After a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign (and a lot of fan excitement), cult hit Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be returning on April 14th. Even better, on early Wednesday morning Netflix released a trailer for the returning fan favorite. Featuring comedians like Patton Oswalt, Jonah Ray and Felicia Day, it does an excellent job showing off the show's fun, low-fi aesthetic.
For fans of the show, the most exciting part was getting to see what movies will be riffed on. We get quick looks at the long-requested Reptilicus as well late '70s sci-fi cheesefest Starcrash. These two picks are the kind of cheesy, poorly made genre pictures you expect from #MST3K. As great as these picks are, there are tons of bad movies out there that would be perfectly at home on the Satellite of Love. So, with 10 more episodes slated to air, here are 10 more movies perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000.
1. Mad Max Babies 'Solarbabies'
There are two movies less essential to the '80s than The Goonies and Mad Max. But what if you combined the two together? You get the '80s cheesefest Solarbabies. Taking place in the distant future, the world is a desolate wasteland ruled by the militaristic Eco Protectorate. Finding a magical orb named Bodhi, a group of teens take it to find water. Naturally, they save the day (thanks to roller blades).
2. Good Actors Go Bad In 'The Swarm'
What if I told you there was a film starring Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Patty Duke and Henry Fonda? With so many great actors, you would expect something that is critically acclaimed or is considered an all-time classic. Instead, what you get is The Swarm, a movie so bad director Irwin Allen forbid any crews from mentioning it around him for the rest of his career. This late '70s disaster film is about African killer bees invading a small US town. Between an overacting Michael Caine and some hilarious dialogue, it's just the kind of movie made for MST3K.
3. The Silliest Monster In 'Sting Of Death'
Even though the Earth is full of deadly creatures they aren't necessarily the scariest looking. Case in point: the jellyfish. While it has one of the most painful stings on the planet, it looks like a grocery bag. Seemingly not getting the memo, director William Grefe tried to make it the next big movie monster (with disastrous results). Looking like a guy wearing a Mylar balloon as a mask, this mutant jellyfish attacks a group of college kids visiting Florida. With a bland plot and one of the worst looking monsters in history, I'm surprised they haven't gotten to Sting of Death sooner.
4. The Fluffy Apocalypse Of 'Night Of The Lepus'
On the other side of the scary spectrum are bunnies. Cute, fluffy, adorable bunnies. There is nothing scary about these cuddly critters. That didn't stop MGM from putting out one of the silliest monster movies ever made, Night of the Lepus. Played completely straight, this film is about a scientist's attempt to stop rabbit overpopulation by injecting them with chemicals. Instead, the rabbits become gigantic and commit the cutest massacre ever seen.
5. Stephen King's Mistake 'Maximum Overdrive'
Stephen King has earned the title as a master of horror (with good reason). For over 40 years he has been terrifying audiences with tales of the macabre. King's sole directorial effort was 1986's Maximum Overdrive. Apparently geeked out on cocaine, King wrote a screenplay about machines becoming sentient to an AC/DC soundtrack. Admittedly, this isn't the worst idea but it isn't executed well. With a cast including Emilio Estevez and the voice of Lisa Simpson, the jokes seem to write themselves.
6. Italian Cheese In 'Rats: Night Of Terror'
When it comes to cheap Italian horror, few names are as infamous as Bruno Mattei. He has gained a cult following thanks to a variety of exploitation movies from zombies to nunsploitation. One of his most well-known movies is the horror-sci-fi movie Rats: Night of Terror. Taking place in the post-apocalyptic year 2015, a group of punks discover a deserted town with food. Unbeknownst to them, the town is empty because it is infested with mutant rats. From weird dubbing to one of the silliest twist endings I've ever seen, I would love to see this mocked by the new crew.
7. The Monster Mash Up 'Q: The Winged Serpent'
One of the most prolific exploitation directors of the '70s is Larry Cohen. The director of It's Alive and blaxploitation classic Black Caeser, he is also behind the weird monster movie Q: The Winged Serpent. Part crime thriller and part giant monster movie, it is about two detectives (played by David Carradine and Richard Roundtree) inspecting murders committed by the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. Meanwhile, after a botched heist, a criminal tries to go straight after stumbling upon Quetzalcoatl. The craziest part, this mishmash of genres kind of works.
8. The Movie Van Damme Passed On 'Kickboxer 3: The Art Of War'
One of the best parts of Mystery Science Theater was the variety of movies they featured. Sure, it was known for science fiction and horror, but they weren’t afraid to step outside of the box. It wasn’t unusual to see '50s biker movies and action movies like Mitchell on the Satellite of Love. What they never did cover were martial arts flicks. Luckily, Kickboxer 3 isn’t quite that. Kickboxer 3 stars Cody from Step by Step as David Sloan, brother of Van Damme’s character from the original.
Heading to Rio de Janeiro for a fight, he is sucked into the world of street gangs and child trafficking. All the while, Cody is followed around by not one, but two poorly written comedic reliefs. Between the "out there" story and the limited acting, it is hard to believe that it hasn’t been riffed already.
9. Hulkamania Runs Mild In 'No Holds Barred'
Movies starring wrestlers tend to be bad (as seen in the soon-to-return Wrestling is Reel series), but they can be done right. Films like Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler show that you can make a solid drama out of the world of pro wrestling. No Holds Barred is not The Wrestler. This Hulk Hogan-starring vehicle is what happens when you make Rocky 3 with nobody that can act.
Starring as Rip Thomas (basically Hogan in baby blue), he is the pinnacle of man. Tough, charitable, he is the ultimate good guy. Suddenly, he is challenged by evil executive Brell to fight the monstrous Zeus (Tiny Lister). It’s a disaster on every level. Aside from the terrible acting and cheesy script, the movie is so bad even the pro wrestling scenes do a poor job portraying the pseudo-sport. It’s just the kind of bad perfect for the show.
10. A Sci-Fi Classic 'Invasion Of The Saucer Men'
As good as variety is, there is nothing like an old-fashioned alien movie. Having covered a lot of the classics, one that seems to have eluded the show has been Invasion of the Saucer Men. After hitting an alien with their car, teen couple Johnny and Joan are framed for the murder of the town drunk by the aliens. While some of the comedy is intentional, the real meat of the movie are the sci-fi elements, which are funnier than any of the jokes. Ignoring the fact that we get to see an alien fight a cow, this flying saucer flick is the kind of fare that would be right at home on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
In The Not Too Distant Future
It has been a long road to getting the return of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact, it has taken been nearly two decades since we have seen Dr. Forrester’s diabolical experiments. After a variety of rights issues, it is thanks to the dedicated fan base that we get to return to the Satellite of Love. With a fan friendly service like #Netflix, I can easily see it getting more seasons. Here’s hoping it’s a hit and we don’t have to wait two more decades.
Which movie do you want to see riffed the most? What movies would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below!