RiffTrax: The Hideous Sun Demon

It’s time to take another journey into absurd horror with the crew of RiffTrax.

SunDemon_PosterThis is the tale of a man who transforms into a violent lizard creature whenever he’s in the sun too long. No, he’s not the third wheel love interest in an upcoming Twilight reboot, he’s The Hideous Sun Demon!

It’s the late 50s, a time when exposure to radiation still caused fun stuff, like superpowers and shape-changing, as opposed to less fun stuff, like, y’know, death. After some radioactive material falls off the toy train the scientists use to transport it through the lab (actual plot point, not a joke) mild-mannered genius drunk Dr. Gilbert McKenna is changed forever. Sunlight turns him into a reptile man-monster, presumably because that’s the rubber suit that was cheapest to rent when they made this movie. But not cheap enough for them to rent the bottom part of the suit, apparently, because he runs around in totally soaked khaki pants for roughly half the movie. Why are his pants so wet? That’s just part of the mystery!

It’s a superhuman dose of old-fashioned nuclear mutation fun, stay out of direct sunlight and join Mike, Kevin and Bill for The Hideous Sun Demon!

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2015 RiffTrax Live Calendar: “The Crappening”

There are good movies, there are bad movies and there are movies that defy description. Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny could cause brain damage, The Room is akin to watching someone blissfully unaware of his nervous breakdown, Miami Connection excels at bad music, questionable dialog and insane action while Sharknado is… Sharknado.

Luckily we have the fine folks at RiffTrax to assist in making these movies a little bearable. Below is the schedule for 2015’s RiffTrax Live performances. Select cinemas will be showing these ‘movies,’ giving fans a chance to watch the RiffTrax crew work their magic live.
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RiffTrax Live: THE ROOM – WEDNESDAY May 6, 2015 (not Thursday)Tickets encore May 12 Tickets – Performed from Nashville Tickets available March 27th 10A CT Tickets available 24 Hours early on March 26th to Kickstarter Backers

RiffTrax Live: SHARKNADO 2 – July 9, 2015 Tickets encore July 16Tickets

RiffTrax Live: MIAMI CONNECTION – October 1, 2015 Tickets encore October 6 Tickets


RiffTrax Live: SANTA and The ICE CREAM BUNNY – December 3, 2015 Tickets encore December 15 Tickets

RiffTrax chronicles Batman’s battle with the Wizard!

It’s Friday night. You’re bored and Saturday night can’t come quickly enough for Doctor Who. What better way to fill the time than with a long forgotten story depicting the most exciting adventure of the world’s greatest detective?

… or a hilariously awful Batman serial.
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Here it is, at last, the FINAL EPISODE chronicling Batman’s struggle against the Wizard! The suspense is thick, and everyone’s wondering: who will prevail and be victorious? Will it be the nefarious Wizard or — wait, oh come on, it’s right there in the stupid title! That’d be like titling the Seinfeld finale “They wind up in jail” or the Lost finale “Don’t bother watching.”

One thing the title doesn’t give away is the identity of the Wizard, most likely because the writers of the serial didn’t get around to deciding who that would be until they started shooting the final scenes of this episode. Is it the old occasionally-in-a-wheelchair guy? Or occasionally-in-a-wheelchair guy’s butler? Convenient-provider-of-exposition radio guy? Vicki Vale’s dead brother, who everybody seems to have completely forgotten about, including her? I think we all know the real answer: Gabe. Gabe, you beautiful mastermind, you’ve been pulling the strings all along! Bless you, sweet prince.


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Get ready for the April Fool’s Total Riff Off

Not a hoax!

Not dream!

RiffTrax_RiffOffThe guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 are back on TV with TOTAL RIFF OFF! The joke’s on National Geographic Channel this April Fools’ Day as Mike, Kevin and Bill riff three hours’ worth of classic NatGeo programming, including clips from Man v. Monster, Swamp Men, and Alpha Dogs. It will be their first time on cable TV since ‪#‎MST3K‬!

Join the fun at 8pm / 7pm Central on Tuesday, April 1st for our special three-hour ‪#‎RiffTraxTV‬ event! For more info, visit http://rifftrax.com/tv.

Super Marios Bros. gets RiffTrax treatment

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The world, characters, music, even the sound effects of the Mario video games are among the most iconic entertainment creations of the 20th century. So naturally if you made a Mario movie, you’d want to abandon everything that people liked and recognized about them, and then just in case people were still willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, throw in The Happening star John Leguizamo.

Let’s say you went to the cinema hoping to see your favorite character from Mario 3, the red carnivorous fish Big Bertha. Ignoring the fact that you are a moron for your favorite character not being the King of Ice World when he’s been transformed into a seal, you might be disappointed to to learn that in the movie, Big Bertha is instead a large, violent woman with prodigious cleavage who wears S & M-esque garb. (Or maybe you’re into that. In that case, you’re probably not welcome in many of the theaters that were showing Super Mario Bros.)

So Big Bertha isn’t a fish, the goombas aren’t tiny, stompable, sentient mushrooms, and there’s nary a Tanooki suit to be found. No big deal, as long as the Mario Brothers are still brothers, right? What’s that? For no apparent reason Luigi is the adopted ward of Mario? Well, maybe it could still work as long as the movie isn’t an incoherent, hideous mess full of shouting and chaos and cheap sets and… Why are you shaking your head sadly?

Strap on your Kuribo’s shoes and join Mike, Kevin, and Bill up on Jugem’s Cloud for riffing on the best live action Mario property that doesn’t contain Captain Lou Albano.

Download today at RiffTrax.com

Turkey Day preparation- MST3K- Robot Holocaust

No one was ready for the… Robot Holocaust 

The final episode of the 1991 MST3K Turkey Day marathon, Robot Holocaust is a solid example of the thrown together sci fi epics of the 1980’s. Set in a dystopian future in which humans live in ‘New Terra’ under the heel of the Dark One… the adventure of our heroes is set in the debris in the aftermath of the… robot holocaust.

Aided by a buxom female dressed in feathers and fishnets, the Dark One is plagued by a lone wanderer named Neo who seeks to help the slaves of New Terra break free from the shackles of the Dark One. He gathers together a gang of misfits and a goofy Don Knauts-like robot called a free-bot. The ‘action’ is a sword  and raygun affair which is actually more interesting than many other films of its kind, but the quality is so poor that entire cities and possibly car traffic can be seen in the near distance of this shattered future.

Filmed in an early stage of the program shortly after moving from KTMA to the Comedy Channel, Robot Holocaust has some awkward moments but it also has some of the program’s earliest catchy riffs. In preparing your own turkey today, why not take in a real one with Robot Holocaust?

Shout Factory is streaming six episodes of MST3K today in celebration of Turkey Day, a tradition started in 1991 when the program ran for 30 straight hours.

They are also running an amazing promotional sale on all of their DVDs on stock for the next two days so this is a great time to catch up on some of those high priced box sets!

MST3K Turkey Day makes bombastic return in 2013

From as far back as the first Turkey Day marathon I watched almost non-stop 30 hours of bad movies (I think I passed out during Catalina Caper) in 1991, I have been a devoted fan of MST3K. Sadly, the program is no longer on the air and what was once a time-honored tradition is a thing of the misty beleaguered past.

Until now!

MST3K-joel EW is pleased to announce that MST3K creator Joel Hodgson is hopping on board the Satellite of Love once again to program the return of Turkey Day. Shout! Factory, who have been doing a stellar job putting out MST3K on DVD, is helping to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary with a Turkey Day Marathon, curated and hosted by Hodgson. Beginning at Noon Eastern on Thanksgiving Day, fans will be able to log on to MST3KTurkeyDay.com for six glorious, classic, Sampo-filled episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.mst3k-mike-and-the-bots_p

Joel Hodgson – Riffing Myself

Since sitting through the Turkey Day marathon back in 1991, I have been a devoted MSTie. Their catalog forms the backdrop of my psyche (which has complications). Since his MST3k days, Jowl has worked in several projects including the TV Wheel, the elusive Jolly Filter and Cinematic Titanic.

His one man show, ‘Riffing Myself,’ will be a treat to MSTies young and old. He met with the folks at SpeakerCreature to discuss the show, the history of MST3K and its continuation beyond his involvement as well as the unusual origin of the name chosen for TV’s wise-cracking Crow.

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Comedian Joel Hodgson is best known for creating and hosting the series Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show about a marooned Gizmonics employee (Joel “Robinson”) and his pair of wise cracking robot companions. The trio are imprisoned aboard a static space station (The Satellite Of Love), where they are routinely forced to sit through reel after reel of forgotten bad movies. In 1993, Joel left MST3K in the middle of its fifth season. His final episode, “Mitchell,” became known as one of the benchmark moments of the show’s arc and is often cited by fans as being their favorite. Head writerMike Nelson stepped in as the show’s host until the series ended in 1999. Hodgson has since watched his creation become one of the most beloved cult television shows in pop culture history. Hodgson is currently touring his one man show, Riffing Myself,” which he’ll be performing at the historic Plaza Theater in Atlanta on August 10 and 11th. I had the opportunity to catch up with Joel to talk about his run on the series.

Tell me about Riffing Myself. What is the show about and how did it come to be?

It is kind of the origin story of the creation of Mystery Science Theater. I bought a scanner about a year ago and started scanning all my stuff-a lot of posters, newspaper articles and photos. I started to realize that in my mind, it was all coming together as a narrative. So I decided to put it together and make it into a show. I’ve been doing it once a month or so since last October.

What were some of the specific reasons why you left Mystery Science Theater?

I’ve talked about this a bit. I was having disagreements with my partner Jim Mallon, who was the producer of the show. We weren’t seeing eye to eye, so in lieu of having a big fight and potentially hurting the show, I decided to leave.

But MST was your baby.

Yes. It was my baby. That is my baby.

So why just walk away?

The only analogy I can make is the story of King Solomon. Two women had come up and claimed to be the mother of this one baby. It was decided the only solution was to cut the baby in two and give each mother a half but the real mother said, “Oh, just let her have the baby.” And that’s how he figured out who the true mother of the baby was. So, yeah. I am the mother of Mystery Science Theater. It’s my baby.

What is the secret to being a good movie riffer?

I think it’s about not being too sarcastic or too cynical about the movie. I think you have to respect it. It’s hard to make a film, even a bad one. I think a rookie’s mistake is usually, “I’m going to just complain about how bad the movie is and point out all the flaws.” I don’t think that’s what good movie riffing is. Movie riffing is kind of like creating a variety show out of the movie. You collaborate with it.

Trace Beaulieu [who portrayed Crow T. Robot and Dr. Forrester on MST] once said that the movies are like Margaret Dumont and we’re like The Marx Brothers. The Marx Brothers wouldn’t be as funny without Margaret Dumont. The coloring book version of movie riffing is real cynical and sarcastic. Sure, you can take jabs but after you’ve done other things first. You’re supposed to be the companion to the audience. No one wants to hang out with an asshole, so you have to be kind of nice. I think that’s the secret.

Is there a single MST episode where you remember the entire cast firing on all cylinders?

Yes. I really like “I Accuse My Parents.” Although, I just watched “Mitchell” again recently. That one is very funny. So yeah, those two probably.

Is it true that Joe Don Baker was actually annoyed at your treatment of “Mitchell?”

You know what’s funny? Someone who is a real Mystery Science Theater historian just told me that. I’ve always heard that story but I always thought it was kind of a myth. But supposedly, yeah. The poor guy had never heard of it. I guess when you’re Joe Don Baker, you go: [impersonates Joe Don Baker] ‘What? There’s a show that makes fun of movies and the funniest one is my movie?’ I think that would be sobering and unsettling for him. So yeah, I didn’t think the story was true but someone I trust told me it is, so I believe it is now.

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One more thing. Is it true that Crow T. Robot was named after a Jim Carroll song?

Yeah! The song “Crow” from the Catholic Boy album. It is a great album.

Joel Hodgson’s “Riffing Myself” will be at The Plaza Theater in Atlanta on August 10th and 11th. He will also be joined onstage by the Cineprov cast on the 11th, for a Star Trek free for all jam! Both shows start at 7:30 pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Read the entire interview here

Rifftrax takes on Dr. Who and the Daleks

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!

Visit the UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society for more startling images

Visit the UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society for more startling images

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.

Please remember Dr. Who is not a medical doctor: He has a PhD in mincing around in a phone box only!

Please remember Dr. Who is not a medical doctor: He has a PhD in mincing around in a phone box only!

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!

Order it here!

Rifftrax: Christopher Walken in ‘McBain’

Still riding a high from seeing Best of Rifftrax Live! Manos: The Hands of Fate. Next week I am taking in Plan 9 From Outer Space for all it is worth. Christopher Walken may be the cult actor of the millennium today, but before he appeared in Pulp Fiction he was just another amazing actor who appeared in questionable films… like this (what am I saying? He is still the class A actor of Deer Hunter who performs in flicks like Seven Psychopaths). I love him, but I have to shake my head at 90% of the movies he turns up in.

McBain is 100% 80’s angry action movie complete with villains who fly through the air when they are shot like murder is some kind of fun fest for clowns. It’s all very weird.

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WARNING! Contains naughty language and Christopher Walken impressions!
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, this movie is called McBain. No, it has nothing to do with what you’re thinking: it’s not a biopic of Diane McBain, star of the 1960 TV series Surfside 6. Oh, or that Simpsons character either.

No, there’s no Mendoza for McBain to take out in this one. That’s just in the silly movie series The Simpsons came up with. Probably only took them a couple minutes too. Mendoza…Ha! This McBain is much more legitimate and creative. Its drug dealer is named Escobar.

Christopher Walken (MousehuntJoe DirtThe Country BearsGigliKangaroo Jack) stars as the titular McBain. When the man who rescued him from a POW camp is executed by a Colombian dictator, it’s time for McBain to put together a ragtag group to avenge their friend. He rounds up a smooth talking technology expert, a black guy who is afraid of flying, and a guy who repeatedly asks him if it’s really a good idea to rip off The A-Team so blatantly.

Finally, they’re ready to take out the dictator and what follows is possibly the most incoherent mess of an action film there ever was. The body count soars, plot threads are introduced and discarded at a moment’s notice and a WrestleMania hat is given prominent screentime. Evidently, nobody ever told the producers of McBain that 80s action flicks were out of style, or that it’s not very badass to make your supposed action hero a welder (McBain is a professional welder, we forgot to mention that until now. Also, his first name is Bobby. Both of these things are true.)

McBain is the movie that will have you saying, “Seriously? Christopher Walken did this only three years before Pulp Fiction?” Join Mike, Kevin, Bill and Rainier Wolfcastle for McBain: Let’s Get Silly.