Monday, August 25, 2014

804 - The Deadly Mantis

First Broadcast - 4 ppm Saturday, Feb 22 1997
#12 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Best in Show
Movie Pain: Medium - Not a bad giant bug flick, though too talky at the start.
Riffing: Loose and silly style riffing that had me roaring with laughter
Skits: Chuckle-Fest

A frozen mantis thaws out and goes on a praying rampage: Compared to others the Brains have covered, Deadly Mantis is actually a well-made movie. In that there are fairly competent stock footage splices and decent monster effects. Not that it comes close to classic status mind you. It drags, especially at the beginning, with long-winded exposition that gobbles up the first 20 minutes of the film. When the narrator gives detailed explanations on radar and dew lines, Servo wonders as we all do... "Where does the bug fit in?"

I liked a lot of the jokes during those opening scenes, but it's with the appearance of Professor Gunther that the riffing really gets cracking. M&TB give hilarious voice to the old guy -"When's Jell-O?!" - Crow- and when he and emotional scientist Ned Johnson (Perry Mason's William Hopper) spar over the identity of the killer insect, the gang had me doubled over with laughter... Ned asks Gunther what flesh eating insect could sport a claw? I howled as the guys have the old man offering up answers like - "Worm?" "Chicken?" - "Kitten!" - Sadly, the professor disappears in the final act, replaced by the blooming love story between the fighter pilot Colonel & the reporter (They have their funny moments too. But I missed Gunther).

Host Segments offer a couple of chuckles but were nothing to write home about. Mary Jo got a laugh with her reaction upon first seeing the bomb. It was nice to hear that "Radio-Frank" is still on the air, and having Gypsy take a few shots at Pearl was sweet. Also, When ape planet blows up, Crow gives new life to that old Star Wars bit -"I feel; a disturbance. As though a million monkey's cried out, and then were silenced"- LMAO
In closing, while the episode has a few rough spots, those are balanced out by many, many inspired moments that are second to none. Pray on, Mantis!

Host Segments
Intro: Servo tries to drum up excitement for business casual day. Segment 1: The apes help some mutants fix their bomb. Mike gives them the answer and... Kaboom! Segment 2: Pearl & Bobo survive and get into a chase with the SOL. Segment 3: All the crew can get on the radio is country music. Segment 4: Servo hits a space creature, which eats Crow. End: Crow serves dinner. A letter from Peanut and Pearl threatens Mike. Stinger: Geeky guy compares gal to a butterfly.

Notable Riffs
"For every action" - "There is a Jackson" - Narrator/Mike
"Purina radar chow" - Crow
* "It's a confetti storm!" - Mike
"Should he be up there on his respirator?" - Crow on pilot
* "This isn't snow, It's Bon Ami" - Servo
* "Look out!" - "The thing that almost didn't hit you" - Military guy/Crow
"Well gentlemen, it appears to be a giant devils food snackwell" - Crow as Ned
* "It's the Mighty Quinn!" - Crow as Eskimos
"Yeah, I think this guys familiar with dishonorable discharge" - Crow
* "AH! Something we're suppose to be able to see!" - Crow
"Pre-seeent tongue!" - Mike as Col. Joe
"But I gotta mantis in my pantis" - Crow as Joe
"Police, I'm being peeped" - Servo as General
"We really need you to stop talking funny and kill that big bug, over" - Crow
* "Just keep pumping" - "Thank you sir, you keep pumping too" - General/Mike
"Here in the frosting mines of Canada, the slaves of Betty Crocker work 'round the clock" - Servo
* "Do you have to have your area right near me Sir?" - Crow
* "At least the Government should make him some underpants" - Crow
"Still, that was sadder than Terms of Endearment" - Crow

Riff Explained
"Gentlemen" - "And Honey" - General/Servo
Tom is drawing from a bit done by the comedy team, "Firesign Theatre". Specifically "The Army Training Film" skit from their 1974 album, Everything You Know Is Wrong

Stuff and Nonsense
* The sequence involving the Eskimos running from the Mantis actually came from the German/American co-production S.O.S. Eisberg (S.O.S. Iceberg), 1933.

* The Mantis' roar is the same one used for Spot, in the TV show "The Munsters".

Available on DVD: Volume 27

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