Hello out there, my fellow lonely sad sacks. It’s Valentine’s Day, aka “Whatever, I don’t really care about that anyways” day for the single people among us. If you’re like me, you planned this magical day around eating cheap grocery store chocolate and drinking whiskey until you pass out on your couch.
Well at least now you can pretend that there are friends there with you to make that long, tired march that much less painful. Friends like Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot.
I’ve hand-picked these Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes for their bizarre love stories. These aren’t movies that simply have a romantic subplot. These are movies where the relationship between two characters is central to the main plot of the movie. Because this is MST3k, some of the “romance” might be insinuated by the heckling from the show hosts, but that doesn’t make it any less tawdry.
So grab that ironically heart-shaped pizza and settle in for some Mystery Science Theater 3000, courtesy of YouTube.
Diabolik: An Italian Super-thief steals a bunch of money for him and his girlfriend to roll around on while they make out
This was the last MST3k episode ever recorded, and they went out with a bang. A bang that occurred on, in, and under a massive pile of money.
Diabolik is a strange beast. It’s a movie where the protagonist is the villain, one of the earliest examples of the “Root for the bad guy” trope ever. It doesn’t seem like it belongs on this list, until you realize that the whole reason this guy steals millions of dollars and priceless jewels is to either give them to his girlfriend, or to use as a prop to liven up his sex life. Talk about setting unrealistic expectations.
The movie ends pretty spectacularly, after Diabolik somehow manages to single-handedly steal 20 tons of gold.
As an added bonus, Beastie Boys fans will recognize this movie as the inspiration for the video for Body Movin’:
Soultaker: The Grim Reaper mistakes a young girl’s ghost for his dead girlfriend
This one’s about unrequited love, for those of us who are trapped in a Purgatory called “The Friendzone.” It’s about a couple of awkward youngsters who get caught in a car crash (Seems to be a recurring theme) and have their souls violently separated from their bodies. Oh, and the scriptwriter plays the main character. Yaaaay.
Here’s where things get weird. The agent of Death who’s supposed to collect their souls decides that he’d rather disguise himself as the mother of the girl and watch her in the bath. Because the female lead of this movie looks like his girlfriend from back when he was alive. But it turns out that they can get back to their bodies, as long as they can get away from the slow-walking Angel of Death, who just wants to get back with his dead girlfriend.
Jack Frost: A 13-year old girl marries a Were-Bear
This movie is one of the most balls-out crazy things I’ve ever seen. It’s a Russian fairy tale about a guy with an improbable haircut trying to court a 13 year old girl with a wicked stepmother and a spineless 90 year old father.
Along the way, our hero Ivan meets a tiny mushroom man who turns him into a bear because he brags too much, and the girl Nastya meets Old Man Winter who accidentally puts her into a coma after abducting her from the forest. Oh, and there’s the “Hunchback Fairy” who lives in a cabin with Big Bird legs and sends her cat to kill Nastya because Ivan sticks her in an oven.
The main thrust of the movie is Ivan’s desperate attempts to reunite with Nastya so that they can get married, but that doesn’t begin to cover all of the crazy that happens in this movie. Some fairy tales weren’t explicitly meant to be filmed, and this is definitely one of them, but damned if they didn’t take a shot anyway.
Night of the Blood Beast: A man becomes impregnated with shrimp and just can’t say no to an Alien Parrot Monster
Plus: A gay angel facilitates two newlyweds’ boot-knocking with cocaine and show tunes
This is a 50’s B-movie (oh boy!) about an astronaut who returns to Earth in a flaming wreck and brings a little bit extra home with him. This is one of those movies where the romance had to be “helpfully insinuated” by Mike and the Bots.
You see, this astronaut has a strange connection to the monster who starts terrorizing the characters who are working at a NASA… Repeater station? Who knows. The connection turns out to be that he’s carrying the alien’s very shrimp-like spawn in his body.
Now, if you found out you’d been knocked up by a space alien, you’d probably feel a bit hurt and angry. Not this guy. Quite the opposite in fact. His “Encounter with the Unknown” seems to enamour him to the strange beast.
So when the monster comes crashing through their door like the Kool-Aid Man, the besotted astronaut rushes to the Blood Beast’s defense. It’s exactly as weird as it sounds.
Oh, and everyone is Steve. Don’t worry about it.
As an added bonus, this episode comes with “Once Upon a Honeymoon,” a short film where a guy who writes jingles for a living just wants to bang his wife but gets called into work instead. This doesn’t sit right with the Angels on “Cloud Nine” so they send Wilbur, their top (maybe bottom) guy, to get the husband’s, ahem, creative juices flowing. How does Wilbur do this, you ask? By applying copious amounts of Angel Dust, of course.
While her coke-addled husband is trying to write music, the wife is fantasizing about having a whole different house. She starts to hallucinate a better life while manically singing and dancing.
The Brain that Wouldn’t Die: A man keeps his wife alive as a severed head while he tries to find her a hotter body
What would you do for someone you loved? Care for them? Die for them? What if you accidentally ran your car off the road and got their head cut off? Would you take your wife’s severed head back to your secret laboratory and artificially sustain it using evil science?
If not, then clearly you’re not as romantic as this film’s male lead. All of the main characters in this movie are almost completely unsympathetic, from the creepy “Unethical Science Guy” who goes out on the town to kidnap a new body for his decapitated wife, to his Igor-like henchman, who goes along with the whole thing.
The eponymous Brain doesn’t do much to help the situation. As it turns out, being reduced to a head propped up on a baking sheet doesn’t exactly do wonders for your sanity. She spends the whole movie taunting the leg-havers and making friends with the bizarre monster hiding in the basement, which causes a lot of damage for her by the end of the movie.
Girl in Gold Boots: A go-go dancer gets caught in a love triangle between a folk singer and a teleporting drug dealer
This was one of those movies that was determined to expose the “dark underbelly” of things that people considered immoral back in those days. In this case, it helped to enlighten us to the dangers of Go-Go Dancing.
The romance in this movie centers around a waitress who dreams of being the world’s most famous Go-Go Dancer. She quits her job working as a waitress for her alcoholic father to follow a random guy who claims that his sister is a big deal in the Go-Go Dancing community. Along the way the two pick up a guitar-strumming, folk singing hitchhiker named, wait for it, “Critter.” This leads to one of the greatest editing mistakes in any movie ever.
Critter winds up struggling with the teleporting drug dealer for the girl’s heart, and in doing so, somehow ends up taking part in criminal activity at the behest of the nightclub’s manager. All along the way there’s painful musical numbers and haphazard “Heists” and it all culminates in a hilariously inept fight scene. Sound like a good time? You know it.