Experiment K11: Humanoid Woman

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: The Mads are caught using 3D glasses on a cardboard cut-out of Elvira. They’re also upset that Joel’s ratings actually went up against the Super Bowl. When Joel mentions that they had previously been upset when the ratings were low, Dr. Forrester points out that they’re mad, after all, so what should he expect? Joel and the Bots later play a game of tag that continues even into the theater, leading Joel to declare the theater a “free zone”. Later, Tom Servo meets the girl of his dreams. But just as he’s chatting her up, Joel comes along and drinks juice out of her head. Servo is, naturally, very upset, but gets over it once he learns she’s a blender. At the next break, a tribute to Salvador Dali sees the Satellite of Love overrun by surrealism. After a brief discussion of the Village People, Joel asks Crow what he’ll be up to in the coming week. He doesn’t seem to have much going on. Joel asks that callers not tell them what kind of movies to show, since they can’t control them, anyway. A “Dating Game Kiss” brings an end to the proceedings.

Humanoid Woman Story: A spaceship comes upon a derelict that seems to be the remains of a cloning operation. The ship is lifeless, save for one female survivor. She is taken to the home of a leading researcher, Sergei Lebedev, to determine whether she is a danger or not. Although she has amnesia, she identifies herself as Niya and has memories of her home planet. She finds herself being drawn to Lebedev’s son, Stepan. Encouraged by Lebedev’s associate, Nadezhda Ivanova, Niya begins to have flashbacks to her past, including memories of her “father”, Glan. When representatives of the planet Dessa visit Earth, Niya realizes she is from that planet. She stows away onboard the Astra, a ship traveling to Dessa with the mission to help revitalize the planet. Also on board are Dr. Ivanova, Stepan, and Rakan, the Ambassador from Dessa, who was a friend of Glan’s. They eventually arrive on Dessa to find it virtually lifeless. The only inhabitants occupy underground tunnels and shun the deadly surface of the planet. The Earthlings begin their mission and successfully create an oxygen atmosphere. Turanchoks, a would-be dictator who is using Rakan to further his own ends, attempts to ruin the revitalization plans by poisoning the water and fomenting unrest. He is also able to control Niya through the machinery Glan left behind. When Rakan refuses to continue helping with Turanchoks’ plans, he is stabbed. Near death, Rakan unleashes an amoeba-like creature to destroy those who had betrayed him. Meanwhile, Turanchoks uses his control over Niya to send her to the Astra to destroy it. The attempt is thwarted and Dr. Ivanova is killed during an attempt on Niya’s life. The shock of Ivanova’s death allows Niya to break the mind control that has plagued her. The creature let loose by Rakan, meanwhile, kills Turanchoks and begins to spread over the planet surface. Niya, with the help of the remaining crew, is able to control the creature and its dispersal helps the planet return to life. Despite pleas from Stepan to return to Earth with him, Niya stays behind to help with her planet’s rebirth.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Humanoid Woman written by Kir Bulychyov & Richard Viktorov (as Kir Brown & Richard Victor)
Humanoid Woman directed by Richard Viktorov (as Richard Victor)
Humanoid Woman music by Aleksei Rybnikov

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Humanoid Woman Cast: Yelena Metyolkina (Niya), Vadim Ledogorov (Stepan Lebedev), Uldis Lieldidz (Sergei Lebedev), Yelena Fadeyeva (Maria Pavlovna), Vatslav Dvorzhetsky (Petr Petrovich), Nadezhda Semyontsova (Nadezhda Ivanova), Aleksandr Lazarev (Klimov), Aleksandr Mikhajlov (Dreier), Boris Shcherbakov (Kolotin), Igor Ledogorov (Rakan), Igor Yasulovich (Torki), Gleb Strizhenov (Glan), Vladimir Fyodorov (Turanchoks)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Notes: Although the Mads clearly state that Humanoid Woman is from Czechoslovakia (with several riffs hinging on that notion), it was actually made in Russia. Dr. Forrester also calls the film “Humanoid Women“, an error that is perpetuated in many episode lists to this day.

Yelena Metyolkina won the “Silver Asteroid” (no jokes, please) at the 1982 International Festival of Science Fiction Films in Trieste, Italy for her portrayal of Niya.

Humanoid Woman is one of the few films U.S. producer Sandy Frank imported from a country other than Japan.

The original Russian title is a translation of the Latin phrase “Ad Astra Per Aspera” (“To The Stars By Hard Ways”), which is also the State Motto of Kansas.

In 2000, Humanoid Woman received a face-lift by way of a ‘Special Edition’ that features all-new CGI sequences as well as a full cleaning and restoration of the original footage. They did not replace the robots.

Notable Riffs: “This is corny. They’re corn Czechs.”
“The plot thickens and so has the water.”
“You know, she looks like a negative image of Arsenio Hall.”

Humanoid Woman original release date: 1981, as Cherez ternii k zvyozdam)