Welcome back MSTies - Hard to believe we're at Season 14 in our mythical journey through the cheesy, the bad and the ugly. As with last season, I'm going to stick with 13 episodes - it's simply easier to handle and watching 24 bad flicks unmsted kind of melts the brain. Season 14 offers up the usual 50's creature features, but I also gave the Brains a shot at tackling some Super Heroes. Which includes another opportunity to riff on Chunk Beefsteak (Reb Brown)... This will be the last entry in this series, at least for a while. With the Film Crew, Rifftrax and now Cinematic Titanic continuing on the MST tradition, there seems little point in further speculation (the Crew even did "Killers From Space" from the Season 12 article)
1401: Easy Kill (1989 Color)
Our third Frankenstein movie from the past 2 seasons-- oh wait, that's Frank Stallone. Oh well, same difference. Frank stars as Frank, who owns a bar named Franks (a good indication of the original thinking that was invested in this flick). Frank comes to the aid of a damsel in distress and wastes a lot of valuable film driving around. Like "Final Justice" and "Mitchell" - Easy Kill features mobsters, drugs and an unappealing lead actor. The credits herald Cameron Mitchell as a 'special' guest star; though I'm not sure what he did that was especially special. Maybe the films producer was just trying to convince himself that there was something, anything, worth while in this dreck. At an hour and 40 minutes, the phlegm-bath that is this movie, would need some heavy (and merciful) editing.
1402: The Woman Eater (1957 B&W)
Members of the Explorers Club (a division of the Super Adventure Club?) head off to the Amazon jungles in search of a woman eating tree, which spews a sap that can bring the dead to life. A guy everyone seems to call Dr. Meringue (though the credits list him as Dr. Morgan), witnesses a sacrifice and then passes out after suffering from Jungle fever (Not "A Spike Lee Joint")
Suddenly and without any further explanation, it's 5 years later and we find Doctor Meringue has brought the killer tree; as well as a grinning native (With teeth so huge and bright they can hypnotise) to his home in England - the 2 live in the Dr's. basement, playing drums and eating more women.
Other members of the cast include a sour housemaid who is referred to as Mrs. Santa, or Mothera (But who appears to be actually named Margaret Santos according to the IMDB) - A plastic haired grease-monkey who lives with his mom. He looks like a cross between Montgomery Clift and Ed Grimley and it's his job to save the fair maiden Sally from the Docs evil clutches. Sally dresses like Silver Morgan from Girls Town and when Montgomery Grimley asks her if he can can help her (after he gets her fired) she speaks the stinger-riffic line... "You can give me some sugar"
The movie is pretty dry, ala Projected Man and Deadly Bees. But there are many riff inspiring highlights. Such as the Dr. injecting his syrum into what appears to be a giant beef roast. And the laughable Tree of Death, with its stringy, unkempt bristle "stage hand" arms writhing about.
1403: Lady Gangster (1942 B&W)
With Short: Jay Can Do It
LG has the same naive, melodramatic vibe Radar Secret Service and I Accuse My Parents had - And it's a hoot how prisons were portrayed back then. It was kind of like a fun sleep over with your eccentric friends - and even the bad ones wont stick a shiv in ya or do something nasty to you while your in the showers.
Lady Gangster concerns an actress who takes the fall for a robbery. The cast includes a very young Jackie Gleason, and William Hopper (Deadly Mantis, Perry Mason) sporting black hair. Chuckles come from a gangster dressing up as a woman so he can visit the actress in prison (and find where she's stashed the dough) and an old lady that everyone calls Ma, who apparently is a man (There's a scene where the Lady Gangster asks the old lady if she knows of another man who believes in her - Ma pipes up, I do!)
Gals in prison can be fun (See Teenage Crime Wave) and I think the Brains could do some sweet work on Lady Gangster. With it being only 62 minutes long we'd need a short.
So how about... "Jay Can Do It", and boy can he ever. Jay bakes cookies, and with his Kevlar skin, can take a hot pan of them out of the oven without wearing mits! Wow, Jay's the man. He also wants to be a secret agent. His training includes painting Easter eggs a nice shade of pink and playing the piano. Jay is a very expressive lad, and he has a dog named Fe Fe.
1404: The Day Mars Invaded Earth (1963 B&W)
With Short: Visions in the Forest
There are parts of this movie that are kind of creepy, almost like a scary haunted house tale; as members of a family are harassed by doppelgangers. But this small sprinkling of good is overwhelmed by a large helping of dull.
The title for one is massively misleading - the Martians never put forth a full scale invasion of Earth. As Dave Sindelar put it so hilariously in his review at Scifilm Musings; "they should have called it THE DAY MARS ANNOYED SOME PEOPLE ON A LUXURIOUS ESTATE".
The movie stars Kent Taylor (The Crawling Hand) and Marie Windsor (Swamp Diamonds) and is filled with thrilling scenes of people wandering. In addition to that, the script has them making inexplicably poor decisions. For example: Once you're aware that there are menacing doubles wandering about, why split up? You'd darn well stay together and when confronted, you wouldn't park the car and start gadding about.
To pad things out, how about a short, short? Vision in the Forest (1957) is a 5 minute musical gem which stars country music singer Vaughn Monroe, his homely wife and two daughters (or was Chris a boy?) - While out camping, Chris has a religious experience, as Smokey the Bear suddenly pops out of a poster and greets her... er, him. Someones on the goofballs.
1405: The Fantastic Four (1994 Color)
Before the Marvel comics foursome was featured in a bad big Hollywood blockbuster in 2005, there was a low budget Corman produced movie which never saw the light of day theatrically.
Complete with cheesy special effects, bad fluffy hairdo's and a score that was more suited to a soap opera than an action flick. FF is laughably bad... oh I'd heard that is wasn't That bad - but yes, it's that bad.
I'll give 'em points for trying. The Thing costume must have taken up all the budget, and Dr. Doom looks good, except for the green terri-cloth towel he wears as a cowl and cape. But overall, only the crew of the SOL could make me watch this mess again.(Special thanks to ChibodeeCrocket for lending me this tape)
1406: Nukie (1993 Color)
Is there any film worse than Manos? This ET rip-off makes a strong case for itself. Nukie is about 2 alien brothers with snot running down their noses, who find themselves separated while visiting Earth. One ends up in Africa, the other in America where he is subject to all types of torture at the hands of curious scientists. This is suppose to be a kids flick I guess, but the screams and needles and anal probes are more the stuff of nightmares. Mentally scar the kiddies, yeah, why not. And to add to the horror, cast Steve Railsback, who was so warm and cuddly as Charles Manson in the film "Helter Skelter".
A feast for the eyes (Nukie looks like he was carved from excrement) and ears (Ahh, such joy to hear that tinny alien voice shout for its brother ad-naseum) - This is the kind of cinematic torture Dr. Forrester would have felt bad for inflicting on his subjects.
1407: The Revenge of Doctor X (1970 Color)
I can't believe MST never did this one. It's is so hysterically bad - In fact, I'd kill for Mike, Kevin and Bill to reunite and do a rifftrax for this movie. Written by Ed Wood and Directed by Kenneth G. Crane (Manster, The Monster From Green Hell) The best part of the whole movie is that the lead actor yells most of his lines. I mean the guy goes ape-shit insane at the slightest provocation. To alleviate his hormonal rages, the harried NASA scientist goes on vacation to Japan at the urging of his Asian co-worker (the idiot scientist mentions he'd wanted to visit Japan, but then something got in the way, like war. Well D-UH! As if the Japanese guy wasn't aware of what had happened in his homeland)
On the way to the airport the scientist meets up with a laughing yokel, who invites him to dig up a Venus Flytrap to take on the trip (Oh, and watch out for snakes). Once in Japan the emotional scientist experiments on the plant and using thunder and lightning, creates a rubber suited monster! This creature is so damn goofy looking, and oh how the SOL would have rocked with laughter when it first appears. Also features a nice Torgo-like groundskeeper who taunts the killer plant then laughs, and laughs.... oh for fun.
1408: Sting of Death (1965 Color)
From the director of Wild Rebels comes a monster movie that's 90% padding. There are sudden breakouts of dance, resplendent with copious amounts of butt shots - and when the monster goes berserk it's really dull, lots of writhing in pain and little else. The flick feels a lot like an Arch Hall Sr. film; in fact the creepy (and surprisingly stealthy) assistant is named Egon (Eegahs cousin, twice removed?). Egon is a crack up and is played by the same guy who starred as Jeeter in Rebels. His only real physical abnormality is a bad looking eye. Never the less, this inspires teenagers (old and young) to tease him mercilessly and when Egon is teased... ATTACK! Er, sorry... that just slipped out because Egon is a lot like Dr. Z (from the Bloodwaters) only he turns merges into a killer jellyfish.
Speaking of jellyfish, if you watch this for no other reason, ya gotta check out the horrid, hysterical Neil Sedaka tune, "Do the jelii-jelli- Jelly". The accompanying dance is similar to Crows Bobbin Buzzard skit - so stupid looking ya gotta laugh (or cry)
Oh, and the good Doctor has a nasty looking bump on his head that is given a lengthy discussion early in the movie; I don't know why. I couldn't keep.. my... eye... off the ugly smudge upon his head. Actually I found it more distracting than Egons eye by a mile.
1409: The Zombies of Mora Tau (1957 B&W)
With Short: Cooking Terms and What They Mean
This ridiculous but enjoyable flick is made enjoyable because it's loaded with MSTed actors. Marjorie Eaton (Atomic Brain) and Allison Hayes chief among them, and it's directed by the guy who brought us The She Creatures.
The story concerns diamonds aboard a ship. When that ship sinks, the drowned crew are cursed to protect those gems from being stolen till the end of time. Of course, there's another group of sailors bound and determined to retrieve those diamonds.
The film, like Cahn's She Creature, is pretty dull. There is one especially funny bit: When one of their own, Hayes, is turned into a zombie and they absolutely refuse to believe it. Even though the old lady tells them she's a zombie, and she doesn't talk and walks around with an expressionless face and she's unfazed when they throw a candlestick at her head (I love the funny "thunk" sound it makes as it bounces off her noggin). Nope, she's not a zombie.
Other riffable moments: Much like the pirates of the Caribbean, these zombies can walk underwater. George Harrison is in the movie (no, not the Beatle, it's just a doughty guy who'd inspire many a quip). The zombies are afraid of fire, but no one gets the bright idea to try and burn them? And, just how did these brainless, slow moving creatures find a hidden lair, complete with secret door?
The short: Wife learns how to cook for her new hubby. What would Tim like for dinner, the narrator asks, and she makes him a chocolate cake! Cake for dinner, man I wanna marry this gal! But sadly disaster strikes; Margie burns the cake and the narrator admonishes her as her tear stained face fills the screen! Thankfully Margie is carefully schooled and learns all about soft balls and the like. Watch it here: Youtube
1410: Captain America (1979 Color)
It's amazing to think, while DC was conquering Hollywood with Superman and Batman films, Marvel was limping along with low budget dreck like the original Punisher and Albert Pyun's (Alien From LA) disasterpiece, Captain America. Albert's punishingly boring Cap deserves a MSTing, but there so little Cap action I decided it might be more fun to do one of Reb Brown's (Space Mutiny) cheesy TV takes on the hero instead.
If anything, Marvel did fun TV - The Hulk was a big hit and they put out a bunch of silly, bad but enjoyable TV movies for guys like Spider Man and Captain America.
Reb's version of Cap was a kick. He rode around in a Van that housed his colorful Motorcycle, and of course he wore this helmet that made him look like a red, white and blue version of the Great Gazoo. In addition to that, his shield didn't look too sturdy as it was made of a see through plastic. Delightfully cheesy, I think the SOL gang would have had a good time riffing on Cap.
1411: The Beast With a Million Eyes (1954 B&W)
Aliens come down and posses the minds of simple men and animals and attack a bickering farm family. Melodramatic like a soap opera, the movie was so bad that the primary director, Lou Place, asked to have his name removed. Even producer Roger Corman didn't place his name in the credits.
The story reminded me of an old Outer Limits episode and the scene with attacking birds predates that famous Hitchcock film. But beyond the interesting premise and mystery this is pretty dull, Well, save for the killer, (not quite) man-eating cow (ahh the Tick fan in me loved riffing on that) and that silly looking little bullet shaped spacecraft.
There is some fun asides performer wise: the lead actress will go onto to play in one of films most memorable scenes, as the cranky waitress going toe to toe with Jack Nicholson in "5 Easy Pieces" and Dick Sargent (Clonus, Bewitched) plays the boyfriend. Also, Paul Birch was a decent actor, saddled with some woeful lines (His opening voice over is pretty silly).
The idea is too big for the budget (when we finally see the beast and his eye, it's pretty lame) thus the execution is bad, the camera work unimaginative (It comes from the point and shoot school of film making) and then there's the cow, and that alone makes it a prime cut o' riff material.
1412: Hand of Death (1962 B&W)
With Short: Understanding Others
John Agar is a scientist who gets exposed to his own nerve gas and becomes a bumpy lumpy creature, whose touch is death! Mst3k should have covered every John Agar B-Movie available, as they are absolute gold! This is dull but with big John it's always fun. As when he is first exposed to the gas. He falls on a bed, tears open his shirt and then has visions of beakers and lab rats dancing around his head (He describes this later to his assistant as "a most terrible nightmare".
Then of course there's the bloated monster (If The Michelin Man and the Thing had a baby!). The scene where he tries to get a ride in a cab is hysterical. Other pluses, JOE BESSER! as a gas station attendant and the Munsters Butch Patrick in a cameo.
Stinger possibilities, when the leading lady weeps, "Threatening to kill more people? He must be out of his mind". And the expression on the doctor's face when he first spots the Agar-Creature ("My God! We've got to get help!" He cries and he leaps from his wheelchair) and at the end, the monster looks like he's going to write the name, Tom Servo!
"You seem to be a regular guy..." - "At first!" the short is about an old teen who judges everyone harshly, especially Ben Curtis, who's a screwball with drunken parents and doesn't deserve to be the school's newspaper editor. To be honest, despite the films attempt to defend him, Ben does come off like the squirrelly serial killer type.
1413: Curse of the Swamp Creature (1967 Color)
"Breathe! Breathe!" shouts our nerdy mad scientist with the giant forehead. He's as lame a looking bad guy as Dr. Z. and throughout the film he (and the rest of the cast for that matter) spout some of the worst, unintentionally funny lines in screen history ("My beautiful indestructible fish man" coos the Dr. at one point). This is a bad, bad, bad movie. Truly worthy of a msting.
The plot concerns the scientist's obsession with understanding evolution.
When some smoochers, er oil surveyors trespass upon his property he decides one of them would make the perfect lab rat for his experiments.
My favorite B-Movie star John Agar stars (kind of) and Larry Buchanan directs, and if you thought Larry's eye creatures looked funny, get a load of this thing. It's a riot!
Special thanks to Skyroniter from mst3kvideos.com for most of these movies. Also The Frank Stallone motion picture was suggested to me by a member of the MST3K board. I've misplace the name and for that I am deeply sorry. Kuddo's for the suggestion.
Here is a list of movies I was searching for, to view for consideration:
* The Phoenix (a 1981 TV series)
* Starship Invasions (A Canadian space opera the Brains considered for season 7)
* The Ape Man (1943 Bela Lugosi)
* The Choppers (Arch Hall Jr.)
* Attack of the Mushroom People (1963 Japanese film)
* Captain Sinbad
* Cobra Woman
* Jail Bait
* Married too Young
* The Atomic Submarine
* Blood of Dracula (1957)
* Monolyth Monsters
* Voyage Into Space
* The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
* The Sea Serpent
* Colossus of NY
* Crack in the World
* The Pit
* Star Crystal
* Caltiki: The Immortal Monster
* Island of Lost Women
* Call of the Coyote
* Joey (Making Contact)
* The Devils Rain
* Teenage Zombies
* Deadwood (Arch Hall Jr. western)
* Lightning Bolt (1965 Italian spy flick)
To read others in the series...