Winter Of Our Discontent

Try to convince kids that in your day, cartoons were only on Saturdays and holidays, and they look at you like you’re crazy. The Flower and the Barbarienne were treated to some “Herculoids” today and while the Barbarienne was satisfied with it–as she is with anything animated–The Flower was incredulous that we were subjected to–nay, grateful for–such entertainments.

Even more amazing is that “Herculoids” and most of those holiday entertainments were hand-me-downs from Boomers. And sometimes not even English-speaking hand-me-downs. For example, Morozko (1964), known here as “Jack Frost” or “Father Frost”, was a bizarre Russian fairy-tale/love-story–or even worse, the 1959 Mexican movie Santa Claus.

Both of these would later be mocked on “Mystery Science Theather 3000” along with the perennial 1964 classic Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.

Jack Frost was the subject of one of the lesser–yes, one of the lesser–Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated specials. He’s a sympathetic character in that one, but I’m pretty sure he was villainous in one of the other Rankin-Bass abominations.

As bad as the Russian Jack Frost is, it towers over the Michael Keaton movie of the same name. I saw that in a theater, believe it or not. Keaton is an on-the-road musician dad who ends up dying and being given a chance to fix things–as a snowman. Michael Keaton. Star of Batman. Snowman.

The premiere Jack Frost movie is also about a human being reincarnated as a snowman: This Jack Frost is a serial killer whose DNA merges with snow and gives him all the super-powers of, um, snow.

Better even then this movie is its sequel: Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman. The serial killer villain of the first movie is back, and where the first film has occasional moments of distasteful gore, the sequel is pure camp and a laugh a minute.

We’ve Got Movie Sign!

…but it’s a false alarm, dammit.

The latest Cinematic Titanic should be available for download from EZ Takes shortly.

They said the fifth, initially, but I got an email today saying DOWNLOAD NOW! But on closer examination, they mean Thursday now, not NOW now.

Random memory: My dad had serious bladder cancer in the early ‘90s. And it looked like he wasn’t going make it. We were working together at the time and I was going to the hospitals in the morning, working 12-14 hours, going to the hospital at night, going home to sleep and then getting up and doing it all over again.

I did that for about seven weeks (including weekends, though the weekends were usually shorter). And one Saturday night, I was sitting with my (then tiny) family and MST3K was on–this was back when Comedy Central focused on stand-up and sketch shows and was. We hadn’t watched it up to that point, but we were sort of trapped.

And we just laughed our asses off.

It was an experience like that song you and your mate first danced to, one of those works of art that was in the right place at the right time hitting just the right note, only instead of reinforcing the emotion of the moment, it flipped around from something sad and serious to something positive and funny.

When The Boy was in the hospital with diabetes, I grabbed some of the DVD box sets of the show and helpd us get through that difficult time. He’s a big fan now, too. (I also grabbed some Bond movies…but that’s a different and more embarrassing story.)

With any luck, we’ll have years of Cinematic Titanic ahead of us, teaching us how to laugh…and love again.*

*Yes, that’s from the show.

This Island Faith

The old MST3K movie, based on This Island Earth has been on cable lately. It stars the lovely Faith Domergue at her pointiest:


(What can I say? The pointy breasts, they drive my traffic! And Faith was not well-endowed, but that didn’t stop them from trying to mold them into flesh torpedoes.)

Anyway, the movie was made after MST3K had passed its prime, with Joel having left at the beginning of the previous season, and TV’s Frank leaving before the movie was shot. And the show had just been canceled off Comedy Central, and not yet picked up on Sci-Fi.

It doesn’t use the wonderfully concise expository theme song and Dr. Forrester looks horribly lonely all by himself without a minion to abuse. (Trace Beaulieu would leave at the end of the following season, I believe.) Tom Servo swears a few times and answers the vital question: Would the show be funnier if it didn’t have to adhere to TV language and content rules? (Answer: No.)

At the time, it seemed like a moderately good episode. Not great.

It holds up very well, however. The only really severely dated stuff is a reference to John Sununu. It features some classic lines, which will probably make you smile if you’ve ever seen it, and scratch your head if you haven’t:

Crow: Somebody sneezed on the credits!

Crow: The earth is exactly as we left it: With the USA in charge!

All: Normal view! Normal VIEW! NORMAL VIEW! NORMAL VIEEEEEWWW!!

Crow: Industry, Science and Technology!
Tom Servo: Big men sticking screw drivers into things, turning them and adjusting them.
Crow T. Robot: Build your very own Atom Storage Box!
Mike: Bringing you state-of-the-art in soft-serve technology!
Crow T. Robot: Removes lids off bottles and jars of all sizes – and it really, really works.

It’s also got solid sketches, with Crow trying to tunnel to earth, Mike crashing the satellite into the Hubble (“I’m fully rated for Microsoft Flight Simulator”) and the Interositer service call (“Are you in Europe? Do you need an adapter?”).

This sort of humor is often very dated, with a shelf life akin to buttermilk. But this one seems better over time.

That may be because the latest Cinematic Titanic shows were delayed by the writer’s strike. Nah, it’s still gold. I gotta be honest: When I first saw MST3K, I liked the riffs and thought the whole puppet show was sorta stupid. As time passed, though, I realized that, besides being funny, the sketches gave a greater sense of character to the proceedings.

I hope they can manage something like that with CT.

The Bit Maelstrom on the Cinematic Titanic Newsletter

The Cinematic Titanic quoted (the most effusive) part of my review in their newsletter underneath BoingBoing and Quick Stop: There’s something to be said for being effusive about a product, I guess.

But I regret nothing! “Oozing” is a blast. So if you’ve come here to read the review, feel free to browse around and partake of my other odd assortment of thoughts. Or click on the MST3K link to check out some other reviews and stuff I’ve linked to.

Of Oozing Skulls and other referents

On a lark, I looked through to see what people had been coming to this site looking for, and by far and away, you’re here looking for the Oozing Skull review.

Honestly, people, form your own damn opinions. The Cinematic Titanic crew can’t make more if you can’t be bothered to buy the DVD.

Meanwhile, here were the other links:

thumb disk through washing machine
Ouch, sorry, dude.

ending to a foreword
Just a coincidence. My use of “foreword” and year end.

vincent d’onofrio
He was the bomb in Mystic Pizza

orphanarium the movie
Ha! Someone actually looked for an “orphanarium” review. For those who don’t know, the word “orphanarium” was coined by the animated sci-fi comedy series Futurama.

died in a blogging accident
Wouldn’t be the first.

banned words 2008
‘cause you gotta know what NOT to say.

malestrom 2008
Coming in 2008: The Bit Femalestrom. I expect WAY higher hits.

dark apocalyptic films
I think these are going to be a bit-maelstrom meme.

duckling programming -ugly
Imprint with Smalltalk!

Also, someone came here through an image search on long, white, lace bloomers. Heh. Thanks, Trooper York!