What scares me is they don't have showers.
  — Crow

The Movie


Hercules Unchained

While traveling, Hercules is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, over who should rule Thebes. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and is hypnotized by a harem girl who dances the "Dance of Shiva", loses his memory and becomes the captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia. The Queen keeps men until she tires of them, then has them made into statues. While young Ulysses tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules' wife, Iole, finds herself in danger from Eteocles, current ruler of Thebes, who plans on throwing her to the wild beasts in his entertainment arena. Hercules slays three tigers in succession and rescues his wife, then assists the Theban army in repelling mercenary attackers hired by Polynices. The two brothers ultimately fight one another for the throne and end up killing each other; the good high priest Creon is elected by acclaim.


Hercules Unchained

  • The tale of Hercules and Queen Omphale is taken from the ancient Greek myth, of which there are several variations throughout history. Character names are drawn from a mixture of various Greek legends and plays, notably The Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus and Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. Hercules' line "I wove the threads [of my memory] together" is a reference to his task of spinning thread and weaving with Omphale's attendants. The film is only very loosely based on the source material, randomly mixing events and featuring characterizations varying from those depicted in the sources.
  • Film critic Howard Hughes argued that due to a better script, "punchier action" and more convincing acting the film was "superior to its predecessor" film Hercules. Concerning the cast, he praises in particular the French actress Sylvia Lopez ("movingly effective") whose career ended prematurely in 1958, when she died at the age of 28 of leukemia (shortly after the completion of Hercules Unchained).
  • The film was the third most popular movie at the British box office in 1960.
  • As noted by Mike-as-Steve and the Mads during the Invention Exchange, this is the second Steve Reeves Hercules movie, the first of which did not air on the show until the subsequent season (as Experiment #502).

The Episode

Host Segments


Prologue: It's Wash and Wax day on the Satellite of Love, a fate worse than death if Tom and Crow are to be believed.

Segment One: While Crow is slightly more worse for wear after his go in the wash and wax, down in Deep 13 Frank and Dr. F's invention of decorator cockroaches gets an unintended boost from the star of today's movie "Steve Reeves". Joel's invention is the Steve-O-meter, which can tell if something's already been thought of by Steve Allen.

Segment Two: Gypsy constructs a set to allow her to show her to be the Hellenistic ideal, but her ability in playing a harp brings this into question.

Michael J Nelson as Steve Reeves

Segment Three: After partaking of the Water of Forgetfulness, Joel & the Bots try other foodstuffs and drinks which trigger other mental and emotional states: the Carob Shake of Pretentiousness, the Blizzard of Loneliness, the Fruit-Striped Gum of Stability, and the Green Bean & French Onion Casserole of Happiness.

Segment Four: Tom and Crow try to get Joel to explain what Hercules and Queen Omphale are doing all day when they're cuddling and kissing, but he refuses to divulge.

Gypsy's set

Closing (Segment Five): The SOL crew attempt to discuss why the Hercules series and other fantasy films became popular and the meaning behind them. In Deep 13, Steve is unable to provide any insight. Frank continues to gush over Steve.

Stinger: When Queen Omphale remembers the good times with Hercules, her eyes get very big.

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast



Quotes & References

  • "Unchained Hercules? Oh Hercules, my darling..."

The title reminds Servo of "Unchained Melody" (popularized by The Righteous Brothers).

  • "This week on Genesis II..."

Genesis II was a sci-fi TV movie created by Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) that aired on CBS in 1973. It was intended as a pilot for a new series, but was not picked up.

  • "Have fun stormin' the castle!"

A line spoken by Billy Crystal's character in The Princess Bride as the heroes ride off to do just that.

  • "Oh-ho the Wells Fargo wagon--- c'mon everybody!"

'Wells Fargo Wagon' is an ensemble song from the musical The Music Man.

  • "I'm Ralph Richardson!"

Ralph Richardson was a British actor.

  • "...I'll send servants and provisions." "And lawyers, guns, and money."

A reference to the Warren Zevon song "Lawyers, Guns, and Money."

  • "Heh heh...Just playin' Narcissus here..."

Narcissus was another character from Greek mythology. He saw his reflection in a pool of water and was so hypnotized by his own good looks he was unable to ever look away.

  • "Headin' out to Eden... yea, brother!"

Tom and Crow sing the first lyric of one of Adam's songs in the Star Trek episode "The Way to Eden".

  • "This place looks like a Maxfield Parrish painting."

​Maxfield Parrish was an American painter who employed a grandiose neo-classical style.

  • "Oh, they're taking him to the Tiki Room!"

One of the mainstays of Disneyland, the Enchanted Tiki Room is a Polynesian-themed show/attraction.

  • "The Mighty Pavog (sic)!"

The Mighty Favog was a character from the Muppet segments on the first season of Saturday Night Live.

  • "Hey! It's Ting!"

Ting is a Jamaican soft drink.

  • "Jesse! Now Jerome!"

Lyrics from the song "Jungle Love" by The Time.

  • "Oh cool, it's like a Thingmaker!"

The Thingmaker was a 1960s toy that enabled children to create their own monster figures.

  • "I'm Big Jim McLain!"

Big Jim McLain was a 1952 movie starring John Wayne.

  • "It's twue! It's twue!"

Joel is imitating Madeline Kahn in a scene from the film Blazing Saddles in which her character is delighted by the scale of her new lover's masculine equipment.

  • "He's no fun, he fell right over!"

Reference to a comedy album called How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All by The Firesign Theatre. The line "s/he's no fun, s/he fell right over" occurs on both sides of the record.

  • "Peace on earth was all it said..."

A reference to the 1969 antiwar song "One Tin Soldier" by Original Caste. The song is probably best known as the theme of the Billy Jack film series.

  • "Bend it! If you can't you'll convince me!" "If you can, you're Uri Geller."

Uri Geller is a performer with reputed psychic and telekinetic powers, mostly demonstrated through the ability to bend spoons.

  • "It's Madame Trousseau's!"

Crow is mispronouncing the name of Madame Tussaud's, the well-known wax museum located in London.

  • "Hobbes, get off me!"

Said while Hercules is wrestling tigers in an arena. A reference to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, about a boy who imagines his stuffed tiger is alive.

  • "It's the Smurfs vs the Skins."

The Smurfs are a race of small blue creatures of comic and cartoon fame. Tom's remarking on how the evil minions in that particular scene are wearing hats with a forward-sticking bulb coming out of the top like the Smurfs' signature hats.

Video Release

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