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The Killer Shrews

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407 - The Killer Shrews
0407
Air Date July 25, 1992
AKA The Attack of the Killer Shrews
Movie Director Ray Kellogg
Year 1959
Cast James Best, Ingrid Goude, Ken Curtis, Gordon McLendon, Baruch Lumet
Short Junior Rodeo Daredevils
Preceded by 406 - Attack of the Giant Leeches
Followed by 408 - Hercules Unchained


The Short

Junior Rodeo Daredevils

Synopsis

When old timer Billy Slater finds two children pulling a prank on his horses, he conscripts them to create a "Junior Rodeo". Most of the town shows up and watches children get thrown around by bulls while the narrator advises them that "That ground is awful hard!"

Yep, nothing like getting the kids started on permanent spinal injuries while they're young!

Information

The Movie

Synopsis

The captain of a supply boat, Thorne, and his Dixieland-Jazz-metaphor-bandying first mate and engineer, Rook / Griswald land on a remote island to deliver provisions to a research team that is using shrews as test subjects. The goal: to find ways to extend life / reduce resources / prevent global overpopulation (it's not so clear). (The lead scientist says "If we were half our size, we would live twice as long!". Good luck getting volunteers.)

The ensemble includes the heavily-accented German lead scientist; the scientist's sexy, heavier-accented, semi-intelligible daughter; a servant, Mario, a guy with black glasses who put up the money for the film, and Jerry, the research assistant.

Jerry is a treasure trove of surprises. He and the girl were engaged to be married, but the scientist's daughter ended it the previous night, merely because her beloved pushed her to the ground, the better to run away from some shrews. "It's just because I hate 'em so much!", he says. Say, did I mention Jerry got drunk, left the cages open, and now 2-300 starving 100 lb. shrews are all over island? "Could have happened to any one of us!", says Jerry. Next, he threatens his ex-fiance. "I'm going to finish these experiments and no one is going to ruin this chance for me! No one!". Jerry, of course, is allowed uninterrupted and unfettered access to all the liquor, firearms, and Creationist literature he wants.

The ham radio is busted. A hurricane looms. The house is made of chewable adobe. The shrews finish off the first mate (by far the most likable character) and then advance on the livestock and the people in the house. Jerry becomes ever more hysterical.

Is there any way to survive?

Information

  • This was one of two features produced by an independent company in Texas and intended to be distributed as a double feature. The other feature was The Giant Gila Monster (1959). These films marked the directorial debut of veteran special-effects man Ray Kellogg. The film was produced by Ken Curtis (who also plays Jerry in the film). Ken Curtis would go on to international fame as Festus Haggen in the television series, Gunsmoke.
  • Coon dogs were used to play the killer shrews for some of the scenes.[1] In other scenes, the shrews are evidently rat puppets.

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Joel decides to give the Bots a pick me up and hands out cool gifts. Gypsy gets a Little Mermaid Ariel Bathtime Set, Tom gets a Junior Dragster Indoor Funnycar by Marx, and Crow gets dress slacks from J.C. Penney, perfect for job interviews. Crow is deeply disappointed.

Invention Exchange (Segment One): As Tom tunes his new race car and consoles Crow that he'd rather have a pair of slacks too, down in Deep 13 the Mads prepare to cleave the Earth in two. Only Joel's invention of Jim Henson's Edgar Winter Babies saves the planet.

Segment Two: Joel vapor-locks as he attempts an impression of Will Rogers and ends up going all over the shop.

Segment Three: The Bots sing the commerical for their new Killer Shrew board game, but the actual game seems like more a chance for them to vent over the shortcomings of the movie.

Segment Four: Joel and the Bots invent the Killer Shrew drink, which is insanely heavy on sugary items. Joel has a small taste, and passes out. When they send it down, Frank serves as the test subject, and goes insanely hyper.

Closing (Segment Five): The Bots dressed as shrews attack Joel, who like the scientist has just enough time to describe his symptons and read a letter before the poison kills him, while down in Deep 13, Frank is feeling the effects of too much Killer Shrew drink, but nothing a good ipecac won't fix.

Stinger: Dr. Craigis explaining that "Any unusual experiment can produce unusual results."

Obscure References

  • "You know", he told  Bobby and Mike, "If I like the girl, who cares what I like?"

A paraphrase of lyrics present in the pop song "Cool It Now" by New Edition.

  • "C'mon, Quaker Oats for you, it's the right thing to do!"

A reference to a series of Quaker oatmeal commercials featuring Wilford Brimley.

  • "Hey kids, you ever read 'The Ox-Bow Incident'?"

The Ox-Bow Incident is a Western novel in which three innocent men are accused of cattle rustling and lynched.

  • "Animals vill be bred und SLAUGHTERED!"

A line spoken by the title character in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

  • "Maybe rodeos are the opiate of the masses!"

Servo is paraphrasing a Karl Marx quote about religion.

  • "Why can't Johnny ride?"

An allusion to the book Why Johnny Can't Read.

  • "Bob Clampett!"

Warner Bros. animator Bob Clampett.

  • "Wait 'till I finish my Saratoga!"

​The advertising slogan for Saratoga 120 cigarettes.

  • "Meester Fawlty! Polly!"

​An imitation of Andrew Sachs' character "Manuel" from the British comedy series Fawlty Towers .

  • "There's a Teddy Roosevelt costume and some graves down here!"

A reference to the film/play Arsenic and Old Lace.

  • "Weasels ripped my flesh."

​'Weasels Ripped My Flesh ' is the name of a Frank Zappa - Mothers of Invention album released in 1970. (Also further proof of how rabid a Zappa fan Kevin Murphy is...)

  • "I thought you said your dog does not bite." "That's not my dog."

A line from The Pink Panther Strikes Again.

  • "I am sixteen, going on seventeen..."

​From the song Sixteen Going On Seventeen in the play and movie 'The Sound of Music .'

  • Thorne: "I don't want you to let anyone open that door 'til I tell you, you understand?"
  • Tom Servo (as Girl's voice, repeating order) "Okay, anyone can open the door when you tell me ..."

A reference to a scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail where the Prince is trying to escape from his father's tower.

  • "Tell me about your homework, Usul."

Chani asks Paul this in Dune, while (from his mother's point of view) she is trying to ingratiate herself with him.

Video Release

  • Commerically released on DVD by Rhino in April 2005 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 7, a 4-DVD set with Hercules Unchained, Hercules Against the Moon Men, and Prince of Space.
  • The DVD features the contents of the Assignment: Venezuela and Other Shorts VHS tape released by the MST3K Info Club in October 2001 as an extra.
  • This DVD also has the most infamous Rhino screw-up, on the original disc about 45 seconds from the opening titles of Killer Shrews was cut, a short bit narration setting up the premise of the movie. Due to fan complaint Rhino eventually offered free replacement discs with the error corrected.


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