|M01 - Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (This Island Earth)|
|MST3K Director||Jim Mallon|
|Running Time||73 mins|
|AKA||Metaluna IV antwortet nicht (West Germany)|
|Movie Director||Fritz Bottger|
|Cast|| Jeff Morrow|
|“||Hello. Welcome. What you are about to see, is, an experiment...||”|
|— Dr. Clayton Forrester|
|“||Well believe me, I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid. And I...went ahead anyway.||”|
|— Crow T. Robot|
The Movie-Within-The-Movie (This Island Earth)
Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), a noted scientist, receives an unusual substitute for electronic condensers that he ordered. Instead, he receives instructions and parts to build a complex communication device called an interocitor. Although neither Meacham nor his assistant Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols) have heard of the device, they immediately begin construction. When they finish, a mysterious man named Exeter (Jeff Morrow) appears on the device's screen and tells Meacham he has passed the test. His ability to build the interocitor demonstrates that he is gifted enough to be part of Exeter's special research project. Intrigued, Meacham is picked up the next day at the airport by an unmanned, computer-controlled Douglas DC-3 aircraft with no windows. Landing in a remote area of Georgia, he finds an international group of top-flight scientists already present – including an old flame, Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). Cal is almost immediately suspicious of the odd-looking group of men leading the project.Cal and Ruth flee with a third scientist, Steve Carlson (Russell Johnson), but their car is attacked and Carlson is killed. When they take off in a Stinson 108
light aircraft, Cal and Ruth watch as the facility and all its inhabitants are incinerated, and their aircraft is drawn up by a bright beam into a flying saucer. They learn that Exeter and his group are from the planet Metaluna, having come to Earth seeking uranium deposits as well as scientists to help defend their planet in a war against the Zagons. Exeter informs the Earthlings that he is taking them back to his world. Exeter and the Metalunans are attacked by Zagon starships guiding meteors as weapons against them and Metaluna. The Metalunan saucer easily avoids each attack, dodging oncoming meteors.
They arrive to find the planet under bombardment and falling quickly to the enemy. Metalunan society is breaking down and there is little hope. Their leader, the Monitor (Douglas Spencer), reveals that the Metalunans intend to relocate to Earth and insists that Meacham and Adams be subjected to a Thought Transference Chamber in order to subjugate their free will so they cannot object. Exeter believes this is immoral, and misguided since it would impede their ability to help the Metalunans. Before the couple are sent into the brain-reprogramming device, Exeter decides to help them escape.
Exeter is badly injured by a Mutant while the three flee from Metaluna in the saucer as the planet's protective "ionization layer" becomes totally ineffective. Under the Zagon bombardment, Metaluna heats up and turns into a lifeless "radioactive sun". The Mutant also boards the saucer and tries to attack, but dies as a result of pressure differences on the journey back to Earth.As they enter Earth's atmosphere, Exeter sends Cal and Ruth on their way in their aircraft, but Exeter himself is dying and the ship's energy is nearly depleted. The ship flies out over the ocean and rapidly accelerates until it is enclosed in a fireball and finally crashes into the water and explodes.
- Mike can be seen reading an issue of Satellite News in the opening host segment.
- TV's Frank's face appears on one of the doors in the door sequence.
- MST3K: TM was released in a number of non-English-speaking countries, including Brazil , Thailand , the Netherlands , Spain, Finland, Italy  and Germany. The German version was translated by comedian Oliver Kalkofe, who in many cases rewrote riffs to replace American-centric cultural references with references that would be more familiar to a German audience. The Brazilian version was retitled O Filme Mais Idiota do Mundo ("The Most Idiotic Movie in the World").
- Actor Lance Fuller (Brack) would later appear as the lead character in The She-Creature.
- Coleman Francis briefly appears as the man who delivers the Interocitor manual to Dr. Meacham's lab.
- When Universal originally released the movie, they thought that a limited release in a select group of "college towns" (where they believed MST3K was most appreciated) over a longer period of time would lead to a box office bonanza and keep it from having to compete with the early summer blockbusters like Twister and Mission: Impossible. Instead, very few fans of the show were even aware that the movie had been released and the film languished in relative obscurity throughout the spring and early summer. This was the first (and last) time that Universal attempted such a plan.
- At one point, Crow quips, "Oh, PLEASE, let us get the Sci-Fi Channel, oh please, oh please, oh please!" At the time, the production company Best Brains was negotiating a deal to air on the Sci-Fi Channel.
- The control panel for the robotic arms that Mike uses to grab the Hubble is marked "Manos." Manos, along with being Spanish for "hands", is also a reference to the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate.
- The TV show's usual density of gags was reduced for theatrical audiences, so that a larger number of people laughing wouldn't cause too much dialogue to be missed.
- At ninety minutes, each episode of the television series is actually longer than the movie runs (73 minutes).
- The makers of MST3K were so annoyed by their experiences having to work within a major studio on this film that they later parodied the experience on the TV series. In episode 704: The Incredible Melting Man the host segments are about Crow's screenplay being purchased by a studio then ruined by the executives (Dr. Forrester and Mother Forrester) as they vainly try to shoot it and screen it for audiences. Series writer and star Mary Jo Pehl would later call the episode an "exercise in healing" after the ordeal of MST3K: The Movie.
- By many accounts, making the movie was not a happy experience for the filmmakers, due to frequent studio interference. Years later, at a cast reunion appearance in New York City, Trace Beaulieu was asked what the worst movie featured on MST3K was. His reply was, "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie".
- The original DVD release had no special features and was withdrawn from circulation in 2000. However in 2003 on the 7th anniversary of the movie's premiere (19 April 1996) an unknown Internet fan released a Special Edition DVD. This two disc set has the widescreen version of the film, the theatrical trailer, TV spots, a review from E!, a slideshow presentation from the 1996 MST3K convention and the cut host segment and alternate ending.
- Prologue: Dr. Clayton Forrester introduces himself and his experiment to the world. He makes a strong case for the "mad" part of mad scientist, but the scientist part is up for debate.
- Segment One: Mike Nelson is finishing his daily workout when Tom Servo runs up and presents a problem: fellow Bot Crow T. Robot has convinced himself he can tunnel through the bottom of the ship and get back to Earth, conveniently ignoring the empty vacuum of space in between. Attempts to stop Crow result in danger, laughs, and a new sensation for Servo.
- Segment Two: Gypsy happily pilots the ship until the Bots dare Mike to try. He succeeds ...in crashing the Satellite of Love into the poor, abused Hubble. Trying to put things right, he uses the SOL's manipulator arms - pressing the Manos button to activate it - to free the Hubble from the SOL's hull, only to have it fall down to the earth after being released, much to the dismay of Mike. Gypsy cleans up the mess while the boys head back.
- Segment Three: Reminded by the movie, the boys go searching through Servo's room for his misplaced Interociter. Mike and Crow learn about Tom's strange obsession with men's underpants. Finding the Interociter puts them into contact with Benkitnorf the Metalunan, who tries to help them use it to escape and ends up repeatedly shooting Servo in the head with laser beams, not knowing how to work the Interociter. The signal is cut of by Forrester (a la The Wicked Witch of the West) and sends them back to the theater.
- Segment Four: The crew holds a "Metalunan mixer" to celebrate them getting through the movie. Dr. F has an Interociter of his own which he attempts to use to make the SOL crew regret their joy. He ends up stranding himself in poor Benkitnorf's bathroom.
- Stinger: No stinger, but Mike and the Bots do riff on the credits to their own movie!
- Benkitnorf: John Brady
The original film featured an additional host segment and a completely different ending:
- In the cut segment, often called "The Storm Shelter Sequence", the movie is interrupted by a sudden meteor shower. The crew flees to the SOL's storm shelter, only to have the air supply damaged by one of the meteors. Mike begins to asphyxiate (Crow: "Ha ha ha! Who needs air?" Mike: (annoyed) "I do."), and the Bots panic. Servo summons up his courage to help Mike by pushing the button to restart the air by launching himself full-tilt at it with his hoverskirt. Mike is saved, the storm passes, and the gang returns to the theater at Dr. F's insistence.
- The original ending shows Mike's plan to get back at Dr. F for This Island Earth. Dr. F appears in the Hexfield Viewscreen seeking out the crew for groveling. Only Servo is present; he distracts Dr. F with flattery while Mike, Gypsy, and Crow bring the Interociter out of Tom's room. Mike hooks Gypsy's tubing from the Interocitor to the Hexfield, Crow dumps out the last survivor of his ant farm, and the crew Interocicizes it, turning Debbie the ant into Scrotor, the alien from the movie (played by Jef Maynard). The tube sends Scrotor into Deep 13, where he vanquishes Dr. F and leaves to get a Hollywood agent. The crew celebrates their victory until they realize Crow is missing. He's back down in the bottom of the ship with the chainsaw he found earlier in Servo's room...
- "Space... The FINAL frontier.... These ARE the VOYages of Babylon 5..."
- "The light from these credits originated 7,000 years ago..."
Mike is doing an impression of Carl Sagan.
- "Oh look, Orion is bankrupt!"
Orion Pictures was a now-defunct movie studio that went bankrupt in the early 1990s.
- "John Sununu goes for a haircut."
Tom is referring to John H. Sununu, famous for his forced resignation as White House Chief of Staff due to his inappropriate use of government aircraft for personal use. Tom says the line with a tired tone because of the joke's overuse during the series.
- "Oh jeez, there's soccer teams laying all over the place!"
Tom's referencing the 1993 biographical survival drama film Alive which was about a Uruguayan rugby team who were involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed into the Andes mountains, and the survivors reluctantly resorted to eating the flesh of the passengers who died.
- "Ow, that ringing! Now he knows what the world sounds like to Pete Townshend!"
Tom is referencing The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who suffers from deafness from tinnitus due to his overexposure to loud music and/or Keith Moon detonating his drum set next to his ears on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
- "Ah, Been ordering from the Adam & Eve collection again, HMMMMMMM?"
The Adam & Eve Collection is a mail-order "marital aid" catalog.
- "Your camera will pick up nothing but smoke and fog!" "Oh, it's a GoldStar."
GoldStar was a brand of inexpensive consumer electronics manufactured in South Korea.
- "Oh, PLEASE let us get the Sci-Fi Channel! Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!"
An inside joke, as during filming, Best Brains was in negotiations with the Sci-Fi Channel to pick up the series.
- "Your in-flight movie is 'Fearless'!"
Fearless was a film about survivors of a devastating plane crash.
- "What's this 'and the rest' crap?!"
Russell Johnson played The Professor on Gilligan's Island. The "And the rest" is a reference to the first season's opening song, which referred The Professor and Mary Ann not by name, but only as "And the rest...". Later seasons changed the lyrics to include the two characters.
- "So Professor, you made this car entirely out of bamboo, huh?" and "His coffin will be made entirely of coconuts."
Yet more references to Russell Johnson's role as The Professor.
- "You two are beginning a strange journey." "Mawwiage!"
Crow is imitating the lisping priest from The Princess Bride.
- "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"
Crow is singing this song while making a hole in the spaceships hull. This is probably a reference to the movie Das Boot where this song is sung by the crew. The U96 is sunk by to a torpedo hit ("hole in the hull").
- "Oh they're flying into a Roger Dean album cover."
- "Yeah they're really into 'Yes' on this planet."
- Servo: Dum-da-dum-dum-dum.... oh, hello Mike! Everything working fine on the ol' Satellite of Love? No problems or mishaps today?
- Mike: Nope, everything appears to be nominal.
- Servo: Ah, nominal! Good! Good! So I guess you're not wondering what that rhythmic pounding might be?
- Mike: [listens] Yeah, what is that?
- Servo: Yeah, what is that? I'm a highly sophisticated robot, Mike, and I've got to tell you, this isn't normal. Something's causing this, Mike. Now, let's see... I'm here, you're here, Gypsy's here....
- Mike: Okay, Tom. Where's Crow?
- Servo: Where's Crow? Well, I wasn't supposed to say anything, but I did see the little moron heading to the basement with a pick-axe in his hands!
- [Crow breaches the satellite's hull as he tries to escape, causing the air to be sucked out]
- Crow: Whoa, I didn't expect this!
- Servo: Attaining.... maximum RPM.... adjust pitch and yaw thrusters..... stabilize! There, that ought to— [gets sucked towards hole] AAAAAAAAAAH!!!
- . . .
- Crow: Well, this is confusing! Mike, could you hand me my calculations?
- [A wad of paper is blown across the bay and hits Crow in the face.]
- Crow: Thank you! Huh, would you look at that: "Breach Hull - All Die"! Even had it underlined!
- . . .
- [Servo lands right-side up on the hole]
- Servo: Hey, I'm experiencing a sensation altogether new to me, and frankly... I LOVE IT!
- . . .
- [Crow explains his unsuccessful attempt to burrow a way out of the Satellite of Love.]
- Crow: Believe me, Mike, I calculated the odds of this succeeding against the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid… and I went ahead anyway.
- Dr. Forrester: Now, prepare yourself for... oh, but before I start the experiment... did you... y'know, go?
- Mike, Crow, Servo: [dejected] Yes...
- Dr. Forrester: Because I don't want to have to stop the movie for... y'know...
- Mike, Crow, Servo: You won't...
- Dr. Forrester: Then, prepare yourself for This Island Earth!
- [Universal International credit appears on screen, as well as a globe-like Earth]
- Crow: It's the nicest weather Earth has ever had!
- Mike: Notice how big Japan is?
- [Universal International credit appears on screen]
- Mike: Isn't the fact that it's Universal make it International?
- ["This Island Earth" appears on the screen]
- Servo: This Island Earth can be yours if The Price is Right!
- [during the opening credits]
- Crow: Boy, the universe is really cruisin'!
- Servo: Hey, there's Taurus the bull!
- Mike: And over there's the Constellation Feces.
- Crow: Oh, look. Orion is bankrupt.
- Servo: When in California, be sure to visit beautiful...
- [The words "Washington, D.C." appear on screen]
- Servo: ...oh.
- Crow: [as golf announcer] It's a long, Par 5 on the way to the nation's capital.
- Mike: Washingtonland, the new Disney theme park!
- [The camera pans over a shot of a snow-capped mountain range.]
- Servo: Oh jeez, there's soccer teams laying all over the place!
- [Joe running up the communications tower stairs.]
- Mike [As Joe]: "Put the men's room in the tower"...WHAT was I thinking!?!
- [Meacham's plane, engines out, is coasting in to a crash landing when it is suddenly suffused with a mysterious green glow.]
- Mike [as Meacham]: Suddenly I have a refreshing mint flavor.
- Servo: Early LSD tests in the Air Force.
- [Joe running towards the Jeep]
- Crow: Into the Weenie Mobile! WEENIE MAN AWAY!
- [In the lab, through a viewport, we see a rectangular metal slab suspended above a squat, boxy metal coil.]
- Mike: Oh, yeah. This is when science didn't have to have any specific purpose.
- Dr. Meacham: Lowering the cylinder.
- Servo [as Meacham]: Inserting the breakfast pastry.
- Crow [as Narrator]: [darkly] The secret government Eggo project.
- Servo [as Meacham]: Contact Dr. Jemima!
- Mike [as Meacham]: God, I love the blueberry ones best.
- [Meacham flips a switch. The toaster-like coil starts to red with heat, and we hear a pinging sound.]
- Dr. Meacham: Increase the rate of reaction.
- Servo [as Meacham]: Start warming the syrup!
- Mike [as Meacham]: Yum!
- [Cal and Joe play with some knobs and dials. The "toaster" emits loud grinding noises.]
- Dr. Meacham: Check rate of radioactive decay.
- Crow [as Meacham]: Increase the Flash Gordon noises and put more science stuff around.
- . . .
- [At the end of the experiment, the toaster object blows up.]
- Mike [as Meacham/Morrison]: Oh, my God! My waffle! Oh, the humanity!
- [A loud beeping noise follows post-explosion.]
- Mike: Fries are up!
- Joe: Here's something my wife could use around the house.
- Crow: A man?
- Meacham: This isn't paper. It's some sort of metal.
- Crow [as Joe]: No, sir. That's paper!
- [Dr. Meacham and Joe have just unpacked the parts to the Interocitor.]
- Tom Servo: But before unpacking - D'OH!
- Meacham: There are 2,486 parts.
- [Joe is stepping around the spread out Interocitor parts. Crow makes a loud crunching sound.]
- Crow [as Joe]: Uh, 485, sir!
- [As Joe walks around the parts, Crow keeps making crunching noises with every step Joe takes.]
- Joe: Where do we start?
- Meacham: Right here. [points towards strange symbol on blueprint.]
- Mike [as Meacham]: At Goofy Clown Face!
- Joe: You know what my kids would say...
- Mike: [interrupting] "You're not my real father!"
- Joe: "Dig this crazy, mixed-up plumbing!"
- Meacham: Plug it in, Joe.
- Mike: Doesn't even have any kids. Poor, deluded Joe.
- Exeter: My name is Exeter.
- Mike [as Exeter]: Doug Exeter.
- Exeter: Stand aside, please. You too, Dr. Wilson.
- Servo [as Exeter]: No, farther towards the killzone, please!
- Crow [as Exeter]: Yeah, God I'm good!
- [Meacham notices the plug for the Interocitor]
- Servo [as Meacham]: Dear God, I left the iron plugged in!
- [Meacham rushes over to unplug the Interocitor, which starts sparking, causing him to lose balance. Joe rushes over to help him up]
- Crow [as Joe]: Oh, come here, you big, dumb dope!
- [The Interocitor is now ablaze]
- Servo: Quick, get the baking soda!
- Mike: Boy, the landlady's going to be mad!
- Servo [as landlady]: [imitates knocking noise] Are you boys cooking up there?!
- Mike: No!
- Servo [as landlady]: Are you building an Interocitor?!
- Mike: [casually] No!
- [Meacham pushes a microphone-like Geiger counter probe toward the Interocitor wreckage.]
- Mike [as Meacham]: Now that you've exploded, any words for our listeners?
- [Cal's plane landing at the meeting point in a rural field.]
- Crow: Huh...They're forcing him to visit Branson, Missouri.
- [Cal exits the plane and surveys the rural setting.]
- Mike: So the aliens live in "Hooterville?"
- [Brack enters the scene]
- Mike: Hey, Charlie Rich!
- Crow: He goes through a lot of Brylcreem.
- [Brack enters the elevator, looking sternly at Meacham and Adams.]
- Crow [as Adams]: Don't mention his head.
- Exeter: Dr. Meacham! Good morning!
- Meacham: Good morning.
- Exeter: Please, come in. Both of you.
- Servo [as Exeter]: We're glad you could join us at the Buddy Ebsen society!
- Carlson: Dr. Adams.
- Ruth: Yes Steve?
- Mike [as Carlson]: What's this "and the rest" crap?
- Meacham: What I want to know is...
- Exeter: [interrupting] Who we are.... why we're here.
- Servo [as Exeter]: And why I have a picture of a burger on the wall.
- Adams: Be careful. Exeter could flatter you to death.
- Exeter: The truth is never flattering, Dr. Adams.
- Servo [as Exeter]: You fine, foxy lady!
- [Exeter and his "team" are having an elegant dinner, complete with music by Mozart.]
- Meacham: What do you think of Mr. Mozart, Exeter?
- Exeter: I'm afraid I don't know the gent—
- Servo [as Exeter]: I'm not an alien!
- Exeter: My mind must have been wandering. Your composer, of course.
- Meacham: Our composer? He belongs to the world.
- Exeter: Yes, indeed.
- Mike [as Exeter]: I'm not an alien.
- . . .
- Exeter: We won't start cracking the whip on Meacham until tomorrow.
- Servo [as Exeter]: Then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest — but I'm not an alien!
- [Meacham, Adams, and Carlson looking at sketches of Exeter and Brack]
- Carlson: Did you notice the peculiar indentations in both of their foreheads?
- Servo: [sarcastically] NO!!!
- Mike: So, they're going to escape under the cover of afternoon in the biggest car in the county?
- [Meacham, Adams, and Carlson dive down a road at high speeds.]
- Crow: Ness and his men speed towards Capone's hideout!
- [Three Metalunans are seen in the conversion tubes.]
- Crow: Ladies and gentlemen, A Flock of Seagulls.
- [On board Exeter's spaceship, Cal and Ruth stand on a "conversion" platform.]
- Exeter: Place your hands above the rails.
- [We hear the sound of static as the scientists' hands are suddenly pulled onto the rails.]
- Exeter: They're magnetized.
- Mike [as Exeter]: And if your hands were metal, that would mean something.
- Exeter: That's enough. Normal view.
- Mike, Servo, and Crow: [singing in time with the dramatic music] Nor-mal view. Nor-mal view! Nor-mal view! NOR-MAL VIEWWWWWW!
- Exeter: RUTH! MEACHAM!
- Servo [as Exeter]: I LOVE YOU!
- Meacham: [picks up boulder] Stand back, Exeter!
- Exeter: Meacham, please! You have to believe me!
- Mike [as Exeter]: You're holding a Mutant turd!
- [Adams, Meacham and Exeter running through the Metalunan ruins.]
- Servo [as Exeter]: You know, I swear we parked on level 'C' right next to....(They run into the Mutant)...Oh, SH**!!
- Exeter: [to the Mutant] Stand back. I command you, STAND BACK!
- Mike: ACTING!
- Crow [as Exeter]: Well, that went well. I can't possibly think of what could go...
- [The Mutant attacks Exeter, Crow mimics screams of pain]
- [Meacham starts beating on the Mutant's exposed brain]
- Crow [as the Mutant]: OH, I'M VERY VULNERABLE THERE! OH, THERE GOES THE PIANO LESSONS! OH, NOW I CAN'T REMEMBER MY DAD!
- [The wounded Mutant approaching Ruth's tube trying to get her.]
- Crow [as the Mutant "wooing" Ruth]: Shall I compare thee to a summer's da...(suddenly collapses)...ooohhhhh.
- Servo [as the Mutant trying to get back up]: OK....ease up...rise above it....
- Mike [doing his Rocky impersonation for the Mutant]: You gotta cut me Mick...cut me!
- Crow [as Ruth]: Oh, Carl.
- Servo [as Meacham]: Uh, Cal.
- Crow [as Ruth]: ... oh, Cal.
- Ruth: Home...
- Meacham: Thank God it's still here.
- Crow: And Friday!
- Crow: [talking about the Puppet Wrangler credit for Mystery Science Theater 3000] "Puppet Wrangler"? There weren't any puppets in this movie!
- [The name "Rando Schmook" appears in the credits]
- Mike: Hey, it's the Amazing Rando!
- Servo: Watch Rando the Great construct sets with his very mind!
- Crow [as Rando]: Now, we've never met before, have we?
- [The name "Julie Walker" appears]
- Crow: Julie Walker: Texas Ranger.
- [Credit for Eastman Film.]
- Servo: Eastman: He came out of the east to do battle with the Amazing Rando!
- [Credits end with "all rights reserved"]
- Mike: All rights are reserved, Callahan!
- Crow [as Clint Eastwood]: Oh yeah? Well, what about the rights of that little girl?
The film has been released several times on video:
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was released on VHS by MCA/Universal Home Video to rental outlets on October 1, 1996.
- The film was released for retail sales on April 8, 1997 on both VHS and Laserdisc formats.
- The film was released on DVD in 1998 by Image Entertainment, as a discount title with an MSRP of $14.99.
- Universal re-released the DVD on May 6, 2008. The film is in anamorphic widescreen, and includes an upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and English subtitles, a first for an MST3K DVD
- On September 3, 2013 Shout! Factory released a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Collector's Edition of the film. This release included, for the first time, the deleted scenes from the film.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie at the Internet Movie Database