Movie Review: RiffTrax Live takes a bite out of “Night of the Living Dead”


Vincent Schultz, Asst. A&E Editor

Oct. 24, for a one-night only event, the comedians behind “Mystery Science Theater 3000” gathered to present audiences with a satirical commentary of the classic horror film “Night of the Living Dead.” The RiffTrax Live team host events where audiences watch classic films while the group make humorous commentary, or “riffs”, about what is occurring on screen. The event was held the event at the Belcourt Theater, Nashville Tennessee, where it was live streamed to theaters across the country.The hit TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” or MST3K, ran from 1988 to 1999, producing 197 episodes and a feature-length film dedicated to mocking bad movies. The program mainly featured comedians Mike J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy,and Bill Corbett. After the show’s cancellation, the trio established RiffTrax online, where fans could purchase digital downloads of new and old commentaries, in 2006. Without the rights to riff more modern films, the site instead began providing mp3 commentaries that sync with DVD copies of popular films.The site garnered such popularity that for the past several years, the team has been sponsored through Fathom Events and IGN to bring live RiffTrax performances in theaters across the nation. With both Cinemark and Regal Cinemas featuring the event, those who live locally had the opportunity to attend the show and witness a live performance of a typical RiffTrax event.

Rather than traditional film trailers before the feature, instead a series of ironic and satirical comments, quotes, and trivia were displayed across the screen, accompanied by classic Halloween-themed songs like “Monster Mash.” Once the event began, audiences were introduced to the three stars Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett who shuffled like zombies on to the Belcourt theaters stage, where they each introduced themselves. “Well greetings to you all here in Nashville and across the country who are watching us right now live,” Murphy, voice of Tom Servo from MST3K, said. Nelson added, “We have some top-notch riffing tonight…”

Before the actual film began, the group took part in a RiffTrax tradition titled “Norman Krasner.” “For those who have not seen previous RiffTrax Live shows,” Nelson explained, “the Norman shorts are very puzzling to us…We don’t know who made them, but we know he is a miserable man.” The Norman Krasner episodes are short-length riff commentaries which feature a man with terrible luck.

After the Norman Krasner shorts were completed, the film “Night of the Living Dead” began.  For the next 90 minutes, the theater was filled with hilarious remarks and comments accompanied with non-stop laughter from the audience. Every ridiculous scene,plot-hole, or mistake was noted, giving each comedian plenty of material to ridicule.

RiffTraxLive will hold their next event at Dec. 5, featuring the film “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” The event will again be held at Cinemark and Regal Cinemas. Tickets can be purchased through Fathom Events at

For more information or to purchase RiffTrax merchandise, visit