Just when you thought it was safe to screen your terrible movie, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are returning to theaters tonight for a national live riffing of the '90s cult classic Starship Troopers. Yes, Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy are bringing their special brand of silver screen skewering, which they've dubbed Rifftrax Live, coast-to-coast thanks to Fathom Events, so fans can once again enjoy the loud voices chastising the screen at their local cineplex being actually funny! Being many of us as the Weekly are lifelong fans of the guys, we're marking this special occasion by counting down our five favorite songs from their run on MST3K. So pick a seat near the front because we've got movie sign!
5. “Idiot Control Now” (from Episode 303 “Pod People”)
The bulk of the music from Mystery Science Theater 3000 was inspired by something truly dreadful the cast would have to endure seeing onscreen. But in the case of fan favorite episode 303 “Pod People,” they were given something offensive for another one of their senses as well. In the film, a “musician” “character” performs a song in a recording studio whose lyrics are almost entirely indistinguishable. Joel and the Bots decide to recreate the magic as best they can with their cover of the song, attempting to get as close to the original lyrics as possible.
4. “Where, Oh Werewolf?” (from Episode 904 “Werewolf”)
Nothing better than a 1950s girl group parody, except for maybe one involving a werewolf. Here, Mike and the Bots bring together the heartbreaking frustration of teenage love with the timeless theme of werewolves. One of the show's most dead-on stylistic executions, it's greatness is strong enough to make us overlook the forced rhyming of “approve” and “love,” like we would for all classic girl groups.
3. "The Greatest Frank of All” (from Episode 532 "Village of the Giants”)
It's always sad when a beloved character has to exit a program. Softening the blow left by the departure of TV's Frank was "The Greatest Frank of All,” a tribute to the character as well as a send-up of over-sentimental tribute songs. There's something oddly touching about the overacting here, allow both the heartstrings and the funny bone to be caressed in a similar manner.
2. "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas” (from Episode 321 "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”)
The gang at MST3K were always reliable for some holiday fun. While their other Christmas-themed episodes have left no shortage of great tunes, our favorite has to be "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas.” While it may be to this day the only seasonal carol modeled after the film Road House, it's gritty imagery has made a welcome addition to any holiday collection.
1. "Love Theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000”
Of course, this had to be number one. One of the most memorable television themes of its era, the catchy futuristic doo-wop gave the the first-time viewer enough exposition to not be lost and an irresistible earworm to ensure that they would be coming back for more. The best incarnation is something left best to intense fan debate, so we've let them all run alongside each other in the above clip. If you're wondering how we could effectively name so many different variations of a single song as the number one greatest, just repeat to yourself "It's just a list, I should really just relax.”