Read this: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie oral history!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

I've been a fan of the cult sci-fi comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 for as long as I could remember. Hell, it wasn't cartoons that got me up on Saturday mornings when I was a kid – it was turning on the Sci-Fi Channel (before the recent rebranding) to watch Joel or Mike hang out with the bots Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo and skewer some obscure, long-forgotten shitty movie! 

So it blew my mind when I eventually found out they had made a movie! It was released by Universal Studios in 1996, and saw Mike and the bots riffing on the semi-classic 1955 sci-fi film This Island Earth – directed by Joseph Newman and starring Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, and Rex Reason – which was about some aliens with big foreheads (that strangely no one seemed to comment on) coming to Earth to find scientists that will help them fight in their ongoing intergalactic war. And the MST3k film riffing it contained some great, classic jokes that I still recite among friends to this day (the "Normal View" chant and the "But I'm not an alien" runner being some of my personal favorites)!  

But, while it was fun to watch, it certainly wasn't very fun to make, as the in-depth oral history from A.V. Club (which is well worth a read!) demonstrates. In fact, it was the main reason for creator Joel Hodgeson's initial departure from the series (leading to head writer and occassional guest star Mike Nelson to take over hosting duties). However, there were many more problems during production that are detailed in the article, such as clueless studio execs micromanaging and dumbing down jokes, the studio limiting what movies were even allowed to be riffed on (which is why This Island Earth doesn't quite fit the millieu of other films the crew usually covered), and a lackluster marketing campaign and limited release (since the marketing team had spent all their money on the Pamela Anderson-led super bomb Barb Wire). 

But there's more, and again,A.V. Club's oral history with the cast and crew of the movie is well worth giving a read if you're a fan of the show, or the movie in particular!

So any other Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie fans out there? If so, what's your favorite riffs? Either way, sound off below!

Source: AV Club

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