For those of you unfamiliar with RiffTrax or with the long-running cult series Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K), here's the shtick. Take a bad movie, not an ordinary bad movie, but a horrifically, truly terrible B-movie. Now imagine that movie with the soundtrack replaced by a running commentary, not a director's commentary, like on a DVD, but a smart, smartass, and very funny commentary. You might call it heckling; RiffTrax calls it "riffing." Now you have the idea (sort of).
The RiffTrax treatment is a fun way to watch any bad movie, but it is most enjoyably experienced in group. So, MST3K alumni Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett created the RiffTrax Live cinema series through Fathom Events, simulcast live on theater screens across the country, creating a truly shared movie experience. The crowd in the theater was what I'd probably call a Comic-Con crowd: mostly guys and a few women, all fairly geeky looking. (This is not an insult; I am enough of a geek-ette that just going to the theater made me begin to count the days 'till July and Comic-Con 2013!)
Best of RiffTrax Live reprises some of those captured live RiffTrax events and brings them back to the big screen to be enjoyed by those who might have missed them first time 'round.
First, a warning before attempting to attend: eating or drinking can be hazardous to your health (and the person sitting in front of you). Sipping that soft drink at an inopportune moment can result in the same fluid emerging from your nose, or worse careening down your windpipe as you try desperately to suppress laughter while trying to swallow and breathe.
Last August the trio recorded a live event in Nashville, riffing on the 1966 horror of a horror movie Manos: The Hands of Fate. Listed #4 on IMDb's 100 worst movies ever made, Manos is truly a terrible movie in every possible way. It is a perfect candidate for the RiffTrax Treatment, and was reprised January 24 as part of the comedy group's Best of RiffTrax Live series. Fathom followed that up a week later with Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, also recorded at an earlier time.