Release Date(s)Various (March 27, 2012)
- 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 XXIV 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: King Dinosaur (Season 2, Episode 10), The Castle of Fu Manchu (Season 3, Episode 23), Code Name: Diamond Head (Season 6, Episode 8), and Last of the Wild Horses (Season 6, Episode 11).
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. Bert I. Gordon strikes again with King Dinosaur (a collaboration with producer Robert L. Lippert), a less than stellar space travel movie with prehistoric disappointment. The Castle of Fu Manchu is another entry in the Fu Manchu series that argues the question ’Are there far too few movies in this franchise?’ No, there are not. Code Name: Diamond Head is a less than shiny TV pilot from producer Quinn Martin about espionage on the sunny beaches of Hawaii. And Robert L. Lippert returns once again for Last of the Wild Horses, a bottom-of-the-barrel western that is deserving of MST3K treatment just as much as the other episodes included in this set.
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 King Dinosaur, you get The Incredible Mr. Lippert documentary, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer. For The Castle of Fu Manchu, you get an introduction by Frank Conniff, the DarkStar: Robots Don’t Get Sag Cards featurette about DarkStar: The Interactive Movie, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Code Name: Diamond Head, you get two featurettes: Code Name: Quinn Martin and Life After MST3K: Kevin Murphy. For Last of the Wild Horses, you get a set of vintage MST3K promos. 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