#44. Teen-Age Strangler
Strangler (1964) - Season 5, episode 514
"And he didn't steal no bike, neither!"
A small town in West Virginia is terrorized by a killer that has been murdering teenagers. Only the local teen gang can
solve the crime.
One word: Mikey
Mikey. Seen here, leading up to the wedgie.
My favorite riff:
I know this is mean, but the best riff in the movie is pretty
much any time they take digs at poor
Mikey. And they do it a LOT. It would be impossible to pick
out one favorite Mikey riff, because there are just so many
"The Amish kids beat me up again!"
"Oh, it's a note... (reading)... Please knee
this kid in the groin."
Hey look, another dirt-cheap regional horror movie!
This one is
set in West Virginia, And, well, it's not really a horror movie, as much
as it is a bunch of locals starring in a teen movie about juvenile
delinquency. But hey, it's still a lot of fun. And it was
one of the most popular episodes of the early Mike era. And
course most of that is because of the character Mikey, who was
memorably (and sadly) played by local West Virginian... and first-time child actor...
Mikey (center), in between beatings
funny, I've watched Teen-Age Strangler more than ten times at this
point. And if you asked
me what happens in the movie I honestly have no idea. I
remember that there's a dance scene at some point, And then some people
strangled. And then it's really just a bunch of filler scenes to
time until Mikey shows up again, and then Mike and the Bots
can start ripping him a new asshole. That's honestly the entire
point of the movie. And then basically just rinse and repeat.
"I think they found Waldo."
Not surprisingly, this
was the only movie that John Humphries (Mikey) ever starred in. Which makes
sense, when you realize it was clear he A) had no idea what the hell he was doing, and B) he was
not actually a trained actor. But I have to give the guy credit for trying, at least.
though the MST3k guys absolutely murder him in this episode, he was a
good sport about it afterwards, and he never actually held any grudge. In fact, he even embraced his fame as Mikey the
walking dweeb after the episode came out. John Humphries was a featured
at the very first MST ConventioCon, held back in 1994.
the inherent goofiness of this movie (and because Mikey himself
showed up at the very first fan convention), Teenage Strangler has always
been one of the most popular Mike episodes. And I definitely say it deserves it. This episode is hilarious.
"Uh.... is he giving birth?"
"Oh god. He's at ten!"
"Push, Jimmy, push! Come on!"
Other personal favorite things
about this episode: You
know, it wouldn't be a proper teen movie from the 60s, without an attempt to market a
new dance song smack dab in the middle of it. Hence the scene where
(from Mary and Jack) stands on the counter at the local teen deli, and she
sings "Yipe Stripe!"
And yes, I think we all
remember where we were when Yipe Stripe! knocked the Beatles off the
charts back in 1964, and it immediately rocketed right to the top of the charts.
Oh wait, it didn't? Well fuck me.
Well then I guess you'll only know this song from the movie.
They don't all become winners, you know.
"Stop singing! You're standing in my biscuits and gravy!"
Teen-Age Strangler was originally released in 1964 as "Terror
the Night." It was largely ignored during its initial run,
after MST3k revitalized interest in it, it was finally given
"proper" premiere in Huntington, West
Virginia thirty years later, in
1994. The premiere turned out to be a big hit, and was attended by several surviving cast and crew
members. Nowadays the movie actually has a pretty fair cult following.
Oh, and then, finally... there's this:
Humphries had never acted before doing this film. He has
said that he took his acting cues from Jo Canterbury (his co-star) who
he knew had some Off-Broadway acting experience. So as her performance
became more teary and shrill in the movie, so did his.
Mikey overacting. As usual.