It’s time once again for fans of merciless mockery of mediocre movies to put their money where their mouths are: The Crappening is upon us. That’s what RiffTrax’s Mike Nelson is calling this year’s Kickstarter to fund the company’s annual slate of simulcast live shows. This time, Nelson and his Mystery Science Theater 3000 co-stars Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy are taking on one of the white whales of inexplicably bad movie making, a Manos for the modern era: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. They’ll also be taking aim at Sharknado 2, cult favorite Miami Connection, and 1972’s Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny, the latest in the company’s ongoing obsession with mocking bad Santa movies. (Ironically, no RiffTrax is available for Bad Santa.)
Donations to the Kickstarter will go toward licensing the films for theatrical release, as well as improved production values for the shows, which will be filmed in Nashville and broadcast live around the U.S. The rewards on offer are about what you’d expect from a Kickstarter like this, from a mention on a “Thank You” page on the RiffTrax web site, up to the opportunity to write a line for Nelson and his cohorts to deliver onstage or an invitation to a private meet and greet at the $1,500 level. (Those are going fast, so if you’ve ever dreamed of awkwardly quoting Mystery Science Theater 3000 lines with other obsessed fans in front of the guys who wrote them—instead of from the safety of your local comic shop—you’d best move quickly.) While RiffTrax isn’t offering tickets to the shows as backer rewards, due to the complexities of working out deals with the various theaters carrying the simulcast, they are offering downloads of some of the shows when they become digitally available.
The cold-hearted and the cruel might point out that lampooning an intentionally campy movie like Sharknado 2, or one which has already been mocked to death, like The Room, is beneath the team’s considerable talents. Others might take a moment to reflect on just how weird a business model begging for annual donations to license the theatrical rights to talk over someone else’s movie really is. Such people are free to wave dourly as the giant boat of prolonged goodwill Nelson and company built by making one of the best shows ever to grace a TV set sails gaily by on a river of crowdfunding money. As with the previous fundraisers, the Kickstarter has already bypassed its $75,000 goal in one day, and shows no sign of stopping.