krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Opening up the latest DVD set of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and finishing off my project of watching the fifth episode of each season at once, I've reached "Blood Waters of Dr. Z." ("Blood waters, huh? Guess Dr. Z had a little kidney problem.") It's a seventies take on a mad scientist and monster movie, and that combination may indeed promise something for those familiar with the series.

After a slightly odd title sequence (tacked on to a movie that was first called "ZaaT"), things open with what seems stock footage of various fish and the mad scientist providing an approving voiceover and contemplating universal domination. Then, it's on to the scientist himself, a somewhat rumpled and unkempt figure ("This guy peaked in the womb.") wandering around a rundown building while a somehow inappropriate theme song plays. The scientist plans to turn himself into a catfish monster and take revenge on those who wouldn't let him experiment on human subjects; all of this has been planned out on a huge paper disc. To do this, he removes most of his clothes ("He's been sculpted out of belly skin."), injects himself with a big needle, activates some machinery with random Christmas-tree lights, and uses a pulley system to immerse himself in a small pool. ("And self-baptism sweeps the nation!") All of it transforms him into a monster not quite like a fish, what with the green fringe around his hips and his faintly pig-like head, but he takes it all in stride. ("So I'm an amphibious warthog. That's pretty close!") Plunging into the local waters, the scientist monster starts spritzing everything with a small spray bottle. ("I gotta be honest. Am I that much closer to ruling the universe?")

Taking notice of whatever effects this has, a black scientist showing great patience with the somewhat racist taunts of a white sheriff brings in two other scientists (or something) in red jumpsuits. ("Hi. We're astronauts, from a different film!") In the meantime, though, the scientist monster has taken revenge on two people and captured a young woman who had been shown camping several times before. He tries to repeat his process on her ("He's injecting her with Murphy's Oil Soap."), but it doesn't quite work and he throws a bit of a tantrum. ("A poor catfish blames his tools.") A variety of scuffles and random monster attacks follow, and then the scientist monster captures the female scientist (changed from her jumpsuit into a sort of cheap "victim" gown) to try and turn her into a monster. ("Yeah, that's the thing about women; you pick them up and they instantly faint.") The other scientists and the sheriff scramble to the rescue, the white scientist driving a little six-wheeled buggy into the water only to have it stall out on him, after which he's bitten by a water snake. ("Sure, you thought the clown car would solve everything, didn't you?") Finally, the scientist monster strangles the sheriff and beats up on the black scientist, who nevertheless manages to keep the female scientist from being plunged into the transmutation pool with his last effort. ("Oh good, he's pulling the emergency stop for the movie.") Already injected, though, she wanders towards the ocean, where the last scientist has shot the scientist monster but not stopped him from entering the water with some sort of long carrying case. She follows the monster in, and things end once more in what seem that specially bleak 1970s fashion. ("If I had my little car, you'd be in trouble!" "It's ending like an Italian Neorealist movie from the sixties!")

There's plenty of "riffing" in this movie, although just perhaps there aren't a lot of real standout quips. However, a "host segment" featuring Crow's best imitation of the mad scientist's opening monologue is pretty fun. As well, finishing the "fifth episode project" does leave me with that much more of a feeling that I'm working my way through the series; I suppose, though, that the next episode from the set I watch will be "The Crawling Eye," which might amount to going back to the beginning.
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