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.