But seriously what in the world is going on with the whole underground society thing, especially with the TVs. It feels simultaneously like a lazy copy of something else but so utterly bonkers it has to be original.
The film industry has been known for shooting movies with a non-actor (usually a singer, athlete, or model) in the lead role for some time. The performances they give rarely make it above mediocre. In this respect, Kathy Ireland is no different in this film. However, she experiences a handicap that was common for silent film actresses like Dolores Costello and Paulette Goddard. Though they were easy on the eyes, the transition to talkies revealed speaking voices that could be tactfully described as unpleasant. But even they can’t compare to the ear-piercing squeak which Ireland emits. Not having seen any other media in which she appears, I can’t say for sure if that’s her real speaking voice or if it’s something the director had her do. I hope for her sake it’s the latter. Meanwhile, male lead William Moses affects this horrible caricature of what may be intended to be an Australian accent that comes and goes at random. Since these two do the bulk of the talking, it’s a torturous auditory experience.
The plot? It’s some underground hidden civilization setting with a production design that employs the grungy looks of 1980s science fiction popularized by Blade Runner. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you anything more. It’s that much of a mess.
I’d also like to note that Dr. Forrester’s Vend-A-Gut invention is also quite nasty, especially when you consider how this was before bill accepters that wouldn’t take anything less than fresh from the bank crisp existed.
Alien from L.A. is on my bottom half of MST eps. All the right elements are there for a great episode … but for some reason it just doesn’t rise to the occasion. The movie itself is dull, plodding, and has almost nothing that is memorable or even vaguely entertaining. Aside from Ireland’s squeaky voice I honestly can’t remember a thing about it except its some sort of hollow earth thing or something. This extends to the riffing. There isn’t a single riff in this stinker that I can recall sticking out. Usually there’s a few riffs in every episode that I want to cull as a sound file … but with Alien from L.A.? Not a single thing seemed worthy to make the effort.
It gets my lowest score for an MST episode … FOUR thumbs up.
The “dull surprise” callback originates from this episode, but that comes from “Guess Kathy Ireland’s Emotions” game in a host segment, so not technically a riff. The only other one that sticks out for me is “They might run into Spinal Tap back there.”
I do actually like this episode, even though it is not one of my favorites. Vend-A-Gut is a classic host segment, and the others are pretty strong as well. It is obvious that the film does not take itself seriously, and that kind of film seems to be hard to land good riffs on. Unfortunately, Ireland’s intentionally grating voice is not quite evened out by her easy-on-the-eyes appearance. It is that one choice that makes this movie less watchable, and I think it hurts the watchability of the episode as well.
Absolutely one of my favorite episodes. Maybe even close on the heels of Puma Man and The Outlaw (which has a similar premise).
I don’t think you can lay all the failure at Ireland’s cute feet, either. Sure she’s miscast and badly directed. But the writers also didn’t know how to show her character genuinely coming out of her cocoon and turning into the super-confident glasses-escaper she was at the end. As Mike remarks, she gets treated like a barge of medical waste through much of the story. Also, to be really nitpicky, they couldn’t let her be single and independent for a solid minute before Charmin showed up. Another type of storyteller could’ve wrung one hell of a horror-suspense tale out of Dude from another world wants you so bad that he stalks you all the way from his underground reality to yours. [shrug] Ah, well. What might’ve been…
The closing segment with them all being well-versed in “chick flicks” but in denial about it? CR-A-A-A-Z-Y.
I love this episode. The sketches are great, and the movie is good riffing material but it’s not grossly incompetent or a tedious slog through a black and white wasteland. At the time it came out, this was a pretty newish movie by MST3K standards, and it was kind of cool to see something more modern.