Monday, November 30, 2015

Priming the Pump: 10 Movies I'd Like to See on the New MST3K

Okay, first the obvious part for those who haven't heard about it: Mystery Science Theater 3000 is coming back and you can help make it happen!

So, if you're going to have Mystery Science Theater 3000, you need bad movies. Joel has already said that the movies will be decided on mainly through the criteria of "What bad movies can we get the video rights to cheaply?", which makes perfect sense to me, but I do want to toss out a few suggestions that I'd like to see featured on the show. You know, in case anyone is listening. In picking these, I tried to stick to movies that had not been featured on MST3K or any of its spin-offs (so no 'Night of the Lepus', no 'Doomsday Machine', no 'Space Mutiny') and that were, at the least, not so gory or risque as to make trimming them for family-friendly purposes difficult. Oh, and they had to be cheesy...which isn't exactly the same thing as bad, but is at the very least goofy. In no particular order...

1) Beware! The Blob! Don't get me wrong, the original Steve McQueen movie is just in that sweet spot of fun and cheesy to make a pretty good MST3K episode as well. But the sequel stars Larry Hagman! Larry Hagman fights the Blob! This feels like an instant win, and I suspect it would be cheaper to get than the original.

2) The Astro-Zombies. When you have Wendell Corey, John Carradine and Tura Satana in your mad scientist movie, you already have a mark of high cheesiness right there. This one is an infamous low-budget thriller with silly zombie masks and a dearth of decent sets and locations, and I think they could knock it out of the park.

3) The Devil's Rain. Roger Ebert featured this in one of his books of bad movie reviews, and it seems like there'd be a lot of fun here. It's got Ernest Borgnine as Satan, William Shatner in his desperate "between Star Treks" phase, and Anton LaVey doing a cameo as more or less himself. If that doesn't sound promising, I don't know what does.

4) Phase IV. Technically speaking, this breaks the "never done on MST3K" rule, because it was featured on the show back in the KTMA days. But that was back when they were still doing all the jokes as improv, they didn't have a writing staff to speak of, and the whole concept was still developing. And I still have fond memories of it. It'd be great if they could tackle it again with a full writing staff.

5) Latitude Zero. A strange little Japanese movie made for the American market, with Cesar Romero as its biggest star. It's about a group of undersea explorers who find a miraculous kingdom at the aforementioned latitude on the ocean's floor, where gold and diamonds are plentiful and nobody ages, but unfortunately they're under attack by a crazed mad scientist (you know, as you are) and have to defend them. Really really surreal and loopy, perfect MST3K fodder.

6) Mutiny in Outer Space. Don't know much about it, other than that it was made by the same guy (Hugo Grimaldi) who did 'The Human Duplicators', one of my personal favorites, and that it starred Harold Lloyd's son. Oh, and it's about a killer fungus, which apparently...mutinies? Okay, I guess.

7) Zardoz. Because a catalog of cheesy movies that doesn't have 'Zardoz' is like a zoology textbook that somehow omits elephants. Might be pricey, but I can't imagine that anyone is sitting around in a film library saying to themselves, "Oh, we can name our price for this one!"

8) X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes. I'll admit, I primarily want them to do this one because I want to see it and I'm too lazy to track it down. It's Roger Corman, it's an old favorite of Stephen King's, what could go wrong?

9) The Thing With Two Heads. This is one of those movies that they keep referencing in other MST3K episodes, but somehow they've never gotten around to showing in the series. It seems like a perfect choice--a transcendently silly yet high concept exploration of race through the plot device of a wealthy racist whose head is grafted onto a black man's body.

10) The Swarm. Again, this one is such a famous flop that it may actually be difficult to get, but as with 'Zardoz', who the heck is saying to themselves, "We've got Irwin Allen's 'The Swarm', the bidding rights start at twenty million"? This infamous killer-bee movie killer B-movie with Michael Caine and Patty Duke and Slim Pickens and Olivia de Haviland and Jose Ferrer just sings out for misting.

Those are my picks--if you've got some of your own, toss 'em in the comments!

1 comment:

Sean Tait Bircher said...

"Santa Claus: The Movie"
Y'know, the one with Dudley Moore as an elf.