MST3K: Star Force: Fugitive Alien II
Tonight’s soundtrack: Radiohead, “Subterranean Homesick Alien”
Tom Servo’s head exploding in silhouette is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. Wait. That sounds needlessly objective.
Twenty minutes into this thing, while Joel and the bots watch the movie and make with their jokes and generally carry on, Tom Servo’s head suddenly bursts open with a wet popping crack. Hardly any warning. Just mocking the woozy captain in the movie, then “I really don’t feel so good,” then splorch, flail. This freaked me the fuck out. I know it happened to a puppet - in fact, the shadow of a puppet - but when I first saw that I let out a genuine cry of dismay.
Right up there with the original chestburster scene, far as I’m concerned.
It’s easier to watch when I know what’s coming, but I’m never immune to it.
* * *
I would not attempt to convince anyone to “get into” MST3K at this point. The show was there, and now it’s not. Many of its references are dated, and the aesthetic is… perhaps more lovable than admirable. It meant a lot to me and my friends. It certainly felt like the only comedy worth watching at the time. Unless you count Homicide.
But it’s not for everyone, for all time. And that’s okay.
These days, I’d point people at Cinematic Titanic. Fantastic stuff. Contemporary jokes! Live shows! Josh Weinstein and Frank Conniff! It’s the complete entertainment package. If you don’t like it, I have clever insults to share concerning your immunity to eternal damnation in consideration of your soulless nature.
But MST? It’s like family. It’s like the people I watched it with. I love them, and I see past their flaws, and I know what they’re getting at most of the time. I’d have to be mad or Firefly fan to think strangers might agree.