Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bachelor Movie Marathon, Part III

During my short period of bachelorhood, I watched several MST3K episodes in addition to movies without Joel/Mike and the 'bots making fun of them. Specifically, I watched the four episodes in the newly released MST3K Volume XVII, three episodes from Volume 1, and one episode from Volume 2. Thanks to Volume XVII, I endured the following:

The Crawling Eye (1958) - as shown on MST3K
This was MST3K's first network episode (the show was previously aired on a local TV station in Minnesota). Unfortunately, the jokes during the first season of the show came few and far between. Unlike later seasons, the comments made during the movie seemed a lot more ad-libbed and are a lot less funny. What made up for this, though, was the fact that their first season featured some of the best movies.

People attempting to climb the Trollenberg mountain in Switzerland are disappearing left and right. Those whose bodies are found are inevitably headless. A U. N. agent in Switzerland on vacation realizes that these mysterious events are similar to those that occurred in the Alps a few years ago. His friend, who happens to be in charge of an observatory in the Swiss mountains, agrees. The astronomer's theory that this is the work of alien invaders is soon proven true, and the agent and his friend find themselves sheltering the residents from the nearby inn in the astronomer's avalanche-proof observatory. Outside, enormous creatures with a single eye and multiple tentacles are trying to get in. The '50s didn't get a whole lot better than this.

The Beatniks (1960) - as shown on MST3K
After robbing a gas station, a rowdy group of "beatniks" (the way they're portrayed shows that the producers didn't really know what a beatnik was) stop by their favorite malt shop to hang out. One of the gang, Eddy, is asked to sing for his girlfriend, which gets the attention of a talent agent. Eddy's given the chance to perform on TV and becomes a sensation overnight. This causes a major rift in the gang and some serious trouble with Mooney, the psychotic member of the group. Just as it seems that Eddy has a chance for an honest and successful career, his past comes back to haunt him.

Although a fairly standard juvenile delinquent film, The Beatniks is pretty decent; I actually cared what happened to the characters. It's unusual for any MST3K subject to actually make me care about its characters.

The Final Sacrifice (1990) - as shown on MST3K
The mad scientist who forces Mike and the 'bots to watch bad movies called this "the worst thing to ever come out of Canada". Hooded cultists chase some goofy kid and a former cultist named "Zap Rowsdower" around the wilderness of Alberta, trying to get their hands on a map leading to an ancient city built by some advanced race called the Ziox. The cultists' leader, Satoris, believes that a final sacrifice will raise the city and give his cult the power to rule the world. How this will happen when the cult consists of about two dozen guys with machetes and rifles is beyond me. Mike and the 'bots are hilarious as usual, but the movie is lousy.

The Blood Waters of Dr. Z ( 1975) - as shown on MST3K
It's well-known by B-movie fans that the more alternative titles a movie has, the worse it is. According to IMDB, this misbegotten film has at least five titles.

Dr. Leopold creates a chemical intended to mutate sea life into his own personal army to "take over the Universe" (with mutant fish? Do these people even know what the Universe is?). The only apparent effect of the stuff seems to be that it makes fish able to breathe out of water and walk on land. This makes them a nuisance, not a menace. In the meantime, Leopold transforms himself into an ersatz Creature from the Black Lagoon and goes on a distinctly lackluster rampage. Mostly he's trying to transform a human female into a monstrous mate for himself. The end is pointless and confusing, the movie's characters are utterly lifeless, obscene amounts of time are spent watching characters drive around, and the monster suit is downright embarrassing. Mike and the 'bots do what they can, but this movie makes even B-movie fans question their choice of hobby.

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