Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered in November, 1988 on a local access TV station in Minnesota and subsequently became a cult classic with geeky, sarcastic B-movie lovers worldwide. Dreamland celebrates this November by taking a stroll through one of our favorite shows. Join us, won’t you?
(07:37) MST3K Marathon Parties – Melinda remembers her tradition of throwing annual theme parties where she had MST3K bingo and served Tom Servo cake while watching many hours of MST3K.
(09:13) We run through a brief backstory of the show, including staff turnover, and discuss our favorite host – the perennial debate: Joel vs. Mike.
(13:37) Manos: The Hands of Fate – the movie that proves that silence really is golden. It’s a must-see (if you can get through it) terrible movie, often cited for being one of the worst films ever made, and a staple of MST3K episodes. Of note, a 16 mm workprint was found in 2011, and the film was subsequently restored and made available on Blu-Ray.
(19:47) Tom expresses his love of the direct-to-video episodes, including Soultaker, The Legend of Boggy Creek II: The Legend Continues, The Final Sacrifice, and Pumaman. Melinda adds Werewolf and Time Chasers to the list.
(23:14) Melinda reveals the two MST3K movies that she saw BEFORE they were featured on the show. Yes, she actually rented them to watch during some 90s horror movie binge watching sessions. Yes, there was alcohol involved.
(26:14) Melinda recalls interviews with Joe Estevez (Werewolf, Soultaker) and Bruce J. Mitchell (The Final Sacrifice) in which they describe what went into the productions of these films and really give an appreciation for what it takes for everyone involved to make a movie on a shoestring budget.
(29:58) What makes MST3K so funny? Is it all spontaneous riffing? No, it’s a lot of comedy writers watching the show multiple times and making scripts with time codes. Like so many other things, they just make it look easy. From writing the jokes to building the sets to making last-minute props for skits, the crew made it happen in a very short period of time each week.
(33:25) The new MST3K: what works, what doesn’t work. Does Tom Servo need to fly? Do they need to make a point of saying it? Is it weird to have known actors on the show (Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day) and does it change the tone or pull you out of the show?
(39:27) Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic… while Cinematic Titanic primarily riffs on older films a la MST3K, Rifftrax can make fun of more modern popular films, which gives them an endless catalogue to choose from. The new MST3K takes this approach in their riffing of Stranger Things.
(42:19) What are some other favorite episodes? Space Mutiny has to be mentioned, and is a great first episode if you’ve never watched the show. If you’re a Renaissance Festival fan, then Quest of the Delta Knights, filmed at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Black Point, Novato, California is sure to get some laughs. Future War with Robert Z’Dar and a great rent-a-center Jean Claude Van Damme fighting really cheesy looking T-Rex aliens is also a gem. Riding with Death is a fun episode that feels like episodes of a bad 70s show akin to the Six Million Dollar Man crammed together into a TV movie and stars Ben Murphy who makes gratuitous use of the term “turkey.”
(53:25) Last but not least, we close with some of the funniest and most memorable moments from the series.
Let us know your favorite MST3K moments – leave ‘em in the comments!