Rifftrax's Kevin Murphy on Sharknado!, Twilight, other cinematic trainwrecks

Get excited, bad movie fans. The boys of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are back.

This Thursday night, Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett of MST3K will be riffing on Sharknado!, arguably the worst/best movie of the past decade, live at the State Theatre for the first-ever Rifftrax event.

Unlike its predecessor, Rifftrax has no puppetry, and allows the guys to take on newer films, like Sharknado!, as opposed to sticking with obscure B-movies from yester-year.

Before they annihilate Ian Ziering and Tara Reid's epic cinematic comeback, we chatted with Minnesota's own Kevin Murphy about movie riffing, his hatred of movie theaters, and why Twilight is his dream film.


It seems like Sharknado! is almost too easy to riff on. Why choose it for this show?

Here's the thing: It's a ridiculously dumb movie, which makes it more challenging, since we don't want to go for the obvious jokes. What we've got is really damn funny.

For those who aren't familiar with Rifftrax, what's the difference between this show and Mystery Science Theater 3000?

Mostly the fact that it's a puppet-free show. We don't have a fictional structure to hang ourselves around, so it's just us and the audience. I think that allows us to involve the audience more than we could with Mystery Science Theater 3000, and gives them the chance to react more to the show.

This is your first time performing a Rifftrax show in Minneapolis, right?

It is. We're planning to do four live shows this year, which is more than we've ever done before. If we did a big tour, we'd only be able to hit big cities and we'd miss out on the small towns. We're especially excited about this Minneapolis show, since it'll be our first time, and we know how much Minneapolis loves riffing on bad movies.

Is it possible for you to see a movie anymore without thinking about making fun of it?

Absolutely. I would never do what I do if I wasn't getting paid for it. I still love going to movies even though I hate the theater experience.

What don't you like about it?

You name it. The inattention from the crowd, the noise. Maybe I'm just old and crabby, but I like the older, more nostalgic theaters like the Heights, Riverview, or Parkway. I don't like seeing movies in theaters that feel like a lab with these monster screens. Oh, and I never buy my own snacks. I like to try and bring food that fits with the theme of the movie.

Do you have a "dream" movie to riff on?

Last year, we did our first Kickstarter to get Starship Troopers. That was really fun. Twilight is the one movie we couldn't get that I would love. That's like the holy grail of unintentionally terrible films. With Sharknado!, they set out to make a bad movie, and then succeeded. But with Twilight, they tried to create an epic love story, and it just turned out so bad.

On the off chance that Sharknado! stars Ian Ziering or Tara Reid are reading this, what would you say to them about this week's Rifftrax show?

I'd say, "Ian, buddy, your fate is sealed. You've got yourself a film franchise here, so just sit back and enjoy the ride. And Tara? These movies are nothing to sneeze at."


Rifftrax Live: Sharknado! State Theatre 7 p.m. Thursday, July 10 $33.50-$83.50 More details here

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