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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 23 The Castle Of Fu Manchu

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Film watched: The Castle of Fu Manchu

This was the only Fu Manchu movie that Joel and the Bots watched and is arguably one of the worst films they ever had to endure.

It is available on Shout! Factory TV here.

The Segments:

Prologue
  • Joel leads the 'Bots in a marching song aboard the Satellite of Love. They have no idea what they are about to endure in this experiment.

Segment 1

  • Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank are especially happy today. They've found a movie so bad, even the videocase itself constitutes a toxic biohazard — The Castle of Fu Manchu. For the Invention Exchange, Dr. F shows off the Stinky Bomb and turns Frank into the spitting image of Joe Besser. Crow and Servo present a new Long-Distance Telephone Transducer while Joel brings out the Big Head, having forgotten that he had already used that invention.
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Segment 2

  • Crow reads an editorial about the dangers of "Miss Saigon Syndrome", while at the same time trying not to break down crying from the agony of watching the movie. By the time he's done, Crow is a sobbing wreck. The Mads are smug in their success.

Segment 3

  • The crew are imitating Shriners on magic carpets in an effort to try and find some humor from the fezzes that a few of the characters are wearing in the movie. Servo points out that the whole sketch is stupid and breaks down in tears. The Mads order out for a victory dinner.

Segment 4

  • Joel tells an illustrated story about Fu Manchu, but the horrible movie weighs so heavily on him that even he can't take it anymore. The Mads share some pie as they anticipate Joel's final defeat.

Segment 5

  • The movie is over and the crew tries to read a letter, only to fail due to how miserable they are. As Dr. Forrester and Frank share a toast, Joel suddenly comes out and challenges THEM to watch the movie. The Mads can't even get through a minute before they snap from the agony, and so the crew gets the last laugh.
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The MST3K presentation provides examples of:

  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Invoked near the end, when Smith tries to summon help:
    Nayland Smith: "This is Nayland Smith speaking from Fu Manchu's headquarters..."
    Servo: (as the radio operator) "Yeah right, and I'm Mickey Mouse broadcasting from Disneyland."
  • Comically Missing the Point: Just after the Mads humiliate themselves trying to riff a scene of the movie:
    TV's Frank: You know, we could have made funny comments, but the movie wasn't that good!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Nayland Smith: Thank you, Kurt, it was very kind of you to come.
    Joel: Well, I didn't mean to, but, uh, the new seats covers-
    Servo: Joel, NO!
  • Heroic BSoD/Not So Stoic: Joel and the Bots rarely ever lose it over movies, and this one has them losing it by the first break from the movie.
    • Not only that- every host segment falls apart due to the horribleness of this movie. Compare Manos, where they got through two host segments without breaking up.
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    • Surprisingly, the first one to break is the usually snarky and easy-going Crow, who was delivering great joke after great joke throughout the first 20 minutes of the movie; and furthermore, seems to be the least likely of the bots to lose it over anything. And yet, despite his valiant efforts, he collapses into hysterical tears while reading aloud his editiorial on the Miss Saigon Syndrome.
    • It says something when Joel is nearly broken by the movie. This is the same man who didn't falter through Manos or Monster-A-Go-Go and helped Crow and Servo hold together through both films, but even he ends up nearly getting reduced to tears by the end.
    • Joel has a brief BSOD moment when he realizes he's forgotten the Invention Exchange for the week, and all he can come up with is the Big Head, which he did already. Fortunately, Tom and Crow had their own invention handy.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Spectacularly averted.
    Servo: (grumbling) I can't watch this. I mean, I can't see this!
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Quite a few about barges and fez hats.
    • During a horribly underlit scene in Fu Manchu's dungeon:
      Servo: What is this? Kirlian photography?
      Crow: Yeah, Moe, Larry, and Curly-an photography.
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: Joel's challenge to the Mads after the movie. They fail miserably.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: On the really bad British dub.
    Joel: Why are they dubbing the British?
    Servo: I don't know, this is terrible!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: At the end of the movie, as Forrester and Frank are celebrating and awaiting the official surrender from the Satellite of Love, Joel comes back with this rant.
    "You haven't won, Dr. Forrester; you've lost. And I feel sorry for you. You're nothing but a sad little man in a hole in the ground who can only feel power by hurting others. Well, we won because, we survived, and we survived because, well, we're Robinsons, roughly. That's what Robinsons do is survive, basically, and well, if you think it's so easy, well, YOU should try and watch a movie sometime!"
    • This leads the Mads to try and watch the film. They don't do so well.
  • Running Gag: Due to one of the characters looking like an Asian Marlo Thomas, Joel and the bots repeatedly say, "That Girl!"
    • Saying certain backdrops are Midwestern towns.
    • Saying the sick character looks like Burt Young.
  • Take That!: Joel and the bots challenge Forrester and Frank try to riff the film. They fail miserably. This was in response to critics who claimed that anyone could riff the movies like Best Brains did.
  • With Lyrics: Tom Servo does this with the opening credits theme of the movie.
    Servo: I'm bored, I'm bored with these credits already...
  • The Woobieinvoked: Both of the bots in the host segments.
  • Yellowface: Discussed in Crow's editorial "The Miss Saigon Syndrome".



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