"Remember that bad thing we saw? It looked just like this. This is bad."

The Movie[]

Main article: The Black Scorpion (film)

While investigating a recently formed volcano in Mexico, two geologists encounter a prehistoric scorpion which had been freed from its underground habitat.

The Episode[]

Host Segments[]


An SOL tribute to Mexico

Prologue: The Bots throw a party for Joel.

Invention Exchange: A lab accident with a "cold fusion Walkman" mutated Dr. Erhardt into an alien-type creature, while Dr. Forrester becomes a skeleton. Joel makes a giant party favor powered with a leaf blower. Dr. Erhardt starts to show their invention before realizing it's exactly the same thing as Joel made. Forrester tries to soften the blow by claiming their invention was actually a salve to cure their "condition".


Gypsy as a scorpion

Segment Two: Joel and the bots present a madcap tribute to Mexico, with them speaking in dubious Spanish with highly suspect English subtitles for translation.

Segment Three: Crow and Tom discuss human nature, unaware that Gypsy has become a scorpion monster.

Segment Four: Crow and Tom put on a puppet show and discuss stop-motion animation, correcting the earlier mistake regarding Ray Harryhausen designing the effects when it was actually his mentor, Willis O'Brien.


A mutated Dr. Erhardt

Segment Five: Letters (one of which contains several backhanded complements for Crow) are read.

Obscure References[]

  • "It's Krakatoa, east of Java."
Krakatoa was a volcano in Indonesia that exploded in 1883, causing the island to disappear. It is referenced with the lyric "Krakatoa, East of Java" in the B-52s song "Lava".
  • "Mrs. Butterworth, help!"
Mrs. Butterworth's is a brand of pancake syrup. It is packaged in a plastic bottle in the shape of a woman. The commercials feature the bottle talking to people.
  • "Look it's Arne Saknussemm"
Arne Saknussemm was an explorer in Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.
  • "And there, on the handle, was a hook!"
The last line from a popular campfire story and urban legend sometimes called The Hook.
  • "Wow, is that a crackhouse or what? –Cops is filmed on location. Everything you see is true."
Cops is a long-running reality TV show about real police officers in real situations. It first aired in 1989.
  • "Hey, it's Universal Studios."
Universal Studios was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle and is one of the oldest studios still in operation. There is also a series of theme parks called Universal Studios with attractions based on the studio's popular films.
  • "Let’s make s'mores later."
S'mores are a favorite campfire snack, consisting of a toasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate sandwiched between two halves of a graham cracker.
  • "Edmund Fitzgerald? This must be his wreck. Edward. Ah."
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a freighter that sank in Lake Superior in 1975, taking all 29 crewmembers with her. The event was commemorated in the 1976 Gordon Lightfoot song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".
  • '"[Imitating Bing Crosby.] Now, Junior, we're just looking for a place to picnic here. I know Gary's buried around here someplace. Look around for that shallow grave."
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was a singer and actor best-known for hits including "White Christmas" and a series of "Road" films with Bob Hope. Gary Crosby was Bing's oldest son. Six years after his father’s death, Gary published the autobiographical book Going My Own Way, which detailed his mother's alcoholism and father's emotional and physical abuse. Two of Gary's brothers, Lindsay and Dennis, confirmed the account.
  • "Hey, why does he need a pipe? Why doesn't he just suck in some air? Feel the pumice power work on your lungs."
Lava soap is a heavy-duty hand cleaner originally developed by the Waltke Company in 1893. It is currently manufactured by WD-40. Lava contains ground pumice to act as an abrasive in cleaning the skin, and promotes itself as being "specially formulated with pumice power".
  • "Looks like it's from the old M*A*S*H set."
M*A*S*H was originally a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker that became an acclaimed 1970 film directed by Robert Altman. It then became the very successful TV series that ran from 1972 to 1983.
  • "Wait, that’s my motorman's helper."
Motorman's Helper is the name given to a receptacle used by long-distance drivers to relieve themselves in case an actual rest stop can't be found.
  • "Meanwhile, on a pole somewhere."
The phrase, "Meanwhile, back at _____," originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often "Meanwhile, back at the ranch ..." Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators for films and radio and television shows.
  • "[Sung.] Two bottles of beer in the Jeep, two bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around ..."
A paraphrased portion of the song "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall," a popular English folk song sung in declining numerical order as each bottle is taken down and passed around.
  • "Wow, it’s a car. That looked like a cool Ford. Yeah, it's a '55 Ford. With a little work, it could be cherry. We chop it, drop it, add some Thrush pipes. It'll be great."
Ford Motor Company is one of the world's oldest automakers, founded in 1903 by Henry Ford. Thrush is a maker of automotive parts, primarily mufflers. They have been in business since 1966.
  • "Hey, look back here. There's a key light."
In movie-making photography (cinematography), the key light is the primary light used to illuminate the scene.
  • "The Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull. The wild-eyed beast. The grass eater."
Schlitz Malt Liquor was introduced by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in 1963. It is known for the image of a large blue bull (named Prince) on its cans, as well as commercials in the 1980s and 90s with a live bull (named Zane) breaking through walls into homes.
  • "What's behind this tree? It's a dead cop! That’s right, Bob, it’s a 1953 seniora policia, complete with a .38 snub-nose revolver, dilated pupils, and rigor mortis. You, too, will sleep silently in seniora policia. From Spiegel catalog, Chicago, Illinois, 60609."
An imitation of game show announcers, most likely addressing The Price Is Right host Bob Barker. Spiegel is a catalog company that was started by German immigrant Joseph Spiegel in 1865. During the 1970s, they provided many prizes for game shows, and the announcer would promote the prizes by saying "Spiegel. Chicago, 60609."
  • "I told him not to eat the worm."
A reference to the myth that worms are sometimes found at the bottom of tequila bottles.
  • "The San Lorenzo Milling Around Festival! Hey, G.I. Joe, number one! Hey, mister, my sister boobly-oobly! Chocolate? Eh?"
"G.I. Joe" is a slang name for U.S. soldiers around the world, predating the famous toy lines created by Hasbro and dating back to World War II ("G.I." stands for "Government Issue").
  • "What's that, muchachos? Death trap? Dead Rock Canyon?"
A paraphrased exaggeration of "dialogue" between Lassie the Collie and any one of several human characters from the 1947-1950 radio series, the long-running television series (1954-1973), two sequel series, an animated series, and eleven films.
  • "You know, Gary talked to me that way once. Once."
A reference to the 1984 comedy gangster film Johnny Dangerously, which starred Michael Keaton in the title role as a charming mobster and Joe Piscopo as his psychotic antagonist, Danny Vermin. A running gag involved Danny mentioning offenses people had committed against him in the past, such as "You shouldn’t hang me on a hook. My father hung me on a hook once. Once."
  • "Amen to that, Sluggo. I mean Father Sluggo. Padré."
Possibly a reference to the character Sluggo Smith in the long-running comic strip "Nancy." The diminutive, shaven-headed boy was introduced in 1938. It could also refer to the clay antagonist of the Saturday Night Live character Mr. Bill.
  • "It’s the Cisco Kid!"
The Cisco Kid was created by O. Henry in the 1907 short story "The Caballero’s Way." In this tale, he is an outlaw who kills and robs along the Texas-Mexico border. However, when the character was adapted for other media, he became a hero.
  • "Hey, it’s Dale Evans, and I thought she was stuffed. Mounted."
Dale Evans (1912-2001) was an actress, singer, and the third (and last) wife of singing western star Roy Rogers (1911-1998). She co-starred with Rogers in more than two dozen films and in NBC's The Roy Rogers Show from 1951 to 1957. Roy Rogers' famous horse Trigger is thought to have been stuffed after his death in 1965. In actuality, a plaster likeness was made and his preserved hide was stretched over it. In taxidermy, this is known as "mounting." Trigger was on display in the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, first in Victorville, California, and later in Branson, Missouri, until it closed in 2009. Dale's horse Buttermilk was also mounted and displayed at the museum after his death.
Robot Monster is a 1953 science fiction film often regarded as one of the worst films ever made. It features a man in a gorilla suit with a skull mask wearing a diving helmet while destroying the world with a bubble machine. It was featured in Experiment #107.
  • "The weather started getting rough. The tiny ship was tossed."
A couple of lines from "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle," the theme song of the 1960s CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island.
  • "Are those foam hats? I told you to wear mouse ears."
Presumably a reference to the mouse-ear hats originally worn by the Mouseketeers on the 1950s TV series The Mickey Mouse Club. Similar hats are sold at the Disney theme parks, with space for the wearer's name to be embroidered on the back. They now come in a number of styles and colors other than basic black.
  • "Where we could live so zat ze animals could be bred und SLAUGHTERED..."
A reference to the 1964 movie "Dr. Strangelove."

Behind the scenes[]

MST3K cast[]

Regular cast

MST3K crew[]


  • The scorpion/spider model that appears in Host Segment Four is made from a Masters of the Universe Spydor toy. The box for this toy (possibly the same one) was later used for the Super Freak Out kit in Experiment #410 (as revealed in the first Poopie! volume).


  • When introducing the film, Dr. Forrester states that the effects are by Ray Harryhausen. This is incorrect. The effects in this film are by Harryhausen's mentor Willis O'Brien and animator Pete Peterson, as mentioned during Host Segment Four. Viewers may find it notable that Harryhausen did the special effects for Warner Brothers' first distributed kaiju film The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms, which was released before The Black Scorpion.
  • Dr. Erhardt says that there's no recognizable cast, despite Richard Denning (who also starred in Creature from the Black Lagoon) appearing in this movie.

Movie Edits[]

As with most of the riffed movies, The Black Scorpion was altered to fit the TV format and had several scenes trimmed to fit within the desired time-slot. Removed footage from this film includes:

  • Scott, Ramos, and Father Delgado discussing the villagers' superstitions regarding the "demon bull." Delgado mentions that several workmen from Teresa's ranch have fled to the town due to the rumors. Teresa later accompanies Scott and Ramos back to the town to convince the workers to return.
  • After Scott and Ramos fly back to meet with Dr. Velazco, the first few minutes of their meeting was cut, in which it is revealed that a giant scorpion has been photographed near a major city.


Video releases[]



  • Commercially released on DVD by Shout! Factory in July 2014 as part of Volume XXX, a 4-disc set along with Outlaw, The Projected Man, and It Lives by Night.
    • The DVD includes the Ballyhoo Motion Pictures feature Stinger of Death: Making The Black Scorpion and a theatrical trailer.
  • On March 7, 2017, the episode was released as a stand-alone disc with the same extras.
  • Digitally available through, Rifftrax, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Vudu, and VHX.