Friday, August 15, 2014

407 - Killer Shrews

With short Junior Rodeo Daredevils

First Broadcast - 10 am Saturday, July 25th 1992
Excellence Level: Silver
Movie Pain: High - It's 90 minutes of hard to understand drunks
Riffing: Solid, good humor, brilliant short
Skits: Hilarious

Roscoe, from the "Dukes of Hazzard", Captains a boat to an island. Once there, he discovers a scientist who has glued carpet to a bunch a dogs backs and now thinks of them as giant Shrews (what a kook).

The Dogs don't take kindly to this of course and -attracted by the stench of alcohol that's seeping through the pores of every human on the island- proceed to lap everybody to death. Stars Miss Universe 1957, TVs Festus and Director Sidney Lumet's father (playing the part of the Professor).

Though I enjoyed this a lot on my first viewing, Shrews hasn't held up well. The episode derives most of its humor from the fact that it's impossible to understand a thing anyone is saying; "The shoes got into the bar?" - "Fart and get some sleep?" Funny, but very one note and as Chaucer wrote, "Familiarity breeds contempt" (or in this case, fewer belly laughs).

Host segments are fun, I love Joel's "Will Rogers". The Killer Shrew's game and drink skits are a kick. But the real strength of this experiment is the great short, "Junior Rodeo Daredevils". Which is about crazy Billy Slater and the tortures he devises to maim the young. Hysterical, one of their best.

Of Note: The original Rhino release was missing the movies opening narration (with riffs). After fans sent off letters of complaint the company owned up to the mistake and replacement discs were issued. The DVD also includes a hilarious short (Assignment Venezuela) which was going to be a part of a CD Rom (it was never released). as well as 2 shorts from the sci-fi era ("Century 21 Calling" & "A Case of Spring Fever")

Host Segments
Intro: Joel gives gifts - Servo gets a car, Crow... a pair of slacks. Invention: The Mads have a missile. J&TBs have "Edgar Winter" Babies. Segment 1: Joel morphs into a weird Will Rodgers. Segment 2: The Killer Shrew board game where no one moves. Segment 3: Servo & Crow create the "Killer Shrew" super sugary drink. End: The Bots dress like Shrews and attack Joel. Frank has an upset tummy. Stinger: A drinking scene.

Notable Riffs
Rodeo Riffs
* "And the crowd goes wild" - "Yaay." - Joel/All
* "Go ahead, strip me of my dignity at age four" - Joel
* "Maybe Rodeos are the opiate of the masses." - Servo
* "Kids, have you ever read the Ox-Bow Incident?" - Crow
* "We'll never escape this town" - Servo as little kids
* "You should see the boys when she goes square dancing." - "Yeah, they buck her off right away." - Narrator/Servo
* "Just 2 years ago he was still riding calf's" - "Now he sells pencils and string on street corners - Narrator/Crow
* "Quite sure that Billy Slater wont notice them..."- "He's hammered." - Narrator/Joel

Shrew Riffs
* "It's the guy who taught LBJ how to lift dogs." - Servo
* "...But he's adamant." - "Oh he's Adam Ant." - Ann/Servo
* "Eh, your breath smells like feet" - Servo as Ann
* "Do you believe in fairy tales." - "Does it got elves in it?" - Ann/Crow as Thorn
* "Alf, NO" - Joel
* "Are the dogs and the shrews friends? Is that what's going on?" - Servo
* "He must devour three times his own weight every day." - "plus a delicious shake." -Narrator/Servo
* "I'd like to hit you really hard." - Crow as Thorn
* "I don't know everything" - "I don't even know how fish work!" - Thorn/Joel
* "I think this movie just broke the goofy-meter." - Joel
* "That's a pretty complex insult, for a drunk." - Crow
* "Would you knock it off about Dixieland jazz!" - Crow
* "Oh no, They've got wire cutters" - Crow on the Shrews
* "I'll take that dull alive woman every time." - "I guess the other way would be kind of sick" - Thorn/Servo

Riff Explained 
"Oh, it's Robert Maxwell's boat... Mr. Maxwell? Mr. Maxwell?" - Servo
In Nov. 1991, millionaire publisher Robert Maxwell drowned mysteriously while cruising in his yacht off the Canary Islands.

"Meanwhile, on the Merrimack" - Servo
In 1862 The Merrimack became the confederacies first ironclad (warships with iron armor) and is known for her historical battles with the Monitor. Riff is said while Thorn and gang make their escape in metal barrels.

Stuff and Nonsense
Most know him as Festus on the popular television show, "Gunsmoke". But Ken Curtis (who produced this movie) was quite the crooner and made a name for himself in the 30's and 40's as a singer for the "Tommy Dorsey Orchestra" and the "Sons of the Pioneers".

Available on DVD: Collection Volume 7: Includes the short: "Assignment Venezuela"

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