"They look as confused by the film as we are."
  — Crow

The movie

Main article: The Hellcats (film)

The brother and fiancee of a dead policeman infiltrate a biker gang to uncover his murderer.

The episode

Host segments

Prologue: Joel and the Bots have bad colds. Joel tries to stop before he even starts.

Sign-Language Translator

Invention Exchange: The SOL crew uses Tom Servo's head to distribute vapor that "may cause flashbacks". The Mads are still riding their Hobby Hogs, while Joel finally gets to demonstrate his Sign-Language Translator. The Mads are alarmed at Joel guessing the nature of the day's movie from the Hobby Hogs, then aren't sure why a minute later.

Segment Two: Servo, typing in his journal, flashes back to the Shatner segment from The Crawling Hand.

Segment Three: Crow, recording his journal, remembers the Zero Gravity segment from Rocketship X-M.

Segment Four: Joel, writing in his journal, recalls the Gobo Sketch from Jungle Goddess.

Crow records his journal

Segment Five: Gypsy tries to write in her journal. Everyone discusses their own diaries, the crew reads a letter from Italian fans, everyone has a group hug, and the Mads work through their own pain.

Stinger: The trumpeter gets doused in booze.

Obscure references

  • "Hey, Aqualung."
"Aqualung" is a song by the rock band Jethro Tull, first released in 1971 on the album of the same name.
  • "Yard Ape here suggested you go first on the Invention Exchange."
In Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby series, "Yard Ape" is Ramona's nickname for Danny.
  • "I was following your lead, Mama Jama."
A reference to the Carl Carlton song "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)", which coined the urban phrase that is in reference to a curvaceous black woman who doesn't take grief from anyone.
  • "Look there goes Yasser Arafat in his teen days."
Yasser Arafat was the first president of the Palestinian National Authority from January 20, 1996 until his death on November 11, 2004. In the early 1990s when this episode was aired, Arafat was a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization and was a staunch supporter of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1991. He was known for wearing a particular type of headdress.
  • "Walk Like an Egyptian Man."
"Walk Like an Egyptian" is a song recorded by The Bangles and was Billboard's number-one song of 1987.
  • "Hair color by Bozo the Clown."
Bozo the Clown is the famed clown created by Alan W. Livingston. First appearing as a character in a series of read-along storybooks released by Capital Records, he eventually evolved into becoming a popular television personality, whose height of popularity was in the 1960s. He is characterized by his bright red hair.
  • "Jackets from the Sonny Bono collection!"
Sonny Bono was a singer-songwriter whose career was most prominent during his partnership with his second wife Cher.
  • "I guess this is the day that the music died, huh guys?"
February 3, 1959, the date when musical legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash. The phrase was first coined in the Don McLean song "American Pie".
  • "Now how much would you pay for this Ginsu Switchblade?"
Ginsu is a brand of knife commonly marketed through infomercials which were at their height during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • "Hey Ted Bessell has nothing on that guy!"
Ted Bessell was an actor best known for his role of Donald Hollinger on the television show That Girl.
  • "Tracy Chapman?"
Tracy Chapman is an American singer/song writer who has won four Grammies. Her best known single are: "Fast Car", "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution", "Baby Can I Hold You", "Give Me One Reason" and "Telling Stories".
  • "Lee Iacocca?"
Lee Iacocca was the American businessman who, as CEO of Chrysler, revived the company in the 1980s.
  • "Fine Corinthian leather."
Ricardo Montalban did a series of commercials for the Chrysler Cordoba in the 1970s. In the ad he praised the "[soft] Corinthian leather" interior of the car.
  • "Backgrounds illustrated with the Technicolor yawn."
The "Technicolor Yawn" is a slang term referring to vomit, which in itself is a reference to the Technicolor process of colorizing film.
  • "Oh no, Ross Hagen!" "*grumble grumble* Chili peppers burn my gut."
Ross Hagen was an actor who starred in the Experiment #202 movie The Side Hackers. "Chili peppers burn my gut," is a frequently used callback to that film.
  • "Hey Bro Beck! Hope he plays 'Take Five'!"
"Take Five" is a jazz standard originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for their 1959 album Time Out.
  • "This is kind of like a Rorschach test."
The Rorschach test is an inkblot test to see how people psychologically interpret random inkblots that may resemble real things.
  • "Kinda looks like Jackson Pollock did the background paintings." "Yeah, after the car accident"
Jackson Pollock was a abstract expressionist painter who died in 1956 in an alcohol related car accident.
  • "Gus Trikonis, in charge of under-cooked pork!"
Trichinosisis a parasitic disease that is commonly contracted from eating under-cooked pork or wild game.
  • "Huh, Houston, Hubbs, Prince and Hong. Which one of these doesn't belong?"
This alludes to the Sesame Street segment called "One of These Things is Not Like the Others", where children would identify the uncommon item in a group of three or four things.
  • "Hey Erik Lidberg, he flew from New York to Paris."
Charles Lindbergh was an aviator who flew from New York to Paris on May 20-21st 1927.
  • "Motorcycles from Ford Puckett, Kirby Puckett's brother!"
Kirby Puckett was a center fielder for the Minnesota Twins 1984-1995. In 1987, Puckett helped the Twins win the World Series.
  • "Cemetery furnishings by Jiffy TOMB."
Jiffy Lube a franchise of mechanic shops that specialize in oil changes.
  • "Author of the Kinsey Reports."
The Kinsey Reports are a duology concerned with human sexual behavior that were the subject of controversy when first released in 1948 and 1953.
  • "Oh if this is a Slatzer film, it might get really bloody."
Slasher films are a sub-genre of horror movies that primarily focus on a (sometimes supernatural) killer who typically uses blade weapons to murder their victims.
  • "Scenic Love Canal!"
Love Canal is an area of Niagara Falls, New York that became the location of chemical dumping by Hooker Chemical Company in the 1950s.
  • "Hey, they're playing 'The Girl from Ipanema' here!"
"The Girl from Ipanema" is a bossa nova song written in 1962 which won a Record of the Year Grammy in 1965.
  • "Tall and tan and young and lovely, the boy from Ipanema goes biking. And when he bikes all the guys on their motor trikes go 'ahhh'!"
A parody of the lyrics to "The Girl from Ipanema" (see above), which originally go, "Tall and tan and young and lovely/The girl from Ipanema goes walking,/And when she passes, each one she passes goes, 'Ahhh.'"
  • "Huh-huh.. Nice read... Richards."
Reed Richards, otherwise known as Mister Fantastic, is the leader of the Marvel comic book heroes known as the Fantastic Four.
  • "I get it, she was the girl who was the star in Then Came Bronson!"
Then Came Bronson was ashort-lived television series from 1969 which starred Michael Parks in the title role.
  • "Was not was! There! I made a meaningless pop culture reference, so knock it off!"
Was (Not Was) was a pop rock group that was together from 1979-1992 and 2004 to present. During the time this episode aired, they had just released their album "Are You Okay?". They are probably best known as the band who performed "Walk the Dinosaur."
  • "Meanwhile, out on Route 66, James Dean goes out for a lazy spin."
James Dean was an actor best known for portraying disillusioned teens, exemplafied by his role in Rebel Without a Cause. He died in a car accident on U.S. Route 466 on September 30, 1955.
  • "I just love this Charles Ives music! Got any Ralph Vaughan Williams?"
Charles Ives was one of the first American modernist composers to gain international acclaim. Ralph Vaughan Williams was a English composer whose compositions were influenced by Tudor-era music and English folk songs.
  • "Hi, the director here again, telling you I use Vitalis."
Vitalis is a hair tonic formerly made by Bristol-Myers.
  • "Let's park the Barbie mobile right here!"
Barbie is a popular line of dolls produced by Mattel, for which there are a wide range of accessories.
  • "Take my hand. I'm a stranger in paradise."
"Stranger in Paradise" is a song from the 1953 stage musical Kismet.
  • "She is wearing a Sunkist promotional pant suit. She must be one of the Golddiggers."
Sunkist Growers, Incorporated is a company that is known for is production of citrus flavored beverages. The Golddiggers were a song and dance troupe who regualrly appeared on The Dean Martin Show.
  • "Dear Diary, call me Ishmael!"
Herman Melville's Moby-Dick opens with the line, "Call me Ishmael."
  • "... Like the other day, or maybe it was last year... before my voice changed.."
During the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Tom Servo was voiced by J. Elvis Weinstien. Servo was then voiced by Kevin Murphy for the remainder of the original series.
  • "Must think, Must Get back to Galileo-7..."
A parody of William Shatner's delivery of lines (usually with dramatic pauses between words), in particular when he portrays James T. Kirk on Star Trek. The hand theme is most likely a reference to the fifth Star Trek film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The Galileo Seven is an episode from the original series in which seven members of the crew of the Enterprise are away planetside on a shuttlecraft named Galileo.
  • "Must cut transponder from wrist and fashion crude phaser device from..."
An allusion to the Star Trek original series episode "Patterns of Force", in which Kirk and Spock escape from a prison cell by fashioning a makeshift laser from Rubindium crystals that they obtain by lacerating each other's arms and extracting their implanted subcutaneous emergency transponders.
  • "... Must find pastel colored native female, and initiate the Prime Directive..."
The comment about "pastel colored natives" is in reference to the Orion slave girl first seen in the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie" (the scene in question recycling footage from the unaired pilot "The Cage"), who also appeared in the final still of the first season's end credit sequence. The Prime Directive is a Federation statute which prohibits interfering in the development of civilizations that haven't developed warp drive technology.
Possibly a reference to Gertrude Berg, creator and star of The Goldbergs.
  • "It was a fortnight ago... It was a dark and stormy night... We'll be right back"
The phrase "It was a dark and stormy night" has come to be seen a a signifier of a written work made of of overly melodramatic prose. The earliest known written use occurred in Washington Irving's A History of New York, but it was its use in the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel Paul Clifford that caused it to gain memetic traction.
  • "That is one unsavory character. I can't have that. I got to call Plot-Stoppers."
Crime Stoppers is an international organization that offers people in a given region to leave anonymous tips of crimes that have been committed in their area, sometimes offering rewards that lead to arrests.
  • "Hello Angels..."
This is the greeting used by the employer of the title characters on the television series Charlie's Angels, who was never shown on-screen. He was voiced by John Forsythe.
  • "Her back look like a Klingon's forehead!"
The Klingons are an alien race from the Star Trek franchise. Originally depicted as normal humanoids, they were first depicted as having ridged brows in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and maintained this appearance in most later incarnations of the series.
  • "Every selection on there looks like 'Louie, Louie' except for this one."
"Louie Louie" is a rock 'n' roll song composed by Richard Berry in 1955 and covered by many other performers since then.
  • "Sounds like Question Mark & the Mysterians."
Question Mark and the Mysterians is a rock band that first formed in 1962.
  • "Did you know this cameraman first got his start on Midnight Special?"
The Midnight Special is a music variety show that aired from 1973-1981.
  • "Louise Lasser!"
Louise Lasser is an actress best known for the title role on the soap-opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
  • "Six-Pack: Currently working for the Roseanne Barr Show."
Rosanne was a sitcom that ran 1988-1997. It starred female comedian Rosanne Barr and centered around the antics of her dysfunctional, working-class family.
  • "Little Sally, girl friday to Susan Saint James."
The term "Girl Friday" (sometimes "Gal Friday") is an idiom that describes a loyal servant (the male equivalent is referred to as a "Man Friday") It derives from the character Friday from the Daniel Defoe novel Robinson Crusoe.
Susan Saint James is an actress and activist. She is best known for her role on the television shows Kate & Allie and McMillan & Wife, as well as her work with the Special Olympics.
  • "Slugger: Found dead with a Coors Party Ball lodged in throat."
Coors is a brand of beer brewed by the Coors Brewing Company, founded in 1873.
  • "Puck, founder of the Avant-Garde Dance Group."
Puck is a trickster character from English folklore best known for his appearance in the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • "Iggy Pop: We don't know why."
Iggy Pop is a punk rock musician who has been performing since the 1960s. he's known for his emaciated build.
  • "Squatter: Took a baseball to the head in the third inning of an Angels game."
The Angels are a Major League Baseball team from Los Angeles first founded in 1961. They are currently known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
  • "Oh it's Shields and Yarnell entertaining the folks with their side-walk robot routine."
Shields and Yarnell are mimes who put on routines where they moved in a robotic and mechanical fashion.
  • "Somebody put a wallet under the guy's tongue or something!"
Conventional wisdom holds that a wallet (or another similarly durable but soft item) should be put in the mouth of someone suffering an epileptic seizure to keep the person from biting their own tongue and suffering more serious injury/blood loss.
  • "Timothy Hutton before the boat trip."
Timothy Hutton is an actor and director who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1980 film Ordinary People. The boat trip reference is from the same film. The plot follows a family who is coming to terms with the death of their son as a result of a boating accident.
  • "Drew Barrymore!"
Drew Barrymore is an actress from a dynastic family of actors. She forst came to prominence as a child for her performance in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. Following a period of substance abuse, she rebounded to a successful career as both an actress and a filmmaker.
  • "And a man so mean that he once shot himself for snoring too loud."
A paraphasing of a television ad line for the Old West series from Time-Life Books, which described outlaw John Wesley Hardin as, "so mean he once shot a man just for snoring."
  • "Hey, Sally Kellerman!"
Sally Kellerman is an actress best known for her role as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H.
  • "Hey look, Flo and Eddie!"
Flo & Eddie is a pop music duo consisting of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who were founding members of The Turtles.
  • "Hi and Lois!"
"Hi and Lois" is a newspaper comic strip originally created by Mort Walker and Dik Browne.
  • "Hey, it's Buck Henry!"
Buck Henry is an actor and filmmaker best known as the co-creator of Get Smart and as a performer on Saturday Night Live (including ten guest host spots) in the 1970s.
  • "... Or Father Molokai."
Father Damien of Molokai was a Catholic priest originally from Belgium best known for his ministry at the Hawaiian leper colony of Kalawao 1873-1889. He was canonized as a saint in 2009.
  • "These are the Manson Family home videos. Here Tex, Squeaky and the gang light-heartedly tease Charlie."
The Manson Family was a cult gathered by notorious serial criminal Charles Manson, who manipulated his followers into murdering actress Sharon Tate as well as Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Manson was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder on January 25, 1971 and died in prison in 2017.
Charles "Tex" Watson, was one of the members involved in the Tate and LaBianca murders and was convicted in October 12, 1971. Like Manson he was sentenced to death until the death sentence was repealed in the state of California and now serves a life sentence.
Lynette "Squeakie" Fromme was a member who was not involved in the above mentioned murders. She gained notoriety in 1975 when she attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford. She was in prison until her release on August 14, 2009.
  • "Beware of the Dwarf!"
A reference to the 1978 comedic mystery Foul Play. In the film character Bob "Scotty" Scott (played by Bruce Solomon) warns Gloria Mundy (played by Goldie Hawn) to "Beware of the Dwarf!" before dying early on in the film.
  • "Our minds are melding, we are becoming one!"
On Star Trek, Spock would recite this phrase when he performed a Vulcan mind meld.
  • "Because Pepperidge Farm remembers!"
An advertising slogan for Pepperidge Farm baked products which was used in their commercials in the 1980s.
  • "Better get him some cocaine or something."
Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine) is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. It's a controlled substance in most countries. Users commonly inhale it up their nose.
  • "Good thing Cher is there to walk the guy around!"
Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May 20, 1946) is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer, and philanthropist.
  • "Everything's Archie."
Everything's Archie was a comic book published from 1969 to 1991 by Archie Comics to promote their latest flagship franchise, a band called The Archies featuring their title character Archie Andrews and the cast of characters from his self titled comic book. "Everything's Archie" was also a song recorded and released by The Archies, which was used as the theme song for the animated "The Archie Show".
  • "Great way to ruin a party! I hate it when people O.D."
O.D. is a slang term for a drug overdose.
  • "So this isn't a meeting of the Young Republicans?"
The Young Republicans is an organization for members of the Republican Party of the United States between the ages of 18 and 40. It has both a national organization and chapters in individual states. The oldest incarnation was founded in New York City in April 1911.
  • "So, you're the Hellcats? I'm a corporate raider."
A corporate raider is someone who buys a large interest in a corporation and then using voting rights to enact measures directed at increasing the share value. The measures might include replacing top executives, downsizing operations, or liquidating the company.
  • "I want it lean. The boss is making Yankee pot roast."
Yankee pot roast is a brazed beef dish commonly using tougher cuts.
  • "This must be the stunt cast from Room 222."
Room 222 is a television comedy-drama that aired 1969-1974 which centered on American the history class in the titular Room 222 at the fictional Walt Whitman High School.
  • "Well you misspelled Skelter!"
When the Manson Family killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianco, one of them wrote "Helter Skelter" (the title of a Beatles song) on the wall in the victims' blood, but misspelled it "Helter Skealter".
  • "Bridget Loves Bernie."
Bridget Loves Bernie is a sitcom that aired one season 1972-1973. It centered around the romance of an Irish Catholic school teacher and a Jewish taxi driver.
  • "Hmm, 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips', 'Five the Hard Way'... –Is there anything by Hoyt Axton on this?"
Tiptoe Through the Tulips is a song first published in 1929. It was written by Al Dubin and Joe Burke. It was popularized in the 1968 by singer Tiny Tim.
Five The Hard Way is an alternate title for The Side Hackers, shown in Experiment #202.
Hoyt Axton was a country music singer, best known for his songs "Joy to the World" and "The Pusher". The SOL crew would hear a song by Hoyt Axton years later - the theme to Mitchell.
  • "Hey do you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain?"
Lyrics from the 1979 song "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes.
  • "We're going to Dairy Queen! Whoo!"
Diary Queen is a fast food franchise first established in 1940, specializing in ice cream and other frozen treats.
  • "He was in Pippin!"
Pippin is a Broadway musical loosely inspired by the story of Charlemagne's son Pepin the Hunchback.
  • "Kookie!"
Kookie was a supporting character on the private eye series 77 Sunset Strip. He was a valet/parking lot attendant with a high pompadour which he combed frequently.
  • "I'm not even supposed to be in this film. They lose me after the bunker scene."
Line from the movie Blazing Saddles, spoken by an actor in the commissary dressed as Hitler.
  • "Filmed in Zapruder vision, guys."
The Zapruder film is arguably the most famous footage of the Kennedy assassination, shot on an 8mm home movie camera.
  • "These are the chains I forged in life."
A paraphrased quote from the Carles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, spoken by the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Behind the scenes

MST3K cast

Regular cast

MST3K crew


  • This is the only nationally televised flashback episode. (Flashbacks were also the theme of Superdome, though only one was a true clip from a previous episode.) During the production of the episode most of the writing staff was out of town, resulting in the use of footage from previous episodes.
  • Joel's Sign-Language Translator first appeared in the previous episode, Lost Continent. Joel was all set to demonstrate when the Mads said they didn't have time for him to do so.
  • Tom notes his flashback occurs "before his voice changed".
  • Crow's diary salutation of "Dear Kitty" is the same used by Anne Frank in her own famous diary.
  • Crow and Tom wear their robes in the theater for the entire show.
  • Through reruns, and before the reinstating on home video, this was the only way for fans not familiar with them to see segments from season one via the flashbacks.
  • Joel's goatee, which he's been sporting since Wild Rebels appears for the last time, though will make a return next season in Daddy-O.



  • Dr. Forrester and Frank fail to state the title of the film, only noting that it's a biker film.
  • During the riffing of the opening credits when they spot the name Davy Jones, they refer to it as being before he had joined The Monkees. Not only is this a different Davy Jones, but the film was made at the same time that the Monkees television series was airing.

Movie Edits

As with most riffed movies, The Hellcats was edited to fit within the desired time slot by having several scenes trimmed. Removed footage in this film includes:

  • About a minute from the opening of the movie, including establishing shots of the graveyard followed by the Hellcats arriving in a funeral procession.
  • Scenes of the bikers riding out to pick up Sheila before tailing the mobsters to the docks.
  • A scene where two police officers arrive at the bar and call an ambulance for the injured bartender.

Video releases

  • MST3K DVD Cover

    Released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in 2000.
  • Released as a DVD Single by Rhino in June 2002. The disc went out of print sometime by 2008.
    • DVD special features include the original theatrical trailer, and on the disc's flip side, the original film.
  • Digitally available through Shoutfactorytv.com, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, iTunes, Vudu, and VHX.
  • In May 2018 it was re-released by Shout! Factory in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection.
    • DVD special features include the original theatrical trailer.



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