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06 March, 2011

Cambot's Voice by S. J. Martiene: EXPERIMENT 1: BOGGY CREEK II: the Legend continues

As a Mother of two teenage boys, I have found that my need to laugh…and laugh hard has become a necessity.  For it is this capacity to laugh that has tempered many otherwise potentially dangerous thoughts that cloud my head when the daily “Teenage Battle Cries” blast forth.
Throughout the years, I have honed my humor on Groucho Marx (along with his brothers); the residents of Termite Terrace and other Looney Tunes, Monty Python, and comic geniuses like Steve Martin, Steven Wright…and even George Carlin and Bill Cosby.  In contradiction to all this laughter, I happen to be a fan of horror movies.  Now, mind you, I’m old school.  My preferences are classic movies, and I am very happy watching anything…bad or good between the Silent Years into the 1960’s.  This is not saying I won’t delve into that latter half of the 20th Century or beyond, it is just Hollywood’s Golden Age is just my preferred viewing taste.  When I try to reconcile the two opposing facets of my otherwise benign personality, I understand why Horror Hosts always filled that gap for me. 
When I was younger and movies became too “scary”, Horror Hosts provided the necessary comic relief so I could head to my bed safely and that vampire/wolf man/fill-in-your-monster-here would neither be under the bed or in the closet.
Sadly, adulthood beckoned and the Horror Hosts seemed to have gone the way of my childhood.  When their availability/frequency on TV became less than desirable, I was stuck for many years.  Of course, this was during the time when VCR taping was limited, expensive, and barely existent for most people. There was nothing to fill the void except to catch an occasional local guy OR ELVIRA shows in the various cities I lived during my Retail Years in the 80’s and 90’s.  Finally, I WAS SAVED and promptly encouraged to “KEEP CIRCULATING THE TAPES”.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 began as a janitor, Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson), his puppet pals:  Crow T. Robot (first voiced by Trace Beaulieu, later Bill Corbett), Tom Servo (voiced by Josh “Elvis” Weinstein, then by Kevin Murphy), and Gypsy ( Patrick Brantseg, Jim Mallon ) held hostage by Dr. Clayton Forester (played by Trace Beaulieu) and his assistant, Dr Erhardt  (played by Josh Weinstein, replaced in Season 2 by TV’s Frank, portrayed by Frank Conniff).  The “Mad Scientists” forced Joel and the Bots to watch movies and they would view their commentary/reaction, etc. in an attempt to break their will.  Really folks, it just doesn’t get much deeper than that.  During the show’s run there were a few switches in front of the camera and behind the scenes.  Head writer Mike Nelson took over Joel’s spot when Joel left the show in Season 5.  When the show moved from Comedy Central to The Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy), Trace Beaulieu left, and Bill Corbett took on Crow’s puppeteering and voice.  Mary Jo Pehl, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett all took roles in place of Dr. Forester’s void.  Frank Conniff left earlier in the series’ Comedy Central run. 
Now, there are FAR better sources of information than this fangirl to get better detail and history of all the machinations in front of and behind the cameras of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  For this, I refer you to www.mst3kinfo.com .  If you cannot find what you need there, try Google.  It works every time.
First Experiment:
MST3K #1006:  Boggy Creek II:  The Legend Continues


Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Ann Walker
Tim Thornton
Tanya Yazzie
Deputy Williams
Otis Tucker
Store Keeper
Oscar Culpotter
Myrtle Culpotter
W.L. Slogan
Boat renter
Old Lady in Store
Man #1 in Store
Man #2 in Store
Source:  Internet Movie Database
Don’t bother yourself with the fact that you’ve never heard of any of these fine thespians; nearly half of the cast was hired from the Arkansas location from which this fine cinematic piece was shot.  Also, all you investigators of film facts and continuity, please do not start sticking sharp objects in your eyes when you realize this is actually PART III of the Boggy Creek Monster series and not PART II as this impressive title (also known as The Barbaric Monster of Boggy Creek:  Part II) would lead one to think.  If you get all jumbled up in the *FACTS* and continuity issues, you are going to miss out on some really hilarious stuff, so sit back...and relax.  It’s a movie about stupid Southern stereotypes, a college professor with grant money and three minions, a monster-who-shall-not-be-named…and a disturbing, greasy guy named Crenshaw.  IT’S FUNNY!  You will also notice there is a very high CHARLES: MOVIE ratio here; throw in one guy named “Jimmy Clem”, and well, it is just a recipe for just because you CAN make a movie, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Host Segment 1
The Bots are showing craft projects as part of their *Scout Meeting*.  Crow over-achieves.  Servo comes in wearing a Brownie uniform because that is the only thing that fits over a hoverskirt … DUH!  Meanwhile in Castle Forrester, Pearl wants to practice Mad Scientology by conducting her own electricity.  SADLY, she only has one mushy potato to use.  Other canned items are suggested…
The opening scene of this movie emits an odor right at the get-go….and narrator Charles B. Pierce, telling the *The Story of Fried Pork Rinds*(Mike).  He begins speaking and a hairy thing walks out, starts bathing, spooks a fisherman, eats a deer (AKA *Bambi’s Step Mother*, with full zippered head gear I might add), and our movie has started with full frontal horror!!!  For some reason, with all this tension and obvious HORROR (did I mention horror), Director/Writer/Producer/Star Charles B. Pierce switches gears to an SEC FOOTBALL GAME!!!  Okay, now, being a Southern gal myself I can understand the importance of the gridiron reference in the Southern movie…but we have already had so many unanswered questions in so few minutes.
Anywho, back to the game.  NO, wait, once more we are fooled.  The scene changes, and we see CHUCK “Tim” PIERCE (nepotism much?), the son of our narrator, etc.  He ANSWERS THE PHONE!!!!  I told you, non-stop action.  He must retrieve our, dare I say “stars”, from the football game.  In a hail of mass confusion, Leslie and Tanya with too much make-up, a skinny guy with too little shirt, and Doc Brian load ‘em up and head to Boggy Creek.
Our gang of four stop at a country store, filled with citizens of the region.  The locals do not regale in such tomfoolery and retort back with questions about the Boggy Creek Creature with guffaws, laughter, and stereotypical “city folk” jabs.   After receiving this dressing-down, the city folk head to their first stop on their investigative adventure, and Tim feels compelled to keep his shirt off.
*Okay, people without shirts please put them on, and people with shirts please take them off.*
This is first of several dreary stories told in a flashback sequence and frankly…I’m going to leave these gems to YOU, the viewer to see for yourself.

Host Segment 2
The Bots are fighting and forget what they were fighting about, and decide to do it via flashback.  Mike can’t see his flashback very well because his contacts are not in.
There is a HEADLESS deer in the middle of the road.  This is less musical than having a dead skunk there, but IS IT the same deer in the opening narrative?  We don’t know, we had a sidebar to a Razorback game, didn’t we?  The gang finds a campsite and our little Tim finally puts on a shirt and draws a picture of our “Creature”.  Doc decides to lapse into another story about a guy that changed a tire one day and encountered the creature.  “He never recovered” *He was dead, so that makes sense*(Mike)
Next up, we are introduced to the high-tech radar equipment which comes into play during the rest of this movie.  I affectionately call this system the Pongmaster 5000. Tim and Tanya are testing it in the field…but guess who shows up?  Awwwwww … you guess!!  Have you seen this formula before???  Servo is calling Tanya *Lucy Braless*….hmmm…  The Professor goes out in full Walker, Texas Ranger mode carrying his gun and announcing, “I SMELL YA!” *You’re wearing Giorgio, aren’t you* (Mike).  After everyone is back at camp, more radar-watching ensues.
Host Segment 3
Pearl has given up the electricity thing; instead creating her own version of the “Boggy Creek Creature”:  Bobo (Kevin Murphy).  Mike and the Bots are not impressed with this empire.  Brain Guy sings a ballad.
We have to endure the night with the radar-blipped creature and possible sighting, and Tim without a shirt.  The next day, the gang is treated to TWO *cheese-cloth covered* flashback stories to lighten the mood after their scary encounter with the “Creature”.  These stories are complete with outhouses, Sears & Roebuck Catalogs, water hoses, fishes, and potato peeling.  Don’t think about all of it too hard, your head will explode….and I would have to take the water hose from the flashback story to clean up the mess.  Don’t want to give TOO much away; you really have to see these stories yourself to appreciate them.  One thing I will tell you.  The male protagonist in the “outhouse” story, Oscar Culpotter is one of the patrons in the store they visit when they enter town.  No wonder the guy laughed. 
Next, our Doc meets up with a detective this is where we first hear the name of the REALLY true star of this show:  Crenshaw.  Pay attention to the name.
The gang gets back to camp, eat bologna sandwiches, and the girls argue make-up.  The “men” go investigate CSI-like but with all the tools that 80’s funding can give them.  The girls are bored and the Bots want them to wrestle!  The girls take the jeep run into mud…..and the Bots want them to WRESTLE!!!  Servo intimates they are *Checking on the land they bought from the Clintons*.  The girls drive and get stuck in the mud….the Bots say the simplest way to settle this is to WRESTLE!!!  Mike has to mediate.
Back at camp, the guys only seem mildly concerned. 
The girls; however, still have full makeup, and with Tanya’s brilliant brain remembers there is a WINCH on the jeep.  Leslie thinks she says WENCH and runs over her.  THE END.  No, I’m sorry, that’s how I wanted it to end.  Anyhow, Servo is still bartering for a Wrestling Match, but the girls see the Creature and run screaming back to camp.  The two show up on Pongmaster 5000.  The guys diss them and disbelieve them for a half-second.
The next day, Doc rents a boat from a whittler and the gang heads up the river (or down) to visit……Castle Crenshaw.
Host Segment 4
Servo takes up whittling…He actually bought a little outfit in Kentucky, DECIMATING THE RAINFOREST, and mocking Sting all at the same time.
The Crenshaw Safari is stupid to the girls.  Believe me, after they day they had the day before, THEY KNOW STUPID. Tim is wearing a shirt.  Doc looks like Castro, and treats us to another narrative stretch.  Finally, we arrive at Castle Crenshaw and meet the King.  Tim is compelled to take off his shirt and Tanya feels compelled to chew tobacco (subsequently throwing up).  I don’t know if I can fully describe Crenshaw.  The overalls, the scruffy beard, the muck, and mud covering him, and the band he is wearing across his head was not only a fashion statement for the time period -- WHO AM I KIDDING?  Just looking at that band is enough to induce a migraine.

As played by Jimmy Clem
A thunderstorm’s a brewing and our host has to tend to his fires.  They all have to stay at the Castle for a spell while the weather clears.  Crenshaw inquires about the Doc’s medical credentials; he needs the Doc to do some “doctoring”.  On what?  We cannot say – yet.
Crenshaw takes Doc to another room “get inside and hunker down.”  *Never hunker down within 10 yards of this guy*(Crow).  Well, what do you know?  There is a Baby Creature!!!  And it is injured.  Crenshaw wants him fixed up.
The Doc looks like he is making a master plan…leaves the room.  Crenshaw leaves the room.  The only thing NOT fizzled out is Crenshaw’s fires and probably the odor he emits.
Crenshaw announces, “Lawdy mercy ah got to get to mah fires!”  He goes outside.
Doc professes, “I saw the little creature!”  Everyone is uncomfortable.
Shots are fired.  The Creature breaks in, takes her kid, the Doc babbles something nonsensical.  Finally….all is relatively normal as can be in Crenshaw’s world.
Everyone decides the Creature should live happily ever after in its own legend.  Charles B. Pierce gives us another narrative worthy of another 10 years of grant money.  Closing credits commence with the Creature and Creature Kid walking off, while the trio fills in the appropriate dialogue.

Closing Host Segment

Crow is Crenshaw.  Servo is the baby Creature.  They set the SOL on fire… AGAIN.  At Castle Forester, the Legend of Forester stuff is selling…sort of…but Bobo is tired of being locked in his room.   Pearl is busted.  Again.

MST3K #1006 is among my personal ten favorite MSTie treatments.  I’ve seen this one countless times and still laugh like I’ve seen it the first time.  This one is available through Netflix DVD rental.  Rent it and treat yourself to a couple of hours a great laughs.

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