What a mouthful. Sold as a “monster musical,” Incredibly Strange Creatures (1964) is groovy. “Yeah Baby, Yeah!!!” The carnival, dance numbers, zombies, everything and the kitchen sink. $38,000 never went so far. Ortega, fortune-telling, hypnosis, the director even stars. Real locations give it something. I can’t say what but something. Walkathon, Mike’s Fortune, New Pompadours, Ortega’s Catering, The Screaming Lemur. “Waiter!!! The revolving restaurant is going too fast!!!”, “Yes… Yes… Come… Come into the voting booth”, “Without this, there could of been no Prince.” “A Kennedy Touch Football Game gets out of hand” or “Well if he doesn’t feel fresh by now, it’s never going to happen”?
This is one of the only riffed movies that I’d even heard of prior to seeing it on MST3K (though I had not actually seen it). Back in the day my sister was a quite a punk and living with/waiting tables with a bunch of other punks in Minneapolis and this movie was kind of a cult classic amongst them. I didn’t have any specific expectations at all, and yet was still let down (by the film, not the episode).
This is a tough one because back in the 90’s I thought the riffs calling the female dancer “Steve” etc were hilarious! I was ignorant of many issues, from trans life to body shaming. I mean, I knew it was uncool to make fun of someone’s weight but that’s about as far as my consciousness extended then. Now… yikes! And I know the MST3K crew feels the same because they’ve said so, repeatedly.
Final thought: there are some movies that just leave you feeling grimy for having watched them, and this is one of them. I don’t go back to this one very often.
Oh yeah, parts of this movie are so sleazy that they just make you feel dirty, and some of those riffs are absolutely cringe-worthy. But I’ll be derned if those latter musical numbers aren’t still a hoot.
"-she gets her schick out of shape- ♪ "
“Then try Gillette!”
Yeah, watching that now is super cringey, and it just! keeps! going! It’s also always been a bit baffling to me, since she didn’t strike me as particularly mannish or otherwise fit the stereotype you’d expect old comedy to play off of (of course, there are some absolutely gorgeous transwomen out there, so I’m not implying anything by that). Why lean so heavily into those riffs? It really turns me off the episode, which is already sleazy and off-putting. It does have some great riffs and introduced us to Ortega, but every time I see it I’m less enamoured of it.
Another season 8 classic! So many good riffs, and we get Ortega, who would become a guest of sorts outside the theater. I actually like this movie. Yes, it’s weird and hallucinogenic. But for it’s budget it’s very watchable. And the cinematography is quite good in spots. Which to me makes it an even more enjoyable watch. And bonus points; there’s MADISON! The boy that should be in a bubble.
“Cash Flagg” thinks he’s young Marlon Brando but he’s really Larry Linville trying to go Beatnik long after the Beatniks themselves have moved on. His big-haired love interest talks like she’s got a shooter marble wedged in each cheek and she’s worried they’ll fly out. Her disapproving mother hasn’t eaten in a year. Beatnik Larry’s roommate is Latka Gravas and for inexplicable reasons they’re all fascinated by him. From there, you can fill in most of the dialogue yourself.
This one has sometimes been referred to as Mike’s Manos, and it’s not hard to see why. As well as possessing an impenetrable plot with a dreary conclusion, the alleged color cinematography is incredibly murky. It’s as if there were a greasy film over everything. Loathsome henchman Ortega can also be regarded as being analogous to Torgo. But one advantage Manos has is that you can more or less follow what’s going on. This movie not so much.
I always thought the stinger should have been, “You dirty, feelthy peeg!!!”
“Get your tickets here” has to be one of my favorite WTF moments in all of MST3K! I especially love the “did we just see that” reaction from Mike and the Bots.
Otherwise, I’m not a huge fan of the movie or riff, in spite of how memorable the former can sometimes be. The plot takes far too long to develop and the gratuitous music/dance/magic numbers make me feel like I’m watching a documentary. It isn’t exactly Carnival Magic in that regard.
And count me in as one of the many who thinks that this episode’s ethnic/body shaming/transphobic riffs were incredibly disrespectful, even back then. Some of the Sci-Fi era hasn’t aged well for this reason. I have a feeling that Mike, Kevin and Bill may also be a bit disappointed in their riffing here as well, as they’ve done a lot better in the years since.
I think that was actually part of the humor. She was not masculine at all, just maybe not as “waifish” as the stereotype of a dancer would be. So the whole “she’s a dude” thing was even sillier, but at the same time, reinforced the idea that you’re not “a real woman” if a stiff breeze doesn’t threaten to snap you in half. So, offensive in multiple directions!
Honestly the dance scenes did absolutely nothing for the movie, you could salvage this episode but just cutting those characters out entirely. Make it like a two-thirds movie: more than a short, not really feature length.
This one is a favorite of mine and I’m not quite sure why because it’s usually the kind of movie that sends me packing. It’s crazy in some special train-wreck way that keeps me riveted. I always think of it as the Sci-Fi era Manos.
I always get a real whiplash-y feeling when they jab at the Nazis and then literal seconds later they uphold dated beauty standards and gender “ideals” beloved by Nazis. This kind of thing also ruined at least one RT short for me. I didn’t check its release date. Hopefully it’s really old now.
I always took the dancer riffs to be in the tradition of gags where they riff shapely women in skimpy outfits as having gravely male voices and call each other men’s names. Thinking specifically of “The Sinister Urge.”
This rates in the Mike’s Worst Competition. I always gave the Mike’s Manos Award to The Creeping Terror (1964). Terror creeps so slowly and inexpertly the pain threshold is inexorably high saddled with that narration, dubbing, and music. Nothing ever happens like Manos (1966). The gauntlet of Terror nears the intensity of Manos and both episode end credits feature score from the films. Once I saw Creeping Terror while watching it, I said to myself at 15 this is Mike’s Hands of Fate.
The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) and Red Zone Cuba (1966) approach The Creeping Terror. Beast in its incomprehension and voiceover and Cuba for its nastiness and mood. Terror ratchets that “Will This Ever End?” quality so high the memories of seeing Manos flood in and the discomfort nearly matches it. Incredibly Strange Creatures (1964)? The ineptness nears Terror though the movie makes more sense and it fails to reach the time slowing limbo Manos and Terror seem to possess. My bead.