Cult-beloved cult-movie sequence Mystery Science Theater 3000 has large plans for its crowdfunded 14th season, with a 48-hour model of its conventional Thanksgiving marathon styled as a telethon to assist it attain its purpose. Ahead of subsequent week’s “Mega Turkey Day Marathon Telethon,” io9 bought an opportunity to speak to MST3K creator Joel Hodgson to be taught extra.
Cheryl Eddy, io9: When Mystery Science Theater 3000 began within the late ‘80s, it singled out weird movies that were otherwise not on the radar of most fans. These days, it’s a lot simpler to get your palms on obscure titles. Has that modified your method to Mystery Science Theater in any respect?
Joel Hodgson: The origin story of Mystery Science Theater goes again to this factor I learn in school, which was [1980 book The Golden Turkey Awards], written by [film critic Michael Medved and his brother Harry], and it was sort of the primary time I ever noticed one thing formally describe, like, an ironic viewing—one thing so unhealthy it’s good. It listed Plan Nine From Outer Space, supposedly the worst film ever made. I keep in mind taking a look at it and saying, “Why isn’t anybody doing a show with these?” These films are cute. There’s one thing about them. They have allure. It felt like a unique type of leisure to me. That actually was the catalyst for it. When we search for films now, it’s nonetheless there—it’s actually humorous: though the coloring ebook model of Mystery Science Theater is that these are unhealthy films or trash cinema, all the flicks we use should have a sort of structural integrity for them to work. So I feel after we’re on the lookout for films now or we’re on the lookout for films 35 years in the past, it’s the identical factor.
io9: Do you suppose the present’s method to humor has modified through the years?
Hodgson: For certain. I’m 63 years outdated; after I began Mystery Science Theater, I feel I used to be about 28 years outdated. I feel it’s finest when it’s written by individuals which can be principally of their 20s and 30s. We have individuals of all ages that work on it—I get to work on it, however I don’t should do all of the heavy lifting so far as topical cultural references and mores which can be a giant a part of the riffing and the speaking that occurs in Mystery Science Theater. I don’t really feel like the best way I take advantage of the media is identical as nearly all of the viewers proper now, so I are inclined to shrink back from that stuff and not attempt to be an authority on what’s taking place now.
io9: The present got here of age alongside the web. What function do you suppose that performed within the present’s lasting reputation, and in rising its fan base?
Hodgson: I feel in a bizarre means, Mystery Science Theater occurred principally due to cable. Cable sort of represented then what turned of the web, the place it simply bought extra and extra separated and stylized and specialised. Mystery Science Theater was a really boutique present for its time. But it additionally had a really broad viewers for a present that was residing on cable. So that’s sort of my considered it. What I consider with the web and cable is that what began out as very broad TV reveals turned extra and extra boutique-y to the purpose the place, now, I used to be simply watching a video a couple of man whose sole job is to make science fiction props. That would have been an absurd thought 35 years in the past. But now he appears to be sustaining himself, making movies about props. People would name it segmenting or fragmenting—however in some methods, if it companies a sufficiently big fanbase, these individuals can have a job. I feel possibly we anticipated the boutique-y-ness of the web that was to return.
io9: Have you ever encountered cult film followers who don’t like the concept of “making fun” of those kinds of films?
Hodgson: Every now and then it occurs, and I can utterly respect that. I can utterly respect when individuals go, “Uh, wait a minute, I don’t know if I want you to do this.” But surprisingly, I might say there’s solely been two individuals in over 200 episodes which have intentionally complained. I’ve heard tales about producers who complain—however then they in the end will make a deal to license the movies, and so that they’ll generate income on it, and in the end they resolve it’s OK to do.
io9: Mystery Science Theater has discovered nice success with crowdfunding. The season 13 drive in 2021 was such an enormous success. What was your response to that because it was taking place?
Hodgson: I’m at all times simply tremendous grateful. Getting to do the one previous to that, season 11, which then spawned season 12, each on Netflix—then to do 13 on our personal platform, the Gizmoplex, was terribly cool. It simply reveals the world we’re in the place you may really use the know-how to have your individual platform if you wish to. Getting to try this was superb, and I feel it’s simply indicative of how different properties and different manufacturers will work. Even in the event that they’re impartial, they’ll sort of create their very own streaming service if they need.
io9: The “Mega Turkey Day Marathon Telethon” represents the ultimate stretch of the crowdfunding marketing campaign for season 14. We know there are going to be “24 classic episodes,” however what else are you able to tease for us in regards to the particular?
Joel Hodgson: The large factor we’re doing is, within the Gizmoplex we began a program we referred to as “Surgically Enhanced,” which takes the 480p originals and revs them as much as 1080p—so that they’re rather more enjoyable to have a look at, and it’s actually a tremendous course of. So we’re showcasing a few of people who we’ve up-rezed. We’re additionally displaying 4 episodes from the Gizmoplex from final season so individuals can see the brand new materials. And then amongst that’s the standard Mystery Science Theater served up scorching on Turkey Day, which is what individuals are aware of—it’s simply a lot greater as a result of we thought the fundraiser would wish to increase by way of Thanksgiving and into Black Friday. So we simply determined to make it twice as lengthy.
io9: What are you able to reveal about season 14?
Hodgson: We’ve been asserting the flicks we’ve cleared. We really needed to clear all the flicks for this season [to determine the budget]—that’s how we bought to the [crowdfunding] quantity we would have liked to succeed in. We’ve introduced among the titles. The first one we introduced was Battle Beyond the Stars, which is a sort of very dreamlike, Star Wars rip off film. It’s tremendous cool. And then the subsequent one we introduced was David Carradine in Deathsport, which isn’t to be confused with Death Race 2000, which he additionally starred in. [Note: you can keep an eye on the crowdfunding page, where more season 14 titles will be added as Hodgson announces them.]
io9: The particular might be streaming on Shout! TV, the MST3K Channel, and the Gizmoplex—is there a most well-liked place to observe it?
Hodgson: You know the way it’s: all people has their favourite channels and favourite methods of watching. We advocate for individuals to go to MST3K.com to have a look at the issues that they’re aware of, hopefully. But there’s tons and a lot of methods to observe it.
io9: Thanksgiving is a conventional day for individuals to assemble and now we have now a number of generations of people that’ve grown up with Mystery Science Theater displaying it to their children. When you began the present within the Eighties did you ever suppose it might stick round this lengthy?
Hodgson: No, I didn’t! And it’s gotten to the purpose the place it’s clearly ridiculous that is nonetheless going. I’m nonetheless actually thrilled to get to maintain working on it. It was particularly thrilling to convey the model again and be “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, and to be one of many prime comedies on Netflix was actually superb. It was a extremely cool expertise for us to get to return again to it and know that individuals nonetheless cared about us. So I’m thrilled and creatively sated, lastly.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 season 14 crowdfunding web page is right here. The MST3K “Mega Turkey Day Marathon Telethon” kicks off at 9 a.m. ET on November 23, and ends November 25 at 9 a.m. ET. Stream the particular on Shout TV, the MST3K Channel, and MST3K’s Gizmoplex.
Want extra io9 information? Check out when to anticipate the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on movie and TV, and every thing you’ll want to learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.