Growing up loving old movies, especially old horror and sci-fi movies, I grew to love many of the actors and actresses who starred in them, and always looked forward to discovering other films my favorites starred in. Even the best of 'em have been in movies they wish we’d all forget.
Bela Lugosi was an all-time favorite actor of mine, who turned in wonderful performances in films like “Dracula” and “The Black Cat,” - ended up getting the MST treatment in “The Corpse Vanishes,” “Bride of the Monster,” and “The Phantom Creeps” serial. I also just loved…
Beverly Garland (as most of us MSTies surely do),
John Carradine (The Unearthly, Red Zone Cuba),
Peter Cushing (At the Earth’s Core)
Christopher Lee (The Fu Manchu films),
Donald Pleasence (Pumaman, Warrior of the Lost World)
Karen Black (Killer Fish)
Tab Hunter (San Francisco International)
Who are some actors/actresses you adore that ended up in a MSTied movie? Maybe share what your favorite performance by them?
I know that the running gag in Space Travelers is how Gene Hackman is good in anything, but to see Gene Hackman in an episode of MST3K was something really special.
My favorite Gene Hackman performance? Ooh… that’s a good question. His Oscar-winning performances in The French Connection and Unforgiven are utterly brilliant, but I can’t get over his amazing work in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.
His portrayals of the basketball coach in Hoosiers and the professional thief in Heist are personal favorites, too.
Outside of MST
Henry Fonda (KTMA’s City of Fire) has long been a favorite
Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee, based a lot on their Hammer films (I know there’s a bunch of Star Wars and Dr. Who fanboys and girls who glom onto those 2 for Cushing, which is frustrating for a Hammer fan)
Clint Eastwood & Lee Van Cleef
Marie Windsor (Swamp Diamonds), queen of the Bs, with all those wonderful noir roles
I also like Ava Gardner & Donald Pleasence, and was a big Kung Fu fan in the 70s, so David Carradine, as well – and his pops (yes, John did great films and roles too, see the Grapes of Wrath)
Those I came to love because of MST
Beverly Garland and Bruno Ve Sota
Unfortunately neither of my favorites have been MST3K riffed:
Steve McQueen - Outside of the amazing “The Blob” probably will never be.
Vincent Price - Riffed by RiffTrax and The Mads but never MST3K.
Graham Greene played the Admiral in Atlantic Rim, and rather bafflingly there’s not one riff about this. Not only does he have a long and distinguished career that could provide a ton of great references, with the likes of Dances with Wolves, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Green Mile, or even his stint on Riverdale, but he also shares his name with a famous writer (best known for The Third Man), which could have provided a whole other boatload of material.
My favorite actor to appear in an MST3K is by a WIDE margin Raul Julia. Not only is he just fantastic in (ahem almost) everything, but he’s also Gomez Adams (mark II) and what could be cooler than that?
Now, my all time favorite is Cate Blanchett, who did show up in a Rifftrax, but no MST.
As a Joe Don Baker fan, I am truly indebted to MST3K for celebrating the man’s entire catalog. But seriously, I have to agree with @Pearls_Mint on Raul Julia!
Totally agree with the Raul Julia pick - as my username attests, kinda!
I think I remember seeing a tweet from Bill Corbett saying he really liked RJ’s performances, even in Street Fighter (a great RiffTrax by the way!)
Definitely Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I’m a huge Hammer Horror fan, and those guys are gods to me.
Beverly Garland… is the hottest woman to ever grace the silver screen. I’ll fight anybody who says different.
They haven’t done a Vincent Price movie yet… but I’m sure they’ll get around to one eventually.
And also David Warner. Who’s another one of those actors who can do no wrong, even when they’re starring in utter dreck.
I love Christopher Lee, so it’s a shame the only MST3K movie he was in
a. is Castle of Fu Manchu and
b. dubs over his amazing voice with some other actor.
Raul Julia, Peter Cushing, and Cristopher Lee are definitely tops for me from those that have already been mentioned.
Ron (Ronny) Howard, and Beau Bridges in Village of the Giants, although I am a much bigger fan of the other Bridges brother (Jeff). Has Rifftrax riffed the new(er) Tron movie yet?
As an Indiana native (who grew up within twenty miles of the school upon which it was based), few movies that I have ever seen captures its subject matter as well as Hoosiers and I thought that Hackman was amazing as an outsider entering into that world.
Something that can be a bit overlooked now is that Overdrawn at the Memory Bank aired just shortly after Raul Julia’s tragic early death. I’ve never been able to get much info on whether he was still alive when they were actually writing it, but that had to be uncomfortable for everyone.
Another one that there’s oddly not a single joke made about: Jim Davis plays the grandfather in The Day Time Ended. He spent most of his life as a supporting player in westerns, never getting the spotlight but always a dependable presence, and finally got his big attention-getting role in his last three years as Jock Ewing on Dallas.
You all have hit a lot of the ones I would have picked (and yay for all the love of Beverly Garland, an amazing lady). I’ll just add a few who I enjoy as well:
Roddy McDowall - Like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, he was always working and thus appears in tons of things of varying quality. I enjoy him as an actor quite a lot, even in dreadful films.
Ernest Borgnine - There’s just something about him I like. It seems like there is more going on under the surface with him. Even in a cheesefest like The Devil’s Rain he brings a convincing level of menace.
Kim Cattrall - I was really into her during her heyday thanks to her roles in Big Trouble In Little China and Wild Palms.
John Carradine & Richard Kiel - Natural heavies thanks to their physiques and voices, yet always a pleasure for me.
Ian McShane - Really talented, and loved him in Deadwood particularly.
Roy Thinnes - Okay, I’ll admit my fondness for him stems almost entirely from his lead role in The Invaders. He is a wooden handsome guy in most other roles, yet still has a bit of chemistry happening.
Avalanche is automatically a classic episode of MST3K by virtue of featuring Robert Forster.
Being reminded of a lot good ones.
I see the Day Time Ended mentioned, in addition to Jim Davis there’s also an Oscar winner in the cast. I remember when I first saw it, I thought that actress looked familiar - it wasn’t until this year that I noticed in the credits that it was Dorothy Malone (Ana).
Ah, and of course, Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer. A couple of grand old thespians.