MST3K Reboot

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10 So-Bad-They’re-Good Flicks the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Reboot Crew Should Riff

These Z-grade flicks are ripe for the riffin'.

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Photo Credit: Shout! Factory

Never question the dedication of a diehard Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, because thanks to nearly 50,000 of them and a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the world is getting more bad-movie-riffing aboard the Satellite of Love. Surpassing the Veronica Mars movie for the largest crowd-funded video project in online history, the “Bring Back MST3K” campaign ended with over $6 million in funds to produce a new 14-episode season plus a Christmas special — all for a show that’s been off the air for a decade-and-a-half that began nearly 30 years ago.

For the grand resurrection, comedian Jonah Ray of The Nerdist podcast and The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail is taking over hosting duties with Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, and a slew of big-name writers and cameos also on board. As such, the show aims to be a higher profile affair while staying true to its cowtown Midwestern roots.

But what of the most important element of all: the films themselves? The original MST3K run gave us memorable titles like Prince of Space and Attack of the Giant Leeches as well as powerful characters like Trumpy, Rowsdower, and of course, Torgo. Who will be our next Big McLargeHuge?

Here are 10 potential flicks the MST3K folks should consider for their upcoming reboot. What do you think, sirs?

1. The Manster (1959)

A shaky portmanteau at best, Manster could slide right into the MST3K archives alongside classics like Bride of the Monster and The Amazing Colossal Man. Featuring a Japanese mad scientist who grows a second head on an American reporter’s body — a nifty effect that director Sam Raimi referenced in Army of Darkness — this has the makings of another ’50s drive-in howler.


2. Chopping Mall (1986)

There’s not much ambiguity in an evocative title like Chopping Mall, and the goofy ’80s sex romp tone should remind fans of the puppety groan-fest Hobgoblins. Mall security robots resembling Short Circuit‘s Johnny Five go full SkyNet and stalk teens amongst the Chess Kings and Orange Juliuses. Character actor Dick Miller and references to “robot blood” ought to keep the entertainment factor very high.


3. The Stuff  (1985)

Schlocky cult favorite The Stuff revolves around a mass market dessert treat (one that’s derived from mysterious ground goo, mind you) that proves to be too addictive and turns sugar junkies into frenzied zombies. With goopy special effects courtesy of experts from Re-Animator and The Howling, this flick could unseat The Incredible Melting Man as the series’ “moistest” film.


4. Gog (1954)

Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Gog. Gog. This “Mechanical Frankenstein,” this “Creature of Tomorrow” — their words, not ours — tallies up a healthy lab scientist body count and proved science can’t trust artificial intelligence long before the Human Duplicators episode aired. Shot in colorful 3D, the movie earned favorable reviews upon release, but surely Jonah and the Bots could find something to mock about a rampaging retro-future robot.


5. The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

As a courtesy to those strung out on Roger Corman, MST3K occasionally featured titles that could be considered watchable camp even without the riffs. (Your Kitten With a Whip, your Bloodlust!.) And on premise alone — cowboys vs. dinosaurs with stop-motion effects by Ray Harryhausen — The Valley of Gwangi would certainly qualify as passable fare. But as we learned from Gorgo, charming creature effects can’t always save a film from snarky commentary.


6. Horror Express (1972)

Undisputed titans of Hammer Films, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in a bizarro British production involving an unfrozen caveman with superpowers and brain-swapping mayhem aboard a train. Reminiscent of mod-era UK films The Projected Man and The Deadly Bees, the wonderfully titled Horror Express would make for great additions to Crow and Servo’s indelible Cockney accents.


7. Double Trouble (1992)

Take the creatine-fueled physiques from Space Mutiny and Future War, add the criminal syndicate plots from Mitchell and Angels Revenge, enlist the hairstylist from Escape 2000, run it through some Clonus Horror for mirror-image annoyance, and you’d get the mulleted twin crimefighters in the unfunny face-palmer Double Trouble.


8. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

Now that comedian and genre expert Patton Oswalt has signed on to the MST3K reboot as Son of TV’s Frank, one would expect a slew of movie suggestions from the self-described Silver Screen Fiend. And where better to start than a title immortalized in one of Patton’s stand-up routines, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats? After all, nothing could ever be more ludicrous than the surreal fever dream that is The Wild Wild World of Batwoman.


9. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

Speaking of laughable premises, I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle is what Heat Vision and Jack would’ve been like had co-creator and future MST3K writer Dan Harmon removed all the charm from his cult FOX pilot. Packed with as much tiresome jokes and unamusing ham as a dozen Outlaws of Gor, this is a flick that could provoke a level of anger not seen in the theater since Invasion of the Neptune Men.


10. Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (1994)

And lastly, we come to a movie that was already featured on MST3K — sorta. In fellow reborn series Arrested Development, Joel and the Bots could briefly be seen mocking the low-budget, hastily produced, god-awful — and yet still somehow the best film from the franchise — Fantastic Four, produced by MST3K lynchpin Roger Corman. Almost guaranteed to be a fan favorite, the foam rubber Thing could launch a thousand clobberin’ riffs just on his own.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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