Riffraff: Eegah (1962)

Eegah 5

Here it is! One of the all-time worst movies (it makes just about every list there is on the subject), but also one of the all-time best episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is also one of our favorites from a television series we love. That is likely because the riffs are amazing and the movie is just beyond awful. When I riffed the Arch Hall Jr. film Wild Guitar (1962), I stated that Eegah made it look good in comparison. Still, this is probably one of those “so bad it’s good” type of movies as it is enjoyable and watchable in its terribleness. The plot is about a caveman that is still alive… and there you are automatically tipped off about just how bad this piece of garbage is.

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The movie stars Richard Kiel as the title monster caveman. He has a King Kong-like obsession with a modern girl named Roxy (played by Marilyn Manning). She is, however, already seeing a modern boy named Tom (played by Arch Hall Jr.). Honestly, a great deal of why this episode is great is just how much of a dweeb Hall Jr. is and all the riffs thrown his way by Joel and the bots. They make him whinier than he already is and constantly talk about how physically unattractive he is. They aren’t wrong (and from what I’ve heard, Arch Hall Jr. was a pretty great sport about it). Roxy’s father (confusingly played by Arch Hall Sr. who also directed and wrote this crap) is eager to find the mysterious prehistoric giant that is on a rampage in the town. He comes across him but he ends up going missing when he makes his discovery leading Roxy and Tom to take things in their own hands to save the older man. They are incompetent, however, and Roxy ends up joining her wounded father in Eegah’s cave while Hall Jr. wanders around aimlessly trying to find them.

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The scenes in Eegah’s cave are the worst moments of the film. Roxy’s father tries to push her to seduce Eegah for escape purposes, there is a disgusting shaving scene, and Eegah thinks his skeletal family members are still alive. They end up escaping and decide to move on from the situation, but Eegah goes on another rampage at a party our main characters attend. Obviously, it doesn’t end well for Eegah thanks to a conveniently placed pool. Also, you might notice the plotting and situation is very similar to King Kong (1933) which is as great as this movie is awful. King Kong is so iconic it is always a bad idea to rip it off as it is always painfully obvious and never as good. Well, King Kong didn’t have crappy musical numbers occasionally thrown-in like this one does. Arch Hall Jr. does sing his “classic” song “Vicky” to a girl not named Vicky, so there’s that.

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Joel and the bots are on fire in this episode. The attacks on Arch Hall Jr. include Joel saying in a wimpy squeaky voice “Sorry about my face!” Every time the scene cuts to Hall Jr. desperately searching for Roxy and her father trapped in Eegah’s cave, the cast often exclaims “Roxy! *wimpy crying sound*” Every single one of these jabs are gut-bustingly funny. There’s even a great host segment where Crow and Tom Servo try to make Joel look like Arch Hall Jr. which requires making his skin pasty and adjusting his facial positions. They also make many good jokes about Eegah usually having him speak in third-person (although Eegah is a protagonist that speaks in grunts). Roxy and her father’s relationship with the caveman also leads the way to ridicule from Joel and the bots.

Eegah

This movie is probably already funny on its own, but add riffs to the mix and it becomes irresistible. It is an all-around bad movie but it is amazingly bad. I mean the plot is incredibly stupid, the characters are not interesting yet interesting in their blandness, and the acting is horrendously watchable. Arch Hall Jr. looks highly off-putting and Manning is nothing special. It may be worth riffing on its own, but it would be near impossible to top what the MST3K crew does with it. It is an episode worth watching and re-watching because you’ll probably be laughing so hard the first time you see it, you’ll miss a few priceless jokes. Also, “watch out for snakes!”

~Virginia

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