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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MST Monday - "The Human Duplicators"

We've reached Monday again, and so it's time for another edition of MST Monday. This week, we take a look at "The Human Duplicators", a rather dull movie about an alien plot to infiltrate humanity with an army of android duplicates. Ready? Settle in, we've got Blog Post Sign!

Host Segment #1

Joel is considering making some modifications to the Bots and asks what they might like. Gypsy wants another eye and possibly a fin. Crow wants to stay the way he is unless Joel can increase his capacity to love. Tom Servo has drawn up a couple of sketches for redesign ideas he had including becoming a 700 foot tall tank and a trendy hotel in Seattle.

Invention Exchange

Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank are having a laughing fit at the very thought of their invention for this week, so Joel decides to go first. Borrowing the idea from the beanie hats that were popular when he was a kid, Joel has made a Beanie Copter with a massive propeller on top. The Bots are less than impressed as they were thinking  Joel would go through the roof when it turned on.

The Mads finally present their invention, though they're still in hysterics as they describe it. It's the William Conrad Fridge Alert, an alarm system specially designed go off whenever William Conrad is raiding your refrigerator. Dr Forrester admits he has it set on demo mode as Frank continually opens and closes the fridge door in the background setting off the alarm.

As odd as this may sound, I say the Mads won this week's Invention Exchange if only for the fact that Frank shouting "Look at me, I'm William Conrad" through fits of laughter as he trifles with the door was one of the few moments that made me laugh out loud this episode. And that being said, it's Movie Sign!

Movie Segment #1

The movie begins with a spaceship that resembles "a Christmas ornament from the 1960s" flying through space. Tom Servo takes that as his cue to sing a few bars of the theme song from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians". On the ship, the very tall Dr. Kolos is instructed by his overlords to go to Earth and, with the help of a man named Professor Dornheimer, establish a colony on the planet so they can expand their Galaxy Domination Program.

Kolos is transported to Earth and arrives at the Professor's estate. After dispatching the doorman, Kolos enters the house and meets Lisa, the Professor's blind niece. She leads Kolos to the lab where he announces his intentions to assist Prof. Dornheimer with his android creation experiment regardless of whether or not he wants it.

Movie Segment #2

We next see a man by the name of Dr. Munson arrive at a government research facility. He breaks into a supply room and begins to steal transistors. Upon trying to flee the facility, he breaks through a metal gate and suffers no ill effects from four point blank gunshots fired by a security guard. I think it's possible there may be more to Munson than meets the eye.

The police arrive to investigate followed closely by Glenn Martin, an agent of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Given the odd nature of the incident, Glenn wants to take a look at Dr. Munson's file.

The highway patrol call in and report they saw the suspect's car go into a canyon. Glenn and the police report to the scene to investigate. Upon descending into the canyon, they find a body. It's Dr. Munson, now looking quite dead.

Host Segment #2

 Joel and the Bots participate in an art project, make a spaceship as good as the one in the opening of the movie using objects found around the house. Gypsy made her ship out of a Quaker Oats can, an old earring of hers, a sneaker and leftover carpet samples. Tom didn't put much effort into his model and just cut a Clorox bottle in half. Crow made a scale model of the Satellite of Love. Joel made a modal also. Crow dismisses it as a piece of junk noting it's made out of a bowling pin, a lacrosse helmet, some Tupperware pieces... wait a minute...

Movie Segment #3

 Glenn returns to the NIA offices. The report from the crime lab comes in along with the coroner's report. It says that Munson died from electrocution several hours before the robbery occurred. Glen decides to investigate the Dornheimer estate since it was near the crash site.

Lisa confronts Kolos saying that everything seemed to change after he arrived and asks why everyone seems to take orders from him. Kolos says she shouldn't be bothered and she storms off.

Glenn comes to the door posing as a reporter saying he wants to do an article on the Professor. As he enters the estate, he encounters Lisa who tells him that it would be best for Glenn to not stay but she is interrupted by saying anything further when her uncle walks in. Glenn tells the Professor that he wants to do an article on his daily life. Professor Dornheimer says he life is not the dull routine that the general public might imagine. Glenn's response, "Your niece is very lovely" to which Joel replies, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" In all honesty, it is a fair question for Joel to ask.

Movie Segment #4

 Glenn is interrupted while trying to pump information from the Professor. A servant apologizes to Glenn and asks if he can come back at a later time as the Professor has some urgent work to attend to.

Gail, Glenn's colleague and love interest, is seen lounging at poolside with a terrier. The phone rings and Crow remarks, "Hey, your dog's ringing. Oh, it's the phone". It's Glenn calling. He's made arrangements for the two of them to meet for dinner and asks Gail to pick up some books from the library on her way over.

After dinner, they return to Gail's apartment to do some research. Glenn is deep in thought as he reads, tending to ignore Gail. What follows is easily my favorite moment of the episode;

Gail: Well, say something.
Crow: Something.
Glenn: (Two seconds later) Something.
Crow: D'oh! I got riffed back on that one.

As Glenn continues his reading, he discovers that Professor Dornheimer is a leader in the field of cybernetics and mentions the possibly of the Professor creating androids.

Host Segment #3

Tom Servo has gone and created several duplicates of himself. Joel and Crow enter and are horrified by what they see. Joel tells Servo is treading shaky moral ground by doing this, but Servo fails to see a problem and orders his army to attack. They just stand around, not responding. Joel drags Servo off and the clones start to close in on Crow with malicious intent. Just as it seems like all is lost for our hero, he is saved by Movie Sign!

Movie Segment #5

Glenn breaks into the estate and finds a room filled with components for the androids. He walks into another room and finds caskets filled with the bodies of people who have already been duplicated and disposed of afterwards. Glenn stumbles across the lab and witnesses a duplication taking place.  

Lisa finds Glenn and tells him that her uncle is not responsible for what's happening. Her real uncle has been imprisoned and the "Professor" that Glenn is seeing is actually a "twin". Kolos is actually the one in charge now.

Glenn walks back into the lab as is then attacked by the servant and Kolos.

Movie Segment #6

Glenn fights back and throws the servant off the stairwell. The servant's head breaks open and Glenn's suspicions are finally confirmed, they are indeed creating androids. Glenn is apprehended and they decide to make a duplicate of him. Lisa enters the lab and the screen goes black for a brief moment. Crow: That must have been from her point of view. Lisa finds a coin on the stairs that Glenn dropped in the fray and takes it with her as she leaves the lab.

"Glenn" returns to the NIA office and doesn't seem quite like himself. Gail suggests that perhaps Glenn has become an android and decides to do some undercover work of her own and follow him.

Movie Segment #7

Dr. Kolos makes a report to his superiors informing them of his progress. He tells them about the duplicate they made of Glenn and the fact they're keeping him alive since it may benefit them to create more duplicates since he's a government agent and may be able to gain clearance to obtain the resources they may need to continue with their mission. Kolos is then asked why he hasn't made a duplicate of Lisa yet. Kolos explains he feels there is no need to do so and that she poses no threat to remaining as an original. This doesn't sit well with the overlords and they inform him that he must not deviate from the plan and, as such, has to duplicate Lisa. After signing off, Kolos still insists he will not make Lisa into a duplicate despite the insistence of his supervisors and the Professor's duplicate.

Lisa makes her way to the dungeon to check on Glenn and her uncle, the real Professor Dornheimer. Lisa mentions she found a coin on the stairwell in the lab and Glenn asks her to bring it to him. Somehow this coin will help him escape, I assume.

Gail has tailed "Glenn" to a government facility in the middle of the night. She follows him in and locates him in a supply warehouse. He pulls a gun on her and this is enough to convince her that this is not really Glenn and she runs off screaming. "Glenn" chases after her and gets into a fight with a security guard who, it turns out, is also a duplicate as his head shatters after he's thrown to the ground. How deep has this plan gone?

Host Segment #4

Hugh Beaumont, who plays the head of the NIA in the movie, stops by the Hexfield Viewing Screen. He's crabby as hell.

Movie Segment #8

"Glenn" is seemingly cornered but manages to escape, leaving his right arm behind in the process.

Kolos is in Lisa's room fiddling with the coin on her dresser as he's waiting for her to show up. He tells her about what his supervisor's had told him in regards to turning her into a duplicate but how he has no desire to do so. After dropping a doll on the floor to distract him, Lisa swipes the coin off her dresser in order to bring it to Glenn.

Meanwhile, the duplicates are beginning to rebel. They decide to go after Kolos and then subject Lisa to duplication once they have him incapacitated.

Lisa makes her way to the dungeon via a secret staircase. Two robot nurses spot her and follow her down.

"Professor Dornheimer" has now appointed himself the leader of the duplicates and they seize Kolos down in the lab.

Lisa brings the coin to Glenn. The nurses then grab Lisa and drag her upstairs. Glenn frantically begins to file the bars in an effort to try and escape.

The Professor's duplicate tells Kolos that in designing the androids, one fatal flaw had been made. They all ended up achieving individual thought. Now that they are able to act on their own accord, androids will become the new master race.

Movie Segment #9

The real Professor Dornheimer tells Glenn that the way to defeat the androids is to cause electrical breakdown to their brains. With his dying breath, the Professor tells Glenn to use a fusion beam in the lab to accomplish the job.

Lisa is sealed in the lab in preparation to be duplicated.

Glenn finally breaks out of his cell and makes his way to the lab.

Kolos breaks free of the wall manacles he had been chained up in and begins to fight back against the duplicates. Glenn had made his way to the lab at this point and fires the fusion beam at the duplicates who begin to fight one another instead. Eventually all the duplicates collapse to the floor since their circuitry had been overpowered by the fusion beam.

Glenn faces off with the "Professor" in the foyer and the duplicate "Glenn" eventually enters. He refuses to fight the real Glenn even as the "Professor" continually commands him to. The two duplicates then fight each other just as reinforcements for Glenn arrive and enter the mansion.

Kolos emerges from the lab, carrying Lisa with him. He reveals all the details of the plan and says that ultimately he has failed. But it's not because he was weak, it was because Glenn was strong. Kolos says he will now return to his home planet where he will be exterminated for his failure, but this doesn't matter to him because he was also actually an android as well. Kolos teleports back to his ship to await his fate as the movie ends.

Host Segment #5

Joel commends Richard Kiel who played Kolos for coming out as a robot at the end of the movie. Crow says that he and Tom Servo had been inspired by the movie but faints as the emotional weight of their announcement is too much for him. Servo picks up the slack and comes out of the closet admitting to Joel that he and Crow are both robots. Joel says he knew that already.

In Deep 13, the Mads are still laughing at the absurdity of their invention. Just then, William Conrad sneaks in and raids their fridge. The Mads aren't bothered and just continue to laugh noting that he won't get very far. Dr. Forrester pushes the button to end the episode.


Two duplicates are fighting one another, making goofy looking faces all the while.

I found the movie itself to be pretty dull. As a result, it didn't seem like there were many funny riffs in this episode. So unfortunately this episode gets another low rating from me, 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5.


Monday, July 2, 2012

MST Monday - "The Rebel Set"

Hello there. And welcome to the first edition of MST Monday, the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 recap segment. What you'll find here is a recap of various episodes of MST3K with my own unique take on the show peppered in there. So without further ado... we've got Blog Post Sign!

Host Segment #1

As we begin the episode, Joel is trying to read some very scary bedtime stories to Crow and Tom Servo. But they being jaded kids of the 90's, they seem to have no effect on them. Tom says that Joel has subjected them to In Cold Blood and "the 17 novels Stephen King came out with this year". Joel decides it's time to break out the big guns and pulls out Life's Little Instruction Book and begins to read it. The Bots are suitably and understandable horrified as we go to commerical sign.
Invention Exchange

 The Mads' offering is TV's Frank's Quick Primp Kit. It consists of a full length mirror that you hang off the back of a person standing in front of you in line for, say, a movie as well as a toiletry hat to place on their head. Frank admits that the effectiveness of the invention depends very heavily on the goodwill of the person in front of you. Dr. Forrester bashes the mirror over Frank's head off-screen while Joel and the Bots present their invention.

Back on the Satellite Of Love, Joel's submission is the Paint-By-Numbers Mark Rathko kit. Since Mr. Rathko specializes in paintings that consist of a single color, this is the simplest Paint-By-Number kit in existence.

My pick for the winner: SOL!

Short: Johnny At The Fair

One of my favorite shorts. Joel asks the Bots not to get too dark as the short begins. I'm sure you can imagine how well that goes. Johnny and his parents go to a national fair in Canada. Johnny, being the curious kid he is, decides to wander off on his own for a while and meets in his travels Joe Frazer, a former Prime Minister of Canada, figure skater Barbara Ann Scott and the Hellzapoppin Boys - Olsen & Johnson. 

I think this short may have the dirtiest riff ever in it. At one point, Johnny goes to a horse show at the fair. A young foal trots around the exhibition floor and then walks over to an adult horse and makes as if to nurse. The foal walks away not soon after and Crow comments, "Whoops. Sorry, Dad". ...Wow, talk about slipping one past the radar! I've watched this short numerous time and this was the first time I ever caught this riff.

Easily my favorite riff of the short was a call back to a comment made by the narrator. Johnny catches sight of a "heel-a-copter aeroplane" taking flight. "'Jimminy', thinks Johnny. 'If only I could get a ride in one of those.'", says the narrator. Shortly after that, Johnny meets up with Barbara Ann Scott who kisses him in the cheek. He puts his head down in shyness afterwards and his face is level with her chest. At which point Crow says "'Jimminy', thinks Johnny. 'If only I could get a ride in one of those.'". Hilarious!

 The Rebel Set Segment #1

The opening credits roll over footage of people in a coffee house sitting around and listening to a jazz band.A guy by the name of Sindey enters and approaches his boss and the owner of the coffee house, Mr. Tucker - or Mr. T for short. Mr. T tells Sidney he's planning "a move". Sidney has his reservations, but Mr. T tells him not to worry.

We then cut to a guy in his kitchen running lines from "The Taming of the Shrew". Turns out, he's running lines opposite a record which begins to skip. Favorite riff of this segment comes from Joel, "It's too for acting lessons now. They've already started filming". This man is John Mapes, an out of work actor. His wife Jeane then arrives home having just finished working late at the drive-in. John tries to reassure her something will come soon and not long after that he gets a call from Sidney. John claims it's a call from his agent who tells him a producer wants to meet with him at midnight. Jeane has her suspicions, but John pays her no heed and gets ready for his meeting.

Host Segment #2

A package has arrived for Crow. He was inspired by the movie to order an acting instruction kit, a record called "Co-Starring With Scott Baio... You!" Crow tries it out with a scene from "Joanie Loves Chachi". He struggles to find the subtext to his line, "Hi, Chachi!"

Movie Segment #2

Sidney meets with George Leland, the estranged son of a formerly famous actress, and Ray Miller, a struggling writing, and tells them to meet at the coffee house for instructions from Mr. T. Tucker tells the three men that he has brought them together tonight to improve their finances and is recruiting them to participate in a heist of $1,000,000 in Chicago. Tucker guaruntees each man will be given $20,000 if they'll participate.

John returns him and feeds his wife a story about having to meet with a producer in Chicago based on this meeting. Jeane buys the story hook, line and sinker.

Movie Segment #3

 The next night at the coffee house, the three men meet and wait to receive their tickets from Karen, a waitress who works at the coffee house. She tells the men to look away and pulls the tickets out from their secure place, her cleavage. Favorite riff of this segment comes from Crow as Karen retrieves the tickets, "Hey, while you're in there, could you get me a newspaper?"

Sidney and Tucker are driving to the train station that night. Sidney asks Tucker why he hired "those three creeps" to be part of the heist. Tucker explains it's all part of his plan figuring they will follow through to the best of their abilities since much importance has been thrust upon them.

Everyone arrives at the train station separately and boards the train. John's wife, Jeane, is accompanying him, much to Tucker's visible consternation. As the train pulls out, Joel and the Bots became to name other movies that deal with trains such as Silver Streak and Murder On the Orient Express. They also name drop  Golan-Globus, a producer duo that is responsible for a future MST3K experiment, Alien From L.A.

Host Segment #3

Joel asks what everyone would do if they had a four-hour layover in Chicago much like the characters in the movie. Gypsy would go do some shopping. Tom would rob a bank, Al Capone style. Joel would visit King Richard's Ren Fest and buy a leather mug. He'd then take that leather mug to Wrigley Field and drink beer from it. Crow would take an intricate and detailed walking tour of the city. In fact, he goes into a little too much detail about the sights he'd hope to see and bores the crap out of everyone until Movie Sign sounds and snaps everyone out of their stupor.

Movie Segment #4

Ray and George confront John in the cafe car about bringing his wife. John insists it was all her idea and the subject is dropped.

The train arrives in Chicago and Tucker waits for his men to leave the train. John tells his wife to find something to occupy her time during their layover. Jeane asks why she can't come with to the supposed meeting with the producer, and John claims it's because he'd get self-conscious if she were there.

The men set up an ambush for the armored car and wait for its arrival. And they wait, and wait, and wait... until it goes to commercial

Movie Segment #5

Sidney cuts off the armored car in his own car and poses as being injured in the accident. John and Ray drive in disguised as policemen and then succeed in accomplishing the robbery. After making off with the money, the group pulls off to a side road and buries the evidence of the heist in a hole.

John returns to the train station and reunites with his wife just in time to board the train which is now departing for Newark. A reporter stops George as he tries to board the train trying to get a quote from him about his estranged mother. As George tries to push past, he drops the gift box that they had hidden the stolen money in. George recovers the box and makes his way onto the train.

Jeane tries to press John for details about his meeting, but he is very curt with her and not saying very much. He then apologizes saying he's feeling a little on edge. This if followed by Crow delivering my favorite riff of this segment, "George Bernard Shaw was making fun of me".

Movie Segment #6

The conductor comes into Ray's room and tries to make some small talk after discovering that Ray is a writer. Ray has no interest at all.

John goes to George's room to get a look at the money. George has decided to go rogue and take all the money for himself, throwing John's cut to him. The two men fight and John takes off with the box of money. He sees Ray in the cafe car and signals for him to follow. Ray doesn't want the money to be hidden in his room, but John says they can't use his room because his wife is there.

John and Ray head back to George's room and see a Do Not Disturb sign on his door. Ignoring the sign, they open the door and walk in to find George has been shot. An apparent suicide note has been posted. Ray realizes the murder used his typewriter because of the alignment of the "e" on the paper. The two men set out and try to discover who killed George.

Ray decides to chuck his typewriter off the train so that the note won't be traced back to him. Tucker, who has disguised himself as a bald priest, confronts Ray and threatens to kill him in order to eliminate another division of the spoils of the heist. Same reason he killed George.

Host Segment #4

Joel and The Bots have a writer's workshop based on the book Writing Down the Tracks written by Merritt Stone, the conductor in the movie. Tom, however, insists it's not him. Joel rejects Crow's sample as well as Tom Servo's sample even though he plagiarized Joyce de Witt... I mean James Joyce, simply because neither of them mentioned anything train related. Gypsy recites one of those "Two trains leave a station..." math problems, and Joel approves.

Movie Segment #7

Tucker comes to George's room to see the conductor is already there and discovered the corpse. The conductor points out the suicide note but Tucker, still disguised as the priest, says it's possible that it was murder.

John confesses to Jeane that he participated in the Chicago heist and she is heartbroken.

We see footage of a train pass and Crow asks if there is a love scene happening.

The train finally arrives in Newark and the police and coroner are there to meet the train. John confesses to the police that he was part of the heist and offers to lead them to the money.

Tucker whacks the policeman standing guard outside the train with his cane and is able to exit the train. Tucker takes this opportunity to recite scripture to himself, "And thus Samson slayed the Philestine". To which Crow replies, "He hit him in the head with a sitting stick? I did not know that."

John leads the police to Ray's room only to find the money is no longer in the box. John glances out the window and sees Tucker walking past and tells them he's spotted the killer. After forcing the police officer out of the room, he breaks the window in the room and gives chase.

Movie Segment #8

John begins to chase Tucker while the police are in pursuit of John. The chase goes all through the trainyard. Favorite riff of this segment is as follows;

Crow: Now there's something you don't see everyday, Chauncey.
Tom: What's that, Edgar?
Crow: A priest beating the hell out of some guy in a factory

The fight culminates in a generator room. Tucker is knocked into some high voltage wires and is killed by electrocution.

John and Jeane reunite in the train station only for John to be taken into police custody seconds later. George's mother walks into the station giving an interview to a reporter dealing with her estranged son. She says she's ready to reconcile and be a real mother to her son. At that moment, the coroner wheels the covered corpse of George through the station and past his mother. Joel comments on the dark social commentary of the moment.

And the end, Joel sums it up thusly, "So all this happened because Johnny got lost at the fair?"

Host Segment #5

Tom Servo enters as Hercule Poirot claiming he'll solve The Great Merritt Stone Mystery. By analysing five of the films the crew had watched, Tom surmises that Merritt Stone and Gene Roth might be the same person. Crow posits that Jack Kosslyn might be Merritt Stone, but if that's the case then who is Gene Roth?

Servo's head explodes... poor guy.

Frank tries to do some research of his own on the subject and breaks down into confused tears much to Dr. Forrester's chagrin. Dr. F pushes the button himself and the credits roll.


A freaky looking beat poet says "I am bugged!"

I'm not big on heist movies, and this movie didn't change my opinion any. I also thought this episode was sort of a weak one. The short is always entertaining, but I didn't feel like many of the riffs in the movie hit their mark. In all, an average episode. My rating, 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5