Joe Dante‘s love for 1950s B-pictures cannot be understated. When he’s not making a straight-up homage to the one true Great American Showman, William Castle (Dante’s film “Matinee” is a fictionized version of Castle’s heyday), his films often contain references to some of his favorite sci-fi movies of yore. Recall the scene in “Gremlins” wherein the Time Machine from George Pal’s 1960 film adaptation makes an appearance. Or actor Kevin McCarthy reprising his role from 1956’s “Invasion of The Body Snatchers” in Dante’s “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.”
On the special features of the 2013 Blu-ray re-issue of “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie,” Dante was interviewed to comment on the show’s legacy, and the general history of sci-fi B-movies. In that interview, Dante revealed how annoyed he was that “MST3K” decided to brand “This Island Earth” as a “cheesy movie.” The show, after all, was known for riffing on bad movies, not good ones, and “This Island Earth” was a far cry from dregs like “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” “Monster A-Go-Go,” or “Eegah.” Dante wanted to defend “This Island Earth’s” quality and reputation, pointing out that it is certainly on par with Pal’s 1953 version of “The War of the Worlds.”
Additionally, Dante points out, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” didn’t give “This Island Earth” a fair shake. The original film is 86 minutes long, and “MST3K: The Movie” was, even with introductions, credits, and host segments, was only 74 minutes in total. Overall, about 30 minutes of the original film were cut, giving any “This Island Earth” neophytes a bad impression of the total movie’s tone and pacing.