'House on Haunted Hill' offers Halloween riffs aplenty

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

When Mystery Science Theater 3000 left the airwaves in 1999 it seemed like an era of bad-movie riffing had come to an end. Something funny happened on the way to the dust heap, however. Fans who had collected, taped, and traded episodes from practically day one kept "circulating the tapes." Later, a successful series of DVD collections--now up to volume 17--gave viewers a break from endless Dial 1-800-Collect commercials. Nowadays folks have roughly fallen into two camps, one for each of the program's hosts. Joel Hodgson leads Cinematic Titanic with several longtime MST3K artists, while Mike Nelson and cohorts have RiffTrax. This Thursday, there's a chance to see Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo and author of A Year at the Movies), and Bill Corbett (Crow in during the Sci-Fi channel years) as part of a simulcast of the Vincent Price B-fest The House on Haunted Hill.


The simulcast--the live audience will be in Nashville--features the trio along with comedian Paul F. Tompkins. Viewers will get to see the film, a brand-new short, and receive a code at the for additional digital goodies. The movie itself looks to be a delight starring Vincent Price; its "special" effects include a skeleton being held up by strings haunting its merry way with the cast.

Here's a look:

You'll find several types of riffing at the website. Many of the RiffTrax are downloadable as podcasts for popular, big-budget Hollywood movies. And while they've shown you can have fun with well-made faire (they've done all three Lord of the Rings films, Alien, and, amazingly enough, Casablanca) it's the crud that still runs the engine. A couple of bucks and a quick download can make dreck like Battlefield: Earth, Transformers 2, and Batman & Robin entertaining. Still, B-movies and educational shorts were a staple of MST3K, and you can find plenty of those here (especially the shorts, at least one new item is added weekly).

It's better just to watch it yourself to see:

You can find more information about the House on Haunted Hill simulcast--including area theaters showing it--and other goodies at RiffTrax's epic website.