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Phase IV

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K09 - Phase IV
Air Date January 15, 1989
Running Time 93 min.
Movie Director Saul Bass
Year 1974
Cast Michael Murphy, Nigel Davenport, Lynne Frederick, Alan Gifford
Preceded by K08 - Gamera vs Guiron
Followed by K10 - Cosmic Princess

The Movie


A visually inventive science-fiction story, Phase IV concerns a group of research scientists working in the Arizona desert who find themselves confronted by an army of super-intelligent mutant ants. [1]


  • Won 1975's Grand Prix at the International Festival of Science Fiction Films in Trieste, Italy.
  • Saul Bass is better known for his work as a graphic designer, he designed the opening credits for many legendary movies and designed logos for companies and organizations including AT&T, The Girl Scouts, United Way, Warner Communications, and United Airlines.

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Lacking the $30,000 they need to continue experimenting on Joel, the Mads sell his (Joel's) car to raise some short-term cash. Joel reveals that he had $30,000 hidden inside it. The Mads, furious, retaliate by sending him "the ANT movie!"

Segment One: Joel instructs Servo and Crow on Isaac Asimov's robotic laws. The Bots don't like them, and make up some laws of their own. Servo: "Never hollow out a robot and make a fort out of him."

Segment Two: Joel & the Bots discuss the first thing they plan to do when they get back to Earth. (Crow: "I'm going to kill Sandy Frank." Servo: "Well, that's a given.") Joel wants to turn off his water, which he accidentally left running.

Segment Three: The crew of the SOL enjoy a game of "I Spy," which quickly and inexplicably degenerates into a performance of "Wipe Out." Since he's the only one with working arms, Joel takes the drum solo. Mercifully, movie sign intervenes.

Segment Four: Joel programs Crow and Gypsy to recite a new robotic law. It takes a really long time to say, and the credits roll long before they're done.[1]

Obscure References

  • "They must have ordered the plans from Mother Earth News."

Mother Earth News is a do-it-yourself magazine with a strong environmentalist bent, founded in 1970.


  • A theater clip from this episode was included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
  • This episode reveals that Joel used to own a Dodge (most likely a Dart Swinger, since Joel says "Not the Slant-6 Swinger!", as Dodge cars back in the late 50's up to early 70's had the Slant-6 engine).
  • This is the first episode that doesn't start with Joel or anyone on the SOL. Instead, the episode starts on Earth with the Mads, who then give Joel a call.
  • This is also the first episode to mention the possibility of starting a Fan Club, with Joel inviting people to call in and let him know what people think about the idea. It is officially announced 3 episodes later.
  • During this episode, a Pizza 'N' Pasta commercial featuring Trace Beaulieu and Josh Weinstein in character as the Mads was first aired.


  1. Satellite News

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