“Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” brings laughs to local Theaters

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Science fiction fans seeking a laugh are in luck, as “Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” hits theaters in Oxford, Walled Lake and other Michigan and national locations at 8 p.m. Aug. 15.

Comedians Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett are the men behind Rifftrax. The group creates comedic commentary to play over or be performed live during with films, the next being 1997 TriStar and Touchstone Pictures alien-bug movie, “Starship Troopers.”

Photo Courtesy of Fathom Events
Photo Courtesy of Fathom Events

“Expect a lot of dead bugs, of course, but also, it should just be a really fun show,” said Nelson, Rifftrax creator and former “Mystery Science Theater 3000” host. “(We have) always done public domain movies we love. But to do a blockbuster sort of excites us all and excites the crowd.”

Rifftrax started in 2009, and was based on the comedians’ original series “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” affectionately known by fans as “MST3K.”

FYI: “Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” plays at 8 p.m. Aug. 15 in the Goodrich Oxford 7, 48 Washington St. in Oxford, and Regal Commerce Township 14, at 3033 Spring Vale Road, Walled Lake. Tickets are available at www.fathomevents.com. For more information about Rifftrax, or other theater locations, visit www.rifftrax.com.

MST3K was a show about a man and his robots held hostage by mad scientists, and forced to watch bad B-movies. To amuse themselves, they added their own dialogue, talking over the films. The show aired on Comedy Central and later the Sci-Fi Channel.

“Starship Troopers,” a big, loud propaganda movie, was a popular request from fans, with a portion of it incorporated into MST3K, Nelson said.

A Kickstarter campaign helped them get the funds needed to pick up a big-budget movie, and after going to Sony about licensing, they were approved to give “Starship Troopers” the Rifftrax treatment.

Behind the scenes on Rifftrax, the three work to come up with plotlines and figure out which direction to take the films comically. Nelson said the fun part is bringing their ideas together and getting an audience response.

Whether the group is doing live shows onstage for more than 600 theaters, or creating MP3 recordings for fans to play along with the movies at home, Nelson said the group’s goal is to help the audience have a good time.

The hope is to have the audience “laughing for two hours straight,” Nelson said.

“It should be a lot of fun. If you’ve never tried out a Rifftrax, this is the perfect time to check us out.”

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