Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 09 E 12 The Screaming Skull
Films watched: Robot Rumpus
(short) and The Screaming Skull
"Remember folks, if you die of boredom you do
not get a free coffin. Sorry."
The MST3K presentation has examples of:
- Brain Bleach: The ending of the short cause Servo and Crow to go into Heroic BSOD.
AHHH! They hung his head! Oh... Crow:
Now I'm ready for years of powerful Adlerian therapy, Mike. Servo:
They hung his head. Oh-oh, this is worse than Se7en! (moans)
- The Chew Toy:
Mike: (as Gumby) Hey, you can throw things through dad! I'm gonna get an anvil.
- Complexity Addiction: Pearl's plan to embarrass Mike and the Bots is really a badly-thought-out and lame plan on Pearl's part.
"All we had to do was call fifty-three costume shops to find one that had three penguin costumes, reserve them eight months in advance with a huge cash deposit, then pay a balance of eight hundred and ninety-nine dollars per costume to rent them for an hour, then put them on, then wait until you guys woke up and finished breakfast, then call you and make believe that we had set up an appointment for you all to wear penguin costumes, and then... you fell for it! It was so simple!"
- Creator Breakdown: In-Universe. After seeing the short, Crow and Servo spend a host segment doing a skit about poor innocent robots being victimized by obnoxious clay creatures. They can't even finish it because they're so distraught.
- Crusty Caretaker: Discussed.
Mike: You know, have people wised up to hiring people like this?
Crow: Oh c'mon Mike, how is he any different from you?
- Epic Fail: Pearl's penguin prank, as described below. She desperately tries to save face, but Bobo and Brain Guy are resigned to it.
Brain Guy: (sobbing) We're so stupid!
- Everything's Better with Penguins: "In the name of all that is good and decent, gentlemen, put on your penguin costumes!"
- Faking the Dead: In order to try to scam his way to a free coffin, Servo calls up the film's distributors and claims that
he his friend died while watching it. He panics and tries to back out, but ends up having to pay shipping both ways on his coffin (on Mike's credit card).
- Fridge Horror: One early riff in the movie has Servo mention to Mike that they're out of embalming fluid. What have they been doing with it and why would they need more?!
- Forced Perspective: A gratuitous shot of Bobo being held in Brain Guy's fist, as punishment for dressing up like an ape.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Jenny: (referring to the book she's reading) It's called Beast in the Jungle.
Servo: It's about what to expect on my honeymoon.
- Gone Horribly Right: During a host segment, Crow has set himself up like a screaming skull in order to scare Mike. One little "scream" sends Mike into screaming hysterics. Worse, Mike (still screaming) gets a hold of a bat and then a golf club...
- Then they calm him down by convincing him it's just Crow pulling a prank. Only for Crow to perform another little "scream", sending Mike into screaming hysterics again and swinging the golf club, taking the top of Servo's head in his panicked attack.
- Incredibly Lame Pun
Crow: Wow, did you see that!? He just threw that stool at him. That was a hard stool. He should have at least used some stool softener.
Mike: Okay, okay!
- Jump Cut: During the movie, there's a very noticeable skip in the film stock, causing Servo to dub Jenni's voice: "The film broke and it was horrible!" as she fearfully runs into Eric's arms.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Even though Skull is in the public domain, the Gumby short is back under copyright, so we may not be seeing this one on DVD for a looong time. Ironically, the episode has the distinction of being the last episode aired on the Sci-Fi Channel before the series' rerun contract expired.
- Kubrick Stare: How Mike and the Bots react to Bobo's failed prank.
- Metamorphosis: In the first host segment, Tom Servo has become a beautiful butterfly! By the second segment, he's back to normal.
I'm still a beautiful butterfly, Mike. I've just had a few unfortunate happenstances, such as my wings being torn off in an industrial accident. Well that depressed me, so I ate a lot of Mallomars and gained all the weight back, but I was soon feeling better and went back to work. But alas, someone turned on the Extruder while I was cleaning it, and my bottom two pairs of delicate butterfly legs were ripped from me. Again depressed, I hit the Pecan Sandies - hard
- and gained my remaining weight back in my remaining arms. My arms, by now in a metabolic frenzy, started to leech fat from my antennae, which made them so thin as to be invisible. But I am still a beautiful butterfly, Mike, and butterflies are free to fly... fly away... high away... bye-bye...
- Naked People Are Funny: During Robot Rumpus it was never an issue in any of the Gumby series, but MST3K brought it up.
Narrator: But on this day, something unexpected happened.
Mike: Gumby was nude.
- No Yay: Partway through the movie, Tom realizes that, at that point, people would be starting to neck instead of being frightened and tries to get Mike to do so. Mike, instead, gets disgusted and tries to shoo Tom.
- Offer Void In Nebraska: Crow's response to the disclaimer at the film's start. "Offer void in Utah, Florida, and Arizona. Taxes and acquisition fee not included. Must take delivery of dealer's stock."
- Oh, the Humanity!: "Oh, in the name of all that is clay!"
- Running Gag: Pokey taking a dump during Robot Rumpus.
- Referring back to the movie's promise of free burial services if you die of fright while watching it.
- Shout-Out: To Wallace & Gromit and Davey and Goliath in the short, and to Fiddler on the Roof during the film.
- After Gumbo has a wrench thrown through his body - and it heals itself, the crew gasp loudly, then Servo says with an Ahnold accent, "I'm liquid metal!"
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Amazingly, not one riff comparing Mickey to Torgo.
- Throw It In: Another incident with Servo's dome coming off during a host segment.
- It was also probably the best take they got as Bill Corbett admits to ruining several as a result of Corpsing.