Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where we’re taking a break from the usual format to pay homage to a funnier and more famous band of bad movie lovers: the dedicated movie mockers of RiffTrax.com.
Who and what is that?
RiffTrax is a website run by the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 – specifically former host Mike Nelson and his former/current sidekicks Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. They started off doing mp3 commentaries riffing on blockbusters but have since focused on b-movies and shorts with the jokes built in. Basically, it’s what you and friends try to do already but done by professionals with more than 20 years of collective experience at it.
Five Reasons to Watch RiffTrax!
Ah, shorts – RiffTrax’s $1 Gateway drug. From educational videos to Public Service Announcements to silent films of yesteryear, shorts are RiffTrax’s most plentiful resource.
The low budget, incredibly cheesy 1949 serial Batman and Robin has been riffed in its entirety. Largely forgetten in favor of the intentionally funny Adam West series, these amusing half hour episodes are just as ridiculous in a much less deliberate way. They’re $1.99 at RiffTrax, as are some other half-hour programs such as the Hormel educational video, This is Hormel.
Batman Takes Over, the first episode of the series.
3) Total Riff Off!
For the last two years, the RiffTrax guys have returned to TV giving the less educational programming of National Geographic Channel the Mystery Science Theater treatment (minus the puppets, shadows, and host segments). The utter stand out is their drubbing of Richard Terry, a “monster hunter” who spends most his time wandering around caves based on hearsay and finding nothing.
Total Riff Off Episode 4: Man V. Monster.
4) The Movies!
RiffTrax has a HUGE catalogue of B and lower grade films available for your viewing pleasure! From legendary schlock like Night of the Lepus to obscure garbage like Wonder Women, you’re going to find something that appeals to you.
Cool As Ice, the loose remake of The Wild One starring Vanilla Ice in the lead role.
5) The Live Shows!
RiffTrax has done 16 live shows to date, with 13 available for you to download right now. They’re the most expensive offering in the VOD catalogue (at $13) but they give you the whole package: an introduction to the Riffers, a short, and a feature length bad movie. They are probably the best intro to the “series”.
RiffTrax Live: Birdemic, featuring the short Norman Checks In.
Why the tribute/unpaid ad?
RiffTrax Live: The Room is tomorrow night! A perfect intro to the guys who make bad movies even funnier, a fine way to see The Room, a solid night out with friends, and the author of this column contributed to its Kickstarter. Prove his money well spent and go check it out!
NEXT WEEK: We turn our attentions towards awfully good TV with 1994’s Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills.