Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 19 Invasion Of The Neptune Men

Film watched: Invasion of the Neptune Men

"Oh, I know a song about stock footage. It goes like this: da-da-dadaDAda- EAT IT, MOVIE! TAKE THIS STUPID LITTLE COCKROACH OF A FILM, ROLL IT UP SOOOOO TIGHT, AND THEN RAM IT RIGHT UP YOUR—" [breaks down in sobs]

"Suffice it to say that the reprehensible nature of Invasion of the Neptune Men is embodied in the filmmaker's choice to use actual WWII file footagenote  in what is ostensibly a children's film. To glibly summon the darkest shadows of our century because one has run out of models to blow up is to stoop to Schumacherian levels of banality. Though we as a rule cut only for time, we also cut for violent content, and we very clearly considered aerial bombardment footage of Japan to be of a violent nature. Nuff said. ...can you tell I hated this film?"
Kevin Murphy, voice and puppeteer of Tom Servo

Noteworthy for standing among those elite films such as Manos and Monster a-Go Go that came close to breaking the cast of MST3K.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation has examples of:

  • Asian and Nerdy: Invoked for the main cast of children.
    Mike: These kids are, like, 10, so...
    Servo: Yeah, they're well out of college.
    Crow: Shouldn't they be at their jobs, then?
  • Berserk Button: Both on and off screen for the MST3K crew. On screen, the film was among those that came the closest to breaking the Satellite of Love crew, and sparked Servo's meltdown at the top. Off screen, as noted above, the production staff and cast was extremely disapproving of what appeared to be genuine WW2 bombing footage being incorporated into what was essentially a sci-fi film, an attitude that was given free rein in the more-merciless-than-usual riffing.
    • Though as some later found out (see Misblamed below), the "Hitler Building" scene actually came from a 1960 Japanese film called World War III Breaks Out, which was about the dangers of what Japan would face if the US and the Soviets engaged in nuclear war, as Japan would certainly be caught in the crossfire. But Best Brains could hardly be blamed for not knowing that.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Immediately following the Take That! involving Luxembourg.
    Mike: Crow! You-
    Crow: Hey hey, Mike: are you Luxembourg?
    Mike: No.
    Crow: Then SHUT UP!!
  • Big "WHAT?!": Mike and the Bots' reaction upon seeing the Hitler Building.
    Tom: They took out the Hitler Building! Where's everybody going to go to see Hitler memorabilia?!
    Crow: Oh, the Hitler Rides and Games, the Hitler salt and pepper shakers!
    Mike: That great restaurant, the Bunker... It's gone! You sons of a...!
    Crow: You blew it up! Say, Mike, was there a Hitler building you grew up in?
    Mike: Not, um... no, not really at all.
    Crow: Sure.
    Tom: Space dink.
    Crow: What's next? The Mussolini Mall?
    Tom: Followed by the Pinochet Petting Zoo.
  • Brain Bleach: Bobo's statue.
    Bobo: Heavens, I'm nude!
    Observer: (after a long, sustained GASP!) Well, there you have it. It's time, I think.
    (summons a noose)
    Pearl: NO! BRAIN GUY, NO! NO! (grabs it from Observer) I'M using it!
  • Butterfly of Doom: Observer convinces Pearl to go after Bobo because he may accidentally change history and prevent the invention of Chicken in a Biskit, Pearl's favorite snack. (You might remember that just three episodes earlier, Pearl convinced Observer to go after Bobo because he may accidentally change history and prevent the invention of slot machines, Pearl's favorite hobby, but neither of them do.)
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Mike snarks "Yeah, right" when citizens are ordered "Do not panic!" by loudspeakers.
  • Cliffhanger: Perhaps the most prominent one of the season 8 story arc. Pearl and Observer are exposed as frauds by Bobo, and Flavia says, "Guards! Seize them!" Cue dramatic sting.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: One of Crow's suggestions for Japan to stop being represented by "big-eyed, gun-toting, pre-pubescent blondes," which Mike refers to as "That Sailor Moon thing there." "Big-eyed" and "blonde" are the only accurate descriptions of the actual character.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The crew gets a lot of mileage from the Neptune Men disguising themselves by wearing heavy pancake makeup and lipstick.
    • Later:
    Servo: Corporal, I can see your panty-lines!
    Crow: (softly) Roji Panty Complex!
    Mike: Sergeants Gladys and Peggy.
    Servo: Ready... Strut! Pout! Put it out!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: In-universe, Phantom of Krankor — while he didn't get much respect in the end segment for his own episode, Mike and the 'Bots welcome his return here with open arms, grateful for the levity he brings after enduring a truly mind-numbing experience without anything to cheer them up. Krankor is even a little touched by the sentiment.
  • The Faceless: Callipygeas is mostly off-screen during the statue unveiling, as Kevin Murphy has to be on-screen during the scene as Bobo.
  • Funny Background Event: Bobo as "the Mad Goth" is signing his autograph on a stone tablet and a chisel. That's funny enough, but even funnier is that since Bobo is illiterate, he's just making big "X"'s on the tablets, even when he supposedly is writing "Go easy on the lions!" or hitting on Pearl.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: As Space Chief is waving at the kids with 3 fingers during the interminable dogfight sequence at the end, Crow says "Hey, read between the lines, kids."
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Mike and the bots' reaction to the film.
    Crow: To be dead, to be nothing... to watch Neptune Men no more.
  • Historical In-Joke: One of Bobo's fans is a teen Julius Caesar.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    Crow and Servo: (as Space Chief and the Neptune Men, in unison) HA-HA-HA-HA-HA—Your costume is ridiculous!
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: The Neptune men's ship strafing run across the city has Mike say one of these:
    Mike: I never thought I'd say this, but this makes Independence Day look like a richly nuanced movie.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: When Mike leaves the theater due to being fed up with the movie, Crow leaves with the excuse that he has to go and repair the septic tanks. It could be assumed he was going to check on Mike because while the movie plays, there is no oxygen anywhere on the ship except in the theater.
  • Misblamed: The Stock Footage was not from World War II. Rather, it was from a 1960 Japanese film, World War III Breaks Out, a fictional account of nuclear war. (Although that still doesn't explain the model building with an advert for the Japanese translation of Mein Kampf on it.)
  • Mondegreen: The "Roji Panty Complex", although whatever they're trying to say doesn't seem to make much more sense.
    • Rojium-Tanium. It's a radioactive element named after two scientists in the film.
  • Mythology Gag: A lot of riffs make references to Prince of Space.
  • No Name Given: Lampshaded by Servo in regards to the kids.
    Servo: Do any of these kids even have names?
    Mike: They're all so distinct, I don't think they need names.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Mike tries to force this ending on the movie.
    Mike: They were never seen again and Japan came to an end!
  • Running Gag: "Where's my record?"note 
  • Sanity Slippage: You bet.
    • Servo flips out the most during the Japanese theater "Who's on First?" segment, reduced to spinning his head (while wearing a Kabuki mask) and making circus calliope noises.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Around an hour, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds into the episode, it looks like Mike has reached his limit with the movie and just declares he's just going to leave the room. He does so with Crow following him, despite the fact that Crow warns against it because while the movie plays, there is no oxygen anywhere in the Satellite of Love apart from the theater. Mike finds this out the hard way and comes back into the theater a short while later.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Starring Santa! Speed Racer! Shonen Knife! Sailor Moon!"
    • The opening bits concerning the Nanites battling Mike's eyelash mites is a shout out to The Vietnam War and movies about it (like Apocalypse Now and Platoon). The aftermath then parodies The Civil War miniseries, complete with the documentary's music.
    • A couple of Lord of the Flies references:
      • The chubby-cheeked, glasses-wearing boy is described as "the Piggy of the group."
      • Bill's chant in one of the many, many scenes of the boys running: "Kill the pig! Drink its blood! — oh, wait, that's another story."
  • Skewed Priorities: Pearl has little to no reaction to being told Bobo's adoration might change history and thereby destroy the universe, but she does get angry when informed that destroying the universe would also destroy Nabisco's Chicken In a Biskit.
    Pearl: Bobo is...messing...with my...favorite...snack...CRACKER?!
  • Soap Opera Disease: Servo catches Roji Panty Complex from the movie and is bedridden for one host segment, while Mike has to administer four-packs of female undergarmentsnote . Crow then decides he has it too.
  • Special Guest: The Phantom of Krankor from Prince of Space shows up in one host segment. The movie is so soul-crushingly bad that Mike and the bots are glad to see him, and indeed, he saves them from finally going insane.
  • Squick: In-universe, the bots feel this way after seeing photos of eyelash mites in an issue of National Geographic. They then decide to have the Nanites kill-off Mike's eyelash mites. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Referenced; as the record in the jukebox begins to spin backwards, Crow chants "Paul is a dead man -- miss him, miss him!"
  • Take That!:
    Tom Servo: The MTV news thing is broken!
    Crow: Good.
    • And:
      Tom: [to crowd of fleeing Japanese] Run! Work! Run faster! Work harder! Abandon healthy diets! Drink a lot! Never speak to your children! DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAR!
  • Troll: At the end of the Who's on First? segment, Mike reveals he's doing it on purpose to mess with Tom and Crow. This was revenge for the eyelash mite war ('The Battle of Forehead Ridge'), earlier.
  • Who's on First?: One of the host segments:
    Crow: Mike, will you tell me the name of your favorite form of Japanese theater?
    Mike: Noh.
    Crow: Why not?!
    • Later, of all people —
      Gypsy: I get it, Mike.