About two years ago, on a whim, I started watching the unriffed versions of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 experiments. I had been neglecting my movie collection and the project seemed a good way to get a fresh perspective on MST3K. There were enough of the experiments in my collection to make a fair start. The idea I would be able to get almost all the movies and shorts featured was a fanciful dream. The collecting of the movies, not just the viewing, was going to take years. At least I assumed it would.
I was making good progress on the viewing project; even if the writing was, to be kind, inconsistent. In 18 months I watched nearly 1/3 of the movies and a handful of shorts. Then, as the song goes, life happened while I was making other plans. I found myself getting more down and engaged in retail therapy. Tracking down and ordering the experiments provided me goals and moments of unboxing happiness. My focus went from watching the experiments to collecting them. When the dust had settled (with a great deal of help from a very understanding wife and Club-MST3K members) I acquired all but 1 movie and 8 shorts. From pilot to the final episode, I could watch almost all the movie magic and misfires Joel, Mike and the Bots riffed on. The family Forester would be proud of the movie mega-tonnage I was prepared to drop on myself.
But a funny thing happened while I was building my unriffed collection: the catch as catch can way of working through the experiments seemed misplaced. The goal of watching (nearly) every unriffed short and movie had become a plausible reality, not a nebulous goal. The way I was writing, watching and choosing the movies now seemed inadequate for what the project was becoming.
When it was a collection of 40 or so unriffed experiments randomness felt like the correct way to go. Now, with nearly all the ducks aligned, I want more structure. Structure suits me. So I will heed the advice of Maria and will (re)start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start. I’m going beyond KTMA and restarting with the Pilot, The Green Slime.
I will not miss a movie or short until Catching Trouble in experiment 315.
I also want to treat these movies as movies, not just MST3K experiments. I can’t say I will be offering completely original insights or thoughts, but I can assure you I will never say “it is so bad, it’s good.” Like Hugh Beaumont said, a lot of people worked very hard on these movies. Some succeed, more than most MSTies want to acknowledge. Some fail. Some are just there. I am going to my damnedest to figure out which column each experiment sits in, separate from its second life as SOL fodder.
I hope any MSTie stumbling across my site will take a step back and take a chance on the unriffed. The movies are just that, movies. Let us remember that whenever we’ve got movie sign.
UP FIRST: K00-The Green Slime (1968)