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Mystery Science Theater 3000 was probably the smartest, wittiest, and funniest TV show ever produced, equaled only by Monty Python's Flying Circus. One would normally automatically associate it with the worst movies ever made and not so much with the films brought to you by our beloved Criterion Collection. However, through out the series there are countless references to either specific films in the collection or to the directors themselves. This will be an on going list of such references. As each episode is an hour and a half, this will be a list long in the making and will be constantly updated as I come across them. Any help from you fine folks out there is certainly appreciated.
If the reference is just to a specific director and not a film, I will choose a random film from that director.
I know this will take some time and I will more than likely miss some... but please, just repeat to yourself, it's just a show, you should really just relax.
Update 2/23/13 - So I don't know why, but I've noticed films and their references disappearing off this list... anyone know why this is happening? I just went to add a Spinal Tap reference and my previous entry is gone. Same happened with Lord of the Flies and Straw Dogs.
101 - The Crawling Eye - Joel "I can see clearly now the rain is gone...." Ok, I'll admit it's not really a direct reference, but it is the closest reference to any Criterion from the first episode. 907 - Hobgoblins - Crow "This is one of those movies that's just as famous for it's great soundtrack" Tom "Yeah, Hobgoblins is usually on a double billing with The Harder They Come.... Oh who am I kidding, no it isn't."
102 - The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy & 206 Ring of Terror & 302 - Gamera "My legs are old, my teeth are grey!" 104 - Women of the Prehistoric Planet - Tom "Thwow them to the gwound pwanet! Vewy woughly!" 521 - Santa Claus - Tom "Did he say Blessed are the Cheesemakers? " 703 - Deathstalker and The Warriors From Hell - Crow "It's the Judean People's Front! Or the People's Front of Judea!"
106 - The Creeping Hand - Joel "Hey it's Sid Vicious... [that was rotten, Johnny - Tom] and she's Nancy... and that looks a lot like the Chelsea Hotel." 208 - Lost Continent (Rock climbing, Joel, rock climbing) - dialogue "I think I'll stick with the needle too." Crow "Ah, Sid and Nancy are coming over." 309 - The Amazing Colossal Man - Tom "Daddy's gotta shoot-up first, heh heh. Why don't you put Sid and Nancy on for me..." 323 - The Castle of Fu-Manchu - Tom "Now give this [needle] back to Sid and Nancy." 602 - Invasion USA - Mike in response to a burning building in NYC "Oh, Sid and Nancy stayed there." 608 - Code Name Diamond Head - Mike "He promised Sid and Nancy he'd stop by."
111 - Moon Zero Two - Joel "The Importance of Being Earnest, that's where I saw him!" 212 - Godzilla vs. Megalon - Crow "Now we can watch The Importance of Being Earnest on video!"
204 - Catalina Caper - Crow "Jacques Tati of the boating world!"
204 - Catalina Caper - Tom and Crow saying their prayers before bedtime (they are SO cute in their jammies!) Tom "God bless Data and his really cool robot named Lol.." Crow "And R2-D2 and all the extras in Westworld." Tom "And RoboCop even though I think he got a raw deal, but it's really none of my business." Crow "And uh, ED-209, though I don't know why they'd make a robot that can't walk down stairs..." 704 - The Incredible Melting Man - Mike " Ahead is the Alien 3 set, to the left, RoboCop and Terminator 2."
204 - Catalina Caper - Tom "Koyaanisqatsi, life out of balance." 401 - Space Travelers & 420 - The Human Duplicators & 310 - Fugitive Alien & 704 - The Incredible Melting Man & 811 - Parts: The Clonus Horror - Tom "Koooooyaaaaaaanissssssqatsi"
206 - Ring of Terror - Joel "There's a million bushes in this Naked City and a million naked people behind them." 415 - The Beatniks - Tom "There are a million stupid stories in the Naked City and this is the stupidest one." 421 - Monster A-Go Go - film dialogue "Doesn't he realize there's over five million people in the city?" Crow "And this is one of them." 610 - The Violent Years - Tom "So is the Naked City?" Mike "It's the scantily clad city." 802 - The Leech Woman - Crow "There's a million pairs of circulation hosiery in the Naked City..." 811 - Parts: The Clonus Horror - Crow "This isn't exactly the 'Naked City', it's more like the 'Clothing Optional City.'"
209 - The Hellcats - In response to a motorcycle driving through a tunnel - Joel "Innuendo highway!" Crow "Yeah, you don't have to be Fellini to figure that out."
209 - The Hellcats - Tom responding to a fan letter from Italy - "Hiroshima mon amour!"
210 - King Dinosaur - Crow "I've never even seen a Kurosawa film. The works of Francois Truffaut? Uh Uh, not familiar with them, sorry! The Odessa step sequence? I don't think I know that one...!"
211 - First Spaceship on Venus - Joel in response to what looks exactly like The Blob "Hey, Where's Steve McQueen when you need him?" 421 - Monster A-Go Go - Joel "You know, this is like The Blob." Tom "No, no, The Thing." Crow "No, it's It" Tom "Or maybe Them."
211 - First Spaceship on Venus - Crow "Godzilla! Godzilla! Oh, wrong movie, sorry." 212 - Godzilla Vs. Megalon & 213 - Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster 206 - Ring of Terror - Joel "Hey look, everything is made by the Japanese." Tom "Godzilla, hurry! We've got Godzilla in the back of the truck!"
212 - Godzilla vs. Megalon - Crow in response to the title card - "A film by Ingmar Bergman!"
212 - Godzilla vs. Megalon - Tom "You know, I think Peter Bogdanovich shot this sequence here..." 407 - The Killer Shrews - from the opening short "Junior Rodeo Daredevils - Crow "Jim Henson's Last Picture Show Babies!" 415 - The Beatniks - Crow "Hey, suddenly it's The Last Picture Show!"
301 - Cave Dwellers - Tom "Oh no, they've jumped right into a Kurosawa film... Toshiro Mifune, right there."
301 - Cave Dwellers - Crow "Before the dawn of time, a race of Druids, nobody knew who they were or where they came from." 409 - The Indestructible Man - Crow "You see it goes all the way up to 11." 522 - Teenage Crime Wave (Crow) & 705 - Escape 2000 (Mike) "Workin' on a sex farm!" 519 - Outlaw of Gor - Crow "Hey, it's Jeanine from Spinal Tap!" 810 - The Giant Spider Invasion - Tom "Nigel Tufnel's playing a guitar solo..." 817 - The Horror of Party Beach - "Original soundtrack by Nigel Tufnel."
302 - Gamera - Joel "Man, they've been on that plane for 48 hours." Tom "Luckily the in flight film is Berlin Alexanderplatz." (Thanks Richard D) 310 - Fugitive Alien - Crow "Well, my guess is that it goes on like the mess it is with no resolution and we're all left feeling empty and unfulfilled like Fassbinder's tragic hero in Berlin Alexanderplatz." 605 - Colossus and the Headhunters - Mike "And now for the traditional viewing of Berlin Alexanderplatz." 704 - The Incredible Melting Man - Crow "Yep, right now I'm learning that even though this movie is only about 80 minutes long it feels like Berlin Alexanderplatz."
303 - Pod People - Crow "Hi! We're the cast from Straw Dogs."
305 - Stranded In Space - Joel "It kinda reminds me of Terry Gilliam's Brazil, really kind of a surrealistic visionary Eraserhead quality..." 312 - Gamera Vs. Guiron - Joel "Looks like a set from Brazil."
305 - Stranded In Space - "Hey, it's Jame Gumb!" "It rubs the lotion on it's skin!" 306 - Time if the Apes - Tom "Hey, it's Jame Gumb's van." & dialogue "Silence!" Crow "...of the Lambs!" Joel "It puts the lotion on it's skin..." 315 - Teenage Caveman - Tom "I ate it with fave beans and a nice Chianti." 411 - The Magic Sword - Crow "I'm serving her over rice with some fave beans." 518 - The Atomic Brain - Mike "You know, Jame Gumb only dreamed of achieving what this guy has." 605 - Colossus and the Headhunters - Mike "And in here is your new roommate, Hannibal Lector." 608 - Code Name Diamond Head - From the opening short 'A Day at the Fair' Crow "Later, these moths turn up in the mouths of Bob's victims!" 809 - I Was A Teenage Werewolf - Mike "The lambs Clarice, tell me about the lambs!" 1012 - Squirm - Crow "Jame Gumb rents this cabin."
305 - Stranded In Space - Joel after taking a shot in the arm - "Now lets go have a Naked Lunch!" 414 - Tormented - Dr. Forrester's invention exchange. The 'Drinking Jacket,' perfect for a Naked Lunch over any lost weekend... 606 - The Creeping Terror - Crow - "You know, this monster was up for a part in Naked Lunch." 809 - I Was A Teenage Werewolf - Tom "And after this [shot] we'll go out for a nice Naked Lunch!"
306 - Time of the Apes - Tom "It looks like a De Palma film." 402 - The Giant Gila Monster - Film dialogue "On my rod they could prevent a blow out, maybe even an accident." Tom "Travolta in Blow Out." (I must have watched this one half a dozen times before I picked up on that riff)
307 - Daddy-O - Crow "This is the rowdiest group of youths since Altamont!" 412 - Hercules and the Captive Women - Crow "Altamont!" Tom "Yeah, that's why the 'Stones' are there, haha!" 506 - Eegah - Joel "Uh oh, it looks like Altamont all over again." 812 - The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living & Became Mixed-Up Zombies - Tom "This was the show where the Hell's Angels beat up a lot of people."
309 - The Amazing Colossal Man - Skit starring Mike as the Amazing Colossal Man "You know, I really thought that part in Time Bandits was gonna kick it loose for me. I thought that was gonna make me!"
310 - Fugitive Alien - Joel "It's not really a movie at all, it's just a bunch of Japanese TV shows strung together to look like a movie..." Tom "Oh, so it's like Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage then." Crow "Or Schwartz's A Very Brady Christmas." 609 - The Skydivers - Tom "Jim Jarmusch's Scenes from a Marraige."
310 - Fugitive Alien - Joel "Now let's just imagine that the blonde assassin comes in and shows her undying love for Ken and instead of serving two masters they die in a harakiri love pact." Tom "Oh come on Joel, this is Sandy Frank, not Kurosawa!"
311 - It Conquered the World - Tom in response to soldiers marching through the woods "Meanwhile in a Samuel Fuller film not far away..."
315 - Teenage Caveman - Crow "Yeah, yeah... Are we not men?"
315 - Teenage Caveman - Crow "Suddenly it's a John Ford film..." 320 - The Unearthly - Joel in reference to John Carradine "Come on, he's done a lot of good stuff! He worked with John Ford in Stagecoach...." & Crow "Who are you to judge? I was in Stagecoach and Grapes of Wrath!" 511 - Gunslinger - Tom "This makes 'Dirty Dingus McGee' look like a John Ford film." 611 - Last of the Wild Horses - Crow "And now Robert Lippert pretends he's John Ford..."
316 - Gamera vs. Zigra - Tom "Sorry, all we have is a master shot for this scene." Crow "Yeah, who filmed this, Jim Jarmusch?" 603 - The Dead Talk Back - Tom "Huh, the film seems to have taken a decidedly Jarmuschian turn."
317 - The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent - From the opening short, The Home Economics Story - Joel "Now she'll race down to the Jean-Luc Godard festival at the campus theater!"
320 - The Unearthly - Tom "Hey, we're watching Down by Law all of a sudden!"
320 - The Unearthly - Crow "My Dinner With Andre had more locations than this film!" 405 - Being From Another Planet - Joel "Wallace Shawn?" Crow "Better get my biker magazines outta here, I'm having dinner with Andre later." 416 - Fire Maidens of Outer Space - Tom "I told my agent to get me a part in a film with more action, so after this he signed me up for a film called 'Sleep' with Andy Warhol." Crow "Yeah, I told my agent the same thing. So after this I'm doing a film called 'My Dinner with Andre." 512 - Mitchel (Joel's final episode) - Tom - "It's, My Dinner with Mitchel." 521 - Santa Claus - Crow "Looks like the puppet version of My Dinner with Andre!" See 706 - Laserblast
321 - Santa Clause Conquers the Martians & 404 - Teenagers From Outer Space - Tom "What is this a Bergman film all of a sudden?"
323 - The Castle of Fu-Manchu - Joel "It's Audrey Hepburn in Charade."
323 - The Castle of Fu-Manchu - Crow "It's the ninja version of Days of Heaven."
323 - The Castle of Fu-Manchu - Joel "Hey, it's Spalding Gray, he's having his perfect moment!" 402 - The Giant Gila Monster - Crom "Honey, Spalding Gray is performing Monster in a Box down here!" 607 - Bloodlust - Tom "Ladies and gentlemen, Spalding Gray."
403 - City Limits - Tom "Raymond Carver, if we don't save him minimalism is doomed!" Yeah it's stretching it a little, I know, but I'm sticking to it.
403 - City Limits - Tom rapping to the awful song at the end of the film "I wish I could see Citizen Kane. I wish I could see The Rules of the Game. I wish I could view The Seven Samurai. But every film I see make me wanna die. Uh uh uh uh!" 912 - The Screaming Skull - Mike "If Ed Wood had directed The Rules of the Game."
404 - Teenagers From Outer Space - Crow "Suddenly it's Carnival of Souls." 510 - The Painted Hills - From the opening short Body Care & Grooming - Tom "[It's] Carnival of Souls here" 809 - I Was A Teenage Werewolf - Mike "The Carnival of Souls boyfriend!"
406 - Attack of the Giant Leeches - Joel "Now its The Most Dangerous Game." 510 - The Painted Hills - Tom "The Most Tedious Game!" 601 - Girls Town - Tom "Heidi, in the Most Dangerous Game." 607 - Bloodlust - One of the many knock-offs/remakes of The Most Dangerous Game, but so, so bad. 621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats - Crow "They're vacationing at The Most Dangerous Game Dude Ranch."
409 - The Indestructible Man - Joel "This has all the suspense of a Brian De Palma version of a Hitchcock movie."
410 - Hercules Against the Moon Men (featuring dreaded "Deep Hurting!") - Tom "Aw, this is like a bad Antonioni movie!" Crow "Like an Antonioni movie in other words."
415 - The Beatniks & 601 Girls Town - Tom "Let's go do some crimes!!"
415 - The Beatniks - Crow "Lets create that scene from Videodrome." (Thanks Collection!)
416 - Fire Maidens of Outer Space (Joel) & 504 - Secret Agent Super Dragon (Crow) - "What is this, a Bergman film?"
419 - The Rebel Set - Crow "Alfred Hitchcock, in drag!" 621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats - From the short Money Talks! - Tom "Alfred Hitchcock!" 910 - The Final Sacrifice - Crow "Hitchcock's 'Parade of Homes."
419 - The Rebel Set - Tom responding to a man with a rifle "The Day of the Jackal... The Manchurian Candidate... The Dead Zone... THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH... The Sugarland Express... Foul play... Dirty Harry... The Parallax View..."
421 - Monster A-Go Go - Crow "Yes, it's Jules and Jim on ice!" (Thanks djproject) 507 - I Accuse My Parents - Tom to a girl and her two wooers "It's Jules and Jim!"
421 - Monster A-Go Go - dialogue "...but truly a circus on ice!" Tom "By Federico Fellini!" 521 - Santa Claus - Crow "It's a Fellini Christmas!"
501 - Warrior of the Lost World - film dialogue "The only damage I care about is this bike..." Joel "And the new movie by Louis Malle."
502 - Hercules - Joel in response to a guy in a loincloth running "The Naked Prey!" 613 - The Sinister Urge - Tom "The Scantily-Clad Prey!" 811 - Parts:The Clonus Horror - Mike "You know, I hope he never becomes the naked prey."
503 - Swamp Diamonds - Crow "And this must be Children of Paradise all of a sudden."
506 - Eegah - Tom "What is this, The Third Man all of a sudden?"
518 - The Atomic Brain - Mike "Ha, the Pygmalion sisters!"
518 - The Atomic Brain - Mike in response to the final scene, a close up of a cat's face - "The 400 Blows!"
520 - Radar Secret Service - dialogue "An iceberg in the path of an unsuspecting ocean liner once spelled disaster on the high seas..." Tom "It's A Night to Remember!" 620 - Danger! Death Ray - Mike "This was the low budget version of A Night to Remember."
521 - Santa Claus - Tom "Bertolucci was brought in to direct this scene."
601 - The Violent Years - Mike dressed up as Keanu Reeves "This is My Own Private Idaho... potato. Crow, aw man, that is so lame!" MST3K: The Movie - Tom "Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Airfield."
524 - 12 to the Moon - Opening Skit - Mike having 'tea' with Gypsy. Tom "Uh, say Mike, if you and Helena Bonham Carter there are finished, can we please start our tennis game, hmm?" Mike "Um, we could but Merchant and Ivory are calling!"
604 - Zombie Nightmare - Mike "How come there aren't any pictures of Italians on the wall?" 901 - The Projected Man - Film dialogue "Cut the power!" Mike "Cut the power that be!"
606 - The Creeping Terror - Mike - "Meanwhile, in a Kurosawa film..."
606 - The Creeping Terror - Tom - "Suddenly it's Wild Strawberries."
607 - Bloodlust - Crow "Arg, I dreamed I went to Manderley, arg..." 624 - Samson Vs. The Vampire Women - Crow "I dreamed I visited El Manderley last night..."
609 - The Skydivers - Mike "At least there's this riveting soundtrack." Tom "It's downright Hitchcockian." Mike "Robyn Hitchcock."
611 - Last of the Wild Horses - Mike "Lets have a Merchant/Ivory sort of picnic, whadda ya say?"
613 - The Sinister Urge - Tom "Thus Merchant/Ivory is born!"
614 - San Francisco International - Tom "Now Davey, you're going to be meeting a man in a black robe wanting to play a game of chess with you..." 609 - The Skydivers - Tom in response to a skydiver in free fall "Hey, you guys have Death come up to play a game of chess with you?"
616 - Racket Girls - Crow "You know when Ed Wood saw this it was like when Truffaut saw Citizen Kane."
616 - Racket Girls - Crow "Chaplin speaks!"
616 - Racket Girls - Crow "This was the sequence John Woo directed!"
617 - The Sword and The Dragon - Skit - A Joke by Ingmar Bergman. Based on an Idea by August Strindberg. From The Writings of Henrik Ibsen. "When you're out of slits, you're out of pier!"
618 - High School Big Shot - from the opening short 'Out of This World' - dialogue "...Red, the other kind..." Crow "The Fugitive Kind."
622 - Angels Revenge - Tom "This is the weirdest Merchant/Ivory film."
618 - High School Big Shot - Tom "Paddy Chayefsky's 'House of Games.'"
621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats - Tom in Tor Johnson voice "Tor could have been contender, instead bum which am!"
623 - The Amazing Transparent Man - Mike "We return now to Paris, Texas."
624 - Samson Vs. The Vampire Women - Mike "This scene was cut out of Spartacus."
701 - Night of the Blood Beast - dialogue "Hey, what are you doing with Dr. Weyman's body?" Crow "I'm not into that!" I don't know if they're actually referencing Two-Lane Blacktop, but since that is exactly what Warren Oats says to Harry Dean Stanton I am including it.
703 - Deathstalker and The Warriors From Hell - Tom "Hey, these two [producers] are the Merchant and Ivory of Mexico."
324 - Master Ninja II - Tom in response to a car that just went over a cliff "Hey look! Bud Court's at the top of the cliff playing a banjo." 418 - Attack of the The Eye Creatures - Teens making out in the back of a car - Girl "Oh Harold!" Crow - "Oh Maude! Maude!"
704 - The Incredible Melting Man - Tom "Ah, Sullivan's Travels, of course!"
Also see 403 - City Limits 316 - Gamera vs. Zigra - Tom "Ah, Fumi [Takahashi], he's the John Sayles of Japan. He directed The Return of The Secaucus Seven Samurai!"
706 - Laserblast - Mike and the bots are reading from Leonard Maltin's film guide, who gave Laserblast 2 1/2 stars. Mike "Hey look here, Leonard Maltin gave the same 2 1/2 stars to My Dinner with Andre.... Oh hey, Seven Samurai, 2 stars." Crow "WHAT?" Mike "Ha, kidding... " Tom "Broadcast News, Witness... 3 stars, barely superior to Laserblast..."
801 - Revenge of the Creature - Tom in response to a German Shepherd on screen "Can we watch My Life as a Dog again tonight?"
802 - The Leech Woman - Crow "Oh hi, Peter Lorre as 'M'!"
814 - Riding with Death - Ok, so they never actually referenced Wages of Fear in this, but the similarity between the two plots was too great not to include it. I mean, Riding with Death is exactly the same movie, only with out a good script, decent actors, character development and nail biting tension and suspense, plus a whole lot more CB radio lingo, rednecks, stock car racing, and turkeys. But other wise totally the same! 1006 - Boggy Creek II - Mike "It's the Arkansas remake of The Wages of Fear." 402 - The Giant Gila Monster - Crow in response to an oil truck - "It's The Wages of Fear."
817 - Horror of Party Beach - Mike "Hey guys look up there, it's ::Sean Connery voice:: The Rock!" 902 - The Phantom Planet - Film dialogue "You saw what happened to the rock." Mike "I sawed in it with Nicholas Cage."
818 - Devil Doll - Tom "Am I a mod or a rocker?"
818 - Devil Doll - Tom "It's miked like an Altman film."
819 - Invasion of the Neptune Men - Crow in response to a chubby Japanese kid in glasses "He must be the 'Piggy' of the group." 906 - The Space Children - Tom "Lord of the Flies action figures!"
819 - Invasion of the Neptune Men - Tom "Kurosawa, eat your heart out!"
822 - Overdrawn at the Memory Bank - Crow in response to Raul Julia being kissed "Eating Raoul!"
903 - Puma Man - Crow "Now he sees through a glass dumbly."
903 - Puma Man - dialogue "Never mind, just drive!" "He said" - Mike
909 - Gorgo - Tom talking to Leonard Maltin (Yes, it's really him!) "Excuse me Mr. Maltin, what do you think of the stylistic resurgence of Italian neo-realist film making in the vein of De Sica's Umberto D." Pearl "Stop bugging Mr. Siskel with questions!"
1001 - Soultaker (with guest appearances by Joel and TV's Frank) - Crow "You know, you really can see Akira Kurosawa's influence here, you know, what with the way there's a movie going on and stuff... it's on film..." Tom "It's something Hitchcock would be proud of..."
1002 - Girl in Gold Boots - Mike "Crow, what's the bracelet with all the W's stand for?" Crow "Oh this stands for What Would the World Wide Wrestling federation, Woodrow Wilson, Wet Willie, Wesley Willis, Wade Wilson,William Wyler, Wendy Wasserstein, Walt Whitman, Willy Wonka, WIM WENDERS..." "Ok, ok, can it!" "...do"
1004 - Future War - Crow "They were transferred to a Costa-Gavras film."
1012 - Squirm - Tom "There are other productions of this movie?" Crow "Oh yeah, this one is the best. Bergman's was a little slow."