"Let's recap the action so far."

"Nothing really."

"You're right, let's move on now."

- Tom, Joel, and Tom at the halfway mark

The movie[]

Main article: Cave Dwellers (film)


The warrior Ator must rescue a scholar from a warlord who would misuse his creations. Between him and his goal lie caves full of cannibals and invisible ruffians, wandering samurai warriors, and a snake-worshiping cult.

The Episode[]

Host Segments[]


The SOL Crew in their smoking jackets

Prologue: Joel and the Bots give themselves favorite new names.

Invention Exchange (Segment One): Joel creates the smoking jacket to look cool, while the Mads engage in robotic arm wrestling (with one of the Mole People acting as referee).

Segment Two: The gang reenacts the Cave Dwellers half-screen digitized credit sequence, starring Crow as Ator, Joel as "That Mean John Saxon-Type Guy," and Tom as "The Really Dull Old Guy."

Cave Dwellers Ripoff 1

A more relevant opening sequence.

Segment Three: Joel and the Bots ponder the conventions of naming fantasy objects in low-budget films.

Segment Four: Joel shows Tom and Crow how to be a Foley artist, creating sound effects using Jell-O, hamsters, and Madame (played by Trace Beaulieu using a Punch puppet).


The final reaction to how terrible the film was

Segment Five: Upon the Mads asking if the film truly was horrible (as Dr. F didn't think it was that bad and Frank actually liked it), Crow points out the horrible continuity problems of the movie like tire tracks in the background and a man in prehistoric times wearing sunglasses per Tom's request. The Mads remind them of their evilness.

Stinger: "Thong, the fish is ready!"

Obscure References[]

  • "My name... José Jiménez."
José Jiménez is a Bolivian character created by comedian Bill Dana for The Steve Allen Show. He would introduce himself in this manner.
  • "Daddy? There's a man outside..."
A reference to a hit song by Mike Douglas from the mid-sixties called "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" from the album of the same name.
  • "Do what *I* do."
An impression of Mike Levey, who is best known as the host of the Amazing Discoveries infomercials.
  • "Like Father, Like Son... Think About It, Won't You?"
The tagline from a 1970s-era anti-smoking Public Service Announcement.
  • "Enjoy it while it lasts, Astro Boy-toy!"
Astro Boy (originally known as Tetsuwan Atom), about a young robotic superhero, was one of the earliest anime to be imported to the United States.
  • "I'd shoot Donald Regan to prove my love for Lisa Foster."
A reference to John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan for reasons stemming from his own unhealthy obsession with actress Jodie Foster (specifically her role in Taxi Driver). Donald Regan was a Reagan administration official who resigned after clashing with First Lady Nancy Reagan over his handling of the Iran-Contra scandal.
  • "Hey! There's a monolith outside!" "Yeah everybody's evolving and stuff! It's really neat!"
A reference to the opening scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • "Hey! Grog just threw a bone into the air and it turned into a spaceship!"
A reference to an animated Monty Python skit that was inspired by the aforementioned 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • "...keeper of the Seven Keys of Pentuzler..."
A line from Ghostbusters spoken by a possessed Louis Tulley (portrayed by Rick Moranis).
  • "Tolkien couldn't follow this plot!"
J.R.R. Tolkien was an Oxford professor whose Lord of the Rings trilogy established many of the standards of the fantasy genre and is known for its elaborate world building.
  • "This has more pauses than a Pinter play."
Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was a British playwright and screenwriter. His writing style was known for its frequent use of pauses (among other things), giving rise to the term "Pinteresque".
  • "...and then he worked out on the Charismatic Soloflex of Zontar-13!"
The Soloflex was a piece of home fitness equipment that was heavily advertised on cable TV during the late 1980s and early '90s.
  • "Played here by Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention."
The Mothers of Invention were a band formed in 1964 by Frank Vincent Zappa; in which Jimmy Carl Black acted as their drummer and vocalist.
  • "Music by The Super Mario Bros."
Super Mario Bros. is a 1985 video game that was packaged with the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Like most videogames of the time, it had a repetitive electronic soundtrack.
  • "Oh, he's been gonged."
The Gong Show is an amateur talent competition TV series that ran from 1976 to 1980 (with brief revivals in 1988-1989 and 2017). Acts of (often questionable) talent performed in front of a panel of three celebrity judges. If the judges didn’t like the act, a large gong behind them would be struck, signalling that the contestant was disqualified.
  • "I want a Barney Clark heart"
A combination reference to an old advertising catchphrase for Clark candy bars and Barney Clark, the first human recipient of an artificial heart.
  • "What a minute...this is the Magna Carta!"
The Magna Carta is a thirteenth century charter that limited the power of the king over the nobles and the church. It is considered one of England's most important historical documents.
  • "" are a child of the universe, no less than the trees..."
A quote from the Desiderata.
  • "Mother, Jugs, and Speed"
Mother, Jugs, & Speed is a 1976 comedy film starring Racquel Welch, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Keitel.
  • "You were playing a Titleist, right?"
Titleist is a popular brand of golf balls.
  • "A Mark VII production!"
Mark VII Limited was the production company of actor/producer Jack Webb. It had a memorable bumper that depicted the words "MARK VII" being manually stamped into a metal sheet to the accompaniment of a sonorous, reverberating clang.
  • "Welcome to Death Valley Days! The driver's either missing or he's dead!"
Death Valley Days is a syndicated western show that Ronald Reagan once hosted. The "driver is missing or dead" line is from the third installment of The Phantom Creeps, featured in Ring of Terror.
  • "It's the wango, zee tango!"
A Ted Nugent song, "Wango Tango", starts out, "All right! It's zee wango, zee tango/ 1-2-3-4 /Come on boys/ Time to Wango".
  • "Warriors, come out and PLAY-AY!!!"
A line from the 1979 movie The Warriors.
  • "I'll be doing the death scene from 'Camille.'"
Camille is the English title of La Dame aux Camélias which has been adapted to film several times.
  • "I'm the best-looking man in the middle ages! My, my, my!"
An impression of Flip Wilson.
  • "The Bangles?"
The Bangles were an all-girl power pop band from Los Angeles best known for the songs "Walk Like an Egyptian" and "Manic Monday".
  • "Oh, this is the opening from 'Where Eagles Dare'!"
Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 World War II movie starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.
  • "Go to bed, old man!"
From a comedy bit by comedian Dana Gould.
  • "Here's one from my old pal Melvin Laird!"
Melvin Laird served as Secretary of Defense under Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He was responsible for the strategy of withdrawing troops from Vietnam.
  • "My God, they hit Charlie McCarthy!"
Said as a mannequin representing an evil henchman is blown off a castle wall by one of Ator's bombs. Charlie McCarthy was a ventriloquist dummy used by American actor, comedian and radio performer Edgar Bergen.
  • "What are you, Lucas Tanner all of a sudden?"
Lucas Tanner was an NBC drama in 1974-75, starring David Hartman as a high school English teacher whose unorthodox teaching methods riled many of the other faculty members.
  • "Looks like he flew into 17th Century Bulgaria, and that's Mad Ludwig's castle."
"Mad" King Ludwig was the monarch of Bavaria 1864-1886 and was infamous for his obsession with building castles of fanciful design.

Behind the Scenes[]

MST3K Cast[]

Regular Cast

Guest Cast

  • Christopher Wurst - Gerry

MST3K Crew[]


  • Comedy Central gave the series a 72 episode order starting with this episode. This unusually large order would cover the next 3 seasons.
  • This episode first aired the same day that Comedy Central officially went on the air.
  • Trace Beaulieu provides the voice of TV’s Madame in Segment 3.
  • The music in Segment 1 was written and arranged by Michael J. Nelson.
  • Ranked 9th in the Top 100 Episodes as chosen by backers of the Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 campaign.
  • A larger fez-like cap that Servo wears during the opening sequence with his robe is worn by him in all of the host segments of this episode; he has his normal smaller cap during the movie scenes.
  • Dr. Forrester is not wearing his typical chartreuse glasses frames. He also no longer sports a ponytail.
  • This episode aired second during Turkey Day '91, and fourth during both Turkey Day '13 and Turkey Day '19.
  • In The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the entry for this episode includes a sidebar by Michael J. Nelson in appreciation of Miles O'Keeffe. Nelson begins with a free verse tribute to the actor in the style of e.e. cummings.
  • This episode was aired on the Lifetime channel as part of CableACE Weekend in 1993, during which shows nominated for CableACE awards were broadcast.


  • When Ator and his friends are fighting the three samurai warriors, Joel starts to talk about sword fighting techniques but soon becomes tongue-tied and can't form actual words.
  • The riff "Looks like he flew into 17th Century Bulgaria, and that's Mad Ludwig's castle" has multiple errors. Mad King Ludwig was the monarch of Bavaria (in what is now southwestern Germany) and lived in the 19th Century.
  • In the final bumper of this episode's MST Hour, Jack Perkins makes two errors. He identifies Lisa Foster as Lisa Gordon and states that the movie's alternate title is Ator, the Fighting Eagle rather than The Blade Master.


Movie Edits[]

Video Releases[]


VHS Cover