Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S08 E06: The Undead

Go To
I saw the Undead at Unalpine Unvalley.

Film watched: The Undead

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here, and on the MST3k YouTube channel here.

The Segments:

  • Mike tries to explain their current predicament with the Observers to the audience, but Crow and Servo insist that he explain all that's happened before in every detail. Mike then gets locked in a memory of one of his old temp jobs and the 'Bots get nervous.

Segment 1

  • The Observers give the crew and Mads intelligence tests to determine exactly how inferior they are compared to themselves. Servo aces the entire test (missing only one question) and even outscores one of the Observers, whose brain is sent to the Enrichment Chamber as punishment.

Segment 2

  • Servo is invited down to the Observer planet to join their ranks, though he's really no good at observing. His time as an Observer comes to an end when he's caught stealing spoons from their silverware drawer.

Segment 3

  • Livia the witch appears on the SOL to steal the crew's souls, but her shapeshifting magic is a little out-of-whack.

Segment 4

  • Mike recognizes Digger Smolkin from an old record he had bought and puts it on for the 'Bots to hear. They find that Smolkin can sing a wide range of genres, even if he does pepper his verses with random shouts of "filth", "rat" and "corpse".

Segment 5

  • Upon learning that Leonard Maltin gave The Undead three stars in his Video Guide, Servo has Mike act as Maltin so he can yell at him for it. Bobo sneaks out to make a sandwich and mistakes the Observer's brain in the Enrichment Chamber for lunchmeat. And Crow is an imp.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode of this movie contains examples of:

  • Batty Lip Burbling: During the lengthy and involved STAYYY!! climactic final choice, right in the middle of Diane-or-Helene's big speech:
    Diane/Helene: I must have help... [sobs] but it can come from none of thee. If I die while here, dozens more beyond that veil of death...
    Servo: [as Diana/Helene] What I'm saying is *bbbilboblbldldy*
  • Brain Bleach
    Servo: You know, Smolkin's naked sometimes, Mike.
    Mike: ...Oh, damn you, Servo.
  • But Wait, There's More!: When Satan appears in the graveyard, and people line up to sell their souls to him:
    Servo: If you pledge your soul, you'll get a Satan tote bag.
  • Call-Forward: Sort of — Bobo sings the first few bars of "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" over and over while making his midnight snack. The next episode, Terror from the Year 5000 has the Observers doing their best Ink Spots impression with "When I Held Your Brain in My Arms".
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When the Observers are looking over the results of the IQ tests given to the cast
    Observer: The one called "Gypsy" did rather well. 80th Percentile among robots of her kind, of which there is only one.
  • Flashback Stares: The 'bots insist that Mike provides a COMPLETE recap of events up to and before his employment at Deep 13 — unfortunately, they send him back too far (complete with Kubrick Stare.)
    Mike: Never figured out why they fired me... hmm. Ah, yeah... I was late a lot, there was that... quite a bit, actually... showed up that one time from that kegger — I was all stinky, I hadn't showered... punched that guy from accounting that one time...
    Tom: [nervous] Th-this isn't helping, Mike...
    Mike: Someone really had it out for me, though... think I know who it was too... Oh, yeah...
    Crow: M-Mike, honey... you're... you're scaring us...
  • Genius Bonus: Bobo stacking boxes to find a reward is a reference to Sultan the chimpanzee, one of the early success stories in measuring problem-solving and learning capacity in apes. invoked
    Bobo: HEY! Where's the banana?
  • Got Me Doing It: The constant mispronunciation of "Pendragon" eventually spread to Crow. His reaction was so natural it's hard to tell if he did that intentionally.
    Crow: If I were starting a pyramid scheme, I'd start with PENdra-gun. Dragon.
  • Ho Yay: Invoked by Mike when PENdra-gun is describing his encounter with Quintis:
    Pendragon: Oddly he spoke. Oddly he looked upon me.
    Mike: Oddly did I feel down there.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: More or less Bobo's reaction when he learns the "lunch meat" he sliced up for his sandwich was actually Brain Guy!Observer's brain.
  • The Imp: During the final segment, Crow dons an imp costume and pretends to be the imp from the film, which consists mainly of cackling and periodically exclaiming, "I'm an imp!".
  • Insistent Terminology: Servo insists it's Pen-DRAGon, as opposed to PENdra-gun, or Pendra-GON. (He's right.)
  • Male Gaze: They eat it up when Livia is introduced with a slow pan up her body. And as Helene walks onscreen in her dress that draws your eye to a certain location:
    Servo: Showcasing: Breasts!
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: The only reason Servo got a single question wrong on the Observers' intelligence test.
  • Nightmare Fuel: invoked Crow's reaction upon seeing the cackling imp is one of the Trope Namers. (The other is their riffing of Santa Claus.)
    "Thatís some good old-fashioned nightmare fuel."
  • Overly-Long Gag:
  • Playing Games at Work: Mike mentions that before he was sent to the Satellite of Love, he had a really good temp job where he mostly ate bearclaws and played Doom. He has no idea why he got fired, though.
  • Power Incontinence: Livia, a witch from the film, escapes into the SoL, but is unable to control her powers and winds up transformed into a bottle of bleach. (She does make Crow scream in terror when she briefly turns into Pearl.)
  • Running GSTAY!!!!ag
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simpleton Voice: Mike and Crow affect these upon finding out that Tom proved himself intelligent enough to join the Observers.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: One of the knights goes a little farther in his broken Ye Olde Englishe. Mike takes full advantage when he gets jumped.
    Mike: Me help! Attacked I'm being! Hitting me stop you must! God dear bleeding am I! Break my leg think I did you!
  • Stylistic Suck: Digger Smolkin's standards album in Segment 4, where every song is disrupted by his corpse/rat/filth Verbal Tic. To the tune of "Send In The Clowns":
    Smolkin: Isn't it rats? Aren't we a corpse? Losing my coffin this time of the filth~
    • Subverted in the last song of the album, in which Digger sings "Greensleeves" accurately with only one utterance of "filth" at the very end.
  • Take That!:
    • Servo has Mike put on Leonard Maltin-esque glasses and fake beard and then read a Humiliation Conga statement in Maltin's voice so that Servo can yell at him as retaliation for giving The Undead three stars in his Video Guide.
    • A younger Mike having been a big fan of the music of Shaun Cassidy is treated as a shameful admission by everyone but Mike.
    • And then there's this little bit...
      Witch: Wake the Emperor of Hell.
      Crow: You know Michael Eisner?
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Crow has this reaction upon seeing Roger Corman's name in the credits.
    Crow: Well, that's it, we're doomed.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Mocked thoroughly whenever it appears, for instance:
    Servo: [as knight pulling Smolkin over] Pullest thy vehicle to the curb and showest me thy driver's license and registration. Did thou knowest how fast thou was driving?
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Once again, Mike opens himself up for mockery by revealing yet another snippet of his dorky '80s lifestyle when he pulls out his record collection:
    Mike: Yeah, I told you guys, I thought Digger Smolkin sounded familiar, so I dug out this old album I bought at a garage sale the same time I bought my beloved copy of Shaun Cassidy's Wasp.
    Servo: Mike, every single reference to your past paints an ever-darker picture of a damaged, lonely little man.
    Mike: ...Ahh, says you. Do you want to hear Digger Smolkin or not?
    Servo: Are you kidding? Slap that on there, you wonderful man!
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    Mike: (as a character who just put on a ridiculously oversized knight helmet) There. Sure glad I don't look stupid in this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nobody's impressed with Pendragon stabbing Livia, satanic Evil Sorceress or not.
    Mike: And our brave knight stabs an unarmed woman! Way to go, Pendra-GON.