So this is my yearly holiday Christmas greeting. This morning I got a light dusting of snow. Just enough to make it look Christmasy outside after days of gloomy rain. Looking toward another year of more reviews. So here is a video that just really fills me with Christmas spirit. Didn’t know Santa had such badasses as Sprinkles and Larry the Reindeer.
So it is the thirtieth anniversary of MST3K. How time flies. The show is still going strong and has a new cast. They also have decided to go around the country and put on live performances. I was lucky enough to see one this Friday at the Riverside in Milwaukee.
So Joel Hodgson the creator joined the new captive Jonah Ray and the two robots Crow and Tom Servo. The movie they picked is this Canadian disaster known as The Brain. A 1988 horror film that is so dumb you have to see it to believe it. So basically there is this TV show called Independent Thinking. Sort of a Scientology type show but in reality is controlled by a giant brain from space. The brain is using the show to mentally control the audience. Soon the show will go nationwide.
So enter our hero the Canadian Emilio Estevez. A genius but mischievous lad who likes to play pranks. Like flushing sodium down the toilet so the school’s plumbing will explode. So naturally the principal calls the parents who have the brilliant idea of turning him over to the doctor that runs the alien show. After all anyone on TV must know what they are doing. So he gets to go there and gets strapped to the mind machine. Only he is one of the few that are immune to the aliens mental mind control. Of course the side effects are hallucinating giant tentacles trying to grab you. He manages to crash his car during one of these hallucinations.
Also the Brain gets angry at this kid getting away and decides to eat the hot doctor chick in the show’s employ. In fact the Brain loves to eat people and grows a face with shape teeth to help accomplish this.
Well a lot of stuff happens. He runs around being chased by the creepy henchman with an ax. Has his girlfriend turned by her stupidly watching the TV show. Luckily it all comes to end with our hero managing to throw sodium down the Brain’s throat and watching him explode.
I definitely recommend the live experience if you have the opportunity. I hope they have more in the future.
So another Rifftrax Live yesterday and the guys do the cult classic Krull. They skip the shorts for this one and start right off with the movie. So it opens with a sinister mountain in space with impressive music. The mountain lands and hordes of slayers exit on horseback. The narration tells how the Beast has been conquering worlds and now its Krulls turn. The two most powerful kingdoms on the planet decide to marry off the prince and princess to form an alliance. The kings hate it but it seems to be driven by the young couple who are truly in love.
The young man arrives and soon the wedding takes place. Just as it ends the slayers come with their laser shooting swords and make short work of the sword welding Krullers. The princess is captured and all the others are killing including our hero prince Colwyn. But no the prince was only knocked out and some old geezer comes along to patch him up. After the whiny prince has his bout of self pity he decides to man up and follow the old geezer to rescue his love. First on the agenda is recovering the Glaive.
What is the Glaive? Well its a kind of star claw shaped boomerang with point blades. Kind of looks cool but very impractical. After a bout of rock climbing the prince pulls the Glaive out a pool of lave without burning his hands. Then told to not use the Glaive until its time. So they continue on. They meet up with an inept wizard and some group of bandits. The bandits include a young Robbie Coltrane and Liam Neeson who are just starting their careers and the only actors that went on to stardom from this movie.
Oh and they also pick up a giant cyclops who carries a trident and has a score to settle with the Beast.
The group continues and must stop over at some wise old wizards place. You see the Beast’s mountain is always moving every day and they need this old coot to find the place. So they drag the old guy and his boy servant along.
Alas he can only help them if they go to a special place in the swamp. So they have to battle some of the slayers which will turn into giant worms and burrow into the ground if you kill them. (This is never really explained.)
Then they wander into some quicksand and have to pull themselves out but do lose one in the process. This allows a changeling to kill the old wizard and take its place. They have to then kill the changeling and now have no way of finding the mountain except The Widow of the Web.
Now it luckily so happens the old man knows the widow and thinks he can get her help. So he goes to the old crone and it is his old love. She now is forced to live in a spiderweb guarded by a transparent giant spider. She is being punished for killing their son because she was upset with the old man. The old man is not really bothered by this news and gets her to tell the location. She gives him her magic sand so he can leave the giant spider. He does but gets seriously wounded in the process and dies soon after telling the prince the location.
They must then reach the Iron Desert and the only way is the Fire Mares. These mares are actually Clydesdale horses that run so fast they create fire at their feet. Well they have no trouble corralling and capturing these mares.
They reach the tower and battle the slayers to enter. The cyclops sacrifices his life to hold the door open. So in this Salvadore Dali designed interior our hero confronts the Beast as his men battle slayers. He uses the Glaive which cuts through the cell to free the princess then plunges into the Beast’s chest. This is not enough to defeat the Beast but fortunately the prince and princess love one another. This love creates a flame that the prince is able to use to blast the beast and then blast a hole in the wall to escape. The mountain then disintegrates and flies off into space. The planet is saved and the couple’s son is destined to rule the galaxy.
I love this movie. It is quintessential eighties movie. Yes you can wonder how a medieval society could fight some spacefaring aliens with laser swords and defeat them. In fact the whole plot is just pure goofy. Yet it is a fun movie. It was beautifully shot in Italy and has some spectacular scenery. The studio scenes at Pinewood on the 007 stage were also well done. The riffs were enjoyable and was a good movie to choose.
So this is the last of the Rifftraxs for the year but not for live performances. I just got my ticket to see the Mystery Science Theater 3000 live show that is traveling the country. November 15 at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. Will see you then.
So it is that time of year and another Rifftrax Live is there to introduce summer. This one is the old classic Space Mutiny from the SyFy era of MST3k. First it warms up the audience with a short. This short is actually based on a story by H.G. Wells. Not your typical educational short or industrial promotion they usually do. Still the Magic Room was definitely an excellent choice. You wonder what old H.G. was smoking when he wrote this odd story. It is a man taking his son to a store called the Magic Room. In it is a strange guy who can what else perform magic. The dumpy kid is amused to no end by the magic antics as the father has a perpetual look of bored annoyance. So the proprietor takes them into the back room where all the good stuff is stored. He gives him a box with moving toy soldiers and teaches the brat how to use a magic wand. Which the kid causes all things to burst into flames. Then he performs a disappearing act which sees the little pork chop disappear. This causes the father to go nuts and while tearing up the place he is transported outside. He meet his son who is loaded down with packages. The shop is now a pizza place.
So the movie starts after it’s hightech credits that must have been done on an old Commodore 64. We find ourselves in an episode of the old original Battlestar Galactica. But this is the Southern Sun a ship on its way to colonize some distant planet. It has been traveling for 13 generations and some are a little impatient. The chief enforcer Kalgan wants off the ship. His plan is for his fellow mutineers to take over the ship and sell the people into slavery to space pirates. So during a pirate attack by Cylon ships he blows up the launch elevator to trap everyone inside. But not before some women known as Valerians manage to land. Also the hero Ryder the beefy guy in a silver tanktop manages to beam onboard but losses his passenger some important professor.
Well the ship is run by a guy who looks like Santa Clause and wears a silver muumuu. He has a daughter who is way too old to go prancing around in such a short skirt. Well the beefcake and daughter manage to lead the crew to victory over the evil Kalgan. Along the way there are two golf cart chases. Valarians with Spencer gift globes that have some mystical power which isn’t really explained or for that matter what the hell their purpose was to the plot. Endless battles with masked snowmobilers before the evil Kalgan is dispatched in a fiery golf cart crash. Or his he?
This movie had to have been my favorite MST3K episode so I was glad they decided to do this movie. I remember actually renting this way back when. Got it from the local Sentry and it was a fun time waster for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Filmed in 1988 South Africa during the Apartheid regime. Something that was frowned on but still many glorious bad movies were filmed by someone looking to make a cheap buck. The movie budget seems to have been spent on stock footage from Battlestar Galactica. John Phillip Law who played Kalgan is always going around like he wants to pop his skull out of his skin. I never seen such scene chewing in my entire life.
And the endless chases with the fearsome Enforcer golf carts in what looks like some kind of power or water treatment plant in space. This is a classic gem in the history of bad science fiction movies.
Coming up next the classic Krull in August.
The night started off with a short from Britain. Apparently the British also put out these goofy shorts about dumb people doing dumb things and trying to discourage such dumb things. In this case its not respecting power lines. So you have dumb kids flying kites or wheeling around their sailboats and getting electrocuted. Dumb kids throwing frisbees into power transformers then breaking in an getting electrocuted. Oh and hooligans like to throw chains into power lines causing blackouts. Luckily an animated wise old owl and his dumb robin sidekick shame everyone into behaving.
So the main feature was the classic TV special The Five Doctors or four because Tom Baker didn’t like the money or screentime in the episode. Some sinister being is plucking all the reincarnations of the doctor from the timestream and bringing them to the Deathzone. The Deathzone was an old gladiator type arena where the Time Lords brought different aliens to fight for their amusement. Thus the first, second and third and some past companions are snatched out of time and dumped there. The fourth is conveniently stuck in the system.
The Time Lords also throw in the Master the Doctor’s arch nemesis to rescue him. And of course Cybermen, Daleks and Yeti are also tossed in. Basically the various Doctors make their way to the dark tower and confront the evil behind all this.
Now I am a big fan of the old classic Doctor Who series. I actually like the Five Doctors. Sure its a bit cheezy and there are some moments that were perfect for riffing. When the Cyberman comes out and looks surprised as the Doctor and Master were talking and nobody notices him. Their riffs on how he screwed up and missed his cue got the most laughs for the night.
Then there is the bearded image of Rasillon with his Genghis Khan hat.
Or the main baddie who looked like Maleficent.
I guess it just never really resonated with me. It was enjoyable and had some good laughs but never came close to Samurai Cop. I think they really should stick more to the really bad cheezy movies. Those are the ones that are absolutely hilarious. So until next year we bit adieu to Rifftrax live.
So another Rifftrax Live and this one was a series of shorts. In addition to Mike, Kevin and Bill the old gang from MST3K was also there.
The first done by Mike, Kevin and Bill was one of those old safety films from the seventies. Ricky the Raccoon a guy in a raccoon suit who magically appears as their parents are buying a new house. Nobody seems concerned in the least that a creepy guy in a raccoon suit appears out of thin air. Of course the real estate agent won’t make a big deal about it since he’s interested in making a sale. Anyway the raccoon proceeds to teach the real dumb kid basic safety tips that his parents were apparently too busy to teach themselves. The dumb kid annoys Ricky to no end by insisting he’s a bear. You have to love those wacky anthropomorphic animals that appear the teach the stupid basic things. Here is a funny take from two rednecks.
So we move on to Office Etiquette which was done in the fifties. A woman gets a lowly clerical job all on the recommendation of some old bat that teaches typing. She tows the line and makes it to personal manager. Wow it is depressing to work in an office back then just as much as it is now. Some things don’t really change. It had some good riffs here and there. A little too much social justice commentary.
Then we get the 300th shorts riff the guys have done. This one is Rhythmic Ball Skills. Basically they make young kids do goofy things with a rubber ball. Supposed to be exercise but looks goofy as hell.
Then Mary Jo and Bridget do the Griper. Basically some complainer who does nothing but grip and ruins everything for everyone. Some reason the message seems that those that grip will just ruin it for everyone.
Move on to Sentinels of Safety. A short that shows all the bad things that can happen to you in the 1940’s if your not careful. So we watch people step on nails, fall down the stairs, slip on the floor and blow themselves up by washing their clothes in gasoline. Amazing our grandparents survived.
A Touch of Magic was some General Motors promotional to sell their new 1961 line. A husband and wife host their invisible friends who have the new cars. Very strange.
Finally it brings us to The Baggs. Santa Claus spends his summers driving around L.A. in an old pickup picking up junk. He steals some old burlap bags that come to life and chases them all over. Definitely they saved the weirdest for last.
Well it was a fun night. The jokes were funny and the shorts were really offbeat. So next up in August The Five Doctors.
Well its that time of year folks. A new Rifftrax Live to start off the Easter holiday. So it started off with a short from the fifties on manners. Some uncouth bully has to stay through recess cleaning off the chalkboard. He instead draws a stick man which then comes to live. Chalky is there to lecture him on manners. Well the brat doesn’t like that and immediately tries to erase Chalky but Chalky manages to get high enough to avoid the eraser. So he then lectures him on his rudeness. The psychotic little brat is brainwashed into being a well mannered productive citizen. Chalky then volunteers for erasure. Strange how they thought that correcting deviant behavior was through anthropomorphic characters coming to life and setting them straight. A great start to the evening.
So the movie starts right off the bat by introducing Sam Marshall aka the Samurai Cop. L.A. apparently had to import him from San Diego because they don’t have a samurai cop and needed one to fight the local Yakuza gang. So right away Joe and his trusty sidekick go after a van that was up to no good and manage to shoot everyone except the driver who is horribly burned in the crash.
Well the local Japanese boss doesn’t like that one of the members didn’t have the decency to die so orders his main henchman Mr. Yamashita to bring his head for his piano. Yamashita the very un-Japanese Robert Z’Dar then goes to the hospital and takes the head.
So after much various sexual innuendo at the hospital with the attractive doctor they go off to meet the Yakuza boss.
So they threaten him which gets him upset and he sends out Yamashita to take care of them in the parking lot. Now a whole action sequence takes place after an interaction with a flamboyant gay waiter from Costa Rica. The thugs attack and our heroes manager to kick ass. It helps that Yamashita is better at killing his own men than the cops.
So then we go to the romance of this as he goes after the beautiful Episcopalian restaurant owner. He spends a lot of time in a thong that didn’t need to be filmed.
So anyway the movie goes on and there is a climactic fight with Yamashita. The Japanese gang is defeated and he gets the girl.
Now this had to be the most funniest movie that the guys have ever done. It was absolutely perfect. It had the right mixture of cheezy story. Bad acting. Bad writing. Poorly staged fight scenes. And one goofy cast of characters.
So here are the trailers.
And coming up.
The secret show is The Five Doctors.
And we will end with the gay waiter.