With a brand new year comes a brand new roundup of Vault Picks for your viewing pleasure at the Gizmoplex!
Now that the planet has made another revolution around the sun, it’s only appropriate that we have a selection of movies focusing on mad science and chaotic technology that’ll make your head spin.
These January 2023 Vault Picks may depict technology gone wrong, but the laughs couldn’t be more right as we take a gander at movies featuring:
the aftermath of a robot rebellion that sees the 80s-style remnants of humanity in the clutches of a tyrannical despot who has control over the oxygen (and a curiously mushmouthed henchwoman)
an alien artifact that draws an international team of scientists (and one hilariously unfortunate robot) to Venus, where they encounter a radiation-dispensing doomsday machine
an amazing colossal man (the survivor of a plutonium blast test gone awry) who’s been disfigured and rendered feral to the point where chemically treated bread and poorly organized slideshows can’t quell his mammoth rage
a wealthy elderly villainess who plots to put her brain in the skull of one of three women who possess great beauty and inconsistent accents… assuming that no one accidentally pushes a button that would set off an atomic chain reaction in her mansion
a former US Army major whose nuclear-powered scheme to conquer the world with an invisible army relies heavily on an unfortunate safecracker and even more unfortunate guinea pigs
a mad scientist ( ♫ planning reveeeeeeeeeeeeenge on his friends ♫ ) who uses a bizarre chemical compound to turn himself into a murderous catfish monster, much to the chagrin of a Southern sheriff and a marine biologist
Science and laughter may be running amok in these classic episodes, but only ONE installment can showcase the sweet science of standing out as superior based on YOUR votes. Which technological terror triumphs terrifically in totality? Which scientific strangeness should successfully subdue such strong selections? Whose cuisine will reign supreme?!
Favorite of the Gizmoplex Vault Picks: Round 11 - January 2023 (“Tech Run Amok” Month)
Just with regards to this episode and not the larger subject of all the Vault Picks, I’ll say this: I have an extremely nostalgic bond to The Amazing Colossal Man. It’s the third episode of MST3K that I would see (after Alien from L.A. and Pod People) and the first one that I would ever record off TV (and I STILL have that tape), and it’s funny as hell.
Even in light of all of that? I like War a little more than Amazing, too. And the episode has more going for it than that short.
War of the Colossal Beast. 7 of 10. A boilerplate MST ep with some good riffing. I miss the ACM, but WotCB is a solid pacifier. Between the angry truck owner, the overacting hospital patient, the drugged bread, bureaucracy gone amok, and KTLA there is plenty of good material. Not top 50 material, but definitely above average.
Robot Holocaust. 6.5 of 10. A bad ensemble movie set in an old steel mill with a hot antagonist and her pet crab. Its got some decent riffs, but doesn’t quite rise to the level of Cave Dwellers in memorability and hilarity. A good episode though and worth a watch.
The Amazing Transparent Man. 6 of 10. A bit humdrum with a by-the-numbers evil mastermind, imprisoned minions, and an angry “protagonist”. Its MST which is always good but this one is one of those eps I don’t mind when I miss on rotation. Its just not got the zing of the better episodes for some reason even though all the elements are there.
The Atomic Brain. 5.5 of 10. This episode is like a somewhat better funded version of The Brain the Wouldn’t Die which somehow makes it less entertaining. Body horror, body swapping, old woman who is impossibly able to murder people through coincidence and the cooperation of her victims. Riffing makes the most of this dull, plodding piece but there’s only so much they can do. This one I fall asleep to regularly when it rotates in. Zzzzz.
First Spaceship on Venus. 5 of 10. The stupider, less entertaining version of 12 To The Moon. Its OK, but so boring and easily forgotten that like Mighty Jack I forget what I watched literally seconds after I’ve watched it. A strictly average MST episode, which is better than most entertainment these days but middle of the road for MST.
Blood Waters of Dr. Z. 4 of 10. Boring, pedandic, terrible film quality, meandering 70s bit of mad scientist idiocy. The movie is so lousy that it drags down everything around it and makes it feel grimier, dirtier, duller, and icky. Mike and the Bots do journeyman work with this piece of garbage, but even they can’t keep it from falling into the “below average episode” bin. I don’t often skip MST episodes on purpose … but this is one of them.
That’s easy. First Spaceship on Venus is the one in color with the actual international cast and a bunch of people wearing letters on their shirts, and in 12 to the Moon they make up all the funny names for the hero.
It’s the only East German movie the show has done and was apparently a big hit there.
DEFA, the GDR’s state-run film studio, building on Weimar era experience - the studios at Babelsburg near Potsdam had been operating since 1912 and is still getting major use today - produced quite a lot of good stuff. The fact West German TV could be picked up freely in most of the country forced everyone to up their game.