Movie Sign Anew! MST3K Reviews, Part 3
8 – The Loves of Hercules – The big news about this stinker is that it stars Jayne Mansfield and her bodybuilder husband. But if you know MST3K at all, you’ll know bad Hercules movies are their bread and butter.
MST3K has had some doozies throughout the years – remember sandstorm?- and this one is right up there with them. The main problem with the movie is Jayne’s husband, bless his bronzed, buff heart, can’t act worth a damn, and his thick accent is nearly enough to distract you from it, but no. She isn’t much better, trying to use her beauty to distract you from her stiffness – it almost works, and might work for some. Add to that the clunky script, the super cheap special effects – dig that painted cow/bull, the hydra, and the Montessori kindergarten version of the “forest of the dead” – and the more incompetent than usual fight scenes and “feats of strength”, and you have a film that has little to recommend it. Even the love scenes are unconvincing, and considering they were an actual thing, that’s pretty sad. It’s really terrible, but I did enjoy the attack of the podcasting Sasquash with the hair Speedo. That came out of nowhere, and was the most wonderful surprise in the movie. I wish there was more of that kind of wackiness.
9 – Yongary – What if they threw a Gamera movie, and Gamera never showed up? It’s a question no one asked, and yet it is kind of answered with this Korean monster movie. I want to say there’s a little Prince of Space general incompetence in it as well, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up for a Krankor type. Sadly, there is no Krankor – dear god, Krankor, where are you in our national time of need?! Anyway, Yongary looks like an off-brand Godzilla with a horn, and it could have been a monster Gamera fought, but this is a Korean film, so never the twain shall meet. I do love a good and a bad monster film, and this is definitely in the latter category. So many model buildings and army equipment come to a stompy end, with a little variety to be had in that it’s Korea being crushed, not Japan. I have to admit here that stupid monster movies like this are kind of my jam, and I enjoyed this immensely. Even the end, which seems indeed like they’re pestering him to death, and then it gets surprisingly gory for a rubber suited kaiju film, even though it feels earned since his death takes so goddamn long. It’s a terrible film, and I got many good laughs out of this one. I already know I’m going to watch this one again. (Go on – ask me how much I loved Prince of Space, despite the lack of a big monster. And that planetary giant thing doesn’t count. I think I’m going to watch Prince of Space right now. I’ll be back soon.)
10 – Wizards of the Lost Kingdom – Oh good, a bullshit medieval sword and sorcery film. Like Hercules films and monster movies, it’s an MST3K staple. And this one also stars Thom Christopher, the bad guy who picked his own beats for the script in one of my all time favorite MST3K episodes, Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell. I was pretty much laughing myself silly by the time the wedding Yeti showed up. And oh god, Apeula! It’s a good sign when you have to pause the film because you’re laughing so hard. The funny thing is I think Christopher is pretty much playing the same character he played in Deathstalker, although he’s traded boat necks for a crab hat, and has hair. I guess it’s a step up. The fight choreography is actually worse than Deathstalker, which I know is hard to believe, but there it is. The adult hero is just as bad, although he’s more into booze than womanizing. I will admit the laughs slow down a bit after the twenty minute mark; this is one of those bonkers as hell kids films that has some surprisingly dark undertones. And lots of thrown vegetables. This isn’t Deathstalker the return, but it is equivalent to Quest of the Delta Knights, which also had a strangely fey young hero, dark undertones, and a smattering of weirdoes. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit this movie recycles some of the Deathstalker music, which seems like a weird coincidence. And after watching this, please go watch Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell, as it is Ore-Ida. (Yes, I know, it was an obvious joke. I couldn’t help myself.)
11 – Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 – Jesus Christ, they made another one of these? Starring David Carradine?! Actually, as is pointed out, this is an entirely different film, with the sequel name slapped on it for some reason. No characters from the first film appear in this one, and it’s somehow worse. The teen hero is older and less fey, but much more whiny and unappealing, and his wig is terrible. The plot is somehow more ragged and full of holes, and the characters are thinner and/or more obnoxious. And saying Carradine stars is a real stretch – he’s top billed, but only shows up for a single scene early, and then shows up again in the last thirty minutes. Nice work if you can get it. But Pearl, Brain Guy, and Bobo make a reappearance, which is always welcome. Although the Bobo mask is no better here. (Guy who owns it – way to not play ball and share it.)
Can I say both this movie and its predecessor have scenes where adult women try and “tempt” the young boy protagonists, and it is creepy as fuck. They point out how creepy it would be if the roles were reversed, but it’s still icky this way too. And the first movie doubles down in having the main bad guy choose the young tween girl for his queen, but again, it is all creepy. The gender swap means nothing. I hope filmmakers really don’t do this anymore, and fantasy authors. Tween boys are still just boys. Stop. It.