Happy Birthday, MST3K!
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:18 am)

Today is the 22nd anniversary of Mystery Science Theater 3000! Hi keeba!

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Danger on Tiki Island
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:31 am)

Last night my brother Wes and I watched the latest Cinematic Titanic release, Danger on Tiki Island.

Having been a long-time fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, this is an instant classic. While I don't think I enjoy the live versions quite as much as the normal DVD releases, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the jokes. And I can tell you, there were a lot of them!

The story is (roughly) about a scientist and his wife investigating an island after nearby nuclear testing. Accompanying them is a peace corps guy that wants to improve the quality of life of the native population. But a monster is loose on the island, and the natives have reverted to virgin sacrifices on a near-nightly basis. Exactly how they could sustain this level of commitment I can't say.

Did I mention the trees have grabbing tentacles? And the monster suit was ridiculous? Of course I don't need to. Plus, there is a bonus documentary feature.

Don't be afraid to rush out and get the latest installment from Joel, Trace, J. Elvis, Mary Jo, and TV's Frank!

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The Beast of Yucca Flats
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:10 am)

I just finished watching The Beast of Yucca Flats which, like Red Zone Cuba and Skydivers, was directed by Coleman Francis.

Coleman Francis almost out-Ed-Woods-es Ed Woods himself. This movie was all over the place. The narrator mentions flags on the moon and flying saucers, which have absolutely nothing to do with this movie, neither its plot nor dialog. In it, Tor Johnson plays a scientist from behind the Iron Curtain that accidentally absorbs radiation at a missile test site and turns in to a fiendish beast that kills people for fun. Wait, that makes it sound exciting, and it really wasn't. Tor ambles around the desert, and a sheriff hunts him down. But the sheriff spots a stranded motorist and mistakes him for the Beast and shoots at him a bunch of times. He gets back to his car and high-tails it out of there, leaving his wife behind to wait for the kids. He never returns, although his kids do. Tor eventually gets killed when the sheriff finally finds him and that's pretty much it.

This movie had two short films to go with it, since it was mercifully brief itself. The first was a short about budgeting money for high school kids, where the silhouette of Benjamin Franklin instructs a boy on the fine art of not blowing all your money. The second was about "Progress Island," a.k.a. Puerto Rico. It almost convinced me that I should think about Puerto Rico.

I give this movie three empty seats, one for each of the Coleman Francis movies I hope I never have to see again.

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Danger!! Death Ray
Posted in Reviews
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:20 pm)

I watched Danger!! Death Ray earlier today. It's a Spanish/Italian film, dubbed into English and efficiently riffed by the MST3K crew. It's a European-style James Bond-ish film with a spy named Bart Fargo. Unfortunately.

The film starts off with a scientist inventing a death ray for world peace. At the demonstration, the scientist is kidnapped and his project hijacked. So Bart Fargo is called in to save the day. He has several adventures, and most of the women get away from him. So in that way, it's not like an old James Bond film. It also has the best miniatures I've ever seen (end sarcasm). Seriously, I could do their special effects in my tub. As Mike and the 'bots put it "Special effects by Billy!"

I give this movie five empty seats, one for each of the Bond films that came out before this one, and had the director paid attention, would have made this a better picture.

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Red Zone Cuba
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:19 am)

This morning I watched Red Zone Cuba, also known as Night Train to Mundo Fine. Whatever name it is known under, it universally stinks. This movie starred its director, who I'm pretty sure had no script or real plot idea when he started filming this movie. I'm also pretty sure he didn't have either at the end.

Griffin is an escaped con that joins up with two other ex-cons, they get shanghaied into fighting Castro in Cuba (momentarily, anyway), escape back to the same town they left, throw the father of a blind woman down a mine shaft, then drive up into the mountains and get shot. Yup, that about sums it up.

I could smell the stench of this movie emanating from my TV it was that horrible, but the riffing was funny. I give it three empty seats in honor of the three stooges, one of whom (Curly) the director/actor resembled.

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High School Big Shot
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:09 am)

Last night while waiting for Lorien to get home I watched High School Big Shot, a 1950's era movie about a smart kid with a bum father. When a girl comes on to him, the kid is too stupid to realize she's just using him to pass her English class. But he writes her paper, the teacher knows what's going on, and stops the kid's college scholarship chances. Meanwhile, the kids father doesn't work, bums money off the kid, and chugs booze. The kid hears his boss talking about a million dollar drug deal he's doing, so the kid hatches a plan to steal the money from his boss to buy his girl's love. He brings in a couple of guys that can help him crack the safe, and they steal the money, but the quasi-girlfriend tells her real boyfriend about the score so they show up with guns and take the money from the kid and his team. The boyfriend shoots a guy, then shoots the girlfriend for "making him shoot" someone. Then the real drug dealers show up, the kid gets shot, and the cops show up. The father, meanwhile, has hung himself from the chandelier out of shame.

It really wasn't much of a movie, pretty dull as you can probably tell. There was a funny short film at the beginning, though, that was probably better than the movie itself. It was about an angel and a devil betting on the poor habits of a bread delivery man. The angel goes down in disguise to try to influence the man to be a slacker again, but he tells her how much he loves his job and how he does it. Full of minutes of shelf-packing action, this short was too funny.

In all, I give this movie three empty seats, for the asbestos pitchfork ends the devil guy wagered against the angel that the bread guy would go back to being a slacker.

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The Sword and the Dragon
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 1 bell (8:59 pm)

Final review of the night, promise! I watched The Sword and the Dragon a movie full of bearded Russians. Apparently it's folk story, or fairy tale if you wish, about a giant that turns to stone one day and leaves his sword for the next champion to pick up. But that sword is carried around by pilgrims who find a big man that can't use his legs. So the pilgrims give him a magic elixir, and he regains his strength. They give him the sword, and he goes out to fight the evil Mongols that are invading his homeland. He befriends the prince, who later throws him in the dungeon for 20 years or so. Meanwhile, his wife had a baby boy, and was captured by the Mongols, whose King raises the boy as his own.

When the Mongols return some 20 years later, the prince realizes his mistake and lets the hero out of the dungeon. He then fights the Mongols. When he fights his son, he realizes who he is and tells him. The young man immediately believes him, and swears vengeance on the Mongols. They rescue his mother and defeat the Mongols.

I give this movie three empty seats for the number of minutes a dragon was actually in this movie. Yes, I counted.

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Racket Girls
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 1 bell (8:43 pm)

Racket Girls was one of the worst movies I've had to sit through in a long time, but fortunately for me it had the best short film at the beginning: Are You Ready for Marriage?, a gem of a short film as long as you see it with Mike and the 'bots.

More Boing!

Anyway, Racket Girls was about female wrestlers. And before you think that's hot, think about your grandmother as a female wrestler. Now you've got the right idea. That's what this film was like. Long, long scenes of your grandma in her gym shorts wrestling. And it had one really short Italian guy. I don't think he was a midget because he was taller than Danny DeVito (at least he looks like it), and that's where I draw the line. Anyone shorter than Danny is a midget, and anyone taller is a short person. Danny himself is the line, he doesn't count.

So the movie was about wrestling, and gambling, and how you can't corrupt the pure sport of female wrestling. Or Wrassling, however they say it. This movie was horrid, but the riffing was priceless. You need to see it just for the short film. I give it two empty seats for the two female pro "wrasslers" that wouldn't throw their match and corrupt the sport they love.

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Kitten With a Whip
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:29 pm)

And then there's Kitten With a Whip, an old Ann-Margret movie. Apparently the director did several really good Twilight Zone episodes, and was a much better storyteller than most directors of movies that MST3K usually gets.

And the movie really was much better than normal, and certainly had some of that Twilight Zone surrealism in it. Jody, a troubled teen, attacks her guardian and escapes from reform school, crashes in a political candidate's home while he's out. The candidate returns, but his wife and daughter are out of town. He discovers Jody, tries to help her, and all she does is take advantage of him. She manipulates him, invites her crazy friends over, and they make him drive them to Mexico. On the way, she runs over one of her friends, the other gets a bad razor slash to the arm. When they get to Mexico, they try to get revenge on Jody, where the candidate guy once again tries to save her when he realizes how much trouble she is in with her "friends."

The end up crashing their cars, the two friends dying instantly. Jody lived long enough to exonerate the candidate guy so nobody suspected anything bad of him. I think this movie deserves two empty seats, for the kitten and the whip that never appear in the movie.

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San Francisco International
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:03 pm)

Up next is San Francisco International, another test pilot for a TV show that didn't make it.

The movie wasn't as bad as some of the others in this season (some still to come!), but the riffing was great. The movie was about a money heist. A pilot's wife is kidnapped so they can force him to delay his plane from taking off. In the meantime, other accomplices steal money from a plane (it was being shipped by air for some reason), and in a genius move put the money into boxes they were shipping along with the money, removing the ballast they originally had in the boxes. The getaway guy gets nabbed, but they only recover a bundle of old magazines. Fortunately for the good guys, they figure out what must have happened, and find the loot, which they put back on the delayed plane so they can nab the bandits red-handed later.

During all this, there's a side plot with a top newspaper reporter and his estranged wife and child. The kid loves flying, so he walks out on the tarmac and gets into a piper and manages to start it up and take off (somehow). I guess this was the kid acting out from the inattention of his parents or something. So some other pilot guy gets in a plane and talks the boy into landing the plane. Everybody lives, and they couple get back together due to the shared peril of their son.

And the TV series never gets made. I give this movie one empty seat for the sunglasses the piper's owner was supposedly looking for that allowed the kid to climb in his plane, start the engine, and fly it away.

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The Sinister Urge
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:48 pm)

Ah, another Ed Wood film. The Sinister Urge is about just that—it's a film about the evils of pornography. When some girls are being found dead in a local park, cops suspect foul play as they are girls that were featured in photos and movies by a local porno-ring.

I understand the point this movie is trying to make, but it was made by Ed Wood! Rife with horrid, dry acting and scene cutting (I believe even scenes from other movies were pasted in to this one), it was just a bad film.

I rate this movie one empty seat, for Ed Wood, who actually put himself in a came in this movie.

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The Starfighters
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:39 pm)

Next up, The Starfighters! Guess what? It has nothing to do about fighting in the stars. Or anything remotely science fiction.

This movie was a 1960's advertisement to be an Air Force pilot. It was the 60's' version of that awful movie Top Gun. Except there was no combat. Yes! No combat! This movie was all about flying jets around, and had long (really long) refueling scenes. Seriously, there was next to no content in this travesty of film-making. There was a teacher, and a couple of pilot trainees. They flew some training missions. One guy crashed once because of a storm. One trainee's dad was a senator that wanted him to fly something other than jets. Did I mention the airborne refueling? They did lots of that. Then they got dispatched to Europe! Then the movie was over. Seriously, no action at all, unless you count the chaperoned make-out session in the front seat of a convertible.

In all honesty, I can only rate this movie an entire empty theater of seats. Seriously, somebody spent real money making this crap! Unbelievable!

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Last of the Wild Horses
Posted in Reviews
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:31 pm)

I watched Last of the Wild Horses the other day, since I was sick at home. In fact, I watched seven episodes and you're going to hear about them all. I know, I never shut up…

So anyway, it's a western. The odd thing about this movie is that, during the opening host sequence, Dr. F and TV's Frank send a "matter transference" device up to the SOL during an ion storm and cause a dimensional swap—now there are evil, alternate versions of Mike, the bots, etc (ala Star Trek) and the Mad Scientists are on the SOL watching and riffing the first part of the movie. What I remember most is probably all the gay cowboy jokes. They were many.

There were two girls in the film, and I kept getting them mixed up. Typical of a bad film, but still, I was confused a lot. There was at least one comedy relief guy, and scenes of horses running around. Not so memorable, really. Certainly nothing science fiction-y, except for the alternate evil twin parts of the host segment.

I give this movie two empty seats, one for each of the women in this film that I could never really tell apart.

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The Violent Years
Posted in Reviews
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:15 pm)

Season Six, Episode Ten ladies and gentlemen! Directed by the one and only Ed Wood! It's The Violent Years starring young out-of-control girls on a rampage!

Paula, the daughter of a newspaper editor has everything she ever wanted, except the attention of her parents. Somehow this young girl that gets a new convertible every year decides her life sucks and goes out with her three girlfriends in search of adventure with guns. They rob gas stations, albeit somewhat slowly, and trash a school classroom. They throw pajama parties and invite boys! They shoot at cops when they get caught! They all die except Paula, who gets sentenced to life in prison, where she has her baby out of wedlock!

And to top it off, when her parents try to adopt Paula's baby girl, the judge denies them because they raised Paula so poorly. He even recommends they get some religion! I have to give this movie two unloved, neglected seats: one for Paula and one for her baby that must grow up a ward of the state until adequate parents are found.

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Skydivers
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:18 am)

Well, one more horrible movie down. I just watched Skydivers, perhaps one of the poorest movies every put to film. There was no acting to speak of, the plot was barely discernible, and it was boring to boot. The movie was about, well, skydiving. But only a little bit. It was torture to watch, even with Mike and the 'bots helping make it more bearable.

I give this movie two empty seats, one for each of the guys that hit the ground without a working parachute. Kind of like this movie did.

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