• Welcome MSTies!

    Hi. Welcome to Deep Ape, home to gratuitous amounts of Mystery Science Theater 3000-related news and nonsense! Click the "Entries RSS" feed link above to keep up-to-date on all the latest MST3K, Rifftrax, and Cinematic Titanic news, as well as other assorted shenanigans.

  • Staff


    Matt Sanderson
    Big Boss Man | contact
  • Housekeeping

    Deep Ape is not officially connected to Best Brains, Rifftrax, or Cinematic Titanic and is 100% independent. The views expressed here are obnoxious, probably wrong, and they in no way represent the views of the aforementioned. Amen.

    If you have a claim on any audio or video posted on this blog, contact me and it will be removed. Also, if you have any tips, corrections, relevant information, or cash gifts, I encourage you to drop me a line.


    Creative Commons License

Deep Ape Reviews: Cinematic Suicide Inducer

Two men and a woman in a car frame on a soundstage. Not a porno.

The Wild, Wild World Of Batwoman
(1966 | Katherine Victor, George Mitchell, Steve Brodie, Richard Banks)

Good grief, this thing is a mess. So, there’s this tripped out lady named Batwoman in an awkwardly revealing costume, who employs a gaggle of scantily-clad women to do her vague bidding. Her arch-nemesis is apparently a Mexican wrestler named Ratfink, whose henchmen kidnap one of Batwoman’s girls and feed her a pill, invented by Ratfink’s vaguely European scientist, which makes the victim dance uncontrollably. And that’s it. I think. Yes, it seems that Ratfink’s grand plan is, primarily, to force attractive young women to dance against their will. Then, Ratfink and his falsely-bearded thugs will… do… bad things? I guess. It’s sort of an epic battle between the forces of vague and goofy. There’s also an atomic hearing aid involved, but I didn’t really get that part. None of this matters, anyway. There is no coherence here. Please, turn back. It’s all doughy, mincing men flailing around with exploited, though attractive, women. Run. Quickly. There aren’t enough levels of hell for this film. There is death in this place.

I wouldn’t advise clicking this link…

Apparently, at the start of the movie, we’re supposed to have some sort of clue who Batwoman is and just what the hell is going on, but we don’t. And we don’t get a clue at any point during the movie. Instead of anything remotely coherent, we’re given an unholy mess. The beginning is vague and the end is indistinct, and what is in the middle is scarring. Violently, bitterly scarring.

There are so many disturbing images in this film. It has all the tact and dexterity of a porno, dropping half-naked women on us and trying to justify it by throwing in weird stabs at ‘humor’ by awkwardly bad characters meandering around a non-existant series of half-plots that only hold your interest long enough to make you wince. I’m a Christian, and Christians are supposed to forgive every transgression, but this movie crosses the line. Whoever made this trash deserves to be slapped hard with thick, moist hands for even pretending that this piece of shit had anything resembling a plot, or anything resembling something that could be considered entertaining.

The above paragraph pretty much concludes my review, but let me try to recount some of the pain found here, so that you may experience it with me. Dr. Neon and his assistant Heathcliff, a feral, simple-minded comic relief character – although, honestly, what male character isn’t comic relief here? By the end of the movie, we’re supposed to have some inkling of a clue about the doctor and his seemingly retarded companion, when – spoilers ahead! – the explosion of the atomic hearing aid somehow snaps Heathcliff back to mental health. It’s like they’re trying to trick us into chortling, with some lame backstory of how Heathcliff used to be this brilliant scientist, or something. Oh, I see! How clever! M. Night Shyamalan must surely have studied this film closely! (But I kid Batwoman…) We’re entering Looney Tunes territory here, folks, except Looney Tunes was actually funny. And who wouldn’t pay good money to see thick, white, middle-aged men dancing uncontrollably with foxy young lovelies? IT’S FUNNY!!!! Oh and, if that all wasn’t an effective enough assault on the senses, the loveliest and least-effective-actress of the Batgirls ends up being led around on a leash(!) by her moronic quasi-love interest/captor. Gouge me. Quick.

Perhaps worst of all, they had to shamelessly (and entirely pointlessly) drag scenes from the so-much-less-painful The Mole People into this train wreck. I could gaze into the granite maw of John Agar for all eternity and it would be a tastier hell than the one this movie serves up. Never watch this unMSTed. Please.

MOVIE GRADE: F


  • The boys play poker. Crow wants to be hit. B-
  • Frank invents the atomic hairdryer. The SOLers invent the backhair shaver. C+
  • Mike decides to have the Bots write essays about the short. Crow gets weird. B
  • The Bots report on the cheating short. Crow is caught cheating. B-
  • Tom and Gypsy want Crow dead. C+
  • Crow defends himself and they all eat Sno-Balls. B+
  • STINGER A Bat Girl takes a chunk out of a thug. B

This was Mike Nelson’s third episode as host, and they sure didn’t waste any time giving him a horrendous, disturbing film to suffer through. The theater segments are pretty darn solid, though not nearly as laugh-out-loud as other episodes. They manage to make things tolerable enough and, on first view, it seems like a hilarious episode. It doesn’t really hold up though and, on repeat viewings, the riffing downgrades to merely a solid, funny episode. Still, thumbs up.

The host segments are a bit of a burden. Sure, they’re funny, but I really can’t get behind the concept of basing an entire episode’s worth of host segments on the short. The show would’ve been better served by having one or two Cheating segments, then switching to something either more random or inspired by the movie. Trace does well in the segs that we’re stuck with, and they do have their moments. Still, they’re very unsatisfying. They bore me. This movie should’ve inspired something much more interesting.

The invention exchange is pretty dull. There’s a few moments with Frank’s atomic hairdryer, but they don’t hold up well upon repeat viewings. The back-hair shaver is a lame invention and is only made funny at the end, when Crow barrels in with that large… whatever the hell it was, to help Mike’s ‘cuts.’ In the end, it’s just too laborious to work through all the host segments, even though they aren’t really all that bad.

The Brains do a good job, but not a great job. The movie’s atrociousness makes the whole experience memorable, though.

EPISODE GRADE: B

  • You may or may not recognize Steve Brodie, the guy who’s probably supposed to be the male hero of this wreck. Steve was also Dr. Vance in The Giant Spider Invasion. In fact, he had quite a long, diverse acting career. There’s no rolling on Barbara Hale in this flick, however. (Though it wouldn’t be at all out of place.)
  • A year after appearing as Batwoman, Katherine Victor would do a complete one-eighty and appear on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. She also appeared in numerous other Jerry Warren movies, each one just about as painful as this one, no doubt. Most shockingly, in the late 1990s, she served as continuity coordinator on several Disney direct-to-video animated films. Wow. Sadly, she fluttered off the mortal coil in 2004. Here’s someone’s tribute to her.
  • The “Hey, it’s that one Kid In The Hall!” line, referring to the mentally-well Heathcliff at the end, is a reference to Scott Thompson, member of the Canadian comedy troupe Kids In The Hall. Specifically, it’s likely a reference to his flamboyant homosexual character, Buddy Cole. It’s an extremely accurate riff; the sane Heathcliff looks just like him.
  • Bruno VeSota sighting! He plays Seltzer. Yes, Seltzer.

1. Pardon the gratuitous cleavage shot of Batwoman in the above graphic, but it’s basically the entire movie, right there. Young women dancing, young women in bondage, young women with guns, young women making out with doughy guys… That is your movie. As with any film of this sort from this era, there’s almost a refreshing charm to it all – it’s all breasts and asses and midriffs, and it doesn’t try too hard to convince you otherwise. Still, the loathsomeness far outweighs any campy charm this might have.

2. ‘Cheating.’ Johnny is the arch-nemesis of the upbeat Mr. B Natural. Only that time period could produce something so bleak and yet so educational. I would also note some of the funniest lines from the short, but there are too many solid ones to list. Yes, that’s a cop-out. You haven’t felt depression until you’ve felt Centron depression.

3. The Mole People. Where the hell did that come from? You can’t just randomly drop in footage from an entirely different movie and link the two with a couple of completely random lines of dialogue. Hugh Beaumont turns in his grave.

4. Trace Beaulieu is in top form as Crow. “And when you cheat, you make an ‘eat’ out of ‘c’ and ‘h’. I’m sorry.”

5. What the hell were those girls doing with the horseshoe, at Batwoman’s place? I suppose it was some sort of muscle exercise, but it just looked odd. Typically, when shooting a scene, it’s not the best possible idea to have two women playing tug-of-war with a horseshoe in the background of your scene. Although, anything in the movie that distracts me from the movie is a good thing.

6. “That shirt just screams, ‘British advertising executive.'” I’m originally from England. Now, not even I know why this is such an accurate riff, but you know what? It is. It just feels like it.

7. The kiss. Let me set the scene: Somehow, the atomic hearing aid gets damaged and is about to explode. Once our cast of characters discovers this, the hearing aid (which is not really an ideal size for fitting inside one’s ear, unless you’re someone who has really disturbingly large ears) is then passed from panicked character to panicked character. Finally, after almost everyone’s fled, Dr. Neon gives the hearing aid to an oblivious Heathcliff. Realizing that Heathcliff is about to meet his Maker, Dr. Neon leans in, and he and Heathcliff share a brief farewell kiss. Perhaps I’m not conveying the disturbingness of this relatively nonchalant act well enough, but trust me, it’s there.

8. The Bat Girls. On a note similar to the first entry, I wish to salute the lovely ladies in this film. I’m not sure what her name is, but I particularly salute the lead Bat Girl, the one with the leash… rawr. Not one of them appears to have a working brain, but they are all nice to look at and they are the only comfort that this movie offers those of us who fancy the female form.

9. The séance. I’m not even 100% sure why the séance was held. Maybe it was explicitly stated in the film, I don’t know. I don’t think there’s any way of knowing for sure. Anyway, I’m going to take a blind stab in the dark and guess that the faux-Chinese rambling (which scared the hell out of me, the first time I watched the episode) was supposed to be funny. Yes. That’s what I’m going to believe. (This was written before Rosie O’Donnell’s little faux-Chinese incident. Just pretend there’s a clever reference to it here.)

10. The opening scene. Is there anything more perfect? “We’re vampires all right, but only in the synthetic sense.” The Bat Girls’ initiation ceremony involves drinking a yogurt concoction, telling the inductee that it’s actually blood. Why? I don’t know. Do the three women appear to have at least one brain cell between them? No.

Offensive. This film is offensive to women, offensive to East Asians, offensive to the mentally challenged, offensive to people with brains and IQs above 50, offensive to DC Comics, offensive to the people who made The Mole People… offensive. The Brains do okay with it, but the short is particularly great. A keeper.

FINAL GRADE: B+

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I might have an explanation for the Batgirl’s initiation ceremony. According to the Agony Booth, this movie was in attempt to cash in on the Batman craze. When DC Comics heard about this, they sued Warren. Warren claimed that since he was making a movie about BatWOMAN and not BatMAN, he was in his right. The initiation was snuck into the film to try to show that Batwoman was a vampire, and that she didn’t actually doesn’t have anything to do with Batman. This doesn’t help the scene make any sort of sense, but it does explain why it’s in there in the first place. And I thought it was kind of interesting.

    As for the review, I enjoyed it. I like the breakdown that you have, with the emphasis on the movie itself and the host segments. The list at the end is a nice touch, as well. I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

  2. Interesting. Thanks for the info, and thanks for the kind words! I hope to get more reviews up, as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: