Sunday, August 10, 2014

113 - Black Scorpion

First Broadcast - February 1990
Excellence Level: Silver
Movie Pain: Medium - Dry but entertaining, with some great (though repetitive) monster FX
Riffing: Oft clever chuckle-fest, peppered with big guffaws
Skits: Induced mostly smiles

Giant growling scorpions run amok in Mexico! Josh's last show has him looking like David McCallum in the Outer Limits episode, the "Sixth Finger". His final words are a simple, goodbye. (Okay, technically this isn't the last show, but that's how it's listed and it's nice that Josh got to say a goodbye of some kind)

The movie is the of the "giant bug" variety and features a little kid named "Juanito", who rivals "Gamera's Kenny, for doing dumb things that nearly gets himself and others killed! Richard Denning (The Gov in Hawaii 5-0, Creature From the Black Lagoon) stars, and Willis O'Brien oversees some impressive stop motion FX.

Riff wise, the humor levels sputter between hilarious to fair. I am hearing more variety and a hint of the shows future. The gang reference everything from Cajun cook Justin Wilson to the Corn Palace, and adroit observations are in force - as when the good Doctors note the Scorpions weak spot on the throat; Crow suggests that Hal should go over and strangle the creature. Saying that, the work does drag in a few spots; for example: The lengthy golfing quips, which lead to lengthy Jacques Cousteau-like narration, did little for me.

While the Host Segments are less than memorable (tho I did get a chuckle from the Deep 13 sections), overall, Scorpion offers enough goodies and treats to make it worthwhile. A few more examples? #1) Years before "Viking Women", waffles provide some big laughs during an elegant dining scene. #2) The use of props continue - This time the guys have a weenie roast and Joel throws a rock back at Dr Scott. Also the sound of applause is heard whenever Dr. Ramos' name is spoken.

Host Segments
Intro: The bots throw a party, Joel does a spit take. Invention: Aboard the SOL it's the giant party favor. While on Deep 13 we discover that the Mads have mutated themselves. Segment 1: Speaking Spanish. Segment 2: Gypsy becomes a scorpion and bugs Tom and Crow. Segment 3: A look at Willis O'Brien, FX wiz. End: Letters, and a few moments with the Mads. No Stinger -But if I chose one? Teresa sez, "I really can ride, gentlemen"

Notable Riffs
* "Edward Fitzgerald? This must be his wreak." - Joel
* "I'll just move this high voltage power line with this piece of metal...let me dip it in water first." - Servo as Ramos
* "What the Devil was that?" - "The Devil" - Dr. Scott/Crow
* "No more beans and tortillas for that kid!" - Servo
* "Meanwhile, in the shower..." - "MOOOO!" - Crow/Cows
* "Mrs. Butterworth! Help!" - Joel
* "Hey! How'd he know his name was 'Fella'?" - Crow
* "It's obsidian!" - "Oh, I don't think it's that bad..." - Dr. Scott/Crow
* "Now, if you look out the left side of the train, you'll see -- the right side of the train." - Crow
* "The horse must have eaten her!" - Servo
* "Mmmm, delicious guy on a stick." - Crow
* "Better call Orkin... Or throw the boy at 'em!" - Crow
* "Sounds like there's an opera going on next door." - Crow
* "He's the grand daddy of the them all." - "Wilfred Brimley?" - Dr. Scott/Crow
* "Well, this isn't good, not at all. I mean, I've seen good before, and it didn't look anything like this. Remember that bad thing we saw, well it looked like this..." - Joel
* "I don't think your hat's quite dead yet." - Joel
* "Lets roll back the instant replay... yup, there it is, contact with the ground." - Crow

Riffs Explained
"Amen to that Sluggo. I mean, Father Sluggo" - Crow
Sluggo was a character in the comic strip "Nancy". Created by Ernie Bushmiller in 1933, Sluggo was a tough little guy who always wore a hat (mostly a ballcap of some kind, but at times he was drawn in a sailors type hat), much like the one worn by the Priest in this movie. Ha Ha

"Hey wait, that's my Motorman's helper!" - Crow
Said when the lead character drinks from a canteen. Refers to a hose & jar devise that truckers used so that they would not have to stop to use the restroom. EWWW!

Stuff & Nonsense
The John Wayne Connection: Arturo Ramos "clap, clap, clap!" was played by Carlos Rivas, who acted in Wayne's True Grit as Dirty Bob.

Russian born Edward Ludwig, Directed this movie as well as 3 starring the Duke, including "Wake of the Red Witch". The octopus used in that film was the same one seen in Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster" (show #423)

The worm and spider models seen in "Black Scorpion" were created by Willis O'Brien for use in "King Kong". If you recall, there's scene where a few men are crossing a chasm; Kong picks up the log they are walking on and they fall into a pit. Originally, the men are shown being devoured by spiders and other creatures, but the sequence was cut out and has never been found. 

GOODBYE LARRY: Fans don't give the young Mr. Weinstein enough credit. He was a genuine wit, the best of the 3 with KTMAs improv and I liked how he would get into a film and point out the silly things rather than just heckling. I really enjoyed his take on Servo. Thanks Josh, for all the laughs.

Available on DVD: Volume 30