Saturday, November 30, 2013

From the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon

From the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon, here are all the hosting segments from between the movies. Enjoy some more Joel. And enjoy the ending when the family gets back together.

I hope Shout Factory is motivate to do this more often. At least every Thanksgiving. I could go for more streamed marathons, particularly if we can get some of the crew together to host them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Horror Of...Mockingbird Lane

Thanksgiving. And what goes with that? Family. So what better than to watch something about a macabre fam...No, it's not the Addams Family...

Anyway, I am talking about the The Munsters. The Munster family. Specifically, the recent remake Mockingbird Lane.

The Munsters
The characters were first brought to life in 1964. A black and white sitcom, it ran until 1966. It took vampires, Frankenstein's Monster, and a wolf child, then placed them in a somewhat conventional family drama. That was the key. They were like most sitcom families, but they were horror based figures. It became a long beloved show, locked in people's memories.

Munsters Go Home
Following the show, an attempt was made to bring the show to theaters, with Munsters Go Home. And the actors would return to many of the roles off and on, like in The Munsters' Revenge, in 1981.

The Munsters Today
A continuation of the series was made in 1987. The Munsters Today. The family gets placed in suspended animation for twenty years and reemerges. Yeah. This exists. It did star John Schuck and Lee Merriwether, which is interesting unto itself. It lasted for 3 seasons.

Here Comes The Munsters
Then in the mid 90's more attempts to restart the show occurred. First was the TV movie, Here Come the Munsters, Then, the next year, there was The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas. In both, completely new casts were used.

I bring all this up, because knowing is half the battle. Also, to remind people that the idea of continuing or rebooting The Munsters is not new.

So, a few years ago NBC decided it wanted to restart The Munsters. To bring this about, they hired Bryan Fuller. Fuller is well known for his work on a number of other shows. Wonderfalls. Dead Like Me. Hannibal. Pushing Daisies. (He also worked on Heroes and Star Trek: Yoyager, but I won't hold that against him.) Making Pushing Daisies alone means he deserves a shot, and plenty of respect.

I mean, Pushing Daisies!

But I think, sadly, most everyone judged and condemned the idea of this show before it was even made. And the fact Fuller said he was going to modify the characters only turned people hostile.

I hope I can get you to reconsider.

First, the show was renamed (like we've seen with many new takes on older ideas). It was called Mockingbird Lane, the name of the street they live on.

Thanksgiving with Boris Karloff

Is your Thanksgiving not Thanksgivingy enough yet?

Add some Boris Karloff, some songs, and Johnny Appleseed.

May prove a curious experience.

The Horror Of..Addams Family Values, In Short

It's Thanksgiving, and what's better to watch then the Addams Family? Come on! Family. Fun. The promise of death.

Ah the sequel to the 1991 movie. The first movie was a fun experience. It did remake the old televison series, but unlike some other movie remakes, it successfully brought the ideas back to life and enhanced the earlier work by incorporating in more of Charles Addams (the creator of the Addams Family in published cartoons) ideas.

The sequel brings back the family.

Trailers in Short - Sherlock, Noah', and some more Doctor Who

Time for some more trailers. It's almost time for the return of Sherlock. Will the Ark float? And the day of the doctor may have passed, but what of the Christmas of the Doctor(s)?


It's almost time for Sherlock to return. And Watson has a mustache? Maybe that's why Sherlock took his time coming back, having second thoughts. But I'm ready for it to be back.

REBLOGGING: Thanksgiving. More than thanks, giving.

It's Thanksgiving again...Or as the stores call it, Pre-Christmas.

And I'm reblogging a previous Thanksgiving post looking at issues people face. If only those issues weren't ever present.

And they grow. As annoying as people find getting people to race out the next day to "sales". Business has decided that this was too generous. Yeah. Apparently they take the first part of "The Christmas Carol", throw away the rest, and pass it around Wall Street. It's like they take being called misers as a compliment.

So, this year, many stores will be opening in just hours.

This means many couldn't travel to visit family. In fact, they likely are getting ready to head into work to prep for 6 o'clock openings. And some are actually open right now! Thanksgiving used to be sacrosanct, like Christmas. You just didn't force workers to come in on this day. It was a societal promise. Not now. You are expected to work, take your meager wages, lose time with family, and make rich people even richer.

I have nothing against choosing to have a place open on Thanksgiving. It can be necessary. But the idea was supposed to be extraordinary. And usually the boss would make the sacrifice, or workers would get extra money in recognition.

Worse, the one way this could be fought against, people just refusing to go to the stores...That isn't going to happen. We'll see, but I expect a rush come the end of Thanksgiving Dinner. Everyone racing off; I would like to be proved wrong.

These workers are paid amounts that leave them in poverty. They are pushed onto food stamps and mediaid, AND NOW, they have to work today, and not have time to be with family and friends. More hours of subpar pay, and a chance to be cursed out by a line of people pissed off that the last of the "doorbuster" was sold. It's such a wonderful day, huh?

What can you do to help? What can you give to make things better?

Thanksgiving. More than thanks, giving.

Thanksgiving is upon the Americans...North America...United States. Okay, we Americans are having our Thanksgiving holiday.

And you know what that means. Having a good meals before we head out later that day to line up to shop. Sadly, no joke there.

That is what it is for many of us. Others like to get some time off (unless you work retail, and you're resting before going to work Thanksgiving night -- or afternoon, at Wal-Mart) Or, to complain about Thanksgiving being horrific.

Now, it is true that the relationship between Europeans colonizers and native peoples in the Americas tended to be less than ideal...Okay. They tended to be dark passages in the annals of history. And we can never let what resulted be forgotten, despite some wanting to brush it over.

But there are some positive lessons to learn from those early years. Even today.

But first...

Okay. Back to my point.

Giving thanks is an old tradition. For the US, we draw back to the Plymouth colony for the holiday. From the start, the English settlement of Plymouth struggled. They were out of there depths. They couldn't get the crops to grow. They were getting sick, or dying. Some local tribes didn't care for the colonial interlopers. And the colonist stole from the food stores of some of locals. Not a good start. A bad lot. You can imagine what modern conservatives would say of them and call them if they could see them as they were.

We too often get a nice weird image of guys in big hats, all in black, with lots of buckles. They seem to all be tall and barrel-chested. And then they invite the Indians over for a party, because that's just how awesome they were. No. The colonist didn't dress like that. And they weren't clean, healthy, and hearty. It was a tense and dark time. Things were grim.

But...They were helped. The Wampanoag tribe gave them food during the first rough winter. They were taught fishing techniques, and which crops grow best in the local ground. Plymouth was struggling and dying. Many colonies before had been attempted. some died out, some were abandoned. Their fate was not certain. But the local society around them lent a hand to them. It fed them. It trained them. It bolstered them at the point of greatest need. They got their asses saved.

So now, as we gorge ourselves and prep to show in this time of Thanks Giving, let's remember and learn from the aid and support given to our national ancestors (the white ones) by those natives (also out national ancestors) 400 some years ago.

No, they didn't just build it.

No, they weren't lazy because they needed a leg up.

Now though, we can continue the good that was done that year. We can consider and plan today how we will continue to pay forward the good spirit and intentions of that time. How can we feed those in need? How can we teach those in need? How can we bolster and aid those in need?

We can ensure the Affordable Care Act moves forward. We can ensure a social safety remains intact (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, and on down the line). We can pull back from war. And we can remember those in need, acting to be sure they have a chance to succeed.


The latest data from the US Department of Agriculture shows that 47.1 million Americans relied on food stamps in August – the highest number yet. 

Since 2007, participation in the food stamp program has skyrocketed, increasing by 70 percent. The cost of feeding the approximately 44.7 million Americans who relied on food stamps last year cost the US government a record $72 billion. 
Also, in the wake of the first Thanksgiving, on reservations, poverty approaches 1/3, and 4% of food stamps go to Native Americans.

 More SNAP data.

Infographic: The face of the food stamp recipient

But it is a joke to some.

Fox Pundit Jokes Food Stamps Could Be A Diet Plan

Sadly, for some, helping out your neighbors is ridiculous. From conservatives that see much of the country as lazy or looking for hand outs, to wealthy people eager to avoid any investment in society.

Or, investing in the well-being of their employees.
Restaurant chain experiments with more part-time work to avoid Obamacare costs

And they do this despite the positives for the economy and the business that will come from this investment.


Take time to appreciate the good things you have in your life. Thank those that helped you, and were their for you.

Then think about giving, how we can all give to those in need.

Some more thinking on Thanksgiving with John Fugelsang, hosting The Point:

Thanksgiving Streaming

It's Thanksgiving. And what better way to celebrate it than with bad movies? And thankfully people on the Internet have that handled. Movie marathons!!!

Right now, they've begun the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon. It's being hosted by Joel Hodgson.

It isn't clear what the schedule is for this. So catch it while you can. Currently, they are showing Space Mutiny.


But that isn't all. Tonight at 8PM CST/9PM EST Midnite Mausoleum will be doing a marathon of their horror host show.

Yet another way to avoid talking to the relatives.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Review - Episode 8 - Necromancer - "Ichabod. I am your..."

It's late, but...yeah it's late in coming. Let's hope for a Thanksgiving miracle with Episode 9...That's a thing, right?

This week's episode closes out the attempt to contain the Horseman.

It's been a three episode run. We've learned about Ichabod's history. We've got to see Ichabod's flight from the Horseman by horse. We've brought our heroes into the open and united.

"...I think he's trying to sing a
Meatloaf ballad."
And, now, the Horseman has been humbled.

So what's next? ...Ah. What do you do with him? When they tried to get rid of his skulls, it proved seemingly impossible. And the Horseman seems hard to keep down.

And now they are relying on magic candles (holding him in place, and keep others out) and the electrical supply to their UV lights...not to mention those bulbs. But they seem kind of transitory.

....Really, this feels like a ticking time bomb.

I know this is just me, but, based on some different movies and shows, I'd fill the room with quick drying cement. But that's probably a mad idea to me.

"You better not leave me hanging, Ichabod. We're going to
fist bump, or I'm going to deck."
Still, he's down for now. And Abbie wants to have a moment, so she engages Ichabod in a fist bump. He has no idea what to make of it. (He should just be glad it isn't the 90's and he's teamed with a bro. It'd be all High Fives and chest bumping.)

But they need to figure what to do now. He can't go to prison. He can't die. But Ichabod has an idea. Question him. Question...the headless guy? (Abbie? Punch him for me.)

Meanwhile we see the forests outside Sleepy Hollow. Two hunters are out, when a horse appears. A white horse...Is this becoming a Rob Zombie movie? No! It's the Horseman's horse, and it's doing the whole Lassie thing. One of the hunters approach it and then pulls out a phone.

"No, the horse isn't explaining. It's mostly
complaining about back pay."
Then the hunter begins talking in German (German baddies! Again!). Seems the Hessians are being activated again. The Hessian than turns around and shoots his fellow hunter.

Meanwhile, Ichabod has a plan to find a way to communicate with the Horseman. Undead Andy. Searching around the underground, they find a place they think Undead Andy has been nesting. And soon they are rifling through his stuff, looking for answers or information. As they search through, Ichabod finds an ancient tablet. It has a magic symbol on it, and also Egyptian hieroglyphics.

"Oh god! Stop reading my diary!"
This is when Undead Andy chooses to pop up. He's frantic to find them there. Not pleased at all. No doubt he's scared that they've found his doll with Abbie's picture on it.

They explain that they've come looking for him. He hates the idea.

Then Ichabod posits that Undead Andy is a necromancer. The tablet Ichabod found is about communicating with the dead. And he figures that Undead Andy has been acting as a go between for the Horseman. So he has the ability to be the Horseman's mouth and voice.

Undead Andy really hates this. He explains that he is in the thrall of Moloch. He has no control, when Moloch commands him. So he could turn on them at any moment. He says he doesn't want to, but he knows that he is a liability. Only bad can come from them relying on him.

Finally he agrees. They approach the room, and Undead Andy warns them once again against what they plan. But the Horseman awaits his moment on the stage. So they pat him down, to be assured he's no threat, and take him in.

And, title sequence! Really, 15 minute in before the title. I respect that.

Monday, November 25, 2013

MST3K at 25...Movie Sign!

With us since 1988, Mystery Science Theater has hits 25th Anniversary of making us laugh and come together around the playful jibing of bad movies.

It's come a long way, starting on a small station up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Hmm, early days.

They made the most of sets and material they had, and Joel's love of puppetry.

Then they sat in front of bad movies and took their best shots at them.

And then the show evolved. They eventually found themselves picked up by one of the up and coming Comedy Cable Networks (luckily the one that survived -- one that would become Comedy Central), and they upped their game. Some people left the show, some came on. They tightened up the comedy some, planning out the jokes more for the in movies segments. Also they updated the puppets, sets, and opening. But the heart of the show remained. And it's sensibilities that grew out of being based in the upper Midwest held. (As someone living in the Midwest, many of the regional jokes hit home for me, making me feel all the more welcomed.)

And it would continue to grow and change.

 I came across the show first when I was off at college (I may or may not have gone to the University of Minnesota and roomed with Peter Graves.). MST3K had been on a little while, but Comedy Central wasn't as widely available then. This show a revelation. I was at a low point, and this show helped bolster me. It was a unique experience. A smart experience. And the handful of episodes I recorded that year were dear to me, until I finally got access to more of the show.

It would open with a title card and the words, "Mystery Science Theater 3000, Show. Reel 1." And we were in. Back to the Gizmonic Institute. (Later, down in Deep 13. yadda yadda yadda At Castle Forrester.) And then shot into the not too distant future

This movie stinks.

Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank were hatching an evil scheme...
 And he used those special parts...

Satellite of Love

The show got many upgrades, but it's core was there. Bad movies. A wide range of jokes (from the juvenile to academic). And a friendly light air. 

Sure you had the Mads. Sure they had evil experiments. But nothing was serious. It was two hours where you were part of the experiment, and given license to snark.

You had skits and short pieces. From Joel becoming a farmer to taking family pictures to Christmas gift giving to making baked goods to Mike's ongoing issues with the ship's nanites...and that time he was put on trial for multiple charges of being a destroyer of worlds.

Ah. Good times.

Now in the Joel era there was also the Invention Exchange, mostly excuse to have fun with props, always something to look forward to. This was phased out after he left the show.

"What do you think, sirs?"

Another tradition was Viewer Mail. Through the end of the Comedy Central era they read letters from fans at the end of the show. It was a nice tradition, reminiscent of the world of TV they came out of. In fact a lot of what made MST3K what it was came from the Horror Hosts shows, and other like shows found across the country in small media markets. The fact they created a format that took them nationwide is a credit to all involved.

The show was a televisual gem. Some like to get into fights about Joel (the original host) and Mike (the second host), or the KTMA years versus the Comedy Central years versus the SciFi Channel years. I don't. Each era, and host, brings it's own value. And each era and each host is a part of a proud history of this show and phenomenon.

Yes, things changed. Yes, a member of the Satellite of Love was introduced. Yes, the Mads came and went. And, yes, the show came to an end.

Yes, the Mads came and went. And, yes, the show came to an end. 

But it always seemed to happen on their terms. And they have left us a legacy of laughs, memories, and an unquenchable need to mock bad movies.

Some many great and weird moments. We should all just remember to share them. Keep circulating the show.

And with Turkey Day almost here, it's a great time to do that. Or, just enjoy a marathon of the show on your own. But remember, there are online spots all over you can join in, and even an official marathon with Joel.

So gorge yourself...on comedy.

It's the 25th Anniversary! Enjoy it.

Also, remember that the comedy didn't stop there. It would not die. The people behind the show did continue on.

If you can find it, there's Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett's Film Crew series of shows. (It was sadly short lived.)

And now, they are working at Riff Trax, pumping out the comedy on various movies and shorts. Sometimes they even riff live (Like this December, when they will be returning to a favorite, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.) Being in a theater with other fans can be quite edifying.

And then there's Cinematic Titanic, which has been made up of Trace Beaulieu, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Josh Weinstein, and Frank Conniff. They produced a number of movie riffs, and then started a tour. Sadly, I understand they are ending their run. But it was great while we had it, and I can only hope we night see them work again in the future.

So, we have a number of outlets through which to enjoy their comedic toil.

And I hope you all take advantage of them. Turn down the lights, and just relax.