Greetings from the edge!
This week, Kinga and her skeleton crew drop the beast & lay down the movies while Jonah and the bots engage in yet another epic riff battle with The Beast of Hollow Mountain, a 1956 dinosaur and cowboy tour de farce ably handle by our stalwart crew of wisecracking astro-nuts.
With 100% more allosaurus than your typical western, you know that our snarky stalwarts will have plenty to work with. Preceding The Valley of Gwangi by thirteen years, The Beast of Hollow Mountain may well be the first “dinos versus cowboys” movie, a genre that persists even today with the originally titled Cowboys vs Dinosaurs, a 2015 film that I’m sure will be in the next revival of MST3K in 20 years. If I’m wrong, I expect you all to come back then and leave taunting comments below about how awful I am at predicting the future of comedic voice-over parodies!
Let me indulge in a digression and comment on the opening scene of this episode featuring Jonah and the bots taking time out of their hectic heckling schedule to nurture their artistic sides. Crow’s painting of a cartoon turtle and an eye patch-bedecked pirate is an inside joke about ads for art instruction schools that appeared in old comics. A correspondence commercial art institute posited that if you could draw Tippy the turtle and a pirate, you could be a professional artist. They also advertised on matchbooks with “Spunky” the donkey. We don’t talk about… ”Spunky.”
Our movie seems more focused on the love triangle between independent rancher Jimmy Ryan played Guy Madison, ingenue Sarita played by Patricia Medina, and local bad man Enrique Rios played by Eduardo Noriega, than giving us some of that sweet, saurian action all us monster movie fans are craving. Thankfully, we have our merry miscreants to enliven this bog standard western until our tardy tyrannosaur finally makes his appearance.
Tom Servo gives us a fashion show with Jonah, Gypsy, and Crow modelling his Beast of Hollow Mountain inspired couture available wherever expensive clothes based on cheap movies are sold. Later, Crow and Tom Servo dress as native dancers and intimidate Jonah and the Mads with piping and mysterious dancing… ya kinda had to be there.
While more effort was put into the special effects of this week’s offering than Avalanche’s “hurl styrofoam at over the hill actors and hope for the best” method. Seeing a man wearing monster slippers wade through a leaking septic tank somehow fails to please. Willis H. O’Brien, the creative genius behind the revolutionary 1933 King Kong, a film that set the standard for special effects for decades to come, wrote the script for The Beast of Hollow Mountain. Edward Nassour bought the script from O’Brien for a song with the promise that he’d be hired to do the special effects, but O’Brien was passed over for a substandard effects company who would animate the dinosaur on the cheap and Nassour rewrote much of O’Brien’s script to the films detriment. Years later, Ray Harryhausen would make The Valley of Gwangi to redeem his mentor O’Brien’s vision and filled his movie with all the dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts that Nassour cut from O’Brien’s script. Who says all remakes are bad!
The Beast of Hollow Mountain continues the Satellite of Love’s winning streak, packing in the laughs to make up for the film’s remarkably absent allosaur and keeping the original material fresh and fast paced. If you want to chuckle at some clever riffing, watch The Beast of Hollow Mountain. If you really want some cowboys and dinosaurs, watch The Valley of Gwangi, a truly classic “good” bad film.
Join me next time when we’ll take a look at episode 6 Star Crash, a 1978 space opera with Bond girl Caroline Munro and a very early performance by future Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. Will this Italian Star Wars knockoff soar to the heavens or plummet to the earth, I think the answer in the title. I just can’t wait to hassel the “Hoff”, see you there!
And always, remember, “Keep circulating the tapes!”