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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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