Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition



    Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition
    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: November 26th, 2013.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Various
    Year: Various
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    Continuing in their line of releases, Shout! Factory unleashes another four titles from their ongoing Mystery Science Theater boxed set line. For the few out there unaware of who or what the Mystery Science Theater thing is all about, basically, it was a long running show in which a recurring cast of characters - a space castaway and his robot pals - were forced to watch bad movies while doing time on a satellite. This simple premise basically allowed Joel Hodgsen or Mike Nelson (depending on how early or recent the episode in question may be), Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (who have recently teamed up to pick up where they left off with their Rifftrax project) to crack wise about 'bad' movies. The series was on the air from 1988 through 1999 and it still has a loyal cult following to this day while it's various participants have gone on to other, similar projects like Cinematic Titanic and the aforementioned Rifftrax downloads.

    This time around, the gang takes on the following films (in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the show!):

    Moon Zero Two:

    This Hammer Film from 1969 directed by Roy Ward Baker deserves better than the treatment it gets here, but it's still a fun watch with the MST3K highjinks going on even if the movie is actually a pretty decent sci-fi picture in its own right.

    The story follows Capt. William H. Kemp (James Olson), an interstellar salvage man who, along with his partner, is hired by a wealthy industrialist named J.J. Hubbard (Warren Mitchell) to break regulations and assist in making an asteroid hit the dark side of the Moon. The hope is that this will go unnoticed by the powers that be and that the sapphire that is inside the asteroid can then be salvaged. In order to make this happen, they need to eliminate a pesky space miner but when he disappears, his foxy sister Clementine Taplin (Catherine Schell) hires Kemp to help find out what happened to him.

    It's a hokey western in space, for the most part, but it's got some good Hammer style. As far as the MST3K treatment given to the picture, there are some pretty good jabs made at the picture. The film's overt use of crazy colors gets picked on as do some of the wooden performances and bad effects, all of which are easy enough targets but this is an early episode before the crew had really found their footing. It's interesting to see and its' moderately amusing but it's far from the best episode in the set. Next!















    The Day The Earth Froze:

    A weird Finnish/Russian co-production from 1959, The Day The Earth Froze, also known as Sampo, is a big step up from the first feature in terms of the quality of the jokes and the frequency with which they are delivered.

    The plot follows a Finnish folk hero named Lemminkainen who has got the hots for a cutie named Annikki. In order to win the day, he'll have to take on an evil witch named Louhi because she's kidnapped Annikki. Why? So that she can force her dad to build her a Sampo. Wait… what? What exactly is a Sampo? It's a 'magical mill' that makes salt, grain, and gold according to Wikipedia. At any rate, Lemminkainen tries to get the invaluable Sampo back but Louhi foils his plans by stealing the sun and setting about an age (or at least a day) of extremely chilly eternal darkness! Will he be able to return the sun to its rightful place and win Annikki's heart?

    We get a great short before the main feature starts in the form of Here Comes The Circus. This sets the stage for the riffing that remains consistent until the actual feature is over. There's lots of easy targets here and they're all hit but by this point the guys have found a good rhythm and play off of one another very well. On top of that the movie is kooky enough on its own that even in the few spots where the commentary slows down there's enough going on to easily hold your attention. This one is a lot of fun and there are so many jokes crammed into it that you'll probably want to watch it more than once.














    The Leech Woman:

    Up next is Edward Dein's low budget horror made for Universal in 1960, The Leech Woman. The story begins when an aging African woman named Malla (Estelle Hemsley) offers to Doctor Talbot (Phillip Terry) the answer to the secret of eternal youth. This will require Talbot to head to a Africa and so he decides to bring his wife, June (Coleen Gray), no longer the beauty she once was and estranged from him for some time now, along for the ride. And low and behold, they witness a tribal ceremony transform Malla from an old lady into a foxy twenty-something right before their eyes.

    It doesn't take June long to figure out what Talbot's real motives are here. When she discovers this, she steals a ring used in the ceremony and heads back to the United States, using the ring to kill men for their pineal glands, the secret ingredient in the youth elixir. When June, now a fox herself, falls for a lawyer named Neil Foster (Grant Williams) she kills his fiancé, Sally (Gloria Talbott), in a jealous fit. Soon enough, the cops are starting to wonder what's up, as June realizes she didn't follow the directions for all of this to the letter as she should have…

    The skits in between the movie bits in this one are fairly horrible but the commentary is, more often than not, spot on. There's a good flow here, the jokes are funny and the movie gives the guys plenty of ammunition. This isn't a classic episode and it's not as good as The Day The Earth Froze but it's definitely a solid entry in the run and a nice addition to the set.














    Gorgo:

    An undersea explosion off the coast of Ireland finds two fisherman, Joe Ryan (William Travers) and Sam Slade (William Sylvester) stranded in a small village on the coast. While the locals aren't too excited about their arrival, they soon find that they need their help when a prehistoric monster stomps his way out of the ocean and across their town. The two fisherman are able to use nets to capture the great beast and it is then sold off to a circus run by a wealthy businessman who has the creature shipped off to London where it will be put on display.

    What the crew doesn't bargain for is that the monster they have captured is actually a baby version of the mother monster which is over two hundred feet tall and more than a little pissed off that it's having to come to London to get its baby back. And what does a giant monster do when it finds itself wandering around a major metropolitan city? Why go on a spree of massive destruction stomping and smashing anything that gets in its way, that's what, which is exactly what happens for the last twenty five minutes or so of this fun, old fashioned, monster romp, which is basically a British remake of Godzilla.

    This is another solid entry in the set. The skits here are better and more amusing than they usually are and the movie itself is actually a lot of fun, with or without the satellite crew riffing on it. They do good work here, understandably poking fun at some of the more ridiculous characters and stereotypes and taking some well-aimed shots at some of the less than perfect effects pieces too. This one has also been notoriously hard to see as due to some copyright issues, it was only broadcast once and then never released on home video - until now!














    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The fullframe interlaced transfers that grace all four films in this set won't blow you away but they're watchable enough particularly when taken in the intended context. You will see the MST3K silhouettes in front of the screen so purists take note, and the transfers are taken from often times edited down old TV masters so those expecting the movies to appear here as they were originally intended will be disappointed. That said, they look as good here as they did on TV when they first aired and pristine video quality isn't really the point here. Are the transfers great? Nope, but they don't need to be.

    The commentary comes through nice and clear, there are no problems understanding the participants and they've balanced nicely against the audio from the movie itself. As far as the quality of that part is concerned, it's on par with the transfer. It's not great, in fact, there are times where it sounds quite shrill. It gets the job done, I suppose, but it's nothing impressive.

    The main extra in the set is a seventy minute long featurette entitled Return to Eden Prairie: 25 Years of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This is a great look back on the history and legacy of the series spread across discs one, two and three. It's a really solid piece that has all sorts of cast and crew involvement (Frank Conniff and Mike Nelson are both MIA, however), clips, photos and other assorted bits and pieces. It's not likely going to really pull the lid off of a whole lot of never before dished dirt and it does cover some of the same ground as the previous 20th Anniversary documentary, but it's well put together and both generally interesting and quite amusing.

    The rest of the extras are spread across the five discs in the set (Five? But there are only four movies listed above! Keep reading, dammit!) and includes short documentaries on the MST3K treatment and legacy of Moon Unit Two and Gorgo, a video in which Leonard Maltin Explains Something (it's pretty hilarious), an interview with Mary Jo Pehl and the obligatory MST Hour Wraps that have been appearing where appropriate on all of the Shout! Factory sets.












    This is the bonus disc and what a bonus it is. Here you won't find any actual supplements but you will find two extra MST3K episodes, the mighty Joe Don Baker stinker, Mitchell, and the public domain camp classic horror picture The Brain That Wouldn't Die. These both got single disc releases through Rhino years back but went out of print ages ago. This is a great way to get them back into circulation as both episodes are excellent - in fact, you could say that Mitchell is the highlight of the set. There's also a fun little featurette here about the MST3K treatment of Mitchell, which also deals with Joel Hodgson's decision to leave the series around the same time. We also get a quick but interesting interview with The Brain That Wouldn't Die's Marilyn Neilson in which she talks about her work on the film.

    Each of the discs contains a nifty animated menu and chapter selection. Inside the packaging along with the discs (packed in slimline cases) you'll find some neat mini posters. All of this fits inside a nifty collectible tin package that looks great and can double as a paperweight.


























    The Final Word:

    Shout! Factory celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in grand style with this five disc collection of six features that's loaded with extras and packaged in a fancy-ass tin! Moon Unit Two is a little weak but it's still nice to have and the rest of the episodes all work very well. A solid set overall, one that fans of the series should not hesitate to pick up.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Massacre At Central High (Synapse Films) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Synapse Films
      Released on: September 13th, 2022.
      Director: Rene Daalder
      Cast: Robert Carradine, Kimberly Beck, Andrew Stevens, Derrel Maury, Ray Underwood, Damon Douglas
      Year: 1976
      Purchase From Amazon

      Massacre At Central High – Movie Review:

      Directed by the late Rene Daalder, 1976’s Massacre At Central High introduces us to David (Derrel Maury), the new kid on campus at the titular California high school. That
      ...
      08-17-2022, 11:10 AM
    • Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Yellow Veil
      Released on: July 28th, 2022.
      Director: Gaspar Noé
      Cast: Béatrice Dalle, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Félix Maritaud, Clara Deshayes
      Year: 2019
      Purchase From Amazon

      Lux Aeterna – Movie Review:

      Meant as an expression of his thoughts on filmmaking and a tribute to both his two leading ladies and the filmmakers that inspired him, Gaspar Noé’s 2019 picture, Lux Aeterna, opens with clips opens with some clips from
      ...
      08-04-2022, 02:17 PM
    • L.A. Aids Jabber (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Visual Vengeance
      Released on: August 9th, 2022.
      Director: Drew Godderis
      Cast: Jason Majik, Justin Godderis, Marcy Lynn
      Year: 1994
      Purchase From Amazon

      L.A. Aids Jabber – Movie Review:

      Drew Godderis acted in low budget movies like Blood Diner, Evil Spawn, Cannibal Hookers and Deep Space before he set out, in 1994, to direct his own independent feature. When shooting on 16mm didn’t work out, Godderis did the next
      ...
      08-04-2022, 02:14 PM
    • Shriek Of The Mutilated (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: January 26th, 2022.
      Director: Michael Findlay
      Cast: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis, Ed Adlum
      Year: 1974
      Purchase From Amazon

      Shriek Of The Mutilated – Movie Review:

      Directed by Michael Findlay (who has a quick cameo in the opening scene) from a screenplay co-written by Ed Adlum and Ed Kelleher (the duo that brought Invasion Of The Blood Farmers), 1974’s Shriek Of The Mutilated
      ...
      08-01-2022, 04:29 PM
    • Raw Nerve (Culture Shock Releasing) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Culture Shock Releasing
      Released on: January 26th, 2022.
      Director: David A. Prior
      Cast: Ted Prior, Sandahl Bergman, Traci Lords, Glenn Ford, Jan-Michael Vincent, Tex Cobb
      Year: 1991
      Purchase From Amazon

      Raw Nerve – Movie Review:

      The legendary David A. Prior’s 1991 film, Raw Nerve, is placed in Mobile, Alabama, a town being terrorized by a serial killer with a shotgun whose evidently got an axe to grind against beautiful
      ...
      08-01-2022, 03:40 PM
    • Righting Wrongs (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: July 26th, 2022.
      Director: Cory Yuen
      Cast: Yuen Biao, Cynthia Rothrock, Melvin Wong, Karen Sheperd, Peter Cunningham, Corey Yuen
      Year: 1986
      Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

      Righting Wrongs – Movie Review:

      Righting Wrongs, which was released by the Weinstein Corporation on DVD in 2007 as Above The Law (not to be confused with the Steven Seagal movie of the same name), was directed by Cory
      ...
      08-01-2022, 03:37 PM
    Working...
    X