Making fun of bad movies is nothing new. It’s probably been around since the silent era – kind of an easy thing to do actually to make your own comedic soundtrack over a movie with no sound.
The television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 made a weekly ritual out of the idea. Creator and host Joel Hodgeson got fans to watch movies that they probably would never had seen in any other venue. Now over ten years after the show went off the air Joel and the gang are doing a live show continuing to mock the worst cinema there is to offer.
Fortunately the show came around my area and I got a chance to attend and I’m here to tell you the movie was junk, but the MST3K gang are still great!
A little background for you Non—Misties (as hardcore fans have come to be known) – Mystery Science Theater 3000 made an art of goofing, mocking and making fun of ‘bad movies’. Creator and host Hodgson, accompanied by his robot pals Tom Servo and Crow, subjected themselves to viewing ‘bad movies’. The only possible way of sitting through the featured garbage and making it bearable was to provide their own personalized entertainment via wisecracks and quips, along with musical segments and guest characters aimed squarely at the tortuous film.
Thus MST3K (which it came to be known) gained a devoted fan base of bad movie geeks who reveled in their mockery of this cinematic crap and giving the audience some delight watching with them.
MST3K ran for eleven years and released its own feature film in 1996. Hodgeson eventually left and Michael J. Nelson replaced him as our human host. We’ve all thumbed our noses at bad movies before, but the intelligence and wit of the jokes by the shows team and the goofy format the show was presented in, had made the idea of watching Santa Claus Conquers The Martians actually seem like fun. That was an angle that truly had never been associated with a film like that before.
As long as you had Joel and the gang to help keep your sanity, watching an unredeeming movie was a fun way to spend an evening. Some of the films featured on the show I still rank as some of the absolute worst films I have ever seen.
The notorious 1966 Manos: The Hands of Fate while being one of the most dreadful cinematic endeavors I have ever seen, ironically resulted in one of the best and most loved episodes of MST3K. Even with Joel and his pals trying their best they realize they might have gone too far featuring Manos. The pain they experience during the screening is hysterical!
The creators have moved onto other projects that continue to poke fun at the world of bad cinema. Hodgeson and four of the shows cast members have embarked on a touring stage show called Cinematic Titanic, where…..well, you can kind of guess – a really bad movie with a lot of jokes thrown at the screen. I recently attended a show and it was really entertaining. The film targeted was 1976’s Rattlers. Mutated rattlesnakes go on an attacking rampage in Mojave Desert and only a brilliant herpetologist and a hot photographer can stop them.
Oh yeah, it was really, really bad! And it was a blast!
I had never even heard of this film before and would never have dreamed of sitting through it, but with Joel and his crew lobbing comedy hand grenades at it they made it one of the best times I’ve had watching a movie in awhile. There’s something about being in the middle of a laughing audience that just helps watching the ridiculousness of a really cheesy movie even more enjoyable.
For old time fans of MST3K Cinematic Titanic will be a real treat to revisit with the Satellite of Love crew and have a fun, silly evening out. For younger film fans that get a kick out of ‘bad movies’ and have never even heard of it I recommend you checking out the older shows.
Once you decide it’s up your alley, hope the gang stops in around your area, get yourself tickets and get ready to experience the worst the world of cinema has to serve up and laugh right back in its face!
Here’s a taste of Rattlers getting some roasting