Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fourteen Movies MST3K Should Riff




If you were a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you no doubt know that it is being rebooted, thanks to the successful Bring Back MST3K  Kickstarter campaign launched by Joel Hodgson, the creator and original host.

MST3K
Things couldn't get worse for the MST3K crew
MST3K's reincarnation will have a new host, new Mads and new robot voices. Comedian Jonah Ray will play the show's third host, whose character will be named Jonah Heston in honour of Charlton Heston. Felicia Day will play Kinga Forrester, one of the new Mads who happens to be the daughter of original Mad, Clayton Forrester. Kinga's henchman will be portrayed by Patton Oswalt as TV's Son of TV's Frank which should be self-explanatory to any self-respecting MSTie. Comedians Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn (Maltin On Movies) will voice Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo.

Hodgson's campaign goal was to raise a minimum of $2 million for at least 3 new episodes. If that amount was raised with time left, stretch goals were in place to allow more donations for more episodes. The hope was to raise $5.5 million to fund 12 episodes.

Not only did the campaign raise enough money for 12 episodes, an additional 2 were added, thanks to stretch goals announced on a streaming telethon on the final day. Despite the telethon being filled with technical glitches, it was an enormous success, enabling MST3K to become the largest fund-raising Kickstarter campaign in the Film and Video category. It surpassed the previous mark set by Veronica Mars.

In case you weren't keeping count, that brings the total of new MST3K episodes to 14. This will include a Christmas episode, which Hodgson announced as one of the stretch goals during the telethon.

Production on the new season has already begun. Hodgson has mentioned that he will not reveal in advance which movies they will be riffing because he likes to keep an element of surprise to the show. You could say he puts the mystery in MST3K.

Regardless of which movies they end up deciding to skewer, I will enjoy the show's return. However, I have my own personal list of movies that I would love to see the new cast riff. Some of these will be obvious choices, others not so much.

Fourteen Movies MST3K Should Riff
 
1. THINGS

A straight-to-video, Canadian horror movie made by a couple of guys who seemed to have been inspired by a large consumption of beer. In an effort to generate excitement for the movie, one of its writers/stars appeared on a TV program and stated that the budget was $350,000 when in fact it was made for around $35,000. The audio, acting, dialogue and directing are atrocious. I'm confident that Joel Hodgson would find this much worse than Manos: The Hands of Fate. Had it been possible, the filmmakers of THINGS probably could have used some pointers from Hal Warren. By the way, it features porn star Amber Lynn as a newscaster and she does not remove her clothes once. The crew of the Satellite of Love needs to experience THINGS. Dare I say, this would probably be the cruelest experiment to which the Mads could ever subject them.

2. Mac and Me

Also known as the world's longest commercial ad for McDonald's. I'm not kidding. Ronald McDonald even has a role in it and starred in one of its promotional trailers. The young alien appears to grow two feet when disguised in the teddy bear costume. Also, how gullible do you have to be to believe a toy Teddy bear can dance like that? Wouldn't the other kids ask where they can buy one too? In those days, kids' minds were blown by Teddy Ruxpin, a toy with limited mouth movement that spoke by playing a cassette tape embedded in its back.

3. Science Crazed

For you young filmmakers out there, there 's probably no better example on how to pad a movie if you find that your film's running time is a little short. A few examples are to recycle as many shots as you can, pause for 10 seconds after every line and when in doubt just film an aerobics class for an hour and insert as much of that footage as you can get away with.

4. The Pit

Sub-par acting by the bowl-haircut child star, leads to some unintentionally humourous moments in this otherwise creepy horror film. It's a Canadian production but it was shot in Wisconsin. It's based on a book that was much more serious in tone but the director decided to take some liberties, for better or worse.

5. The Room

Despite being relatively new, this movie has already gained legendary cult status. Director and star Tommy Wiseau recites his lines with the strangest inflections and sometimes performs his scenes as if it's a race. Some actor's want a second take for a chance to do a scene better. Wiseau seems like he would do a second take to see if he could do it faster.

6. Captain America (1990)

The Captain is some guy who happens to be the son of The Catcher in the Rye - well the author, anyway. This superhero has rubber ears which you can't take your eyes off. His greatest super power is giving someone the slip by feigning an illness. This movie also reunites half of the starring cast of Deliverance which featured scary rednecks as opposed to a less scary Red Skull.

7. Sting Of Death

The movie might be bad but at least you can learn the latest dance craze that's sweeping the nation with musical instructions from Neil Sedaka.

Somebody needs to pour some more chlorine into that swimming pool because the algae seems to be growing an arm.

8. Foodfight!

To my knowledge, MST3K has never featured an animated movie but Foodfight! is so ridiculous and terrible in so many ways, it is deserving of a major riffing. The rendering of the animation appears unfinished because the creators claim the original animation was stolen from their computer hard drives and it had to be redone in quick fashion. I've seen the original trailer and believe me, the animation was not much better. There's lots of inappropriate humour for a kids movie. At one point there's an upskirt shot of a character voiced by Hillary Duff. Charlie Sheen voices the lead character and phones in his performance with a myriad of awful puns. The creators foolishly claimed that the animation was going to blow away what Toy Story had done.



9. Troll 2

This choice is a no-brainer since Patton Oswalt will be part of the rebooted version of MST3K as TV's Son of TV's Frank. Oswalt was once being interviewed by a guy who turned out to be the actor who played the OMG guy in Troll 2. Oswalt was so excited to meet him that he turned the tables and became the interviewer.

Someone on YouTube had the perfect comment for this;
"I'm interviewing Patton Oswalt ... and then he's going to interview me! ... Oh my Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd!"

10. Birdemic

Apparently, Birdemic was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. What better way to pay tribute to that than with clip art special effects and animated GIFs.

11. The Thing With Two Heads

Take one look at the trailer's thumbnail image and and you know instantly that this is riff material. Even Trailers From Hell has fun with it. Ray Milland must have been beside himself to star in this movie.


12. King Kong Escapes

It doesn't get and cheesier than King Kong vs. King Bot.

Dr. Who, an evil genius, builds a robotic Kong to dig for highly radioactive Element X but when its circuits get fried, he go after the real King Kong. This begs the question; if you're going to build a robot to dig for you, why would you give it the appearance of a giant gorilla? Also, could they not make a better gorilla suit instead of renting the cheapest one from the costume shop?

13. Psycho Pike

This may be the Canadian equivalent of Manos: The Hands of Fate. That comparison is not because Psycho Pike is as horrible as Manos but because it's been practically lost for over twenty years. It's so obscure that the only way to watch it is by being resourceful and obtaining a screener copy. The film's low budget is responsible for some riff-worthy moments. It was revealed on a Facebook page called Where is PSYCHO PIKE?? that the film negative has been located so it's not out of the question that MST3K could get their hands on it. Reel it in guys!

14. The Christmas Martian

When the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter Campaign was nearing its end, Joel Hodgson announced that they would do a Christmas episode as one of their stretch goals.

What could be better - or worse depending on how you look at it - than The Christmas Martian? It's another obscure Canadian film that was originally in French and dubbed into English. All you need to really know about this hour-long 1971 film though, is that the Martian's name is Poo Flower.

Bonus

Since The Christmas Martian is only an hour long, it can be paired up with A Visit to Santa Claus which is mercifully short.



As of now, there's no official release date for the new episodes of MST3K but be patient because in the not-too-distant future, you might see one of these movies featured on the show.

In the meantime, enjoy this great reworked version of MST3K's theme song by Freezepop's Ashley Holtgraver -- who sent in a letter to MST3K when she was 8 years old. (keep in mind that these are old videos and the campaign has ended so don't ask how to donate)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bowling and the B.C. Butcher



Parker Love Bowling
B.C. Butcher poster girl, Parker Love Bowling
Kansas Bowling might sound like a character from Zombieland but her moniker is not the only unique thing about her. For example, Kansas co-wrote her first movie at the age of 15, directed it at 17 and had it released through Lloyd Kaufman's Troma Entertainment at 19. B.C. Butcher is a campy, pre-historic, slasher film that features appearances by Kato Kaelin, Rodney Bigenheimer, The Ugly Kids and narrated by Kadeem Hardison. The budget for her movie was around $10,000 which she partially raised through Indiegogo and the rest from waiting tables. She also shot it on 16 mm film, refusing to compromise with much less expensive digital video that might not have the aesthetics for which she strives.

Thomas Becker of Beautiful Bodies described it as "if Russ Meyer directed The Monkees."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Beast from Twenty Zillion Years Ago



dinosaur
The two-headed dinosaur
Stop-motion animator Ryan Lengyel describes his short movie with the following:  

The stop-motion story of a two-headed dinosaur, and his struggles in the modern world. My tribute to Ray Harryhausen, Kaiju films, Jack Harris, Dinosaurs Attack trading cards, etc...

I found out about Ryan's work by listening to an episode of The B-Movie Cast  and this is certainly a great homage to the B-movie genre. The movie even ends with the familiar trope of showing a question mark after The End.

Sure enough, The Beast from Twenty Zillion Years Ago was followed up by a sequel called Night of the Beast (from twenty zillion years ago)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Manos Returns: The Link to Donate"



Tom Neyman as The Master
"Manos will be served!"
If you're familiar with this blog, then you know that Manos: The Hands of Fate is a guilty pleasure of mine. Ever since I watched it for the first time, I was obsessed with finding out as much as I could about its history. I love all things related to Manos. Therefor, it should come as no surprise that when Jackey Neyman Jones launched a Kickstarter campaign to make a sequel called Manos Returns, I immediately backed it and started spreading the word.

In the past, I've been inspired to create my own tributes to Manos, including a mockumentary of a documentary, a Christmas spoof, a movie poster and several parody videos with Torgo. So as you can see, my love for Manos is genuine. 

The greatest thing about Manos Returns is that The Master himself approves, as you'll see at the end in the campaign video. Tom Neyman will appear in the sequel. From the projects description, it sounds like Diane Mahree (Magaret) will also be in it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dragon's Lair Indiegogo Campaign

I was fortunate enough to see Don Bluth in person once when he was giving a lecture. At the time, he was working on All Dogs Go to Heaven and we were treated to some pencil-test animation of a few scenes of the film.

Now he's attempting to get a movie made based on the Dragon's Lair video game.

If you want to donate to the Indiegogo campaign, click on the link.
 

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