Archive for the ‘MST’ Category

MST3K Vol. XXXIX DVD Review: End of the Line

November 12, 2017

MST3K 39

And lo, it came to pass that many years of steady DVD releases of MST3K are ending. That end comes with Nov. 21’s release by Shout! Factory of Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIX.

Eleven of the beloved cowtown puppet show’s 176 broadcast episodes remain unavailable, and you know the culprit: film rights. But before you get utterly bent out of shape, please know that rights issues are perfectly legal and are common in the TV/movie business. That’s why the original 1960s Batman TV series remained in video limbo for decades until its release in 2014.

But give the heavy thinkers at Shout! Factory this: With only three available episodes for Vol. XXXIX, unlike the usual four, and with 11 episodes taboo, what the hoo, they’ve added a fourth disc collecting all host segments from those 11 shows.

So there, balky movie rights owners. We’ve got three hours of Best Brains madness from those missing programs, at times even including stills and glimpses of the films.

Not only that, but the usual DVD extras, as so often, are special, including Showdown in Eden Prairie: Their Final Experiment and Behind the Scream: Daniel Griffith on Ballyhoo.

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DVD Review ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIV’: RIP AIP

November 29, 2015

Warofthecolossalbeast

Two trailers, two Frank Conniff intros running three minutes total and one Ballyhoo featurette? That’s all the extras for Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIV, new Tuesday from Shout! Factory?

Yes, that’s all. But it turns out that’s a lot.

The four-disc set’s sole featurette — on the history of American International Pictures — runs 92 minutes, or longer than many of AIP’s own movies. That makes it the most ambitious documentary of Ballyhoo’s many look-backs at films, filmmakers and film studios for MST’s box sets, and given its many films used on MST, AIP was well worth it.

Playing off the absurdly long title of one of the four AIP films in this set (The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent), the retrospective is named It Was a Colossal Teenage Movie Machine: The AIP Story.

Laced with vintage clips and recent interviews of film historians and filmmakers — including Roger Corman — the story is classic Hollywood stuff, putting AIP’s birth and growth in historical perspective: Baby Boom teens with wheels and rock music wanted rebellious film fare made for them. You could say AIP pandered, but didn’t any studio trying to make a buck?

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DVD Review ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1’: Reprise to please

August 30, 2015

MST Vol. 1Oops. Out of print copies of Rhino’s Mystery Science Theater: Volume 1 may not be fetching $200 or so now that Shout! Factory is obligingly reissuing the four-disc set Tuesday for a more modest price. But even if you have the original, you may want to pick this up.

Yes, there are extras — a good many, in fact, starting with the “bumpers” between commercials which were omitted by Rhino. Beyond that is a fetching array of material from our friends at Ballyhoo, and a theatrical trailer for The Creeping Terror.

In fact, its disc is crazy for Creeping. There’s much more for the so-bad-it’s-good-in-an-Ed-Wood vein el cheapo monster mash in which a walking carpet terrorized teens. To wit: an extended trailer (seven minutes!) for The Creep Behind the Camera, a 2014 film about making the ’60s movie — or, more precisely, about its oh so dark creator, actor-writer-director Art Nelson, aka Vic Savage, about whom “creep” is an understatement and a relative compliment.

There’s also a 17-minute panel and Q&A for the film at the 2014 Screamfest in Los Angeles, hosted by MST’s own Frank Conniff.

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DVD Review Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXIII: No Harm, No Foul

July 12, 2015

mst 33 dvdI never know how Shout! Factory determines which MST3K episodes to group in boxed sets. All I know is that the latest, Volume XXXIII (due July 28), is top-heavy with films from the stuffy, repressed, often repugnant ’50s, those being Daddy-O, Teen-Age Crime Wave and Earth vs. the Spider.

The sole ’60s rep is the faux-groovy spy romp Agent for H.A.R.M. It’s also cheap, but hey, at least it’s in color and has bikinis.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate ’50s flicks, which can make for merry movie mocking. But one can only take so many blurry, black-and-white shots of 30-year-old actors pretending to be teen hep cats by smoking cigarettes. Of course, that’s why we have Mike, Joel and the ‘bots at our side.

And in this case, loads of bonus features. In fact, I count around an hour and a half of extras — the length of an MST episode.

So let’s get on with it:

The Daddy-O disc has a 9-minute Beatnick Blues: Investigating Daddy-O. The usual film historians recount its creation, along with good old Roger Corman. They peg the film as more of a crime drama than a typical AIP youth exploiter with hotrods, alleged hipsters and crappy music pretending to be rock. Then MST Hour Wraps round out our look-back.

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DVD Review ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXXII’: Baltimore?

April 10, 2015

mst 32I should have known our ol’ pals at Satellite News would finally get their due on an MST3K box set. Now it’s happened with Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXII, whose four discs’ extra features include “Sampo Speaks! A Brief History of Satellite News.”

How brief? Well, 7 1/2 minutes isn’t bad for “Sampo,” who’s actually journalist Chris Cornell, to guide us down memory lane to the days when MST’s production company, Best Brains, issued its own newsletter named Satellite News.

Yep, I used to get these in the mail. But the cost for 80,000 copies became prohibitive. So Best Brains, knowing Cornell was a sympathetic journalist (a status I also enjoyed with BB over the years while covering them for the Houston Chronicle), asked him to take over under the same name — which he and Brian Henry did, as a website.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Satellite News blossomed with the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, back when MST was an ongoing cable TV staple. And SN is still going strong today, 16 years after the show left the air, by serving staunch fans and promoting the careers of those in the show.

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DVD Review ‘MST3K Volume 30’: Straight Talk

July 24, 2014

mst30I know: MST3K box set reviews tend to drone. There’s often little room for ‘tude while assessing new content, which leads to “This set’s special features include blah blah blah.”

So let’s launch this look at Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 30, due Tuesday, with some straight talk.

First, the extras aren’t as generous as on many other releases from Shout! Factory. But how can I complain? In the Rhino days we got zero extras, while Shout has done a splendid job of beefing up its DVDs with special features — while admirably continuing releases at a regular rate. Just because not all sets are created equally doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate this one. I’m just saying: The extras this time are sparse.

But not for the Outlaw (of Gor) disc, whose three featurettes total about 26 minutes, all from the reliable folks at Ballyhoo.

That’s where more straight talk is needed. In terms of forthright analyses, the featurette called “Writer of Gor: The Novels of John Norman” is about as bad as they come.

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DVD Review Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition

November 21, 2013

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So often, “anniversary” observations deserve quote marks. I’ve seen movies get anny editions a year before or after their true release date. Similarly, my beloved (and now hapless) Houston Astros marked their 50th anny in their 51st season. (No wonder they’re struggling.)

But in this case, Shout! Factory has it right. Due Nov. 26 is a new five-DVD box set of Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition. And is it truly the 25th anniversary? Well, the set’s due date is almost exactly 25 years after the show’s birth on Minneapolis’ KTMA on Nov. 24, 1988. That close enough for you? (Besides, Nov. 24 this year is a Sunday, and DVDs aren’t released on Sundays.)

Like a previous Gamera collection, this one comes in a “silver(ish)” (as Shout calls it) tin. (Well, it is on the inside.) The four new movies/episodes are Moon Zero Two, The Day the Earth Froze, The Leech Woman and Gorgo. But also enclosed is a fifth-disc double feature of two previously issued but OOP titles: Joel Hodgson’s last episode as host, Mitchell, and Mike Nelson’s first, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. (more…)

Blu-ray/DVD Review ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie’: This Movie’s Birth

August 30, 2013

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For the crew of the Satellite of Love, adapting their movie-mocking TV series to the big screen seemed a natural transition. After all, their live shows in theaters were hits, so shifting to the silver screen itself would be a logical, successful step–right?

But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to Hollywood: MST fell victim to the same company-town madness that had plagued so many movies it had tackled over the years. And when Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie finally reached big screens on April 19, 1996, it was a butchered version making barely a blip at just a few theaters. (Well, it did manage to inch just above a $1 million gross.)

I was among the lucky ones to see the film theatrically, at a press screening in Houston at the old Greenway Plaza Theater (essentially an art-house then) before its very brief run. And being a fan — while also doing my job as a reviewer — I greeted the feature as a mixed blessing. (more…)

DVD Review ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVII’: They Did the Monster Mash

July 9, 2013

MST XXVII

Shout! Factory bills its latest four-disc Mystery Science Theater 3000 box set, XXVII, as a “schlock-tastic Monster Movie Mash,” which is true enough, though Rocket Attack USA is more about monstrous Cold War paranoia than the kinds of crazy creatures in Village of the Giants, The Deadly Mantis or The Slime People.

But enough monster mashing — what about the extras for these first-time MST eps on DVD, due at retail July 23? (more…)

MST3K XXVII DVD Lineup: Attack of the Deadly Slime Giants

April 8, 2013

villageofgiants6You heard it here first — I hope: Shout! Factory has announced the lineup for the DVD set Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXVII, due July 23. And it is:

Rocket Attack USA,  The Deadly Mantis, The Slime People and Village of the Giants (above).

Each will be new to DVD.

Bonus features will include Chasing Rosebud: The Cinematic Life Of William Alland. That producer for Universal creature features also was touched upon in the latest boxed set regarding The Mole People, and here it’s for The Deadly Mantis. (more…)