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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 12 The Incredibly Strange Creatures

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The title actually has appendices!

Film watched: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

This episode is often credited as the Trope Namer for "Nightmare Fuel," when Mike Nelson quips upon seeing a bizarre laughing clown, "Ah, good old-fashioned nightmare fuel!" Too bad "Santa Claus" beat it to the punch...

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here, and on Shout! Factory here.

The Segments:


Segment 1

  • Mike receives a HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT shirt from Servo to spread awareness about his charity, just as the SOL detects a spacecraft launching from the Camping Planet. It turns out to be Pearl, who's loaded Buddy, Darlene, and Scooter (the omnipotent Space Children from the previous episode) into the Widowmaker, keeping them placated with bar snacks and drink mixes as she tries to return them to their parents. On the Camping Planet itself, Brain Guy and Bobo are left to communicate to the SOL via a voice-only link after Pearl goes out of range. They butt heads trying to determine who's sending the experiment today, during which Bobo flings something unmentionable at Brain Guy.

Segment 2

  • Crow and Servo respectively pretend to be a fraudulent fortuneteller and his crystal ball like in the one in the movie, trying to read Mike's aura to swindle him out of 50 cents. He's not fooled in the slightest and actually a little disappointed by how their plot fails, so he just gives them the money out of pity.

Segment 3

  • Inspired by the tall pompadour the foreign guy in the film has, Crow and Servo have gotten similar hairdos from Shelli the Nanite, and they convince Mike to get one too. Shelli ends up giving him a hairstyle that extends 70 miles outside the Satellite, with Rocket No. 9 revealing that a communication satellite got tangled in it. After having it drastically shortened, Mike keeps his new hairstyle in the theater for a short while, before realizing that it's merely taped on.

Segment 4

  • Crow hires Ortega's catering service to supply some lunch during the host segment. He wows the Bots with the fancy meals he's prepared, but Mike just can't stop making barbs at his personal hygiene, shaming poor Ortega to the point where he splashes acid in his face.

Segment 5

  • Servo and Crow show off their new rollercoaster, "The Screaming Lemur", to Mike. The ride itself consists of a decorated box on the desk with a safety bar made of duct tape, and it comes with a complimentary cup of joe. It's only after Mike takes his first (and last) ride that the 'Bots decide to actually add a track. Back in the Widowmaker, Pearl finally reaches the Space Childrens' homeworld, where she meets their huge and utterly omnipotent parents, who are thankful to her for returning their tykes and offer to let her come inside for coffee and carrot cake. She politely refuses, but is briefly moved as the kids say goodbye and tell her how much they love her. Once they disappear, however, she expresses sheer glee at her freedom and leaves to go gamble.

The MST3K presentation of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: "Nothing runs like a Bulgarian car," in reference to a rickety '50s station wagon.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "We take VISA, MasterCard, and dead rats."
  • Broken Record: Mike keeps singing "Take me out to the..." in response to the background music.
  • Call-Back:
    • "I thought I was Dale!"
    • When Jerry is walking alone, Servo sings "Night Train to Mundo Fine".
    • As Estrella and Ortega are getting strangled to death by the eponymous zombies, Mike lets out a "VaaAAAAAAANCE!"
    • During the quasi-African dance number, Crow states that "They made Leech Woman into a musical."
  • Developing Doomed Characters: After some extended scenes with Jerry, Angela and Harold doing nothing of consequence:
    Crow: Now, wasn't there at one point a fortune-teller who killed a doughy middle manager guy, or am I thinking of a different movie?
  • Did You See That Too?: Crow's reaction upon seeing the weird ticket-selling monkey:
    Crow: Did you guys just see that or did I imagine it?
  • Disney Acid Sequence: A truly bizarre dream sequence in the movie reduces poor Servo to a frightened, whimpering wreck.
  • Dung Fu: Bobo gets some measure of revenge on Observer.
    Bobo: How 'bout a little game of catch?
  • Expy: Ortega filled the shoes of Torgo in sketches on the Sci-Fi Channel episodes.
  • Funny Background Event: While Pearl is explaining to Mike that she has to take the Space Kids home, Billy and Darlene are behind her encouraging Scooter to throw up.
    • Which stand for "Walkers At Large Kinetically Active Through Hygiene or Nowledge (Yes, Knowledge with an N)", and "Hi, Everyone! Let's Pitch In 'N Get Cracking, Here in Louisiana, Doing Right, Eh? Now Then, Hateful Rich Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurt Royally Everytime Someone Eats A Radish-Carrot Hors d'oeurve And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neusberger Tod"note 
  • Initialism Title: Crow claims to have seen the sequel, "TISCWSLABMUZ" 2.
  • Mondegreen Gag: "Schick Outta Shape"
    "The first blade lifts! The second one cuts! It's a Schick outta shape!"
  • Nausea Fuel: invoked
    • During the Shaky Cam POV roller coaster sequence:
    Servo: Filmed in NauseaVision.
    • Mike was grossed out by Ortega's hot buffet, simply because Ortega was handling the food and ashing in one dish. Servo and Crow, on the other hand, were delighted.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Invoked by Mike after a close up of a carnival attraction.
    • Played straight by Servo when he freaks out during the Mushroom Samba sequence.
  • Offscreen Crash: The result of Mike riding on Crow and Tom's makeshift roller coaster, "The Screaming Lemur".
    Tom Servo: Maybe we should look into that "track" thing...
  • Old Shame: invoked Mike feels the size of the word "presents" in the opening credits indicates the studio was sheepish about this movie.
    • Turns into a Brick Joke at the end of the film: "The camera pulls away as if to say, "Sorry, everyone, I'm really sorry about this. My fault.'"
  • Overly Long Gag: Servo reciting what HELPINGCHILDRENTHROUGHRESEARCHANDDEVELOPMENT stands for, to the point where Crow just walks off.
  • Product Placement: Parodied, in that, thanks to a heavy case of mondegreen, Mike and the bots are convinced that one of the musical numbers is an advertisement for Schick razors, and add their own bits to make it sound like even more of an advertisement.
  • Retirony: Parodied, as a zombie is about to attack a (young) police officer:
    Crow: Oh, watch this. He's 50 years from retirement, too.
  • Running Gag: "Hey, look. A carnival. Wow."
    • Mike and the bots constantly mention how much Jerry resembles Nicolas Cage.
      Crow: (as Jerry) Where's Elizabeth Shue?
    • M&tB's comments on the alcoholic dancer (played by Ray Dennis Steckler's then-wife) and her "mannish" appearance, along with her partner, a very blond, brush-cut guy. A torrent of Gender Bender and gay-Nazi jokes ensues.
    • Harold & Estrella's weird foreign speech patterns.
    • Jerry's girlfriend's brother is a "shut-in geek/Norman Bates" kind of guy who looks like Ed Grimley.
      • MADISON.
    • Jerry's facial structure in general, "He's an Easter Island statue", "He's got a cab-forward face", "...'cuz it doesn't work on ferrets!'", etc.
    • The crappiness of the musical numbers.
      "Never let your book club be your backup dancers, that's what I say."
    • "You feelthy peeg!"
    • As Jerry rifles through his wallet. "Let me move my condom here."
    • Riffs and eventually irritation about the many carnival exterior shots.
      Mike: Okay, there's a fair that figures prominently into the movie! We know!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spoof Aesop: Following what happens to the drunk who turns down Estrella.
    Crow: The lesson? Have sex with a fortune-telling gypsy if she demands it.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: After Crow and Tom's attempt to con Mike out of 50 cents with an elaborate fortune-teller act goes awry, Mike points out that if all they wanted was 50 cents he'd be happy to just give it to them. When Mike freely gives them the quarters, Servo and Crow still act like they conned Mike.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: The film's use of this trope garners a comment; but, since the police officer in question looks like he's about 14, Crow naturally gives him a squeaky, pubescent voice: "stOp oR i'll shOot!"
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Lampshaded by Crow, when an audience member phones in his reaction to the eponymous zombies:
    Crow: I have fear!
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The crew either identify the dancing couple as this...
  • Verbal Tic: The Nanite who cuts Mike's hair ends virtually every sentence with "Er...?"
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Some riffs come from trying to guess Harold's background.