Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Ep. 2): Cry Wilderness

Episode 2 of the new season of MST3K.

MST3K Cry Wilderness is the second episode in the new season of the series, featuring a dreadfully bad movie about Bigfoot.

I mentioned in the review of Episode 1 that while the new show was great it has some bumps and how it might take a bit for the writers to find their footing. Well, good news. It only took one more episode. With Episode 2, the crew strike big with some great writing and a gatling gun run of jokes that hit nearly all the marks, starting with a pretty sweet bit during the invention exchange about Carvel ice cream cakes that involves a huge cake clock and a lamprey eel (sort of). Patton Oswalt as Max (TV’s Son of TV’s Frank) gets the first laughs of the show as he tries to have a conversation, and fails, then it’s movie sign and Jonah and the bots head to the theater to watch a bad movie. A really bad movie. A whole new special kind of bad movie. It’s …

Cry Wilderness
MST3K, 2017 © Netflix

Cry Wilderness

Cry Wilderness is a 1987 family drama about a boy who befriends a bigfoot creature. The boy’s father is a forest ranger and conversationist who is tasked with tracking an escaped circus tiger but soon becomes part of a hunt for the legendary Sasquatch. Those two sentences alone are infinitely more compelling the movie where men with guns run around putting off something till later, but Jonah, Crow and Servo give it a thorough lashing (and keep an eye out for Gypsy who makes a surprise visit to the theater as well).

Cry Wilderness
MST3K, 2017 © Netflix

The boy, Paul (Eric Foster) has a kind of psychic connection with Bigfoot, who shows up at his academy and tells him that his father is in trouble, so he escapes the school and heads to the forest and joins the gang and really there’s no point in trying to explain more. There isn’t much of a story. It’s just a ton of stock footage of wild animals and some truly horrific acting. No, seriously. Horrific. Overacting is turned up to eleven with one impossibly bad scene after another in what is supposed to be a fun family adventure yet is anything but, unless your family likes watching hackneyed nature stories butchered by poor editing, wildly over-done over-dubbing and a bunch of toothless, declawed trained animals lounging around the set.

Cry Wilderness
MST3K, 2017 © Netflix

Obviously there’s a lot for the guys to riff on. Here’s a short collection of the some best zingers:

  • “Worst Ninja Turtles Cosplay I’ve ever seen”
  • “You can’t spell dad without ADD”
  • “I’m Garth Marenghi and this is My Darkplace” (A reference to this hilarious spoof)
  • “He’s going up to the projection room to turn off this movie. We’re saved!”
  • “This is like if Bob Ross painted an action scene”
  • “Rowsdower” (A name that a true fan of the old series will catch right away from the classic episode featuring The Final Sacrifice).

Another surprise is the brief appearance of Pearl (Mary Jo Pehl), Brain Guy (Bill Corbett) and Bobo (Kevin Murphy), who drive up in their space VW van and have us weepy with nostalgia. How great was that old show? And cool is this new one?

Cry Wilderness
MST3K, 2017 © Netflix

What’s best about Episode 2 though is how soon the new crew has set themselves apart while clinging to the past. The new voices for Crow and Servo were a bit of stumbler in the first episode, like a strange cover of a classic song, however the three have found their groove and while there’s no “replacing” the originals (who themselves went under a few voice changes of their own), the new MST3K team are doing it right. Don’t hesitate for Episode 2. It’s a good one. And remember, turn down the lights where applicable.

MST3K: The Return (New Season) is currently streaming on Netflix (US).

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