Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K) was a TV show that ran from 1988 to 1999 about a guy marooned on the Satellite of Love way up in space who had to watch cheesy B-grade (or often Z-grade) movies as some sort of deranged experiment. In order to survive his mind-numbing ordeal, our hero made some robot friends and together they make fun of, or “riff on,” all the bad movies. As simple as that sounds, something that fans of bad movies have done for just about forever, it was revolutionary to see it on television, not to mention hilarious. So much so, that even 13 years after its last episode aired, it still has a cult following, is constantly name dropped by comedians, and lives on in two distinct incarnations today. Check out Rifftrax.com and Cinematictitanic.com for more info on both of those.
Thankfully the good people over at Shout! Factory have continued to put out the original television show on DVD for years. This four pack is their latest offering and it’s a must have for fans of offbeat comedy and low budget, usually horrible genre fans. Their latest box set is MST3K: XXV, or for those who don’t do Roman numerals, that’s 25. Yes, this is the 25th MST3K four pack to come out. Does Shout! Factory pull off this 25th anniversary well, or is this a milestone best overlooked? Well grab your favorite Smart Alec robot buddy and let’s find out.
This set has a nice mix of cheesy, horrible movie goodness in a variety of flavors. For us horrorheads, there’s Revenge of the Creature, which I must admit that I actually kind of like as a real movie, but the MST3K treatment does make the movie even better. For sci-fi fans, 1986’s direct to video schlockfest Robot Holocaust get its must deserved roasting. For those that like vintage exploitation flicks there’s 1964 (in)famous Kitten with a Whip. Lastly there’s the 1967 sort of answer to James Bond that fails horrible, but is oh so right for the riffing, called Operation Kid Brother. So with this box set you get a potpourri of genres sure to suit anyone’s taste and the fact that each and every episode here was a winner the icing on the cake.
As for extras, Shout! Factory has few worth pointing out. There are four mini posters included with the boxed set, one for each movie. Both Mike Nelson and Joel Hodgson do introductions for the episodes. There are two short “Life after MKT3K” featurettes, one focusing on Bill Corbett and the other on J. Elvis Weinstein. Finally there’s one last featurette on Jack Arnold, the man who directed both The Creature of the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature. Again, as a big time gillman fan, I really liked this extra a lot.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXV is a great MST3K collection. It really has a bit of everything: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, spies, sexy ladies, and lots of comedy. For MSTies, this one is a no brainer. If you’ve never seen MST3K before, then this ‘a little bit of everything’ sampler is a great way to start. Consider it highly recommended.