The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr. - MST3K
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MST3K
(Mystery Science Theater 3000)


For the uninitiated, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" was a TV show created by Joel Hodgson. On the show, Joel portrayed Joel Robinson hapless employee of the Gizmonics Institute who was shot into an orbit around the Earth and forced to watch bad movies at the behest of the evil Dr. Clayton Forrester.

The show featured actual movies (usually from the 50s and 60s) with the silhouette of Joel and two robots superimposed on the film. While watching the various movies, Joel and the 'Bots would make constant fun of the film, much as people do at home when watching movies with friends.

The show first aired on KTMA in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1988. The following year it went national, airing on the Comedy Channel, then Comedy Central following the Comedy Channel/Ha!: The Comedy Network merger. Joel left the show midway through it's fifth season on Comedy Central and was replaced as host by head writer Mike Nelson. In 1996, a movie was made, called (duh! -ed.) Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. In 1997, the series moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, where it ran for three seasons (1997-99). Reruns of the Sci-Fi material continued to air until January, 2004.

Considering the premise, they naturally aired some of Ed's movies. However, they never did the biggest and the baddest: Plan 9 From Outer Space or the grandaddy of them all, Glen or Glenda.

All told they did four of the films from Ed's filmography, two with Joel as host and two with Mike.


The Unearthly
Episode #320
Original Air Date: 12/14/91
Appeared with the shorts Posture Pals and Appreciating Our Parents

This is the only Ed-related episode of MST3K to be made available on home video, from Rhino.

It is also the only Ed-related movie to be shown on the short lived spin-off show, "Mystery Science Theater Hour", a version of the show cut into two one hour segments with new intros.

Bride of the Monster
Episode #423
Original Air Date: 01/23/93
Appeared with the short Hired! - Part One

The Bride of the Monster is shown in a slightly edited form.

The host segments are fairly lame, with the exception of the first, a musical based on this episode's short. The "monster"/food type segment is basically the same concept as a segment in episode #424, the vastly superior/inferior* Manos, The Hands of Fate. The third host segment is bizarre in that it is primarily based on a short, A Case of Spring Fever, that the show wouldn't actually air until their next-to-the-last episode, #1012 - Squirm.

The riffing is okay, but rather nasty. There are a lot of cheap shots taken, especially at Bela, and especially at his drug problems. They seem to really be stretching things in order to find jokes. Particularly lame is the end credits riff by Tom, simply labelling everyone in the cast (except "Drunk" Ben Frommer) a 'loser.' Particularly good, on the other hand, is a running gag about the chief inspector and his bird. So it's not all bad.

I'm fairly certain that it was the very fact that Bride of the Monster isn't really as bad as a lot of the films MST3K did that made it so difficult to use.

* MST3K #424 - Manos, The Hands of Fate is a vastly superior episode to MST3K #423 - Bride of the Monster.
Manos, The Hands of Fate is a vastly inferior movie to Bride of the Monster.

The Violent Years
Episode #610
Original Air Date: 10/08/94
Appeared with the short Young Man's Fancy

As usual, The Violent Years was edited for use on MST3K. It does not seem to have been for content, however, as the missing scenes were innocuous.

Most of the host segments are odd, having little to do with the main feature. Especially odd is Tom's turn as Barbara Streisand. The final segment, featuring a stunning recreation of the riveting gas station holdup scene, however, is right on the button.

The riffing is quite good, with the guys really getting worked up over the "girls attack man" scene.

The Sinister Urge
Episode #613
Original Air Date: 11/05/94
Appeared with the short Keeping Clean and Neat

MST3K presented The Sinister Urge in edited form to remove nudity and a few of the more violent scenes.

Although they have little to do with the movie, the host segments are excellent, detailing a plot by TV's Frank to blow up Deep 13 and kill Dr. Forrester.

Riffs are solid throughout. Only the running gag about the film not having any sex in it falls somewhat flat if you are aware that MST3K edited the sex out themselves. Not really fair to blame Ed for something they (or at least the distributor they got the film from) did.

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