The creative talents behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 came to Seattle this past weekend to present a live version of their latest project, Cinematic Titanic. For those who do not know of Mystery Science Theater 3000, it was the creation of Joel Hodgson who along with his robot pals, lampooned the worst films in cinematic history as well as an endless array of short films.The series ran for 11 years on Comedy Central and The Sci Fi channel and has become not only a cult favorite with a loyal fan base but has won and been nominated for several awards.
According to their website http://www.cinematictitanic.com the current show as founded in late 2007 and includes the creator and original cast of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Like MST3K, Cinematic Titanic was created by Joel Hodgson and features the same team that first brought the Peabody-award winning cult-classic series to life: Trace Beaulieu (Crow, Dr. Forrester), J. Elvis Weinstein (Tom Servo, Dr. Erhardt), Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), and Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester). Cinematic Titanic continues the tradition of riffing on ‘the unfathomable’, ‘the horribly great’, and the just plain ‘cheesy’ movies from the past.The group plans to release a new film every 6-8 weeks on their website where fans can purchase the films along with their other items such as shirts and cast photos.
For our show at the splendid and recently reopened King Cat theatre in Seattle, Washington (http://www.kingcattheater.com), a packed house poured into the theater for the first of two weekend shows. The owner and staff of the theater were amazing and took care of our requests about the show as well as any questions we had during the evening. The audience was warmed up by Gruber as well as J. Elvis Weinstein and Frank Conniff. Highlights included a riff on the Lone Ranger and a radio station designed for those with very short attention spans.
Once the opening segments were concluded, the cast appeared onstage to tell us that we would be watching a film called “Blood of the Vampires”. The film is a Mexican Vampire story set in Mexico in the late 1800s. What made it more interesting is that the film was made in the Philippines with an all Filipino cast. Once the film began, the group, in fine form, began an assault on the film ranging from the cheap sets, the stagnant romantic thread, the plot holes, and my favorite, the black characters in the film who were portrayed by Filipinos in blackface. One classic line from early in the film was a black-faced server coming into the room and being told by one of cast to put the item down and “Go on, go back to being offensive.”
The rapid fire pace of the jokes was amazing and ranged from riffs on Johnny Cash, The Catholic Church, fashion, and numerous pop culture references.As the show came to a close, the cast was awarded a standing ovation and then treated the audience to a selection of bits from some of their other films. The evening was concluded by a warm thanks from the cast who then went to the lobby to for a meet and greet.
I have always been a fan of the show and it was amazing to see the show live and wonder at the timing and energy between the castmates. In the nearly 10 years since Mystery Science Theater went off the air, there has been a clear need for this show, and as one patron commented after the show, “with so many channels on cable today, I cannot believe that somebody would not want to put this back on the air”. With so much tension in the world today, we need laughs, and Cinematic Titanic delivered the goods time and time again. I am looking forward to seeing what this talented group has in store for us next.