krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Having already seen "Swamp Diamonds," I'm heading on to the sixth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the "Mike years." "The Dead Talk Back" may be another one of those episodes that haven't left as strong an impression on me as others, and yet as I've found of late watching the whole thing through does seem to let whatever impression it does have build on me.

After a fire drill on the Satellite of Love (with nowhere to go, our heroes keep walking in circles) and Dr. Forrester attempting to use "pinpoint marketing" on Mike by offering him "Nelson cigarettes, for the spirit of Nelson in all of us" (the bots, at least, are impressed by the display), it's on to the short "The Selling Wizard." ("Hi. The name's Merlin, and I'd love to see you in this new Camaro.") Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Anheuser-Busch, it appears to be an example of "pinpoint marketing" itself, selling freezer cabinets to people who sell ice cream. A female model dubbed the "pizza dominatrix" aids in the display, and yet I can wonder if there's quite space in between the narration for all the "riffs" necessary to really make this seem like a strange snapshot from a different time.

As for the movie itself, things get off to an uncertain start with a mysterious hat and coat-wearing figure ("Excuse me, any of you know what evil lurks in the heart of men?") apparently trying to sneak up on a couple in an inadequately lit parked car. ("The first movie filmed entirely with flashlights.") Then, we meet Henry Krasker, a scientist of sorts with impressive hair and a beard to go along with it, working on a radio that will let him talk to the dead. All of this manages to carry us to the first "host segment" (where Crow and Tom start their own phone-in show to talk to the dead), and then we meet the somewhat peculiar people who live with Krasker in a boarding house. One of the more normal of them gets killed with a sharpened curtain rod fired by a crossbow, and the police get into the action, interrogating each person in turn and chasing down a nebbishy, panicky photographer who left a shoe heel at the scene. ("The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Dweeb.") Finally, Krasker, well-known by the police ("You know, not kneeing you in the groin is a constant struggle.") starts showing off his psychic radio to the suspects, first by putting a razor blade in a glass only to be interrupted by the religious maniac, then by holding a full demonstration in his lab. It turns out his contact is faked, but it elicits a confession from the guilty party, so there's really no reason to complain. Along the way, our heroes become "the Dead" and Crow, complete with "Jerry hair," plays a long and cheesy guitar solo that carries over into Dr. Forrester's best efforts at interrogation. (It even managed to carry over into a MSTing once...)

Date: 2009-04-26 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffwik.livejournal.com
This is one of my favorite episodes. I'm not sure why. Maybe the pizza dominatrix.

Date: 2009-04-26 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krpalmer.livejournal.com
As good a reason as any, perhaps! Anyway, now I'm wondering if I somehow sounded more dismissive than I wanted to be, and reflecting on how the MSTings I first experienced the show through were set in the sixth season and perhaps made that configuration of the cast "familiar"...

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