The Last Dance – Raw Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1999)

MST3K Raw is strictly for hardcore fans of the Mystery Science Theater show. It’s a series of raw clips and behind the scenes footage of the entire crew of the show filming the final episode in which Mike and his friends are accidentally sent back to Earth. As one final bit of pain, Pearl makes the guys watch “Diabolik.” I remember watching this last episode on the Sci-Fi Channel, and still wonder why the show had to come to a close. It was fine the way it was.

Nevertheless, “Raw” is strictly for folks who want to get a fly on the wall view of what working on the show as like. Jim Mallon walks through every crevice of the set looking at elements of the production, and has some fun. There’s no interviews, or formal narration, it’s really just home videos. The fact that it became a documentary was accidental and Mallon usually films his friends and crew members without their knowledge as he insists on filming every single moment on the filming of the final episode, no matter how dull it may seem to the outside observer. We MST3Kers know how special it is, though.

It was made available only to subscribes of the MST3K Info Club (I subscribed at one time, I’m proud to admit) on VHS and is only available through used copies online or on Youtube. It’s only a little over an hour, and shows the crew going hard to work on finishing the final episode of the series. There’s a lot of sadness present, but there’s also a lot of laughs. We also get to know some interesting tidbits. Kevin Murphy painted his bottom teeth whenever he played Bobo, and the crew loved to have a cold cut buffet during lunch.

You get a look at duplicate Servo and Crows, and Kevin Murphy trying to fix Servo during one instance as the robot begins to break down in its puppetry. “Raw” is a treat for fans of the show that wanted as much of the Sattelite of Love as possible, and I had such a good time being the voyeur as the group joked around, teased one another, and delivered the best damn series finale they possibly could. The Sci-Fi Channel may have cancelled the show, but the world has yet to stop talking about Mike, Servo, Crow, and Joel.