Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 10, Episode 12

The Screaming Skull (29 Aug. 1998)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Comedy, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 5 critic

A vengeful skull comes back from the dead and the bots are scarred for life when Gumby abuses his robot slaves.



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Episode credited cast:
Mary Jo Pehl ...
Bill Corbett ...
Patrick Brantseg ...
Delivery Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barb Tebben ...
Friendly Phone Representative (voice)


A Gumby short depicts our happy-go-lucky yet obliviously cruel hero using toy robots to do his chores, but then he has to put them down when they rebel against their clay overlords. Meanwhile, the movie features a widower and his new bride being haunted by the vengeful skull of the widower's dead wife and its gardener servant. Outside of the theatre, Tom reveal's he's a beautiful butterfly that only blends in with himself, though a series of industrial accidents reverts him back to his original form (though he still has his proboscis). Meanwhile, down in Castle Forrester, Pearl and her minions play a confusing and expensive prank on Mike and the bots using penguin costumes and a non-existent appointment, a prank which the SOL crew fails to fall for twice in one day. The Gumby short has a serious negative effect on Crow and Tom, who try dealing with their pain by creating their own scale model clay based robot massacre. Later, Crow and Tom try to scam a free coffin from American ... Written by Titus Yorick

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Comedy | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

29 August 1998 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This was the last episode of MST3K to be shown in reruns. See more »


Crow: Remember, if you die of boredom, you don't get a free coffin.
See more »


References Welcome Back, Kotter (1975) See more »


Tevye's Dream
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Performed by Kevin Murphy
See more »

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User Reviews

Riffing is morbid and insensitive...
15 March 2015 | by (Sequim, WA) – See all my reviews

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love MST3K in general, but this episode goes way too far in its riffing on death, mental illness, and 'special people' (Mickey, the caretaker, here). Yes, I'm sounding like a P.C. advocate which I'm not, by the way, but there are some subjects that are painful or even traumatic to some. This episode should have come with an 'honest disclaimer' (not a humorous one, like "South Park" does) stating that 'some material may be considered offensive and insensitive to some viewers', or something to the effect. There can be a fine line between humor and tragedy, and it was crossed in this episode.

The mentally disturbed woman and handicapped man in the episode are targets of Mike and the 'bots 'humorous' comments, and it really comes across as abusive and mocking rather than funny, at times. Of course, some riffing is on target, as usual, such as those aimed at the suspect husband and the clergyman.

Alex Nicol, as Mickey, is nothing short of remarkable in the role of the mentally-challenged gardener/caretaker. It is a sensitive and realistic portrayal, yet he is riffed unmercifully, nonetheless. This is where the motivation to compose this review first emerged. Having mental illness run in my family and being personally-afflicted with bipolar disorder, a misunderstood and disabling mood disorder, made it necessary. Poking fun at such things just contributes to the ignorance that already persists. A 'shame on you, Best Brains', for picking this film as the subject of your 'humor'. For once, I'm not laughing (as much).

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