IN A WORLD where the, um, world is turned upside-down, there is danger, secrets, deception, adventure, and straight-up fibbing. There’s also the November roundup of MST3K episodes at the Gizmoplex, thanks to “Nothing As It Seems” month!
Reality may appear to be one way in these episodes, but hold onto your hearts, my friends, for reality may actually turn out to be SOMETHING ELSE ALTOGETHER! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN
This time around, we’ll witness the Cold War heating up as American agents try to stop a Russian nuclear missile launch, a group of Japanese people arriving in a seemingly normal landscape that’s actually dominated by anthropomorphic militaristic apes, an astronaut returning from a space voyage to the American Midwest only to threaten countless lives as a hulking radioactive behemoth, a collection of no-goodnik teens in 1960s America conquering a town after a secret formula turns them into unstoppable titans, a murderous madman stalking college kids for sport on his own private island, and an alien creature impregnating a hapless astronaut with… party shrimp for the greater good?
These outlandish circumstances may be inexplicable, but YOU can explain why one episode rises above the rest of the hilarious offerings this month. Which surreal selection strongly steamrolls such strange shows? What world-warping wonder wins with worship? Whose cuisine will reign supreme?!
Favorite of the Gizmoplex Vault Picks: Round 9 - November 2022 (“Nothing As It Seems” Month)
Bloodlust has a warm place in my heart from the, “I need to watch all my MST3K on Rhino Home Video” days, so I’m giving it my vote. It’s a pretty neat take on The Most Dangerous Game, although it’s been a while so I need to give it a fresh watch.
Hm - this is an unusual mixture of options. Perhaps … this is NOT as it seems…! Nah. I’d say that none of these movies is a particularly great standout … while at the same time none of them are necessarily “bad” episodes either (well they may be BAD movies but not bad episodes). The real question is how do these options rank against each other?
Bloodlust (6.5 out of 10): Out of this grouping clearly Bloodlust is the best overall episode. That’s not saying is is a GREAT MST episode. It’s merely serviceable and generally a solid outing. The movie itself is about a formulaic as can be imagined in a sea of “Most Dangerous Game” rip-offs. The protagonists are nothingburgers. The antagonist is generic arrogance. The riffing in this one is very solid and it makes the whole thing go along without a lot to really set it apart … so it is good but not hugely memorable. But it’s a good episode and watchable almost every time (if a little dull).
Monster A-Go-Go: 6/10. Wow. MaGG … as a movie … remains (IMO) one of the legitimately worst MOVIES this show has ever riffed. It is in a rare bottom-basement level where EVERYTHING … the production, acting, props, direction, sound, music, cinematography, script … all of it is incomptent and fails at the most basic level. In many respects it fails to be a MOVIE at all. The Creeping Terror is almost equally incompetent as a film but it at least managed to complete a basic story while MaGG failed to accomplish even that. But while the movie is awful on every level imaginable, the riffing is pretty good and the viewer gets to shake his head along with Joel & the bots at what is a true train-wreck of a movie. So even though MaGG is a chore of a movie, the boys bring it and this is almost a required episode to watch for MST fans.
Time of the Apes: 6/10. A Sandy Frank condensation episode that collapses a whole TV series into a 1.5 hour “movie”, this is a classic episode that captures the essence of MST when it was coming into its full potential. Like Fugitive Alien, Mighty Jack, and other Sandy Frank offerings this episode is so bewildering and dense in targets that it is evergreen in its viewability. Good host segments, some all-time level riffing, and a watchable enough film come together to make for an MST episode that’s always worth sitting down to. It’s a little slow at times but Johnny doesn’t care!
Village of the Giants: 6/10: Poor HG Wells. One of the great authors of human history but almost everything he’s ever written has been taken by hack writers and turned into cinematic garbage with terrible re-interpretation. This dreck is no exception. A Tommy Kirk teen rebellion vehicle with an even more offensive final ‘joke’ than Legacy of Blood this baffling cornfest is hard to watch with its combination of silliness and 60s angst. The riffing is top notch though and even though the movie is dull as dirt, there’s enough nonsense to keep you going and great jokes by Mike & the bots. Not a great episode, but always a pleaser.
Night of the Blood Beast: 6/10. This movie is what MaGG sort of wanted to be but ultimately failed at. It’s a serviceable “It Conquered The World” sort of looming threat alien invasion thing that somehow manages to combine the body horror of Aliens with the trapped isolation of The Thing and make both of them less interesting. The movie honestly tried and everyone is in earnest in selling it … but the lame “NASA” fakery, bad effects, too much cheese, and just all around goofery make it fall flat. The riffing is great though and while this episode is never in my top 25, it is always in my top 100 and remains solidly “above average”.
Rocket Attack USA: 5/10. This is the only episode in the list I would honestly say is substandard. The elements are there for a decent episode, but in practice this one just didn’t stick the landing. The movie is dull, plodding, disjointed, and I forget what is happening 2 seconds after I see it. The riffing is no more than serviceable and there isn’t much to really recommend this ep. It’s MST which is always good … but this is one of the few episodes I don’t even bother leaving running in the background on Twitch while I do other stuff.
I love almost of these episodes, except for maybe Night of the Bloodbeast. It has always been kind of a blah episode for me. But Time of the Apes is an iconic episode for me that I can’t NOT vote for it.