In the not too distant future, though probably not next Sunday, AD, we will once again be graced by three goofballs sitting in front of a movie screen cracking wise at the worst movies the world has to offer. I will rejoice on that day, as will millions of others who grew up with MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Until that day comes, we will have to fill our time with ten years of episodes.
To be sure, not every MST episode is a home run. The early episodes have long lulls between jokes – the gang was still figuring out how the show would work, after all, and some episodes are good, but missing that extra edge. Hey, not every episode can be MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. Personally, I can watch CAVE DWELLERS over and over, but for those of you who like your snark with a bit more horror, or the few who don’t really know MST3k all that well, allow us to suggest a few episodes that can help you find your way. Here we present five of the… let’s say weirdest… horror films that Joel, Mike, and the bots watched for us (that aren’t MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE)…
THE TOUCH OF SATAN
Spoiler Free Plot: An oblivious wanderer ends up on a walnut farm where he falls in love with a not-very-bright girl whose grandma is as deadly as she is creepy looking.
THE TOUCH OF SATAN is one of my personal favorite episodes of MST. It is used late into the series, after the show moved from Comedy Central to Sci-Fi, now Syfy. The movie itself is filled with mumbling, bad makeup, terrible editing, and long periods of nothing happening – perfect for the MST crew.
The director of THE TOUCH OF SATAN made two other films, both of them dealing with a middle-aged man who slept with the babysitter. The guy knows what he likes, I guess. The writer also wrote a film called MISSION TO DEATH which I am now making my life goal to see. That is a perfect title.
MERLIN’S SHOP OF MAGICAL WONDERS
Spoiler Free Plot: During a power outage, Ernest Borgnine frightens the shit out of a kid by reading from the most evil script ever written.
MERLIN’S SHOP OF MAGICAL WONDERS is another late-in-the-run episode for MST, and the complete disregard for the movie Mike and the bots are watching is fully understandable. It is a terrible movie. A simply terrible, terrible movie. Broken into two stories and connected by a shop Merlin the magician opens in Glendale, the movie dares the viewer to kill themselves rather than watching another minute.
Originally, MERLIN’S SHOP OF MAGICAL WONDERS was titled THE DEVIL’S GIFT, which was a full on rip-off of Stephen King’s story, THE MONKEY. THE DEVIL’S GIFT was edited down to be the second story in MERLIN’S SHOP OF MAGICAL WONDERS.
RING OF TERROR
Spoiler Free Plot: A medical school student who fears nothing actually has a pretty reasonable fear.
If I were to list my five favorite MST episodes, this would be on there. I love RING OF TERROR from start to finish – there is not a single joke I don’t laugh at in this one. Joel does have a joke that, by today’s standards, is rather racist, but I still find it endlessly hilarious.
This is a very early MST episode, hitting in season two, and is one of the first ones where you can tell that the MST gang has figured out the formula. The characters of Joel, Tom Servo, and Crow are completely understood, including what kinds of jokes each of them would make. That is a real secret to the comedy of MST – each character has their own specific sense of humor.
I’m willing to bet that, if you watch this one, you will spend days yelling out “Puma!… Puma!” and thinking about people’s wrists and how cute or ugly those wrists are.
Spoiler Free Plot: Martin Sheen’s brother becomes a werewolf in the most insane way possible
Yet another late-in-the-series episode, WEREWOLF slays me. A lot of the jokes are real mean, making fun of Adriana Stastny’s terrible acting and accent – she is like a prototype of Tommy Wiseau in some ways.
Lucky for us, there is also Joe Estevez, brother of Martin Sheen. It is clear that Martin got all the acting talent, but damn if Joe doesn’t give it his all. Also, there’s a scene that may be one of the weirdest scenes in film history. I won’t give it away, but Dictator for Life Santa is part of it.
The movie is a mess of insanity and random haircuts.
THE KILLER SHREWS
Spoiler Free Plot: A group of idiots get stuck on an island with giant killer shrews
I honestly can’t believe there are only two Joel episodes on here. This is a great disservice to him, and the first five seasons of MST3k, but how can I not have put WEREWOLF on the list?
This is certainly the cutest of the movies on this list. The dogs dressed as shrews are adorable, though you can tell they are very uncomfortable in their costumes. The acting is full on 50s B-movie bad, as are the sets and special fx. What more could you expect from the director of THE GIANT GILA MONSTER?
This movie does have a problem that plagues a lot of MST movies – the audio is horrible, you can barely understand what the people in THE KILLER SHREWS are saying for large portions of the film. Still, Joel and the bots keep it fun.
Haven’t seen these? The good news is that they are all available for rent online! You can get them on YouTube, among other sites. You can also buy the MST DVDs from Shout! Factory. There are over 30 sets already! Get to it!
In the meantime, what are some of your favorite MST episodes? Let us know on our Facebook page!