Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 06 E 03 The Dead Talk Back

Go To

Film shown: The Dead Talk Back. An odd case of being one of the "newest" films riffed by the show. While it was shot in 1957, it was never released until 1993, a year before the episode aired.

It was shown alongside the short The Selling Wizard, in which Anheuser-Busch tried to sell grocery freezers with the help of a "pizza dominatrix".

The Segments:

  • It's time for the crew to perform a fire drill. Crow points out that there's really no place to go, but code is code.

Segment 1

  • Dr. Forrester demonstrates "pinpoint marketing" to Mike with his new product of dubious intent: Nelson Cigarettes ("For the rugged man trapped in space!"). Mike takes personal offense at having his image used to sell cigarettes to him, but the 'Bots think he looks so cool now.

Segment 2

  • The crew host "The Dead Talk Back", where they speak with special guests from beyond the grave who want to discuss some football.

Segment 3

  • Mike and the 'Bots are "The Dead", the Satellite of Love's newest music sensation. Their only song consists of two short lyrics and Crow performing an hour-long guitar solo that continues into the remaining host segments and even the credits.

Segment 4

  • Dr. Forrester interrogates Frank. He cracks before it's even explained what he's being interrogated about.

Segment 5

  • Mike tries to read a letter despite all the 'Bots' antics filling the bridge with noisy chaos. Dr. Forrester practices some archery with Frank.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation contains the following tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Mike and the 'bots find the older lady's joking about how her photos look too much like her pretty funny.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Probably blew their budget on all those bongo players. I just said a lot of Bs."
  • Annoying Arrows: Frank gets numerous arrows through his chest and just laughs them off.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Frank cracks, he admits he killed that fat barkeep.
    • From the Speech: Using Your Voice short from Earth Vs. the Spider episode.
      Servo: Plenty of lip and tongue action!
  • Continuity Nod: Mike is folding Crow's Nice Brown Pants while the latter is doing his Jerry Garcia solo.
  • Credits Gag: Crow's Jerry Garcia solo plays during the episode credits.
  • Faux Horrific: The Selling Wizard doesn't speak and is mostly all smiles, but glowers at the camera when she thinks the narrator isn't going to show enough different refrigerator models.
    Servo: The pizza dominatrix!
    Mike: [...] That was close. She was mad!
  • Advertisement:
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked. Gypsy leads the crew through a fire drill. Servo begins to call out the ridiculousness of practicing their escape plan when they're trapped in space with no way back to earth, but gets drowned out. As they troop back and forth on the bridge:
    Crow: There really is no place to go!
    Mike: Well, still. We gotta meet code.
    Gypsy: No talking in line!
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: The entire joke of the radio show skit. Crow and Servo manage to get Krasker's afterlife two-way radio working, and immediately use it for a sports talk radio show. Mike spends the entire sketch flabbergasted as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill call in from beyond the grave, and not even they're interested in anything besides who'll win the Super Bowl that year.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Selling Wizard is supposed to be be a case of Sex Sells, but the mute, dazed-looking woman in the plaid vest, bow tie, and cape looks more like a waiter/Stage Magician than a sexy sorceress.
  • Notable Original Music: In the Style of... a Grateful Dead tune: "Been riding on that cosmic freight train, feelin' bad / And don't you come around here anymore." That's all the lyrics there are — Crow's guitar solo lasts the rest of the episode.
  • Not Me This Time: Invoked:
    Detective: What [were you arrested] for?
    Crow: (as Krueger) "Crossbow killing... but I had nothing to do with this one!"
  • Overly Long Gag: Crow's Jerry Garcia solo. It's so overly long in fact, that shortly after Cambot goes through the door, he comes back out so Mike can drag Crow into the theater. Also Gypsy as a Deadhead describing the previous concert she saw at Alpine Valley. "...into 'Sugaree', into 'Dark Star', into 'Sugaree', into 'Dark Star'...!"
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Lieutenant Lewis as the narrator talking about Krasker's research.
    Lewis: (narrating) Incredible?
    Mike: Not really.
    Lewis: Unbelievable?
    Crow: No.
  • Running Gag: Crow as Jerry Garcia plays on through all the remaining segments and the episode credits.
  • Sex Sells: Presumably what the filmmakers were going for with the "Selling Wizard" of the eponymous short.
    Narrator: Gentlemen, if you please!
    Mike: You filthy degenerates!
  • Spell My Name with a "The": "Oh, thank you, the dead."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Take That!: Winston Churchill slams the Buffalo Bills' (especially then-quarterback Jim Kelly's) chance of having a Super Bowl ring.note  At the time, they'd just lost their fourth straight Super Bowl.
  • Target Audience: Dr. Forrester invents pinpoint marketing, entire advertising campaigns targeted at and named after the single person they're trying to sell to. Nelson cigarettes ("For the spirit of Nelson in all of us!") fail to penetrate the market because spokesman Frank just woke up and Mike doesn't like smoking, despite the 'Bots' attempts at peer pressure.
  • Uncanny Valley: invoked The blank-looking "Selling Wizard".
    Crow: She looks almost lifelike.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Invoked as the film credits roll, even though it was the title of the film:
    Crow: Hey, I just realized — they never talked to the dead!
    Mike: No...! Never got around to that.
  • William Telling: Parodied in the final host segment, with Dr. Forrester repeatedly missing the apple that Frank has and instead filling Frank's chest full of arrows.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: