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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Steve's Church-Less Movie Of The Week: Riffed Edition ...

For our Church-less Movie(s) of the Week it's going to be a super sized triple threat of bad movies and good comedians making fun of them.

Today we'll be taking a look at Mystery science Theater 3,000 and two of its spawn. We have lined up for you today one classic Joel episode PLUS two full MST3K after projects.

Enjoy ...

Yoinked from wikipedia ...

"Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American cult television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson that ran from 1988 to 1999. The series features a man and his robot sidekicks who are trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad movies, initially (but not especially limited to) science fiction B-movies. To keep sane, the man and his robots provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws and wisecracking (or 'riffing') their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery. Each film is presented with a superimposition of the man and robots' silhouettes along the bottom of the screen.

Series creator Hodgson originally played the stranded man, Joel Robinson, for six-and-a-half seasons. When Hodgson left in 1993, series head writer Michael J. Nelson replaced him as new B-movie victim Mike Nelson, and continued in the role for the rest of the show's run. During its eleven years, 198 episodes and one feature film, MST3K attained critical acclaim."

Watch MST3K's "The Giant Gila Monster" now!

And now for part two ...

"Nelson, Murphy and Corbett appeared in four episodes of The Film Crew, riffing on old movies in a different setting. The four-title run includes Hollywood After Dark, Killers from Space, Wild Women of Wongo, and The Giant of Marathon. The Film Crew, stuck in the confines of a basement at work, lay down commentary tracks to every obscure movie dished to them by their boss, Bob Honcho. As part of their job, each of the three wears a matching 'working-class' uniform and an unwieldy headset while riffing on each film. Each release contained a short 'Lunch Break' sketch.

The episodes were produced in 2005 in association with Rhino Entertainment, who were to distribute the episodes on DVD. However, Rhino was approached by Jim Mallon of Best Brains, who threatened to pull future releases of MST3K from Rhino's distribution unless they passed on the series (Mallon claiming that it was 'too similar to MST3K' and that Rhino had to choose either MST3K or Film Crew). Rhino then ended their relationship with The Film Crew. It wasn't until 2007 that arrangement were made with Shout! Factory to release the material (requiring some 'looping' of lines from the original scripts - specifically, 'Bob Honcho' was originally named 'Bob Rhino', and this had to be changed due to Rhino no longer being the distributor).

During the delay when there was no distributor for the Film Crew DVDs, the sets were destroyed and the cast moved on to the similar project RiffTrax, complicating the issue of any possible future Film Crew episodes. Kevin Murphy has indicated that 'We haven’t gotten any new orders from Shout Factory - the new home of MST by the way - and since RiffTrax is becoming so much fun, I think you may have seen the last of the Film Crew.' As of July 13th, 2008, The Film Crew's former website,, is no longer online. Shortly thereafter, Shout Factory put three Film Crew movies on This was followed on April 5th, 2009, with all four movies being made available on YouTube.

The Wild Women of Wongo is a 1958 film American film directed by James L. Wolcott about a village of beautiful women who meet a village of beautiful men on the other side of a tropical island one fateful day. The film starts amusingly enough with a narration from Mother Nature discussing what she described as an experiment she and Father Time cooked up that went horribly wrong. Former Wales rugby union international Rex Richards appears as the King of Wongo. Some of the stock music in the film was also used in Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space."

Watch The Film Crew's "Wild Women Of Wongo" now!

Now, brace yourself for part three ...

"Joel Hodgson has created a project similar to The Film Crew called Cinematic Titanic. C.T. is a project by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) creator and original host, Joel Hodgson. The project involves riffing B-movies, in a manner similar to that of MST3K. Joining Hodgson are many of the original MST3K cast, as well as some cast members who joined later in the show's run. These include Trace Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl. Like MST3K, the series uses black silhouettes of the riffers placed over the films, but in the case of Cinematic Titanic they sit on both sides of the screen rather than just on the lower right. Visual gags are frequent (such as Beaulieu's use of a cherry picker in The Oozing Skull), and there are even two or three host segments per episode, all performed in silhouette.

Mike Nelson, who took over as the star of MST3K upon Hodgson's departure from the show, has his own movie-riff series, titled RiffTrax. Nelson's project produces riffs for a wide variety of films, including many current and well-known movies, such as Twilight, The Matrix and Lord of the Rings. He then posts the audio for sale on his website, which the viewer must then synchronize to a regular copy of the film. The fact that Cinematic Titanic involves almost every MST3K writer and performer aside from Kevin Murphy, Mike Nelson, and Bill Corbett, who happen to be the regular cast of RiffTrax, has prompted fan speculation about a rivalry between Hodgson and Nelson surrounding the two projects, but the pair have consistently denied that such a rift exists and expressed praise for each other's projects, pointing out that they fill different niches and there is more than enough room for both of them.

Speaking with Associated Content in 2009, Mary Jo Pehl, who has worked in both projects, denied knowledge of any animosity between the Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax groups, stating 'I have no idea if there's some sort of family feud between the Joel vs. Mike factions. If there is, people ought to find better things to do with their time, like debating which way the toilet paper should hang on the spindle, or if if the opening of pillow cases should face the outside of the bed or the inside when placed. RT does their thing, and Cinematic Titanic does theirs.'

The actors essentially play themselves as they participate in an experiment for some unknown, possibly shadowy corporation or military force. Their experience doing MST3K is key to the organization's plans. The riffing for each film is recorded to a 'nanotated disc' and inserted into a 'Time Tube' by Hodgson that descends into the frame at the end of every episode. The unknown organization is very firm on keeping the cast focused on their duties, providing no time frame for completion and requiring them to stay within the facilities at all times. They apparently have massive resources and an autonomous military force, which they use to keep the cast in line. As of now, the cast is inquisitive of the true purpose of the experiments but have no major problems, as aside from having to watch bad movies, they are well-treated.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (also titled Santa Claus Defeats the Aliens) is a 1964 science fiction film that regularly appears on lists of the worst films ever made. It is regularly featured in the "bottom 100" list on the Internet Movie Database, and was also featured in an episode of the 1986 syndicated series, the Canned Film Festival. It was directed by Nicholas Webster, and it stars John Call as Santa Claus. It also includes an 8-year-old Pia Zadora playing the role of one of the Martian children. A remake has been rumored since 2000 with David Zucker as producer, though it is currently believed to be in development hell.

The movie spawned a tongue-in-cheek novelization by Lou Harry, released by Penguin Books/Chamberlain Bros. in 2005. The book, which includes a DVD of the original film, presents the story from the perspective of a now-adult Girmar, who has not only succeeded her father as ruler of Mars, but also narrates the tale in a 'valley girl'-esque type of language. Cinematic Titanic riffed the film as their November, 2008 release; two members of the crew had already riffed this film on MST3K. As this version was not restrained by broadcast rules, it's perceived as more of a PG-13 release than the prior iteration."

Steve's Snacks Of The Week:



Root Beer

Garlic Rye Chips


Old Chinese Food

Very Little Else

Awesome day of movies right here.

You're welcome, punks.

Wind Clan out.

1 comment:

Reverend Steve said...

Wongo uses some of Ed Wood's PLAN 9 music I see.