Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-seven - MST3K: Soultaker, "Your Mom is WEIRD!"

This has to be my favorite episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000... and my sister's too, I think.

During the tape circulating days, this was the one my sister and I watched the most, then it took forever to find it on DVD because Rhino was only barely putting box sets out and they did so in random order. When it did release, though, you can be sure that I was there as soon as the stores opened that Tuesday (which is when most new releases have their street date in America) and bought that box immediately.

I've forced my friends to watch Soultaker so much that I've literally burned them out on MST3K, such that I'm immediately shouted down whenever I suggest kicking back with Mike and the Bots on a Saturday night. Sure, it might have something to do with the fact that they're all in serious relationships and I'm sitting here alone with my Netflix, but the world (and my self-esteem) may never know.

And, now, it's on the Instant Stream. I think that my social life, what little there was left of it, is doomed.

Anyways, on to the movie, itself....

Soultaker is a b-movie from 1990 "starring" Joe Estevez (brother to Martin Sheen) as a Grim Reaper who must harvest the souls of the recently dead else they be lost to the void. To do so, he pulls their ectoplasm into tiny glowstick rings, all while doing a horrible Johnny Cash impersonation (not really, but the Guys point it out and it's hard not to laugh and nod).

He's just the villain, actually, as the true main characters are Zack and Natalie, a pair of low-rent star-crossed lovers who are more Saved by the Bell than Romeo and Juliet. It seems that their souls are up for the taking after getting into a car wreck thanks to their frenemy Brad's vehicular homicide. Their spirits ejected from their injured bodies, they're left confused when Joe Estevez begins stalking the pair and their friends... and re-killing each in turn.

I don't know how it works as Soultaker is so full of plotholes that it deserved to be given the MSTie treatment and, like any episode of the show, the glory isn't in the movie, itself, but the jokes Mike and the Bots lay on top of it. Lines like, "If I die, I'm going to die eating string cheese and Fruitopia," and, "I want the soul of that stuffed bunny in the window."

The jokes often revolve around the financial disparity between Zack and Natalie, as well as Vivian Schillings passing resemblance to Tonya Harding. Hearing Crow mock Natalie's frustration with a petulant "but my SKATE BROKE. WAA!" makes for instant, uncontrollable fits of laughter on my part... even watching it alone and sober.

Natalie is played by Vivian Schilling who wrote the film... which makes her awesome and terrible at the same time. It's an admirable effort for a straight to video b-movie, as it managed to pull it not one (Joe Estevez) but two (Robert Z'dar) terrible movie staples from the 80's and 90's. I think it only could've been better (or, perhaps, worse) if they'd gotten Traci Lords and Jeffrey Combs to come along for the ride.

I think I should make a quick mention of the elephant in the room of this film, Robert Z'dar. I know, it's mean, but the guy's face is ginormous! I don't feel quite so bad as Mike and the Bots waste no time riffing on that fact, but every time I laugh I still feel a bit guilty. Another of his appearances made MST3K as well, Future War, and he's just as huge.

It should also be noted that, during the inbetweeners, MST's original host (and creator) Joel Hodgson makes a cameo appearance (as his character Joel Robinson) along with old villain TV's Frank (played by Frank Coniff). This was the first episode of the LAST season of MST3K and it was nice to see them both after they split years ago. My only regret is that Trace Beaulieu didn't make an appearance as an alt-universe Crow/Dr.Clayton Forrester so the whole gang could be back together.

Ah, well....

Soultaker is one of the best terribad movies that MST3K has had the privilege of riffing and that I've had the privilege of watching... over and over and over again. I recommend it, certainly, but mileage may vary (as my friends would no doubt testify to).

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

1 comment: