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Ring of Terror

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206 - Ring of Terror
Air Date November 3, 1990
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
Running Time 72 min.
Turkey Day(s) November 28, 1991, 12am
Movie Director Clark Paylow
Year 1962
Cast George Mather
Esther Furst
Short The Phantom Creeps - Chapter 3: The Crashing Timbers
Short Director Ford Beebe
Year 1939
Cast Bela Lugosi
Robert Kent
Dorothy Arnold
Preceded by 205 - Rocket Attack U.S.A.
Followed by 207 - Wild Rebels

(College student Lewis Moffitt (played by 41-year-old George E. Mather) gets off the phone with his girlfriend)

" Aw, she's the ginchiest. Life does begin at 40."

  — Joel (as Moffitt)

The Short



Dr. Zorka desperately tries to guard a meteor fragment from which he derives his destructive powers. Dr. Mallory invents the “neometer,” an instrument he believes will detect the presence of Zorka’s meteorite. Government agents Bob West and Jim Daly, armed with the neometer, capture Zorka's assistant Monk while he is trying to escape with a heavy case. While taking Monk to headquarters, Bob attempts to open the insulated case. But the case contains the dangerous meteorite fragment, and opening the case unleashes such a destructive force that it demolishes several electrical towers along the roadside, not to mention the agents’ car.


The Movie


Ring of Terror film

Ring of Terror

This 1960's story is told to us by the keeper of a graveyard. He is looking for his cat, named Puma, when he steps on the cat's tail. The cat runs off into the graveyard and stops near a grave that reminds the keeper of a story.

The story attempts to serve as an expose to the problem of campus hazing, a college senior named Lewis B. Moffitt must remove a ring from the finger of a corpse as a frat-house initiation requirement. Lewis is an apparently fearless man, even to the point of worrying his girlfriend for unclear reasons. As it turns out, however, a childhood incident has rendered him afraid of the dark.


  • This movie is the source for the often repeated riff “Puma? Puma? Puma!” ("pyoo-ma")
  • A recurring joke is made about the age of the main character, who looks too old to be a college undergrad. George E. Mather, the lead actor, was actually 42 when he made the film, although his character is meant to be 22 (based on the date of death on his tombstone).

The Episode

Host Segments


"Movie Sign!" ... Not!

Prologue: The Bots trick Joel with a fake movie sign.

Invention Exchange (Segment One): Dr. F turns Frank into a giant Human Operation game board, while Joel presents Pin-Bolus and turns his inner organs into a pinball game.

Segment Two: The SOL crew presents the Old School, a college for the elderly based on the old-looking "students" in the film.


Human Operation

Segment Three: Joel demonstrates robotic anatomy for his class by autopsying "Mr. Hoover". The Bots are disgusted.

Segment Four: Joel dispenses RAM chips for naming good things about the movie, and the crew expresses relief, only for the Mads to drop a short on them!

Hoover autopsy

Hoover autopsy

Closing (Segment Five): The crew complains about the short, and Frank sings a tribute to the chauffeur from the short, "If Chauffeurs Ruled the World".

Stinger: "Weird. Yeah, I guess that is the word for it. Weird."

Other Notes

Frank sings

Frank sings!



Obscure References

  • "Mommy! Mommy! Don't ever look at me!"
Frank is imitating Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.
  • "Look for...the Union Label..."
Referring to a jingle from a series of old commercials for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. (This very commercial was also riffed upon by Mike and Co. on RiffTrax when they tackled the infamous train-wreck The Star Wars Holiday Special).
  • "Hey, Lyndon LaRouche's brother! He just bought drugs from the Queen of England!"
Lyndon LaRouche is an American political activist and perennial third-party presidential candidate, known for his bizarre, conspiracy-obsessed worldview (such as his claim that Queen Elizabeth II is involved in the international drug trade) and the cultlike movement that has grown up around him.
  • "Hey, check it out, Bob Dobson [sic] from the Church of the SubGenius!" "The Almighty Bob!"
A reference to the satirical pseudo-religious movement the Church of the SubGenius, whose "prophet" is named J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.
  • "It's Joe Franklin!"
Joe Franklin had a New York-based TV talk show that aired from 1951 to 1993.
  • "What's the name of the book?" Crow: "Tropic of Cancer..."
Tropic of Cancer is an erotic novel by Henry Miller, one of several that tested American laws on pornography in the 1960s.
  • "It's like there's two separate personalities trying to gain control!" Crow: "Glen AND Glenda!"
Glen or Glenda was a semibiographical docudrama about cross-dressing written, directed by and starring Edward D. Wood Jr.; whose other films like Bride of the Monster and The Sinister Urge became future experiments in later seasons.
  • "She looks like the model for Resusci-Annie!"
Resusci-Annie is a lifelike mannequin used to teach CPR.
  • "My legs are teeth are grey..."
Paraphrasing a line from Monty Python's Life of Brian spoken by a "feeble" old man who hides Brian and his fellow members of "The People's Front of Judea" from Roman soldiers.
  • "These are baked yams. A Miss Karen Finley sent them over!"
Karen Finley is a controversial performance artist who was once known for a piece that involved an er, "interesting" use of yams.
  • Rattle rattle rattle thunder clatter boom boom boom
Jingle from Car-X ads of that approximate vintage
  • Let's see..."Become Jack Weston?"...No problem!"
Jack Weston was an American actor who like our friend "Tiny" in the film, usually played comedic roles due to his heavyset appearance.
  • "Merv Griffin? What are YOU doing here?"
  • "Get that cat outta here!"
Both lines (more or less) from the Steve Martin comedy The Man With Two Brains.

Video Release

Ring of terror

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