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Teen-Age Strangler

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514 - Teen-Age Strangler
Air Date November 7, 1993
AKA Terror in the Night
Movie Director Ben Parker
Year 1968
Cast Bill Bloom, John Ensign, John Humphries, Jo Canterbury
Short Is This Love?
Preceded by 513 - The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Followed by 515 - The Wild Wild World of Batwoman

The Short

Is This Love?


A girl goes against the old-fashioned love of her parents (and very old-looking roommate), abandons her parents, and runs away with a new hookup. The short ends asking whether their love will last long or not. (It won't.)


  • This short was included on Shorts Vol 3, released by Rhino Entertainment on VHS in Janurary 2001, and on DVD in August 2004 as an limited time exclusive bonus for ordering MST3K: The Essentials from a specially created Rhino site.

The Movie


A troubled teen with an undeserved criminal past is the suspect when young women start turning up around town dead and marked up with lipstick.  It's one of those wonderful movies about "juvenile delinquents" where most of the actors are obviously in their 20s and they don't really do much delinquent stuff, unless you count staying out late and wearing leather jackets sometimes. There's a teensy bit of very careful drag-racing and that seems to be about the worst of it.  It's difficult to tell, as usual, where the filmmakers were headed with this one.  Was it supposed to be purposefully funny?  Actually serious?  Was the audience supposed to be in on the joke?  It's...kinda hard to figure out. [1]


John Humphries had never acted before doing this film. He has since said that he took his acting cues from Jo Canterbury, whom he knew had some acting experience off Broadway. So, as her performance became more teary and shrill, so did his.[2]

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Mike tries to phone his grandma for help. He runs into problems with calling long distance from space and answering machines.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): In Deep 13, the Frank-N-Forcer keeps Frank out of Dr. F’s way. On the SOL, the Waiter-Baiter attracts waiters so you don’t have to.

Segment Two: Mike and the Bots read some e.e. cummings poetry and ponder the question, "What is love?" Crow wants to hear more about "hot love". The gang ends up pondering the nature of love, mostly in terms of famous celebrities.

Segment Three: Crow of the Crow-Magnons and Tom of the Hovermothers want to rumble gangland style, but Mike intervenes by "rapping" with the Bots.

Segment Four: Crow and Tom have a gadget attached to a pair of giant glasses that will make Mike act like Mikey from the movie. Mike wises up eventually, and takes sweet revenge on them.

Segment Five: As the Bots go on Thanksgiving Break, lonely custodian Mike sings "I’m a Janitor". Back in Deep 13, Dr. F uses sawdust to clean up after Frank when he bounces along to the song.

Stinger: "And he didn’t steal no bike neither...I did!"

Obscure References

  • (On seeing a sign for "Women's Residence) "Well, except for Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari."

Before Tom Hanks became one of the most respected actors of his age, he starred in the sitcom Bosom Buddies with Peter Scolari as a couple of guys who pose as women so they can live in a women-only hotel. Well, I guess you gotta start somewhere.

  • "Ah, lunch at the Russian Tea Room!"

The Russian Tea Room is a prestigious New York City restaurant.

  • "Dead Kennedys!"

The Dead Kennedys were an American punk band fronted by Jello Biafra.

  • "Even Charles Whitman at age nine gets down!"

In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of a bell tower at the University of Texas in Austin and began shooting random bystanders on the ground.

  • "Doin' da butt!"

A reference to "Da Butt", a 1988 song by Experience Unlimited that was featured in the Spike Lee movie School Daze.

  • "Bored Straight!"

A play on Scared Straight!, a 1978 television documentary in which a group of juvenile delinquents were led on a tour of a New Jersey prison to demonstrate the ultimate consequences of criminal behavior.

  • "Watchtower!"

A reference to The Watchtower, a magazine published by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • "Oh, it's Andrew Dice Clay!"

Andrew Dice Clay was a popular comedian during the early 1990s. He was known for his vulgar, chauvanistic on-stage persona and costume, a throwback to the "greaser" look of the 1950s which consisted a black leather jacket and dark, slicked-back hair.

  • "Free Huey!"

A reference to Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton, who was accused of murder in two separate cases in 1967 and 1974.

  • "Jonathan Silverman!"

Jonathan Silverman is an American actor best known for his lead roles in the film Brighton Beach Memoirs and the TV series "Gimme a Break" and "The Single Guy". He has dark hair and a prominent nose.

  • "Looks like Operation Rescue!"

Operation Rescue is a radical anti-abortion group.

  • "k.d. lang is in their group!"

k.d. lang is a Canadian country singer. She had short dark hair and was openly gay at a time when there was a stronger social stigma about homosexuality.

  • "Next time on 'Sweating Bullets'! Crimetime After Primetime."

During the early 1990s, CBS broadcast a series of late-night crime drama series (including Sweating Bullets) under the name Crimetime After Primetime.

  • "They killed Vivian Vance!"

Actress Vivian Vance was best known for playing Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy.

  • "Cornjob!"

"Cornjob" was Joel and the 'Bots' nickname for a character in Gamera vs Guiron.

  • "It's the Battle of the Network Sedans."

Battle of the Network Stars was a series of television specials from the 1970s and '80s that pitted TV stars from the three major networks against each other in a series of athletic competitions.

  • "You could learn a lot from a dummy."

During the 1990s, a series of public-service announcements promoting the use of seat belts featured the comical misadventures of a pair of living crash-test dummies, and used the slogan "You could learn a lot from a dummy."

  • "He asked me! He asked me!" -

A quote from Monty Python's Cosmetic Surgery Sketch

  • "Jew? I specifically heard him say Jew."

A quote from Annie Hall

  • "Clang clang clang went the trolley." -

Lyrics from from Meet Me in St Louis , because the soundtrack is similar to the trolley theme from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

  • "You're not fully dead unless you're Zest-fully dead."

Reference to aseries of Zest soap commercial prominently featuring showerers and the slogan "You're not fully clean unless your Zest-fully clean!".

Video Release


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