Rifftrax – The Only Way to Watch Bad Movies

August 8th of 1999 was a tragic day for me. That’s the day that the final ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ aired. I thought that the idea of riffing on movies was gone for good. But now it’s back and in fine form. Instead of picking on bad low budget sci-fi flicks from the ’60s, the guys have taken on the challenge of riffing modern movies like ‘Twilight,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ and ‘Avatar.’

There’s something magical about a trio of guys that can make someone like me excited about the Blu-ray release of ‘New Moon.’ But Mike, Bill and Kevin of the Rifftrax crew pulled it off. I rented the disc on Day One, took it home and enjoyed some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard.

If you never watched ‘MST3K,’ you missed out on a lot. You’re probably familiar with the concept anyway. A movie plays and a group of people make fun of it. It’s a simple enough idea. It’s also consistently hilarious.

With Rifftrax, you don’t download the full movie due to, you know, copyrights. You get an MP3 track that you can sync up to the film. If you’re playing it on your computer, there’s a program to automatically synchronize your audio and video tracks. If not, running the movie through your TV speakers while running the commentary through your surround is a good way to go.

Of course, there are plenty of shorts, just like in the old ‘MST3K’ days. If there’s one I could recommend above all else, it’s the amazing ‘Drugs are Like That,’ in which two children discuss drugs, how they’re similar to a baby, a man skipping down the sidewalk, and twiddling your hair. It’s a wonderful experience.

The main cast of Rifftrax is the final cast of the TV show. It features Kevin Murphy who played Tom Servo, Bill Corbett who played Crow T. Robot, and Mike Nelson who played Mike Nelson. There are guest stars from time to time too. “Weird Al” Yankovic was featured on the riff of ‘Jurassic Park,’ and Neil Patrick Harris sat in the guest seat for ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.’

Riffs and shorts are released fairly regularly, and there’s a substantial back catalog that’s oh so worth going through.

So the next time you’re sitting around lamenting your ownership of ‘Terminator 3,’ or ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ – or trying to figure out what to do with your tape of ‘The Star Wars Christmas Special’ – swing on over to Rifftrax.com and get some worth out of those discs.


  1. BambooLounge

    MST3K was great, but I just don’t have the time nor inclination to watch them do tracks for everything.

    I think Red Letter Media has picked up the mantle. The Star Wars prequel reviews and Avatar reviews were really good and the most recent review Baby’s Day Out (I think I actually saw that movie on cable once) is pretty damn funny. A MST3K for people that only want to spend about 25 minutes or so.


    • Is that the guy with the really nasally voice who did the 75 minute review of The Phantom Menace? I got about 2 minutes into that before I couldn’t stand his voice anymore.

      • BambooLounge

        Yeah, that is the guy. The voice is def. jarring as all hell when you first listen to it. It is sort of like the vuvuzela in that once you get through a match or two you tend not to notice it as much (at least I don’t notice it anymore).

        He’s SW observations/reviews are completely spot-on and pretty hysterical.

        I never bothered checking out his non-film review stuff since I only go to red letter for my MST3K-styled fix.

  2. Doug

    Good idea in theory. Price-wise not so much. Take Lord of the Rings: $4.99 for a movie I hate? Plus $3-5 to go rent the thing, I’m looking at 10 bucks to watch a movie I hate get made fun of. I’d just assume not watch it.

    The main appeal of MST3K to me was that it was on cable late at night, which I was already paying for.

  3. I’ve been with Rifftrax since the first release, when Mike Nelson riffed Roadhouse, and used to watch MST3K every Saturday morning with my Dad, back when I was in junior high/high school. Yes it was a sad day when MST3K went off the air, and a superbly happy day when I heard about Rifftrax. They very rarely disappoint, and some of the funniest moments I’ve ever encountered have been thanks to Rifftrax. One in particular was their riff of Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier. I had a group of about 8 close friends over for it, all of us sci-fi nerds, and we all laughed so hard several of us were close to passing out!! Such memories. Thanks, Mike, Kevin, and Bill!!

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