MST3K's Joel Hodgson returns with 'Cinematic Titanic'

Mysteryscience_lRemember Mystery Science Theater 3000? That post-modern masterpiece of cinematic deconstruction that ran on Comedy Central through 1999? You know, the one with the robots cracking jokes in front of a movie screen?

Good new for fans of the show: The brain behind MST3K, Joel Hodgson, is back at it again, spinning old B-movies into comedic gold. Hodgson and the rest of his Satellite of Love crewmates—Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein—have regrouped for Cinematic Titanic, a riff jam a lot like MST3K, only without the smart-alecky robots and the red jump suit. “If we just did another MST3K, we were concerned it would have that AfterMASH feel,” says Hodgson. “Sometimes it’s harder to revisit what you’ve done before. Sometimes, to get the same result, you have to do something completely different.”

And sometimes creative difference with the original show’s producer makerelaunching a sequel with the same characters too complicated (Hogdsonand Best Brains Productions fell out in 1993 over plans for what becamethe 1996 feature film version of the show).

addCredit(“Joel Hodgson: Everett Collection”)

In any case, Cinematic Titanic isn’t that different. As with MST3K, Hodgson and company appear in silhouette in front of a movie screen lobbing zingers as stinkers like The Doomsday Machine unspool in front of them. “MST3K has sort of become The Dark Side of the Moonof comedy—people keep turning their friends onto it on DVD,” saysHodgson. “But about a year ago, for some reason, I started to reallymiss doing it. I was sorry I had left. I wanted to find a way to do itagain.”

He’s still finding that way. So far, Cinematic Titanic isavailable only on DVD (a third episode went on sale yesterday),although you might catch Hodgson and crew acting out a live version(they’ve given CT performances in Dallas and Los Angeles). And Hodgsonstill has some structural kinks to iron out in the new show—likecharacter development and backstory. “We’re sort of dropping hints asto who these people are and why they’re in the theater riffing on oldmovies, but it’s not all there yet,” he says. “We’re figuring it out aswe go along. It took a long time to figure out MST3K, it’ll take sometime to figure this out, too.”

We’re pretty sure it’ll be worth thewait. How about you, PopWatchers? Who’s excited for the return of Hogdson, and are there any movies you’d like to see him riff on in the next edition of Cinematic Titanic?

Comments (16 total) Add your comment
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  • Jim

    What about Mike Nelson? Is he on the outs? Or is it because he does RiffTrax?

  • Ceballos

    “…are there any movies you’d like to see him riff on in the next edition of Cinematic Titanic?”
    Two words: The. Happening. (It’s like it was made for the MST3K treatment.)

  • Tiffany

    How about a newer “movie” – Robocop 3 anyone?

  • Heather

    OK, this will be obvious, but why not do either Titanic or Poseidon Adventure?
    Also worthy of treatment:
    Lady in the Water
    Battlefield Earth
    Meet Dave
    Clash of the Titans
    Space Jam

  • Scott

    I suggest the 1972 killer rabbit epic, “Night of the Lepus” — I don’t know how Joel & Co. missed this one on MST3K. I’ll check out whatever they do !

  • Movie_Dearest

    This is at least the third post-MST3K incarnation of the idea from whoever was connected to the show during its run. There’s also the “Film Crew” DVDs and “RiffTrax” playalong CDs, all trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle. Pretty soon, the prop guys, caterers and gaffers from the old series are going to put out there own take on it.

  • Jerrod

    Am I reading this in a dentist’s office? Talk about old news. And the show was on Sci Fi from 1997-1999, not Comedy Central.

  • Owen

    What I found wonderful about the show was how cute Joel was, very sexy. You just didn’t expect a scifi/comedy nerd to have bedroom eyes…and then Mike showed up and he was friggin’ GORGEOUS….so, instead of the actual content after the host-change, my gay friends and I would argue which host was CUTER…..

  • Hugh

    @Scott
    They didn’t miss it, they just didn’t pick it. Could’ve been for licensing reasons.
    @Heather, Ceballos
    I’m afraid that Cinematic Titanic will likely never cover those, due to the cost of licensing them. Battlefield Earth, however, was riffed by Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy for the Rifftrax mp3 commentaries. (Also, Meet Dave was actually CO-WRITTEN by Bill Corbett. Don’t worry though, he’s not entirely thrilled with the result either, and the movie will likely show up on Rifftrax in the future, causing the universe to implode.)
    @Jim
    Mike, Bill, and Kevin are all just involved with Rifftrax at the moment. The cast is all on good terms, for the most part. They recently had a reunion at Comic-Con and there didn’t appear to be any bad vibes between any of them. I think the different factions are all just really busy with their own projects, right now.

  • Dinosaur

    I’d like to think there’s room for both this AND Rifftrax. Wish Nelson and crew had stuck with “The Film Crew” though. Those were funny.
    And, they should stick to old horror/sci-fi. It just works better.

  • Ian

    I dunno, I think I’d miss Tom Servo and Crow too much….

  • Tom

    In case you care, you can see Cinematic Titanic LIVE. They’ll be in St. Charles (a suburb of St. Louis) on November 1. More info here:

    http://familyarena.com/calendar/index.html?event_uid=611&year=2008&month=11&day=01&submit=detail

  • RP

    Who’s excited? I’M EXCITED!

  • Kathleen Donnelly

    I am such a fan of Mystery Theater 3000
    I loved it then and I love it now. I was
    so upset when Joel left I cried, seriously, how pathetic am I, but Mike
    was great, I really missed TV’s Frank for the new not funny ones. Well there was Mike and the bots and the commentary got even funnier.I could not believe it, but then I knew that Mike was always the head writer, and he grew to be so funny. Eventually I did not like the on ground people, they just were not funny, like the old school guys and girls. I ordered some of the movies so often, and for my anniversary this year my son who is young and also loves and remembers the
    good old days of Mst3k bought me ” The Brain (or the head) that would not Die “one of my favorites and one of Mikes first tries. So, so, funny, I was so happy to receive it in the mail what a
    wonderful thing you all created!I certainly hope you realize what excellent comedy and satire and just plain laughing out loud you have done.
    A Devoted Fan! Kathleen Donnelly

  • Steve

    To Jerrod:
    Actually MST3K started out on COmedy Central and then moved to Sci-Fi Channel

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