As a Whovian, I had long detested the Peter Cushing Dr. Who movie. I was coming into the mythology and learning all of the factoids and characters only to discover there was an actual big budget movie I had never heard of before! One exciting Saturday afternoon, I tuned in to some UHF channel and was shocked and confused by what I saw. The hero’s name was clearly Doctor Who, he built a time/space machine in his backyard and he was a doddering fool!
Sure, the special effects were impressive and the production value is astounding but… it is so very goofy and despite the fact that it follows the plot of the Terry Nation/David Whittaker TV script from 1963, it is also far removed from the tone of the original. Many years later I grew more refined and can appreciate the merits of the feature film and especially the incredibly versatile Peter Cushing. Not only do I own the films on DVD, but I own a special limited edition set complete with a film cell. I am also the proud keeper of very rare talking motion picture-Daleks which include dialogue from the movie. So I have come around.
Even so, I have to admit that it’s ripe material for riffing by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. The fact that the RiffTrax crew include a Jon Pertwee line shows the appreciation for the source material and a real flair for some superb jokes.
As Doctor Who is at the height of its popularity, there is no better time to revisit this gem… and lampoon it to high heavens.
ATTENTION, WHOVIANS! (For the uninitiated, that is not something Jay-Z yells at the beginning of a song, it’s a name for Doctor Who fans)
Before Matt Smith, before David Tennant, before Christopher Eccleston, before even the scarf and afro guy, there was Peter Cushing. Well, not before, exactly, because this feature-length movie isn’t a canonical part of the Doctor Who universe or storyline. So it’s sort of more adjacent, than before. It’s nearby, if nothing else. Approximate, at least. Like, Dr. Who is in it! But instead of a mysterious Timelord alien, he’s kind of just a confused human grandpa with the last name Who. But he does have a TARDIS! Of course, instead of a disguised alien craft it’s just, like, this junky thing he made with his granddaughter. Oh yeah, he hangs out with his granddaughters. Yeah. But then they travel through space and fight the most classic Dr. Who bad guys of all, the Daleks! Of course, in this imagining of Dr. Who, the Daleks are just some dopey trashcan looking guys with plungers sticking out of ‘em that talk funny — oh, that’s how they still are? Seriously?? PERFECT! IT’S CANON AFTER ALL!
So no matter how much you know, don’t know, or don’t want to know about Dr. Who, this movie will fill your needs. Plus, the RiffTrax itself is totally canon, and an official part of the Mike, Kevin, and Bill timeline (unlike that regrettable one-off TV special, “RiffTrax goes to Hawaii”, which shall never be spoken of again). Exterminate Dr. Who and the Daleks today!