How many B-movies does a human have to watch until they are driven utterly insane? About five and a half season’s worth, if the goings on at “Mystery Science Theater 3000” are any indication. Older kids already know about Joel and Mike—those two separate but equal captives who skewer terrible films with the help of some sarcastic homemade robots. And why not? Some films—or experiments in this case–are deserving of only our censure.
The good news? Fans young and old can now watch MST3K—use the abbreviation so fellow MSTies will know you’re cool—for free all over the internet. Better still, some episodes are actually annotated so the exceptionally youthful or uninitiated will still understand the humor. We asked some hardcore fans about their favorite episodes, which we have listed for you below.
If you have a friend who has never seen an episode of MST3K, this is a great one to start them on. “Pod People” is a weird little film that was supposed to be a violent rampaging alien killfest, but since it was released shortly after “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” started making crazy money—the studio retooled it into something more heartwarming. What do we think about that? Fail. Way to give in to peer pressure, Almena Films! Many fans say Joel is at his best here; we’ll let you be the judge.
This Mike episode features a low-budget Canadian film centered around a crazy cult led by a guy named Satoris. Most of the movies lampooned by Mike and the guys are much older than 1990, and when you see this one, you’ll no doubt understand their reasoning. This movie is out of print, which is why you can watch it for free on YouTube without fear of the copyright ban hammer.
The very first Mike episode sometimes gets a bad rap from MST3K fans, undeservedly so. It’s not Mike’s fault that Joel left the show, but by then, Joel had become a beloved icon of nerd culture, and there was backlash. Mike was seen as the “Doggett” for his first few episodes, but in time, fans came to accept and love him in his own right, paving the way for guys like Matt Smith to bust in and replace the seemingly irreplaceable. Plus, this movie is hilarious all on its own.
Ever wonder what a werewolf skeleton looks like? After you watch this, you’ll know. This is another Mike episode with a 90’s film—a terrible, laughable, ridiculous 90’s film. It’s also the last one on this list, we promise. And if that wasn’t enough, “Werewolf” contains one of the funniest host segments in the entire show…or we think so, at least.
Another MST3K fan favorite episode featuring a movie with slugs that are—spoiler alert—eventually dispatched with grenades. This is an early Mike episode that doesn’t disappoint. The Creeping Terror features “acting” by William Thourlby, AKA the original Marlboro Man. You won’t believe that Vic Savage was ever allowed to make another movie again. You might also not believe that one of the top YouTube commenters asked who the D-bags making all the comments are. Brilliant!
Plenty of people love American International Pictures, this writer included. I bet Joel loves them too, since he was able to watch this selection without going insane. This is a classic giant bug movie from 1958, harkening back to a time when janitors were still portrayed as white guys—which did nothing to improve their survival rate—and DDT was sprayed in cities and near schools without any fanfare whatsoever.
Another classic Joel episode featuring one of those amazing movies where a regular animal rampages through poorly built models. Gila monsters are pretty freaky looking, and a giant one would definitely be cause for concern, so this film gets points for that, at least. Too bad the monster in this movie is actually a beaded lizard, though I don’t suppose that’s something non-herpetologists would notice.
You think rich people take advantage of immigrants now? Feast your peepers on this yarn about an old lady choosing the most beautiful immigrant maid so she can have her gross old brain implanted in a hot young body. Joel and the gang give this woman and this terrible film a righteous spoofing. Beware, this movie contains naked ladies. And if you don’t recognize this title, you might also know it as “Monstrosity.” They’re not kidding.
This movie is well worth watching on its own just for its raw hilarity factor and a young Pia Zadora. But the MST3K version is more—so much more. A classic Joel episode with some of the best one-liners the show has ever offered, this is a great episode to watch during the holidays, or anytime really. Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas, everyone!
Move over Edward D. Wood Jr., because Harold P. Warren is here to show you what a truly abominable film really looks like. “Manos” is considered one of the worst movies of all time; yet this Joel episode is considered one of the best—if not the best. Most people who sit and watch this film today are imbibing at least one intoxicant. Even if you’re sober, hearing Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo skewer this film will make you giggle like a madman.