It has been said that creating bad movies is not just an art, but also a science. Evidence of this exposes itself through the world of science fiction “B-movies.”
The caliber of these shows, these which Roger Ebert would give comments like, “No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out,” are what makes Mystery Science Theater 3000 so funny.
“Mystery Science Theater takes the worst that Hollywood has to offer and makes it the best cable TV has to offer,” says Nathan Heckel founder of MSTies Anonymous and “Grand Poobah” of the club’s Colorado chapter.
Mystery Science Theater (MST3K) takes movies from as early as 1936 with dialogue, characters, actors and props that would make any professional or amateur critic cringe, and places them at the mercy of the show’s triumvirate of cynical sarcasm, two robots and one human.
The result of this interesting approach to B-movie viewing reaches levels of such hilarity that, often times, a viewer may forget the entire plot of the movie being made fun of.
But, maybe that’s for the best.
In its 11-year history, MST3K has come a long way since its local syndication origins at KTMA-TV in Minneapolis, Minn. Since its initial airing in 1988, the show has graced television screens internationally by way of Comedy Central and the Sci-fi channel.
Since its inception, the show’s unique format has attracted an international following and has led it to become a cult classic.
MST3K’s quite unconventional approach to movie watching has led it to find its own unique niche within the entertainment industry. It is where the films of producers who should be shamed for their work are heralded, where the cheese is laid on thick, where the “futuristic” car chases are too low budget to use cars so they use floor polishers, and where sarcasm reigns supreme.
“Mystery Science Theater is probably one of the funniest undiscovered shows on TV,” Heckel said
Beginning in 1994 with a few other fans, CSU student Nathan Heckel, one of the faithful followers of MST3K, organized a club, the MSTies Anonymous, online via a Mystery Science Theater Web site. Since then, his group has gained recognition in MST3K circles around the United States and the world boasting around 1500 members, 300 of which are in Fort Collins.
Official MSTies Anonymous members usually receive information about MST3K events and showings and also get opportunities to voice their own thoughts in an online newsletter, the SOL Post. More information about the organization is available at their Web site www.msties.com or at any of the group’s MST3K showings.
With special permission from Best Brains Inc., the producers of Mystery Science Theater, the MSTies have been allowed to present free weekly showings of MST3K episodes on Fridays in the ASCSU Senate Chambers at the Lory Student Center usually beginning at 7 p.m.
“Not everyone has seen or even heard of Mystery Science Theater, which is unfortunate.” Heckel said. “We are trying to expose new people and bring fans of Mystery Science Theater together for a good time.”
Since the first showing at CSU in the spring semester of 2000, the MSTies have seen an increase in attendance at their shows, and with postings in the new Student FYI e-mail system; show attendance has increased even further.
“Since we have been able to get the word out on Student FYI, we have seen around 60 new faces at the showings,” Heckel said.
But what better way is there really to kick-start a weekend than watching your favorite B-movie actors get made fun of whilst they attempt to rescue their squarish, mostly cardboard spacecraft from mutiny, mechanical failure, or those pesky, pesky Martians?
And, lets not forget the inspiring dialogue that is MST3K’s true genius.
“Well, it’s a fixer-upper…that’s for sure,” says MST3K character “Mike” after examining a warehouse that has been crushed by a giant grasshopper in Mystery Science Theater’s Episode, “The Beginning of the End.”