RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy on Sharknado, Harry Potter, and Night of the Living Dead Live
In August, Miami was a treated to a live event featuring Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums (now under the RiffTrax brand) riffing over Starship Troopers. This month, the RiffTraxers take on the classic Night of the Living Dead in another live event simulcast to theaters nationwide, including select theaters in Miami, this Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Wikipedia Just in time for Halloween!
We had a chance to chat with RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy, known to many as MST3K's gumball machine robot Tom Servo, about this Thursday's event, the scourge of the deadly Sharknado, and what makes a good target.
New Times:We had the chance to check out RiffTrax lampooning Starship Troopers in August. Now you're doing Night of the Living Dead!
Kevin Murphy: Yes. That's another movie people consider a classic. It was the first of its kind, and it preceded most zombie movies and certainly preceded horror verité movies (like Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity). It's so of the time, and it's low budget---and, you know, the acting isn't that great. I think we'll have some fun with it.
For those not familiar with the live version of RiffTrax, is it all scripted out, or are there some improv moments going on?
We do script out the entire show and rehearse it several times until we have it down where we're very confident of the jokes we're doing. And then of course, we get there, and we can't predict it. One joke is going to kill the audience, and when that happens, and there's a huge explosion of laughter in the theater, then that sort of--you have to let that next joke go. It is a live show, so, truly, anything can happen.
What makes a RiffTrax live event unique versus just syncing up to Night of the Living Dead at home?
Seeing it live in a crowd of people just amps up the fun of the whole thing for us, because we get to see the reaction. It's fun to hear the audience. Just getting a bunch of people together in a crowd to watch that goofy movie and tell jokes about it, I think it's sort of infectious, and I think people in the audience have that much more fun with it.
Looking at the list of RiffTrax movies, it's interesting to see that you not only take on movies that are...classically bad, but you also lampoon movies that are actually pretty good! How does that work?
It was sort of a challenge to us. We've taken on movies like the Lord of the Rings series, and even Casablanca, which was really fun! When we do a film like Casablanca, it ends up being more like a roast. We're sort of having fun with the movie instead of making fun of the film. It's one of those movies like Night of the Living Dead, where it's strictly of its time. It's fun to poke a little fun at things like that.