Remember Mystery Science Theater 3000? That post-modern masterpiece of cinematic deconstruction that ran on Comedy Central through 1999? You know, the one with the robots cracking jokes in front of a movie screen?
Good new for fans of the show: The brain behind MST3K, Joel Hodgson, is back at it again, spinning old B-movies into comedic gold. Hodgson and the rest of his Satellite of Love crewmates—Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein—have regrouped for Cinematic Titanic, a riff jam a lot like MST3K, only without the smart-alecky robots and the red jump suit. “If we just did another MST3K, we were concerned it would have that AfterMASH feel,” says Hodgson. “Sometimes it’s harder to revisit what you’ve done before. Sometimes, to get the same result, you have to do something completely different.”
And sometimes creative difference with the original show’s producer makerelaunching a sequel with the same characters too complicated (Hogdsonand Best Brains Productions fell out in 1993 over plans for what becamethe 1996 feature film version of the show).
In any case, Cinematic Titanic isn’t that different. As with MST3K, Hodgson and company appear in silhouette in front of a movie screen lobbing zingers as stinkers like The Doomsday Machine unspool in front of them. “MST3K has sort of become The Dark Side of the Moonof comedy—people keep turning their friends onto it on DVD,” saysHodgson. “But about a year ago, for some reason, I started to reallymiss doing it. I was sorry I had left. I wanted to find a way to do itagain.”
He’s still finding that way. So far, Cinematic Titanic isavailable only on DVD (a third episode went on sale yesterday),although you might catch Hodgson and crew acting out a live version(they’ve given CT performances in Dallas and Los Angeles). And Hodgsonstill has some structural kinks to iron out in the new show—likecharacter development and backstory. “We’re sort of dropping hints asto who these people are and why they’re in the theater riffing on oldmovies, but it’s not all there yet,” he says. “We’re figuring it out aswe go along. It took a long time to figure out MST3K, it’ll take sometime to figure this out, too.”
We’re pretty sure it’ll be worth thewait. How about you, PopWatchers? Who’s excited for the return of Hogdson, and are there any movies you’d like to see him riff on in the next edition of Cinematic Titanic?