So another MSTK3K live show came into town. Naturally I went down to the Miller High Life Theater in downtown Milwaukee to watch. This one was a martial arts film from the eighties starring a young Jean Claude Van Damm. So it starts out at a karate dojo where some evil guy and his henchmen from New York have come to L.A. to take over the karate business. Why they’re doing that is unclear but it must be important.
First off is they have to have Van Damme beat up the owner and break his leg. As an added bonus he then humiliates the young son.
So the father packs up the family, loads the station wagon and heads to Seattle. There they settle into a home where the teen can continue to train in martial arts. He has the garage all set up with a ball hanging from the ceiling and a poster of Bruce Lee. He also makes friends with R.J. a guy who can dribble a basketball while riding a bike and break dance.
But things aren’t all that perfect in the suburbs of Seattle. There is a gang of thirtysomething bullies that are always picking on R.J. Lead by a very hefty bully with a healthy appetite, they terrorize our friends and the father who now bartends.
There is some bright spots in our heroes life. A hot chick he knows has also apparently moved to Seattle. He goes to her birthday party but finds that the girl’s brother is friends with the local bullies. One of the bullies is in love with the hot chick and with the evil fat guy proceed to throw cake, punch and toss him around like a like boy. He goes running home. Now so far there is nothing but retreating and surrendering in this film. But stay with it.
He gets home and his father is all pissed off that he was involved in a fight. He goes nuts and throws out the karate magazines and horror of horrors tears the Bruce Lee poster. This gets the teen to run away to R.J.’s place. There he sets up a new training place. Lo and behold the ghost Bruce Lee shows up. An Asian guy that looks nothing like him gives the kid sound sage advice through beatings on the head and goofy analogies with glasses of water and soda.
Well what follows is endless montage of training to an eighties synth beat. Apparently this works for he later able to save his father from a gang of hooligans lead by fat bully. His father begins to understand that maybe fighting has a place after all. Well then comes the big fighting event. The evil guy comes to town with Van Damme to beat up the locals.
Naturally he kicks every ones butt. He brutally beats them all and even the referee. While beating on the hot chick’s brother the girl tries to hit him with a stool.
Well this motivates our hero who jumps into the ring. He proceeds to give Van Damme a major beating that is rightfully deserved.
Naturally he wins and ends with the crowd lifting him up.
Wow was this a fun movie to riff on. The laughs were loud and plentiful. I don’t remember seeing this but they churned out so much crap back in the home video boom that even I couldn’t keep up with it. I loved this movie. It was quintessential eighties action movie. This one was if you took The Karate Kid and Rocky IV. Put it in a blender and dumped it over Van Damme’s head. This was also Joel Hodgson’s final live tour so they gave him a fond farewell at the end.
So here is the trailer to the show.
The trailer to the film
Finally the big fight final.
So its the final Rifftrax Live for the year. They start off with a short Adventures in Telezonia. A weird short from 1950 that was put out by the telephone company. It had some creepy marionette named Handy that slides around the telephone lines and listens in on people’s conversations. He decides to help some kid who lost his dog and enlists his other creepy marionettes to use the telephones. Not that easy back in 1950 as they must navigate rotary phones, operators, party lines and mumbling marionettes. I did find one with a humorous commentary that you can watch here.
So the movie starts in Northern Wisconsin and a revival meeting. An old creepy guy with a back brace is leaving his lush wife to supposedly go to the revival. In reality he is going to see his hot girlfriend Helga in town. Meanwhile a meteor is heading to Earth and crashes on the farm in a blinding flash of light.
So anyway the next morning they find all their cattle mutilated. Fortunately the old guy comes up with a plan to just butcher the carcasses and sell the meat to Dutch’s cafe. Yes good old fashioned Northern Wisconsin dining.
But they also find some strange rocks. Inside are what appear to be diamonds and the old creep goes to town to consult his inbred cousin who happens to be a mineralogist. Apparently the standards for this field are extremely low.
At this time a scientist guy comes from NASA and teams up with a lady astronomer. They eventually come to the conclusion that a black hole was formed by the meteor and opened up a door to an alternate dimension. Of course this dimension is full of giant spiders. The strange rocks are the source of the spiders hatching tarantulas that eventually grow huge.
The giant spider goes around grabbing people and shoving them up his ass. Well soon a mob is formed but proves incompetent in stopping the spider. Luckily the scientists manage to shoot the spider with a flare gun that melts it and closes off the portal. How well SCIENCE!!! I don’t know what science but obviously some was used.
Now this was just an enjoyable treat. You could not get a better movie to riff on. The farmer guy that was in a back brace and not only had a hot wife but a hot girlfriend on the side. If that wasn’t enough he hits on his underage sister-in-law who spends the movie with the least amount of clothing on. Then their is his wife who spends the whole movie drinking. There is like a bottle in every room and for breakfast she dumps a bottle of vodka into the blender with some juice.
Then there is the giant spider which was a VW covered with fur and had the legs attached. It was driven backwards so the taillights could be used for its red eyes.
Filmed in the small town of Merrill Wisconsin. I actually have family up there and have been to the town to attend some weddings. I can say you aren’t missing much.
And the trailer for the original movie.
Well that is it this year for Rifftrax Live but I do have my tickets for the live Mystery Science Theater 3000 Thirtieth Anniversary show. This November 2 I will be at the Miller High Life Theater for a showing of the classic Jean Claude Van Damme movie No Retreat, No Surrender. So see you then.
So its that time of year for another Rifftrax Live. This time the 2017 sci-fi adventure Star Raiders The Adventures of Saber Raine. First though we were treated to an educational short from the sixties or seventies called Values: Telling the Truth. In it a school teacher talks to her class about telling the truth. He tells the story of three boys who were the best of friends. One day while out playing they come on a cement mixer. This fascinates them to no end. The guy putting in a decorative slab with small rocks in it offers the boys the left over rocks. They scoop them up into their pockets like they were gems. Then they go around and throw them at things like trees and fire hydrants. They come on a towel innocently hanging there and throw. Unfortunately the rocks go through the kitchen window and into some old bitty’s soup. She comes running out and catches the one that just stands there and berates him. The end. Not really sure what the moral of the story was supposed to be. Don’t hang around and get caught was what it told me.
So it starts with a blue reptile woman being chased by some ships. Saber Raine comes and inserts himself between them so the reptile can escape but earns the wrath of his own people. So years later we find him slumming on some planet.
Some girl with red eyes and two men in their cosplay Punisher costumes with a half a sunglass are being attacked by zombie mutants. Saber decides to insert himself at the last minute. Seems these guys are there to rescue a kidnapped prince and princess from the evil Sinjin. A guy who had such a big zit that it literally popped off the top of his skull.
Anyway we later find out he is in league with the princess Calliope. This leaves the prince who looks like K.D. Lang as the good guy. Well there is a whole convoluted plot with them traveling this planet and fighting off the various alien minions. They eventually rescue the prince and return him to his homeworld. At the end there is a hint of a sequel as Calliope and Sinjin arrive on a planet with giant robots to further their universe conquest plans.
Well they sure picked a winner with this one. The plot was incomprehensible and convoluted as hell. The dialogue was atrocious and the acting as wooden as a redwood. Still this is my type of movie. It reminds me of the ones I rented back in the eighties and nineties.
There is a charm to it. Some auteur who gets some local talent and friends together. Dusts off the old Commodore 64 for some special effects and has enough money to hire Casper Van Dien the friendliest of the Diens. Oh and they had some for a very brief cameo by Cynthia Rothrock who was in many martial arts films from the eighties and nineties. Yes this was definitely an enjoyable film and worthy of riffing on.
So an encore presentation will play this Tuesday.
And in August the final movie of the year. The Giant Spider Invasion.
So its spring and a new year. Which means we get a whole new slew of Rifftrax Live. We start off with this turkey of a movie. First though a warm up with a short from the eighties featuring McGruff the Crime Dog. Yes a guy in a dog costume lectures us on dangerous of poisons. Specifically the various household chemicals with the pirate skull and crossbones on it denoting danger. Well this goes into the dangers of old prescription drugs lying around and then into the evils of illegal narcotics. With an old eighties say no to drugs and users are losers message. Somehow I don’t think these helped much given the current opioid crisis and success in legalizing marijuana.
Then we start with the movie. A film from 1971 shot in Mexico. Some science type guys and one girl are investigating the effects of radioactivity from underwater nuclear tests. This lake next to the ocean is just full of radiation. So much that it creates these weird mutant octopus.
It also created an octopus man a.k.a. Octaman with an A instead of an O. Now Octaman doesn’t like these scientists one bit and starts to stalk them.
The scientists the greasiest gringos you ever saw seem perplexed on what to do. Bullets don’t seem to have any effect but light from flashlights do hurt Octaman.
They do finally manage to trap it in a ring of fire. Then they manage to capture it in a net but that doesn’t work.
Oh the Octaman also has a crush on the lady scientist and numerous times tries to carry her off. But the creature moves so slow it is stopped by the others and has to drop her.
Eventually the scientists decide to leave but find the road blocked by some brush and one fallen tree. Their inept attempts to clear the road fail so they decide to go after Octaman. They have some endless time crawling through a cave. Eventually they manage to pump enough bullets in the creature where it crawls off into the ocean to die? Or not?
So this movie was one big turd. My god it was endless scenes of guys in a rowboat. Guys crawling through a cavern. The Octaman coming out of the reeds and flailing its tentacles. Many scenes were shot in the dark and you could hardly see any action. The baby octapuses would meow like kittens. This was one of those painful movies to watch. You need to crack jokes just to keep your sanity which makes it an excellent movie for riffs. So only watch with the professionals riffing and never attempt to watch alone.
And coming in June Star Raiders.
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.