (his name's still Beeper). He might still show up before the end of the show, but presumably he won't be in the theater, seeing as Josh is already handling Crow and Trace doesn't seem to be in the building. (I'm not sure Beeper can even talk anyway; hence the name.)

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:56 pm

Death Promise is amazing.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:08 pm

There's a new list of licensing partners up. Details are scant, but apparently Dark Horse has bought the rights to do MST3K comics.

Marvel had a Beavis and Butt-Head comic in the 1990's where they'd make fun of comics, like the music videos on the TV show. I figure it'll be something like that.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:29 am

AV Club (video) interview with Joel, Jonah, Hampton, and Baron

Man, the chemistry among these three guys is great. Very good sign.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:52 pm

This year's Rifftrax Kickstarter is off to a good start, nearly halfway to the goal on the first day. The marquee film for this year is Samurai Cop.

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Re: MST3K, Rifftrax, & sundry

Postby Thad » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:42 am

We've got a date for the new season: April 14.

Kickstarter backers should be getting the episodes before that.

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