Release Date(s)Various (July 7, 2009)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s Volume XV DVD set. These boxed sets are released tri-annually with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy (Season 1, Episode 2), The Girl in Lovers Lane (Season 5, Episode 9), Zombie Nightmare (Season 6, Episode 4), and Racket Girls (Season 6, Episode 16).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy is cheap, Z grade, drive-in movie madness, which is perfect for this show; The Girl in Lovers Lane is your typical 50’s troubled teen experience; Zombie Nightmare is a slab of 80’s voodoo zombie horror with an antagonist only a mother could love; and Racket Girls is straight up female exploitation: bombshells, wrestling, and the crooked cheats that run it all. So there’s not a stellar line-up of episodes here, but they’re welcome nonetheless. The more MST3K officially available, the better.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for the extras, you get a few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy, you get the segment Glimpses of KTMA: MST3K Scrapbook Scraps I, which is about sixteen minutes of clips from the show’s years at KTMA, as well as a promo for the show at Comedy Central (then called The Comedy Channel) and a trailer for The Vampire’s Coffin/The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy double feature. For The Girl in Lovers Lane, you get the segment Behind the Scenes: MST3K Scrapbook Scraps II, which is about eight minutes of a peek behind the curtain at the making of the show. For Zombie Nightmare, you get the featurette Zombie Nightmare = MST3K Dream. For Racket Girls, you get the Sneak Peek: Hamlet A.D.D. and a trailer for the movie (titled Blonde Pickup). Also included (as is standard with all of the MST3K boxed sets) are 4 paper insert reproductions of the artwork from each DVD in the set.
All in all, this is another solid boxed set release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons