"Well, they're out of fumar, now what do we do?"
  — Mike


The Movie

Synopsis

Agent for H.A.R.M.

East Germany, 1966: the Cold War is raging, and scientist Dr. Jan Stefanik has a secret biological weapon. He defects, clutching an ordinary briefcase containing "spore-forming meteorite fragments" closely pursued by the Red Army. He makes it to the US, but not before his companion is killed by a double agent with a gun that shoots instant-flesh-eating spores into his face. Now Stefanik resides in a beach house/laboratory outside San Diego where he is independently working on a spore antidote. Living with him is his bikini-clad archery-expert niece Eva (Bouchet), whose existence he was unaware of until recently.

Agent for H.A.R.M.

Just across the border in Mexico, a team from the Biological Warfare Commissariat of his former country has established operations, headed by the villainous Malko. They are planning to attack America, and they are determined to obtain Stefanik's spore antidote formula.

Enter the hero, Adam Chance (Mark Richman), Agent for H.A.R.M. (Human Aetiological Relations Machine). Adam is dispatched by his boss Jim Grant (Wendell Corey, also seen in Women of the Prehistoric Planet) to investigate the murder of Stefanik's lab assistant. Adam soon arrives at the beach house and flirts with Eva. Stefanik welcomes Chance by serving him a cocktail in a test tube. Meanwhile, Eva is secretly talking to someone through her portable record player. Chance proceeds to battle the bad guys while wearing a canary yellow cardigan and welding goggles and riding a moped.

Information

  • Produced as a television pilot for a new spy series, it was given a theatrical release instead.
  • H.A.R.M. stands for "Human Aetiological Relations Machine." "Aetiology" is a British variant of "etiology," which is the branch of medical science concerned with causes and origins of diseases. This full wording is seen at the top of the world map in the very last scene of the movie. [1]
  • The four-plex where this was filmed in Santa Monica can be seen here, thanks to Google Street View. The neighborhood has built up since 1966, though, and the building in question was demolished sometime after 2008, and replaced with a blue building in 2014.
  • As an example of the low budget the production had, all filming seems to have been done in Santa Monica, Malibu, and the Malibu hills. It is unclear whether or not shooting in San Diego (where the movie is supposed to take place) would have cost much more.
  • Much to his consternation, some of the earlier posters printed to advertise the film misspelled Peter Mark Richman's surname as Richmond.

The Episode

Host Segments

  • Mike on trial

    Prologue Servo and Crow are extreeeeme! If you can call yoga and stamp collecting extreeeeme! Mike chooses rice. They learn that some things are hard to make extreme.
  • Segment 1 Mike is still not extreme until he disappears. He has been taken to a mysterious location where he is to be put on trial by the Intergalactic Tribunal for blowing up Deep Ape, The Observers' homeworld, and the Camping Planet. And a failure to yield. Mike inadvertently chooses Professor Bobo as his lawyer and Pearl as his prosecutor because the judge doesn't understand sarcasm.
  • Crow speaks at Mike's trial

    Segment 2 Crow tries to bake a power saw into a torte. The trial continues below, with Pearl imaginatively using props to make her point. Bobo gives special attention to the word "panties" and then declares his disdain for Mike.
  • Segment 3 Bobo calls on the Bots as character witnesses via video depositions. Tom's deposition never gets past the guest stars. Crow's is rendered incomprehensible due the constant bleeping for expletives. Bobo accuses Gypsy of hearsay in her (harmless, even helpful) deposition.
  • Segment 4 Tom and Crow search for legal loopholes to help Mike. Meanwhile, Brain Guy takes the stand as a witness to describe the destruction of his world, and takes the dramatics a bit far. Somehow, Bobo manages to poke a hole in his testimony using his deep and abiding love of... pie. Yes, pie.

    Bobo at Mike's trial

  • Final Segment The Bots hold a candlelight vigil, awaiting Mike's execution. Ortega is a witness, although his testimony is somewhat limited. Bobo calls a Little Amish Boy to the stand, who denies Mike's crime; Pearl's cross-examination deteriorates into an argument over the pros and cons of Amish fudge. The judge reaches a verdict: Mike is guilty and is sentenced to death. However, since Mike is basically a likable guy, his sentence is commuted to 800 hours of community service.
  • Stinger A scientist is knocked almost unconscious.

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast

Trivia

  • During the Host Segment in which Observer is testifying, the Judge is played by Paul Chaplin, who is a significantly smaller man than Bill Corbett.
  • Tom's list of celebrity guests in Host Segment Three recalls the running "tributary" gag from Revenge of the Creature.
  • First episode directed by Michael J. Nelson.
  • Unusual credits: Mike can be heard picking up trash through the credits.
  • Patrick Brantseg's first appearance as Gypsy.
  • This episode includes the first mention of Mike's love of bleached and enriched rice, which would carry on into the last episode of the Sci-Fi Channel era.
  • Mike's trial may be a nod to the 1961 movie The Flight That Disappeared, in which a trio of scientists are transported to a dimension outside space-time and are put on trial for developing a bomb which would destroy all life on Earth if used. While found guilty, they are ultimately let off on a technicality.
  • The Little Amish Boy in the final host segment alludes to the 1985 film Witness.

Callbacks

Obscure References

  • "Titles by e. e. cummings and k.d. lang."
Both e. e. cummings (sometimes stylized "e e cummings"), the poet, and k.d. lang, the singer, are known for spelling their names without capital letters.
  • "Tonight on Michael Collins, P.I...!"
Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary, IRA soldier, and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th-century Irish struggle for independence. He was shot and killed in an ambush by anti-Treaty forces on August 22, 1922.
  • "Mr. Peepers, P.I."
Mister Peepers is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from 1952 to 1955. Wally Cox starred as Robinson J. Peepers, a junior high school science teacher.
  • "I didn't know Section 8 built beach houses."
Section 8 is a program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that provides assistance with paying rent to low-income people.  Most beach houses do not accept Section 8 payments, however. 
  • "I drink a lot, how come I never made the Dewar's Profile?"
A reference to a series of magazine ads scotch whisky brand Dewar's produced. The dignitaries profiled include LeRoy Neiman (artist), Jeremiah Tower (celebrity chef), and Jerry Orbach (actor, singer).
  • "PBR me, ASAP!"
​An old advertising slogan for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, which (at the time) was marketed as a low-cost beer for hard-working blue-collar types.
  • "A young Charles Grodin..."
Charles Grodin is an American actor, comedian, author, and former television talk show host. His notable films include Real Life (1979), Seems Like Old Times (1980), Ishtar (1987), Midnight Run (1988), and Dave (1993).
  • "Now, we're going to hear the word 'Panties' a lot during this trial so let's get them giggles out right now! Panties... panties... panties... panties..... PANTIES... PANTIES.... PANTIES!!"
Bobo is "reenacting" one of the courtroom scenes from Anatomy of a Murder.
  • "Mike, why were you choking the monkey?"
​"Choke the chicken", "spank the monkey", and "choke the monkey" are all idioms alluding to male masturbation.
  • (As Dr. Stefanik picks up a syringe) "I'll have to go under my tongue with this one..."
​Long-term intravenous drug users run out of non-collapsed or un-scarred veins, which necessitates locating un-used veins in unusual places on the body.
  • (singing) "Close the window, come alive..."
​A line from the 1977 song "We're All Alone" sung by Rita Coolidge and written by Boz Scaggs.
  • "You don't have to be rich to be my girl..." "Have you seen my raspberry beret?" "I would die for him." "Controversy!" "Come over here and let me work on that zipper." "I think I wanna dance." "He should’ve taken the little red corvette!" "Baby, you've got to slow down." "Cream!" "I wonder if the water heater makes the water warm enough, Lisa." "Oh, man, just another manic Monday." "Let's eat our dinner at a fancy restaurant!" "I'd like to spend a night inside your sugar walls." "Wendy and Lisa are comin' over later, is that alright?" "Would you shut up already, damn!" "Could that be the most beautiful girl in the world?"
The lab scientist resembles Prince, whose songs "Kiss", "Raspberry Beret", "I Would Die 4 U", "Controversy", "Gett Off", "Little Red Corvette", "Cream", "Computer Blue", "Nothing Compares 2 U", "Housequake", and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" are being referenced here. Additionally, "Manic Monday" and "Sugar Walls" were written by Prince but performed by the Bangles and Sheena Easton, respectively.
  • "If Pepé Le Pew was a human he'd be this guy."
Pepé Le Pew is a character from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Depicted as a French striped skunk, Pepé is constantly in search of love. However, his offensive skunk odor and his aggressive pursuit of romance typically cause other characters to run from him.
  • "Well, that's the last Taco John's we'll see for a while."
Taco John's is a Mexican-ish fast food chain in the Midwest.
  • "NAFTA's really workin'!"
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was an economic policy implemented in 1994 between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, which eliminated tariffs and other trade barriers between the three countries.
  • "He's got a wrist harmonica in case he runs into John Popper!"
John Popper is an American musician (and member of the band Blues Traveler) known for his harmonica-playing.
  • "Perhaps, much like Linus, I can wrap my cardigan around the tire."
A reference to the character Linus from the Peanuts comic strip, who would often employ his security blanket in unexpectedly useful ways.
  • "He made his own gravy!"
A reference to a series of 70's-era Chuck Wagon commercials which promoted making its own gravy as a feature of the dog food.
  • "Da da DA DA!"
At several points, Mike and the bots hum the first few bars of the main James Bond theme, as a sarcastic comparison of the action-packed Bond movies to this far more action-less movie.
  • "Jerome Robbins, P.I."
Jerome Robbins received world renown as a choreographer, director, dancer, and theater producer who worked in classical ballet, on stage, film, and television. He had a number of hit Broadway productions and ballets including Afternoon of a Faun, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof.

Memorable Quotes

[The opening credits, and the crew are speculating on the source of H.A.R.M.]
Mike: Oh, that stands for Huge Angular Red Marshmallows.
Crow: Hirsute Astronauts Revile Massachusetts
Servo: Heuristic Analog Rental Meat.
[Adam Chance karate-chops a piece of wood while a beautiful female student watches.]
Mike [as Adam]: Solid balsawood, baby!
. . .
[After tumbling with the woman and firing into a target, he shows her the deadly results.]
Adam: This could've been you, and don't you forget it! Better go back to the judo range.
Mike: The judo range?
. . .
Servo [as Adam]: Meet me at the karate rink later.
. . .
[Adam turns to his pupil as he leaves on a motorcycle.]
Adam: Judo range!
Crow [as Adam]: Then go practice your skeet kendo and bring your aikido rifle, too.
Mike [as Student]: Gotta get into my judo bikini.
Adam: You think you can't get hurt, Doctor, because this is America? Apple pie and all that jazz?
Crow: And hula hoops and dungarees?
Adam: Well, my job is to keep the apple pie on the table, and nobody asks me how I do it!
Mike [as Dr. Stefanik]: I'll just need an hour to figure out your metaphor.
[Mike returns to the theater after choking Bobo within an inch of his life.]
Crow: Mike, why were you choking the monkey?
Mike: Because Bobo is such... HEY!!
[After a lip-lock with Adam, Ava invites him for a moonlight swim.]
Ava : Are you coming, or do I swim alone?
Crow [as Adam]: Yes, and yes.
[Crow records a video-testimony for Mike's trial]
Crow: This thing on? Okay. Hi! I'm Crow T. Robot and I'm here to tell you that Mike Nelson is innocent. Mike Nelson is 200 % [bleep]ing not guilty. And if you [bleep]s don't[bleep] find him innocent, then you can just [bleep]ing kiss my fat [bleep]ing [bleep]. And that [bleep]ing goes for your bull[bleep] court system, too! Mike, I'm so [bleep]ing sorry I couldn't [bleep]ing be there for this [bleep]ing [bleep]y really bogus trial, man. But let me [bleep] tell ya something, Nelson. If I was there, I'd [bleep]ing kick everyone's fat stupid [bleep]ing behinds and then cram it up their [bleep]ing [bleep]. Anyway, Mike, buddy, I hope this [bleep] helps. Take care, Mike.
[As Ava is hurriedly packing her suitcase, Adam enters the room]
Mike: Here's the wind up....
[Adam smiles smugly to himself]
Mike: ...and there's the smarm!
Tom: He maintains an applicance. Duh-dah DA DAAAAAAAAA!
[Adam faces down an oncoming plane on his motorcycle.]
Mike [as Adam]: Stop! Or your propeller will grind me to hamburger!
Tom: Stop! Or I'll Agent for H.A.R.M. you!

Video releases

MST3K DVD Cover

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