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Review: Halloween Edition!

(1986 | Adam West, Jon Mikl Thor, Tia Carrere)

Our movie opens with a large, baseball-playing family man rescuing a young girl from being assaulted by two thugs. The big guy is then promptly murdered before the eyes of his loving wife and his son, Tony. Fast-forwarding a few years, Jon Mikl Thor is the long-haired, nipple-baring adult version of Tony. He’s surprisingly well-adjusted, and surprisingly sexually ambiguous. While walking home from the store, Tony gets run over and killed by a group of five unruly partiers cruising for “sleazy chicks.” Instead of going for a traditional funeral, Tony’s mom decides to resurrect her son via voodoo priestess Molly – who is, as we learn, the girl that Tony’s late father saved. Like a good zombie, Tony exacts revenge on those who done wronged him. Enter Adam West, as corrupt police Captain Tom Churchman. He’s got it out for the kids of today and – DUN DUN DUNN! – he was also one of the thugs who murdered Tony’s dad and assaulted Molly! Adam wants Tony, Molly, and noble Detective Frank all dead. (Well, technically, I guess he wants Tony dead again.) Holding them all at gunpoint, things appear bleak for our quasi-heroes, until Molly calls upon Tony’s zombie dad to drag Adam West down into the bowels of Hell. And so, Detective Frank and the gravelly Medical Examiner triumph over police corruption and voodoo zombies.

Ample quantities of Tia Carrere after the jump.

A car accident begging to happen.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of the horror genre. With this in mind, you would have to assume that I would hate this movie. You would be right. This is a dark, dingy, bleak slice of cliche horror. And it’s from the ’80s. But I’m being redundant, there.

This version of the film suffers(?) from the Brains’ necessary editing. Several of the teens’ deaths are off-screen, no doubt because of the gratuitous gore and disturbing nature of the deaths. I’m not a fan of gore, so I don’t mind, but it does make for an awkwardly paced movie. Otherwise, it’s basically your standard, cut-n-paste zombie flick, except you really hope that everyone involved dies. I can’t honestly say I really liked a single person in this film. Except Tia. Tia should’ve lived.

You know, I have to say, Tony Washington makes for a reasonably good-natured zombie. I mean, sure, he’s got the whole revenge thing going, but he’s only interested in the people who wronged him. It’s not like he’s whacking random Twist-n-Creme customers. Tony’s not angry with the world; he’s a polite zombie. He’s trying to kill a group of twenty-something teens from the 1980s, and that’s just fine by me. Thank you, Tony.

The cast is mostly nauseating, packed snugly with oily, loathsome men and poorly dressed women. (It is, after all, the 1980s.) Adam West is in this. As much as he’s usually a welcome presence, it’s just uncomfortable seeing him grumble and booze it up and be all corrupt and murderous. He probably had a couple of bills piling up, at the time. I hope the paycheck was worth tarnishing the Batman legacy. A part of Burt Ward died that day… because he didn’t get the role.

In conclusion, Tia Carrere is also in this. She’s the attractive Hawaiian woman from the ’80s, featuring in such programs as MacGyver, and the A-Team. And Relic Hunter. Enjoy her often. Thank you.

MOVIE GRADE: D-

Hot tubbing. Minus the batch.

  • Crow and Tom insist on being Mike’s Secret Servicemen. A-
  • Clay and Frank introduce Mike and the Bots to the wonders of voodoo. They decide to use it for nice purposes. A-
  • Tom performs a hit-and-run on Crow. Twice. B
  • Mike, Tom, and Crow go hot tubbing. C
  • Mike and Tom are dressed for Crow’s Batman play – which he forgot to tell them he cancelled. B-
  • The Bots write letters to comfort Adam West. Dr. F is a zombie. A-
  • STINGER Tony is upset. D

Mike gives Cokey Roberts a scalp massage.

This episode displays some of the Brains’ finest work, and is a prime example of why season six is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of MST3K. The riffing is dead-on and laugh-out-loud funny, even with the prerequisite clunkers that must come with every episode. The host segments aren’t exceptional, but they’re enjoyable enough so as not to be a burden. Quality stuff.

I have to honestly say that Frank and Clay in their voodoo outfits… well, they disturb me. Especially Trace. That’s my only complaint, other than their segments being somewhat dull. I thought the SOLers approach to voodoo was fresh and amusing, doing nice things for the likes of Jimmy Carter and Cokie Roberts. Very Joel-like. I always wonder about the end of that segment, when Mike leaves the Dr. F voodoo doll’s head soaking in the water. Did Dr. F drown?

The only parts that really bother me about this episode: The stinger and the hot tub skit. The stinger is terrible. There were dozens of better possible stingers in this episode, so why did they pick a lame shot we’d already seen twice in the movie? The hot tub skit was just a little on the weak side. It felt like they’d wanted to do something related to the movie’s traumatizing hot tub sequence, but they didn’t really know how to go about it.

I thought the Bots’ letters to Adam West were sweet, in a twisted way. I think that the majority of us feel a little tug at the heartstrings, seeing an older actor such as Mr. West do a film that’s so revolting. I rank this right up there with Jim Backus in Angels Revenge and Jack Palance in Outlaw. You just have to shake your head and hope that they eventually found their slice of heaven. Godspeed, Adam West.

EPISODE GRADE: A-

Nightlife.

  • “It’s the Kids In The Hall.” This is said during one of the youths’ driving sequences, as an interior camera shot shows houses whizzing past. It’s a reference to the Kids In The Hall, a hilarious Canadian sketch comedy troupe whose TV series had an opening sequence that looked, and even sounded, similar.
  • It’s worth noting that there’s a partial ‘nipple slip’ in this film and, no, it doesn’t involve Jon Mikl Thor. After Jimbo hits on the on-duty waitress and she walks away, her blue tank top pulls decidedly to the right, exposing the side of her modest chesticular region and… well, uh, you can kind of see something.
  • In case it wasn’t obvious, the zombie ceases to be portrayed by Jon Mikl, about half-way through the film. I actually don’t recall why this happened, but it’s very noticeable – look at his face and hair. Maybe Molly gave him a makeover? The cleaned-up zombie is played by Pee Wee Piemonte.
  • Dean Hogopian played the crusty medical examiner. Apparently, his golden voice graced the airwaves of a few Canadian radio stations during the ’90s. He was also the lead singer(!) for the Staccatos, in 1963 and ’64.
  • For more red-hot zombie action, check out MST3K Review’s interview with detective Frank Dietz and tennis boy Hamish McEwen. If all you Dietzaholics are jonezin’ to turn your crank to Frank even more, head to his website. He draws old-school monsters, and rather well, too. If heavy metal is your bag, visit Thor’s nipply site.

Canadian English.

1. The gravel-throated Medical Examiner. Perhaps one of the most underrated MST movie characters ever. Effectively, he’s the movie’s comic relief, and he succeeds – but probably not on the level that the director intended.

Tia Carrere2. Tia Carrere. Tia is simply amazing… Okay, that’s a lie. Her part is hardly significant, and frankly she’s kind of annoying, for the most part. Still, she’s a second-tier goddess of the ’80s, and for that I must salute her, in all her b-movie glory. This is also an excuse for me to post pictures of an attractive woman on this blog.

3. During the final host segment, when Gypsy is about to read her letter, notice that she quite audibly whacks Crow’s netting with her lower jaw several times. I always have a soft spot for mistakes that make it on the air. In the opening host segment, Tom also loses his head… dur-hay.The shot that never ends.

4. There’s a transitional shot of a sunset towards the middle of the movie, and it just won’t end. It will not stop, I tell you. I’m pretty certain that it lasts at least half as long as Lost Continent’s rock climbing sequence, and I grew nearly an inch of hair while watching it.

5. Jon Mikl Thor, you silly bastard, with your nipples flapping in the breeze and your hair hanging out all over the place… or is it the other way around? He looks like such a botched cliche of a 1980s heavy metal frontman, wearing that horrific shirt, with his long flowing hair… and it just never ends. Until he dies. Or until he gets replaced by that other guy. What were you thinking, with the nipple shirt, Jon? I know it was the ’80s and you were sort of hot stuff, but why?

6. The gym sequence. It has it all. A completely unconvincing tennis sequence between two incredibly weak characters, those same characters stripping down to their sweaty undergarments and fondling each other, wholly unnecessary batch shots of the guy in his tighty-whiteys, cliche “killer chasing young girl in her undies” sequence… This is classic material. Awful, classic material.

7. When Adam West pays voodoo Molly a visit in his car, Trace shouts out “How ya diddly-doing?” in his best Ned Flanders. The timing is perfect, with Adam’s casual arm out the window and his well-timed raise of the eyebrows. Brilliant.

8. The sensible business-suit rave. Is this what yuppies did, in the ’80s? And how the hell did the “kids” get into this apparently upper-class dine-and-dance club, even with fake IDs? There’s just so much about this that doesn’t make sense. “Office temps cut loose!”

9. After Jimbo shouts some sexual threats at the Twist-n-Creme waitress, we cut to yet another sensibly-dressed man, who is amused by our villain’s comeuppance. “Oh, Garrison Keillor’s laughing,” Mike observes. It’s great, because it kind of seems true. The man does look a bit like Garrison Keillor.

10. Jimbo… You know, the feathery-haired tough guy? With his constant phallic references and pasta-tossing disrespect for all things good and decent, he just might be one of the most loathsome characters to appear on the show. His impaling by ol’ Jon Mikl is quite welcome, even though it occurs off-camera.

Tom loses his head.

…is “filthy.” You’ll need to take a long shower after this gloomy, vile zombie flick. The riffing makes it more than tolerable and worthwhile, but you’ll still find a thick layer of filth on your soul after ingesting this degenerate pile of sin and death metal. Fun for the whole family.

FINAL GRADE: A-

(My apologies, if there are any formatting problems with the pictures and text. WordPress doesn’t offer a ton of customizable options, as far as appearance is concerned.)

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One Response

  1. Ha! Thanks for the episode review. Is this one we are likely to never see on a Rhino DVD because I sure would love to see it. My girlfriend and I went down to a local bar this past summer that has live music (my band plays there all the time) to see Thor! in concert. We went for the laughs not for the metal. My girlfriend’s aunt works at Border’s and got us the free passes to see him as well as a free DVD and CD of Thor. The DVD is god-awful by the way, and features Thor on the Merv Griffin show blowing up a hot water balloon until explodes right in the middle of a cheesy glam rock song. The DVD is certainly worthy of it’s own Rifftrax. We left after the second song Thor! played because he was awful and now has short hair that is thinning and doesn’t do his strongman tricks anymore (as far as I know). But I still would love to see the movie.

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