Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rifftrax, Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans

I've long been an admirer of Mystery Science Theater 3000. But I'm not sure I still want to admit that after looking at a Rifftrax message board.

It's the only thread I read on the message board. Maybe the others were all highly intellectual.

But here fans responded to a link someone posted to an interview with the late Ray Dennis Steckler who directed a number of low budget movies, mostly horror but some comedies as well. He was influenced by silent movies and he seemed to have been inspired by Soviet Experimental cinema.

From the interview:
...Speaking of cheesy science fiction shows, what do you think about your films being shown on “Mystery Science Theater 3000”?
I think it’s just disgusting. I think the people that wrote that should be ashamed of some of the things they said. If they want to poke fun at my films, that’s fine. We went out and made a movie and they have a right to say what they think about it, but some of things they said in that show were just disgusting. I don’t even like to talk about it because it upsets me so much. They never had the rights from me to show the pictures. The guys that do that show just have no respect for what a filmmaker goes through with very little money. You give up a lot to make a movie like “Strange Creatures”, time and money. I did not need the kind of racist, sexist and even anti-Semitic remarks those guys made. I just think they were wrong to do it. I hope they made a lot of money off that and then spent it unwisely. The show is off the air now so it really doesn’t matter. Let me ask you something, have you ever heard me knock anyone before?
No, I can honestly say in anything I have read or seen about you, you have never said an unkind word about anyone. I can also add that I know first hand from talking with other filmmakers that you are not alone in your sentiments towards that show.
http://www.crazedfanboy.com/spotlight/raysteckler.html

Naturally, the MST3k fans got all worked up about it:
And pray tell what ones were those? I don't recall them every being racist, sexist, or anti-semetic [sic] . If they did they were mocking a racist character and speaking as him. But for the life of me I don't remember any of those type jokes directed at RDS or his turd of a film. I think he is another movie guy with his panties in a bunch because he thinks his work is gold and having someone ridicule it for the massive turd it is is sacrilegious.
Another responded:
Racist : "The other Gumble Brother"

Sexist: "She's the most masculine man I've ever seen."

Anti-Semitic: The "Sieg Heil"ing while the dancers were doing their routine.
I did notice on a "Film Crew" commentary that they had a tendency, when a black character appeared on screen, to basically shout out the name of another black person. When a black stripper appeared in one movie, one of them said it was Condoleezza Rice. She didn't resemble Rice in any way other than being black. The sexist comment about the actress being "masculine" referred to Steckler's then wife, and jokes about Nazis are always a bit of a problem.

But the other MST3k fan responded:
That's it? Ok saying that some guy looks like someone else's brother (who happens to be a different race) is racist? Making fun of a woman who looks manish and making a joke about it is sexist? Making a joke that the dance routine looks like the sig  hiel [sic] is anti-semetic [sic]? Not really it is making a reference to people who were, but not saying anything nasty about jews. [sic]

Now if Mike/Kev/Bill said in an interview or seriously said stuff like "Black people are lazy good for nothings." or "Women should only be in a kitchen and serve their man." or "Jews are a major cause of the world's problems." Yeah THEN I would agree that they are racist/antisemetic [sic] /sexist. But making jokes like they did are not that bad. They are mocking the individual person or a negative culture.
http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=11813.0

Another said,
Like the then head of the BBC said at the time when asked about Monty Python's Flying Circus: "There are some people who should be offended and often." or words to that effect.
I doubt he saw the irony in his being offended himself that someone criticized a TV show he watched.

"SUCK IT, STECKLER," another cleverly retorted.

Some interview I saw

Mike Nelson and one of the other guys from that show had pretty much the same attitude in an interview I saw on You Tube. They had appeared on a local talk show. They were arguing with an admirer of science fiction film who took offense at their work. Nelson and the other guy---I don't remember who it was---defense of the show boiled down to "Oh, come on!"

It's pointless to argue with comedians. If they can't make an argument, they make a joke. If there's a glaring hole in their argument, they make a joke. You make an argument, they make a joke. And they're used to being on stage so they talk loud.

I'll never be a fan of anything again.

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