Sunday, March 8, 2009

That Heavy Metal Riffer Is Back!

It's not easy to live up to the tradition of Mystery Science Theater 3000, or even make something that is a worthy successor.

But a Missouri Heavy Metal dude named Rikk Wolf did it with Incognito Cinema Warriors XP. Despite delays related to equipment, weather, or other things, it's become very popular. The third release, Bloody Pit of Horror, was finally available last Sunday.

For the uninitiated, the premise is Rikk Wolf is trapped inside an old theater surrounded by zombies in some post-apocalyptic world. With him are a popcorn maker named TopsyBot 5000 and a robot usher named Johnny Cylon. Their "Forrester" is Dr. Blackwood, a crazy long-haired guy who delivers the bad movies to them. The structure of the show is similar to MST, including host segments. This is especially true in the latest release. We even get a new character, a zombie head named Zed who sounds quite educated if not for his occasional rants where he vows to kill them all.

For the first time, the crew riff on a traffic safety movie called "The Talking Car". This was offered separately in their MySpace site. It's a strange short about a kid who had to prove to three cars in a weird dream he knows the "see and be seen" traffic rules. It's more "out there" than the "X Marks the Spot" movie the MST crew mocked.

Before the main feature, we see Rikk repairing the head of Cylon after, according to Topsybot, he turned into a were-gorilla. There are some problems, like Cylon being stuck speaking Spanish and Rikk getting sick from eating 40 year old donut holes. They also find Zed among those old donut holes. Dr. Blackwood isn't faring much better: he's trying to make a time machine out of a bunch of Magic Markers. "So far," he says, "the past is light-headed and blurry." Actually, it's the fumes of Time getting to him.

But being blurry may have helped him deal with Bloody Pit of Horror, supposedly based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. It opens with someone called the Crimson Executioner being sent to the Iron Maiden, the device he used to torture and kill his victims in the 17th Century. Before he is sealed inside, he vows revenge. About 300 years later, the nightmare, I mean the plot, begins. A group of models, with a photographer and other people, stop at what they think is an abandoned castle. After they find a way in, they discover they are not alone. A guard carrying a candalabra find them, and one of them meets the owner, played by Mickey Hargitay (Mr. Jayne Mansfield, and Mr, Universe, too). He tells them to get out, until he sees one of the girls. So, they can stay the night..if they survive. Oh, and stay away from the dungeons.

So how does the ICWXP crew deal with this?
"Filmed in Pyschovision"...Filmed by your ex-girlfriend.
They go inside the lobby, which inspires Rikk to do a killer riff on Resident Evil.
The owner knocks over his chess pieces...Invisible Chicken Beat Me Again!!

Well, the crew snoops around for good wine while the editor, Parks, tries to sneak a peak at the models while they're undressing. Typical Italian horror movie...until the horrifying photo session with POLKA MUSIC!! This shocks Rikk and his friends until they thnk of worse things like Knight Rider 2008, then sing a happy tune ("It's the worst film ever made, ever made, ever made.."). Then, shocking accidents and deaths occur among the models and crew. There's also a skulking figure who apparently is behind it all. Edith, the non-model of the group, discovers it's the owner, who she had planned to marry years ago. Now, he delcares, he is the Crimson Executioner..although he looks more like a Mexican wrestler who'd never get past being jobber. Still, he comes up with interesting ways to "punish" those he thinks are impure. He even ties one of the models to a spider web, facing death either by a robot spider (Wes Craven's Little Miss Muffett) or a thousand arrows aimed at her. Seeing Rick, the writer, try to save her is something to see.

Meanwhile, the host segments are getting more complex. In one, the gang take a nap, and become haunted by the grouchy car from the traffic safety short. In another, TopsyBot and Cylon practice for a poetry slam before things get out of hand. The final one is a real surprise, because it's an update on the old Hexfield View Screen...and also very funny. This show is making an effort in recreating the classic days of MST3K, and is succeeding very well, Remember, this is a mom-and-pop operation from deepest Missouri.

Lately, there's been some changes behind the scenes, but this latest release shows ICWXP is making progress in great movie riffing. They have a new character, and some new writers like Josh Way, who has become a MySpace star thanks to Fun With Shorts and a couple of movie riffs, too. They have another movie coming soon called Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory, followed by a fan choice which seems to be Hideous Sun Demon. While Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic are getting the attention in maintaining the comedy tradition of MST3K, ICWXP also deserves the attention for its efforts. Let's hope it won't be too long before their next release is ready. Even if it is, the new stuff, especially now, is always worth the wait.

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