Robot Eye Theater presents Riffs



Rifftrax Live! Review



  You may not have heard of RiffTrax before but you probably know the people behind it. Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni Kevin Murphy, Mike J. Nelson, and Bill Corbett still do what they did best on MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000), make fun of movies.


  MST3K Began life on air back in 1988 on UHF channel KTMA TV 23, it was created by Joel Hodgson. The show revolved around Joel his robot friends who were trapped on the Satellite of Love, being subjected to experiments by the evil Dr. Clayton Forester and his assistant, who would send up a bad movie for them to watch every week.


  The show was a cult hit with fans (known as Misties) who would trade VHS tapes of the show across the country.


  MST3K was picked up as one of the first shows to air on the new comedy channel that was launching on cable and would later move on to be resurrected on the Sci Fi channel.


  In 1993 Joel left the show and head writer Mike J. Nelson took over his role as host of the show. MST3K was eventually canceled in 1999 although it did remain in reruns on the Sci Fi channel until 2004.


  Even with the cancellation, the show still had a devoted following that led to many spin off projects by the cast members.


  RiffTrax was launched in 2006 and features audio riff tracks that can be played along with the movie that you are watching at home. This move greatly increased the amount of movies that could be riffed on because they no longer had to worry about copyright issues.


  We recently attended a Rifftrax Live! event. An ingenious idea on their part by showing a movie and doing the comedy in one theater live and then simultaneously broadcasting that event across the nation to different theaters. This format has been used in the past with success by the Metropolitan opera.


  The show consisted of two shorts, three animated segments, and a colorized version of the 1936 Film Reefer Madness (Formerly known as Tell your children).


  The first short was a safety film about the dangers of using gasoline to wash clothing... I will let that sink in for a moment, as you realize that washing clothes in gasoline was a serious enough problem in the 30's for there to be a need for a safety film to be made about it.


  The jokes were right on the mark with the RiffTrax crew showing impeccable timing and comedic genius, the safety short was by far the best part of the RIFFTRAX Live! event.


  The second short was a film about grasses and the crafts that you could do with them from sometime in the 70's. The biggest highlight of this segment was when Kevin Murphy ran out on the stage wearing a grass head dress.


  One of the animated shorts was a really weird Aesop fable cartoon from the 30's about the north pole. The other two animated features were narrated by a five year old girl and to be honest were the weakest parts of the show.


Who said colorization was only for good movies...

Colorized Reefer Madness Image


  The main event was the 1936 anti-drug film Reefer Madness. This film would have been unintentionally funny even without the riffs, but the RiffTrax crew really did a great job with the material they had to work with.


Hey look its Kramer! (line from the RIFFTRAX Live! Show)

Hey look its Kramer


  Overall a very enjoyable performance with the animated features being the only thing dragging down the show.


Final verdict RIFFTRAX Live! Reefer Madness. 7/10


  Pick this up when its released on DVD and stay tuned to the Rifftrax website for information on upcoming events (they mentioned a Halloween event using the film House on Haunted Hill).


  If you enjoy RiffTrax be sure to also check out Cinematic Titanic. It is run by the rest of the MST3K alumni Joel Hodgson, Tracy Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff, and Mary Jo Pehl.




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