Friday, December 9, 2011

Cinematic Titanic Returns..Finally..on DVD

It's been more than a year since Cinematic Titanic, one of the Two MST3K alumni groups, has released a DVD. The crew (Joel Hodgson, Trace Beauleau, TV's Frank Coniff, J. Elvis Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl) have been busy touring the nation, spreading their mirth and movie riffing far and wide. They were even in my neck of the woods, namely UC Davis, but I couldn't make it.

Well, just in time for the holidays, the CT gang has the perfect companion to the Santa Claus Conquers the Martians DVD: War of the Insects, aka Genocide, a turgid Japanese drama that, according to Joel, is the type of movie that "needs a good Gamera attack". I saw the CT gang riff this movie live in August 2010 at the Castro in San Francisco. My review of that performance is here, but here's the plot: a cheating husband named George is seen with a foxy blond named Annabelle ("From eternity to here?") who is actually a mad scientist. She wants to unleash insects to destroy all humans. Meanwhile, A US Air Force bomber crashes after a huge swarm of bees attack it. No, really.
Another group of officers show up to look for the bomb, unaware they're already in a bomb...namely this movie. Add the fact George is arrested for murder, and his wife Yukari is pregnant, and you start wishing Godzilla would show up to put them all out of their misery.

This performance was taped in September 2011 in Minneapolis, the birthplace of modern severe movie criticism. Compared to the Castro performance, they added a lot of new jokes, and changed their anti-Glee riff. The first riff on what Michelle Bachman's first day as president was kept, along with J Elvis' haunting song at the end. I liked the DVD show more only because I could hear the movie better. Some of the highlights:

Charley, one of the Air Force guys, goes nuts when he sees a bee outside the plane:
MJ: His memories of watching the History Channel have haunted him forever

The owner of the bar is happy to see new customers thanks to the bomb search:
Frank: It's like a stimulus package with dead people.

Dr. Komura is still upset over being attacked by an insane Charley, who was laughing and shooting a pistol. "I don't understand at all.."
Joel: Who would ever vote for Rick Perry?

Dr. Nagumo allows himself to be bitten by the poisoned bees to see why they are attacking humans. He convulses, hallucinates and babbles like Charley
Joel: Insects, peppermint, meaningless nouns

Annabelle explains her plan to Nagumo: "Genocide. The extermination of man. That's what I've been waiting for."
Joel: That, and Star Wars on blu-ray (which finally happened a few days after this performance)

And Trace summing the whole thing up: I always thought the end of the world would look like Carrot Top.
There also also jokes about Piers Morgan, Monty Python, Bewitched and David Carradine.

Aside from the movie, there are clips of the live show, with audience members raving about it, along with trailers to Danger on Tiki Island, East Meets Watts and The Alien Factor. This may suggest they are abandoning studio shows, where they pretend to be trapped in an underground facility, forced to riff on bad movies for future generations for some reason or other. There is supposed to be a new DVD called Rattlers, where mutated rattlesnakes cause havoc.

You can order DVDs and get a schedule of their 2012 tour at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I saw this same film in Feb 2010, the sound was kinda murky & less enjoyable than it should have been. But honestly, there was ONE scene that made it so worthwhile for posterity:

When the bar owner creeps over to the cabin where the two guys and two ladies are & peers in through a peephole, one man was being tied up, and said "Make it tighter." However, when that shot flashed on the screen, the audience instantly erupted in deafening laughter, because it looked like the tied-up guy was getting his crotch serviced by the ladies (one of them even appeared to be doing oral, if you imagined what was happening behind the obstruction in the shot.)

Joel just smiled at all the laughter & remarked that sometimes you don't need to write material for the movie to get a laugh.