207. Wild Rebels (1967)

It was a trip. Not one of drugs but of filmmaking.


Neat fact: Nora Alonzo who played Rod’s dance partner in the bar was one of Grefe’s favorites and acted in a number of his films. She was friends with Alaimo and Willie Pastrano.


Watched this one via Riffttax. Not sure I had ever seen it before, but I dug it. The host segments were great, especially “I’m in it for the kicks!” Movie was coherent (still stupid), and the riffing was a lot of fun. I have a lot of affection for the Joel era and this episode was a great example. I would still rate it behind Sidehackers, but a worthwhile watch for sure.

“Richard Basehart!”


We just need to get us a Basehart movie next season.


So long overdue. A GPC goldmine.


Another biker film, though it thankfully it doesn’t have the distilled misery of The Side Hackers. Which isn’t saying much, as that slice of cinematic Hell makes Othello look like a Mel Brooks comedy in comparison. In it, our hero Rod is a stock car racer who becomes frustrated with the sport and quits. Though I use the term hero loosely, because Rod is one of the many ineffectual chump protagonists seen in the films screened on MST3K who fail their way through the plot. Even when they occasionally succeed (especially if it’s through dumb luck or a deus ex machina), it merely causes their general incompetence to stand out even more.

Anyway, a psychotic biker gang wants to recruit him as a wheelman for a bank robbery. The cops catch wind of this and want him to be a mole and he foolishly agrees. The caper ends in a climatic shootout at a lighthouse, with a trail of dead cops and bystanders left in the wake. All the gang members are killed except for biker chick Linda, who is taken to the big house. Like I said, dreary stuff.

While the movie has many of the negative traits that turn me off on the crime drama films, as Joel notes, it helps to think of how ridiculous it all is. In particular, the biker gang is such a collection of exaggerated stereotypes as to be near impossible to take seriously.

A notable series development occurs in this episode with Gypsy. Previously, she had been a dullard whose lines were largely restricted to “RAM chips!” and “Richard Basehart!” While she would continue to be a touch slow-witted, at least she became more articulate. Also, the host segment where Joel serenades Gypsy is a prime example of how the Bots were capable of being hard on Joel as they would be on Mike.


I’m not saying the “I Know What I Like” sketch influenced my 90s crush on Joel, but I’m not not saying that.


Sidehackers is disturbing compared to this movie and The Violent Years.
A woman being raped and murdered is UNACEPTABLE for the MST3K staff members. But in the Violent Years when the girl gang sexually assaults a man without nudity, they’re okay with it.

She was completely wasted in Soultaker. The satellite being rigged and malfunctioning caused her to become so aggressive and acting like a jerk until Joel fixed her and the satellite off-screen. We never see her in the final host segment or her reaction to seeing Joel again because of her personality being corrupted (and she’s the one who misunderstood Clayton and Frank’s plan and got Joel off the satellite in the first place).
It wasn’t funny at all. That episode had me worried sick about her, It wasn’t until like the next two or three episodes in the 10th season when she was back to normal.

I think it’s a tonal apples and oranges.

The cut scene in Sidehackers is pretty grim. Not graphic by today’s standards, but the rape goes on and on. And the aftermath, we see her torn clothing, blood on her mouth, neck broken, hanging from the rafters by a rope. It left a scar on my soul.

But the Ed Wood scripted Violent Years? Yeah, on paper, pretty ugly… rape, murder, a woman dies in childbirth… but Ed just can’t deliver the edginess he’s shooting for, so it does come off more ridiculous than nightmarish. In real life, yeah, terrible, not funny at all, but in reel life (in Ed’s world) it becomes almost black comedy, cheap exploitation without teeth.

That’s how I see it, milage may vary for each viewer. But Hackers disturbed, Years just made me do a face palm and shake my head, “Oh, Ed”.