The best movies of MST3K.

Okay, we all know that Mystery Science Theater 3000 wallows in the most disgusting celluloid ever regurgitated from film labs. But I just finished watching all of the first four seasons over again and, well, some of the films aren’t too bad. At least in Season Four.

I think “The Magic Sword” is not too bad. There is a certain nostalgic vibe for me, having seen it as a kid, but beyond that, it does a pretty good job at what it sets out to do within it’s limited budget. I’ve seen a lot more money spent with less results.

“The Rebel Set”. A nifty little caper B diversion. The chase at the end goes on forever, but overall not too bad.

“The Day the Earth Froze”. I thought this was awful when I first saw the episode when it aired, but the movie has grown on me over the years. Okay, you name a better film released in 1959 based on Finnish mythology. And bring me more Sampo!

And “Manos, The Hands of Fate” is really a fine,…okay I’m fuckin’ with you now.

What do you think, sirs?

This Island Earth and Danger : Diabolik are both amusing and decent enough films - just thrust into MST3K fodder by their dated cheesiness.


From wiki

I’ve seen the actual film and it’s quite good. Not 2001: A Space Odyssey good, but good.

If you count the shorts and serials, then “Radar Men on the Moon” is a pretty decent little Republic serial. Just watched it through podcast and I was certainly entertained by it without any commentary. The Misties riffed the first couple of chapters.

Agree that “The Magic Sword” is also pretty good for what it was (and I totally get the Crow-love for Estelle Winwood).

parts: the clonus horror has an excellent premise, and isn’t a bad movie, other than suffering from a whiny & unattractive lead. It could be remade into something quite good. Pity that it wasn’t The Island.

(as an aside…the Rifftrax experience demonstrates that you can add hilarious riffs to a good movie (eg, LOTR:FOTR, or 300), too.

From Season One there’s Moon Zero Two which would be pretty good if they removed the cheesy opening animation and theme song.

Also from season one is** Black Scorpion ** which had a good deal of top rate stop-motion animation. Being set in Mexico, one could expect a fair bit of racism but it actually treated mexicans somewhat fairly. Sure, it was the big white American Scientist who saved the day. But the supporting characters, from the Mexican scientist to the love interest to the Mexican General, were portrayed rather respectfully compared to many contemporary films. Not bad for a “Giant monster heading for the city” flick.

Both excellent picks. I think Moon Zero Two is a bit dull but they seemed to be really trying to do some science fiction and I’ve got to give them some respect for that.

To add to this list there is the film that I can’t believe has not been mentioned: Hamlet. Alright, it’s not a great production but you can’t keep the bard down.

Well, Hackman is always good. :wink: I came in here to mention Marooned and This Island Earth. Oh well. Everything else just sucked to different degrees of suck. Hamlet is an interesting case…yes, I suppose Shakespeare is always good, but the production was just so plodding and lifeless.

Well, Devil Doll scared the crap out of me. Okay, I was 9 years old, but still…

Jack Frost has a good heart, but suffers from poor dubbing and generally craziness.

Manos actually has a pretty kicking soundtrack.

The Ed Wood one about the Girl-Gang was declared by the Bots to be the finest movie that Dr. Forrester ever sent them.

Also, “I Accuse My Parents”.

The thing that actually bothered me the most about the MST3K version of This Island Earth is how much of the movie they cut out. I’m guessing that they cut out the parts of the movie that they couldn’t come up with any good jokes for, but they cut out enough of the movie that it made it harder to follow and made the movie look worse than it was.

This Island Earth certainly wasn’t a great movie, but it is still much better than the vast majority of MST3K fodder.

I think they edited TIE in order to keep it to a reasonable time after inserting the bookends and intrusions of the MST material. There certainly were some times when I detected the evidence of missing actions. Like how the Interociter manual suddenly appears as a smoking piece of debris on the table in the atomic reasearch lab. I’m guessing that Exeter had them put it on the table and then toasted it but that piece of footage was cut.

I recall that the studio kept insisting on the movie being shorter.
The movie is shorter than a regular episode without commercials.

Being a huge fan of '50s sci-fi, there are any number of films I enjoyed prior to their MST treatment:

The Amazing Colossal Man
War of the Colossal Beast
Night of the Blood Beast
The Thing That Wouldn’t Die
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

etc. etc.

But at the top of the “quality films” MST list for me is Revenge of the Creature – a true classic from the fine folks at Universal Studios, and one of my top ten MST’s of all time.