“We’ve got movie sign!”
Hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years of riffing for the Minnesotan puppet show Mystery Science Theater 3000 that has since become a cult phenomenon. Having returned to the airwaves with Netflix last year along with a live nation-wide tour, they are re-returning to the airwaves and doing another live tour! This time around, comedian Jonah Ray will be uniting with series creator/original host Joel Hodgson to riff on some B-Movies together.
The tour includes shows based on two different movies. Deathstalker II, the sequel to the wacky swords-and-sorcery action fantasy franchise from the 80’s. The other bing The Brain, a Canadian sci-fi horror monster movie from 1988 (funnily enough, meaning it’s also celebrating 30 years!). Needless to say, I made sure to go to The Brain version of the show! I’ve been a life-long MST3K fan for as long as I can remember, and some of my favorite episodes were the sci-fi horror episodes, such as Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Manos: The Hands Of Fate.
The set-up involves Jonah and the bots, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, being subjected to a riffing contest by Sinthia Forrester (Rebecca Hanson) with Joel. Points being marked by certain riffs (brand names, call-backs, etc.) but all in good fun, even if Crow makes threats. The movie itself was a blast. The Brain follows bad boy prankster high school student Jim Majelewski (Tom Bresnahan) who’s sent to the institute of psychologist/TV show host/cult leader Dr. Anthony Blakely (David Gale of Re-Animator!) following a stunt involving pure sodium and the bathroom. Jim soon discover that a rash of murders and suicides are being cause by a giant, alien brain that Blakely is growing in his lab and will only grow bigger and stronger wiht the more minds it controls. Now, Jim must race against the clock alongside his girlfriend Janet (Cynthia Preston) to stop Blakely from broadcasting nationally and taking over the world!
Needless to say, the movie is ripe for the MST3K treatment. With a big, weird monster brain, the leads being rather cartoonish, and with plenty of call-back jokes. My personal favorite being a ‘Rowsdower’ line directed at Verna (George Buza), Dr. Blakely’s henchman. Mystery Science Theater 3000 has always been a great group event. Be it with friends or with a crowd, so a live theatrical show was an absolute blast! The show continues now until the final show in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 17th. And for more MST3K action, Season 12 will be dropping on Netflix this Turkey day/Thanksgiving!