Some of the best moments on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" featured the captives on the Satellite of Love riffing on bad movies that weren't bad movies at all. That is to say, they were bad, but they weren't movies. Before discussion shows, infomercials and reality shows came along and ruined everything, there used to be this strange cinematic mutant known among other things as the compilation movie. These beings were so-named because they were compiled from episodes of a television to form a 90 minute block of film that could fill an empty two hour space in the network's lineup and then be sold into syndication for reruns by local stations. The result of splicing together two completely independent narratives often results in a dizzyingly incomprehensibility of plot that is perfect for MST3K.
Crash of the Moons
Several episodes of "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" were culled together to make this compilation movie. "Crash of the Moons" is satirized mercilessly for its low budget by the writers of MST3K, but generally speaking this actually one of the more comprehensible examples of a compilation movie. It wasn't intended to be a compilation movie comedy, of course. You can tell because the humor that pervades the sci-fi cheese is utterly unfunny.
Riding with Death
"Riding with Death" is the ultimate example of this particular type of compilation movie's structural difficulties. The 90 minute "film" is derived from two episodes of a TV show called "The Gemini Man." The theme of riding is the only connective tissue besides the appearance of guest star Jim Stafford. What is most astounding about the fact that producers thought these two episodes were a great choice to string together into a single narrative is that the female co-star who plays a major role in the first half of "Riding with Death" had already been released from the cast by the time the episode that makes up the last half was shot. Not only is an important character suddenly missing in action, but another character has suddenly grown a full mustache and the evil criminal overlord that is the center of the action in the last half merits merely a dubbed insertion in the first half in order to tie the story together.
Prince of Space
Probably the most enjoyable compilation movie ever savaged on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" is the result of splicing together not episodes from two TV shows, but two Japanese science fiction movies that were, in turn, based on a Japanese TV series. The two movies, "Planet Prince" and "Planet Prince: The Terrifying Spaceship" refer to a story arc about the movie's villain that aired on the TV show. Perhaps this explains why this example of the compilation movie does not feel nearly as disjointed as other examples mocked on MST3K. The integration of two completely different movies into a single narrative is so seamless beneath the veneer of comedic jabs from Mike and the 'bots that you probably won't even notice that what seems to be a vital plot point of "Prince of Space" about stolen rocket fuel seems to vanish in importance by the halfway point.
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