It’s not the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot I was hoping for but I’ll certainly take it. In a previous age the show’s VHS and DVD distributor Rhino Home Video released Volume I, the first attempt to put out sets of the show after a half decade of single episode releases. way back in. While I was certainly a fan of the show back in November 2002 I was not actively buying DVD sets, I was still several years away from paying rent, in fact. I don’t think my part-time gig at Taco Bell afforded me much outside of a video game here and there and a few bucks to chill at the mall. So, I am firmly part of the target audience for Shout! Factory’s re-release of the premiere collection. The grouping of episodes is interesting, one from early in the show and then the sixth, seventh and ninth episodes of Season Six. Unlike previous editions by Shout! there is only one case and overall the presentation is pretty vanilla. Similarly, there are only a couple of new special features. What is nice is there a good price drop compared to the regular sets, so if you’re looking to start or supplement your collection this would be an excellent choice. Two of these episodes are phenomenal, one is pretty good and one other is serviceable but a bit lifeless. There’s a faint theme in the collection too, all the films were produced by Crown International Pictures. “The Crown Jewels” (the first disc’s special feature) serves as a satisfactory overview of the studio, chronicling the B-film studio that evolved into an undercard king. Still operating today Crown International Pictures was run by “Red” Jacobs, a big personality in mid-century Hollywood, a guy who was a prototypical film mogul but also with a good bit of class. Historians of Tinsel Town talk about how the business pumped out a lot of material in a period that was dominated by monolithic studios. Catalina Caper (1967 -Director: Lee Sholem) In one of the rare instances of stepping outside of its niche MST3K’s takes on this beach party/crime/comedy thingamajig and shows how nondiscriminatory it is in regard to lampooning bad movies. There are lots of truly perplexing films in the show’s library and this ranks up close to the top. What happened to the damn scroll?! “Catalina Caper” is an early Season Two episode and considering its placement in the run, the quality is superb. While the riffing is riddled with some slight stammering and diction problems there are numerous one-liners that make this a memorable success. I wouldn’t’ say the humor is excellent, the increasing problem of dated pop references hurts and there are plenty of missed opportunities, but it isn’t a dud either. The plot of the movie is exquisitely invalid. The underlying atmosphere of the beach party movie trend dominates to the point that the storyline basically abandons the silly treasure map concept mentioned in the title. Long stretches are dedicated to watching young people jive and jolt in swimsuits and we’re also treated to lengthy lip-synced performances from the likes of Little Richard and The Cascades. The host segments are extremely good. Kevin Murphy comes into his own as Tom Servo with his rendition of “Creepy Girl”, a love doo-wop dedicated to a main female character who loves small fish. Creepy Girl is a fascinating character as she is the lust object of all the film’s men, which is crazy because she’s no more spectacular than the rest of the ladies they’re sitting right next to. I have to assume her racial ambiguity is implied to be the reason for the uneven attention. Best line: (cut to newspaper for no reason) Hey look at this, “White People Voted the Best People in the World” “Young White Male Still On Top!” Best line during one of the frequent musical interludes: I gotta quit this band and start a career in the music. The Creeping Terror (1964 -Director: Vic Savage) This fucking movie. Lackluster efforts in filmmaking are the backbone of MST3K, so as a fan of the show I’ve seen a good bit of bad cinema. I just wanted to put that out there as I say that The Creeping Terror might be the worst movie I’ve ever seen. The opening yawn by actor/director/producer Vic Savage is an omen as nothing makes sense from that moment forward. The monster mentioned in the title is at the forefront of the absurdity, a big fabric slug that utilizes a slow approach to devour victims. Said prey are a set of actors who deliver nary a line, aside from an horribly dubbed utterance or two, and seem unable to run as the Creeping Terror approaches and kills them with ease. The movie is nearly devoid of any dialogue; instead a narrator intones the happenings to you in the style of an after school special. The gist of the plot is never really related to the viewer, and even worse is the cinematography (if you could call it that): the camera is positioned in some very odd places and holds shots on totally pointless things. Seriously, I’m not even a cheesecake guy, but the best part of the whole thing is a ten minute dance hall scene where this blonde chick does this proto-twerk thing that makes the 50’s obsolete in three jiggles. It’s as if a psychopath made this movie, it’s that horrible. That’s apparently the case! The special features (a couple of trailers and a Q&A session) on this disc all deal with The Creep Behind the Camera, a biography/documentary/fantasy about Vic Savage aka A.J. Nelson, a conman who swindled a whole town into financing a sci-fi movie. As I’ve stated in these reviews I love the short pieces on these nearly forgotten films and documentarian Pete Schuermann takes it a step forward with Creep. There is some spookily fascinating stuff going on with this film and I’m going to check that doc immediately. Oh yeah, the riffing and host segments. Is there any doubt the episode is good? It’d be really hard for Mike and Bots not to deliver. Best line: (cop sees spaceship) Well I don’t understand it so uh, let’s start shootin’. Best line following a long scene consisting only with mother putting a rectal thermometer in a baby: You can leave babies alone for awhile, they’re usually okay. Bloodlust! (and short “Uncle Jim’s Dairy Farm”) (1961 – Director: Ralph Brooke) The reason to pop this DVD into the player is for the short “Uncle Jim’s Dairy Farm.” It’s wall-to-wall zingers, a parade of clever lines and brilliant sarcasm. An unsuspecting promo on the joys of farm living is easily construe into a haunting summer for two young children abandoned by their parents to live with their farm folk cousins. Holy cow, this is funny. The rest of the disc? Not great. No special features, the host segments are meh-tastic, and most importantly the movie is a blackhole or boredom. Bloodlust! is a weak, uninspired “The Most Dangerous Game” adaption, except with some goofy kids that somehow don’t get killed despite their meandering stupidity. Headed by a young Robert Reed, the group just kind of stands around for the first part of the flick, then wanders around slowly for entire segments in the middle act. The scenes are heavily padded in this way, with long stretches of people doing mundane tasks in relative silence. My favorite scene is when the human hunter Dr. Balleau simply explains to the cast that he’s going to kill the men like wild beasts then rape the woman and everyone is standing around like “Aw, shucks.” Yo, punch that old dude in the face Mr. Brady! The riffing is just OK on this one. Much of the energy and humor derives from small utterances and other sound effects in relation to what’s going on in the movie. There are a couple really good running jokes that keep the flame alive but I wasn’t too impressed with the whole thing. Still, if you wanted to snag this off the shelf and pop it in on a lazy Sunday or something you’d be adequately entertained. Best line from the short: (the parents drive up the farm house to pick up the kids) Just throw them their winter clothes and floor it! Best line from the movie: Betty, my pants have reached a crisis point. The Skydivers (and short “Why Study Industrial Arts?”) (1964 – Director: Coleman Francis) The final disc makes up for the sins of the third. “The Skydivers” is immensely funny and a very likely a Top 25 best episode depending on taste. First up is an educational film that hypes up shop class and all the wonderful uses of knowing how to measure and cut things. In typical MST3K fashion the humorous lambasting of “Why Study Industrial Arts?” is brilliant, a steady barrage of quips and bon mots that rip into this weird little piece of moviemaking. The laughter continues in the main feature (even to the point where jokes are successfully recycled from the short). The Skydrivers attempts to replace plot, meaningful dialogue and likeable characters with copious shots of people jumping out of planes. The main (only) narrative impetus is some spoiled girl deciding to murder a skydiver because… I don’t know! Thrown in there is some marital conflict and really tragic hairstyling. I’m not even sure the characters had names. Mike and the Bots perfectly harp on the inanity, and the novel aspect of skydiving lets the jokes come from a different angle than usual. Bloodlust! was a movie that was equally bad, but that fantasy-drama didn’t really offer anything new in regard to fodder. This episode is a different animal, a movie boasting nothingness in terms of script while brandishing some of the most atrocious editing I’ve ever seen. I did better in my only attempt at filmmaking in high school AV. Host segments are on point. There is a song and dance number at the beginning that pretty much epitomizes the show in every regard. Best line from the short: Tool operator, tooool operator… Best line from the short that slashes the Midwestern All-American atmosphere: Kid 2: “Hey, you making this?” I’m making it for the Grand Wizard! Best line from the movie: (character walks into a bar called “Skydivers”) How solid is a sky-diving based economy? Best line that I probably shouldn’t have laughed at, but did: Skydiver 1: “You want to hang on my heels or should I hang onto yours?” Skydiver 2: “Your heels, my heels, it doesn’t matter.” We should try skydiving too. See larger image Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1 New From: $24.33 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.