Friday, August 15, 2014

402 - Giant Gila Monster

First Broadcast - 10 am Saturday, June 13 1992
Excellence Level: Silver
Movie Pain: Medium - Poorly made but loopy enough to enjoy
Riffing: Unsteady, with spurts of big guffaws
Skits: Top notch

The screen sizzles with enough "Leg Up" action to choke a horse... or lizard even: This flick is about a "To good to be true" hot rodding, tow truck drivin, French girl dating, sister needs braces so she can walk, bad singing hero named Chase; and an inept Sheriff who can't wipe his own hinder without asking our protagonist for advice first. Anyway, a lizard is hanging around town, helping Chase get lots of tow jobs. Buuuut, our hero decides to blow it up anyway: The End.

While this isn't their steadiest work, their are big laughs. The crew find joke inspiration from the songs (not their real titles) "I Sing, Whenever I Sing Whenever I Sing" and "The Lord Said Laugh Children Laugh", and laugh we do. The guys making the "Gila tongue" sounds are cute and watch that mischievous Servo as he spits in the Sheriff's hat. Also; the scene where Missy shows off her new braces - which leads to that "Mushroom" song - is priceless. Some of the best and brightest riffs are found in this sequence.

The skits? I howled watching Frank go nuts on the "Ren Fest" punching bags, got a kick from Joel's malt shop (He plays the "Stupid Jerk", ha-ha) and Cambot's film on "Blocking" is perfect. So, all told, Gila is an enjoyable episode.

Note on the DVD: Losing (or not properly securing…) the rights to Zilla Vs. Megalon forced Rhino to replace it in the box set with “Giant Gila Monster” (and re-title it, Volume 10.2) – The highlight of this disc is the return of Joel and the bots and the classic Mads (Frank and Forrester) in a skit concerning what went wrong and why they had to make the switch in episodes. The bit is very funny; Frank got a couple a real big guffaws outta me (he also voices Servo, who hovers!) – I got a kick out of how they couldn't say the name of the offending episode and the gang, while older, steps right back into character without missing a beat. It is so great seeing these folks in these roles again. Joel’s still the father figure (calling Tom, ‘kid’) and it’s such a natural and easy fit, you know these guys could make new MST3K episodes without any problem what so ever.

The disc also includes an interview with actor Don Sullivan, (who wrote those those 3 tunes he sang). The opening section repeats what was heard on the "Rebel Set" DVD, but it soon branches into new material. Don’s an upbeat and interesting storyteller and there are few bonus songs from the actor offered as extras as well.

Host Segments
Intro: The 2 headed bot. Invention: The Mads demonstrate "Ren-Fest Punching Bags". Joel creates "Plot Point Radio". Segment 1: Joel's malt shop. Segment 2: J&TBs remember the great drunks of yesteryear. Segment 3: A look at the directorial stylings of Ray Kellogg. End: Another rock band for the crew of the SOL, Hee-La! Frank sends a letter and Dr. F conks him on the noggin. Stinger: Old guy with a drinking problem.

MST Hour Segments
Part 1: Perkins holds a lizard and seems upset by its untidy tongue, he nearly lets an important plot point slip out. Seg 2 finds Jack still creeped out by Gila monsters and all manner of Gods creatures – in the credits, Jack grabs a gun and does battle with the lizard. Part 2:"Oh jombo!" cries Jack (interrupted as he adjusts his shoe) who gives a rousing recap of our thrilling tale! Our host returns to ponder the quandaries of coming across a giant lizard, he provides some trivia and attempts to get his lizard to play fetch during the credits.

Notable Riffs
"Bad movie? You're soaking in it" - Crow
"They killed off the only likable character" - Crow
"Whoa! Honey, speak English!" - Servo
"Would you forget the skid marks" - Servo
"Hey gang, I drank lizard urine, eww" - Servo as Chase
"Woa, her braces shorted out the house." - Crow
"Okay, back in the case" - Crow as Chase on Missy
"Yup, smells like teen spirit." - Joel as Missy
"Now you're broke, aren't you?" - "No but my spirit is." - Chase/Servo as French Girl
"Before she couldn't walk, now she's hauling furniture." - Crow
"Chase, level with me." - "Do you think I'm pretty?" - Sheriff/Crow
"Two 20's" - "That makes 30 dollars" - Chase/Servo
"Son? He called me son. No wonder mom cries when I mention the Sheriff." - Crow as Chase
"...And the Lord said DIE CHILDREN DIE!" - Joel as the Giant Gila Monster
"Guys, did we just do an After-School Special, here?" - Servo
"Here, drink this. It'll make you feel American." - Crow as Chase
"I just want to know if the Lord said it this many times in a row." - Joel
"I'll be using this condescending tone until the mid-70's." - Crow as Chase
"Stupid-Man! More powerful than an okie-motive." - Crow

Riffs Explained
"She's trying to wish him into the cornfield right now" - Joel
Said while Chase sings to his sister: This refers to the "Twilight Zone" episode It's A Good Life. In it, a little boy (Billy Mumy) uses his mind to do bad things to people who displease him. Donna from the MST3K Discussion board tells me that in Jerome Bixby's short story the ep's based on the little guy is literally wishing people into the cornfield. As in, under the ground. In the story it's even said that no one will harvest from that field, though the corn is growing thick and lush (Yee -that's creepy). BTW: Casey Adams from "Indestructible Man" had a part in this T-Zone.

"Go on home, they're waiting for you" - Joel
This comes from the movie It's A Wonderful Life. Near the end of the film, Jimmy Stewart shouts a "Merry Christmas" to Mr. Potter, who replies... "Happy New Year to you... In Jail!" and then adds the words Joel says above.

"Oranges poranges, who cares, there aint no rhyme for oranges!" - Joel
Joel might have the lyrics wrong but he's singing a song sung in 1969 by "The Three Oranges". A fake band lead by Witchiepoo in an episode of the children's show, "H.R. Pufnstuf".
Special thanks to Ford Prefect for reminding me of this one

Stuff & Nonsense
During the letters, a picture drawn by 4 year old Shannon is shown. On it she lists Crow as "Art". This is in reference to show #203 and will resurface when Pearl becomes a regular 

Available on DVD: Collection volume 10.2

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