There are some flicks that are so incredibly bad that you just have to make fun of them. Since talking to your friends making jokes is considered bad form at the movie theater it’s good that we can now sit in the privacy of our homes and mock the worse examples of cinema ever created. One of the most famous television shows that made it big with this concept was ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ or simply MST3K for the legions of fans. With each episode Mike Nelson and his robot pals would rip apart bad flicks of just about every genre possible. When this series departed the air waves back in 1999 we were left on our own to poke fun at those deserving bad flicks. Now, relief has arrived. The strange, warped and creative MST3K team has returned in the new guise of ‘The Film Crew’. The crew consists of Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy (MST3K’s Tom Servo and Professor Bobo) and Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot on MST3K). The guys work in the basement of what looks like an old electronic store, ‘Flash TV & Radio repair’. Every so often their unseen boss Bob Honcho sends them an old movie that requires a DVD commentary track. The three put on oversized headsets and set out to watch the movies adding their well known digs. As with MST3K the skits with the guys are geared towards the film at hand. There is also a regular segment, Lunch Break, which comes about mid way through the film. Mike is the leader of the group, giving direction to his two co-workers. Kevin is the less intelligent member of the team always tinkering away with some equipment or rendering himself unconscious. Bill tries to come up with ideas but most are not practical in the least. Mike frequently breaks the forth wall speaking directly to the viewers. When Bob calls in to tell them about the film the guys prop up a photo of him.
Killers from Space (1954)
Like every science depicted in an early to mid fifties science fiction, Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) was working on harnessing the power of the atom. While flying over Soledad Flats in the desert a jet plane he is supposed to monitor the aftermath of an A-bomb test. He notices a strange bright spot on the desert floor and suddenly crashes. His wife, Ellen (Barbara Bestar) is naturally upset when the Army informs her of the accident. Martin awakens, stumbling through a small town. He is found and taken to a hospital with amnesia and a large, unexplained scar on his chest. When he learns about the atomic bomb test in the newspaper Martin steals some documents about the test and hides them under a rock in the desert. He is captured and under truth serum discloses that he was taken by aliens with huge bulging eyes who command insect servants.
The guys had a lot to work with in this flick. The effects are bad even by fifties ‘B’ movie standards. The alien’s eyes looked like ping pong balls glued to their faces. The plane crash was obviously a toy plane. There was also something very typical of flicks at this time, stock footage of soldiers, planes and other generic military shots. At the time that this film was made Peter Graves was a struggling young actor type cast as a scientist in low budget sci-fi flicks. The Film Crew takes every opportunity to rip the film apart leaving no aspect of the production alone. The advanced technology of the aliens has a lot of sparks moving up and down and a large square video screen. I guess they never invented widescreen in their galaxy. There is a little extra where Bill makes fun of the scene with the alien language. It was done by reversing the film playing it backwards. There are several backwards lines making fun of Peter Graves.
Wild Women of Wongo (1958)
There is little doubt that this is one of the worse films ever made. It looks like it was done at the beach with a budget of about $100. It’s narrated by Mother Nature where she discusses an experiment she did with Father Time that went terribly wrong. On Wongo they created a race of beautiful women and very ugly men. A nearby island had the reverse, handsome men and horrible looking women. There is an attack of the ugly men attacked the island of handsome men. The king of the good looking men sends his son to Wongo where the women are about to be chosen as brides for the ugly men. Once they get a look at the handsome prince the society is goes into disarray since the women now want good looking husbands.
The guys have a field day with this one. The episode premise is the air conditioning is on the fritz leaving the basement temperature hovering around zero. As the men fight to keep warm they have to watch a flick set on a scenic, warm island. It does warm up in time for their lunch break skit though. Kevin is sure he has found the location of Wongo and wants them all to go there. As mentioned he is not the sharpest knife in the draw. The jokes come fast as the three workers find every part of this ill made flick fair game.
The basic spirit of MST3K is alive and well with this latest incarnation. The only thing missing is the robots and their silhouette against the movie screen. The humor is solidly based on pop culture and is the kind of jokes that any group of friends might come up with. The films are those that we used to see in a Saturday afternoon matinee or at the drive in. They are fair game due to how awful they are. Lets face it, this is the only way you are going to sit through these turkeys so you might as well laugh intentionally. Shout Factory has always provided off beat DVD releases and they continue the tradition with this growing series. These DVDs would make for a great time at a party with friends.