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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S10 E10: It Lives by Night

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Film watched: It Lives by Night

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:

  • As the crew gets ready to do some painting on the SOL, Mike offers some color choices and asks the 'Bots how each one makes them feel.

Segment 1

  • Pearl performs an experiment on tactical misdirection to keep the crew from noticing the mutagenic poisons that are being sprayed on them. They notice and demand immediate antidote, while Pearl tries to deny the accusations.

Segment 2

  • Crow is unconvinced that the wife in the movie looks more like Mary Tyler Moore than he does. To prove it, he has the crew act out a scene from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but Mike and Servo don't buy the idea that Crow is Mary.

Segment 3

  • The 'Bots find Mike on the floor and foaming at the mouth and immediately administer rabies shots. He actually just fell asleep eating a cream puff, but Mike lets them finish the injections to cheer them up.

Segment 4

  • The crew try to outdo each other to win Pearl's attention by growing mustaches.

Segment 5

  • Servo becomes a franchisee for the Buddy Ebson Hat Distressing Corporation and is disappointed at how little he gets for his money, while Crow gets an incredibly large franchisee kit from the Red Skelton Technologies Hat Distressing Company. Pearl is treating Brain Guy and Bobo to a slideshow of her many honeymoons... and the mysterious deaths of the lovers who went with her on them.

Tropes found in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation include:

  • Black Widow: Pearl has racked up quite the collection of dead husbands and fiancés.
    Pearl: Sit back down or I'll marry you!
  • Body Horror: After Pearl sprays the SOL with poison, Crow grows extra limbs, Tom's hands grow huge, and Mike grows an extra Tom Servo out his back. They all return to normal once Pearl sprays the SOL with an antidote. Tom and Crow get over it quickly.
    Crow: Hey, put her there, pal. (offers all of his hands, chuckles)
  • Bowdlerize: This version of the movie removes some gorier shots from the murder scenes. Two big cuts remove the scene where Sergeant Ward attempts to sexually assault Cathy in her motel, and his death where he shoots himself while being swarmed by bats.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the rough cut, the guys reference the "Owner of a Lonely Heart" joke from Final Justice; at one point, Patrick Brantseg starts playing the song, and the guys remark that they have to listen at least to the orchestra hit. (They improvise on the lyrics: "Lick yourself!")
    • The crew also do some ADR for Hamlet.
  • Comically Missing the Point: "A guy named Associate Producer was the Dante Cucinello?"
  • Continuity Nod: A handful of references are made to Werewolf (1996), probably due to the stupidly similar plot seen once this movie really gets rolling. The Rough Cut reveals a lot of it was Throw It In, since in that cut they mock the Large Hamminess of the acting. invoked
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Crow's reaction to the ending, the implications of which in turn horrifies him, Servo and Mike.
    Crow: Now, wait a minute! How did she turn into a bat? The only contact she had with him was in the hotel, and... Oh my God.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences:
    Doctor: [to Johnny] Now, you wandered out of your room, spotted the nurse —
    Servo: Killed her.
    Doctor: — dead.
    Servo: ...because of you.
    Doctor: You panicked —
    Servo: Re-killed her.
    Doctor: You rushed back to your room — now, you're in a state of near-coma — then you distorted the sequence of events. In your mind, you killed the nurse.
    Mike: Which is what you did, so it's fine.
    Johnny: Why?
    Doctor: You're a doctor, you didn't help her. Guilt.
    Crow: That's what you should feel.
  • Historical In-Joke: The entire spraying the SOL with mutagens is a reference to Operation LAC when the CIA sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide over Minnesota, among other states, just to see what would happen (answer: severe respiratory problems.) The CIA later apologized in the 1990's, pretty much in the flat way Pearl did, with the same excuses Pearl gave. BBI mentioned it in The Amazing Colossal Guide. They, too, were not amused.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: In the rough cut, the guys remark on the fact that Coily could be interpreted in...dirtier ways. This leads to them coming up with many names for poop sprites like "Fecey" and "Stooly".
  • Oh, Crap!: Or in this case, "SQUEAK! SQUEAK!"
  • Porn Stache: Mike attempts one like the ski bum doctor's to see how it looks on him and asks Pearl her opinion . She likes it, mildly. Crow goes for an even bigger one, which makes her quite smitten with him. Servo takes his up to eleven, but it's just so big that he falls over.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In the rough cut version, during one later scene, both Crow and Tom get in on this version of one of the episode's running gags.
    • Mike later says a line kept in the televised version, "Well, squeak him!"
  • Product Placement: In the rough cut, they discuss the difficulty of a Coily mascot.
    Mike: (high pitched voice) I'm Coily with a "y"!
    Bill: (high pitched voice) I'm Coilee with a double "e"!
  • Running Gag:
    • Mellow ski bum doctor Dr. Mustache Love.
      Dr. Mustache Love: I dressed like this in Playgirl, except without my pants.
    • So MANY bat jokes, go figure, considering what movie they're riffing.
    • In the rough cut version the guys had just seen A Case of Spring Fever and spend most of the breaks between shooting making scatological jokes regarding the name "Coily".
    • The female protagonist's thin figure, as well as visual similarities to Mary Tyler Moore.
    • "Squeak..."
      • In the rough cut, Bill says, "Fucking squeak!" Kevin is especially pleased.
    • The crew had also just seen Track of the Moon Beast, and go on about Johnny's stew recipe and his Chewing the Scenery exclamation, "PAUL ISN'T PAUL ANYMORE!" They also mock the crusty caretaker in Werewolf (1996) ("Oh, Jesus, dear Goooooooood").
    • Also in the rough cut, Bill and Kevin keep yelling "Coit!" at each other. Probably an Inside Joke, though it does evolve later into discussions of Coily.
  • Screaming at Squick: Comes into play at the end of the movie along with a healthy heaping of Fridge Horror:
    Crow: Now, wait a minute... how did she turn into a bat? The only contact she had with him was in the hotel and...
    Crow: ...Oh, my God.
    Tom: GAH!
    Crow: Oh, my God! I get the shower first!
    Tom: No, me first!
    Mike: Urgh!
    • In the rough cut, after filming has stopped, Mike Nelson mutters, "Semen!", and Kevin Murphy adds an anguished "Fluids! They exchanged fluids!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Cathy calls out to Dr. Kipling, Servo says, "Rikki Tikki Tavi is looking for you!"
    • When John steals an ambulance, Crow remarks "I guess technically I'm in the Batmobile."
    • In one shot, John is hobbling away in the middle distance, leading to this riff: "It's..." while Tom hums a few bars of the show theme.
    • Cathy is Mrs. Beck, which means a reference to the musician's '90s output every time it comes up:
      Dr. Kipling: I'd go along with him if I were you, Mrs. Beck.
      Mike: Get a devil's haircut.

      Dr. Kipling: Mrs. Beck...
      Mike: You're a loser, baby.
    • "Why's he got a picture of Slash from Guns N' Roses?" over an illustration of an old-timey gentleman (wearing a top hat) in the sheriff's office.
  • Smurfing: "Squeak."
    Mike: Well, squeak him. (The rough cut revealed it's Mike's more family friendly adaptation of "Fucking squeak!")
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After Ward first asks John if he knows about the attack in the hospital the previous night:
    Crow: I'm not a bat! I mean...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked Crow opines the movie might've been better had Johnny been bitten by a cow instead.
  • Toilet Humor: Johnny leaves an unidentifiable mound of somethingnote  on the night table after his sex scene with Cathy.
    Mike: (as Cathy) He left me guano!
    Servo: (as John) There's more coming, honey! Look out!
    (Plopping noises by Servo ensue.)
    Crow: (as Cathy) It's so solid and well-shaped! He's obviously very healthy!
    Servo: (as Cathy) It's so nitrogen-rich, he knew it'd be perfect for the tomatoes!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • As obnoxious as he was before he got bitten, Johnny gets even worse afterward and this does not go unnoticed.
      Servo: Maybe he got bit by a jerk bat.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: Well, Inject First. The protagonist instantly goes into convulsions upon receiving his first rabies shot. As soon as he calms down:
    Mike: (as the doctor) "So, do you have any drug allergies?"
  • What an Idiot!: Invoked by Crow after Cathy's ignoring the warnings of the tour guide causes her to fall into a crevice and John to go after her, kick-starting the plot.
    Cathy: How do we get out of here?!
    Crow: Maybe by not being idiots!