Mystery Science Theater 3000: Experiment 1110
Written by Joel Hodgson et al
Directed by Joel Hodgson and Robert Cohen
1985 was a watershed year for genre movies. It saw the introduction of the Back to the Future trilogy, and The Goonies, Terry Gilliam’s amazing Brazil, Weird Science, Real Genius, and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Almost all were new properties, and fondly remembered to this day. With such an imposing lineup, it’s no surprise that this week’s experiment got lost in the shuffle. But then, that really would have happened anyway.
Cold open in Moon 13. Max is crushing hard on Kinga, and discovers a giant key. Also, a giant keyhole. Inserting part A into part B reveals a giant, armature-like robot who emerges from the ceiling. Unfortunately, it’s show time, so he sends it back whence it came. We’ll have to see where that goes.
Invention exchange: Jonah has invented “Verbal Smoke Bombs”: flash cards with guaranteed conversation-killers like “Got to go. Can’t feel my arm.” and “Oh look, a hurricane!” I need this. The Mads have sold the naming rights to every hour on the clock, which I’m kind of amazed nobody has actually done yet.
Movie sign, and we follow a boy prince who is also a magician who is teleported out of the castle when his father the king is overthrown by the queen and their “trusted” advisor. He tromps through the woods with his…pet? walking shag rug Gulfax until they come up on washed-up drunk and ex-hero Kor the Conqueror, who basically Rowsdowers (episode #910, The Final Sacrifice if you don’t get the reference) the kid around the movie until it’s time to go back, defeat the bad guys, and gain the throne. Shot on the cheap with poor monster costumes and sets that scream “off-season ren faire”, you would think something like this would sink without trace. Surprisingly, it did enough to warrant a sequel, about which more later.
The first host segment has Jonah & the ‘bots pondering just how Kor the Conqueror got his title. He’s…well, he’s not the most conquer-y of persons, to put it mildly. The general consensus is he got it on some sort of technicality (incidentally, Kor is played by Bo Svenson, a very highly thought of actor, director & latterly author with over a hundred credits. He’s one of the few bright spots in this silly mess).
The second host segment features Tom as Magic Prince Boy recreating a scene in the movie where the boy raises warriors from the dead for…well, for teh lulz, as far as anyone can tell. Jonah/Kor steps in, and explains what a terrible idea that is in the form of a 50’s doo-wop coming-of-age-song. Also, we get a quartet of undead warrior Crows, which is the coolest sentence I’ve ever typed. Bonus: the phrase “Pump your brakes there, Verruca Salt,” which is my new go-to phrase any time someone’s being impatient.
In the third segment, we get (finally!) back to the fan mail! Hooray! I’ve missed the mail, particularly the pictures from kids. Couple of cute ones this time around. I guess that’s kind of a less-good side effect of doing an entire season in batch like they’re doing now, that you don’t have the same kind of feedback loop throughout the season like in the old days. Well, things changed: maybe they’ll set up some kind of internet site where fan mail can be submitted and worked into the next season, assuming there is one.
After the movie, they recreate the seriously underwhelming Suicide Cave scene from later on in the movie, while the Mads gloat over bringing forth the sequel. Which we will bring to you next week.
Well. This is a pretty rough film, to be sure. You can easily spot the places where it is trying desperately to harness the charms of better-made movies that came before it, and likewise spot where it fell short in doing so. It puts longtime MiSTies in mind of such “classics” as Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell, Quest of the Delta Knights, and Cave Dwellers. There is something inherently charming about low-budget fantasy: some combination of rubber monsters, cheap video FX “magic” and Medieval Miscellaneous Chic outfits transcends the awfulness and becomes genuinely entertaining, through still terribly bad. And just think, we get to do it again next week.
What do you think, sirs?
Kelly Luck would have thought the queen dressing as a Freaking Lizard would have been a bit of a giveaway. Her other SciFi4Me work can be read here.