Movies that Need to be Riffed by the MST3K Gang

I saw Cathy’s Curse some time ago. Excerpt from my review at the time:

The plot isn’t an inherently terrible one – the doll is a decent supernatural idea – but the execution is very poor. The acting is bad. The actress playing Cathy’s mother is particularly annoying. (The character is supposed to be recovering from a nervous breakdown, and I guess the actress thinks that means overplaying her emotions.) There are some laughable scenes, as when one character is killed by a blast of blue light, or when Cathy’s face gets covered with what appears to be mud in an attempt at scary makeup. The music is really bad, with lots of electronic bleeps that would fit better into an old science fiction movie.

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Lou Ferrigno’s Sinbad of the Seven Seas.

It’s my wife’s favorite bad movie, and it’s in my top 5. We’ve shown it to dozens of friends, it’s always gone over great. It’s what happens when the Italian director of Escape 2000 makes a Hercules style fantasy adventure, for Cannon films (the studio behind Alien From L.A. and Outlaw of Gor), but then all the wheels fall off, a bunch of things go wrong, and another Italian director (the one who wrote Devil Fish and directed StarCrash) had to scrape it up and finish it. The final result is very literally the Plan 9 of the 80’s. So rewarding both initially and upon multiple viewings, it really is an overlooked gem, and would absolutely be the crown jewel of season 14, provided we get one.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an 8 minute clip from YouTube, and this isn’t even our favorite scene:

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I’m not talking about the quality of the riffs themselves, but the films. What kinds do you most enjoy being riffed? Old, new, low budget, big budget? What genres? Ones that are really bad or those with some interesting characteristics?

I’d hate to say that I’d avoid any kind of film being riffed – they’re all enjoyable – but I do have some preferences.

I lean to older, low budget, horror/science fiction films. Black and white is fine with me. Color is fine, too, but mostly of the 1960’s and 1970’s type.

Odd, eccentric ones are best, rather than predictable stuff.

Stuff that is a little less of interest to me (although I wouldn’t want to miss out of them:

Made for TV films, from the Rocky Jones things to San Francisco International.

All the kaiju films and the Prince of Space Stuff. I guess the Japanese stuff just doesn’t hit me right.

Mainstream Hollywood stuff doesn’t seem to fit perfectly. Marooned/Space Travelers is an awkward choice. (And I’m not very interested in Rifftrax tackling big box office hits.)

On the other hand, I’m fond of the Roger Corman stuff, the Eurospy flicks, amateur efforts (even dreary ones like The Dead Talk Back) because they have a certain “Let’s put on a show!” quality to them.

I’m rambling all over the place here, and I’d change my mind if I tried this again, but what do you think?

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My ideal target is a black and white sci-fi or monster movie with a large cast. Multiple unique protagonists, creatures or aliens, and especially random civilians.
Teenagers from Outer Space and Plan 9 from Outer Space, though not my top 2 episodes of MST are the epitome of what I love about the show.

The Westerns are my favorite. And I’m not a big Western fan. But there is so much ripe material for the picking there and it’s unfortunate they did so few of them.

Incidentally, according to the episode guide, Frank shares my sentiment.

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I don’t see how Plan 9 could be one of your top 2 episodes, since MST3K has never done it.

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:warning:

I think we just found Dr. Kabahl’s sock account!!

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The Wizard of Mars (aka Horrors of the Red Planet)

Anyone who’s seen Cinematic Titanic’s Doomsday Machine will get severe déjà vu, since chunks of this film were used to pad out that one. Not to worry, there’s plenty of padding to go around. “Just hurry up and crash already!”

And who doesn’t appreciate the disembodied head of John Carradine talking at them? Who wouldn’t be up for a three-minute shot of


?

But in its favour, it does do a pretty good Mars for 1965 (they’re easier to spot when they’re moving, but note the four most inept astronauts you’ll ever see just left of centre):


(This is just after the ten-minute long cave walking scene which follows the four-minute long cave sitting-in-a-raft scene.)

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Oh, and Zontar, The Thing From Venus is a Larry Buchanan remake of It Conquered the World, with John Agar in the Peter Graves role.

Wow, there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence.

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Invasion of the Star Creatures is a comedy. Sometimes funny in a very silly way, sometimes stupid. It’s hard to riff a comedy.

The Brain from the Planet Arous is a good choice. Goofy B science fiction cheese.

Zontar the Thing from Venus, like all of Larry Buchanan’s uncredited remakes, suffers from dullness and cheapness.

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That’s a good point, right there😅 I’ve made fun of it so much that it seems like it is one and then being Rifftraxed like 15 years ago had me confused.

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Oh man Lippert alone made so many B Westerns… but the problem with that was that they ended up all being pretty samey… So they really picked the unique westerns for the show, the only generic one I can think of was last of the wild horses and I can never remember anything that actually happens in that movie, the episode’s story overshadows it so much…

My ideal riff material are the silly B sci fi flicks of the 50s and early 60s, but so many of my favorite episodes are the teensploitation flicks.

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It’s been ages since I read the episode guide, but I seem to remember Frank suggesting other Westerns but getting turned down.

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I think one Western a season would be good. They aren’t any more same-y than Kaiju movies or Sword 'n Sandal epics.

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In the tradition of things like I Blame My Parents:

The Devil on Wheels(1947)

Poverty Row cautionary tale about reckless driving. Dad brings home a nifty new automobile. Son monkeys around with hot rods. Dad approves, but tells him not to race them. Dad himself drives like a maniac, passing a car on the right and getting in a fender bender. The other car is driven by the judge he faces in court. Oops.

Meanwhile, son’s older brother gets in a romance with the judge’s daughter. Son races his hot rod, naturally. While at the beach, the gang hears about the cops pulling a hot rodder’s body out of the ocean. They sneak into the morgue to see if it’s their buddy. (Yep.) Racing back from the morgue away from the cops in two cars (and leaving one girl behind stuck in the morgue), they get in a hit-and-run accident with a vehicle carrying Mom! Son’s buddy is killed, Mom is seriously injured, Son gets the book thrown at him in court.

Notable stuff for 1947:

  1. The word “groovy” is spoken by one of them kids.
  2. The girls wear bikinis.

Sort of the Reefer Madness of speeding.

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