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MST3K Reboot

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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…