krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Not only have I just found a MSTing I hadn't previously included in my simple compendium of all of those classic works locatable in Google's Usenet archive, I've also watched the final episode from the latest official box set of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Although it may mean exactly nothing in the end, this is the second collection in a row to include a spider-themed episode. "The Giant Spider Invasion" seems pretty much an acknowledged classic of the series... and unfortunately, it's in a set now pretty much unavailable. As for "Horrors of Spider Island," I suppose I could have been looking forward to it the most of any of the four episodes in this set, but I was still willing to wonder how I would take it. It would mark jumping right from the "classic" Joel era to the third-last episode in production order in the Mike era...

The movie involves the faintly sleazy yet definitely beefy Gary ("I'm Bob Boxbody.") assembling a troupe of dancers to take to Singapore. After taking off with Stock Footage Airlines ("So from Los Angeles they take off from New York to fly to Singapore."), their plane catches on fire for no clear reason and plummets straight into the ocean. Despite the violence of the stock footage, the entire troupe survives to eventually wash ashore ("An Exxon girl tanker ran aground.") on a uranium-rich island. Gary, though, is attacked in short order by a not-quite-giant and strangely featured puppet spider and transformed into a somewhat under-made-up spider person who kills a dancer left alone. In the meantime, Gary's really quite competent assistant Georgia has taken charge and two guys have also arrived on the island to check up on a professor caught in a giant spider web. A great deal of boozy bacchanalia set to often sleazy but at other times just oddly jazzy music follows, with the dancers in a collection of abbreviated costumes that show off the certain decided appeal of their early-1960s fleshiness ("I'm Curv E. Voluptuous.") until spider person Gary shows up again. Another one of the dancers and one of the guys wind up dead before Gary is chased into quicksand by a torch-wielding mob.

I have to admit, I did find myself laughing at the "riffing" this time around a bit more than I usually do. Tom passes out a few times due to all the flesh on display, although Crow complains just before the dramatic climax "I'm not just wondering if there's a point to the movie now--I'm wondering if there's a point to anything" and decides go on break after ten years, if just for a moment or two. On the other hand, it was tempting at the beginning to agree with the suspicions of some that the cheerful, low-key camaraderie of Joel's "host segments" is more appealing than Mike's late host segments... and then the appeal of them crept up on me, too. It did seem that two of them were mixed up when compared to the events of the movie, though...

Perhaps, in the end, I wondered about how I would like the episodes in this latest collection just so I could be pleasantly surprised by them. There can be something to not going for the obvious targets after all.

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