20 August 2009

RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space

Rifftrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space
featuring Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphey
date: 20 August 2009
Fathom Events, 120 mins., UR

Back in the 1990's, there was this cult phenomenon called Mystery Science Theater 3000, a two-hour show that had a guy and two robots doomed to watch horrible, horrible B-movie flicks like Robot Monster and Manos: The Hands of Fate. Forced to endure these masterpieces of cinema, they coped by completely riffing and dissecting them, beating them to a bloody pulp, and all-around having massive fun. Since the show's cancellation, it's cult status has remained strong with 13 DVD box set releases and even spawned a movie.

Three of the folks involved with MST3K (at least, I think...) developed a new platform to riff movies without dealing with that annoying rights issues. They created RiffTrax, a website where folks can download .mp3 files of basically these guys dissin' the hell out of movies, big budget (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) to B-grade (something). My absolute favorist is the Twilight riff, which is freakin' sublime. Anywhoot, the RiffTrax team held a one-night only live performance for the classic "worst movie of all time", Plan 9 From Outer Space, directed by a one Ed Wood (world renowned for his bad movies, even famous enough for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp to unite in a biopic on the man). Luckily, the local Marcus Oakdale UltraScreen were showing the movie, presented by FathomEvents (who are apparently going to be showing a big-time Anime movie event for Eureka Seven in September). Overall, it was a fun time, but I gotta say, $12.50 for a single freakin' ticket is a tad too much. OK, like a lot too much.

The event was fun. The show began with one of those training or docu specials back in the heyday, this one called Flying Stewardess or something along those lines. Honestly, that was downright hilarious, and it's even funnier as jokes from this segment are brought up again during airplane sequences in Plan 9.

There were two faux advertisements as per "a word from our sponsers", which were quite funny. One talking about grapes and a 'GrapeWatcher' which updates a customer every two minutes on the status of ones grapes, the other being about some convention about...plants? Memory's a little fuzzy now. Anywhoot, these 2-minute sketches were then followed up by a musical guest whose name I think was John. A self-professed horror/sci-fi geek, he sang two songs with his guitar about zombies (the first might not have been, not entirely sure due to my going to get some popcorn). Overall, the guy was great; the lyrics of his song was hysterical, it being a conversation between an employee who just turned into a zombie who was once friends with a member of the Resistence. Funny guy. Mike, Bill, Kevin, and the musical guest (whatever his name may be) also came up and sang a little brilliant diddy about plans 1-8 and how they all miserably failed. Apparently, this skit was done similarly for the colorized Plan 9 DVD release, but this was new to me, so I found it absolutely brilliantly hilarious.

Yes, sirs, I found a lot of things about RiffTrax Live quite hilarious. I don't remember many of the things that left me so ROFLing, my lack of foresight to bring anything to write with let alone on, but it was simply great, geeky fun with an absolute tongue-in-cheek atmosphere.

Now, as for Plan 9 From Outer Space (originally titled Grade Robbers from Outer Space), this was the first time I ever watched the entire movie (never made it past the first five). The first thing I want to say is that the color print they used looked splendid. In fact, I really wouldn't be surprised if, just for cult movie classic sake, Anchor Bay or whoever owns the rights release a Blu-Ray version of the title. So, yeah, the print looked pretty, and there were many times I became distracted looking at the nifty coloring effects, especially when it came to Tor Johnson (the really big dude with his always-open mouth; speaking of which, there were some hilarious food jokes from the trio).

Speaking of the trio, there were some great moments. The commentary on the "Ruler" and the alien space ship grapes, the lack of fleeing or helping not being "invented" yet on earth, the 'sound effects' of the flying saucers, etc., etc. Mike & Co. were on their top game.

Overall, cool event. I hope there's more in the future (doubtful, but I can hope), maybe with Robot Monster or maybe even a Godzilla or Gamera movie!!! (now that's really living in a fantasy world) It was a fun experience, but the price tag is a tad high. Oh well, at least I got to hear some nifty original zombie songs. Now although I may never be able to watch the flick the same again, I'm ready to see Plan 9 in it's original form, endure it as much as possible, as I will do with Manos: The Hands of Fate. In fact, now I'm just itchin' to watch B-movies. I might just take a cue from Freddy in Space and do my own chronicle of bad flickaroos.

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