Described by Mystery Science Theater 3000 as "like Manos without the lucid plot," The Skydivers is less a horror movie and more a very dull soap opera about the employees of a small parachuting club.The "plot" involves the eponymous skydivers getting away from their bland, loveless marriages with bland, loveless affairs, watching Coleman Francis's extended family go-go dancing, and either killing, dying, or suffering total mental breakdown as a result of all the deaths. They even skydive, occasionally.Apparently to make up for the almost dialogue-free The Beast of Yucca Flats, the film consists almost entirely of stilted dialogue punctuated by midair footage of parachutists. That would be fine, if the dialogue wasn't all like this:
Beth: Do you want some coffee?Still, Skydivers is merely "poor" by comparison with the final film in Coleman Francis' trilogy... Red Zone Cuba.For tropes and specifics relating to the MST3K version, please see the episode recap.
Joe: Coffee? I like coffee!
Joe: Coffee? I like coffee!
This film contains examples of:
- Better Than Sex: Pete describes skydiving that way. Many skydivers in Real Life actually do think the same.
- Chute Sabotage: Suzy's plan to kill Harry: damaging his chute with acid just before a drop.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Subverted. The skydivers of 1963 take risks which would be not tolerated today.
- Death from Above: Suzy and Frank are shot at from the air.
- Downer Ending: Harry is killed, leaving Beth alone and jobless as their parachuting business goes under.
- Dull Surprise: Tony Cardoza as Harry, who doesn't seem to be all that shocked by... well, anything.
- Extreme Sport Excuse Plot: What else can you expect from a movie titled The Skydivers?
- Femme Fatale: Suzy, who manipulates love-struck Frankie into helping her murder Harry.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Harry cheated on Beth with Suzy. Beth cheats on Harry with Joe.
- Hollywood Skydiving: In spades. Saves an otherwise almost unwatchable film. It's actually averted at one part where one schmoe suffers from target fixation that he forgets to pull his chute and smashes into the ground.
- It's Raining Men: The night formation jump off the C-45.
- Male Gaze: Many shots of the black girl's nice butt wiggling back and forth in front of the camera.
- Must Have Caffeine: It wouldn't be a Coleman Francis movie without lots of coffee.
- Old Soldier: Both Harry and Joe have served in the 11th Airborne Division in Korean War. The 11th Airborne was important in determining the viability of large-scale air formations during the Knollwood Maneuver.
- Once per Episode: A vigilante gunning down someone from a plane? It must be a Coleman Francis film!
- Product Placement: One scene has a very obvious van in the background advertising a local restaurant. The camera actually seems more focused on the van than the characters. The fact this is done during what's supposed to be a tense and emotional scene makes it extremely jarring.
- Revenge Before Reason: Suzy invents a stupid plot to kill Harry because she's angry at being jilted, pretty much. Despite the fact she's apparently wealthy and she has another man who's willing to do anything for her, while Harry has a a declining marriage and a failing three-man sport parachuting business. She has nothing to gain from his death, but she does it anyway.
- Rich Bitch: Downplayed with Suzy. In her own words, she's "so mean" because her "paw gave [her] everything." Her money isn't really an important plot element, though. If not for that one scene we'd never even know she's rich.
- Society Marches On: Skydiving practises and safety culture. The skydivers take risks which would be not tolerated today anymore. Likewise, the actions in freefall and emergency procedures. Pete loses the stable position in freefall and hits the ground with canopy unopened. The correct action in such situation is to arc immediately as much as possible and extend arms, and if under 1000 m, deploy main canopy immediately.
- Shown Their Work: One point in the movie's favor: the skydiving is 100% accurate, including the target fixation scene, which is a real danger to skydivers. (Considering the film was shot around a real skydiving school, it should be.)
- Theme Naming: The local joint is named The Skydiver.