402-"The Giant Gila Monster" (1959)-The
title pretty much says it all in this
Texas-made laugher that once palyed on a double bill with "The (Attack Of The)
Killer Shrews" (see #407). Don Sullivan ("The Rebel Set") stars as good-teen-
with-bad-reputation, Chace Winstead, who in between hot-roddin' and making out
with sexy girl grip, Lisa (Lisa Simone-poor accent and all), must take care of
his fatherless family, which includes Ma and a little sister in leg braces.
This touching family drama, however, is interrupted by a rear projected lizard
from Pet World that occasionally rummages through a miniature set. Later, our
cold-blooded villian wrecks a couple of cars, derails a train and messes up a
perfectly boring teen sock hop, before being roasted in an unintentionally
hilarious conclusion. If that doesn't hurt enough, Sullivan also "sings" two
classics; "I Sing Whenever I Sing" and "The Lord Said Laugh". Look for character
actors Shug Fisher and Fred Graham as the drunk and sheriff, respectively. Ken
Knox, a local, untalented Houston D.J. also has a bit part. Great riffing,
though overcomes bad film, and the sketch, "Servo On Film" is one of their best.
A "B" episode.
403-"City Limits" (1985)-James Earl Jones,
notwithstanding, this film sucks, and
even Best Brains cannot elevate it. Another group of unlikable teenage hoodlums
roam around on motorcycles after another world holocaust, this time a plague
which wipes out everyone over 30 (sounds like a lame version of "Wild In The
Streets"). Better than "Robot Holocaust", but much, much worse that the Mad Max
films, better to spend two hours knitting, reading or trimming nosehairs. A "D"
all the way.
404-"Teenagers From Outer Space" (aka-"The
Gargon Terror") (1959)-Ultra-cult
cheapie from the mind of Tom Graeff, who, in a vain effort to be another Orson
Welles (or even Ed Wood, Jr.) wrote, starred, produced and directed. Floppy
plot has several late 20 year-old teens landing in California to establish a
feeding ground for their main food supply, the Gargons (which are nothing more
than crawfish in a goldfish bowl). These crustations are supposedly able to grow
1,000 times their own size, so sensitive alien, Derek (David Love) mutinies and
takes a powder into town, only to be trailed by the sadistic Thor (Bryan Grant).
Derek takes a room at Grampa Morgan's (Harvey B. Dunn-"Bride Of The Monster",
"The Sinister Urge") rooming house, where he meets grand-daughter, Betty Morgan
(a very sexy Dawn Anderson). They fall in love while evading Thor, knowing all
along it will never work. It doesn't and after electrocuting a giant shadow,
Derek destroys himself and the entire invading fleet. Love, Anderson and Dunn
are quite at ease with their roles, others, though, especially the expedition
captain (King Moody-"Torture!") play it like Shakespeare in the Park. Overall
quipping is excellent, as are the skits ("Reel Life vs. Real Life" and the duct
tape fashion show) in this classic "A" episode.
405-"Being From Another Planet" (aka-"Time
Walker") (1982)-More like "Sleep
Walker". Film makes the case that an alien kill Egyptian boy-king Tutankhamen,
and is buried in his stead. His alien fungus then infects any who touch it,
except hero Ben Murphy ("Alias Smith & Jones"), who finally proves that the
alien is "goodhearted". Another in a long list of repackaged, renamed and
re-released films that had absolutely no one clamoring for such efforts. Shari
Belafonte-Harper, showing none of the talent of her father, portrays a disk
jockey. The terrifying alien turns out to be a cheap, latex "special effect"
and we're left feeling just a bit empty inside. Good joking, and great
invention exchange ("Tragic Moments Figurines") help this one rise above
mediocrity wit a B- grade.
406-"Attack Of The Giant Leeches" (1959)-Two
films in one. First features fat,
P-whipped grocer, Bruno Ve Sota ("Daddy-O") who catches sultry wife, Yvette
Vickers ("Hud") with a local stud (actually, Tor Johnson has more sex appeal
than THIS guy) at a nearby swamp. Second feature highlight two guys in cheap
plastic trash bags that are supposed to be giant leeches. Goody-good park
ranger, Ken Clarke ("12 To The Moon") and irritating girlfriend, Jan Shepard,
round out inept cast. Ending is schlocky and unsatisfying, matching mood of
entire film. Epiosde begins with chapter one of Ray "Crash" Corrigan's serial,
"Undersea Kingdom". Good riffing and great song parody ("A Danger To Ourselves
And Others") give this show an "B" in my gradebook.
407-"The (Attack Of The) Killer Shrews"
(1959)-Story preports to prove that the
most dangerous animals in the world are various mutts with plastic fangs
attached to their mouths. James Best ("Dukes Of Hazzard") and Miss World 1957,
Ingrid Goude are the love interests while Ken Curtis ("Gunsmoke"), Baruch Lumet
(director Sidney's father) and Gordon McLendon are along for the long, hard
ride. Best, Goude and Lumet escape from the island inside several steel drums
welded together, (illiciting Servo's crack about, "Meanwhile, on the Merrimack")
while Curtis is lapped to death by the mongrel horde. Great short feature,
"Junior Rodeo Daredevils" comes first, and, as usual, makes excellent 'bot
fodder. Glad to give this show a B.
408-"Hercules Unchained" (1959)-This French-Italian
collaboration is second only
to the Franco-Italo alliance that saw both countries decimated in World War I.
Sequel to highly successful film, "Hercules" has same star (Steve Reeves) and
director (Peietro Fiancisci), but charm and novelty of original is lost in a
wayward story of Herc in bondage to the Queen of Lydia (a dazed-looking Sylvia
Lopez) and his subsequent escape. Reeves even gets to battle one-time
Heavyweight champ, Primo Carnera (playing Antheus) and be a mentor for a
whisper-thin Ulysses (Gabriele Antoni). Sketches include the Steve (Allen)-O-
Meter, decorator roaches, mythical foods and Joel trying to explain the birds
and the bees to Crow and Tom. Overall enjoyable "B" episode.
409-"The Indestructible Man" (1956)-Lon
Chaney Jr., so good in "The Wolfman",
"Of Mice And Men" and "High Noon", was also in some pretty awful pictures
("Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein", "Bride Of The Gorilla"). This one
falls into the latter category. Chaney plays a condemded killer who is
electrocuted, only to be brought back to life by a couple of mad scientists
(sound familiar?) for some unknown reason. As with all re-animated creatures,
Chaney dispatches the two quacks in quick order (including Joe Flynn in a bit
part) and heads to L.A. to avenge his execution. Goofy, Gimpy and Weasely are
bumped off in various unimaginative ways before cop Casey Adams ("Catalina
Caper") proves he's not so indestrcutible after all. Chapter two of "Undersea
Kingdom" procedes main feature, but overall, this one is not very special. I
give it a C-.
410-"Hercules Against The Moon Men" (1964)-Herc,
this time played by Alan Steele
(get it?) is pitted against the evil Moon Men and a cadre of cheap-looking rock
monsters who live in a cave, worship a big owl and are trying to revive their
mummified queen. The theme of episode is "Deep Hurting", and it does as we're
forced to endure a 15-minute sandstorm, in addition to the rest of the awful
film. Good riffing leads to an overall grade of C+.
411-"The Magic Sword" (1962)-Basil Rathbone,
best known for his Shelock Holmes
roles, as well as villianous characters ("Tower Of London", "Captain Blood",
"The Adventures Of Robin Hood"), was once nominated for an Academy Award as King
Louis XIV in 1938's "If I Were King", so his thespian credentials are certainly
not in question, even in this Bert I. Gordon sci-fantasy that Variety described
as, "Sporadically amusing and sufficiently diverting." Joining him is stage
vet, Estelle Winwood ("The Misfits", "The Producers"), Gary Lockwood ("2001: A
Space Odyssey") and Anne Helm, as the princess Lockwwod, as Sir George, must
rescue. Swordplay aplenty as well as the magical special effects of Gordon (a
notch above his other efforts) make this one of those films that even Servo
concedes "isn't that bad". Quipping is aces as is the Medival sketch, the "Ode
To Estelle" song, and the bio-hazard clean-up pillow invention, leading to a
big, fat B+ show in my opinion.
412-"Hercules And The Captive Women" (aka-"Hercules
And The Haunted Women")
(1961)-The titles get sillier as the sequels get lamer in this version of the
Greek mythological epic. Reg Park now stars as Machiste, or Hercules, and
journeys to Atlantis (in "Fire Maidens From Outer Space"-see #416-Atlantis was
suppose to be located on the 13th moon of Jupiter, what gives?!) and meets the
evil Queen Antinea and her Edgar Winter-like subordinates, in an effort to save
his son. Bad acting, coupled with poor dubbing and one of the goofiest-looking
"dragons" of all-time add up to non-stop, albeit, unintentional hilarity.
Despite strong riffing, poor sketchwork brings this episode down to a C-.
413-"Manhunt In Space" (1954)-A compilation
of early kid's TV show "Rocky Jones,
Space Ranger", starring Richard Crane as "Rocky", his main squeeze, Vena Ray
(Sally Mansfield) and ex-Our Ganger, Scotty Becket (the loathsome "Winky") who
join forces to prevent evil Queen Amphersand from pulling off another dirty
trick. An invisible rocket highlights this particular film, which, like all
installments, was done live. Proceded by pathetic 15-minute version of "General
Hospital" and interlaced with witty retorts and good sketches (especially Mike
Nelson as "Winky") make this a decent "B" effort.
414-"Tormented" (1960)-Bert I. Gordon tries
to move into the adult cerebral
macbe genre with no success with this silly tale of a jazz pianist (sure)
Richard Carlson, who pushes his mistress, Vi (Juli Redding) off of a lighthouse
to keep their affair from becoming public on the eve of his wedding. He is
subsequently "haunted" by first her head, then the rest of her. Laughs erupt
where they shouldn't and the whole enterprise is just another in a long list of
Gordon's film failures. The only thing Gordon ever produced that was worth
anything seems to be his daughter Susan, who, at six, outplays everyone in this
picture and earns kudos from this scribbler. Great quipping and skits (tossing
celebrities off a lighthouse and "Joel Robinson Killed Us!") earn an A- for this
415-"The Beatniks" (1960)-Cartoon character
voiceman Paul Frees thought he could
direct one day, and the result was this turgid piece of filth laughingly called
"The Beatniks". He also thought he was a songwriter, and the results were
"Duck-Billed Hair" and "With A Look", two of the worst songs to come out of a
film since the music behind "The Skydivers". Tony Travis plays Eddie Crane, the
leader of a gang (about as menacing as the Seven Dwarfs), who spend their time
holding up mom and pop stores and eating at a greasy spoon diner. Travis, who
can neither sing or act, somehow catches the eye (and ear) of a "big Hollywood
talent agent" who signs him to a record contract. After appearing on an Ed
Sullivan-type variety show, cutting a disk, and falling in love with the
equestrian Karen Kadler, Crane begins to alienate his gang, especially Moon (a
bizarre portrayal by Peter Breck-"The Crawling Hand", "The Big Valley"). The
solution, a trip to a bar and the murder of a "fat bar-keep". Final fight scene
comes off like something out of "The Rebel Set", but more pathetic. Great jokes
and skits (paper, rock, scissors, the MADs troll costumes and calling Tony
Travis) make us give one a big thumbs up and an "A".
416-"Fire Maidens From Outer Space" (1956)-Cy
Roth, the poor man's Tom Graeff,
wrote, directed and produced this British turd about five extremely unattractive
astronauts (including Anthony Dexter-"Valentino") who travel to the 13th moon of
Jupiter, only to discover the lost island of Atlantis. Fortunately for our
"heroes", the moon is populated by scantily-dressed English vixens (and one
senile old codger) who come on to the men and move about to Borodin's
"Polvetsian Dance Number Two". Non-frightening monster, terrible acting, poor
direction, unending padding, no action and silly conclusion add up to one of the
worst films MST3K has previewed. Joel said it all when he uttered, "Shame on
you, Cy Roth." We concur. Great jokes though make this one a solid B+.
417-"Crash Of The Moons" (1954)-Second
installment from the "Rocky Jones, Space
Ranger" (see #413) series features regulars, plus John Banner (Sergeant Schultz
of "Hogan's Heroes") in an effort to prevent two planets from colliding into
each other (as if man could prevent such a thing). Missles fired onto the
surface only cause localized destruction, so a full scale evacuation is in
order. In real life, this would take literally years to achieve, but here it
just takes a commercial break. Riffs and skits (The Banner-Gram and "The Gypsy
Moon" song) are tops and show is quite enjoyable. B+, Boobie!
418-"Attack Of The (The) Eye Creatures"
(1965)-Lame remake of "Invasion Of The
Saucermen" has John Ashley and Cynthia Hull as two teens who run over an
"immobile, lethargic, mucus-expelling eye creature" with no ability to
communicate and "no powers of which to conquer". But, as always, the local
authorities refuse to believe them. Cheesy costumes (some not even FULL) abound
as does the first grade level acting. Headlines cause these "invaders" to
explode. Day for night scenes also hilarious, as is most of the riffs, and the
"They Just Didn't Care" routine. Long, drawn-out and unfunny Earl Holliman
sketch, though, drags this one down a notch. "B" episode.
419-"The Rebel Set" (1959)-If the "dark
side" of the Beat generation had not
been explained enough in "The Beatniks", then here's a film that finishes the
job. Ed Platt ("Get Smart") and his lackey, Ned Glass ("West Side Story",
"Bridgette Loves Bernie") hire three down-on-their luck losers, including Don
Sullivan ("The Giant Gila Monsters"), Gregg Palmer and John Lupton to pull of an
intricate heist of the contents of an armoured car. Film is actually quite
entertaining, until the prolonged, fight-filled conclusion. Proceded by great
short, "Johnny At The Fair", and filled with decent gags and skits. Earns a
420-"The Human Duplicators" (1964)-MST3K
veteran target, George Nader ("The
Million Eyes Of Su-Muru" and "Robot Monster") stars as a secret agent out to
stop hulking alien, Richard Kiel ("Eegah!") and duplicated professor, George
Macready ("Detective Story", "Julius Caesar", "Paths Of Glory") from turning the
population of Southern California into ceramic figurines. Goofy fun, with the
extra bonus of seeing Hugh Beaumont ("Lost Continent") as a surly CIA director
and Barbara Nichols as a Judy Holliday-like dumb blonde. All the skits are
first-rate and the riffing is fine, leading to an overall grade of B+.
421-"Monster A-Go-Go" (1965)-Possibly one
of the worst "films" ever made, this
garbage heap "stars" no one, except Henry Hite, billed as "The Tallest Man In
The World". Astronaut supposedly lands on Earth radiated into a hulking mutant.
Sub-par community thaeter acting and no special effects make picture an easy
target for Joel and Co., especially horrid ending. Short feature is the great
"Circus On Ice" to which Joel intones, "You know, guys, even my mom would be
bored by this." So was I, but the skits (especially "The Pina Coloda Song")
were excellent enough to give an A- to.
422-"The Day The Earth Froze" (1959)-Swedish-Soviet
collaboration of a Finnish
epic poem about a witch who steals the sun because someone stole her sampo (a
magic mill that produces gold, grain and salt). The witch (Nina Anderson) and
her troll-like minions, are finally defeated by a bunch of Abba look-a-likes
playing harps. As silly as it sounds, but riffing is well-done, even though the
skits (Gypsy's one-woman show and what is a sampo?) are awful. The spoofing of
the proceding short, "Here Comes The Circus", is great, and saves the episode
for the "B" column.
423-"Bride Of The Monster" (aka-"Bride
Of The Atom")-Before the Tim Burton film,
"Ed Wood" was released, and his work achieved sort of a cult following, this
film was MiSTed by the Brains, and the only allusion to Wood was a joke or two
about his cross-dressing. Film, Bela Lugosi's ("The Corpse Vanishes") last full
feature, has the former Hungarian stage star playing mad scientist, Eric
Vornoff, who experiments on hapless victims before tossing them to a stock
footage octopus. He is assistant by Lobo (300 lb. Swede, Tor Johnson) and
opposed by cops Dick Craig (meat-packing producer's son, Tony McCoy) and Harvey
B. Dunn ("Teenagers From Outer Space") as well as a nosy reporter (Loretta
King). Turned into an atomic superman by Tor, Bela (an obvious stand-in) goes on
a rampage before finally being crushed by a boulder and eaten by a nuclear
octopus. Short feature before main picture is the first part of the hilarious
"Hired!" Overall quipping is fine, but skits, which include poking fun at
(Microwave) Faith Popcorn, the "Hired!" song and a re-hash of Willie the
Wonderful Waffle Guy, are awful. Because of this, the episode gets only a B-.
424-"Manos, The Hands Of Fate" (1966)-What
can I say about this "movie" that
hasn't already been written in volumes? Alleged fertilizer magnate, Hal P.
Warren, tried to be another Cy Roth by scrapping off some of his surplus compost
and putting it on celluloid. Accurately described as resembling a "snuff film",
the story has Warren, his wife (Diane Mahree) and child (uncredited, but forever
scarred by the experience) traveling through the El Paso hinderlands in search
of a vacation lodge. Taking a wrong turn, the Warrens end up at a lean-to with
the grotesquely hilarious Torgo (John Reynolds) as Satan's doorman. Later we
meet "The Master" (not Lee Van Cleef, but Tom Hayman, a much worse actor).
Looking a bit like Bill Buckner with a laughable robe, and leading a Doberman
Pincher that's about as frightening as Helen Hayes. He "revives" his sleeping
harem, who immediately start to argue and then wrestle. "The reason why this
film was made." quips one of the Brains. Near the end, Torgo starts talking back
to "The Master" ("You have so many wives. This one is mine!"), that he is
fired. Literally. Supposed surprise ending is lame, too, but it fits in with
the rest of the picture, which, obviously did not garner wide release. Second
part of "Hired!" short procedes "Manos", and the MiSTing is top-notch, as are
most of the skits, including, The MADs apologize for the movie, the scenic tour
and Mike Nelson from Torgo's Pizza. One low-point is the awkward sketch in
which Joel and the 'bots describe what would constitute a scarry monster.
Still, I have no problem giving this one an "A".