How Mike and Joel Saved Christmas: The Top 9 Holiday Riffs

December 13th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

It’s the Christmas season and amongst all the joy and laughter comes the utter strangeness that is the Christmas concept. Whether you’re talking about Jesus or Santa or whoever else, the whole season is a cultural mixing bowl of strange pop culture. That makes it all too fun to laugh at.

Throughout its many decades, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its many spinoffs have given us much to celebrate. So many bad movies have been pointed at and made to look even more foolish. Like all good TV shows, there would be the occasional Christmas episode. These Christmas-themed riffs are always fondly remembered by the fans and tend to be revisited every December.

But what’s the best? I’ve decided to rewatch all of them and rank them based on my own fair and just rating system pulled directly out of my ass. I’m covering all corners of the Riffverse for this: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike Nelson’s offshoot Rifftrax and Joel Hodgson’s Cinematic Titanic. I wish I could have included the Film Crew – the other offshoot created by the Rifftrax guys – but with only four episodes, nothing really fit with the season.

I’m also disqualifying any of the Rifftrax shorts releases as individual entries. Everything on the list has to be at a minimum of 20 minutes. As for the ratings, each entry will be graded on four things:

– WTF Factor: Sometimes the best fodder come from movies that are just so strange that you have just as much fun explaining them to others as you do watching them.

– Watchability: I enjoy a good bad movie, but sometimes a bad bad movie can be a bear to sit through no matter how funny the jokes are.

– Riff Quality and Extras: The movie may be a mess, but how funny are our guys giving it the business? Not to mention the stuff that isn’t part of the movie itself, like skits and such.

– Christmasness: You’re watching this because of Christmas, right? Well, how much does it really have to do with Christmas?

I wanted to go with a top 10 list here by including Space Mutiny to round it all out, but I decided against it. It didn’t feel right that it would rank so highly when the only reason it’s on the list is because one of the supporting characters looks a bit like Santa Claus. So let’s get going with the Top 9 Best Christmas Riffs!


Rifftrax (2006)
Mike Nelson

Rankin/Bass, the people behind such holiday classics as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without Santa Claus, go in a more biblical direction by telling the story of Nestor, a donkey born with exceptionally long-ears. These ears end up getting him in trouble and make him the laughing stock of the animal kingdom. After the death of his mother, he’s greeted by a cherub who gives him an important mission to find Joseph and Mary, as he will be instrumental in the survival of their baby.

– WTF Factor: There’s an awkwardness to the special based on the desperation to reinvent the wheel on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The basic concept is incredibly similar, only it has none of the charm and fun that makes Rudolph such a holiday staple. There’s not much else to mention other than the truly bizarre ending. In the beginning, Nestor and his mother are taken care of by a really abusive donkey breeder named Olaf, who angrily throws them out into the cold, where Nestor’s mother dies. After Nestor’s journey to Bethlehem, the story ends with him returning home and all the animals – AND OLAF – are all happy to greet him, like they somehow heard news of Jesus being born over Twitter or something. 4

“All those of you who rubbed raw my soul with your bitter mocking laughter: THANK YOU! You truly are my friends!”

– Watchability: Despite being 25 minutes long, Nestor is rough to get through. Like I said, it’s Rudolph with none of the charm. Remember the beginning of Rudolph when the other reindeer make fun of him for his nose? Imagine that for about twenty minutes straight. Mix that with Nestor’s mother’s death and the whole thing is teeming with depression. Even worse is the soundtrack, made up of the same forgetful song played again and again with different lyrics. It isn’t even weird enough to be enjoyable. But hey, at least it’s short. 2

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Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins: The iRiff!

April 19th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Some of you longtime readers might remember that a couple years ago, me and some guys experimented with iRiffs, a part of the Rifftrax site where any idiot with time and a microphone can record his own Mystery Science Theater 3000 garbage and put it online. Our first couple attempts were plagued with sound issues, mostly on my part, but we moved onto a project I practically begged the others for: Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins. Journey Begins was an animated movie released to hype up the theatrical release of Mortal Kombat. Anyone who has ever seen it can tell you that it’s ripe with ridiculousness and begs to be made fun of. So we did just that.

We recorded our lines and everything, but things fell to the wayside and a lot of it was forgotten about. Considering Nick Zachariasen, also known as ManiacClown, had little to do after Ultimate Edit finished up and the new Mortal Kombat game was on the horizon, it made sense to get back to work on it. He worked his ass off on it and here it is. It’s me, Nick and James Howard, who rules the roost with his delivery. My quality has gone from outright terrible to plain crappy, so that’s a slight step up.

Rather than show you a preview and ask you to purchase it, I thought it would be better to just give you the whole shebang, synced up and ready to go. So here you go. The entire iRiff of Journey Begins for free. Enjoy.

There is an iRiff page for the mp3 file, so if you feel the need to pay a dollar for it, I won’t hold it against you.

(The last couple seconds repeat a few times. No idea what that’s about)

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World’s Funkiest

November 21st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing too much in the past week or so. After Ultimatum Edit, I needed to take a little breather, which I’ve been using to play the hell out of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and lay down my lines for my next iRiffs project. My iRiff for Japoteurs isn’t doing too bad and was at a point listed as the top short on the site. For those of you who bought it, I thank you. For those of you who don’t, c’moooooon!

(vote 5 too)

So, earlier today Esther Inglis-Arkell-Contessa-Louisa-Francesca-Banana-Fanna-Bo-Besca-the-Third posted some nonsense about how badly Bucky Barnes would murder Nightwing. God, this again? It doesn’t really matter. It’s whoever the writer feels would win. Hell, I could write a story about D-Man defeating Galactus if Marvel asked me to do it.

Eh? Hello, Marvel? Anything? No? …Fine.

She even made a post a while back about Superman vs. Batman in a fight. Really? In latter 2008? People are still talking about that?

Come on, people! Superman fighting Batman has been done to death. Goreless, underwhelming and disappointing death that isn’t worth looking up movelists on the internet and… sorry. MKvDC “Heroic Brutality” flashbacks.

We need to move on. The Superman vs. Batman slugfest is old hat. You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking Superman vs. Batman…


Yeah! Now, this is like the opposite of the fighting. When it comes to duking it out, Superman has the advantage and Batman is the underdog. At first glance, Batman should have this in the bag. Not only does the cast of Shortpacked think he’s the Dark Knight of the Dance, but Prince wrote a cheesy song about it.

That’s just conjecture. I’m dealing with cold, hard facts.

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Ultimatum Edit Week 1: Day Seven

November 13th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday’s installment featured what was essentially the Ultimate Super-Villain Team-Up getting taken down a peg. Speaking of villains, it’s time to reveal who’s behind the events of Ultimatum. It’s going to be a huge surprise if you ignore every single shred of hype for this godawful comic.

That’s enough for now. Maniac Clown and I will be back next time. Finch is good with deadlines, right? So it isn’t going to take nearly a year like the last time?

Once again, please give our iRiff take on Superman in Japoteurs a look. It’s only a dollar. Scratch that, it’s 99 cents! See? We’re trying to trick you into thinking that you’re paying for something that isn’t really a dollar when it kinda just is!

I think I’m doing this wrong.

Week 2!

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Ultimatum Edit Week 1: Day Six

November 12th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Remember yesterday when the Fantastic Four pushed a bunch of water back into the ocean and then Reed went after Namor? I don’t either.

Now Reed and Namor’s fight is heating up. Let’s see where it goes.

But first, a warning. You know how I’ve been replacing narration boxes with character theme songs? Well, funny thing, Dr. Doom doesn’t have a theme song. Not unless you count his Capcom fighting game theme, but that doesn’t have lyrics. I had to go an alternate route. Now enjoy the rest of the show!

ManiacClown actually did stuff this time, so I thank him for it. Speaking of he and I teaming up, I got some very good news.

Our Japoteurs iRiff page is finally up! Hells yes!

If you enjoyed Ultimate Edit and what’s done so far of Ultimatum Edit, please give it a look. If you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, definitely give it a look. It’s only a buck and the riffing is embedded into the movie already. C’moooon! Do it!

Back to the Edit, tomorrow we finish up the week with Charles Xavier explaining it all.

Day Seven!

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Corbett Hits Me Off Guard

October 23rd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

So there’s this comic character I liked from a couple years back who I knew wasn’t long for the world. True to my prediction, he didn’t do anything outside of ten issues worth of appearances, outside of appearing in the background. I knew that the guy was completely gone from everyone’s mind and would MAYBE appear in an issue of Avengers: The Initiative, if that.

When Rifftrax released their sample for their take on The Happening, I found myself taken aback.

It’s about 18 seconds in.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that reference so surreal.

I understand this post may have completely wasted your time, so enjoy this as well.

You have no idea how many times I’ve watched this thing.

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