Which MST3K episodes have rights issues?

It hurts my soul Greidanus is alienated by The Final Sacrifice’s (1990) success. Personal connection, the rite of passage, he hadn’t considered his film a comedy. That leap is too much to bear. People have lines and his first being a laughing stock is too much. I sympathize with him. I do. The trick is you put yourself out there. You make something for someone else. Their reaction isn’t always what you’d expect. Ever so often it goes south. MST is founded on this. Manos (1966), Eegah (1962), Pod People (1983). The reality isn’t quite what they imagined. Greidanus, Lieberman, and those who say no on principle prefer not seeing their work ridiculed. In those instants, I respect the choice but find it unfortunate. Toho and the Godzillas is another example.

To those who own the rights second hand, it is strictly business. Pay my price or I’m not interested. There’s also those who simply collect rights and if it doesn’t suit them they decline. This is more straight forward. It’s not personal whereas it is frustrating. When you stop and think how few episodes are unavailable, it could be worse. This is the nature of the show. Needing a movie as a springboard. Lose the spring and you lose the show. Par for the course… I’m afraid.

P.S. I met Jeff Lieberman twice at screenings of his films. Once for Squirm (1976) and once for Just Before Dawn (1981). I stood in line hearing him go on. He was signing a Japanese Blu-Ray of Squirm and exclaiming how great it was. The English track, the Special Features, and he immediately was grateful the MSTie Treatment wasn’t on there. This opened the door and he complained why anyone would do this to his movie. His film meant so much him that the voiceover and jokes were a personal insult and I suspect Greidanus feels the same. Added to that, Tjardus was the source of laughs himself. “The Great Anus”. Would most people accept that? Let alone celebrities?

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That is the essential point and 1000 Percent Agreed. When dealing with the maker? There is a gray area. The line of work. Films are meant to be seen. You accept the negatives when you put something out there. You are throwing yourself onstage. Lettuce and Tomatoes thrown in your direction is a possibility. Legally Greidanus or Lieberman have the power. Use it. On the flip side, the makers of anything want a reaction. It’s the goal. From the beginning. You want people to love it. If they love it outside your comfort zone? You are in your right to shut it down but is it the right thing to do?

This is Show Business. And the show must go on. When the makers act this way, I’m really torn. Is it necessary? Consider your audience. To quote Jeff Goldblum, they “were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Once you entertain the public, personal factors aren’t the only ones. You have responsibility to consider what will happen. No different than giving a small child a puppy then taking it away, there are consequences. We’ve read them on this forum. That sense of loss is where the word “inexcusable” comes from. To many they feel as betrayed as those pulling the rights. It is pain across the board. One disappointment leads to another. And as I said, it makes me sad.

P.S. Blac_Drac made an outstanding point and I was adding my two cents to it. My thoughts were self-contained and not criticizing his. Just to be clear. The truth of his argument inspired me to suggest other things in my mind and perhaps the collateral damage of this dilemma. As I see it. My thanks to him and all of you. Huzzah.

Much like the agents who turn down roles their client never knew about, one aspect we must ponder is whether Greidanus or Liberman even knew what was happening, what it would mean, or if they simply signed off not knowing what it meant. How much was the initial acceptance their representation and not them. Were they even informed outside of a paper to sign? These are questions that change the complexion of “What did the know and when did they know it.” Optioning a work is a monetary exchange and the aftereffects aren’t necessarily weighed. Not immediately. Seeing the episodes air or running across it is a Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

You are staring it in the face and the reflection takes your breath away. Saying yes or being asked is one thing. Watching your work transform into silliness is something else. These aftershocks explain some people’s takeaway. And it’s understandable. In Greidanus case, he doesn’t want it seen. With Lieberman, he’s hurt but you can still find Squirm (1976) on YouTube. We each react differently. It is a matter of experience and how each person takes it. “To each their own” as the saying goes.

Note: Jeff Lieberman while vocal allows the MST episode to exist online. I applaud him for that. It’s the right thing to do. Having shook his hand and spent hours with him, he holds no grudge only a sense of being wronged. His films are who he is and anything interfering with that is a concern. Same with Greidanus. These are the cons of show business. I wish them well and hope maybe one day we see The Final Sacrifice (1990) again roaming free. Until then we keep the faith. Thanks.

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Did I ever mention the time that I found a copy of one of my just-post-college projects on ebay for pennies and I prayed afterwards that no one would ever be curious enough to click “Buy” or “Bid”? Part of me is praying still.


I suppose if you want to know which episodes have rights issues all you have to do is head over to the gizmoplex and look at the episodes list for each season. The greyed out ones are currently unavailable.

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Regarding whether we are entitled to the episodes, if the movie rights owner doesn’t want to distribute them in a format with MST3K, that is their right. I don’t think that there should be money made off such things by shout.

Anyone have opinions on the idea of circulating the tapes?

As a reminder, this was posted by Lesley once before:


Fair enough. On the bright side I don’t think anyone from Alternaversal, gizmoplex, etc has logged in this quarter to shun me. (My attempt to goad one of them into an update :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Edit: yes blac_drac I love and appreciate you.

I’m surprised Quest of the Delta Knights hasn’t seen a dvd release yet, since it’s now available on the Gizmoplex. I would’ve thought a stand-alone release would’ve happened by now but for all I know maybe Shout has a few others they’re working on and they’re saving it for a full volume in the future.

Also, even though some of the rights have lapsed over the years and some of the sets are now out of print, I’m grateful Shout was able to put out as much of the series as they had, they got like 90% of the way there.

And as far as the others? The ones you can’t officially get anywhere? Well… it’s 2024 and the internet is a big place. If folks as powerful as Disney can’t keep folks from finding and distributing the original theatrical cuts of Star Wars, certainly anyone in need can find a way to see a specific MST3k episode.


Unless Shout/Alternaversal/Whatever just managed to get the streaming rights and not the physical media rights?


If I guessed right earlier, Shout be waiting to pick up the physical rights to Quest until they get the physical rights to the three Paramount films in the next year or so. Selling sets of four episodes has worked for them in the past, after all.


My dream is that, one day, Tjardus cues up The Final Sacrifice in a fit of nostalgia and realises how resourceful, enjoyable and coherent it is when you consider the extreme limitations (of budget and experience) he was working under.
And, in that dream, he chuckles and says to himself “you know what, I’ll just let everyone enjoy my directorial debut in their own way”.
Roger Corman, if he ever saw TFS, would have been proud of that young man.


COR-man woulda’ said it wasn’t babe-ish enough. Probably Troy’s aunt woulda’ been recast to look like Fritzi Ritz. :stuck_out_tongue:

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He would. Though he too had problems with MST. Roger didn’t appreciate the humor. I understand and I thank him for all the memories.

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This was an email I got from Shout! a few days ago, but apparently Danger: Diabolik goes out of print on May 31st. This could very well mean that MST3K: Volume XXXIX will also go out of print in the near future.


They gave their permission and then then took it back. No honor. They die having gained nothing but the scorn of a small group who would adore them.


Amazon has XXXIX on sale - $31


Thanks for the heads-up. Decided to jump on this, even though honestly I’ll probably watch Transparent Man a lot more. :grin:

I decided to grab a copy of the Gamera retrospective, too. Just because.

Happy Early Birthday To Meeeee…