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Dr. Who, who? Mystery Science Theater 3000 turns 25 today!!!

Posted by Kells, November 24, 2013 09:22pm | Post a Comment


In a not-too-distant past -- twenty-five years ago A.D. -- there lived a guy named Joel, not too different from you or me. It doesn't matter what he did to eat and breathe, crappy movies had sealed his fate, because the comedy world was changed forever on this day in 1988... when Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on KTMA in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One hundred ninety-seven episodes and a movie later, the show continues to swell its "tape circulating" fanbase despite having been off the air for fourteen years. With the popularity of follow up ventures Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax ever growing, as well as this years' return of the annual
Thanksgiving Day marathon, it would seem that the past twenty-five years has kindly aged nothing if not the timelessness of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And so:

Happy Birthday MST3K!!! 

I feel like celebrating -- let's!

Here's a short list of some of my favorite episodes (heavily influenced by my access to dubbed VHS tapes of episodes recorded from televised broadcasts over the years) -- any of these would be a great place to start for anyone new to the charms of Mystery Science Theater 3000, beginning with the most beloved:

Space Mutiny (season 8, episode 20)

Ask any MSTie what their absolute favorite MST3K episode is and I guarantee if they don't reply with a hearty "Space Mutiny!" they'll at the very least mention it, ponderously.

Space Mutiny is everything an awesomely fully-realized sci-fi crap-tacular can and, in the case of MST3K, should be. The story follows a space ship called the Southern Sun where, supposedly, a some kind of mutiny is afoot, or something. However, the plot loses focus during the course of the film as at least one person is killed only to appear soon after in a subsequent scene very explicitly and inexplicably alive, apologies are issued for "scanty" information, the leading lady is forever 21 in a GILF-y way and the hero has all the charisma of a poorly cooked steak. Add to that the fact that all the space-battle footage was directly lifted from the TV series Battlestar Galactica (1978) and inserted into the flabby folds of Space Mutiny as if to "borrow" some credibility. The usual bag of film-specific running gags provided by the Satellite of Love's crew only further gilds David Winter's guilty conscience. Relive the malarkey magic with this here highlights vid:




Pod People
  (season 3, episode 3)


While I can't remember exactly but Pod People may have been my gateway Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, it is without a doubt the one that I've watched the most.

Like most films bestowed with the MSTreatment, Pod People is incredibly bad which, in a way, means it's a pretty mesmerizing watch to begin with. But when it comes to making raspberry preserves out of bloody pulp, Joel and his robot friends make it rain with tears of laughter and face-palms a plenty. Plus, this is one of the episodes where all the sketch comedy bits are absolutely on point. Featuring music by various Bay Area Artists and not a small amount of stop-action fuckery. I find it difficult to believe that anyone could keep a cut of highlights from this fried turd under fifteen minutes, however I must offer my kudos to whoever put together the below video. p.s. "It stinks!"


[spoiler alert] "His last words were, 'Huzzah.'"


Cave Dwellers (season 3, episode 1)

I have a sentimental soft spot for the Fantasy genre and whenever I'd tune in to MST3K to find that the night's episode would feature a Fantasy flick I'd think, "what have I done to deserve this?" -- in a good way. And then I'd go play the lotto.

Ator (the Invincible?) is a skilled hero, swordsman, healer, scientist and hang glider with a penchant for skimpy animal skins and samurai-inspired hair styles. He roams the "edge of the Earth" during what I suppose is the great time-collusion between Japan's late feudal era and the medieval retro craze of 17th century Europe -- you know, back when hub caps doubled as ladies' breast plates. Fraught with anachronistic inaccuracies and countless other continuity crimes, Cave Dwellers scores extra points for being, at the very least, rewatchable -- a miracle made totally possible by the good folks of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Mystery Science Theater 3000, alone. Here's another one of those "best of" reels, below. Sometimes I find that watching these fan-made vignettes in a pinch when times are tough is enough to give me the strength and good humor to carry on.


Jack Frost (season 8, episode 13)

Faerie tales can come true, even with Mystery Science Theater 3000! Jack Frost ain't no faerie tale I'm familiar with I can only suppose that this film is pretty faithful to whatever story it's adapted from based solely on the fact that it is batshit crazy in a very un-Disney way. Jack Frost, the man himself, doesn't even show up until the film is nearly half over but there are plenty of distractions along the way in the form of bears, a magical little mushroom man brandishing a tree branch with bells, a house with stumpy tree trunk legs inhabited by a hillbilly witch and bonus b.s. in the form of a magical pig-sled that may or mayn't have been previously barbecued. Man, that sled really books it! At the heart of it all is a young man sporting a patent Prince Valiant 'do and a doe-eyed Cinderella prototype that tread through the most ridiculous nonsensical scenarios to finally solidify their A-type faerie tale relationship. Eat it, Shelley Duvall! See snippets video, below.





Prince of Space (season 8, episode 16)

Starring Japanese martial arts cinema fixture Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba, Prince of Space is almost as preposterous as it's villains' torturously long scenes marked by bouts of extended "diabolical" laughter that sounds more like he's attempting to clear his nasal cavity with his diaphragm. Perhaps that's how it's done on the planet Kankor. Unluckily for the Karnkorians and their leader, Phantom, there is a Prince of Space on planet Earth and their weapons simply won't affect him harmfully or otherwise, not that this deters them from fighting the Prince again and again and again. Some scientists are kidnapped and some kids are put in harms way but, you know, Prince of Space, so, everything's okay.


I could keep going with this list, perhaps I'll add more later. But if you've read this far you're likely already in the club, and so, say it with me:
"WE'VE GOT MOVIE SIIIIIIGN!!!"

Numero Group's forthcoming Lost '70s Rock comp feat. amateur D&D art is giving me life...

Posted by Kells, November 21, 2013 02:40pm | Post a Comment
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This past Halloween marked a break in the fog obscuring yet another exciting prospect from the deep diggers and detail sticklers at Numero Group. The past few years has seen the label expanding the scope of their offerings and this one is set to be quite the departure from their former fare, so much so that one might even be tempted to inquire after what they've been smoking. If the above cover art and the amateur Dungeons & Dragons campaign sketches promised to be incorporated into the overall packaging are any indication, I'd wager they got a hold of some good ol' stuff! Slated for a February release, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles is compilation of lost 70s smokers I can really do with already, like, twenty years ago.  I'm chuffed to bits for their Purple Snow Minneapolis Sound comp dropping in early December, but this sixteen-sided die seems just as destined for niche-interest veneration as their WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze collection.

Get hyped via this promo vid featuring "Warlord" by the female-fronted and positively pagan-sounding Wrath:


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MANDALA presents: The Return of MANDOLLAR!

Posted by Kells, November 5, 2013 10:33am | Post a Comment

Here at Amoeba Music we love our regular in-house DJ series called MANDALA. This event features all manner of guest selectors, from Egyptian Lover to DJ Female Convict Scorpion, traversing multiple frequencies of the sound and vision spectrum, more often than not discovering new sonic sweet spots as the beat goes on. This Wednesday, November 6 from 5-7pm, MANDALA presents Amoeba SF resident "weird guy" music mavens and salient sounds selector-gurus Dan Derogatis and Julian Maestas as they peruse and play nothing but DOLLAR JAM$ from Amoeba's clearance vinyl section signalling the return of the very special "anything goes" MANDALA set we like to call MANDOLLAR! This most auspicious confluence of experimental ears, passionate bargain bin excavation and solid music knowledge will surely make for an unbridled and unpredictable 120 minutes never before heard nor heard again. The upside of shopping during this particular set will be that every record you hear will be up for grabs, immediately following play. 

Never forget: Records are your best entertainment value!

Anything Can Happen On Halloween!

Posted by Kells, October 31, 2013 01:22pm | Post a Comment
 
Because Tim Curry finding his tambourine in The Worst Witch never, ever gets old. Happy Halloween!


Horror on Wax: Halloween Vinyl Picks for 2013

Posted by Kells, October 30, 2013 05:15pm | Post a Comment

On the prowl for some spooky/kooky records to soundtrack your All Hallow's Eve and Day of the Dead fetes? Then by all means creep up on these fresh-to-death platters of Horror-rific, fringe fantasy realness for your Halloween listening pleasure!

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Upper Haight tomorrow please come see me as I'll be spinning a fair few of these records as a part of the Halloween costume contest and related festivities at Amoeba Music in San Francisco (just look for the Yip Yip alien behind the wheels of steel). If you can't join us for the party but still want a preview of these delicious picks, read on for my reviews:


All hail Finders Keepers Records! This label consistently cranks out unique, flawless offerings -- their collection of soundtracks, in particular, being some of the brightest gems gleaming in their treasure trove of sound. Marquis de Sade a.k.a. Eugenie and Malá Mo?ská Víla a.k.a The Little Mermaid are atmospheric and evocative, as any soundtrack should be, but possessing sonic reveries that are as delightful as they are dark, and as Halloween appropriate as they sound Halloween adjacent. That is to say, the fantasy doesn't always have to be spooky, or G rated for that matter.

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