5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

Netflix’s original programming has had its fair share of hits and misses, but there’s no denying that some of their best offerings have been series like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards, and Stranger Things. These shows have managed to stand toe-to-toe with the best of what major networks have to offer. Additionally, Netflix has also given us some fantastic films like Hush and The Void, which have been a breath of fresh air amidst the usual fare at local theaters.

Netflix’s revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is undoubtedly one of the highlights of their original programming lineup. It’s a smart, funny, and unique show that appeals to everyone from dedicated cinephiles to casual movie-goers. With the second season of The Return well underway, fans are eagerly awaiting not just the episodes themselves, but also the list of movies that Jonah and his robot friends will be riffing on this year. There’s a whole universe of movies they could potentially tackle in the upcoming season.

While I’ve already made some guesses as to what they could be riffing on in Season 12 and beyond, there’s still plenty of MST3K-worthy material out there. So, as we wait for the new episodes to arrive on Netflix, let’s take a look at some more cinematic failures that could be perfect fodder for the show.

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

The most important criterion for a movie to be riffed on MST3K is that it must be a fundamentally terrible film. It doesn’t matter how ambitious or enthusiastic the filmmakers were; the movie must be an abject failure on a level that even amateur filmmakers could have done better. Sometimes, though, a movie’s utterly insane premise is enough to make it ripe for riffing.

Death Bed is a perfect example of this. While it’s undeniably a terrible movie, its bizarre premise is what truly sets it apart. The title says it all: it’s a monster movie where the monster is a bed that eats people. That’s it. The premise alone is so inherently strange that they could probably just play the film without commentary and still have a field day.

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

Orca (1977)

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) had a massive impact on the history of film, paving the way for the modern blockbuster landscape and inspiring a slew of imitative aquatic creature features like Piranha (1978) and Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976).

Orca is one of the most outlandish Jaws rip-offs, featuring a revenge-driven narrative in which an Orca whale seeks vengeance against the fisherman who killed its mate and unborn child. It’s like Death Wish meets Free Willy, complete with a scene where the killer whale takes out a Great White Shark. This movie is practically begging for the MST3K treatment.

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

Captain America (1990)

Considering the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade, it’s easy to forget Marvel’s rocky start in the movie-making business. Before the MCU, there were numerous half-baked Marvel films, including the infamous 1994 Fantastic 4 movie, the 1979 Captain America, 1978’s Dr. Strange, and 1986’s Howard the Duck.

The 1990 Captain America film is arguably the worst of the bunch, getting everything hilariously wrong and resulting in a complete train-wreck of a movie. It’s a prime candidate for riffing, and it could also provide a great opportunity for some MCU-targeted humor.

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

The Fantastic 4 (1994)

Speaking of terrible early Marvel movies, there’s the 1994 Fantastic 4 film, which was hastily put together by Fox and schlockmeister Roger Corman to retain the rights to the Fantastic Four characters. The resulting film was so awful that it was never officially released, although it can still be found on YouTube.

This movie is not only a prime example of a terrible film, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to poke some fun at Marvel. The effects are laughably bad, the sets look cheap, and the makeup for the Thing is the stuff of nightmares. In short, it’s the perfect target for the MST3K crew.

5 Movies Perfect for Riffing in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season

Gumby: The Movie (1995)

It’s high time that MST3K tackled an animated feature, and there are plenty of terrible animated movies to choose from. Gumby: The Movie is a prime candidate, with its awkward Claymation style, bizarre narrative, and easily mocked Star Wars references.

This movie is a stilted, awkward mess that’s perfect for riffing, and it would be a refreshing change of pace for the show. After all these years, it’s time for MST3K to take on something new and different.

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