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Inspired by Closed Captioning Available

What movie will I see in the not-too-distant future? I've listed a few of my recent favorites below, but entry blank. It's for my number-one movie, which I can't determine.

Family-friendly anthology movie involving a wizard and the objects sold in his corner store. (1996, ****)

Semi-aquatic monster is captured and put on display in a water park, ultimately breaks out. Sequel to the classic. (1955, ***)

1

After a car crash, four teenagers find themselves relentlessly pursued by a grim figure in a dark coat. (1990, ****)

Children living on an army base where new weapons of war are being developed are enticed by a telepathic alien. (1958, ***)

College professor turned cat-themed superhero fights a villain who has brainwashed the world's leaders. (1980, ***.)

When a girl perishes in an accident, her boyfriend keeps her alive through mad science and searches for a way to improve her standard of living. (1962, ***)

Astronauts find an almost-completely female race of people living on a newly-discovered moon of Jupiter. (1956, ***)

Hint 1:

Two more movies I've seen, unrelated to the puzzle:

Mia Farrow and Rock Hudson are at a ski resort, contend with a natural disaster. (1978, ****)

A family on a road trip is trapped at a macabre house with an eerie master and his harem of wives. (1966, ***)

Hint 2:

All the movies have one thing in common.

Hint 3:

The first movie in Hint 1 is an F, while the second is a J.

Hint 4:

You can do something with the stars that will end up representing letters: The first clue in hint 1 would represent F, and the second would represent J.

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  • $\begingroup$ So do we take it that the answer is (rot13) “Vainqref bs gur Qrrc” as @Stiv suggested almost a week ago ? $\endgroup$
    – racraman
    Jan 24, 2023 at 10:51

3 Answers 3

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Ok, a day has passed, so my partial answer of what I think the movie titles are:

(1996, ****)

1. (10/3, 187). Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders.

(1955, ***)

2. (8/1, 150) Revenge of The Creature.

1

(1990, ****)

3. (10/1, 185) Soultaker.

(1958, ***)

4. (9/3, 174) The Space Children.

(1980, ***.)

5. (9/6, 177) The Pumaman.

(1962, ***)

6. (5/13, 108) The Brain that wouldn’t die.

(1956, ***)

7. (4/16, 87) Fire Maidens from Outer Space.

Edit to add: The new movies in the Hint are (Thanks Stiv, and good pickup Chengarda):

(1978, ****)

8. (11/4, 201) Avalanche

(1966, ***)

9. (4/24, 95) Manos: The Hands of Fate

HINT 2:

One thing that all the movies have in common is that they have all featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (hence the first part of the title “At the theatre”). I have updated each movie’s entry with the season/episode and the overall episode number.

I’m also noticed that

The movie’s year is followed by either 3 or 4 asterisks

So I’m guessing that

The number of asterisks tells us which letter position to use within each title. Since there are 3 or 4 asterisks, and the years are always 4 digits, there’s a link between the asterisks and the digits of the year?

Hints 3 and 4

were puzzling - how on earth could you make an F, let alone a J. Then it struck me that the stars could represent

The first letter of the (stars)th name of the starring cast, eg in order as shown in the posters.

Hint 1 Avalanche cast names are rock hudson, mia Farrow. Hint2 Manos cast names are tom neumann John reynolds.

Also the . for Pumaman could be because the leading star has 3 names, so indicated to take his surname instead of the first name of the following star.

So this gives us :

H (4 ernest borgnine mark Hurtado) L (3 john agar, Lori nelson) S (4 joe esteves vivian Schilling) A (3 michael ray Adam williams) A (3 walter george Alton. donald pleasance) V (3 herb evers Virginia leith ) S (3 anthony dexter Susan shaw)

Unfortunately, for the puzzle, this seems to give HL 1 SAAVS, Which doesn’t seem helpful

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  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, my own independent list of ID'd movies matches yours exactly. And I equally haven't yet spotted what comes next... :) PS Note that the last one has a slightly different title in the UK and US (from/of) which may or may not be significant. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 7, 2023 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Thanks - good pickup about the name. IMDb also lists some alternate titles (some don’t start with “The”, a hyphen in 5, and the last one has a different first word) - as you say, may or may not be significant. $\endgroup$
    – racraman
    Jan 7, 2023 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ In case it helps, the two new movies described in the new hint are rot13("Ninynapur" naq "Znabf: Gur Unaqf bs Sngr")... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 10, 2023 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ The 5th clue has a dot after the 3 stars, could be a typo or a clue that something is different about that one. $\endgroup$
    – Chengarda
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ Edited answer to as guess for hints 3 and 4 $\endgroup$
    – racraman
    Apr 20, 2023 at 12:40
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I'd like to suggest that the missing film on the list might be:

The Green Slime (1968), as this was the first film ever to be featured in the US sci-fi comedy review TV series, Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("MST3K").

The identities of the other films are as found by @racraman:

(1996,****) Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders (MST3K#187 s10e3)
(1955,***) Revenge of the Creature (MST3K#150 s8e1)
(1990,****) Soultaker (MST3K#185 s10e1)
(1958,***) The Space Children (MST3K#177 s9e6)
(1980,***.) The Pumaman (MST3K#174 s9e3)
(1962,***) The Brain That Wouldn't Die (MST3K#108 s5e13)
(1956,***) Fire Maidens from Outer Space (MST3K#87 s4e16)

...and the bonus films in the hint:

(1978,****) Avalanche (MST3K#201 s11e4)
(1966,***) Manos: The Hands of Fate (MST3K#95 s4e24)

As I have indicated here in brackets after the film titles, each of these has been featured in an episode of MST3K. This explains an extra motivation for the OP to use 'theatre' in the title of this puzzle (as it appears in the name of the TV show also), and the reference to 'the doors' is a reference to the door sequence - a regular cut-scene within the show.

If the stars attached to each film can be perceived as purely a movie critic-like 'rating' for puzzle flavour (rather than indicating some kind of extraction method for pulling out letters to spell a keyword), then it is possible that the 'number-one movie' indicated by the '1' placeholder might be...

...the first film ever to be reviewed on MST3K, in its pilot episode. This was The Green Slime, a 1968 tokusatsu sci-fi directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

(Of course, it is entirely possible the stars may indicate something more - I have considered this possibility but have been unable to spot anything.)

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  • $\begingroup$ You're getting there! As a tip: I don't know which list you used to look up each episode, but I used this: mst3k.fandom.com/wiki/Episode_List $\endgroup$
    – Exal
    Jan 18, 2023 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Exal I used Wikipedia's list, whose values match yours exactly (just with different formatting for the series/episode number)... But unless the answer is rot13(Vainqref bs gur Qrrc (gur npghny rcvfbqr ahzorerq '1' engure guna whfg gur irel svefg rcvfbqr)), I'm still not quite spotting any hidden patterns yet... Still thinking. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:40
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Partial answer (five out of the seven movies with descriptions):

1996: ???

1955:

Revenge of the Creature

#1: ???

1990:

The Amityville Curse

1958: ???

1980:

The Pumaman

1962:

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

1956:

Fire Maidens from Outer Space

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  • $\begingroup$ One of them is incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – Exal
    Jan 6, 2023 at 19:34

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