I feel like intentionally bad movies, or the tongue-in-cheek kind of movies, should really be off limits for riffing. If a movie is intentionally bad, or is clearly being played for laughs, then there’s not really much fun in riffing it. Sort of like how Rifftrax stopped riffing any of the Sharknado movies past the first two; once you got past those, the movies were being deliberately made to play off of jokes rather than trying to be at least somewhat serious, and the further along you got the more ludicrous the plots were, up until they (literally) threw the kitchen sink at it and finally were done.
Some of the so-called “mockbusters” would probably fall into this category, with a couple of exceptions (Atlantic Rim, the first one, was riffable because it was, despite being a mockbuster, played at least somewhat seriously; the second one though, yeah, leave that alone please). I also think a lot of the terrible shark movies and Sy-Fy original movies should be left out of the running, simply because they’re deliberately made to be terrible or made to poke fun at tropes in movies. It’s when a movie is UNINTENTIONALLY bad in a way that makes it funny that it become riffable.
I know this is probably never gonna happen, but a personal favorite of mine I’d love to see riffed would be Derek Savage’s 2015 classic, “Cool Cat Saves The Kids”. If you don’t know who Derek Savage is, you can search him up on youtube and find plenty of videos discussing all the drama and shenanigans he’s been up to. In summary, Derek is an amateur filmmaker in his 60’s from Nevada, who’s claim to fame is his kids character “Cool Cat”, a big annoying orange cat who loves “ALLLL KIIDSS” and teaches them the importance of not spraying painting on people’s walls and what to do if they find a gun. In the film, Derek Savage plays Cool Cat’s father, who is always referred to as “Daddy Derek”, and is married to “Mama Cat”. While Derek is a human, Mama Cat is another anthropomorphic animal, bringing some things to question. In the film, Cool Cat has one rival, the epitome of evil, Butch The Bully, who makes it his goal to “punk” the other kids with his nefarious bullying tactics. The film is three short films stitched together, making the little plot there is hard to follow. And the acting talents of Erik Estrada and Vivica A. Fox come together to sit on a beach chair and do pretty much nothing. The music is original, but sounds stock, and he uses comic sans and stock cg graphics constantly. And one important thing to note is unlike some other directors who do these things, Derek is 100% serious. He is not trying to be funny or bad on purpose, he is trying to make something good. And of course this led to some drama when people started making fun of his movie, but that’s not really important for this particular discussion (though I would highly recommend looking into the man, he’s truly an enigma). I would go into more, but it’s something that has to be seen to be understood. I’d highly recommend watching it if you can find a copy. Unfortunately, do not rent the amazon version, or purchase the film “Cool Cat Kids Superhero”. These are re-shoots and re-edits of the original that ruin some of the best bits. If you’re gonna watch it, the only way to legally get the original cut that I know of is to purchase the Cool Cat 3 DVD boxset off Derek Savage’s website, Cool Cat® ; A Derek Savage Children's Series .You can get it for 25 bucks, which I think is a fair price for what you get. Now do I think MST3K could get the rights to do a riff? Probably not due to how notorious Daddy Derek is when it comes to criticism, but I still have some hope that it could happen some day, who knows. All I know is that cool cat loves you
The 1980 thriller-drama Raise the Titanic - it was better than I expected. Too bad the public didn’t agree; this box office bomb crippled (and eventually destroyed) Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment. Plus Clive Cussler didn’t allow his books to be turned into movies for a long time after this flop.
In spite of this, it has potential on MST3K. With Sir Alec Guinness playing a Titanic survivor and hot off Star Wars, there could be a lot of jokes made about using the Force and telling the characters to go to the Dagobah system.
Just look at those credentials! Brian De Palma! William Finley! Paul Williams! Jessica Harper! Gerrit Graham! In a remix of Phantom of the Opera that has utter disdain for the music industry! Oh, the riffing potential…
Not to mention the James Cameron references that can be made, both partially fictitious (Titanic ) and real (Ghosts of the Abyss ). Plus there’s the contemporary knowledge that just five years after the Raise the Titanic was released Titanic was actually found, but in no state to ever be raised intact.
By the way, I did eventually watch this and… it’s really more bland than horrible. But it is super-padded with vast expanses of no dialogue. Also, a very bad theme song. So… yeah. It could work. Plenty of space to fill up with French Canadian jokes since that’s clearly where it originated. (Like The Uncanny. The Quebecois love their low-budget cat movies, I guess…?)
I thought Atlantic Rim was a rare MST3K misfire – it wasn’t a terrible episode or anything (there aren’t any bad episodes of MST3K, although Hamlet and The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t spring to mind) , but riffing a movie that was itself a quasi-parody didn’t work well. A movie can be tongue-in-cheek and be an excellent riff (I’m thinking of Catalina Caper or Wild Wild World of Batwoman), but parody of parody never really works well.
I think “Voyage of the Rock Aliens” is really riffable. It’s an 80s scifi musical. Kind of like an alternate reality Grease. There are spaceships, robots, tons of great cheesy costuming, and some of the songs are actually pretty catchy!
Stars Phia Zadra, one of the children from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, as well as Ruth Gordon, from Harold & Maude, and Rosemary’s Baby.