Eegah – Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Trip Report

MST3K LiveMystery Science Theater 3000 returned from the dead after two spinoff projects keep the spirit alive, hosting a huge Kickstarter that created a brand new season with a new cast (Disclaimer – I was a backer of the Kickstarter and my name is in the credits of one of the episodes as a result!) In addition to the new shows, the cast also went on a live tour across the nation, and as a guy who goes to these things, I went to these things when they came to San Francisco, braving the ridiculous $13 processing fee for each ticket to go see them at the Warfield in downtown SF over two nights.

First up was the ridiculous Eegah. Now, you are probably saying “Tars, wasn’t this movie already done by MST3K?” and I’ll say “Yes, yes it was, but now it is done again!” While both RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic have double-dipped into MST3Ked movies, this is the first time the tv series itself double-dips, even if just for a live tour. Every joke is new (except one deliberately left in as a classic riff and refered to as such after they say it!), and Eegah is one of those special movies with so much weird and ridiculous stuff going on that it is a never-ending fountain of jokes!

If you haven’t seen the new season, I suggest you get off your high horse and gets to watching! Not only do they cover a wide variety of ridiculous movies that fit right in with the MST3K canon, but the news cast brings an energy and joy level that is off the charts. They get close to maximum saturation of Riffs, you get the feeling there are hundreds of riffs on the cutting room floor just because there wasn’t enough time to fit them all into each film. The stage shows continues the wild blasts of riffs, and keeps the entire layout of an actual episode, including the theme song and host segments. The film is projected on a screen, and Jonah and the bots get into a shadow row of chairs to deliver their zingers. Of course Felicia Day and Patton Oswald (Kinga Forrester and Max) are too busy to go on a tour, so they’ve filmed video segments that the cast interacts with (and immediately break the fourth wall with by referring to them as such!) Rebecca Hanson and Grant Baciocco play Pearl Forrester’s clone Synthia and Terry the Bonehead, and are essentially the host segment foils. Joel hosts the show with opening Q&As and also helps with some of the host segments. The rest of the cast rounds out with Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston, Hampton Yount as Crow, Tim Rider as Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn had a baby so was understandably busy!), and Rebecca Hanson again as Gypsy.

We all know the classic story of Eegah, but for my readers who have been living under a rock for 25 years, this is the score: teenager Roxy Miller (Marilyn Manning) is out driving to a party but almost hits a giant caveman (who is later dubbed Eegah and is played by Richard Kiel), after telling her boyfriend Tom Nelson (Arch Hall, Jr.) and father Robert Miller (Arch Hall, Sr.), her dad sets out to prove the creature exists and promptly disappears, so Roxy and Tom go to look for him. He’s been kidnapped by Eegah, who also kidnaps (and falls for) Roxy, eventually following them back to the city after they escape his clutches, where he runs rampage before being gunned down by the police.

The film is noted for a lot of ridiculous things, but the standout scene is a very disturbing sequence where Roxy first shaves her father and then Eegah while trapped in Eegah’s cave. Just how creepy and gross this sequence is cannot be correctly conveyed by reading about it. Roxy sits on the lap of her father, shaving him like a doting young wife, his shaving kit being something he inexplicably brought with him during an overnight stay in the desert. Eegah gets jealous of Roxy not spending attention on him, so Robert suggests that she shave Eegah so he doesn’t get other ideas, basically raping her. Eegah covered in shaving cream that he keeps licking off while she’s shaving him is more terrifying than most horror movies. Don’t worry, one of the host segments also has lots of shaving cream on a giant Eegah face. Ewww…!!!

The other big thing the film is known for is a badly dubbed line that says “Watch out for snakes!”, spoken by no one as they trounce off into the desert. That became the name of the Live Tour, the Watch Out For Snakes Tour, and a running gag in the shows as when the line was said or whan any snake-related thing showed up on screen, a fancy Watch Out For Snakes graphic and song played and characters came out and waved snake guns around. You can’t get that at Hamilton!

The live shows are always fantastic as they let the energy of the crowd enhance the experience. Everyone who comes is a fan, wants to see bad movies, wants to see jokes, wants to see robots be sarcastic, and that is delivered in spades! Essentially we get two bonus episodes of the series, produced live for you and several hundred of your fellow fans who also bought tickets. It was definitely a good time, but despite Eegah‘s amazing ridiculousness, the secret film we watched the next night was an even greater time, thanks to the movie being beyond ridiculous and a film I had wanted to see riffed since I first found a copy 15 years ago. The Live Tour was awesome, and maybe one day these will emerge somehow as actual episodes. Until then, it was fantastic and I hope the riffs never stop!

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