OK, sure, it’s easy to make a bad movie with no budget, no experience, borrowed equipment and untrained actors … but which MST3K-riffed movie was the most off-target? What had the biggest potential upside in terms of budget, acting talent, skill behind the camera, etc. but still sucked?
I would say Marooned (aka Space Travelers) probably has the best pedigree of the failed movies used on MST3K. Kitten With A Whip is a close runner-up.
There was some talent involved in The Incredible Melting Man as well, but that was never going to be a great movie.
SandyFrank’s probably nailed the “best” ones.
Now, Sam Newfield directed quite a few fine action pictures, but he also directed over 200 movies, of which at least three got MSTied: Radar Secret Service, I Accuse My Parents and Lost Continent. Wait! Also The Mad Monster. And I’m probably missing a few.
That said, Lost Continent actually had some potential. Besides Newfield, Caesar Romero and Hilary Brooke were fine actors, the writers all had track records of being competent, at least, and one went on to be nominated for an Academy Award.
But not with 11 days to shoot the whole thing.
I really feel for the cast of Overdrawn At The Memory Bank, they’re all trying hard, they seem like nice people, and his later work proves Raul Julia was a great actor. The story Overdrawn is built off of is pretty good I hear, but it just wasn’t to be. They aimed for the stars and traveled three feet.
I agree. Every time I watch Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, I can see an engaging science fiction saga just struggling to get out. You have to squint, but you can see it. As you say, it just wasn’t to be.
I Accuse My Parents had some real potential in its story, and had the advantage of being written by Oscar winner Arthur Caesar (check out Manhattan Melodrama for proof that this guy actually could write a really great gangster story). But it all falls apart as the story inexplicably downplays the role of Jimmy’s parents in his downward spiral at every turn and keeps portraying him as just a dimwitted lump who’s entirely responsible for his own situation.
City Limits could have been decent if they put more time into the plot & script.
I’m going to 3rd Overdrawn, it really felt like it had so much potential.
And The Magic Sword. It had Sherlock Holmes himself in it. The storyline was almost there (well for a decent fantasy genre piece) the costumes were kinda cool and then… it kind of lost its way and nothing really made sense
I love The Magic Sword with or without riffing! I’m so glad RiffTrax did it too—not just for another set of jokes but for the much, much cleaner print.
Granted, I still have to think really hard about whether a certain scene or plot point is from The Magic Sword or Jack the Giant Killer, but that’s OK. I love Jack just as much.
Parts: The Clonus Horror had a really solid premise and should have been a much better movie.
I’ll second AndrewCrossett’s opinion, and say Parts: The Clonus Horror.
It had a intriguing plot. Hell, DreamWorks Pictures and Micheal Bay ripped it off. Sadly, The Island was also a bit terrible as well. Scarlett Johansson couldn’t even save it.
I concur as well, Clonus had a lot of potential. Honestly a couple casting changes in the leads (Michael York and Jenny Agutter, say) and a top-notch cinematographer would have made a world of difference.
Mitchell definitely is up there.
It could have been an ordinary, dull genre picture.
Instead, it’s a floating log studded with bits of corn and peanuts, probably fragments of human bone, and a stench that comes right off the screen.
An unwatchable, disgusting specimen that should have been destroyed.
Definitely Overdrawn imo. It could have been a really good sci-fi series just got fumbled obviously
I’ll go with Overdrawn and Clonus. Both are sci-fi films that are cynical about corporations and politics and want to explore it but neither are nearly equipped enough to do it. I love the whole tone of Clonus, though. I don’t really like Family Guy much anymore but I feel like one skit did capture what I love about 70s sci-fi.
The Screaming Skull is so close to being a good movie. It’s almost there. If it was in different hands, it would be a terrific Rebecca-type film. I’d still watch it unriffed though.
Mac and Me (1988). Music by Alan Silvestri, Cinematography by Nick McLean, Executive Produced by Mark Darmon, the movie underdelivers its potential. Mac and Me is bottom of the barrel in execution. Not expertise. In truth, it’s a disaster because of the talent.
Overdrawn is definitely my top vote, but I’ve always secretly wanted to watch whatever series was frankensteined into Master Ninja I & II. There’s a certain doofy like ability to Max Keller and there are a few moments of fun chemistry that almost spark between him and Lee Van Cleef.
Also! Avalanche is so funny explicitly because it comes so close to hitting the mark for a perfectly serviceable disaster flick of the era.
Also also! I grew up on Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs and the like. I know that it misses the mark in some big ways, but damn if I don’t actually kinda like At The Earth’s Core.
All the episodes are in this playlist if you’re brave.