Has it really been more than 15 years since Mystery Science Theater 3000 last snarked from the shadows? Created by comedian Joel Hodgson in 1988 as a way of making good use of his Minnesota public-access channel’s B-movie library, MST3K amassed a loyal following throughout the 1990s by perfecting the art of talking back at bad movies. The show -- which found Hodgson (and, later, replacement host Mike Nelson) and robots Tom Servo and Crow repeatedly being subjected to audaciously terrible genre films -- got canceled in 1999, but DVD releases, Netflix reruns, Comic-Con appearances, and various live-performance formats (see: Hodgson’s Cinematic Titanic and Nelson’s RiffTrax) kept its spirit alive.
And now, on the same day that specialty label Shout! Factory announced that it had purchased the rights to MST3K with plans to revive the series in a digital space, the series' original host has launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for bad-movie fans for upwards of $2 million to crowdfund new episodes.
You might wonder which movies will get the MST3K treatment before deciding to cough up your hard-earned cash, but even Hodgson doesn't know specifics yet, telling Reddit that he hopes to circle back to missed opportunities from the '70s and '80s. That's understandable, and we'll watch whatever they wind up tackling, but what to do with the needlessly horrendous films that have been released since the show's debut? Will they just sit there, un-riffed upon? Here are 11 modern genre disasters in need of Hodgson & Co.'s signature front-row heckling.
The Warriors honcho Walter Hill, who produced the Alien series, had signed on to direct. James Spader, Angela Bassett, and Robert Forster were set to star. It was a project once described as "Hellraiser in outer space," featuring paintings by H.R. Giger. Supernova should have been legendary. Instead, by the time it hit theaters, Hill wouldn’t even put his name on it.
Ghosts of Mars (2001)
John Carpenter’s collision of ghastly violence and sci-fi adornment amounted to the bargain rack at Hot Topic.
Jason X (2002)
The best MST3K films were a mix of sci-fi, horror, and Afterschool Special (see: Future War). Jason X resides at the bottom of that mash-up barrel. With nowhere to go, Friday the 13th sent Jason Voorhees to space. And in space, no one can hear you cackle.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
MST3K found room for every one of Japan’s slapdash, kaiju battle movies. Final Wars was a last-ditch effort from Godzilla parent company Toho to milk the property. It’s a frenzy of colors and claws crying to be ripped apart.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
It was the match-up sci-fi fans had only imagined in their dreams. Mortal Kombat director Paul W.S. Anderson decided it should be exactly like... Mortal Kombat. “Whoever wins, we lose,” indeed.
Roland Emmerich is synonymous with disaster movies. In 2012, he reduced the human element completely. Whatever non sequitur dialogue Hodgson and pals come up with would be a step up from what Emmerich resorted to as he sent his characters screaming from CGI earthquakes, volcano blasts, and tidal waves.
Because we’re still laughing at the Na’vi. Lovingly.
After Earth (2013)
Two hours of Will Smith giving Jaden Smith a lesson in Dianetics. It will be tough for MST3K to top M. Night Shyamalan’s own highfalutin script, but we believe in the team.
The Host (2013)
From the writer of Twilight, a Body Snatchers redux about love triangles and wheat production. Hey, wake up.
Fateful Findings (2013)
Tommy Wiseau has nothing on Las Vegas architect Neil Breen. This low-budget vanity project, full of ghosts, super powers, and creep-factor-10 sexual tension, escaped into the wild for bad-movie lovers to feast upon.
Johnny Depp is… a computer! A bald computer.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. Groundhog Day is his favorite movie. Yell at him on Twitter @misterpatches.