Sitting up late with a bit of food poisoning and reached for MST3K’s take on RING OF TERROR. It occurred to me that this isn’t the first time I’ve pulled that one out while under the weather. CRASH OF THE MOONS is another that gets frequent viewings at such times.
Which ones do you go to as “comfort food” when sick? Any special reasons why?
I don’t really have a specific favorite to watch while sick. Maybe almost anything from Seasons 2-6. I watched so many when I was sick for three weeks in December with Covid. It gave me a lot of comfort. Although I must say Wild Wild World of Batwoman and especially Hobgoblins were very unpleasant experiences with a high fever.
“Deadly Mantis” was one of the few episodes we had recorded from TV onto VHS, so I watched it a bunch of times as a kid. Also, when my grandfather was in the military, he was assigned to basically do what you see the army guys doing at the beginning (minus the bug). Also also, I’m from Maryland, so I enjoy the mention of Andrews AFB and Laurel. Put it all together, and that episode is easily in my top 3 comfort watch pieces of media.
I loved Deadly Mantis on its own back when I was a kid and it would show up occasionally on Creature Double Feature back home in Cambridge, so I was so stoked when it ended up as an MST3K episode. I even had a model kit of the mantis.
I like to line up a selection and really plan my sick day around it - I love “It Conquered the World” most, but I might also include “Beast of Yucca Flats,” “Girls Town,” “Pod People,” “The Unearthly,” “Monster a-Go-Go,” “The Thing That Couldn’t Die,” and of course “The Deadly Mantis.” Each has a special place in my heart (my favorite season was probably 3).
In our house, it’s ‘The Undead.’
Whenever someone is feeling horrible or just had a truly awful day, this is the first one we pop in. There’s something special about this experiment that makes it the Campbell’s Chicken Soup and saltine crackers of MST3K episodes. The movie is campy as hell, while also somehow being incredibly chill and low-key at the same time, and the riffing is hilarious throughout. Also (as someone who gets frequent headaches) it’s in black and white, which is more soothing on the eyes, but it’s a comparatively good print, so it doesn’t fade into a drab grey blur like a lot of earlier episodes.
I’d say “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” comes a close second, followed by “It Conquered the World” (which may be my favorite MST3K episode) “The Magic Sword” and “Giant Gila Monster”
Wow, that’s dedication. I feel like I could learn something from this.
I’m another fan of The Undead. It’s technically a very competent movie, but it feels nonsensical to me. It’s like picking up a favorite book where I can just jump in anywhere. Any moment is as good as any other, it’s such a mishmash of psychobabble and Middle Ages. Feels like it could have been a Bert I. Gordon movie.
…True story - last August I was down with a kidney stone.
For two weeks.
My wife had to work, and as long as I was keeping up with the painkillers it was barely tolerable, but I had to have some kind of sound in the house. So I fired up the PLUTO TV MST3K and Rifftrax channels and kind of just zoned in and out all day.
If laughter is the best medicine, then let me tell you - I had the greatest doctors on the planet working with me for while. I’m not kidding when I say if I ever meet any of the cast members (ran through the Netflix seasons, too) they are getting the biggest hugs I’m allowed.
Corman can actually be pretty competent when he cares to be, and this may be the “best” movie of his that they ended up doing on MST3K. If this one had been in color with a slightly higher budget, it might have been remembered up there with some of his lesser Poe adaptations. As it stands, it’s a very odd Johnny Longbone style stew that can’t quite decide if it wants to be a modern “rogue scientist” story, a Connecticut Yankee time travel adventure, a historical grand guignol, or campy farce.
It actually reminds me a little bit of one of Corman’s other little known pictures, Tower of London (1962), which was his attempt to turn Richard III into a Poe-style horror movie, starring Vincent Price. It’s got that same odd not-quite Shakespearian dialogue, stage play asides, and horror elements that are somewhat played for comedy.
A few years back I had a hernia repair surgery and had to take it easy for a few days. I grabbed a stack of episodes and chilled out to a day off MST3K. I specifically remember watching Mitchell (for the first time ever!) and also The Beast of Yucca Flats, a favorite of mine. The rest of the day was unmemorable.