Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 VOLUME 6. Gunslinger (1956). Director: Roger Corman.

I confess I was never a fan of Mystery Science Theater, in which a nerdy guy and two silly robots sit in front of a screen [cutting off the bottom third of the movie] and make sophomoric comments about the "bad" B movies they're watching. True, some of the movies were pretty bad, but not every old low-budget black and white movie is automatically a stinker. Another problem is that the people behind MST weren't especially talented, and the comments they make during the movie aren't much funnier than what you'd hear from someone if you watch one of these movies with a group of friends. [In fact, most of the jokes are pretty predictable.] There's also the fact that comments during movies (when not completely annoying) are funnier when they're made by people you know about people you know. Still, MST was a success of sorts with intellectually-challenged high schoolers and college "kids" of all ages. [We won't even talk about the lame "sketches," enacted by dufus amateurs, that are interspersed with the movies.]

This volume features Attack of the Giant Leeches [no world-beater, but fun enough on its own without added comments, especially when you can come up with better ones on your own], the genuinely abysmal Teenagers from Outer Space, and Roger Corman's Gunslinger with John Ireland, Beverly Garland and everybody's favorite 50 Foot Woman, Allison Hayes. Gunslinger, on its own terms, is a perfectly entertaining little B western with generally good performances from its cast, and would have been a lot more fun without the MST crew piping in with their annoying and mostly unfunny comments. Garland becomes sheriff after her husband is killed, and gets into a war with saloon and dance hall owner Hayes -- the two have a pretty zesty "cat-fight" at one point -- then falls for a gunslinger (Ireland) that Hayes hired to kill Garland. Bruno Ve Sota of Leeches and Jonathan Haze of Little Shop of Horrors are also in the cast.

Verdict: Gunslinger: **1/2.
Mystery Science Theater 0 stars.


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Neil A Russell said...

It's nice to find a place where I can finally confess that I don't think the MSK3 thing is funny either.

From the way it's built up you'd think you were going to get to see Ernie Kovacs.

I do enjoy tweaking the multitudes of fans by suggesting that the movie would be more interesting if those unfunny little people in the corner would stop making unfunny wisecracks.

If I want fun made of a movie, I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself.

And it's funnier.

(That should catch me some hell)

William said...

You're assessment of MST is right on target, the fans be damned, LOL!