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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S06 E19: Red Zone Cuba

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"The Red Zone is for Cuba and un-Cuba only."

Tom Servo: Well, I see the movie has finally thrown up its hands and said "I just don't know."
Crow: I wanna hurt this movie, but I can never hurt it the way it hurt me.
Mike Nelson: Did they even need to GO to Cuba?

Film watched: Red Zone Cuba, with short Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance

One of the few films that actually broke the SOL crew, though the Mads don't notice due to Forrester having been beaten to a pulp by mobsters prior to the experiment — and Forrester too busy beating Frank to even notice their "Bouncy Upbeat Song". Sanity Slippage was the only thing saving them from the Despair Event Horizon. Even the Mads descend into madness at the end.


The Segments:

  • It's time for the Satellite of Love Lotto! As in "lotto" numbered balls to read off of. One of the numbers read off is "509", and with over two dozen balls drawn indicating winning is improbable.

Segment 1

  • As Mike and the 'Bots prepare for a thrilling high-stakes game of Bingo, TV's Frank is visited by the mob for a matter of "fifty large" and has Dr. Forrester answer the door. One painful beating later, Dr. F is bodycasted and bedridden.

Segment 2

  • Mike and the 'Bots continue their wealthy ribald while Frank consoles Clayton over his injuries... and then helps with his horrible posture.

Segment 3

  • The movie is starting to take its toll on Mike, who thinks he's Carol Channing. Dr. F is sent cards and flowers from many famous people who eagerly wait for his expiration.

Segment 4

  • Poor Mike slips further and can't even figure out which celebrity he's impersonating. Faced with his impending end, Forrester struggles to find the strength to live and eventually does... and then the mob comes back for a second round.

Segment 5

  • Mike and the 'Bots recover from the trauma of the movie they watched with a "bouncy upbeat song" of questionable lyrics. Dr. F makes a full recovery, too, though Frank may find himself in a bodycast next as his boss "thanks" him.

The MST3K presentation contains:

  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The rest of the world can't wait for Clayton to die, which proves to become difficult, to say the least. Highlighted by the most pacifistic personalities wanting him dead, like Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter and Leo Buscaglia.
  • Bowdlerized: The MST3K version thankfully omits the whole "raping the blind-deaf daughter" scene, per the show's "No Rape" policy.
  • Call-Back: At one point, Mike says "Hi-Cuba!" during a fight scene.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: The riffers remark on how Coleman Francis looks like Curly Howard.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When TV's Frank makes Dr. Forrester fix his posture while still heavily bandaged, Mike and the bots react differently.
    Mike: Eugh! Man, hardly stand to watch!
    Crow: Yeah, his posture's really terrible! The worst!
    Tom: Yeah, poor Frank's got his work cut out for him.
    Mike: [annoyed] We'll be right back. "His posture"...
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    Crow: I think they portrayed 1961 well.
    Servo: Not too hard considering they filmed it in '65...!
  • Determinator: Zigzagged. Dr. Forrester's will to live in the third segment fluctuates, but even after being beaten by mobsters a second time, he ultimately pulls through in the end.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: This was the second Coleman Francis film featured. In the first, The Skydivers, he goes entirely unmentioned, but by starring here he makes himself a running joke ("Obviously, you don't know who you've captured here — I'm Coleman Francis.", "The Yanquis will pay highly for you, Señor Francis.") and when Yucca Flats subsequently aired, Mike and the bots panic (what's funny is that Mike had used The Beast of Yucca Flats as a warm up for his first experiment The Brain That Wouldn't Die.)
  • Groin Attack: When the Doberman gets its legs caught in barbed wire.
    Servo: OH, MY AREA! OW, OW, OWWW
    Crow: Thanks, now I'm barren!
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When the film has thunderstorm sound effects, Servo remarks "Wow, it's really coming down." When there's a wide shot, Servo reacts, "WAIT A MINUTE! IT'S BEAUTIFUL [OUT]!"
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm Cherokee Jack!" would be repeated in later episodes. invoked
  • Mock Millionaire: How Mike and the bots are dressed in the first and second host segments, complete with stereotypical rich accents.
  • Mondegreen Gag:
    • Servo mishears part of the movie's Title Theme Tune as "Mundo Penis".
    • There's also Chastain's name; the bots mishear it as "Justine".
    • Crow misheard "his grandparent meant so much to him" as his "green pants".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The entire theme of "Bouncy Upbeat Song"
    Gypsy: [soloing] Have you ever touched a Post-it Note?
    Have you ever looked at boots?
    Have you ever sat down in a chair?
    Have you ever used a paper clip?
  • Napoleon Delusion: The movie drives Mike to believing he's Carol Channing at one point.
  • Negative Continuity: The episode ends with the entire SOL crew being driven insane by the movie, and with Forrester attempting to kill Frank after being beaten to a pulp no less than twice due to the latter throwing him under the proverbial bus. Everything's back to normal in the next episode.
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    • Crow's scream for the old man falling down the well goes on and on.
    • Dr. Forrester's "I'm dead/I'm not dead" speech.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • You'd think Dr. Forrester getting beaten to near-death by a mobster (twice!) wouldn't be funny... You'd think that...
      • The goofy cartoon noises as Forrester gets beaten (and the fact that he's clearly being beaten up by a puppet) help.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sanity Slippage: The ending host segment. Crow's laugh is particularly strained and demented.
  • Shout-Out: Frank bringing Dr. F hard-boiled eggs and nuts while he's in traction is a reference to the beginning of a famous slapstick routine by Laurel and Hardy first used in their 1932 short County Hospital. Given the grief that Stan puts poor Ollie through in that short, Clayton's agonized groan may be one of This Is Gonna Suck...
  • Smoking Hot Sex: At one point, Griffin and his two buddies are sitting by the side of the road, smoking cigarettes and looking whimsically. Servo suggests that they just made out.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: They get a lot of jokes out of Coleman Francis's inability to put together a convincing invasion force:
    Mike: There's 80,000 of them and seven of us.
    Servo: Ted, you take Havana.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Why has TV's Frank called up the SOL at the start of the episode?
    Frank: Oh, hi, Mike. Say, have you ever been in deep with the mob for, oh, saaaaaaay... 50 large?