krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
In advance of the impending release of the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection, I've moved on to rewatching an episode from one of the earlier collections. It just might be they seem a little more "distant" to me than the episodes I've seen through unofficial means, but I'd like to think that just means I'm glad to have the chance to reacquaint myself with them. In any case, I stepped back to the fifth season and watched one of Mike's earlier episodes, "The Atomic Brain." To begin with, though, we're asked "What About Juvenile Delinquency?"

The short involves a clean-cut yet menacing teenage gang (with snazzy jackets that feature not-so-snazzy patches) rear-ending the car of and then mugging a middle-aged gentlemen. It just so happens that the man's son Jamie was also a member of the gang, but not present at the time; he returns his patch in anger and gets caught in the middle between his former gang and some more law-abiding teens intent on talking to the town council's emergency session. Escaping the clutches of the gang, they speed to the town hall and duck into the packed session (with the gang lurking just beyond the frosted window in the door), and just as the discussion is really about to get started we're invited to answer the big questions ourselves. I suppose I might not have been fully engaged in the short for some reason, but the genuine "non-Hollywood" accents of some of the law-abiding teens did seem an amusing touch to me.

As for the movie itself, there's some cheap exploitation featuring full-figured girls covered by strategically placed straps ("Hey, there's a naked lady in this movie and she's nude, with no clothes on." "Now, don't look at her chestological region.") being lowered into an "atomic chamber" by the mad scientist Dr. Otto Frank. He's in the employ of the elderly woman Hazel March, who's searching for a young and nubile body to transplant her brain into. With the aid of her middle-aged assistant Victor, she brings in three young women with sort-of foreign accents. ("You're from Nebraska! Cut it out!") Conducting a careful yet leering inspection, she makes her choice; having a birthmark as well as being of Spanish extraction, the unfortunate Anita is disposed of first, a cat's brain transplanted into her. She then wanders around in a nightgown ("Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Netherworld!") hissing at people and eating a mouse; when the sort-of English Bea (Mrs. March's first choice) tries to assist her, she takes out one of Bea's eyes with her bare hands, and then somewhat later falls from the roof and dies on impact. Mrs. March just moves on to her fallback choice, the sort-of European Nina; despite being written into the will Nina tries to enlist Victor's help to escape only for him to get stabbed by a knitting needle by Mrs. March. ("Knit one, purl die!") Dr. Frank, though, double-crosses Mrs. March and manages to stuff her brain into the preserved cat's body instead of Nina's. The cat with Mrs. March's brain then turns on Dr. Frank, activating the atomic chamber with him inside it, and just as everything is about to blow up Bea tears off her bandages ("Whoa! Uh, was she hit by a meteorite?") and frees Nina, only to get caught in the explosion trying to retrieve her extracted eye. Richer yet sadder, Nina heads off into the night, the cat with Mrs. March's brain following her.

One feeling I sort of had about this episode was that Mike seemed more "enthusiastic" early on; it still makes for fun "host segments," though, such as an almost-final "invention exchange" where Crow and Tom Servo become Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank and "the mads" try with less success to turn that around, Tom turning himself into "Weather Servo Nine," and the disembodied "Magic Voice" having a sort of conversation with the movie's narrator. Tom also helpfully (or not) responds to a letter by saying that the "K" in "MST3K" stands for "Karl," "the man who invented lightning."

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