|301 - Cave Dwellers|
|Air Date||June 1, 1991|
|MST3K Director||Jim Mallon|
|Turkey Day(s)||November 28, 1991, 2am|
|AKA|| Ator the Invincible|
The Blade Master
|Movie Director||David Hills|
|Cast||Miles O'Keeffe, Lisa Foster, David Cain Haughton, Chen Wong|
|Preceded by||213 - Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster|
|Followed by||302 - Gamera|
|“||"Let's recap the action so far." "Nothing really." "You're right, let's move on now."||”|
|— Tom, Joel, and Tom at the halfway mark|
It is the medieval era or maybe 17th century Bulgaria or perhaps 19th century Japan. Akronas (Charles Borromel), "the Great One", is a legendary teacher, philosopher and inventor with bad taste in jewelry and remarkably soporific manner of speech. He leads an ivory-tower existence in a huge castle with his nubile daughter Mila (Lisa Foster).
Ator (Miles O'Keefe) is a renowned swordsman / body builder / scholar / scientist / healer / warrior whose trademarks include a well-developed fat-free physique, little pants, a resplendent mane of freshly-shampooed locks complete with adorable Samurai top-knot, leather accessories (chest straps, bracelets, belt, and leather-fringed leg warmers), a pointy little visor and the ability to fight - poorly - with two swords at once. He is a one-time disciple of Akronas and dwells in a remote castle/cave of his own "at the edge of the Earth".
Akronas has invented / discovered / ordered from The Sharper Image a new, potent power source / bright light which he has christened "the geometric nucleus". Apparently, it has many potential applications, one of which might be a weapon - or a lunchbox, it's not so clear. Aware he is about to be overrun by the evil faux-Asian warlord Zor (David Brandon) and his henchmen, he dispatches daughter Mila to summon assistance from Ator. Mila dons her best Loverboy headband and "Plymouth Somerset hubcap" breastplate and sets off on her journey just as Zor arrives at the castle.
Eventually, Mila stumbles into Ator's castle after being ambushed with an arrow by Zor's minions. After treating her wound and conducting an identity check, Ator sets out to aid Akronas, in no particular hurry and with no visible supplies for the journey except a fabulous floor-length lavender cape, with the aid of his mute warrior/sage/personal trainer/sidekick Dong (Kiro Wehara). I mean "Thong".
Zor, a whisper-thin, loquacious Snidely Whiplash-type villain with a ridiculous helmet, hairstyle and mustache is approximately as threatening as an under-caffeinated theater major with mono. He arrives at Castle Akronas and begins employing a combination of threats, flattery, sarcasm, wheedling, cajoling, magic, and halting, monotonic speech to wrest Akronas' secrets from him. With the help of his personal wizard Zandor he is able to observe Ator's movements from afar.
As Ator and company near the castle, they encounter an assortment of foes - samurai mimes, invisible Charlie Callas assailants, behemoth velour stuffed snakes, and cannibalistic cavemen. Mila tends to get captured so that Ator can dramatically and photogenically come to her rescue. Ator also is called upon, Kurosawa-style, to save a village from marauding Huns. Meanwhile, Zor gets ever more physically abusive with the none-too-robust Akronas (he has a heart condition and has not gotten around to inventing beta blockers just yet).
At last, Ator reaches the castle and launches an assault to rescue his mentor, employing a surprising mode of attack. Of course, we know he must ultimately do battle with the treacherous Zor.
Will Ator save his wise old master's life and prevent Zor from obtaining the geometric nucleus, and with it, unlimited power?
O'Keeffe is Ator, a man skilled in not only fighting, but in many other arts as well. Charles Borromel is Akronas, a wise ruler and teacher who is also called the Great One. Lisa Foster starred as Mila, the daughter of Akronas, and David Brandon starred as Zor - the principal villain in this film.
The film was released in theaters as Ator the Invincible and later as Ator, the Blade Master. It received the name Cave Dwellers after it was re-edited by distributor Film Ventures International. It is the sequel to 1982's Ator the Fighting Eagle and was followed by 1986's The Iron Warrior. The movies were made to capitalize on the popularity of the Conan movies which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. 
The opening credits uses footage from an unrelated film, a 1960 Italian fantasy film titled Taur, the Mighty.
Prologue: Joel and the Bots give themselves favorite new names.
Invention Exchange (Segment One): Joel creates the smoking jacket to look cool, while the Mads engage in robotic arm wrestling.
Segment Two: The gang reenacts Cave Dweller 's half-screen digitized credit sequence.
Segment Three: Joel and the Bots ponder the conventions of naming fantasy objects in low-budget films.
Segment Four: Joel shows Tom and Crow how to foley using Jell-O, hamsters, and Madam (Trace Beaulieu, carrying a Punch puppet).
Segment Five: The Bots point out the horrible continuity problems of the movie. The Mads remind them of their evilness.
Stinger: "Fong, the fish is ready!"
- "Daddy? There's a man outside..." -Frank, invention exchange.
This is making a reference to a hit song by Mike Douglas from the mid-sixties called "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" from the album of the same name.
- "Do what *I* do." -Joel, invention exchange.
This is from those old Amazing Discoveries infomercials.
- "I'd shoot Donald Regan to prove my love for Lisa Foster." -Crow, during the opening credits.
A reference to John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan for reasons stemming from his own unhealthy obsession with actress Jodie Foster. Donald Regan was a Reagan administration official who resigned due to his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.
- "Hey! There's a monolith outside!" "Yeah everybody's evolving and stuff! It's really neat!" "Hey! Grog just threw a bone into the air and it turned into a spaceship!" -Servo, Joel and Crow.
- "...keeper of the Seven Keys of Pentuzler..."
- "...and then he worked out on the Charismatic Soloflex of Zontar-13!"
The Soloflex was a piece of home fitness equipment that was heavily advertised on cable TV during the late 1980s and early '90s.
- ""...you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees..."
A quote from the Desiderata.
- "Mother, Jugs, and Speed"
Mother, Jugs, and Speed was a 1976 comedy film starring Racquel Welch, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Keitel.
- "You were playing a Titleist, right?"
Titleist is a popular brand of golf balls.
- "A Mark VII production!"
Mark VII Productions, which produced TV series such as Dragnet, had a memorable bumper that depicted the words "MARK VII" being manually stamped into a metal sheet to the accompaniment of a sonorous, reverberating clang..
- "Welcome to Death Valley Days! The driver's either missing or he's dead!" -Crow, during a shot of the desert.
Death Valley Days was a syndicated western show that Ronald Reagan once hosted. The "driver is missing or dead" line is from Episode 206 - Ring of Terror, from the Phantom Creeps short. The line is spoken in a voiceover that sounds like Ronald Reagan's voice, to which Crow responds by saying "Welcome to Death Valley Days." This riff is made in many episodes.
- "Puma? Puma!" - Joel.
Also from 206 - Ring of Terror. 'Puma' is the name of a cat that wanders off in the movie. His owner calls for Puma with a silly inflection that Joel imitates here.
- "I'm the best-looking man in the middle ages! My, my, my!" - Crow, when the snake god/priest guy is looking into a mirror.
He might be imitating Little Richard (but not at all well), whose outlandish appearance the priest ever-so-slightly resembles.
- "It's the wango, zee tango!" -Joel, during a shot of Ator holding a sword.
A Ted Nugent song, "Wango Tango", starts out, "All right! It's zee wango, zee tango/ 1-2-3-4 /Come on boys/ Time to Wango". Ted Nugent has long wild blond hair like Ator here.
- "Warriors, come out and PLAY-AY!!!"
This is a line from the 1979 movie The Warriors.
- "I'll be doing the death scene from 'Camille.'"
Camille is an opera by Hamilton Forrest, first performed in 1929.
- "The Bangles?"
The Bangles were an all-girl power pop band from Los Angeles. (Their 1982 e.p. is worth tracking down.)
- "Oh, this is the opening from 'Where Eagles Dare'!"
Where Eagles Dare was a 1968 World War II movie starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.
- "Go to bed, old man!"
From a comedy bit by comedian Dana Gould.
- "Here's one from my old pal Melvin Laird!"
Melvin Laird served as Secretary of Defense under Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He was responsible for the strategy of withdrawing troops from Vietnam.
- "What are you, Lucas Tanner all of a sudden?"
Definitely an obscure reference: Lucas Tanner was an NBC drama in 1974-75, starring David Hartman as a high school english teacher.
- Commercially released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in April 1996.
- Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in February 2003 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 2, a 4-DVD set with Pod People, Angels Revenge and Shorts Volume 1.
|preceded by: Season 2||MST3K Season 3||followed by: Season 4|
|1991 - 1992|
|301||Cave Dwellers||1991-06-01||309||The Amazing Colossal Man||1991-07-27||317||The Saga of the Viking Women...||1991-10-26|
|302||Gamera||1991-06-08||310||Fugitive Alien||1991-08-17||318||Star Force: Fugitive Alien II||1991-11-16|
|303||Pod People||1991-06-08||311||It Conquered the World||1991-08-24||319||War of the Colossal Beast||1991-11-30|
|304||Gamera vs Barugon||1991-06-22||312||Gamera vs Guiron||1991-09-07||320||The Unearthly||1991-12-14|
|305||Stranded in Space||1991-06-29||313||Earth vs the Spider||1991-09-21||321||Santa Claus Conquers the Martians||1991-12-21|
|306||Time of the Apes||1991-07-06||314||Mighty Jack||1991-09-28||322||Master Ninja I||1992-01-11|
|307||Daddy-O (episode)||1991-07-13||315||Teenage Cave Man||1991-11-09||323||The Castle of Fu Manchu||1992-01-18|
|308||Gamera vs Gaos||1991-07-20||316||Gamera vs Zigra||1991-10-19||324||Master Ninja II||1992-01-25|