"I just don't know how Shatner does it week after week!"
- Joel Robinson

“I dunno why he does it or who lets him do it!”
- Crow T. Robot

The Movie[]

Main article: The Crawling Hand (film)


An astronaut's ship is destroyed, and a portion of his arm is found and kept by a medical student. The arm has become inhabited by a hostile alien force that begins to mentally influence the young man. A series of grisly strangling takes place, baffling local police.

The Episode[]


Joel explains the show

Host Segments[]

Intro: Joel explains the premise of the show to canned applause from Cambot.

Invention Exchange: Joel invents the Safety Circular Saw, while the Mads create the Limb Lengthener.


Joel wants to play

Segment Two: Crow bowls, Servo does voice-over. Joel wants to play other games, so they ditch him.

Segment Three: Joel and the Bots do William Shatner impressions while being choked by an artificial hand.

Segment Four: The Bots don't think a crawling hand is all that scary, until they meet one.

Ending Segment: The Bots get RAM chips for saying a good thing and bad thing about the movie. A letter is read. The Mads are fighting it out.


Crow meets a real life crawling hand


  • This episode has the first instance of the “I thought you were Dale!” joke.
  • Segment 1 is recreated from episode K14 - Mighty Jack.
  • This is the first national episode (in production order) to feature Joel and the bots reading fan letters, which are stated to be faxed to them by the Mads.
  • This episode was the first to air during the MST3K Anthology.

Obscure References[]

No references made in the prologue. Joel only explains his predicament in space.

Host Segment 1[]

  • “Come in Joel Mite my spunky little space sock!” – Could be a reference to the Batman villain Bat-Mite, an irritating cartoon-y version of Batman from another dimension who first made his appearance in the 1950’s. He first appeared in Detective Comics #267 (May 1959).
  • “Say you wanted to emulate Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four…” Larry is referring to Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the hero group the Fantastic Four, who first appeared in a Marvel comic book in 1961. Mr. Fantastic was given the ability to stretch his body after a space accident involving cosmic rays. Two of the later feature films based on the comics, Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, would eventually be used by RiffTrax.
  • “It has the star from Gilligan's Island and one from The Big Valley and one from that Hamburger Helper commercial.”
    • Alan Hale Jr. (1918-1990) who plays Sheriff Townsend in this film also starred on Gilligan's Island (1964-1967), a comedy television show about castaways stranded on an island. Hale played the role of The Skipper.
    • Peter Breck (1929-2012) who plays the role of Steve Curan in this film also starred on the television series The Big Valley (1965-1969) as Nick Barkley, a member of a ranch family in 1870’s California.
    • Hamburger Helper by Betty Crocker Foods is a series of easy-to-make pasta dishes for beef dinners. Its mascot is the Helping Hand which has much in common with the eponymous Crawling Hand.

Movie Act 1[]

  • “This is like Love American Style” – Tom’s comment to the fireworks to the opening scene is not unlike the opening to the television series Love American Style (1969-1974) which was an anthology comedy series featuring different celebrity guests doing stories or vignettes about love and romance.
  • “Hey, Alan Hale, isn’t that the Skipper?” – One of many references to Alan Hale Jr.’s role as the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island in this episode.
  • “Little Buddy” – ibid.
  • “Hey Joel did they do these titles on a typewriter?” “No that's the Helvetica constellation you're looking at” – Helvetica is a font face that was developed by the Haas Foundry of Switzerland in the 1950’s.
  • “Is Artie Shaw in this?” – Tom’s comments are in regards to the music that sounds similar to that of composer/actor Artie Shaw (1910-2004) who did music for the films The Big Store (1940) and Second Chorus (1940).
  • “It’s Kirk Douglas!” – Father of actor Michael Douglas, Kirk is best known for his role as Spartacus in the film Spartacus (1960).
  • “Too many years at the Strasberg school.” – Lee Strasburg (1901-1982) was one of the founders of the Group Theatre, established in 1931; he later went on to become the director of the Actors School in 1950. He was a proponent of “method” acting.
  • “Isn’t that Nick from The Big Valley?” – Reference to actor Peter Beck’s character in that TV series.
  • “Two minutes, fifteen seconds” “and 62 bottles of beer on the wall” – Tom has just sung part of the lyrics to "99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall" which is a traditional song in the United States.
  • “There's no hope for Captain Lockhart.” “Isn’t that a David Bowie Song?” – The reference is to musician David Bowie's song "Major Tom."
  • “Yeah his breath could stop a titan missile” – The titan missile was a US developed ICBM in the late 1950’s as part of America’s air defense during the cold war. By December 1963 there were 54 Titan 2 missile silos across America. By August 1984 all Titan 2 missile silos were torn down, except for one in Sahuarita, Arizona that now serves as a museum.
  • “Hair styles by Gordon of Gotham” – Commissioner Gordon, the Chief of police in Gotham City in the Batman comic book. The reference is to one of the on-screen characters' hairstyles that looks like the hairstyle worn by actor Neil Hamilton (1899-1984) in his role as Commissioner Gordon in the campy 60’s Batman television series (1966-1968)
  • “There are only four men left who can handle a lunar rocket” “The Beatles?” – The fab four known as the Beatles are possibly the most popular pop band of the 20th Century. Originating from Liverpool, they were John Lennon (1940-1980), George Harrison (1943-2001), Paul McCartney (1942- ), and Richard (Ringo) Star (1940- ). They played from the early 1960’s until their break-up in 1970.
  • “Yeah soon he may have to move off the corner of this Formica” - Formica is a company best known for its surfacing materials (tabletops, counters etc.). The company was founded by Daniel J. O’Conor and Herbert A. Faber in 1912.
  • “Max Headroom’s Dad!” – Max Headroom was a character that appeared in a number of television commercials as well as a scripted science fiction series and later a talk show during the 1980s. The character (played by actor Matt Frewer) was a wise-cracking computer simulation who only appeared on television monitors.
  • “Hey it’s a Spyrograph!” - Spyrograph is a children's toy which consists mainly of two rings with teeth. The outer ring is hollow. It is used as a frame and is fastened to a sheet of paper. The inner ring circles around inside it while keeping the teeth locked. The inner circle has holes where you can put a pen through it, so when you turn the inner circle inside the outer circle a pattern is drawn on the paper.
  • “Look it’s Tammy Fay Bakker” – Tammy Fay Bakker (1942-2007) wife of Roe Messner who has spent 25 years in television and helped build three of the largest Christian Television Networks: The Christian Broadcasting Network, The Trinity Broadcasting Network, PTL – Jim and Tammy Baker. She’s known for wearing eye makeup rather heavily, hence the reference in this shot.
  • “He looks more like Robert Smith of the Cure” – Robert Smith was a member of the band The Cure, known for their heavy use of eye makeup.
  • “I think he’s taken acting lessons from William Shatner” – William Shatner (1931- ), best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise from the original Star Trek (1966-1969), is often parodied for his style of acting that includes a uncommonly halting delivery.
  • “This…. Is… Major… Tom” – lyrics to "Space Oddity" written by David Bowie from his self-titled album released in 1969. The album was renamed to Space Oddity when it was re-released in 1972.
  • “Looks like the DOW is up 3 points” – Founded in 1882, Dow Jones & Company is the world's most vital business and financial news information publisher.
  • “Next I bet you’ll be telling me there’s rings around Uranus” – Indeed so, there are 11 known rings around Uranus.
  • “No dancing, no dancing” “Just like Footloose” – Footloose (1984) is a film starring Kevin Bacon in which a rebellious young man moves to a town where rock and roll music and dancing have been banned.
  • “Looks like Bub, from My Three Sons” – William Michael Francis Aloisius ‘Bub’ O’Casey was a character played on My Three Sons (1960-1972) by actor William Frawley (1887-1966) from the years 1960-1965.
  • “You didn’t see that thing last night?” “What My Three Sons?” – My Three Sons (1960-1972) was a family comedy about widower Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray, 1908-1991) raising his three sons.
  • “Hey, he’s got a woody” – A woody (or woodie) is an early type of station wagon/estate car in which the rear portion of the vehicle's body was actually made of wood. It's also a euphemism for an erection.
  • “Pancake Batter? You're soaking in it!” – A variation of a catch phrase from an old Palmolive dish detergent commercial. It featured a woman named Madge who would say “Is Palmolive mild? Relax, you're soaking in it.”
  • "Look, they brought a snack." “Ratatouille.” – Ratatouille is a French dish that does not actually contain rat.
  • “C’mon Bub you can’t let fear run your life” – Another My Three Sons reference.
  • “Let’s twist again, like we did last summer Joel.” – Tom is saying lyrics from the Chubby Checker song Let's Twist Again.
  • “Look it’s Ed Begley Sr.” – Mr. Farmstrom resembles actor Ed Begley Sr. (1901-1970), father of Ed Begley Jr. (1949 - ). He starred such films as The Great Gatsby (1949), Dark City (1950) and Hang 'Em High (1968); he also starred in the television series The Guiding Light (1952- ) and Leave it to Larry (1952).
  • “He looks like a cross between Jerry Mathers and James Dean” – A reference to the appearance of the film's main character.
    • Jerry Mathers (1948 - ) is most famous for his role as Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver in the television series Leave It To Beaver (1957 – 1963) who was always clean-cut and dressed “proper”.
    • James Dean (1931 – 1955), who was famous for his bad boy image in the 50’s, starred in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause. After his road accident in 1955 he became a cult icon.
  • “Beaver Without a Cause” – Tom is referring to both Jerry Mathers & James Dean’s most notable works. See above.

Host Segment 2[]

• “Baby Splits, this is going to be hard to beat!” – Bowling term when the number of splits is either 3-7 or 3-10.

• “Let’s play Murder Ball!” – Murder ball is a 2 on 1 game in which two players try to score on one goalie.

• “Okay, how about rock paper scissors?” – A game in which two people use a series of hand signs to see who wins. Paper is symbolized by holding your hand flat out, rock by making a fist, and scissors by pointing out your index and middle fingers to make a pair of scissors. Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, and paper beats rock.

Movie Act 2[]

  • “Are you hurt?” “Only my pride” “And my lumbar” – According to [1] a Lumbar is: Of, near, or situated in the part of the back and sides between the lowest ribs and the pelvis.
  • “Hey is this from Here to Eternity?” – From Here to Eternity (1953) based on a novel by James Jones (1921-1977) is about an army solider, Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift, 1920-1966) who in 1941 is transferred to a base in Hawaii. When his captain, Dana Holmes (Philip Orber, 1902-1982), learned that Prewitt is a good boxer, he asks him to box for the company. Prewitt refuses, saying that he no longer boxes; the captain then makes his life a living hell. A sub-plot to the film is a love triangle between the captain, his wife (Karen Holms, played by Deborah Kerr, 1921 - ) and the Sergeant (Milton Warden, played by Bert Lancaster, 1913-1994). There is a scene in which the wife and sergeant kiss on the beach, which is what Crow is referring to.
  • “Hey last one in the Fjord is a rotten egg!” – Or Fiord is a Swedish word meaning a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between steep slopes.
  • “Now” “The biking, then the marathon” – Joel is suggesting that the two lovers in the scene are going to partake in a triathlon, which is a competition that involves three different sporting events. In this case, swimming, biking and then a marathon run.
  • “Star light, Star Bright, First Hand I See Tonight” – Joel is riffing an old nursery rhyme "Star Light, Star Bright. It goes:

“ Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I See Tonight I Wish I May, I Wish I Might, Have the Wish I Wish Tonight”

  • “Oh, I see, you are not aware of Elmer, he is a very distinguished Rat” “Perhaps you’re familiar with his glue” – Joel is referring to Elmer's Glue which was created by Borden company in 1947 as “Cascorez Glue” and was eventually renamed “Elmer’s Glue-All” after Elmer, the spouse of the corporation's icon Elsie the cow.
  • “He’s W.C. Handy” – William Christopher Handy (1873-1958) was an American song writer who started his career as a cornet player. Through the years he started up a number of bands and released songs such as Memphis Blues (1912), St. Louis Blues (1914), and Beale Street Blues (1917). In 1918 he moved to New York City where he was an active writer & publisher of music, even though he was going blind, until his death in 1958.
  • “And she’s putting on Dr. Spock’s house coat” – Joel is referring to Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998) who became a world-renowned pediatrician since the publishing of his book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care in 1947.
  • “Doctor Mister?” “Mister Mister” - Mr. Mister, formed in 1982, was a pop/rock band that had many hits in the 80’s. Featuring former Pages band members Richard Page (Bassist/Lead Vocals) and Steve George (Keyboard/Vocalist).
  • “Mister Mistie-Meaner” “That’s what you get when you rob a Dairy Queen Right?” – Tom Servo is close: a misdemeanor is a misdeed or something against the law; the term isn’t limited to robbing a place. Dairy Queen is an ice cream parlor chain. Furthermore, a "Misty" is a type of frozen slush drink sold at Dairy Queen.
  • “Cujo? Hey boy.” – Joel could be referring to the character Cujo from the Stephen King book of the same name (published in 1981) which was adapted into a film in 1983. The story is about a rabid saint Bernard who terrorizes a young mother and her child.
  • "Hey, I remember him, he used to be with Def Leppard." - Crow is referring to the arm of Rick Allen, drummer for the rock band Def Leppard. Allen lost his arm in a motor vehicle accident in 1984, but remained with the band using a redesigned drum kit.
  • "Get away from that Ectoplasm!" - Tom is calling the pile the cat is licking at Ectoplasm, a type of residue often associated with the paranormal, usually ghosts.
  • "Woo, somebody better call Madge, the Palmolive case worker!" - Tom is making another reference to an old Palmolive advertisement which featured a woman named Madge who promoted Palmolive soap as gentle on the hands.
  • "Hey what's that stuff?" "It's the night time aching, fever, sneezing... so you're being chased by a human hand medicine." - Tom is playing a variation of the slogan for NyQuil cough medicine.
  • "Oh I've seen this, this is when she does her Judy Garland impression." - Joel is making a comment on actress Judy Garland, who in later years of her life became addicted to weight loss pills.
  • "Let's give a hand to this very special lady, right here on this floor." - Tom is imitating the voice of Ed Sullivan (1901-1974) who hosted the The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • "Clippers, Lubraderm Lotion... It can't be!" - Joel makes reference to Lubriderm Lotion, a hand lotion manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
  • "Operator give me the sherrif!" "If he's not there I'll talk to the Skipper!" - Tom is making yet another Gilligan's Island reference.
  • "Shaving, shaving, *humming*" - Joel is parodying the song that goes "Sailing, Sailing, Over the Ocean Blue". It's an old sea shanty, possibly once again making light of the fact that Alan Haile Jr. played the Skipper on Gilligan's Island.

Host Segment 3[]

  • "Must think, Must Get back to Galileo-7..." - Joel is starting up the segment by making light (once again) of actor William Shatner's delivery of lines (usually with dramatic pauses between words) in particular the character Shatner played on Star Trek, Captain James T. Kirk. The hand theme is most likely a reference to the fifth Star Trek film, Star Trek V:The Final Frontier. He mentions the "Galileo Seven", Episode 18 of the original Star Trek, in which seven members of the crew of the Enterprise are marooned planetside on a shuttlecraft named Galileo.
  • "Must cut transponder from wrist and fashion crude phaser device from..." - Crow, also hamming up Shatner, is referring to a cliche of the Stark Trek series where someone in a position of peril would be able to build a crude phaser out of objects around them.
  • "... Must find pastel colored native female, and initiate the Prime Directive..." - Tom's comment about "pastel colored natives" is in reference to the Orion Slave Girls which were aliens with green skin, first seen in the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie." The Prime Directive is another Star Trek reference; it's a code of the United Federation of Planets, forbidding interference with the affairs of alien worlds that don'y have faster-than-light travel capability.
  • "Hands so soft... Mrs. Berg.. I thought you were Dale!..." - This may be a reference to Gertrude Berg.
  • "I don't know how Shatner does it every week..." - Joel is once more referring to actor William Shatner.

Movie Act 3[]

  • "This book of Lists has everything!" - Crow is making reference to the Book of Lists, a series of books listing information ranging from informative to trivial, the first compiled by author Irving Wallace.
  • "Roddy McDowell.. Milton Berle.. huh?" - Crow lists actors Roddy McDowell and Milton Berle, each rumored to have a large penis. Berle is rumored to have said he would win a bet regarding who had the longest penis by pulling out "just enough to win " the bet.
  • "Skiippper! Where's the body little buddy?" - Tom is making another Gilligan's Island joke. The Skipper used to refer to the character Gilligan as "Little Buddy".
  • "I've got a couple of hammocks and a sailor's hat I'd like you to wear..." - Crow is once more playing up the Gilligan's Island references; the Skipper shared a bunk with Gilligan, they slept on two hammocks, and the Skipper wore a sailor's hat.
  • "Prince is pretty small." - Crow mishears the phrase "The Prints are pretty small" he thinks he hears "Prince is pretty small", and is making a comment about the stature of the musician known as Prince (musician), who—according to is 5'2".
  • ".. Maybe I should lay out some press-on nails... or some lotion, Lubriderm! And some Isotoner Gloves!" - Joel suggests catching the hand with three different hand-related products:
    • Press-on nails are a type of fake fingernails that give the appearance of manicured nails. They are simply pressed on over one's natural nails. Joel is probably referring to the press-on nails that were made by Lee Press in the late 80's.
    • Once again he mentions Lubriderm lotion, a hand lotion made by Johnson & Johnson.
    • Isotoner Gloves are a unique brand of glove released by the Isotoner company.
  • When Joel is pretending to be the operator on the other end of the phone, he uses the phrase "Keep Truckin'" which was made popular by the 1973 Eddie Kendricks song, Keep on Truckin'.
  • "Play-Doh Face! Play-Doh face!" - Joel's use of the childhood taunt "Play-Doh face" is in reference to Play-Doh, a malleable dough for children to play with.
  • "Did he just give him a wet willie?" - A wet willie is a school prank that involves licking the tip of one's finger and sticking it inside somebody's ear.
  • "You spend all day hauling bodies, and then you get one more than you bargained for. It's Miller Time" - Joel is stating a variation of a Miller Genuine Draft advertisements. In most a scenarios it would be explained that the job would require extra hard work, and the reward would be "Miller Time" which is one of the company's trademark slogans.
  • "This was no suicide... It was murder!" - Tom is imitating Jack Klugman's titular medical examiner character from the TV series Quincy, M.E.
  • "All right, take off." "Better get to work on those o-rings." - Tom is referring to the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded shortly after take-off due to the failure of o-ring seals in the booster rockets. [2]
  • "Must get Vitalis, rub it into scalp, stop flaking." - Crow is making a reference to the shampoo Vitalis, made by the Vitalis company.
  • "Paul!" "Little Buddy!" - Tom again makes another Gilligan's Island reference.
  • "Where have you been?" "Out by the Lagoon!" - Joel makes another Gilligan's Island reference; the Lagoon is a commonly visited location on Gilligan's Island.
  • "You've had a hard night!" "A Hard Day's Night" - Crow's play on words is in reference to the Beatles album and film titled A Hard Day's Night.
  • "Doooooooh!" - All the guys say "Dooooh" a la the Skipper from Gilligan's Island.
  • "He's a rebel without a hand" - Joel makes another reference to the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause.
  • "Good Morning Mr. Phelps" - Joel's comment when the tape recorder is playing is a reference to Mission Impossible, a television series that featured actor Peter Graves playing the role of espionage agent Jim Phelps who often got his "impossible" missions delivered to him via tape recorder.
  • "He's doing a Pete Townshend impression!... People try to Put us Down.." - Tom makes a crack that the actor is doing an impression of The Who guitar player Pete Townshend, and The Who song My Generation which appeared was the title track to their 1965 album of the same name.
  • "It's a close and play phonograph!" - Joel likens the tape recorder that's smashed to the Close n' Play Phonograph, which was made by Kenner in the 1960's. He and the bots then do a play on the jingle for the product.
  • "Hey it's Timothy Hutton." "No, it looks more like Adam Ant to me." - Joel and Crow are comparing the actor to famous people:
  • "Dear Skipper, why haven't you sent help? Signed the Castaways." - Crow is "reading" the letter which Alan Hale Jr. is opening. It's another Gilligan's Island reference. "The Castaways" was the official title of the cast who appeared on Gilligan's Island.
  • Whenever Alan Hale says "Lockhart" Joel asks "June's Boy?" referring to June Lockhart.
  • "Who's moving in?" "Washington" "George? Grover?" - When Alan Hale tells his subordinate that "Washington" Tom offers up first names of people named Washington:
  • "Great Ceaser's Ghost!" "Julius? Agustus?" - When Alan blurts out this curse, Crow offers up people whose names are Ceaser:
  • "Damn Mary Anne!" - Crow is making another Gilligan's Island Reference, the character of Mary Anne Summers who was played by actress Dawn Wells.
  • "Clearacil! Clearacil! Oxy! Oxy!" - Tom is calling out for Clearasil and Oxy which are both brands of acne medication.
  • "Oh yeah, well we know Buzz Aldrin!" - Tom's comment is referring to Buzz Aldrin, the NASA astronaut who was the second man on the Moon.
  • "Norman, get away from the window Norman!" - Tom does an impression of Norman Bates' mother from the movie Psycho.
  • "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hand." - Tom is punning lines from Rapunzel, the story of a maiden named Rapunzel who is trapped in a tower and uses her hair to help a handsome prince climb up to her rescue.
  • "I think they're going to do a scene from Cyrano." - Crow's referencing the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which has a famous balcony love scene.
  • "Let's see, something sheer, how about that pink chiffon number? No wait you're wearing that. What about that taffeta with the tea length? You know the one I wore to the IGY convention. You know the night I went home with Yuri Gagarin?"
    • They may not have many conventions on the subject, but IGY stands for International Geophysical Year; it was an international scientific effort that lasted from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958. One notable event during this time period was the Soviet launch of Sputnik 1.
    • Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet Cosmonaut who on April 12, 1961 was the first human to travel into space.
  • "Think he's been watching James Dean movies you guys?" - Joel's comments refer to the fact that perhaps the lead actor is trying to imitate James Dean.
  • "It's a Dust-Buster" - Joel comments on the scientist's volt meter, comparing it to the DustBuster, a cordless vacuum cleaner that was developed by Black & Decker. It was first introduced in January 1979.
  • When one of the scientists asks what kind of man walks on a ceiling, Joel asks "Lionel Richie?" - Lionel Richie is a singer/song writer/producer who released an album in 1986 titled Dancing on the Ceiling which was also the title track of the album.
  • When Paul stumbles out in his "Zombie" form, Joel and the bots make a flurry of Elvis Presley references.
  • Joel: "If he sings 'Maria' right now I'm going to lose it you guys." Crow: "No, he won't sing it, he's not even sporting a dance belt."
    • Joel and Crow are referencing the Broadway musical West Side Story which featured a cast of Greasers (who depending on what version you watch have dance belts). The musical features a song titled Maria, which had music written by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
  • When Paul is strangling the malt-shop owner, Joel and the Bots begin parodying the lyrics to Surfin' Bird, a song originally performed by The Trashmen in 1963. This song is playing in the background of this scene.

Host Segment 4[]

  • There are no references in this segment.

Movie Act 4[]

  • Girl: "Pop says you can't be sure what people can do given the circumstances." Tom: "But your dad was in Gilligan's Island." - Another reference to Gilligan's Island.
  • When Paul appears in Marta's bedroom window, Joel and Tom make a number of related riffs:
  • When Paul starts listing off people who think he's a murderer, after he mentions Sheriff Townsend, Joel continues on with: "Pete Townsend and John Entwistle, the list goes on!"
  • When Paul looks down ashamed while Marta is trying to talk sense into him, Crow comments: "He looks like Bob Crane" followed by Tom shouting "Hogan!"
    • Bob Crane was a disc jockey and actor best known for his role in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes which ran from 1965-1971 on CBS. Crane played the role of Colonel Robert E. Hogan.
    • Tom's riff was usually the catchphrase shouted by the character Colonel Klink, played by Werner Klemperer on Hogan's Heroes.
  • When Paul turns around after he's transformed, Joel and the Bots make the following riffs:
    • Joel: "Hey it's Sid Vicious" - Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie, was one of the iconic members of the English punk rock group the Sex Pistols. He was the band's bass until the group broke up in 1978.
    • Tom: "That was rotten Johnny!" - Tom is playing on the name of Sex Pistols vocalist Johnny Rotten.
    • Joel: "And she's Nancy! And that looks a like the Chelsea Hotel!"
      • "Nancy" is referring to Nancy Spungen, a groupie who latched onto and married Sid Vicious; she was murdered in 1979 at...
      • The Chelsea hotel which is located in New York City, built in 1883. Among the many famous musicians who lived there long-term were Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen at a point where they heavily abused drugs and were prone to fits of domestic violence. Nancy was murdered in the Chelsea Hotel on October 12, 1978. While Sid Vicious was indicted in the crime he died of a drug overdose shortly after he made bail. To date the murder of Nancy remains officially unsolved.
  • When Sheriff Townsend shouts about how angry he'll be if Marta has been harmed, Tom says "And then I'm going to whack you with my sailor hat!" This is yet another reference to Gilligan's Island where it was not uncommon for the Skipper to take off his hat and hit Gilligan with it during moments of frustration or anger.
  • Tom: "1313 Mockingbird Lane, this is the place all right!" - 1313 Mockingbird Lane is the home address to where the Munster family lived on the TV sitcom The Munsters.
  • Sheriff Townsend: "May I speak with her professor?" Crow: "Yes Skipper" - ANOTHER Gilligan's Island reference.
  • When Paul is looking between fence boards Tom says "She Drives Me Crazy" - another reference to the Fine Young Cannibals song.
  • When Paul is looking for the hand under the bed, Joel mentions various items that Paul "finds" under the bed. These include dust bunnies, latex gloves, and Carmex which is a lip balm.
  • Sheriff Townsend: "Paul?" Joel: "George? John? Ringo? Ah, who am I kidding, they'll never get back together again!" - Joel is naming off the Beatles: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr. The group broke up on April 10, 1970.
  • When the crawling hand begins to crawl along the back seat, Crow suggests that it should moisturize and suggests that it might have Eczema, Seborrhea, both skin diseases, or Psoriasis, a skin disorder.
  • As the hand continues to creep, Joel beings to sing nursery rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider, the first published version of which appeared in 1962.
  • When Paul is fighting with the hand in the junkyard, Tom says "That's the Australian Crawl, I believe." - Australian Crawl is an Australian rock band founded in 1978.
  • When Paul is looking for the hand, Tom comments "This is a Hand Jive. I was born to Hand Jive" - The Hand Jive a dance associated with rhythm and blues music of the 1950s.
  • When the sheriff claims he has never seen something before, Crow quips "What, have you been stranded on a desert isle?", yet another Gilligan's Island reference.
  • When the Sheriff says that the county jails are full of kids like Paul, Crow asks "Sal Mineo impersonators?" - Crow's question comes in reference to Paul's slight resemblance to actor Sal Mineo who is best known for his role alongside James Dean in (surprise, surprise) Rebel Without a Cause.
  • When the doctors are looking at the hand after it's been attacked by the junkyard cats, Crow comments "This was no boating accident!" This is inspired by the 1975 film Jaws; the line is actually "This was no boat accident". It was said by actor Richard Dreyfuss who played the role of marine biologist Matt Hooper in the film.
  • When the scientist tells the sheriff that they'll never see the hand again, Tom comments: "Unless the weather starts getting rough" followed by Crow commenting "Well I'm off on a three-hour tour" as the sheriff leaves the hospital room. Both comments are, again, Gilligan's Island references. References to "the weather getting rough" and a "three hour tour" are not only how the castaways were stranded on the island, but were also incorporated into the Gilligan's Island theme song.
  • When Marta says women can't resist weak men, Tom also suggests they cannot resist "The rich taste of Smores" - Smores are a traditional campfire treat involving marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. It was first mentioned in the Girl Scout handbook published in 1927.
  • When Joel says of the two ambulance drivers that "These two couldn't even work for Domino's Pizza Delivery" - Domino's Pizza is a restaurant franchise which was founded by Tom Monaghan in 1960. At one point it had a "30 minutes or less" delivery guarantee which resulted in their drivers gaining a reputation for speeding and recklessness.
  • When the ambulance driver opens the box containing the hand, Crow commnents: "Next time use Federal Express!" - Federal Express is a logistics services/delivery company which was founded in 1971 by Fred Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas.


  • As Dr. Erhardt is attacking Dr. Forrester with his elongated hands, Forrester is doing yet another William Shatner impersonation.

 Behind the scenes[]

MST3K cast[]


  • This is the first national episode in which the control panel appears on the desk on the bridge.

 Movie Edits[]

Like most riffed movies, The Crawling Hand was altered to fit the TV aspect ratio and several scenes were trimmed to reduce the overall length of the film for the desired time-slot. Major cuts include:

  • Marta returning to Paul's car after changing into her swimsuit, after which Paul refuses to tell Prof. Farnstrom where they're going because it's their "secret place." As they drive away, Farnstrom muses whether the caged rat will contribute more to science than those kids.
  • A scene in which Mr. Meidel from Security questions Steve and Dr. Weitzberg about Lockhart's fingerprints being found at the scene of a murder. Steve comments that he always thought "fingerprints don't lie," but they must be wrong in this case since Lockhart is dead.
    • The omitted line above is why Steve comments "Fingerprints don't lie" when he finds Lockhart's hand at the end of the film.

Video Release[]

  • Crawlinghanddvd

    Rhino DVD Cover

    Commercially released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in March, 1999.
  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in June, 2002. The disc has been out of print since at least 2009.
    • Special features include a trailer for the original film, as well as the unriffed film itself on the second side of the DVD.
  • In May, 2018 it was re-released by Shout! Factory in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection.
    • Special features include a Joel Hodgson introduction, Don't Knock the Strock (Portrait of the Director of The Crawling Hand) featurette from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, and the theatrical trailer.