It's been six months since Cinematic Titanic has released a new DVD of their live show, but the new one is another winner. This time, the crew takes on Rattlers, a story of a herpetologist battling psychotic rattlesnakes. The usual gang is here: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beauliew, J. Elvis Weinstein, Mary Jo Pehl and TV's Frank Coniff
You may notice the movie doesn't have credits aside from the title for the movie, Considering the fact the hero gets out-acted by the rattlesnakes and the rocks in the desert, that kind of makes sense. The movie and the riffing is a bit sluggish but, just like The Dark Knight Rises, it picks up in the final 15 minutes (as if the producers realize they have to end the movie because they have 15 minutes of film left).
Anyway, it starts with two boys wandering in the desert, looking for a "real live skeleton", and they jabber like crazy (Frank: "Jodie Foster was so cute when she was a little boy"). Instead of a skeleton, they find agressive rattlesnakes that bite them a jillion times.
Enter Tom Parkinson, herpetologist, and not unlike a "David Hartman action figure". Still, he's good at what he does. He even saves a fellow teacher from an escaped cobra with several waves of his hand. Tom soon heads to the Middle of Nowhere Sheriff's Department to investigate the death of those two kids.
While this is going on, other people die of snakebites in very embarassing ways. A teenage boy carrying a lantern inside a barn gets bitten, and he falls, setting the barn on fire. Meanwhile, his mom is surprised by several rattlenakes who thought they were there for a sleepover. There's also a housewife who gets bitten in the tub when several snakes break through the drain, and a plumber who finds out what's really clogging the pipes (Trace: "Get me, I'm a plumber's snake. I can write for Lopez").
Tom is soon joined by Ann, a liberated female photographer who spouts off about equal rights. He tells her that if he had his way her "liberated ass" would be at the Sheriff's Department. He apologizes later, but is also told about how her mom was worn down by working at a factory. Anyway, they soon figure out the snakes' attacks took place near an old Army base...with a deep, dark and stupid secret. It's called CT3, which Mary Jo says is Cinematic Titanic 3-D. Now that's a good idea, but which movie should have the honor?
Back to the movie: Tom and Ann later discover the big secret is actually hidden in a mine shaft, filled with snakes. They escape, and the experience drains all the feminism out of Ann. For no good reason, they escape to a romantic night in Las Vegas (Joel: "What doesn't happen in Vegas stays in this movie."). Why Miss Liberated Photographer would fall for Mr. Bland Snake Expert, we'll never know, and the movie is hoping you won't ask.
However, the mood is broken by an invasion of snakes, followed by an invasion of trigger-happy soldiers. Ann gets bit (J. Elvis: "Watch out for my pet turtle"), and Tom demands to find out what the Army base is hiding. Cut to a colonel burning incriminating records, and a medical officer looking like a drunk zombie. The ending is surprising, in a bad way, and also hints about, or rather threatens, a possible sequel.
The CT gang make jokes about John C. Reilly, Mel Gibson, David Carradine (again), a comment about teachers losing bargaining rights, Wikileaks, Squidbillies, and a callback to a classic MST3K riff. The movie also shows a lot of skin, and we don't mean the snakes. We mean a Playboy centerfold and a doomed housewife in a bathtub. That blimp that covered up nudity in Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks is nowhere to be seen.
The DVD includes trailers of other DVDs, plus a behind-the-scenes look at a recent show in Atlanta. It looks like the CT crew will stick to live shows, although I really miss the old premise where they were trapped somewhere, riffing on bad movies. I'm just nostalgic about the old days.
You can order DVDs and tickets to future events at cinematictitanic.com The Rattlers DVD is sold out, but it's expected to be available again.