Looking for the next 'Cry Wilderness?' Try 'The Legend of Wolf Mountain' (1992) by the cast of 'Soultaker'

We have to get ‘The Legend of Wolf Mountain’ (1992) into the hands of @mattmcg22 to at least consider screening as a potential film for season 14, because it’s prime Grade A riffing material brought to you by almost the entire returning cast of the MST3K classic ‘Soultaker.’

Only this time around they blew their entire Joe Estevez budget on Bo Hopkins (playing the exact same small-town hick sheriff he always plays) and… holy crap, is that Mickie Rooney?!? Dear god man, why? Who did you owe money to?


I don’t know who owns the rights, but it appears on several wolf-themed “Value DVD sets”, which is a pretty good sign that it’s really really cheap.

The plot is basically “what if we ripped off ‘Home Alone’ and ‘The Wizard’ but set it out in the woods where we could film without a permit?” A series of escaped cons decide to steal an idling car with three kids in the back seat, then proceed to lose kids, car, their guns, and the money they stole in that order. The kids themselves are gratuitously 90’s and spend most of the film bickering, humiliating Robert Z’Dar, and recklessly endangering themselves (one of them fails so hard at sitting on a log that he somehow ends up rolling 50 feet, changing pants, and dangling off the edge of a cliff that was nowhere near him), only to be occasionally… but only occasionally… rescued from their own stupidity by a not at all offensive Native American guardian spirit who speaks entirely through ‘Soultaker’ style reverb pedal voice over.

This guardian spirit (who gets a sepiatone backstory dump 3/4 of the way through the film very similar to Joe Estevez’ character in ‘Soultaker’) was a man… who came back as wolf… who occasionally has the ability to shapeshift back into a man. Being a wolf spirit tasked with defending a specific mountain from the forces of evil may sound like a pretty cool gig, and one that would probably allow you plenty of free time, but it appears that if you have a choice between coming back as a wolf spirit or a human spirit, there is zero advantage to being a wolf since you immediately lose your ability to see over barriers more than 2 feet high and opposable thumbs. Wolves, it turns out, completely suck.

The wolf spirit’s abilities are primarily confined to providing moral support, the occasional POV shot, and lame “Ah ha! I was a wolf staring at you from the bushes a few seconds ago… and now I’m a man staring at you from the same exact bushes… only now I can’t see in the dark as well, but I can perceive color… so I guess that’s a worthwhile tradeoff?”

Watching it through, it’s got that perfect MST3K balance of competence/incompetence where the acting is terrible and most of the small parts are obviously just the director’s friends or members of the crew, but not so bad the movie becomes unwatchable. The dialogue is clunky with dramatic pauses between lines, and you could tell they were reaching for humor and wacky adventure and wonder… but fell short of every single goal. Yet it’s filmed just well enough that the “story” still flows, and it isn’t boring… merely stupid. So scenes of the dumbass kids and crooks lost on the mountain are broken up regularly with scenes of the ineffective adults failing to rescue them in town, and new characters are introduced throughout so there’s always plenty of fresh riff material. It’s actually, a lot like Soultaker in terms pacing and general competence, just obviously aimed at a younger PG audience.

This movie is just dumb enough that I’m confident it could easily become the new ‘Cry Wilderness’, and there’s plenty of great fodder for host segments.

Here’s the trailer:

You can also watch the entire movie here in HD (I’ve got it cued up to the potential stinger moment with the afore mentioned ‘log fail’)


Okay this is like if someone filled out a Future MST3K Episode Mad Libs :joy:


I’ve actually heard of this film and it definitely looks like riffing material. Quick fun fact: writer/director Craig Clyde had a bit part in KTMA’s Hanger 18.

If I’m not mistaken, Candlelight Media Group is the rights-holder. They shouldn’t be hard to come by.

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Ex-wives. Bookies. The IRS. You name it.


Financial abuse by a stepson.


Rooney did act in a Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel years after criticizing the original, so nothing truly surprises me when it comes to the roles he played in his later films.

Honestly, if they don’t do this one. I may tackle it myself if I ever find the time to do another fan riff, because just watching it through once, I found myself instinctively riffing along.

I’ve watched a lot of crappy movies over the years, but every now and then you just stumble across one that screams “My god. This was born to be on MST3K.”

There really is a perfect “goldilocks zone” of stupidity when it comes to finding a movie that’s bad enough that every scene has something funny you can say about it, but not so bad that it gets bogged down or becomes unwatchable. Plus the dialogue is stilted in that uniquely overdramatic Shatnerian way where the young actors (whose previous acting experience I’m sure consisted mostly of Go-Gurt commercials) had no idea where the music cues were going to line up, or if audiences were going to laugh at their “ketchup” joke, but this is their big cinematic break and mom wants every scrap of screen time to go in their sizzle reel, so they emphasize EVERY. LINE. and follow it up with a nice long pause and/or farty face, which is just a riffer’s :chef’s kiss: :man_cook:.

Needless to say, none of the kid actors ever acted again. (I think one had a small part in a Christmas movie by the same director, who was probably their uncle.) And it appears that a suspicious number of parents received billing as Executive Producers. Yet surprisingly the same three main actors who were in Soultaker all show up again in a number of other crappy movies (including Project Eliminator, with David Carradine, which was just riffed over at Rifftrax) by different writer/directors/producers within the space of about 5 years.

Apparently, there must have been some strict local ordinance on the books that stated: if you want to film a crappy movie in Utah, you are legally obligated to take on 75% of the crew of Soultaker.


David “Shark” Fralick also appeared in another one of the director’s films Heaven Sent. These B-movie actors sure do get around.


This is exactly the type of movie that I have no interest in seeing on the show.

B-movies that were made by people like Ed Wood are fun because he at least had a vision, however poorly executed.
These movies that are low-budget, but where the filmmakers also don’t have any interesting ideas, make horrible episodes in my opinion. Soultaker was a great example of that, IMO. Not bad enough to make an interesting episode, and also not good enough.
I’m probably out of sync now with most of the show’s current audience, but that’s my two cents.

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I agree. I much prefer the bad movies where the creators were actually trying. The “bad on purpose” stuff doesn’t work as well for me either, at least on MST3K.

The “bad on purpose” stuff works better on Rifftrax, IMO. I’m talking things like A Talking Cat and the Birdemic movies. Rifftrax has that edgier/meaner tone which works better for that type of movie, where MST3K’s kinder approach to movies works better with “bad but they tried to be good” or “they tried but it turned out goofy”.

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The first Birdemic tried to be good, at least.


I don’t think it works really well on RT either, to be honest. When they get mean, it feels less like they’re having fun with it and more like they’re on the attack. For me, what makes the riffing fun is that it’s like we’re hanging out with these funny guys and we’re all enjoying ourselves. Plus, for me, the bad on purpose movies are much harder to make funny with riffing. I don’t know about the sequel, but Birdemic wasn’t a bad on purpose movie. James Nguyen definitely had a vision and absolutely no ability to capture that vision. His other movies are the same.

The best example of the difference for me is Sharknado and then Sharknado 2. They seemed to have fun with the first one and it’s a great riff, in my opinion. However, the sequel does not have that feeling. That one has more the feeling of them being forced to do it for some reason or they thought it would be great and got locked in on it and then realized that they didn’t have much to say about it. I purchased their riff of the sequel and regretted it later because they seemed irritated and not like they were having fun.

All that to say that I agree that the “I’m really trying here but there’s just not the budget to get it done!” feeling is way better than, “Heh heh. I made a dumb movie.” feeling.

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Birdemic was clearly not a bad on purpose film. Only its sequel was.


Watching a bit of this movie got my own riff already

One of the prison escapees: They can’t finger us, they’re just kids.

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Years after this, though. (I think. OTOH, I think if Mickey Rooney had lived long enough, he would have eventually discovered all possible ways to go bankrupt.)

Mmm. Now (without having seen the episode or movie :rofl: ) I will say this about Soultaker: Its idea was good enough to be ripped off by Final Destination, years later; the effort was absolutely sincere, but plagued by budgetary and time constraints; Schilling wrote the role for herself because she couldn’t get cast in roles she wanted.

On paper it looks perfect.


I agree, when you look at a list of beloved MST episodes, many are ones that are very earnest, albeit terrible. I Accuse My Parents, Final Sacrifice, Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom, etc.


I have zero stomach for the bad on purpose stuff. Even from Rifftrax. It took me almost 2 years to fully sit through Birdemic and The Room, and I still haven’t made it through A Talking Cat, Baby Ghost or Santa’s Summer House. I think the worst Rifftrax I actually managed to sit all the way through in one sitting were the two Feeders movies… and I was inches away from shutting it off in disgust both times. I generally prefer a cheesy B movie from the 60’s or 70’s, but in terms of hitting that sweet spot of the early 90’s that’s still worth riffing, I think it hits the mark.

For it to be worthy of MST3K, it definitely needs to be “they tried… but fell just short of the mark, and it came out all goofy.” Which I think this qualifies as. It’s not a good movie, clearly derivative of Home Alone, The Wizard, and every other “kids run amok” movie from that particular time in the 90’s where obnoxious white kids who talked like mafia goons and kicking a guy in the junk while yelling “EXXXTREEEEEEME!!!” was the epitome of cool. But despite it’s flaws, it’s the sort of film people would still put on their CV with some small shred of dignity. (except probably Mickie Rooney and Bo Hopkins.) And it’s got 4.2 stars over at IMDB. Some people are actually into it.

Films like Soultaker, The Final Sacrifice, and Quest of the Delta Knights (and more recently The Christmas Dragon) are about as amateurish as I’ll willingly accept without it detracting from my enjoyment of the riff. You can totally tell they cut corners, didn’t have the budget they’d like, and that several of the actors are “people we know from Ren Faire”, but they clearly knew going in that they were aiming for a direct-to-VHS or DVD market and adjusted their expectations to match. And the actual production itself was competent enough that they delivered exactly what they set out to do… it just came out a little lopsided in the oven, and they’re hoping the extra frosting covered up all the burnt bits they had to scrape off.

I’d say Hobgoblins its exactly the line in the sand that MST3K movie quality should never ever cross. If your movie is as bad or worse than Hobgoblins, I want nothing whatsoever to do with it.

This isn’t even close to Hobgoblins level bad, and probably several steps above Final Sacrifice if I’m being honest. It’s more of a Boggy Creek II or Cry Wilderness level train wreck. And I think it fits nicely in the MST3K wheelhouse because it does have the shoehorned in supernatural aspect that technically qualifies it as a fantasy movie.

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I’m definitely familiar with the title, though I’ve never watched it. Guess I’ll have to start doing some homework!


Dude, you really are the beta test subject! :bulb:


I mean, as long as it’s sincere enough, it should work.

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