For those not in the know, Rifftrax is a trio of MST3K alumni that consists of Michael J. Nelson (head writer and host), Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot). They joined together to create a great series of downloadable audio tracks that could be played along with a film on DVD and featured the crew's signature barbed jokes and obscure pop references. Every one that I've heard is very funny and harkens back to the best days of MST3K.
For this event the group, filming live in a theater in
That was followed by At Your Fingertips: Cylinders. This instructional film about using cylindrical tubes and containers for arts and crafts projects was even funnier than the first short. Mike, Kevin, and Bill jabbed everything from the lack of narration during long stretches ("The narrator went for a smoke and got locked out of the building.") to the absurd music ("When I think of cylinders, I think of harpsichord music.")
After a short word from the 'sponsor' about the joys of prune juice the main event finally arrived: "Manos" The Hands of Fate. Written, directed, and staring fertilizer salesman Hal Warren, this movie is one of the most incomprehensibly bad shows ever filmed. As one of the crew said "it's the worst film even made that's not a Transformers movie."
The plot, what there is of it, is pretty thin. A family of three; Mom, Dad, and daughter Debbie, along with their dog Pepe, get lost on a family vacation and are looking for a place to spend the night when the stumble across a lodge run by Torgo, a slow moving man with incredibly large thighs who is supposed to be scary, apparently. As luck would have it, the car breaks down trapping the family with Torgo. Are you scared yet? I hope so 'cause it doesn't get any scarier. Torgo starts rambling on and on about "The Master" and his wives. The family spends a good amount of time staring at a picture of "The Master" with his hellhound. Well, Pepe gets out of the house and killed, and then Debbie sneaks out too. When her parents go searching for her they find her with...The Master's hell hound!!! Well, it might have been startling except the dog is quite friendly and not at all vicious looking. Anyway, "The Master" and his wives eventually awaken and try to decide what to do with the family. The wives start fighting in a cat fight that seems to last forever. When the end finally comes, you find yourself not really caring who lives and who dies, just so the movie ENDS.
The problem that the Rifftrax crew had is that they couldn't use any of the MST jokes... those had already been done, so Torgo's huge thighs were only mentioned once, briefly. Instead they came up with a whole new group of things to joke about including how insane the family must have been to stay at Torgo's place. From Torgo's first appearance ("Drink me in folks, it costs nothing to look.") to the parents less-than-frantic search for their missing daughter ("The dad isn't exactly Liam Neeson in Taken, is he?") and beyond they had the whole theater laughing constantly. It was a pretty amazing thing: for the entire run of the movie I doubt that there were two consecutive minutes when I didn't laugh. Their riffing was continuously hilarious. I wasn't alone in that opinion, everyone leaving the theater was laughing and reciting their favorite lines.
Be sure to stick though the credits too. While they roll there's a take off of the song Take it Easy sung by 'Turgo.' With rewritten lyrics that retell the movie from Turgo's point of view, it was a great video and a highlight of the evening that was filled with hilarity.
In case you missed this showing, mark your calanders for October 25, 2012. That's when Fathom is going to host another Rifftrax Live event where they poke fun of the movie Birdemic.