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812 - The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
0812
Air Date July 14, 1997
MST3K Director Kevin Murphy
AKA Diabolical Dr. Voodoo
The Incredibly Mixed Up Zombie
The Incredibly Strange Creature: Or Why I Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-up Zombie
The Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary
Movie Director Ray Dennis Steckler
Year 1964
Cast Ray Dennis Steckler
(as Cash Flagg)
Carolyn Brandt
Brett O'Hara
Preceded by 811 - Parts: The Clonus Horror
Followed by 813 - Jack Frost
"You know what I’m looking at right now? That exit sign"
  — Mike


The Movie

Zombies

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

Synopsis

Jerry (Steckler as "Flagg"), his girlfriend Angela (Sharon Walsh), and his buddy Harold (Atlas King) head out for a day at the carnival. In one venue, a dance number is performed by Marge (Carolyn Brandt), an alcoholic who drinks before and between shows, and her partner, Bill Ward, for a small audience. There Jerry sees stripper Carmelita (Erina Enyo) who hypnotizes him with her icy stare and he is compelled to see her act. Carmelita is the young sister of powerful fortune-teller Estrella (Brett O'Hara), and Estrella turns Jerry into a zombie by hypnotizing him with a spiraling wheel. He then goes on a rampage, killing Marge and fatally wounding Bill. Later, Jerry attempts to strangle his girlfriend Angela as well. It develops that Estrella, with her henchman Ortega (Jack Brady), has been busy turning various patrons into zombies, apparently by throwing acid on their faces.


Interspersed through the film are several song-and-dance production numbers in the carnival's nightclub, with songs like "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" and "Shook out of Shape". The titular zombies only make an appearance in the final act, where they escape and immediately kill Estrella, Carmelita, Ortega and several performers before being shot by police. Jerry, himself partially disfigured but not a zombie, escapes the carnival and is pursued to the shoreline, where the police shoot him dead in front of Angela and Harold. [1]

Information

  • The title was originally going to be The Incredibly Strange Creature: Or Why I stopped Living and Became a Mixed-up Zombie, but Columbia Pictures threatened writer/director/star Ray Dennis Steckler with a massive lawsuit, thinking that the title was too similar to their upcoming Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Steckler was amazed that Columbia would feel so threatened by his little $38,000 film. He phoned the studio to straighten things out, but couldn't make any progress until he demanded that Kubrick get on the line. Then Steckler simply suggested the new title - Kubrick accepted, and the whole thing was dropped. [2]
  • Though you wouldn't know it from looking at it, this movie gave early work experience to two legendary cinematographers: Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond .
  • It was released in so-called “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision,” which basically meant that just after a turning hypnosis-inducing spiral would appear on the screen, a few people wearing rubber masks of the movie’s characters would run down the aisles and try to scare the audience.
  • Believe it or not, a soundtrack album was released.
  • Steckler directed and performed in 1962’s “Wild Guitar,” starring Arch Hall Jr., star of Eegah (You can see a poster of “Wild Guitar” in this movie: it’s on the wall of the boozing dancer’s dressing room).
  • Steckler also worked as assistant cameraman on Eegah; and even got a bit part as the guy thrown into the pool at the end of the film.

The Episode

Host Segments

Zombies2

HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Prologue: It's Walkathon season and Mike is being hit up by Crow who's walking on behalf of WALKATHON., an acronym for Walkers At Large Kinetically Altruistic Through Hygiene Or kNowledge. Tom is walking for HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT which also turns out to be an acronym for: Hi, Everyone. Let's Pitch In 'N' Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then. Hateful Rich Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod.
MikeStrangeHair

Crow and Servo sport new pompadours

Segment One: As Tom sings the praises of beefy tees to spread awareness of Hi, Everyone. Let's Pitch In 'N' Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then. Hateful Rich Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod, the SOL crew detect the launch of a spacecraft, it's Pearl in The Widowmaker who is attempting to return the Space Childern to their parents. Down on the planet Brain Guy and Bobo have a voice only link to the satellite as they fight over who is sending the movie up, during which Bobo hurls his dung at Brain Guy.

Zombies3

Crow hires Ortega

Segment Two: Inspired by the movie, Crow attempts to read Mike's fortune using Tom's head as a crystal ball, but it's all just a grand scheme to extort 50 cents. Things go wrong and Mike ends up giving them the money out of pity.

Segment Three: Crow and Servo sport new pompadours like the foreign guy from the movie, convincing Mike of the need to update his look too. A quick session with Shelli the Nanite gives him a really high pompadour, so high that Rocket Number 9 reveals it's a danger to communication satellites.

Segment Four: Crow hires Ortega to cater the movie break, but while he and Tom love the spread, Mike can't get over his appalling personal hygene. Mike's barbs shame Ortega, leaving him no choice but to douse his own face with acid.

Closing (Segment Five): The Bots have convinced Mike to take a ride on their rollcoaster, The Screaming Lemur, but perhaps they really should have considered adding a track. Meanwhile Pearl has finally reached the Space Children's huge and omnipotent parents, turning down their offer of coffee and carrot cake to say her goodbyes and flee.

Stinger: "What do you think we came here for...to eat?" retorts the Foreign Guy.

Guest Stars

Trivia

Callbacks

Running Jokes

  • "Hey, look. A carnival. Wow."
  • Mike and the bots constantly mention how much Jerry resembles Nicolas Cage.
    • Crow: (as Jerry) Where's Elizabeth Shue?
  • M&TB's comments on the alcoholic dancer (played by Ray Dennis Steckler's then-wife) and her "mannish" appearance, along with her partner, a very blond, brush-cut guy. Endless "gender-bender", "Nazi" & "gay Nazi" jokes ensue.
  • Harold & Estrella's weird foreign speech patterns.
  • Jerry's girlfriend's brother is a "shut-in geek/Norman Bates" kind of guy who looks like Ed Grimley.
    • MADISON
  • Jerry's facial structure in general, "He's an Easter Island statue", "He's got a cab-forward face", "...'cuz it doesn't work on ferrets!'", etc.
  • The crappiness of the musical numbers.
  • "Never let your book club be your backup dancers."
  • "You feelthy peeg!"
  • "Let me move my condoms."
  • Riffs and eventually irritation about the many carnival exterior shots.
    • Mike: There's a carnival that figures prominently into the movie! We get it!

Quotes & References

  • "Passaic, NJ - where America's day begins!"
Passaic is a city in Northern New Jersey. It is known for its industry and is an area of constant urban renewal.
  • "Garth Hudson's playing in there."
Garth Hudson was the organist for The Band and other groups.
  • "Ah! Ray Dennis Steckler. That explains a lot!" "Yeah! In the fine tradition of Arch Hall Jr.!"
Arch Hall Jr. was the star of the earlier Mystery Science Theater experiment Eegah, in which Ray Dennis Steckler also worked as assistant cameraman. This was due to Arch Hall Jr. and Steckler being friends in real life.
  • "Cinematography by Zapruder."
A reference to the Zapruder film, a home movie of John Kennedy's assassination.
  • "If it says Libby's, Libby's, Libby's in the credits, credits, credits, you won't like it, like it, like it."
Reference to the jingle for Libby's canned food
  • "The music's gonna break into 'Chest Fever' any minute now."
"Chest Fever" is a song from The Band's 1968 debut album, "Music From Big Pink," which opens with an organ solo loosely based on Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor." Servo actually hums the first few bars of the song after the intro after Mike's line.
  • "I think Corky St. Clair choreographed this."
Corky St. Clair is the flamboyant homosexual choreographer played by Christopher Guest in Waiting for Guffman.
  • "Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dull."
A reference to Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.
  • "Andrei Gromyko looks on."
Andrei Gromyko was a prominent Soviet politician in the 1980's.
  • "Let's hear it for Hank and Larry!"
Hank and Larry are homosexual lovers from the play and film The Boys in the Band.
  • "And now, funnyman Hermann Göring."
Hermann Göring was a prominent Nazi politician--the commander of the Luftwaffe (the German air force), the highest in the Nazi hierarchy to issue orders about the planned institutionalized genocide of the Jews, the originator of the phrase "the Final Solution" to describe that genocide, and Hitler's designated successor. Having surrendered to the Allies on May 9, 1945, he was tried at Nuremberg (along with numerous other major war criminals), was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by hanging. On October 15, 1946, the night before his scheduled execution, Göring committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill.
  • "Renée Richards is Wendy Carlos in Glen or Glenda?"
Both Renée Richards and Wendy Carlos are famous male-to-female transsexuals, and Glen or Glenda? was an Edward D. Wood, Jr. film about a transvestite. (Much of Mr. Wood's films like Bride of the Monster and The Sinister Urge were also riffed on in previous seasons of Mystery Science Theater.)
  • "Bill W., theatrical manager."
Bill W., aka William Griffith Wilson, was the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • "Goofus and Gallant, the movie!"
Goofus and Gallant was a cartoon series in the magazine Highlights for Children , in which two boys, the aforementioned Goofus and Gallant, were presented with the same situation, which Gallant handles responsibly, and Goofus handles in a careless/haphazard way.
  • "In Xanadu, the stately home of Charles Whitman..."
A double reference, both to the opening sequence of Citizen Kane, and to Charles Whitman, who killed 17 people in a rampage at the University of Texas.
  • "Oh, hi, re-ride."
"Oh, hi, Rerun", was a catchphrase on the sitcom What's Happening!!
  • "Oh, Boone's Farm, take me away."
Boone's Farm is a brand of extremely cheap wine, manufactured by E & J Gallo Winery .  Being cheap, and quite alcoholic, it is very popular on college campuses.
  • "She's sub-letting Dr. Carlo Lombardi's place!"
Dr. Carlo Lombardi was the creepy (and oily) hypnotist from an earlier film Mike and the bots tackled-The She-Creature.
  • "She better get ready. Nancy Reagan has an appointment."
Former first lady Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer to assist planning her husband's presidential schedule after his 1981 assassination attempt.
  • "I still curse Yalta."
The Yalta Conference was held b February 1945 between Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, to discuss the division of Europe after World War II, which, effectively, created what would come to be known as the Iron Curtain.
  • "The girls' costumes were designed by longtime NFL referee; Jerry Markbreit."
Jerry Markbreit had been with the NFL since 1976. He finally retired the year after this episode aired.
  • "You know oddly enough; Andrea Dworkin choreographed this."
Andrea Dworkin was a radical feminist who criticized pornography as the celebration of rape and violence against women.
  • "Ladies and gentlemen.....Lesley BORE!"
Pun on the name of singer and songwriter Lesley Gore who scored her first hit song with It's My Party.
  • "You know on Sullivan they only shot him from his ankles down."
Referring to Elvis Presley performing Hound Dog on Ed Sullivan where his "obscene hip gestures" were considered too risqué at the time for the "impressionable youth."
  • "Carmelita?" "Jump a little lighter?"
Servo is comparing the similarity of Carmelita's name to Rosalita; which is the name of a Bruce Springsteen song to which Servo recites some of the lyrics from.
  • "Wow! They're recreating Woody Allen's "Parking Dream!"
Referring to a scene from the film Bananas where Woody Allen dreams about being carried on a crucifix in a parking lot.
  • "The Slightly L."
Referring to the "L" in Chicago, the system of elevated trains that provides mass transit to the city.  The train we do see is actually Angels Flight,  a short railway in the Bunker Hill section of downtown Los Angeles (which still exists, but is currently not running after an accident.)
  • "Night traaaiiinnnnn...to Mundo Finnneeeeee....."
A callback to the Comedy Central era of Mystery Science Theater when Mike and the bots took on the Coleman Francis "epic" Red Zone Cuba with John Carradine singing the aforementioned song.
  • "Buried with a donkey! He's my favorite honky!"
Lyrics from the song King Tut written and performed by Steve Martin.
  • "You did it, you finally did it, damn you all to hell!"
Charlton Heston's line at the end of Planet of the Apes which has a similar beach shot.
  • "I'm going to Las Vegas to drink myself to death."
Referring to the actor staggering from the water who looks a bit like a drunken Nicolas Cage, whose raging alcoholic character Ben Sanderson in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas travels to that city on a mission to commit suicide by booze.
  • "what is this, Confuse-a-Cat?"

A reference to a Monty Python skit .

  • Rock songs are referenced when guitar player Don Snyder (or Dan Swanson) sings:
    • "Livin' on reds, Vitamin C and Cocaine..." - Grateful Dead, "Truckin'"
    • "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery..." - Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"
    • "London calling, yes, I was there too..." - The Clash, "London Calling"
    • "I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree..." - Stever Miller Band, "The Joker"
    • "My Anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns, hun..." - Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
    • "Legalize it..." - Peter Tosh, "Legalize it"
  • "Music by the Edgar Winters Group."

The music at this point is reminiscent of the bridge in "Frankenstein".

Memorable Quotes

[As the show opens, the Bots are doing walkathons.]
Mike: Uh, what about you, Servo?
Servo: Well, I'm walking for "Helping Children Through Research And Development".
Mike: Oh, HeCTRAD! Yeah, I think I've heard of that group. It's a good group.
Servo: No, actually "HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT" is the acronym, Mike. It stands for "Hi, Everyone. Let's Pitch In 'N' Get Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then. Hateful Rich Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod".
[The beginning of the title sequence has the words 'Presents' in very tiny letters.]
Mike: Oh boy....The size of the word "PRESENTS" makes me think they're a little sheepish about it!
[The very long title 'The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies' appears.]
Servo: Hmmm....Title has appendices!
Crow: You know I saw the sequel to this: TISCWSLABMUZ 2!
[The opening credits show a man's face decaying into a zombie's face.]
Mike: The shroud of David Schwimmer.
. . .
Servo: Face is the result of slash and burn shaving.
Mike [as zombie]: You'd tell me if my face was disintergrating, right?
Servo: He's turning into a brisket.
Crow: It's a portrait of Bob Dole's inner child.
. . .
Crow: He's turning into a seed sculpture from the state fair.
. . .
Crow: Tom Petty in the morning.
. . .
Crow: You know, seaweed makes a perfectly acceptible toupee.
[Cut to a toy clown laughing.]
Mike: Ah, good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.
[On the music in the opening credits]
Crow: The organ has emphysema.
. . .
Mike: Come hear [credited as music] Libby Quinn play the organ with her feet.
Servo[singing to the "Libby's, Libby's, Libby's on the Label, Label, Label" jingle] If it says Libby's, Libby's, Libby's, in the credits, credits, credits, you won't like it, like it, like it...
Mike: The music's gonna break into "Chest Fever" any minute.
[Lounging with friend Harold, Jerry rejects the idea of work.]
Jerry: The world's… here to be enjoyed, not to make you depressed. That's what work does, Harold—it makes you feel... depressed.
MikeGoofus and Gallant, the movie.
Jerry: How's college?
Madison: Fine. You should try it some time.
Jerry: No thanks. The world's my college.
Crow: He's taking it pass-fail.
[After Jerry seems hard pressed to get his fortune told; Harold makes a sarcastic jab at him.]
Harold: I think you "clouded up" her crystal ball!
Estrella: Clouds affect only the clown!
Crow: It is "Clown Law!'
[As the barker continues to show off the exotic dancers, shots from a nearby shooting gallery are loudly heard.]
Crow: Shots ring out, but the people of Bosnia bravely go on with their peep shows!
[The exotic dancers take to the stage and their rather conservative apparel leaves the overall erotic feel in question.]
Mike: You know the 14 year olds who snuck in with fake I.D.s have to be feeling profoundly ripped off at this point.
[Zebra-striped dancers move in formation to a oddly "Silent Night"-like tune.]
Mike: Hair-trigger precision. They're like the Blue Angels of dancing.
Servo: Yeah, one wrong move and they all crash.
[The singer and dancers are performing "Shook Out of Shape". Mike and the Bots sing their own words.]
Mike [as Singer]: First blade lifts, the second one cuts. You get your…
Mike, Crow [as Chorus]: Schick out of shape!
Servo: Now, everybody—shave!
[Confused, acid-scarred Jerry is being tossed around in the surf.]
Servo: [You know] how some movies inspire you to make your own movie? This one inspires me to make my own gravy.
[Jerry and Harold discuss Jerry's girlfriend's mother]
Jerry: Her mother doesn't like anything. Especially me.
Harold: Well, if you get a job or something, she might change her mind, you know?
Jerry[shocked] Job?
Servo [as Jerry]: I'm a respected neurosurgeon!
[During the final pull-back]
Crow: We've hope you've enjoyed...No-Moral Theater!
[After seeing who played Madison]
Mike: Madison is, Madison.

Video Release


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