|“||Your experiment today is called Pod People. It has nothing to do with pods... it has nothing to do with people... it has everything to do with hurting.||”|
|— Forrester introduces the experiment|
A trio of poachers travel deep into a foggy forest, searching for game. One of them stumbles across a dark cave filled with huge eggs. Smashing them, he irritates an unknown creature who quickly kills him. Angered, the creature begins to go on a destructive rampage.
Elsewhere, a group of young people takes a break from recording music to travel by RV to the area for a camping trip.
Meanwhile, Tommy, a little boy with a lot of pets, finds the lone survivor of the egg-related carnage in the cave and decides to bring it home. It hatches, and the creature, whom Tommy names Trumpy, is born and eats lots of food. The other alien travels through the forest until she finds the band, and pushes a groupie off a small cliff. Critically injured, the other band members take her to Tommy's house, where she eventually dies from her injuries. In Tommy's room, Trumpy demonstrates his ability to do "magic things", and creates a bizarre extravaganza with his eyes.
A band member and Tommy's uncle Bill travel to a ranger station in an attempt to use the radio, but they find the other alien and the corpse of a poacher. One of them is felled by the monster but the other escapes. The alien gets back to the house faster and attacks another band member in the RV. Tommy witnesses the event through his telescope and believes that Trumpy is responsible for the mayhem. Everyone decides it's safer to stay in the cabin for the night, but the evil extraterrestrial follows them inside and kills another band member when she takes a shower.
Tommy unsuccessfully tries to sneak Trumpy out of the house, but he's caught by his mother, who grabs a rifle and tries to shoot Trumpy. Tommy and Trumpy flee into the foggy woods, and everybody else pursues him.
Trumpy and his mom finally meet one another before she's gunned down. Tommy leaves Trumpy in the woods and goes back home with his mother and the two surviving band members before the credits roll.
- This was originally intended as a low-budget horror movie about an evil alien on the prowl. However, in order to cash on the success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), the producers demanded script changes at the last minute, by adding elements of the said film by including a child along with adding another, more lovable and cute alien to serve as a playmate (hence one alternate title for the movie, Extra Terrestrial Visitors). The film's Director Juan Piquer Simón was not satisfied with the final result.
- In a coincidence that was likely unknown to the producers of Pod People, the film's plot resembles that of Night Skies, a proposed sequel to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. That movie was planned to feature malevolent aliens terrorizing a family farm, with one misfit alien befriending the farmers' son (at least one person familiar with the project called it "Straw Dogs with aliens"). While never produced, story elements were later used for E.T., Poltergeist, and Gremlins.
- A widely-circulated rumor which claimed that the script was submitted to Steven Spielberg as a sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is false.
- Pod People was released by Film Ventures International, and uses footage from an unrelated movie as background for the opening credits, as was the practice with most FVI films. In this case, the footage shown during the movie's opening credits was taken from the 1985 film The Galaxy Invader, which would later be used by Mike, Kevin, and Bill as a RiffTrax Video On Demand feature.
- Originally filmed in French and Spanish; the actors learned both languages. It premiered in France before Spain.
- The title of the song viewers now know as "Idiot Control Now" is actually "Burning Rubber Tires", and the chorus supposedly says "Hear the engines roll now", according to a lyric sheet provided here.
- The T-shirt that the recording engineer is wearing says "I'm A Virgin", but underneath that, in much smaller letters, it says "Islander", and then "St. Thomas." It was a (somewhat misguided) tourism slogan for the Virgin Islands.
- As noted by Joel and the bots, there are conspicuous shots of American consumer products (Pringles, 7-Up). This was not so much product placement as an awkward attempt to make it appear that the movie was shot in North America.
Segment Two: Joel and the Bots sing their own version of the song from the movie, "Idiot Control Now". While the Mads like it, Joel declares that "It stinks!"
Segment Three: Joel teaches Crow about creating new age music, leading to a new segment, "Music From Some Guys in Space"
Segment Four: Trumpy's magic causes mayhem on the SOL, confusing the Mads and thrilling Joel.
Segment Five: As Joel and the bots pack up, they conclude the show with the beautiful "Clowns in the Sky", but the Mads don't like it.
Stinger: "It stinks!"
Studio Assistant: Faye Burkholder (uncredited)
- That's makeup lady (and occasional writer) Faye Berkholder as the recording studio assistant in Deep 13. For years, many fans mistakenly believed that it was writer Bridget Nelson.
- Joel's old grey jumpsuit from the KTMA season makes an appearance on a clothing rack during the host segment.
- The "okay" hand gesture followed by "It stinks!" takes on additional subtext when considering that that hand gesture has a negative connotation in the country in which the film was made. The gesture has since been adopted by white supremacists in the United States, but that was certainly not the show's intention at the time of production.
- According to Kevin Murphy in the MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the producers of NPR's Music From the Hearts of Space series enjoyed the "Music From Some Guys in Space" host segment and even sent them a few CDs of new age music.
- Rare time where Servo directly apologizes to the audience for the film's convoluted plot.
- Ranked 5th in the Top 100 Episodes as chosen by backers of the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter.
- This episode aired eleventh during Turkey Day '91, fifth during Turkey Day '14, and second during Turkey Day '16.
- "Puma? Puma!" (Ring of Terror)
- When Joel says "Trumpy, you can do STUPID things!" in the theater, he’s referencing a line by the little kid, Tommy, who says: "Trumpy, you can do magic things!" However, Joel does that riff about 10 minutes BEFORE Tommy says the original line.
- "Pod People got no reason to live."
A reference to the satirical 1977 Randy Newman song "Short People" which contends (ironically) that "short people got no reason to live".
- "Pod People, isn't that Nia Peeples brother?"
Nia Peeples is a singer and actress.
- "Whoa, it's the Iron Maiden dude! Check him out!"
A reference to Eddie the Head, the ghoulish character depicted on the covers of multiple albums by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
- "Mayo..." -Joel. "Don't you do it! Don't you do it! I got nowhere else to go!" -Servo, during invention exchange.
From the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. Richard Gere (playing Zack Mayo) says "Don't you do it! I got nowhere else to go!" to Louis Gossett's character, who is trying to get Mayo to give him his DOR (dropped on request).
- "Chief!?" "McCloud!?"
This comes from the 1970s mystery TV show McCloud starring Dennis Weaver as a cowboy-hat-wearing detective. It was part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie shows that were referenced several times in seasons 2 and 3.
- "Now, to find a herd of cattle to drain dry."
Possibly a reference to the blood-sucking urban legend, El Chupacabra (which some people believe is an alien). (However, reports of El Chupacabra date back only to 1995, four years before this episode. The riff is more likely a reference to earlier accounts of alien cattle mutilation)
- "She's in shatters" "This town's in tatters."
Reference to the Rolling Stones song "Shattered".
- "Tonight, on Music from the Hearts of Space..."
- "And remember: No wire hangers!"
Servo references the movie Mommie Dearest, which includes a scene of Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) having a psychotic episode upon finding wire clothes hangers (of which she disapproves) in her children's closet.
- "Football practice!"
"Football practice!" comes from the horror movie Shocker according to the MST catch-phrase catalog.
- "These are cola nuts. These are uncola nuts."
A reference to a long-running 7-Up advertising campaign starring multi-talented Trinidadian-American actor Geoffrey Holder explaining the difference between kola nuts and "uncola nuts"—lemons and limes. This was in the late 1970s, when the catch phrase for the lemon-lime soft drink was "the UNcola".
Daktari was a 1960s TV series about a veterinarian working in Africa.
- "Emergency 911."
Said by Crow in a William Shatner-like cadence, he's likely referring to the TV series Rescue 911 which Shatner hosted.
- "They're gonna die in that Samurai jeep anyway."
The Suzuki Samurai was a compact SUV that drastically declined in popularity after a Consumer Reports article suggested that it was dangerously prone to rollovers.
- "Carbon scoring all over my droid."
- "John Bohnam: Moby Dick!"
- Crow - "It's a Peter Gabriel video!" Tom - "Yeah, somebody hit that kid on the head with a SLEDGEHAMMER!"
The scene of Trumpy causing telekinetic havoc in the boy's bedroom resembles the imagery (achieved though stop-motion animation) in the music video for the Peter Gabriel song "Sledgehammer".
- "Get me, I'm Lionel Richie!"
A reference to the song "Dancing on the Ceiling" (Trumpy is supposed to be standing on the ceiling when this line is heard).
- "He's got Bette Davis eyes."
- "Can she carry moonbeams home in a jar?"
A reference to the song "Swingin' on a Star", written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. Originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1944, it has been consistently popular and was later used as the theme song for the 1980s TV sitcom Out of This World.
- "This kid sounds like Georgette..."
Georgette was a character on the popular television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was played by actress Georgia Engel. Sweet but slightly dim-witted, Georgette had a distinctive "baby-doll" voice.
- "Potatoes", etc.
- "I like you, Tommy. I'll kill you last".
This is a reference to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Commando, when he, in the role of John Matrix, tells Sully, the weaselly former Special Forces soldier, "You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last". Later he tells Sully, "I lied," just before killing him.
- "He seeks him here. He seeks him there. He seeks that rascal everywhere."
Crow is spoofing a line by Sir Percy Blakeney, a character from the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel.
- "Something there is that doesn’t love a crummy monster film... That's from "Mending Monster Film"."
- "It's been seven—oh."
The dreamy synth music prompts Servo to start singing the first line of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U."
- "I know what you're thinking Tommy. Did Mom fire 6 shots or only 5?"
- "Boldly backing away from where no man has gone before."
Paraphrase of Star Trek intro, "To boldly go where no man has gone before". Just after this, they start humming the ST:TOS theme, then switch to the Steve Miller Band's "Swing Town" (which has the same first 2 notes).
- "Come on and dance..."
A line from the song "Swing Town" by the Steve Miller Band.
- "I'm Curly Neal..."
Curly Neal was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. Fancy dribbling was his trademark.
- "That guy's gonna get his Presidential Physical Fitness Award."
This is a reference to a federal program started by President Lyndon Johnson to promote activity in school children.
- "She's Zestfully dead!"
A long-lived slogan for Zest body wash informed consumers that "You're not fully clean until you're Zestfully clean!"
- "So people are being methodically killed off by the Banana Splits."
The Banana Splits was a children's variety show running from 1968-1970. The Banana Splits themselves were a group of anthropomorphic animals that vaguely resemble Trumpy and his mother.
- "Oh, it's Laura Palmer."
A reference to the cult TV series Twin Peaks, which initially focused on the murder of a teenage girl named Laura Palmer.
- "Trumpy...Trumpezoid...The Trumpmonster."
- (Tommy!) "Can you hear me?"
- "Isn't this Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army?" "In cars..."
A reference to the song "Cars" by Gary Numan (who was indeed a member of the new wave group Tubeway Army, but he recorded this song as a solo artist).
- "Hey, we're the cast from Straw Dogs."
A reference to Sam Peckinpah's highly controversial 1971 film Straw Dogs, in which a couple living in a rural cottage are tormented by a gang of locals (most notorious for an extremely graphic rape scene).
- [The singers' camper belching out lame music from the radio.]
- Servo: Boy! Ringo did some bad songs, but this is embarrassing!
- [The two remaining poachers sit around a campfire planning on how to get out of the woods.]
- Poacher 1: Hey, why don't we take the kid's camper?
- Poacher 2: .....Are you CRAZY!?
- Joel [As Poacher 1]: Uhhhh....can I think about it?
- Poacher 2: Haven't you screwed things up enough already?
- Crow: Well...He DID write "the script."
- Joel and Servo: HUZZAH!!
- [Tommy feeding Trumpy milk.]
- Tommy: Oh boy! You keep drinking milk like that, you're going to grow up real big and strong! Then we can play together! You know what playing is don't you?
- Crow [As Trumpy]: Yes! It's where I break you in half!
- [Tommy excited after Trumpy shows him his "powers."]
- Tommy: You can do "Magic Things!"
- Crow [As Trumpy]: It's called "Evil" kid!
- [After Tommy reunites with his mother and the surviving campers, they leave Trumpy behind.]
- Crow [As Trumpy]: Hey! Don't leave me here! I was raised by a child, I can't survive in the wilderness!
- Commercially released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in October 1996.
- Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in February 2003 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 2, a 4-DVD set with Cave Dwellers, Angels Revenge and Shorts Volume 1. The set went out print sometime in 2008.
- Re-released in May 2016 as part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume II DVD set from Shout! Factory.
- DVD special features are The Mystery Science Theater Hour wraps.
- Available for rent or purchase on Amazon's streaming service.
|preceded by: Season 2||MST3K Season 3||followed by: Season 4|
|1991 - 1992|
|301||Cave Dwellers||1991-06-01||309||The Amazing Colossal Man||1991-08-03||317||The Saga of the Viking Women...||1991-10-26|
|302||Gamera||1991-06-08||310||Fugitive Alien||1991-08-17||318||Star Force: Fugitive Alien II||1991-11-16|
|303||Pod People||1991-06-08||311||It Conquered the World||1991-08-24||319||War of the Colossal Beast||1991-11-30|
|304||Gamera vs Barugon||1991-06-22||312||Gamera vs Guiron||1991-09-07||320||The Unearthly||1991-12-14|
|305||Stranded in Space||1991-06-29||313||Earth vs the Spider||1991-09-14||321||Santa Claus Conquers/Martians||1991-12-21|
|306||Time of the Apes||1991-07-13||314||Mighty Jack||1991-09-21||322||Master Ninja I||1992-01-11|
|307||Daddy-O (episode)||1991-07-20||315||Teenage Cave Man||1991-11-09||323||The Castle of Fu Manchu||1992-01-18|
|308||Gamera vs Gaos||1991-07-27||316||Gamera vs Zigra||1991-10-19||324||Master Ninja II||1992-01-25|