Editing down movies: yes or no?

  • Cut away; I got stuff to do!
  • Don’t edit; I want the whole movie!

0 voters

I personally was always a little baffled that they chopped up the Netflix movies. On a network show where you have an imposed limit, sure. Maaaaaaaayyyyyybe in a live event where it’s really important you keep things moving. But streaming?

It seems like you’re just losing fun stuff (who wouldn’t want more Starcrash to mock?), and it renders a lot of these movies completely incomprehensible (whereas otherwise they’d be slightly incomprehensible). It always did bug me that they cut important scenes from Overdrawn at the Memory Bank and then complained at the end about how confusing the film was.

But then the counterargument is pretty obvious: A lot of these movies are terrible and dull, so leaving them uncut stifles the show.

What do people think?


Did you really want The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t episode to have riffing on kids singing I Got a Date with Santa? I think Joel said somewhere that the scene was too awkward to write on.

I do wish David Carradine’s fight with the Protector wasn’t edited out of Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II though.


There are two reasons I can see to edit the movies.

  1. Awkward, yucky stuff. What do I mean? I mean Sidehackers. I have no desire to see a riffed rape scene. When I saw that RT was doing the full Hobgoblins, uncut, I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly enthused. Hobgoblins was pretty yucky with what they showed. I had no desire to see more of it.

  2. Dull, boring stuff. Sometimes, there are only so many things you can say about padding. It’s padding. It’s boring. It’s unnecessary.

That being said, there are some things edited out of movies that I don’t get (unless it was for time). In Hercules and the Captive Women, they had to cut so much out for time that the plot was confusing, and then, they riffed on how confusing it was, as if it didn’t make sense as a movie, but to me, it seemed a little disingenuous to complain about the plot when it was their cuts that made it incomprehensible.

Anyway, I’m getting too wordy. So I’ll leave it at that. :slight_smile:


Agree with @TeriG - Sidehackers, Devil Fish, and Final Justice, all had unwelcome scenes of violence and sexual assault against women that made me ill… darn well don’t want that riffed on.

And I get why you’d want to cut Skydivers, with its back to back to back skydiving sequences. (maybe you could have had fun with that… but I’d rather have the hilarious short we got instead).

On the other hand, it’s too bad we couldn’t get the full Teenagers from Outer Space, that thing was loaded with riffable moments (but I get that it was a time issue).

And Netflix sometimes baffled me, season 12 run times were getting shorter and shorter, and in season 11 they cut some (not that long) bits that had potential. The concluding scene in Time Travelers, the Tivoli Nights song in Reptilicus (MST and music sequences have traditionally been a source of great laughs and provided skit inspiration… see “I Accuse My Parents” for one).

So I need a third option… “It Depends”


I don’t mind editing them down so much because the show is about the riffing more than preserving the movie, but I was not happy with how much they edited down This Island Earth for The Movie, but that wasn’t their fault, that was executive meddling. They must have cut a good 30 minutes from the movie.


My take would be to cut for uncomfortable material but not for time.


On the Netflix seasons, it was still setup like it was airing on TV. Having cut scenes like they were going to commercial. Wonder if they planned on releasing it to TV in the future?

I think the cuts were mostly to keep the episodes more fast paced and try to attract a new audience.


My thoughts on this have evolved over time. I was originally adamant that EDITING = BAD; the completionist in me wants everything left alone and presented in its original form. And as others have mentioned, cutting for time in a streaming world seems nonsensical. This is a recurring sore spot with RiffTrax fans.

But I’ve come around to the idea. I watch riffed movies to laugh, and the pros at MST3K and RT know what they’re doing. I won’t know what’s been cut unless I go looking for it, which I’ve yet to do in 30+ years of MST3K and RT, and if I do want to know, uncut versions of pretty much everything are available with a little legwork.

So I’m cool with the editing.


The 90-minutes (or so) time target isn’t just because of fitting a time slot, but because the powers that be think that’s pretty much the ideal time people want to spend on an episode. I agree, but I would be willing to go longer in the interests of retaining scenes that help the movie make sense. It’s kind of cheating if a movie is “bad” just because it’s chopped up and important story points are cut out.

And of course, they have to keep it reasonably family friendly. I don’t mind f-bombs and frontal nudity in movies, but I’m not sure I’d like them in an MST3K episode.


I quite liked those little “bumper” things; I’m hoping they’ll bring them back for season 13. Not sure how meaningful it would be to future broadcasts, since broadcasters will inevitably wedge more ads into the episodes than the bumpers allow for, but it’s a cool throwback to the show’s origins and it tickles me.


That got me thinking; they should insert some fake commercials in the new season. Take some of the old invention exchange ideas and spoof a commercial. It would be hilarious!


Oh, hell yeah! Unhappy Meal Promotion!!!

[edit: forgot to change quoted material] I can think of a couple dozen great “fake” ads we could cull


Generally I would prefer no substantive cuts, but I would pay money for a version of MST3K’s Santa Claus that edits out the whole god-awful “global kids singing” at the beginning.

Arrrrghhhhh my ears


I agree but if they cut the dull boring stuff, The Starfighters would have been zero minutes long


Refueling isn’t boring, it’s a magical, wonderful thing if done with a plane you love.


Oh yeah, to be clear, I’m only talking about cutting for time, not content.


I agree, I think the only cutting should be for questionable content. I couldn’t believe when, in This Island Earth, the line about the cat’s name was cut (“We call him Neutron because he’s so positive.”) – okay, maybe riffing on that would’ve been easier than kicking a Punt Bunny, but man, it was a missed opportunity. And Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was a lot more coherent uncut.

What? Yes, of course I have an unMSTed copy of Overdrawn… – on VHS.

I can see if they want to make 90 minutes a target not least because that’s the format they’re used to, but the Gizamoplex doesn’t need to keep anyone’s schedule but their own.

I could sit through a two hour MSTing, sure.


Okay, I’m a purist if you are airing the movie as the original. Give me the Criterion edition or comparable every time for that, fully restored and without cuts.

But if the movie is the substrate for a show like MST3K, then I say edit away until you’ve got the best resulting show out of it. Not saying cut until you have a totally different film, or are grossly misrepresenting the original. But cut out objectionable content, cut out vast deserts of unriffable tedium, and even cut out anything that ruins the rhythm of the show. An MST3K episode is a production built around a movie, but it is not time capsule or definitive edition of that movie. Therefore what works for the episode is of paramount importance.


As long as it’s funny, I can as well. I sat through all two and a half hours of Mary Jo and Bridget’s hilarious riff on “Wonder Woman 84” and handled that just fine (better than I did the movie sans riffing, now THAT was a chore)


Very true. There are exceptions to the dullness rule.