410. Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)

Once Cave Dwellers (1984) and Pod People (1983) endeared themselves to me, I began taping episodes on Comedy Central. A few came and went before “DEEP HURTING!!!” found me. “SANDSTORM!!!”, “I AM the button”, “Pizza Pizza.” I was hooked. The Amazing Booby Trap Illusion, the Bots as musclemen, Pants!. This is ever so watchable. I can’t resist it whenever it’s on. Fan favorite? One for the ages?

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My favorite of the Hercules bunch. I think it’s because the heavy Sci-Fi elements is always giving them something to work with. Hercules battles aliens? Why not!

Sandstorm really does live up to the hype. It is fun to watch Joel and The Bots try with all their might to survive it (and Joel even says the word “Riffing”!).

This is a very good experiment!

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Memorable Invention Exchange.

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Sing the praises of Pants!

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I’ve mentioned this before, but Alan Steele looks like he’s having so much fun tossing guys around like bean bags.

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Of all the Hercules movies, HAMM is the best. The riffing is top-notch. The movie itself is just this side of watchable (I.E. it is not a BAD movie except for the Sandstorm), but has enough stuff that’s so ridiculous that it lends itself well to throwing popcorn. It’s just a really solid outing with memorable host segments and riffs to boot. HAMM is in my top 10 episode list for a reason … and that reason is QUALITY. :slight_smile:

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Your read @optiMSTie? This is one of those quintessential Joel shows for me.

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It feels as if this is an important episode. The key thing here is the DEEP HURTING / Sandstorm stuff.

For one thing, DEEP HURTING became one of those MST3K terms that kept/keeps getting bandied about the fandom when discussing the pain levels of movies/scenes. Heck, we even see that importance extend all the way to Season 12 by virtue of the name of the spacecraft that takes Jonah and company back to Earth at the end of Ator the Fighting Eagle.

For another, it has one of THOSE sequences. You know what I mean. The Rock Climbing from Lost Continent. The concluding action of The Castle of Fu Manchu. The “Stranger in Paradise” dance of Fire Maidens of Outer Space. The refueling material of The Starfighters. The Cuba scenes in Red Zone Cuba. THE EVERYTHING OF MANOS.

I’m talking about the Sandstorm sequence. It’s such a prolonged nothing of a sequence, and you get why the gang has such despair for the onscreen (in)action. Even so, I have to admire them turning that into a scene of comic energy in and of itself with Joel trying to rally the troops and the 'Bots attempting to keep brave attitudes in the face of such an oppressive nothing of a scene.

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Which isn’t to say that there isn’t OTHER stuff happening here.

I love the “pizza pizza” running gag, plus all the themed humor when we see those massive rock monsters (“Everybody must get stoned!”).

As Hercules, Reg Park cuts a much better impression than the inexplicably goofy Alan Steel of Hercules Against the Moon Men, but I’d still rank him below Steve Reeves from Hercules and Hercules Unchained. Mickey Hargitay from The Loves of Hercules? I don’t even know how to describe him. He’s a big muscly question mark, and your guess is as good as mine.

There’s a great deal of rambunctious fun all over the place, like the escape sequences, the underground shish kabob trap, the spike torture machine, the ol’ classic “poisoned chalice” routine, all of that.

It’s like this: the movie packs the pain, but if you can accept that and brace yourself for that, it’s a terrific time.

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As for the host segments?

We’ve got…

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SUPER FREAK-OUT!

(Love how they say “MOVIE SIGN” backwards as they head into the theater.)

The booby trap host segment is classic MST3K in terms of how the 'Bots keep trying to get naughtiness over Joel as well as how they can draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw out a joke with a punchline you can see coming a mile away. It’s almost like the long way to go for that “Joel’s poked full of holes and spraying water all over” gag is something of a spiritual test run for the Ingmar Bergman joke in The Sword and the Dragon or the sandwich preparation sketch from the end of The Undead.

And of course, there’s the “Sing the Praises of Pants” song, which is not only funny by itself but also because of ALL THE BLOOPERS that knocked the filming for a loop multiple times.

Really, the MST3K Poopie blooper reel is invaluable for giving us the “Pants” bloopers as well as the gang REALLY freaking out over the spider on the back of the Super Freak-Out kit box.

Classic Mads material here, too, with Dr. F and Frank pushing the DEEP HURTING thing as far as it can go, and then some.

In finale, I’ll say this: that’s gotta be one of the best stingers they’ve ever chosen. Perfectly, supernaturally timed.

mst3k410stinger

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I love this one, but then again I love all the sword 'n sandal flicks. There’s one in this family called something like Aphrodite: Goddess Of Love. But there’s no dubbed version, which makes my heart break. Our only hope is some Fun Size version of Kickstarter where they raise money to have it dubbed themselves, with the express goal of making it riff-able.

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optiMSTie, Every time I read one of your posts about an episode I want to watch it. What’s that about?!

This movie is called Hercules Against the Moon Men! How can you not want to watch that? Sandstorm does bring some Deep Hurting, but I think once you’ve suffered through it a few times it’s not that bad. You start to laugh at how ridiculously, stupidly long it is.

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Heh! :smiley: Well, thank you very much, I appreciate the kind words!

I just have an enthusiasm for (and love of) these episodes. My hope is to communicate a bit of that sense of enthusiasm and love for them here. If I’ve done anything like that, well, I’m glad!

It’s, like… I don’t think there’s a bad episode* in the bunch. Hercules Against the Moon Men may not be my personal favorite of the Herc joints (that’s gotta be The Loves of Hercules), but I still enjoy the hell out of it. And that’s something I try to put into words here, to communicate what it is that makes the episodes cook, that makes the overall series rock as it does.

That’s something I get when I read what y’all have to say about these episodes. Yeah, there will be disagreements and differences of opinion on what works and what doesn’t work, but that the show can encourage and cultivate that kind of discussion to this day is something awesome. To rethink certain aspects and elements of episodes? That’s boss as hell, you know? That means that there’s still a vibrancy and life to the show that keeps us engaged rather than merely running on autopilot.

And that’s fantastic.

*not you, The Castle of Fu Manchu, sit down

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If you find me a good quality print of Castle I’ll be more than willing to say that it’s at least as tolerable as Battlefield: Earth or Wonder Woman 1984. So there.

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I think I’ve heard word of a Blu-ray treatment of The Castle of Fu Manchu that didn’t make the film look THAT bad?

I refuse to verify these rumors. I can’t allow myself to get hurt like that again.

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The first DVD set I got of MST3k, and the only set I had for quite a long time, was Volume 7. So I ended up watching (and re-watching) a LOT of Hercules. And all I can say to that is

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I’ve re-evaluated some episodes and watched ones I wasn’t particularly interested in because of some of the conversations here, so they’re definitely improving my enjoyment of the show.

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410 Promo.

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Man I hope some day they compile all the commercials, promos, Mystery Science Theater Hour intros, and other ancillary stuff from the show over the years. That stuff should be put on a DVD or something and archived for enjoyment and posterity.

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Watched this one tonight, since it was the anniversary of the episode’s premiere.

The sandstorm scene was…not so bad? Maybe it is because I have seen it a few times before?

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