The Best Episodes of RiffTrax
Last Updated: Nov 8, 2018
RiffTrax is comedy narration to your favorite movies & TV shows, plus some wonderfully terrible films. Written and performed by the stars of the award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax brings the unique humor of "Satellite of Love" MST3K partners Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to Hollywood's hit movies. Season 1: Official RiffTrax Season 2: RiffTrax Presents Season 3: Shorts Season 4: iRiffs Season 5: Total Riff Off Season 6: RiffTrax Live!
#1 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Season 1 - Episode 103
One of the hardest things to do with a popular series is to give it the conclusion it deserves. Some of the greatest entertainment phenomenons of our time, be it The Sopranos, Lost or Hi Honey, I'm Home! have failed to give fans the closure that they, as uninvolved spectators watching at home for free, feel they are entitled to. The Lord of The Rings series, on the other hand has mastered the art of delivering a satisfying conclusion. And The Return of The King does it so well, in fact, that it decides to end seven or eight times. The final chapter of one of the most beloved trilogies of all time finds our characters picking up where they left off. Frodo and Sam continue onwards towards Mt. Doom, despite Frodo increasingly appearing to Sam as a walking roast turkey. Aragorn faces down one of lifes toughest questions: whether to embrace his true destiny, or to combine three flavors of Combos into one bag and lay on the couch with his shirt off eating them. Gimli and Legolas have started an organic dog biscuit bakery in Vermont. And Mushmouth is futilely trying to convince the gang to make him the Buck Buck breaker instead of Fat Albert. All the while, the fearsome Eye of Sauron is observing their movements in a style that can best be described as "pretty funny when you really think about it." There's also drunken table dancing, Elven poetry and a spider proboscis that you would best be served to never think about if you're ever considering venturing into the outdoors again. The journey through Cirith Ungol is never an easy one, so it's best to join up with Mike, Kevin and Bill, who have their very own Light of Earendil*, tin of pipeweed**, and satchel of Lembas Bread*** *Can of Raid **Big League Chew ***Bag of combos with three different flavors of Combos combined in it
#2 - Kill and Kill Again
Season 1 - Episode 255
Hey! It’s not Kill and Take The Afternoon Off to Catch Up on Reading, it’s Kill and Kill Again! So get off your lazy duff and back to work! Who’s doing all this killing and follow-up repeat killing? Mostly Steve Chase, the world’s greatest martial artist. You wouldn’t know he’s the best from seeing his martial arts, but the movie tells you several times he’s the best, so he must be. The South African government needs him to rescue a scientist who’s been kidnapped and forced to create an army of martial artists to conquer the world. And if you can think of a more efficient way to conquer the world, you can just keep it to yourself! Steve Chase and his long, shiny hair get the old ragtag crew together for this one last job. And they truly are the ragtaggiest of ragtag crews, the “recruiting a guy who rents a box at the junkyard” scene is not to be missed. Oh, and also? The entire plot centers around making fuel from potatoes. So yeah, it’s your standard South African martial arts extravaganza based around root vegetable gasoline. You’re gonna love it, and love it again, with Mike, Kevin and Bill!
#3 - RiffTrax Live: Doctor Who - The Five Doctors
Season 6 - Episode 25
The Doctor is in the house! The RiffTrax house, that is! The stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000®, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, are back on the big screen for a legendary riffing of the 1983 Doctor Who film "The Five Doctors." Someone is taking the Doctor's past selves out of time and space, placing them in a vast wilderness - a battle arena with a sinister tower at its center. As the various incarnations of the Doctor join forces, they learn they are in the Death Zone on their home world of Gallifrey, fighting Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and a devious Time Lord Traitor who is using the Doctor and his companions to discover the ancient secrets of Rassilon, the first and most powerful ruler of Gallifrey. Join Mike, Kevin and Bill as they join the Five Doctors for one of the most thrilling Doctor Who adventures ever!
#4 - Soapy the Germ Fighter
Season 3 - Episode 287
Live show riff available for the first time! We riffed this sparkling sudsy gem of a short LIVE in Nashville before our Mothra show in 2016, and now you can soap it up at home! Uh, sorry, that sounded kinda weird. But then, so is Soapy the Germ Fighter. Over the years we’ve faced down a host of shorts featuring anthropomorphic objects coming alive to haunt children in their rooms, from Coily to Mr. Paperbag to A Talking Car to Norman (okay, Norman never actually did that, but you know he WOULD if he could). Somehow, Soapy the Germ Fighter manages to be the least inspired AND oddest monster of the bunch. Least inspired because he’s just a giant bar of soap named Soapy. Oddest because he has arms and legs and dresses in Renaissance garb for no apparent reason. You’ll find him in the tub, waiting, watching, judging, and tuning his lute. Uh, again, sorry, that sounded kinda weird. But then... well, you know. You’re not clean, and Soapy knows it. Soapy knows everything. Get yourself sorted out and scrub the fear away with Soapy the Germ Fighter, riffed live by Mike, Kevin and Bill!
#5 - RiffTrax Live: Summer Shorts Beach Party
Season 6 - Episode 24
We're heading back to Nashville, the Beach Party Capital of the South, for one hilarious night of educational shorts - riffed LIVE in front of a huge audience at the Belcourt Theatre! Mike, Kevin and Bill return to the stage with RiffTrax regulars Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl, along with some special guests, to take turns riffing shorts in various permutations. The live show will culminate in a RIFF-A-PALOOZA with everyone on stage at the same time!
#6 - Christmas Circus with Whizzo the Clown!
Season 1 - Episode 236
Our Christmas special this year stars Whizzo the Clown. Whizzo’s not one of your big, flashy, Hollywood clowns who relies on clichés like “scripts” or “coherency.” Whizzo’s got huge, gross feet, a terrible catchphrase, and he’s ready to fly some kids to the North Pole on his streamer-powered magic carpet. And yes, for this movie, that qualifies as a plot description. After thirty seconds with Whizzo, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Yeah, I can see where The Grinch was coming from.” Or maybe, “You know, Mr. Potter had some good ideas…” In fact, it might just be the movie to turn your coulrophobia into pantophobia! RiffTrax Christmas Circus also features a short about Christmas trees that have human faces and communicate psychically with houseplants before dying and going to tree heaven. It is by far the most normal, sane part of this Christmas special.
#7 - Special Jokes: Mortal Kombat!
Season 4 - Episode 519
#8 - Farm Family in Summer
Season 3 - Episode 288
Everybody in the station wagon, we’re headed to rural Wisconsin to learn about life on a farm! Ever considered the goings-on of a Farm Family? Well now consider FURTHER the same family in the summer! Sure, it's less about everyday farming activities and more about scoring some funnel cakes, but it's really the journey — not the destination (especially if the destination involves funnel cakes). Join Bridget and Mary Jo as they hang out with a Farm Family in Summer - doing everything from milking cows to wearing colorful shirts at the county fair!
#9 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Season 1 - Episode 16
The greatest fantasy epic of all times is at last a RiffTrax! No, not Crossroads – we already did that. And not A Very Unlucky Leprechaun – which we haven't done yet but are seriously mulling over. We speak of course of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the thrilling tale of some short guys, some slightly taller hairy guys, some thin, fey, but slightly taller guys, some grungy, somewhat beefier, slightly taller guys, and a frighteningly hairy, older, slightly taller guy with a stick, and their quest to throw something somewhere hot. Mike Nelson and special guest riffer Kevin Murphy go after the ultimate comedy prize in this very special two-part RiffTrax. This RiffTrax is only compatible with the Theatrical Release, not the extended edition. It does however, work for both the single side and doubled sided versions of the Theatrical Release. Viewing Suggestion: This RiffTrax was written and performed with the whole family in mind, so if you are comfortable with your children watching Lord of the Rings, this should be perfectly appropriate for them as well. Skip the endless reruns of The War at Home and treat your whole family to the RiffTrax experience!
#10 - Deadly Instincts
Season 2 - Episode 38
via https://www.rifftrax.com/deadly-instincts A meteorite has crashed in the quad of a women’s college in the faraway land of Boston/Scotland. Its passenger, an alien monster, mates with the student body to carry on his hideous species. Only the art professor, his star student/girlfriend, and the monster’s girlfriend (who’s been trying to break up with him) can save the campus before the big homecoming dance! Also known as Breeders, Deadly Instincts is just another fine example of weird, sci-fi schlock. Plus, lots of college! Join Bridget and Mary Jo as they navigate Deadly Instincts!
#11 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Season 1 - Episode 60
The epic story of tiny men doing very important things continues.* In this multi-hour installment the two very different towers come into sharp focus. You see, whereas one tower is the domain of a once great but now evil sorcerer who rules over an army of orcs and is bent on destroying man and taking possession of the One Ring, the other tower is the domain of a once great but now evil sorcerer who rules over an army of orcs and is bent on destroying man and taking possession of the One Ring, but - BUT - his name begins with an "S", and also contains the letters "a", "u", "r", "n", whereas the other tower guy's name begins with an "S", contains the letters "a", "u", "r", and "n" HAS NO "m" AND ADDS AN "o"! And the differences don't end there: one of the guy's names is seven letters whereas the other has six! Mike, Kevin, and Bill strap on the wizard's hats, snap into some fortifying lembas and head on the down the road that goes ever on and on... *"The hobbits' quest to destroy the cursed ring" not "Martin Short, Michael J. Fox and Danny DeVito's performances in 'Mars Attacks'".
#12 - Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Season 1 - Episode 155
“You see, son, sometimes, when a shirtless teenage werewolf and a newborn love each other, very, very much...” Baby girlfriends! International squads of vampires with a host of mutant superpowers that should be blood in the water to Marvel’s legal department! A final, epic showdown between the forces of vampire “evil” and vampire “meh, whatever”! All that sounds amazing, right! It’s what we’ve been building to for four movies, right??? Like, something’s finally gonna happen! RIGHT?????? Ah ha ha haaaa, remarkable. Believing this series would pay off in any way... to paraphrase Twilight: New Moon songstress Lykke Li, “There’s no posssibilityyyyyy.” This movie is mostly about an extended vampire family gathering to show support for Bella, its newest, most insipid and simpering member. Because that’s why people love vampires -- to see them form coalitions of understanding, and talk out their differences. But there’s hope, in the form of effete ancient men in red - that’s right, more Volturi than ever before! And the great Michael Sheen offering a cackle of delight so extraordinary that the petition to make it part of his eventual Oscar death reel should begin NOW. Join Mike, Kevin, and Bill as they hide in the mustache of Mustache Dad for one last journey into the land of vampire sensitivity, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2!
#13 - The Room
Season 1 - Episode 87
The typical reaction to an encounter with The Room looks something like this: puzzlement, revulsion, laughter, amazement, hunger, affection, deep depression, inability to digest milk proteins, and ultimately, an unbreakable addiction. Yes, this is the film you've probably only heard rumors about, a truly jaw-droppingly weird melodrama written, starring, produced, financed, endlessly promoted by (most famously by a high profile billboard in Los Angeles for five years), and featuring the hideous naked backside of Tommy Wiseau, the world's shaggiest and most mysterious auteur. The Room's plot seems mundane: a banker looks forward to his marriage unaware that his fiancé is cheating on him with his best friend. But beneath this quotidian veneer lurk peculiar treasures that almost literally defy description. Quite simply, you must see this. Though this film is hard to come by your efforts to secure it will be richly rewarded. Mike, Kevin and Bill are honored to be able to join you for your first viewing of The Room.
#14 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Season 1 - Episode 82
Your favorite sand-phobic, midichlorian-rich super villain is back! And this time his capes are even more fabulous, his thigh-high Uggs resplendent like never before, and his burnt chicken head cloaked in the shiniest plastic helmet yet! And if that wasn't enough, Mike, Kevin and Bill are pleased to be joined by Darth Vader's bellicose but lovable brother Chad! Yes, the movie that gave us one of cinema's most startling revelations, and perhaps the most memorable silver screen quote ever ("I thought that hairy beast would be the end of me") gets the RiffTrax treatment. Lots of laughs. Lots of Chad Vader. And no pod racing.
#15 - The Bourne Identity
Season 1 - Episode 40
Imagine waking up in an unfamiliar place, unable to recall where you live, what you're doing there, or even your own name. Now imagine for the first time in your life it wasn't a direct result of your downing eleven pints of Guinness and then agreeing to do a Lemon Drop shooter with Jimmy T., Spleef, and Hondo the night before at Durty Nelly's. Now imagine that you began to discover you had mysterious talents -- talents that didn't involve the ability to stand next to the open refrigerator door in your underpants and drink a half gallon of Minute Maid Pulp Free directly from the pitcher without stopping for air. Now imagine you are Matt Damon. Why, the mere thought of it is to stare into a bottomless well of agony. Yet Matt Damon awakes to that fresh horror every morning of his life (the horror of discovering that he remains Matt Damon, not all that stuff about his memory. That happens to his character in that one movie – what's it called? – The Bourne Identity. My memory's not so good.) Anyway, the point is that Bourne Identity is a pulse-pounding thriller that goes from the exotic…um, somethings of somewhere to the even more exotic – look, it's tough to recall all the little things, I'm just a little fuzzy today. Suffice it to say that Bourne Identity makes for a terrific RiffTrax – and the fact that Mike is joined by Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, well, that's just -- what do you call it, that brown runny stuff – gravy!
#16 - At Your Fingertips: Grasses
Season 3 - Episode 143
Ever since this short debuted at RiffTrax Live, we’ve heard one question more than any other: “Why are you standing so close to me?” But a VERY CLOSE second to that is, “When are you guys gonna release that insane Grasses short??” Friends, you need ask no longer! Unless you were one of the people asking the first question, in which case the answer is “It’s a free country, I’ll stand where I want. Hey, you gonna finish that Hostess fruit pie?” Here, in a new studio version, is At Your Fingertips: Grasses. It’s got everything! Arts & crafts so awful they would even disappoint Depression-era children, fancy headdresses galore, and child worship of a terrifying clay-faced god! Not to mention a certain inquiry about corn that ranks up there with “Who is Keyser Soze?” as one of cinema’s great questions. While recording At Your Fingertips: Grasses, Mike, Kevin, and Bill kept something else at their fingertips: lots and lots of bourbon.
#17 - Paranormal Activity
Season 1 - Episode 99
Paranormal Activity succeeds by putting the viewer in the most deviously terrifying position ever imagined by a filmmaker: captive audience to an idiot's home movie. It recreates the experience of being stuck in a room with Micah (pronounced MEEK-uh, or DOOSH-bag), the kind of guy you immediately want to start punching and never stop punching until the punching is done. The kind of guy who spends his free time at the mall, conspicuously checking out 16-year olds while chatting loudly on his Bluetooth headset about hair gels. In short, Micah is a super sweet dude. In a hard-to-swallow supernatural twist, Micah has somehow acquired a live-in girlfriend, Katie. In any other film she would stand out as a shrill, unlikeable person, but in the twisted world ofParanormal Activity she is borderline tolerable. Katie carries some baggage, namely some sort of ghost, or demon, or...well it's not really clear. Whatever it is, it's up to no good, pulling off masterful scares such as moving keys off the counter, and gradually shifting a door while Micah and Katie sleep. By the way, get used to watching Micah and Katie sleep, because that's pretty much the whole movie. Oh, and one time they go outside and Katie sits in a chair. Strap in for terror, or at least a steady, crushing, existential dread, as Mike, Kevin, and Bill go up against the film equivalent of sitting next to a talkative moron on a 6-hour flight: Paranormal Activity.
#18 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Season 1 - Episode 24
"To boldly go where no man has gone before," and if you don't count the 79 television shows and 5 movies that came before it then Star Trek VI does exactly that. Yes, it's bold enough to have lauded stage actor Christopher Plummer glue on a few hideous plastic appliqués and shriek out lines from Shakespeare's plays at inappropriate times. It's bold enough to hire Kim Cattrall for her acting experience alone in a role that has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. And it's bold enough to pretend with a straight face that the cast of the original series shouldn't have been dry docked 20 years prior to this film. To handle this mess, Mike enlisted the aid of Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, his riffing companions from Mystery Science Theater 3000. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll say to yourself, Who is John Shuck and how can I avoid his work from now on?
#19 - Thor
Season 1 - Episode 121
Thor is the rare superhero movie that raises important questions. Namely, the important question “If Thor was considered the good superhero movie of 2011, just exactly how wretched must Green Lantern have been?” Yes, Thor, for all its critical acclaim, features not one, not two, but three distinct scenes of our hero being rendered unconscious for comedic effect all within five minutes of each other! (For the record, in order: Thor is tazed, injected and hit by a van. Rumor has it the Extended Cut features a scene where he is trampled by a hungry hippo.) No doubt this cartoonish buffoonery is the touch of acclaimed director Kenneth Branagh, whose intention for Thor seems to have been “Let’s bring out the Shakespearean elements of the comic book, but instead of soliloquies, we’ll have grunting, and instead of intrigue, more grunting.” Sadly, Branagh fails to deliver on the demands made by the most hardcore Thor fans, that he bring to the silver screen the short lived 1985 plot line where Loki turns Thor into a frog and he helps other frogs defeat some rats (this actually happened and you should look it up right now.) So you don’t get any frogs, but you do get fanservice, a thoroughly implausible love story and performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins that were it any more phoned in, would be conducted through two tin cans and a piece of string. Mike, Kevin and Bill needed a nice long Odinsleep once this one was over.
#20 - Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Season 1 - Episode 127
Hey, you know what happens if you hit play on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the same time? We tried it, turns out they don’t sync at all and the Pink Floyd album will immediately set itself on fire in protest (who knew mp3s could burn?). So instead you should probably sync it with the RiffTrax, as that is officially the only way to watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon without ending up in a fetal position, weeping at the horror of its brave new world. It’s hard to believe the franchise soldiered on after the loss of its most beloved character, Megan Fox’s butt. Yet somehow Michael Bay boldly moved forward with a new rich & complex female character, who ALSO has a butt, which happens to be the very first part of her shown in the film! And don’t worry, all your other favorite characters are back, including: Noise! Chaos! Stuttering Shia! Racism! Screaming Shia! Respected actors shaming themselves for vacation house money! Stuttering WHILE Screaming Shia! The Matrix of Leadership! The coma induced by your laughter at the fact that they want you to take something called “The Matrix of Leadership” seriously! Join Mike, Kevin and Bill as they take on Transformers: Dark of the Moon because it’s simply not safe to watch this movie alone.
#21 - Ghosthouse
Season 1 - Episode 130
Yes, yes, Ghosthouse is a film about a dead little girl who has an evil clown doll that commands her to kill. That’s all well and good. But it’s the little things about Ghosthouse that really make you stand up and say “Wait, what?” The star of Ghosthouse is a Ham Radio operator who, HEY GET BACK HERE!!! Anyways, this Ham Radio operator one day asks a fellow Ham Radio operator “Who is more popular in Denver, Kim Basinger or Kelly LeBrock?” This has nothing to do with the plot of Ghosthouse, but we just wanted to point out that this pressing question is raised in an actual movie at some point in time. So the Ham Radio guy and his ambiguously European girlfriend eat some chili, debate Ham Radio ethics* then go to the Ghosthouse where they meet a guy named Jim Dalen. We learn a lot about Jim Dalen, who’s staying outside in an RV with, among others, his sister Tina. That would be Tina Dalen. Jim Dalen’s sister. And hang on a second, we nearly forgot Pepe! Pepe is no relation to Jim Dalen, but he...you know what, this whole thing will make a lot more sense once you watch Ghosthouse. Go spend some time with Jim Dalen, Tina Dalen, Kelly LeBrock and Pepe, then come back when you’re ready to discuss the film. We’re going to go get some chili. *Both of those things actually happen in Ghosthouse
#22 - David and Hazel: A Story in Communication
Season 3 - Episode 167
Sometimes, we find something special. Something so strange, so distinct, and so wonderfully sad that by the time it ends we’re curled on the floor, guts cramped from laughing, clutching clumps of our own freshly-pulled hair as the keepers come to usher us back into our comfortable pens. David and Hazel: A Story in Communication is just such a thing. What the now-classic Setting Up A Room did for, well, setting up a room, David and Hazel does for the gradual, quiet collapse of a 1960s American marriage. That may not sound particularly hilarious to you, in fact quite frankly it probably shouldn’t, but trust us, it’s a journey you’ll be glad you took. Nearly 30 minutes long, packed with tension and vintage office scenes - if the popular AMC show were called Sad Men instead, this would be that show. Instead of Don Draper we have David: not quite as sexy, perhaps, but just as distant and seemingly confused by the presence of a wife and children in his home. When there’s trouble at work and his devoted, quivering Hazel decides to ask about it, the action* really heats up (*infinite icy silence). All that, plus a freakish son who’s at least 75% alien and a roast beef dinner scene that stands as a master class in Dysfunctional Family Planning. Let Mike, Kevin and Bill bring David and Hazel into your home, but don’t you dare ask how or why it was made because that’s simply not your concern, dear.
#23 - Shake Hands with Danger
Season 3 - Episode 48
The world of Safety Instructional Films breaks down into two distinct categories: Shake Hands with Danger, and everything else. If you like your hair feathered, your glasses huge and your moustaches grown at an eighth grade level, this is the short for you. Narrated by a guy who was rejected from the Dukes of Hazard narrator job for sounding too much like a cotton-pickin' bumpkin, Shake Hands with Danger explores the terrifying world of construction work. Sponsored by the Caterpillar heavy machinery company, it chronicles the myriad of ways you can hurt, dismember, maim or kill yourself using Caterpillar brand heavy machinery. No action is free from potentially life-ending consequences! Even if you stay home and lock yourself indoors, the bulldozer will just barrel your house over before seeking out the rest of your family!! Nobody is safe!!! Nobody!!!! Yes, riff fans of all ages will enjoy this lighthearted timecapsule of the 1970s, set to one of the catchiest Industrial Safety-based jingles we've ever heard. Mike, Kevin and Bill have never shaken hands with Danger, but they did give Danger that "fist bump then explosion" thing, and then Danger called them all "Bro-seph."
#24 - Phoebe
Season 3 - Episode 265
Sex! intrigue! Canada! Hungarian political refugees living in Canada directing films about young Canadian woman who find themselves pregnant in the summer of 1964! This must-see short has it all! Directed by George Kaczender (a Hungarian political refugee living in Canada) Phoebe is the story of Phoebe, a beautiful young Canadian woman who finds herself pregnant in the summer of 1964. Filmed in glorious black and white against a backdrop of exotic greater Toronto beaches and traffic-free roadways, Kaczender (a Hungarian political refugee living in Canada) takes us inside the mind of Phoebe as she comes to grips with the reality of her situation. This is the strangest, wackiest, coolest, sweetest, What the heck is going on-iest After School Special you have ever seen! Let the capable riffing of Bridget and Mary Jo lovingly guide you through all 28 minutes of this teen pregnancy hormone fueled event. They will help you figure out where exactly in relation to the beach is the abandoned house? How do Phoebe's while slacks stay so clean? Who are the strange top hatted dancers on the beach? And what’s the deal with Paul? * Extra credit essay question: Discuss the cultural impact Hungarian Political refugee filmmakers living in Canada have had on feminism in the Northwest Territories.
#25 - At Your Fingertips: Play Clay
Season 3 - Episode 235
Mike, Tom, and Bill comment on yet another ACI Films educational short. This 1970 film showed how to combine flour, salt and water to make dough which can be used like modelling clay. What more could we want? More exciting action packed crafting based on household items from the folks who brought us the rest of the At Your Fingertips series: Boxes, Cylinders, and the greatest short of all Grasses!