1001. Soultaker (1990)

Captured in five weeks on a $250,000 budget, this Direct-To-Video release saw limited theatrical showings with eight prints circulated in the U.S. Even with bad reviews, Soultaker (1990) won the Saturn Award for “Best Genre Video Release in 1992.” A followup was even considered with Faye Dunaway and James Earl Jones. The idea turned into Quietus a novel published in 2002. Wet T-Shirt Contest, Malfunctions, TV’s Frank, Joel. “Johnny Cash… Johnny Cash…, Johnny Cash…”, “I’m Ed Bradley… I’m Steve Kroft… I’m Lesley Stahl…” “All this plus Andy Rooney” or “This is your brain on death, any questions?”

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It’s not a good movie. The plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and there’s a lot of cliches and padding. BUT it’s a lot closer to being not-bad than most of what we see on this show.

This is a case where I feel like some of the writers genuinely hated this movie, way out of proportion to how bad it actually is. The credits with them sneering at the hero make that clear. I still really enjoy the episode, though. Most of the riffs are fine, and the reunion sketches are enough to bring it well above average. :slight_smile:

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This thread is one in a series others and myself have done covering various episodes across MST3K’s run. Below are links to every episode specific topic created so far.

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Thread Directory Part II

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They spent $250,000 on this movie? In 1990? Did they pay Joe Estevez $230,000?

Imagine what the Demon Squad (budget: $15,000) folks could have done with that kind of money.

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Right? The bucks aren’t there on the screen. It comes off cheaper than what they had.

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I guess it got yanked off Youtube, but Joe Bob hosting it on The Movie Channel in October 1994 with Vivian Schilling being interviewed is available on Darcy Mail Girl’s Patreon page.

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It’s back on. As of now.

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Perhaps there were some relevant technical innovations in the ensuing almost-three decades…? :thinking:

[ETA- Say what you will about this movie. Unlike DS, it would appear they got access to more than one floor of the mansion. lol ]

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it’s not currently available in the gizmoplex, which makes me sad. this is one of my favorite episodes.

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But hey. As with the other episodes that’re unavailable, at least the host segments are still there on YouTube.

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I think I’ve only seen this episode twice, possibly only once, and I remember it being pretty good. It’s probably one of those episodes that would be on more people’s favorites list if it was actually available.

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I believe it was a rare case of a movie being forced on them by the Sci-Fi channel and they didn’t want to do it in the first place.

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lol. They did far worse than this, whether by choice or not.

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It isn’t alone. A number of Sci-Fi offerings invariably failed to reach Best Brains muster. Hence Best Brains and Sci-Fi’s relations. It’s evident to me Soultaker (1990) is especially distasteful to the writers given the number of burns, slams, and putdowns found in the experiment. Servo is noticeably unkind and Kevin’s slams are reminiscent of Manosesque frustration. FlyingSquid is dead-on. The degree of dislike in evidence in this show is proportional to their having no say on whether to do it or not. This can’t be underestimated. They produced this episode under duress and against their better judgment. The questionable jokes for some were commentary on the film itself and rolling with the dreck they were forced to work with. I again think of Manos (1966) and how the riffing adapted to meet the movie. The same thing occured here. For better or worse.

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This movie isn’t even close to being as terrible as Manos.

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P.S. We all have preferences. Some of us are capable of stomaching different things. To them at the time, the humor they used indicated they were forced to tackle it. When one doesn’t choose something, it makes it worse. Even if to anyone else, it may not seem so bad. The hell here was subjective but I feel it whenever I watch 1001. It may not be your slice of torment. Though to the people riffing, their displeasure regardless of the movie’s merits is on par with the agitation they felt on Manos (1966). While for seperate reasons. My take.

That’s true, but a lot of that’s in FX, and Soultaker’s only real FX was the glowing ring thing. I suppose film itself and processing and editing were all more expensive then as well. But $250k in 1990 dollars is $489,000 in 2019 dollars, and I think the Demon Squad guys could have done something pretty impressive if their budget had been 3200% higher. Like rent a second floor or something.

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I’d agree with you. Yet what I’m laying out is the experience of toiling away on a flick you neither wanted nor picked. Free will effects how enjoyable work is. It always does. Being forced to riff against your will could lead to Manos-like (1966) anger even on pedestrian content. Also many of us encounter purgatory in our own way and it’s not always the same.

I also feel reasonably sure that one of these had to pay Union labor, and that the other one did not…? :thinking:

I don’t know. I don’t really get the unbridled love so many people are expressing for DS. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not really a go-to genre of movie (or TV show) for me. So at least for now I’m not ga-ga over it. Like Soultaker, it’d be far more tolerable unriffed than something like Manos or Coleman Does Coffee From A Plane. That’s the about the kindest thing I can say about it.

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