KTMA-X-3-"Phase IV" (1974)-Color-Interesting film about ants who somehow become super-strength thanks to some unexplained phenomenon which occured in space. Widely acclaimed in its day, but looks dated and a bit too arty for its own good today.  Two "scientists", Nigel Davenport and Michael Murphy seek to discover more about the highly-intelligent insects by destroying their three story anthills, only to face their wrath.  A farmgirl (Lynne Frederick) is introduced to do nothing more than lie around and break things.  Conclusion is silly and confusing.  Directed by Saul bass, whose most famous production up until that time was "Rudoulph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". A B-.

K11-"Humanoid Woman" (1981)-Color-Horrible Czechoslovakian film proves that the Japanese culture isn't the only one that Sandy Frank can degrade, and he actually outdoes himself with the sheer awfulness of this one.  Richard Victor- directed movie begins as two astronauts come across a derelic spacecraft with motionless, floating German models inside.  The only one with any sign of life turns out to be Leah (Helen Metelkine), a saucer-eyed cross between Twiggy and Annie Lennox, with Dennis Rodman hair.  Acting like a robot was certainly no stretch for this performer, who is taken from the ship to live with the family
of a top scientist (Mady Sementsov).  Leah has unintentionally hilarious powers (she can move real fast and go in and out of invisibility), while chairs and grass seem to fascinate her.  The family tries to deal with her the best they can, being that she's such a horrible actress, and the dopey son even falls in love with her.  The scientist also owns the stupidest robot since the one in "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians." It looks like a chest of drawers, sounds like Rosie, from "The Jetsons," and cleans up messes with the backing sound of a toilet flushing.  Evendently, Leah's home planet of Dessa, is dying because of pollution, so Sementsov and family take off with their android in tow, to try and save it.  The trip serves only to bombard us with unnecessary "arty" shots, and to introduce us to another ridiculous droid.  All the while, Leah keeps having these flashbacks about her creator, sort of a futuristic Conway Twitty with Peter Cushing's voice, and later she wears a variety of wigs that make her look like Rhoda, Louise Brooks, and Sally Struthers, from the first season of "All In The Family."  She also goes into a trance whenever she hears a Jew's harp, but then again, who doesn't?  Film is much too talky and arty for it's own good, and, as Crow says, "a real yawnfest.", with one of the worst musical soundtracks since "The Skydivers."  But, part of the reason movie is so boring
must be laid directly on Joel and Co.  They let FAR too many opportunities go by without saying ANYTHING, plus they leave the theatre several minutes BEFORE a scene actually ends.  If these same films were shown on MST3K today, they would be hilarious, but in the early days, the lack of quality writing was more than evident.  Especially in the skits, which included the robots playing tag (lame), Servo trying to pick up a blender (updated better in Season One), and an upside down scene as a tribute to Salvador Dali (pathetic).  Watch for Gypsy, who looks like a gold grocery store basket with Josh Weinstein's voice (soundling like
Rochester from the old "Jack Benny Program"), and a bizarre-looking Cambot. If the KTMA shows proved one thing, it was that Josh cannot sing (though he does, over and over again) and Joel cannot do impressions.  A dull Sandy Frank film like "Fugitive Alien," is watchable because of the quality of MiSTing thrown at it.  KTMA episodes do not have such riffs to fall back on, therefore, other than the novelty factor, they are a chore to watch.  A "D" all the way around.

KTMA-X-1-"SST: Death Flight" (aka "Disaster In The Sky") (1977)-Color- An airline film populated by such a collection of has-beens and never-weres would not grace the MST3K screen again until "San Francisco International"  came along seven years later.  The late Robert Reed took a few days off of "The Love Boat Set" to fly Bert Convey ("Tattletales"), Doug McClure ("Out Of This World"), Peter "A&E's Biography" Graves, Tina "Ginger" Louise, Brock Peters ("To Kill A Mockingbird"), Bugess Meredith ("Batman", "Rocky"), and Martin Milner and George Maharis (both of "Route 66") on a slow-paced trans-Atlantic jaunt.  Maharis is ticked at the airline, so he sabotages the hydralic tanks causing the Concorde and the film, itself, to lose all directional capabilities.  To add insult to injury, Peters informs Reed that some biological toxins have been released, so no European country will allow them to land.  With Lorne Green, late of "Griff, talking them down, the craft finally plunges into the desert near Dakar, killing Graves and Meredith, but somehow sparing the sleazy Convey.  With four stars having passed on since it was made, "SST: Death Flight" remains tied with "Poltergeist" as the most accursed movie in modern times.  One only need to view
the picture to realize that.  Lok for interesting cameos of Regis Philbin and Billy Crystal (playing it straight). A definate D in my grade book. Horrible just for the goofy "special" effect (the same cheap shot of an SST flying over various rear projected images), alone.

KTMA-X-4-"Superdome" (1978)-Color-The first thing you hear is Charlie Jones saying that the Superbowl is one of the most exciting games in all sports. That, in itself, is absurd in light of the recent history of the game.  Then we are greeted by Bubba Smith (who ever said this man could ACT?!) getting off a plane (a COMMERCIAL one, at that), as a member of a participating team, and looking like a reject from a "Saturday Night Fever" audition.  He's joined by another non-talents, Dick Butkus, Tom Sellack and Ken Howard, as players, and David Jansen, Edie Adams, Ed Nelson and Van Johnson, as various other sorts. Thin plot has Donna Mills trying to electrocute Selleck in the jaccuzi and Jansen stopping him in the nick of time ("Don't get in that whirlpool!"). Joel and the robots clamor for the game to start, but all they get is Jones, in another voice over, saying, that "in three hours the game will be history, but the moment will live in the players' hearts forever."  Fumble, no score.  I give it a D.

KTMA-X-19-"The Million Eyes Of Su-Muru" (1967) Bad Color-Shirley Eaton stars as Su-Muru, a blonde bombshell, who nevertheless has her blue eyes firmly focused on world domination, which she hopes to achieve with her bevy of female soldiers, each of whom is light years more talented (and pleasant to look at) than George "Robot Monster" Nader and Frankie "Venus" Avalon, who play the good guys.  Throw in a barely understandable Wilfred Hyde-White and Klaus Kinski, who, in a hilarious scene, is converted into a slab of granite, and you have the makings of one horrible film.  Made even more so when the inept Nader and Avalon triumph in the end.  Film ends with an exploding island.  How many times have we seen THAT one?

KTMA-X-20-"Hangar 18" (1980)-Color I saw this one when it was first released, and thought it was just plain stupid.  I saw it MiSTed and came to the same conclusion.  Darren McGavin, who I liked in the "Kolchak: Night Stalker" series and in the film, "A Christmas Story", plays a scientist who studies a UFO housed in a government warehouse, hence the name Hangar 18.  Gary Collins and James Hampton (Dobbs of "F-Troop") are two astronauts whose encounter with the thing in orbit left one of their companion's dead.  Their efforts to seek the truth lead to their own demises and the nuking of the hangar by the evil U.S. officials, lead by Robert Vaughn and Joseph Campanella.  Interesting twist at end of film is about the only positive thing I can say about it.

K20-"The Last Chase" (1981)-Color-Between "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Fall Guy", minor star Lee Majors (whose biggest accomplishment was that he was once married to Farrah-Fawcet) appeared in this silly piece of tripe about an epidempic, a world-wide oil shortage, a government conspiracy, and a littel red Corvette, er, make that Porsche.  We're told, in a flashback film being shown to a group of people, that Majors, who plays Frank Hart, was once a Formula One racing superstar ("He finished second at LeMans.") before a crash he caused took the life of another driver.  He retired, saw an unnamed pandemic kill his family, and twenty years later, he works promoting mass transit to the uninformed masses. Private autos have been obselete since there is no more petroleum to fuel them.  Instead we get unintenionally hilarious shots of police putting around in little golf carts-which is REAL threatening for such an overseeing, all-powerful Big Brother-type organization, which has a camera seemingly EVERYWHERE.  Tired of the lies, and seeing an illegal broadcast of freedom fighters in California, Hart teams up with goofy computer hacker, "Ring" (Chris Makepeace-"Breaking Away"), digs up his buried Porsche, and hits the highway.  Film now turns into a sorry, futuristic version of "Then Came Bronson",  combined with "Vanishing Point",  and the worst elements of the Hope-Crosby  "Road"  pictures. Majors and Makepeace have as much onscreen buddy chemistry as O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson, and their efforts to "bond" are clumsy and embarrassing.  The duo then meet a motley crew of "survivors" (some indians, a love interest, and a senile old goat wearing a police uniform), and hold a bizarre, post-apocalyptic squaredance and hoedown before they're massacred.  Meanwhile all the government can do to stop the two is to send 75-year-old Burgess Meredith to chase them in a Sabre jet, and fire a lame laser beam contraption at cacti.  The chicken fight with Meredith is also ridiculous,  with the plane and car speeding towards one another at 200 mph, it means that both would have had to have been 30 miles away to begin with,  yet they see each other clearly. Needless to say, Majors and his lackey make it to California and the film ends.  More disappointing than the film, however, is the total lack of decent MiSTing coming from Joel and the robots. They engage in way, WAY too much singing, and Joel even says, "Shhh!" to them while they're trying to comment on the movie!  Could drive a Mac truck through the holes between riffs in this one, folks.  Skits include teaching the robots about the conscience, and the others are nothing more than reading LETTERS,  with Ms. Gidget Howe's being the 1,000th fan club epistle (she won a Demon Dog hat for her effort). Interesting to see a commercial for Joel (with long hair) appearing at the Comedy Gallery night club, but other cheesy ads (live, phone-in sex lines, Nordic Trak, and cheap, local mechandising, leave no doubt why KTMA folded like a cardtable made in Japan).  I've always attested that all MST3K fans should have at least one KTMA episode, just for history's sake, but dull movie and virtually NO jokes make for a D- grade, and makes Season One's writing look like "Citizen Kane" by comparison.
 

LEGEND OF THE DINOSAUR-KTMA

    "Legend of the Dinosaur" (Japanese, 1983) Color - In the episode's opening scene, Clay and Larry are trying to raise money for a new theme park, Six Flags Over 10 to the 12th Power, by promoting a "Joel Is Dead" campaign. Trace actually says it will pump money into the "video marketing arm of 'Mystery Science Theatre'!"
    Joel "sings" the Beatles' "Come Together" as this putrid piece of Sandy Frank crap (directed by Junji Kurata) opens in a forest where an idiotic woman falls into a pit. It's no ordinary plothole, though. This one is filled with huge hatching dinosaur eggs. Story gets more ridiculous and convoluted from there, with characters (badly-dressed Japanese "actors" in garish late 1970s styles) who wander in and out, a bizarre "love" scene with cheap, pornographic movie background music, and a dumb storyline about a
Japanese Loch Ness monster (a Plesiosaurus who only attacks a horse and a swimming woman, ala "Jaws," in a creepy, slow motion sequence). Oh, dinosaurs seem to cause "magnitude five" earthquakes, Asians LIKE country and western hoedown concerts, and there's a Nipponese reporter trying to uncover the truth, as if ANYONE cares.
    No one cares mainly because the MiSTings of these KTMA years, as I have alluded to in past reviews, is downright awful! Some examples include, (during the opening credits) "Sounds like 'Shaft.' Who's the teradachtyl who's a sex machine and not a hack? Dinosaur Shaft! Dinosaur Shaft is just one bad (shut your mouth), but I'm just talkin' 'bout Dinosaur Shaft!"; "It's Brooke Shields, the Creature from the Blue Lagoon."; "I came here to dress that doll."; "The weather today-muggy, tomorrow-tuggy, followed by wuggy and thuggy."; "You A-MAIZE me!"; "It's raining cat's and dog's blood!"; "Up against the wall, redneck mamasons!" ; "The dinosaur cut the power lines." ; "I'm so drunk I might fall into this lake here." ; "It's a rockin' egg roll!" ; "His nose could use a trim." ; and "After 20 weeks, Joel Hodgson snaps a twig!" I'm not a particularly stupid person, but I had NO clue as to what these references meant in the context of the film.
   Dark, dreary, confusing movie is not helped by long gaps in jokes, although it probably is the first time the Brains ever used the pun of humming the "Theme From 'M*A*S*H'" while a helicopter is taking off onscreen.
    Another big problem was that Joel and Josh continue to break out in song ("My Guy," "A Heartbeat is a Lovebeat," "The Girl From Ipanema," among others), even though neither could carry a tune if it came equipped with handles. But they don't just "sing" one line, they keep going and going until you just want to slap them.
    The skits were also pathetic (Joel is "captured," by use of rear projection and a big inflatable hand, by a huge little kid, Ralph Smith; Tom and Crow in a stupid sitcom simulation, done better as "My White Goddess,"; and Joel teaching the robots about "Japanese movie magic" with the aid of a fire-breathing Godzilla toy, also used in a later, better episode), which show no real work, imagination, rehearsal or effort.
    Again, it is interesting to see a long-haired Hodgson in a commercial for his Monday appearances at the Comedy Gallery River Place, with many of his later MST3K invention exchange gadgets (narrated by an enamoured Kevin Murphy), as well as their closing statement, "If you like the show, write in and tell the station," but the dull movies just weren't interesting without a great majority of decent riffs to keep one interested.
    Not that ALL of them were bad, mind you. Some, like "I didn't know you could be retarded in such a big group."; "That was no boating accident!"; "This is what's known in film lingo as FILLER."; "At least this is better than 'The Wall'."; "Too bad she survived the fall, now she's gotta be in the film."; "Boy, that No. 2 dental floss is really gonna help him repel down that mountain."; and "Oh, THAT looked real.", are okay for their time, but most of the MiSTing is just Joel and Co. repeating the what the actors just
said, only more sarcastically.
    The closer has the trio talking about what they will do over the summer (since it's the last show of the season). Crow is going to Space Camp (boring premise), Tom is going to fill his head with cocoa butter and surf 'til he drops (real funny), and Joel is going to work on his Bob Hope impersonation. If his lame attempt at the time is any indication, he'll need a lot longer than three months to accomplish THAT. They then do a few bad Exxon Valdez jokes and sign off until Season One. Thank goodness. A D- grade for this one, and I'm being VERY generous.
 
 

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