In the not-too-distant future, way down in Deep 13, more than just a few superheroes have made their way onto the insidious screens of the various Mads. But how many of them fly like morons?
When it comes to Mystery Science Theater 3000, the smart money is on “most of them.” Welcome to Ten Things!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and Movie Sign, Presents:
TEN TERRIBLE SUPERS RIFFED ON MST3K!
Created as a quickie cash-in during 60’s Batmania, ‘The Wild, Wild World Of Batwoman’ features a hero who fights the evil Rat Fink for control of a device called “The Atomic Hearing Aid”, which… jeopardizes the world, somehow? With her army of Batgirls (reputedly hired for the production when the strip club in which they worked was raided by police) Batwoman’s sole exploit nearly broke Mike and The ‘Bots when it borrowed footage from ‘The Mole People”, a movie which also got riffed on MST3K.
(The producers of ‘Batwoman’ were predictably sued by DC Comics, but actually WON their case, which is a damn shame…)
9) SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON
Secret Agent Super Dragon!
Secret Agent Super Dragon!
Secret Agent Super Dragon!
Hero in a half-mask! (Turtle power!)
A dashing Eurospy (his adventure was a French/Spanish/Italian co-production, set in Michigan for some reason), Super Dragon proved a wonderful target for mockery, both because of the nonsensical plot and the main actor’s resemblance to game-show regular Bert Convy.
8) THE PRINCE OF SPACE
An early Japanese tokusatsu hero (from 1959!), The Prince Of Space is fond of pointing out that his enemies weapons “are useless against me!” Edited together from its original serialized form, the movie gets around the hero’s nigh-invulnerability by heaping on subplots and villany galore, but at least it served as a proving ground for Masaru Igami, who would help create the much-more-compelling Kamen Rider circa 1971.
7) ZAP ROWSDOWER
My list, my rules… I make ’em up. Sometimes known as “90s Canadian Batman” by some of the voices in my head, the euphoniously named Zap is the mentor character of ‘The Final Sacrifice’, a film that started as a film school project and ended as a failed film school project. Thanks to his background as maybe-a-member of a blood-cult, he is the only man who can stop that selfsame cult, with a little help from his new friend Troy (seemingly played by Walter the bland Muppet), his rickety GMC pickup and the power of denim!
Seriously, if you watch this one as the adventures of a bemulleted, seedy, lower-class superhero, it’s… Well, not good, exactly, but at least more fun.
A legitimate comic book type, albeit something of an anti-hero, Diabolik features heavily in Italian spy/hero fiction, using gadgetry, guns and cool cars, like a masked James Bond. His movie outing, “Danger: Diabolik” serves as the final episode of the original MST3K run, which seems fitting, as it’s actually a pretty okay movie. Indeed, of all the heroes seen in the Satellite Of Love, he’s probably the only one with a real pedigree and claim to fame…
5) IRON SHARP (aka SPACE CHIEF)
On paper, Space Chief looks like a great superhero: played by a young Sonny Chiba; produced by Toei, the company behind Super Sentai and Kamen Rider; a cool superhero name, Iron Sharp… It’s a shame the finished adventure is such a plodding, padded mess, but at least the film (which bore the title “Invasion Of The Neptune Men” in its original release) didn’t overcompensate by making Space Chief/Iron Sharp a brooding bad boy in a leather jumpsuit. Plus, Sonny Chiba got paid, which let him eventually make better movies…
4) BLAST HARDCHEESE
Oh, sure, Reb Brown’s David Ryder doesn’t have a mask or a cool nom de guerre (at least, not one that wasn’t bestowed by Mike and the ‘Bots), but he’s every bit the squared-jawed hero throughout the film. Indeed, Brown was the actor who first brought Captain America to modern audiences, circa 1979, albeit a Captain America without the costume, background or history of the comic-book version. But he had a shield that he stuck in the front of his motorcycle! And, for all else you can say about ‘Space Mutiny,’ the endless naming riffs were one of the most memorable gags from a show full of memorable stuff… We put our faith in BLAST HARDCHEESE!
3) JET JAGUAR
Jet Jaguar is one of dozens of superheroes that look as though they were created by elementary schoolkids, but he has an excuse: He was actually created by an elementary school kid, who won a contest to create Toho’s new superhero. Since Toho execs worried that he wouldn’t be able to pull off his own solo movie, Jet was given the task of fighting Godzilla in ‘Godzilla Vs. Megalon’, but even the rub from the King Of Monsters wasn’t enough to get past the fact that he’s kind of just a less-interesting Ultraman.
Also, his mother never loved him…
Thanks to his secret part-alien heritage, Tony Farms becomes the hero known as Pumaman, with a vast array of super-powers including flight, teleportation, and the ability to stop his heartbeat and feign death.
Y’know, like a puma.
Strangely, Pumaman’s creators never seemed to be sure whether he was a square-jawed hero of the masses or a parody of same (though his goofy flying style would imply one, the tone of the movie seemed pretty serious), the best part of his adventures is listening to his friends and foes alternating between pronouncing it “poo-mah” and “pyoo-ma.” Frankly, with a movie like this, ya takes your fun where ya can gets it…
1) KITTEN WITH A WHIP
My list, my rules. If you don’t understand why Ann-Margret in a crop-top and tights isn’t a quintessential ‘Incredible Hulk’-style antihero, then we were watching completely different movies, Faithful Spoilerite. And, unlike many of the others on this list, her movie ends with an intentional pro-social message that is both clear and tragic…
(Plus, she’s just so dreamy!)
Thanks to Faithful Spoilerite Chad Fopma (@chadfops) for this week’s topic, and feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter. As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, especially with more Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the way. How can you not be psyched about that?
Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Whaddaya think, sirs?