krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
It's been a while since I commented on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, but with a collection of different pastimes now wrapped up I can get back to trying to get my list of episodes past the halfway point. To figure out what to watch, I looked at the list itself for gaps between episode numbers. The first gap I'm filling in is "It Lives By Night" ("Well, it shouldn't drink so much coffee!"), and at first I wondered about my previous reactions to this late entry in the tenth and final season... but once more, viewing straight through seems to have a cumulative effect.

Newlyweds Doctor John and Cathy Beck are on their way to a ski holiday when they drop in on a desert cave. Hanging back from the tour group for a make-out session, Cathy manages to fall down a hole; when John follows a bat lunges at him ("He has his own pulley system! Run!") and gashes his forehead. He starts having strange freakouts up in the mountains, and an exceedingly 1970s doctor ("Is that a hangup I hear?" "Be groovy, okay.") also at the resort starts providing the Pasteur treatment. ("Yes, otherwise he could go sour.") Unfortunately, John doesn't take well to it...

After a nurse gets killed, a sheriff with a certain resemblance to the 1970s doctor starts investigating, if not in time to prevent a trailer park resident from also getting killed. John flees the hospital in an ambulance ("Guess by definition I'm in the Batmobile now."), and the sheriff pursues into the desert until, in an attempt to sideswipe the ambulance off the road, he runs off himself. ("Crummy high speed chase. Didn't even knock over a fruit stand!") John crashes shortly afterwards ("With bitter irony, he realises he now has to call an ambulance.") and staggers into a deserted house where a sort of Platonic ideal of red-faced, drunken vagrant commiserates with him until John has another freakout and kills him. Claiming the vagrant's clothing to replace his white dressing gown, John manages to get back to the original caves where he kills yet another young woman on tour and claims transportation. ("Ah yes, and he decides on the aircraft carrier of cars.")

After drinking a bag of blood back at the hospital ("O negative. Now in the widemouth slam can."), John provides a tape-recorded farewell message. Cathy is still convinced it's all in his mind, though, and when he also tries to say farewell in their darkened motel room she finally gets around to the make-out session. ("I've seen you undressing me with your sonar.") The sheriff pursues John to the cave, where we finally see his full transformation... ("Oh yeah, and he was also bit by an Ecuadorian bald-faced monkey.") After the sheriff gets roughed up, Cathy starts acting strangely, and as the two of them drive through the night a suicide squad of bats charges the police car's windshield. ("Bats are throwing rotten tomatoes at him.") Cathy wanders off to the cave, and with something of a resonance to "Werewolf" things end yet again in that specially bleak 1970s fashion...

The episode might have started slowly for me, but things like the ambulance chase and the vagrant seemed to offer fertile ground for "riffing." With things holding up to the end, it may even have been a "pleasant surprise" for me.

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