Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XIX DVD blog review: Devils, monsters and coils

I’m not a toy guy — kind of grew out of that many presidential administrations ago — but I must say, the new Gypsy figurine that comes with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XIX — in its limited edition box set form — is a doozy.

Due next Tuesday from Shout! Factory, the set’s Gypsy figurine actually reveals something about the Satellite of Love’s patient sole female and sole sane entity running the ship: She has a bottom half. Since a base was needed to display the figure properly, it made sense to depict the broad black tube from which Gypsy’s head sprouts — and which seems to make her ambulatory — in coiled, snake-like form at the bottom. It’s a cool effect and a cool figure (no moving parts), and it will look cool on your shelf.

As for the DVDs, there’s a deliberate theme this time, in titular manner.

Devil Doll and Devil Fish? What the devil? And Bride of the Monster and Robot Monster? What a monstrously good idea!

My fave of these four is Devil Doll, from MST3K’s beloved (for me, at least) eighth season, when the show actually had ongoing plots in its host segments. I loved the varied adventures in time and space, and this one taps into the “Roman Times” exploits of Pearl, Professor Bobo and Brain Guy.

Kevin Murphy, of course, does double duty: as ever-stinky Bobo and as a happy, toga-wearing Roman. As always, it’s also good to see Mike Nelson’s wife, Bridget, as another Roman denizen. And the creepy ’60s British movie about a ventriloquist’s dummy come to life — as in Anthony Hopkins’ Magic — also is a kick.

As for extras, this set’s best are bunched on Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster, including another superbly crafted featurette (“documentary” seems too high-falutin’) called Citizen Wood: Masking The Bride, Unmasking the Legend (well, speaking of pretentious and high-falutin’).

This 27-minute short film features comments and wisdom from, among others, Joel Hodgson and Larry Blamire (The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) to tell the tale of the film’s creation. And that hapless story unfolds much like the plot of  Ed Wood (Tim Burton’s finest movie, IMHO).

Not so tasty tidbits: The beloved Swede, former wrestling star Tor Johnson, stole toilet seats because he kept inadvertently breaking them.

Blamire — who’s as MST-friendly as anyone and deserves this exposure — also appears in an 11-minute short for the Robot Monster disc called Larry Blamire Geeks Out. In it, he declares his undying love for the film’s “monster” (a man in a gorilla suit wearing a helmet), Ro-Man. (I’m thinking bubbles-loving Ro-Man was related to Lawrence Welk.)

There’s also a seven-minute short with J. Elvis Weinstein introducing the movie which, being from the still-formative first season, had writing which “wasn’t fully up to speed yet.” He notes that the “art of riffing has certainly evolved” and decries “tons of air” (footage without dialogue) where the cast missed chances to cut up. We also learn that Servo sneezed during shooting, and that was left in.

Devil Fish sports 58 minutes of footage from a wide-ranging Convergence 2009 panel featuring Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl and Frank Conniff. There’s also the film’s original trailer, back when it was called Monster Shark. (What? “Fish” was considered a more exploitation-flick friendly word than “shark”?)

Devil Doll has the slimmest extras, with an interesting 10-minute look at The Puppet Master: Richard Gordon on Devil Doll, as well as the trailer.

But we’ll always have Gypsy — ever vigilant, brave, resolute, loyal, efficient, responsible, trustworthy.

And coiled.

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One Response to “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XIX DVD blog review: Devils, monsters and coils”

  1. Bookworm Says:

    “We also learn that Servo sneezed during shooting, and that was left in.”

    Joel: You’re not supposed to do that.
    Tom: That stirred up my ROMs real bad.

    Tom’s line is one that I use sometimes when I sneeze. *grin*

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