10/31/08

Does a Film Called Good Eating Habits Qualify as Spooky When It's Released on Halloween?

I want a baconator!  Another one, I mean....considering the condition of my stomach after stuffing it with the office candy all day, I'm going to say yes. Mike, Bill and Kevin riff Good Eating Habits just in time for the least healthy day of the year. Grab it here.

Oh, and welcome, won't you?

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10/30/08

Joel Wants a Do-Over

And Rules Them With an Iron Fist!Welcome, won't you?

First, a correction: A few days ago I erroneously reported that Cinematic Titanic had riffed a Philipino vampire movie in St. Louis. This is incorrect; they actually riffed a Philipino vampire movie in Minneapolis. The original post has been corrected. We (meaning I) regret the error.

Second: The St. Louis show is actually November 1 (this Saturday), and it will feature the holiday movie they've been hinting about for months. Joel announced the title in his blog today, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Yep, it's the same movie he riffed with Trace and Kevin way back in Season Three of MST3K. DVD and download versions will be available on November 20, 2008. They did a fantastic job on it the first time around; here's hoping they do at least as well this time. In the meantime, the Cinematic Titanic Guide has been updated.

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10/28/08

Also Costars Beowulf, Sans Digital Abs

Raiders of the Almighty Dollar.Welcome, won't you?

If a major director ever set out to create a movie specifically for riffing purposes, he couldn't possibly do better than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, from Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. From Stephen Spielberg: Expert pacing, stunning visuals, and crowds of people staring gapejawed at things just offscreen. From George Lucas: A story so disjointed and silly, even Pee Wee Herman would have asked him to tone it down. (Costars Shia LeBoeuf as an unholy combination of Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks.) I can't wait to see what Mike, Bill and Kevin do with this sucker. Grab it here.

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10/27/08

Mommy, What's a "Chocolate Speedway"?

Proper flushing technique is even more important than a balanced breakfast.Welcome, won't you?

The latest Rifftrax short Good Health Practices has a lot of old saws about washing, resting and eating, but mostly it's about pooping. Did you know that people poop? Turns out they do! Just like cars! Review here.

Also, the Cinematic Titanic crew has performed in Minneapolis, riffing on a Tagalog vampire movie that we're sure to see available for sale on their site sometime in the future. Probably not the next one, though. Our current headlong rush into the holiday season makes me think we'll be getting something Christmas-flavored next.

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10/24/08

Just Can't Get Enough of that Good Ole' Fashioned Hygiene

Dr. Mike has just finished telling his patients to stop eating with urine-soaked hands.  Bill and Kevin don't wanna.Welcome, won't you?

Good health practices are, well, good for you. Hence the name. Rifftrax is good for you too. Ergo, a Rifftraxed version of the 1953 hygiene short Good Health Practices should be doubly healthy. Download Rifftrax's latest short and enjoy a longer life today.

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The Richest Unintentional Comedy of the Year

Sadly, not M. Night's remake of Carmaggedon.Welcome, won't you?

Rifftrax took on M. Night Shyamalan at his zenith earlier this year, and now it's time to take him on at his nadir. The Happening is every bit as entertaining as The Sixth Sense, but there are a few key differences. Instead of building deliberate suspense, for instance, The Happening goes so far over the top with its overearnest characters and mass deaths that you can't help but laugh. If you watch closely, you can actually see the part where Shyamalan's film career stops in its tracks, walks backwards a few unsteady steps, and then shoots itself in the head. Review here.

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10/23/08

RVOD037 Good Eating Habits

(1951, Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

Chew deep into the afternoon.

Rating: ****

In a nutshell:

Eat everything mother gives you, but slowly. Nope, not slowly enough. Slower. Slower, I say!

Summary:

Holy crap, that makes me hungry.It’s dinnertime in the Generic household. Mafioso Dad enjoys a heaping plate of something gray. So does Mannish Mom and Pale Big Sister. But not Bill. Bill doesn’t feel so good. He can’t finish his plate, dragging himself upstairs to his room with a stomachache. He’s so queasy that even his model train set feels sluggish. Mannish Mom puts him to bed early. How could things have come to this?

Well, Bill was in a hurry at breakfast and lunchtime, wolfing down just a couple of bites of each before running off to do something more interesting. Then, after school, he filled up on soda and candies. With that Coke/cookie/Snickers Bar amuse bouche as nearly his sole source of pre-dinner nutrition, it’s no wonder he feels a bit urpy.

Thankfully, Bill’s junk food-induced night of gastrointestinal terror has taught him a valuable lesson. Next morning he gets up early, so he’ll have time to chew every bite of his breakfast until it’s perfectly pureed. Repeat the process at lunch. Before-dinner snacks are allowed, but only healthy snacks provided by Mannish Mom should be accepted, and yes, masticated into oblivion before swallowing. Just to drive the point home, we see Bill repeat the process yet again at dinner. There. Now Bill’s model train feels well enough to move at a normal speed.

Thoughts:

Chew that orange juice slower, Bill.  You won't extract any nutrition just by gulping it.I wonder, if you chew your food long enough, will it evaporate completely, eliminating the need to swallow? I mean, if you can chew long enough to turn solids into liquids, wouldn’t it make sense to chew it even longer, thus reducing one’s liquefied mouthful to gaseous form? That way you really could inhale your meals...

Okay, I admit that I’m killing time to distract you from the fact that I don’t have much to say about this short. It’s staid and bland like just about every other hygiene and health-related short from this era, only more so. If it were any more insubstantial, it would cease to exist.

And yet, somehow Mike, Bill and Kevin turn this into one of the funniest Rifftrax shorts available. Mike starts us out by explaining why it’s not Eating Habits are not Good. “First of all,” he says, “the nuns get angry.” Later, when we get to the interminable chewing scenes, Mike offers this time-saving suggestion: “Pre-chew your food and store it in squeeze bottles.” Kevin chimes in during the early, rushed meals with commentary such as, “And he’s off in a cloud of liverwurst!” Bill gives us just the right ending when the film cuts off mid-line, “Aaah! The bomb!” This one went well against my expectations, but I'm glad it did. Usually the riffers do their best work with shorts that are already bizarre. This one’s so staid that it’s almost a blank canvas, but they hit it just perfectly anyway.

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How Many Playboy Millionaire Geniuses Does it Take to Punch a Thug?

The 'Pyramid of Faces' is only slightly better than the standard 'Row of Faces'.Welcome, won't you?

Most of Bruce Wayne's imitators tend to be boring folk who largely disappear behind their cowls/faceplates/masks/what-have-you, but thankfully Playboy Millionare Genius du jour Tony Stark manages to be a bit more interesting than the rest. He's even more fun to watch than his red and gold alter ego Iron Man. Mike, Bill and Kevin shine as always during the ridiculous action sequences, but Robert Downey Jr.'s fast-talking dialog style makes riffing the exposition scenes difficult. Review here.

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10/22/08

I'm Still Waiting for Disneyland to Add a Nuclear Explosion-Propelled Refrigerator to the Indiana Jones Ride

Disembaudio looks much, much scarier that way.Welcome, won't you?

The good folks at Rifftrax will skip to the end of another series next Tuesday, when Mike, Bill and Kevin will take on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's all the silliness of modern Lucas, thankfully tempered by the expert pacing of classic Spielberg. Get it from Rifftrax on October 28, 2008.

Also: I don't usually report rumors, but since these come from an interview with Trace Beaulieu, I think they actually count more as hints. Go here to read and/or listen to a vague bit of information about the upcoming vampires and Frankenstein's monsters of Cinematic Titanic.

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10/21/08

CT007 Blood of the Vampires

(1966, Horror, color)

I may be undead, but I’ve never felt more unalive!

Rating: ****

In a Nutshell:

A family of Filipino/Mexican plantation owners fall victim to a vampire curse.

Summary:

That's all of it, right there.Escodero Dad is a rich, cantankerous old Filipino gentleman who rules a Gone with the Wind-style Southern United States plantation somewhere in nineteenth century Mexico. He invites the neighbors over for a party; while everyone boogies the night away, his daughter Escodero Sister slips off with her Charming Fiancé to pledge vows of eternal love. They head back to drop the good news on Dad, but Dad has also snuck away to visit his vampire wife in the dungeon. Sister and Fiancé surprise him coming out of the dungeon’s hidden entrance. He suffers a heart attack and dies.

That is, he dies a week or so later, after a bunch of convoluted plot stuff has happened, starting with his refusal to allow the marriage of Sister and Fiancé. I think his refusal has something to do with Vampire Mom, but no efforts are made to explain this in any sort of coherent detail. Vampire Mom is also the reason Dad requires that his estate be put to the torch upon his death, something he explains to his son Escodero Brother when the latter takes issue with that little provision. Brother watches his Dad and the Blackface Butler whip Vampire Mom for a little bit, eventually fleeing the dungeon in consternation. The next night, Sister wanders in to watch too, with a similar reaction.

Some time later, Brother wanders down while Dad isn’t looking for a little tête-à-tête with his undead Mom. Seeing that his large, decorative crucifix makes her uncomfortable, he discards it; a bad idea, seeing as how she pounces on him and drinks his blood just as soon as the opportunity arises. Dad and Blackface Butler arrive to rescue him, but Vampire Mom escapes again a day or so later. Dad chases her into the countryside. She almost kills him, but Blackface Butler catches up just in time to impale her with a fencepost. Dad burns the body and returns to the mansion, where he runs into his newly be-vampired son, on his way out to terrorize the local populace. Nearly an hour into the film, Dad finally drops dead of the heart attack he suffered in the very first scene.

All hail Spon-Sor, demon god of sobriety!Escodero Brother runs out to bite, rape and otherwise assault a Helpless Wench (a.k.a. the sister of Charming Fiancé). Fiancé swears revenge, but his father and sister prevent him when Escodero Brother offers to marry her. Helpless Wench becomes a vampire as well soon after the wedding. Meanwhile, Charming Fiancé has been sneaking onto the Escodero estate to resume wooing the lovely Escodero Sister. He runs into Escodero Brother on the grounds and beats him within an inch of his life. Escodero Sister offers to run away with him if he’ll let Escodero Brother live, and Charming Fiancé agrees. This is not to be, however. Escodero Brother sabotages their carriage before they can make their getaway. It falls off an embankment during their escape and kills Fiancé.

The injured Sister wakes up surrounded by doctors and vampires. When the doctor departs, her vampiric brother tries to make his move, but the benevolent ghost of her Fiancé foils him. Fiancé’s Ghost is strongly implied to be sent by the Almighty to make good on Fiancé’s promise to love and protect Sister forevermore, but this actually turns out to be only sort of intermittently forevermore. As soon as Fiancé’s Ghost departs, Sister gets bitten en masse by her Vampire Brother, Vampire Wench, and all the Vampire Blackface Maidservants. Just as she’s starting to turn into a vampire herself, Blackface Butler arrives with a whole congregation of torch-wielding Catholics to burn the rest of the movie down. Brother and his undead harem die horrible, agonizing deaths, while Fiancé’s Ghost returns to impale his sweetheart and elope with her spirit back to heaven. So yeah, it’s a happy ending.

Thoughts:

Only one of these lovely ladies will be crowned Miss Hate Crime 2009.Wow. Where to even start with this thing? I guess we could begin with Blood of the Vampires’ strangest feature. Instead of black actors, the filmmakers used Tagalog day players dipped in black (not brown) body paint. During the viewing I surmised that there may not have been any actors of the necessary ethnicity available, but a quick bit of Internet research indicates that there are, in fact, plenty of black people in the Philippines, so I dunno. Is it racist? By modern American standards, yes, very much so. But then, these characters don’t act like any of our popular stereotypes. They don’t act like much of anything, really. With few lines and very little independent action, they’re more like furniture than characters. Combine this with the fact that this picture was probably never meant to be seen outside the Filipino market, and I’m guessing we can chalk this ludicrously inappropriate little racial faux pas up to some rather extreme cluelessness.

“Clueless” is the best word I can think of to describe Blood of the Vampires as a whole, actually. Oh, it’s bad, make no mistake about that. Bad and weird, but not in an “Ooh! Spooky! Look how bizarre and twisted we are!” sort of way. It doesn’t seem like the filmmakers are trying to offend or bemuse with all that black body paint, the six-day heart attack, the mom-centric whipping, the horrifying Catholic icons, the attempted incest or the intermittent ghost. As far as I can tell, they thought they were making a scary, straightforward horror flick with a genuinely uplifting finale. Unintentional weirdness of this extremity is rare, precious and exquisite. It deserves to be savored and enjoyed. And mocked, of course.

Of course much of the mockery centers on the painted plantation servants. Near Blackface Butler’s first appearance, J. Elvis says, “I’d be less offended if they strapped a great big nose on him and called him ‘Jew-Face’”. When artificially darkened maidservants carry flowers across a courtyard, Trace comments, “Only one of these lovely ladies will be crowned Miss Hate Crime 2009!” As Blackface Butler runs through the night after Vampire Mom, Frank says, “I’ve got to be careful not to sweat off my ethnicity.” There are some good non-blackface-related jokes as well. While five vampires take turns biting Escodero Sister, Joel notes, “She’s going to be all backwash,” while Mary Jo says, “She seems to be the most popular item on the menu. I hope they made enough of her.” They stop the movie only once, for an inexplicable gag about Frank’s all-seeing AA sponsor. It’s pretty much the only part that isn’t all that funny, and it’s over quickly. The other 99%, however, is hilarious. Blood of the Vampires is by far their best release yet.

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CT006 Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks

(1974, Horror, color)

Rating: ***1/2

We tried to wedge a “Dracula” into the title, but it just didn’t work.

In a nutshell:

Contains Neanderthals and boobs.

Summary:

Freakish action figues sold separately.An enraged mob of growly-voiced villagers assaults a hapless Neanderthal. Upon finishing off the large but innocent proto-human, the crowd disperses. Dr. Frankenstein’s menagerie of deformed servants collects the corpse afterwards, toting it back to his secret laboratory. Frankenstein needs to swap out some parts before reviving him, I guess, so he sends his menagerie out again to steal a recently deceased young woman from the local cemetery.

Now the movie diverges into three separate and equally incomprehensible plotlines. In the main story, Frankenstein’s hot daughter brings her effeminate fiancé and her hot school counselor home for the, um, holidays or something? Anyway, the fiancé surreptitiously gropes her for a few minutes and then disappears for most of the rest of the film while the hot school counselor strips naked and bathes in milk.

Shortly thereafter, counselor lady seduces Frankenstein into revealing all his most precious scientific secrets, including the reanimated Neanderthal strapped to a table in his secret lab. Thereafter, Frankenstein alternately prods his patient and canoodles with his new hot counselor girlfriend. During the patient-prodding sessions, hot counselor wanders into the countryside with hot daughter to strip naked and bathe in the local hot springs.

Features naked boobies...The primary subplot involves intrigue among the freakish servants. Let’s see, we have the beefy butler and his beefy wife, who aren’t so much deformed as they are excited by deformity in others. Beefy wife has a sadomasochistic affair with the hunchback manservant while beefy butler has a petty rivalry with the dwarfish stable boy. (There’s also a man in a top hat. I’m not sure if that’s meant to be his deformity, or if he’s even a servant. He doesn’t seem to do anything but hang around and get killed at the end.) Anyway, beefy butler gets the dwarf banished from Frankenstein’s castle. As revenge the dwarf wanders into the wilderness to befriend another local Neanderthal, who he induces to kidnap and mangle the local beauties, thus stirring up the populace against his former employer.

Not that the local populace needs any encouragement, as they already blame absolutely everything unpleasant about their miserable lives on the mad but mostly non-present Frankenstein. The secondary subplot consists of these disgruntled village-dwellers gathering on street corners to grumble accusations to one another in hilarious cartoon voices. Occasionally they gather on the steps of the local constabulary to grumble their suspicions in slightly louder voices.

With ten minutes to the end, all three plots crash back into one another when the dwarf leaves his pet Neanderthal alone to sneak back into the castle and free the reanimated Neanderthal. This new, improved Neanderthal slaughters most of the castle’s freakish inhabitants (including Frankenstein himself) before wandering back into the wilderness with the dwarf. A wounded hunchback warns the local inspector, who heads out to the dwarf’s cave with an unruly mob on his heels. Despite the protests of the movie’s survivors, the mob somehow manages to burn the cave down. Hot counselor watches in horror, apparently oblivious to the dwarf pressing his face into her boobies.

Thoughts:

...reanimated Neanderthals, and a horny dwarf.When you take into account its lack of action and gore, the above-described debauchery is the movie’s one and only selling point. But before you get too excited about it, I suppose I should clarify that this Cinematic Titanic release debuts a new feature for the series—the Breast Blimp. This vaguely chest-sized silhouette wanders in from one side of the screen at the beginning of each nude scene and floats gently across in just such away as to strategically block all naughty bits from view. Think of it as the modern equivalent of Joel’s umbrella from City Limits.

And as long as we’re comparing this to classic MST3K, the dubbing in this thing is something else. Gamera vs. Barugon had worse voice-overs, but not by much. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks wins for hilarity, though. Four out of every five characters sound like villains from a Jay Ward cartoon. It’s a bit of pleasant spice in an otherwise inept and toothless old horror flick.

The Cinematic Titanic crew breeze through this one. When Frankenstein’s cadre of deformed servants first appears, J. Elvis says, “You think hunchbacks in Transylvania just stand outside the Home Depot?” As the opening credits continue to pop up a good ten to fifteen minutes in, Frank finds one name particularly amusing: “Boris Lugosi? What, they couldn’t get Bela Karloff?” As the hunchback fumbles with the roast at dinner, Joel grumbles, “You can’t get good freakish help these days.” When Frankenstein’s daughter asks him if he’s disappointed that she wasn’t born a boy, Mary Jo replies, “It’s not too late. We can still bolt something on for you.” During the Neanderthal shenanigans at the end, Trace references their weapon of choice with, “I would never club someone that would have me as a member.” The one time they stop the movie, Trace wants to draw attention to his “I Love Frankenstein” T-shirt. When he reveals that his jacket has been covering up the “-enstein”, Frank is disappointed. As a whole, the episode turns out very pleasant. They had a good time, and while the movie was terrible, it was terrible in a harmless sort of way, so I had a good time too.

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CT005 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

(1964, Children/Holiday/SciFi, color)

Rating: ***1/2

Be not that afraid. Be very not that afraid.

In a nutshell:

Santa Claus brings the Christmas spirit to joyless Martian children.

Summary:

The red planet gleams above a festive river of holiday snot.(Author’s note: The following summary has been shamelessly recycled from the last time I reviewed this film.)

Green-painted Martian children watch dully from space while balding older men dryly deliver news of Santa’s workshop. An officious Martian named Kimar notices that his children seem rather listless, so he seeks the advice of a shaky old green guy with a long white beard. The quivery oldster announces that the children of Mars have forgotten how to be children. He querulously declares that they need a Santa Claus to remind them, and then explodes for no apparent reason.

No one thinks this odd, however, and soon the Martians are on their way to Earth to kidnap Santa Claus in their highly advanced spaceship, made of light bulbs, plywood and string. Goofy comic relief Droppo (the laziest Martian on Mars) stows away and wreaks unintentional havoc. The predatory Martians are momentarily confounded by an apparent plethora of Santa Clauses to choose from, so they kidnap a pair of exceptionally dull earth children (Billy and Betty) who direct them to the North Pole.

T minus ten seconds to spontaneous combustion...A great deal of shenanigans and goings-on ensue in the frozen north, including a large cardboard robot and a man in a rather obvious polar bear suit. Soon we learn that Santa is an avuncular old man who tells a lot of bad jokes and his wife is a shrill termagant who relentlessly browbeats her husband. The Martian raiders kidnap Santa and journey back to Mars with Billy and Betty, who narrowly avoid an attempt on their lives by the mutinous Martian Voldar. They arrive safely, and Santa Claus starts his campaign to bring joy to all the Martian children.

The hearty, mustachioed Voldar escapes imprisonment and leads an insurrection against the Claus regime, but Santa cracks a few bad jokes and Droppo prances around a lot, saving the day. Droppo is appointed to be the official Martian Santa. Santa and the kids deliver excruciatingly long farewell speeches and go home, presumably to be scolded within an inch of their lives by Mrs. Claus.

Thoughts:

The unholy love child of the Really Real Time Machine and Danger: Death Ray!!It’s not the first time a riffing team has covered previously conquered territory, but it is the first time someone’s delved back into MST3K material. The MST3K’d version was cut for time. The Cinematic Titanic crew has taken pains to let us know that this one wasn’t, but I only noticed two “restored” scenes. The first is a ridiculously lengthy establishing shot of the quivery oldster’s swampy Martian home, during which we see him explode at the beginning of his speech as well as at the end. The other comes after Santa’s arrival on Mars, as Kimar gravely informs Santa that he will never return to Earth. There may have been more; if so, they were unremarkable.

The Cinematic Titanic “stop the movie” skits seem to happening less and less, as this film only includes one. It’s a good’n, though. Joel pauses to present each of his fellow riffers with a gift, including Paul McCartney’s bass for J. Elvis, a Tesla Roadster for Mary Jo, and the film editing machine used on Citizen Kane for Frank. Frank points out that the machine in question was destroyed in a fire decades ago, while J. Elvis accuses Joel of just presenting them with cardboard cutouts of gifts to get their hopes up. The offended Joel insists that his presents are real; he has to be convinced to present Trace with the final gift—a time machine with a laser cannon on top.

Get him, rebellious Martians!  Terminate with extreme prejudice!The riffing shines as always. As the quivery oldster’s pro-Santa rant finally concludes, J. Elvis concludes, “No piece of scenery left unchewed.” During a lengthy silence aboard the plywood Martian rocket, Trace advises, “In space, no one can hear you unless you speak!” During the barrage of stock footage implying Earthling military pursuit of the Martian kidnappers, Joel observes, “Even real military equipment looks fake in this film.” When green-painted Martian rebels engage in poorly choreographed fistfights with pro-Santa forces, Frank says, “You hate to see booger on booger violence,” while Mary Jo thinks it looks like “three Riddlers fighting an invisible Batman.” Everyone walks away during the interminable ending credits, except for Trace and J. Elvis, who get into a kind of iron man competition to see who can last through the nauseatingly chipper closing song the longest.

Comparing this version to the previously riffed version has turned out to be a bit “apples and oranges.” The MST3K version was hilarious on the basis of competent film segments and hysterical host segments. The Cinematic Titanic version doesn’t have as much going on host segment-wise, but the riffing is superior, so the final score ends up about the same. In happier circumstances I’d wonder why the re-riff was necessary, but right now the fact that they’ve finally done a film that isn’t a consummate downer gives them a free pass on that one. Without movie issues to weigh them down, this offering shines.

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In Which, Ironically, Nothing Happens

Friggin' plant sympathizers, the lot of them.Welcome, won't you?

You say you want Mike, Bill and Kevin to make fun of a movie where the villain is an undetectable scent, which eventually goes away on its own with no action required on the part of any of the film's protagonists? Say no more! Check out Rifftrax's latest release in which Mike, Bill and Kevin take on M. Night Shyamalan's horribly mistitled The Happening. Get it here.

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10/20/08

Well, Crap

I wish I could turn into a big scarlet Jean Claude Van Damme.Welcome, won't you?

The Incredible Hulk: The Final Round is now missing in action, as the promise of a free Rifftrax has attracted more traffic than Internet television provider Hulu was apparently expecting. I guess popularity is a good thing, at least until it crushes your servers. Here's hoping it comes back soon.

Also: the Iron Man review will be delayed until I resolve some technical issues--not with the Rifftrax, but with the Iron Man DVD I purchased.

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10/17/08

He Couldn't 'a Been a Contenda

Before the advent of CGI, studios had to hire actors who were naturally freakish.Welcome, won't you?

The Incredible Hulk: The Final Round is impressively stupid, but in an easily enjoyable sort of way. Like a lot of television from the seventies, actually. In a way, I wish they still made shows like this; I'd take Lou Ferrigno's inarticulate growl over the backbiting morons of Survivor any day. Mike, Kevin and Bill make gleefully dumb television even more gleeful with their latest On Demand release. (Review here.) Once again, viewing is free for United States residents with broadband connections. The rest of you just have to hope they'll be making the MP3 available for sale someday.

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10/16/08

RVOD036 Good Health Practices

(1953, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

Blow mud, my children!

Rating: ***

In a nutshell:


It’s healthy to wash, eat and sleep, but mostly you just need to poop a lot.

Summary:

You two need to poop more; you haven't nearly filled your quota.Little Jim and his big sister Judy are happy, healthy (and mostly parent-free) youngsters. This is because they poop regularly. They also eat well, especially foods that will help them poop. Before and after they poop, they wash their hands, or sometimes their entire bodies. And, after a long day of pooping, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. The makers of this short would also like you to know that poop is nothing to be ashamed of.

Thoughts:

Okay, I admit the short isn’t quite as fixated on poop as I’ve made it sound, but dang it, it’s funny. Truthfully, they only dedicate about a quarter of the running time to “toilet habits”. (In the fifties, I guess you couldn’t just come out and say “poop”, you could only imply it.) The other three quarters are evenly divided among washing, eating and resting well. But then, in a rather bizarre coda to each of these sections, the narrator goes out of his way to tell us how these activities relate back to poop, so advice about excrement rounds up to about half the running time overall.

Proper flushing technique is even more important than a balanced breakfast.This fecal fixation is pretty much the only thing that sets this short apart from the hundreds of other hygiene shorts of this era, but it’s enough to get riffers Mike, Bill and Kevin rolling with the euphemisms, including “coiling a cobra”, “blowing mud”, and “chocolate speedway”. When the narrator leads off by asking, “Have you ever thought about how much fun it is to be alive,” Kevin says, “Walt Whitman did, and now he’s dead.” As the narrator emphasizes washing up (and using the toilet) before bed, Bill adds, “The monsters under your bed hate the smell of clean children.” There are a few moments of hilarity, but mostly it's just good, solid humor that comes out easily and leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed when you're done.

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Heart Attack Water For Everyone!

Talk about your novelty glasses.Welcome, won't you?

The Legacy of Blood review has been posted as promised, though without screenshots. I'll try to take some and upload them tonight before my Iron Man Rifftrax party. If I don't get to it in time, it'll have to wait for tomorrow. (Update: screenshots have now been added.) If you want the review in a nutshell, though, I'll just say that the Cinematic Titanic crew continues to sparkle in spite of dismal film selection, and in this case the film is particularly dismal.

And now, an announcement worthy of bold caps:

How would you rate this on a scale of Bill Corbett to Lou Ferrigno?HEY EVERYONE! FREE RIFFTRAX!

You need a decent broadband connection based in the United States, but if you meet those requirements, all you have to do is go here and watch Mike, Kevin and Bill take on the first television episode of The Incredible Hulk, featuring Lou Ferrigno, Bill Bixby, and an impressively stupid palooka trying (and failing) to imitate Marlon Brando and Sylvester Stallone at the same time. I'll probably be adding the review for this to the Rifftrax Video On Demand section, because I just don't know where else to put it.

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10/15/08

Prequel to The Occurence, Sequel to The Coming to Pass

Careful, Bill.  That daisy's loaded.Welcome, won't you?

Maybe it's just me, but when I hear about a movie called The Happening, I think it's going to be a nostalgic look at those 1960s college kids who stood on street corners to shriek incomprehensible poetry at passers-by. Fortunately, this is not the case. Rather more unfortunately, it's a killer plant thriller from M. Night Shyamalan's later ouevre--you know, after he declared "To hell with all this 'character-driven suspense' crap, from now on I'm going to be boring and pointless!" Thankfully, I will not have to watch it alone, as a Rifftrax featuring Mike, Kevin and Bill will be released on October 21, 2008.

Also notable: The news section of the Darkstar site has updated again, with some rather vague reports of some rather vague progress made in some key but rather vague areas of production. They're still making rather vague claims to release sometime in 2008, but I can't help but notice that every other game scheduled for release this year already has a publisher, a release date, and a product that's at least as far as beta testing.

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10/14/08

Oil Can! Oil Can!

They're not very bad men.  They're just very bad wizards.Welcome, won't you?

Rifftrax's latest offering has been released. Please download and enjoy the commentary for Iron Man, a revisionist take on a cinema classic, starring Robert Downey Jr. as of one of Oz's most beloved characters. Co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Dorothy, Terence Howard as the Cowardly Lion and Jeff Bridges in dual roles as both the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch of the West.

A review of Cinematic Titanic's Legacy of Blood will be posted within the next couple of days.

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10/13/08

One Down, Three to Go

'...in a spaceship of your own design.'  We know, Joel.  We know.Welcome, won't you?

There's a new MST3K review up. It's been years since I said that, and there won't be too many more opportunities when you consider that there are only three lost episodes left. The Green Slime isn't really an episode per se. There's no riffing, and not much in the way of host segments. It's more of a historical document than a piece of entertainment, and viewing works best if you approach it in that manner.

Caveat: It is, as I suspected, a camcorder version of a convention showing. Check out the Digital Archive Project if you want to see it yourself.

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10/9/08

Green Legacy Slime of Blood

Talk about your novelty glasses.Welcome, won't you?

Two really exciting releases today:

First, as previously announced, Cinematic Titanic has released their take on the seventies family murder flick, Legacy of Blood. Download from EZTakes for $9.99, or order a professionally pressed DVD directly from Cinematic Titanic for $14.99. Thus far, I have heard of no distribution glitches. I believe this may be a first for them.

An artifact to be treasured, not for its intrinsic worth, but for its historical value.Second, the Digital Archive Project has gotten their grubby mitts on a copy of MST3K's unaired pilot, The Green Slime. I'm not holding out very high hopes for audio and video quality; given the timing of this episode's appearance, and its description as "Presented with an introduction from the man himself, Joel Hodson", I strongly suspect that this is a camcorder version of the recent Archon presentation. But still, that one of the four lost KTMAs, the Holy Grails of MST3K fandom, has finally come to light in any form is a big, big deal. I'll start downloading when I get home and hopefully have a review up sometime next week.

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10/8/08

Tony Stark Could Have Built This Rifftrax in a Cave out of Spare Parts

THEY ARE IRON MEN!Welcome, won't you?

We've shouted I AM BEOWULF and I AM LEGEND for previous Rifftrax, and even stretched it a bit to shout THIS IS SPARTA, and now we get to drag the old chestnut out again. Get ready to shout I AM IRON MAN at people you don't know starting next Tuesday, October 14, 2008, when Mike, Bill and Kevin riff Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder... er, I mean Iron Man.

Until then we can fill the lonely days with Cinematic Titanic's Legacy of Blood, which releases tomorrow.

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10/7/08

Aqua Frolics = Delirium

There's nothing quite like waterlogged poultry for dinner.Welcome, won't you?

Does playing in a brief, warm rainfall count as Aqua Frolics? 'Cause if so, then this particular aqua frolic leads to pools of still water, which leads to mosquitoes, which leads to West Nile Virus, which leads day after unrelenting day of high fever, which leads to this revew being almost a week late. How I wish I was joking about that. Hooray for Aqua Frolics!

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10/6/08

RVOD035 The Incredible Hulk: The Final Round

(1978, Action-Superhero/Television, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

It’s like Hamlet, only stupid.

Rating: ***1/2

In a nutshell:

The Incredible Hulk mixed with Rocky and just a dash of On the Waterfront, only stupid.

Summary:

How would you rate this on a scale of Bill Corbett to Lou Ferrigno.Brilliant scientist, wrongfully accused fugitive and occasional Hulk David Banner (Bill Bixby) arrives in town and immediately runs afoul of a wholesome and racially diverse gang of muggers. They steal his wallet while beating him gently, but before Banner can transform into his big green alter ego, he’s rescued by an animate lump of boxing stereotypes named (groan) Rocky.

Rocky speaks mostly in quotes from On the Waterfront. Or, he would if he weren’t so “unquenchably stupid” (Bill’s description). In practice, he repeats On the Waterfront’s most famous line over and over again while doing an unconvincing impression of Sylvester Stallone with brain damage. More brain damage, I mean.

Rocky takes Banner back to his apartment where they laugh together while nursing each other’s bruises, talking about boys and braiding each other’s hair, except for the part about the boys and the hair. Soon Rocky has gotten Banner a job as a physical therapist at the local boxing gym. At this point Banner discovers three things about his good-hearted but phenomenally stupid newfound friend. 1) He’s a really crappy boxer. 2) His coach knows this but trains him for free in exchange for his services as a Shady Package Delivery Boy. 3) He’s an auto repair savant who’s been offered a mechanic job by the brother of his longsuffering girlfriend.

Now that the course for the rest of the episode has been unalterably fixed, we push right into the first appearance of The Incredible Hulk. The suspicious Banner tails Rocky while the latter makes another shady delivery with all the cheerful ignorance he can muster. Having gathered reinforcements, the wholesome thugs of the opening scene return for revenge; they lay into our heroes until Bill Bixby finally turns green and morphs into Lou Ferrigno. Thug-tossing, garbage can-crumpling, brick wall-demolishing hijinks ensue. In the midst of the mayhem, Hulk steps on Rocky’s sack of “bandages”, revealing it to be full of heroin.

Before the advent of CGI, studios had to hire actors who were naturally freakish.Rather than do something sensible (like going straight to the cops) Rocky gathers up the crushed package of tainted smack and returns to his coach. Rocky loves his coach and says he won’t turn him in if he promises to give up drug dealing forever. Coach agrees and thanks him by setting up the boxing match with a real boxer that Rocky has always wanted. As soon as Rocky’s out of the room, the coach conspires with his cronies to spike Rocky’s ringside water bottle with a compound that will aggravate the ersatz boxer’s high blood pressure. This will send his blood pressure so high that the physical strain of the match will give him a heart attack.

By this time, Banner has de-Hulked and returned to listen to their evil plot from behind a door. When the coach and his co-conspirators leave, Banner sneaks in to steal the heart attack juice and replace it with something harmless, but coach comes back in at a crucial moment and discovers him. Coach’s enforcers knock Banner out before he can Hulk up again. People are already arriving for the fight—in Incredible Hulk-land, I guess deciding you’re going to have a boxing match is the same as organizing and promoting one for many weeks—so the hurried enforcers hide Banner’s bound and unconscious body in a professional wrestler’s steel cage and hoist it over the ring.

An unbelievably short time later, the ring is surrounded by a sold-out crowd of thousands, all of whom apparently showed up on a moment’s notice to see a modestly popular local beat up a guy they’ve never heard of. Rocky gets pounded for the first round and a half while Coach’s cronies feed him heart attack water. Before it can completely take effect, Banner inevitably wakes up, and just as inevitably gets upset by the spectacle below him. He turns huge and green, dropping into the ring to separate the fighters, beat up the referee, and then chase the coach and his cronies out of the arena before thrashing them within an inch of their lives.

Knowing that his Hulk-ish antics won’t have gone unnoticed, Banner decides to move on. But not before he sees Rocky into the arms of his longsuffering girlfriend, and into a lifetime of auto mechanic drudgery at his longsuffering girlfriend’s brother’s garage.

Thoughts:

So is Bill Bixby equivalent to Bill Corbet, or vice versa?If the above summary hadn’t already convinced you of this, let me state it clearly now: This episode of The Incredible Hulk is a shameless and deliberate rip-off of every boxing movie ever made, up to and including the ones that hadn’t been made yet. Other adjectives that come to mind include “moronic” and “hamfisted”. Also: “cheerful”, so it’s hard to get angry at it. The Final Round is impressively dumb, but in an endearing way. It means to be stupid, and by that measure it is a success, albeit a huge green success that smashes through brick walls for no apparent reason.

This makes it perfect for Rifftrax treatment, and Mike, Bill and Kevin do not disappoint. When Rocky’s friendly manner endears him to his neighbors and fellow boxers, Bill says, “Fake Rocky is the hero of Fake Street in Faketown, U.S.A.” During the incredibly contrived caging scene, Kevin provokes groans from his co-riffers with, “Someone hoisted a Banner over the ring.” As the boxing match drags on, Mike calls it, “A lethal combination of grab-ass and patty-cake.” This great Rifftrax of a fun television episode is available for free to residents of the United States with decent broadband connections... or, it was until it's popularity crashed its server of origin. Thankfully, the commentary has recently been made available for sale as a regular Rifftrax. The free streaming version may or may not become available again at some point in the future.

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10/1/08

I Thought It Seemed a Little Quiet Lately

Bill has a body like a poisonous frog.Welcome, won't you?

Though no doubt busy reloading their Feature Length Commentary Gun, the folks at Rifftrax have taken time out to fire off another short, just to keep us all in the mood. Head down here to pick up Aqua Frolics, an apparently water-themed little educational reel that we can only hope is as dumb as it sounds. Expect a review tomorrow or the next day.

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