#45. The Blood Waters of Dr. Z
45. The Blood
Waters of Dr. Z (1972) - Season 10, episode 1005
"Did I just hear a fish strangling a guy?"
A Nazi scientist wants revenge on the world he feels has wronged
him. So he creates a race of mutant fish-men to terrorize
The infamous opening scene where the narrator waxes poetically about
and their fish lives. Because closeup shots of a fish butt
exactly how you want to open your movie.
"Please enjoy a fish anus."
My favorite riff:
There's a hilarious sequence about ten minutes into the film,
where the mad scientist is setting up one of his experiments. He's doing
all these safety checks, and strapping himself into all these weird harnesses. And Mike and the Bots
reel off the best string of masturbation jokes I have ever seen on this show. It's incredible.
"Hmm, I think I've got everything. Oh wait. Nipple
clamps. That's it."
"Should I perform horrible experiments? Or count my
"I need to simplify my masturbation ritual."
Blood Waters of Dr. Z is one of my favorite types of MST3k episodes -
It's a weird little regional horror movie that some guy made because he
wanted to inject some money into his local film industry. In
case, the particular city he wanted to highlight was Jacksonville,
horror movies are one of those things that are going to show up a
number of times on my favorite episodes countdown. And the reason why
even though they're incredibly low budget, and even though they are
almost always stupid and goofy, at the same
time they have a strange way of actually being kind of charming. And
better yet, they were NEVER big Hollywood movies. These weren't real
movies, that starred real actors, that were made by filmmakers who
actually knew what they were doing. These were just regional
productions that were thrown together by a bunch of locals. Who just
wanted to do something interesting for their local filmmaking
community. Based on whatever materials and budget and talent they just
had sitting around. And that's why I will never be that harsh when
I'm talking about a movie like this. And of course, The Blood
Waters of Doctor Z is a PERFECT example of a movie that fits all of
these criteria. It's basically just a bunch of locals who are running
like this are never
good, but it's clear that somebody actually BELIEVED in them at some
point. And to me that just makes them all sort of charming.
Cheap, of course. And shitty. But also charming.
Oh shit, Florida Man turned into a lilypad.
And of course,
it would be irresponsible for me to not point out that Blood
Dr. Z (under its original title, "Zaat") was actually pretty well
known, long before
Mystery Science Theater ever got their hands on it. As
was often considered one of the worst movies ever made. And again, this
was long before it
was ever riffed by Mike and the Bots. Zaat was a well known shitty
movie going back to the early 70s. Elvira even featured it
her TV show that made fun of shitty movies way back in the mid 80s. And
when Elvira is taking digs at your movie, you know that it's bad.
other words, unlike Manos and The Final Sacrifice and Red Zone
Cuba and some of the other obscure movies that MST3k has shone a
spotlight on over the years, Zaat was never that obscure. This
wasn't just some rando movie that the guys at Best Brains pulled out of
a discount bin, this was long considered one of the best known, most
terrible movies that had ever been made. In fact, I read somewhere
that, to this day, they STILL hold yearly screenings of Zaat down in
Florida, where people who love it can
go and watch it on a big screen and make fun of it like it's Tommy
Wiseau's The Room.
As for me personally? I
happen to think that Blood Waters of Dr. Z is an awesome episode. And
I'm always surprised to find that most MST3k fans don't tend to agree with
me. For some reason Blood Waters never shows up
favorite MST3k episodes list. EVER. And I don't know why. It's
funny. In fact, in my opinion, it's basically a much funnier and much more watchable
version of Manos. Because again, people already loved it, and already
mocked it, and already made fun of it long before Mystery Science
Theater got their mitts on it. Zaat was really Manos before there was ever a
"It's also got playful teen beach movie font!"
Other personal favorite things
about this episode: I will forever love that
dumb little car that the scientist drives at the end. I mean,
seriously Zaat, what the hell? It's like they specifically put that car into the
just so MST3k would be able to riff on it twenty five years later. I see no other reason why it's there.
"I gotta get back to Camp Snoopy and connect this to the ride."
The Blood Waters of Dr. Z (aka "Zaat") has had a rocky legal history over the years, and for a long
time it was nearly impossible to find a copy of it on DVD. According to Wikipedia, here's
television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured Zaat in a
season 10 episode under the title Blood Waters of Dr. Z. The
episode, which originally aired May 2, 1999, mocked the film's
low-budget effects and general tepidity. Director Don Barton was
reportedly annoyed with MST3K for mocking his movie, but later
clarified that the only reason he was annoyed was because Syfy (then
known as the Sci-Fi Channel) had failed to secure the proper rights to
the film. Barton issued a cease and desist and a lawsuit, so Syfy
pulled the episode. And they only reran it twice two years later, when they
had cleared the issue with Barton out of court.
Factory eventually released the MST3K episode on DVD, along with three
others, on March 16, 2010 as part of Mystery Science Theater 3000 -
Volume XVII, after managing to properly secure the rights.
So Blood Waters of Dr. Z (aka Zaat) is now finally available to
Here's the film's original poster - from back in 1972