Bad Movies, Good Evening: ‘MST3K’ Tackles the 80s

Courtesy of Daniel Griffith
Courtesy of Daniel Griffith

Watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 in a room full of people is a surreal experience. The first thing to get used to is that along with the silhouettes of the hosts, you also get to watch the backs of real live human heads. If that’s not strange enough, you also get to hear them laughing.

And laugh they do.

Hosted by official MST3K documentarian Daniel Griffith, this program, in its fifth year, included games, prizes, trivia and more on Saturday night from 8:30PM till past midnight in Hilton Grand East. After the intros, guests came and went, stopping in to enjoy terrible movies along with the bots, Mike, Joel, and more.

This year, 80s films were the spotlight, including intro interview footage from writers and cast members, plus a sneak preview from the new Netflix series (the most successful crowd-funded project of all time, so take that Veronica Mars).

Standout clips included the epically terrible Escape 2000, the Italian film Escape from the Bronx renamed and released in the United States in 1985. Escape stars Antonio Sabato, Sr. as Dablone, whom the bots refer to as Toblerone. Up next was a bit of Alien from L.A., a 1988 hollow-earth adventure starring Kathy Ireland, which name-drops Atlanta’s CNN Center. Also included were clips of City Limits, a 1985 film featuring James Earl Jones and Kim Cattrall. Cattrall is some kind of scientist, with brown hair and glasses she wears only to dramatically take them off.

For a show that began on Minneapolis local television, to say it has a cult following is nearly an insult. It does have a cult, but it’s a huge cult. And if you’ve never sat with a live human audience while your favorite Satellite of Love gang riffs bad movies, you should add it to your to-do list.

Season eleven of MST3K, starring Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt, is available on Netflix. Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, and Bill Corbett will co-host “MST3K: You Know More Than We Do” on Sunday at 10AM in Hyatt Centennial I.

Author of the article

Jessica spends her days advising college radio, magazine and newspaper staffs, and balances the rest of her time binge-watching TV and binge-reading nonfiction.