#20 Danger!! Death Ray

20. Danger!! Death Ray (1967) - Season 6, episode 620
"Danger!! Small talk!"

Plot:  A scientist invents a peaceful death ray, and what do you know. A bad guy steals it and uses the death ray for evil.
Famous for:  The
famous "Bapa dapa dada!" theme song that will be repeated ENDLESSLY throughout the course of movie. And all the shots of plastic children's toys that are meant to stand in for big budget action scenes. Oh, and also... that ending with the watch. THAT ENDING WITH THE WATCH!

"If Michael Caine and Andre the Giant had a child."

My favorite riff:  There are few MST3k running jokes that are funnier than all the toys that show up in Danger!! Death Ray, and are meant to stand in for actual vehicles.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, imagine a scene where an international super villain is supposed to be on a submarine in the middle of the ocean. Only when the director pulls back and he shows it, it is clearly just a toy floating around in somebody's bathtub. In fact, it's so OBVIOUSLY a toy that Mike and the Bots can't hide their glee at how ridiculous it looks.

"Ah, the ocean's beautiful in this part of the tub."

"He's coming up for more baking soda!"

Now, that would be funny enough just on its own.

But now... imagine a little toy helicopter coming in to make a dramatic landing on top of the toy submarine. And remember, we're somehow supposed to believe these aren't just two little plastic toys.

We're supposed to believe this is some big multi million dollar action scene taking place in front of us.

"Honest to goodness real, not toy, helicopter."

"Special effects by Billy!"

The toy submarine/helicopter scene is one of my absolute favorite moments in MST3k history. And I should point out that IT ISN'T EVEN THE ONLY TOY VEHICLE SCENE IN THE MOVIE!

There are at least two other scenes in Danger!! Death Ray where the director tries to pass off a child's toy as a big action sequence. Including THIS one towards the end of the movie, where an obvious plastic car goes flying off a cliff, into the ocean.

Crow responds with...

"Some little boy is going to be very upset."

Comments:  Whenever people ask me to name my favorite MST3k episode, I always pick the same one. I always say... um... well... we'll get to that movie (The Puma Man) when we get there at the end.

And when people ask me to name the most underrated MST3k episode, aka a really good one that no one ever talks about, I always say it is either one of three movies. I always say the most underrated episode is either The Painted Hills, The Leech Woman, or this one, Danger!! Death Ray.  

And yes, it really is punctuated like that.

Yes, you're going to hell if you forget those two exclamation points.

"Danger!! Beer gut."

Danger!! Death Ray is the story of a secret agent named Bart Fargo. Who has to find and recover a death ray before it is used for nefarious purposes. And that's really all I have to say about it. It's the story of a "death ray" that was intended to be used for good, but now everyone is shocked that it might actually be used to cause death.

Scientist: The power of disintegration of this ray is a lot greater than a laser beam.
Crow:  So I haven't just invented that again.

That's really all I'm going to say about the plot of this movie. Other than to say that it's hilarious for ninety straight minutes, and the riffing is OUTSTANDING. In fact, in my opinion, the riffing in D!!DR is some of the best that they've ever had on the show. And I have never understood why this isn't universally considered one of the all-time greatest MST3k episodes.

I mean, come on, it's about a peaceful death ray that is mistakenly being used to cause death! If that isn't set up for a MST3k episode, I don't know what is!

"Drink me in, folks."

"I should like to be in a barbershop quartet."

"Wardrobe! More pants, please!"

There are two things that stand out to me when I think about this episode. I mean, even besides the toy vehicles. And the "peaceful death ray." And the dumb little "baba dapa" theme song.  
The first thing to stands out to me is the fact that one of the hitmen in the movie has a stupid little Abraham Lincoln beard. So of course Mike and the Bots go crazy making fun of him every single time he appears on screen. Some of the Lincoln riffs they come up with are incredible.

"Ahhhh, I've got a rail-splitting headache."

"I want Jefferson Davis DEAD! I want his children DEAD!"

"I'm going to shun him."

The second thing I think about, of course, is the ending. Which has got to be the most ridiculous ending that I have ever seen in a movie (either MST3k or otherwise). Seriously, this is one of those things that is so stupid that it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to describe in print. You pretty much just have to see it for yourself.  

But you know, I'm a trooper. I'm going to try my best to explain the ending to you, anyway.

Imagine a scene where a guy throws a wristwatch out the window of a hotel, and it falls down ten floors, and then it lands in a swimming pool. Only right before it lands in the pool, there's an insert shot of the director's hand, LITERALLY HOLDING A WATCH AND THEN DROPPING IT INTO A POOL.

The director dropping the watch into the pool

I have no idea why the director or the editor left that hand in the movie, but there it is. Popping up out of nowhere. And completely ruining the ending. It's so stupid.

It's SO bad, in fact, that Mike and the Bots can't even come up with a riff for it. They just see the director holding the watch, and they're like, what the hell? And then the movie just ends. It's one of the few times in MST3k history where all three of them are stunned speechless, because what they're seeing on screen is so dumb.

And again, THIS IS LITERALLY THE LAST THING WE SEE IN THE MOVIE! That hand is the ending!

Danger!! IMDB goof

Other personal favorite things about this episode:  Here's one of those jokes that shows up a LOT during the Mike era, and it has always been one of my favorites.  

Whenever a scientist is giving a long, boring lecture about how science works (which happens a lot in MST3k movies, not surprisingly), Mike will pretend to be the bored audience, heckling him. He does it towards the start of this movie, and this is the kind of thing that is always going to get a laugh out of me.

Jokes like this are why I love the Mike era so much.

Science guy: As you are quite aware, the features of laser physics are three-fold, and they are thus.

Mike (as the crowd): "Come on, death ray something!"

Mike (as the crowd): "You're not funny!"

Trivia:  I don't think I've ever seen another episode where Mike and the Bots just start giggling at something that's happening on screen, as often as they do in this one. Seriously, I just watched Danger!! Death Ray again last night, and I counted at least TEN different times where something goofy happens on screen, and they don't even have a riff for it. They just start giggling. And when the movie is making THEM laugh, you know it's a fun one.  

Danger!! Death Ray is just a solid A+ episode all around.  I'm amazed it isn't more popular with people.

"Too bad they can't just shoot through the bars."

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