Last Thursday night I felt like I got to be a part of something unique and special. And no, I don’t mean eighties “special” or Olympics “Special”, though I do think everyone who was involved was a winner.
Bad humour aside, what I’m referring to is this year’s Hallowe’en edition of RiffTrax Live – an event that has become a regular staple in theaters around the country for the past couple of years. Hosted by the latter-day saints of MST3K – Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy – RiffTrax is a return to form for the trio after fans of the original Mystery Science were left in a fandom vacuum following the demise of the show on the Sci Fi Channel.
What differentiates RiffTrax from its predecessor is this – instead of being an episodic show where a man and his bots sit in silhouette in front of a movie screen cracking jokes at the expense of a low-budget B-flick, RiffTrax offers MP3s of the snap-crackle-funny commentary made famous by the show that created “MSTies” to play against popular hit and miss films we all either own or rent that would generally be too expensive to buy the rights to for an episodic TV show.
Yes, that paragraph was technically one entire sentence. Hope I didn’t lose anybody.
And now with RiffTrax Live, fans of riffing – old and new – can enjoy the experience together a couple times a year in theaters across the country as Mike, Kevin, and Bill prove they have the chops to mock in the moment. Each event usually includes a couple of shorts to warm them up before they take a crack at the feature film – usually something in public domain like Reefer Madness or Plan 9. As an added cherry to that fundae, they’ll also bring in a guest riffer – like Weird Al – to help out with one of the shorts.
This past Thursday’s offering was especially sweet*, as not only did the nefarious trio choose a great classic like the original House on Haunted Hill as their Hallowe’en offering, but the whole even was sponsored by the very site you’re not reading this blog on right now – CHUD.
It was quite an exciting experience overall. The poster child for overweight, forty year old guys living in their mom’s basement actually curbed himself from his usual activities.** The shorts were exceptionally funny. Guest riffer Paul F. Thompkins wasn’t too abysmal while trying to hold his own against the masters. And even the feature film itself was a treat to watch whilst being torn apart by the ex-dwellers of the Satellite of Love.
But one of the biggest thrills for me was when that commercial I’m sure you’ve all seen for the sponsor you’re all familiar with*** ran.
As the CHUD ad played, I felt a tinge of excitement. For a split second I felt like a part of something bigger. I felt a surge of pride. I know I’m currently just a blogger for CHUD (with an installment of “What I’m Thankful For” in the pot as well!), but seeing the commercial for the site I blog for still made me feel like I was there helping to represent a web site that I feel very passionate about. It set the tone for the entire evening for me, and made me feel very proud to be a part of something that has come a long way from just being a newsletter.
Thank you, Nick… and thank you, CHUD. You pretty much made this blogger’s October.
*I know, somewhere there cast of Monty Python and the Holy Grail is screaming “Get on with it!!”
**Which consist of trying to join in on fun by riffing over the professionals, getting up to talk to other folks in the theater during the event, and following people to the bathroom for that after-Trax urinal-talk.
***Or else, what the hell are you doing here?