Release Date(s)Various (March 25, 2014)
- 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 XXIX 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: Untamed Youth (Season 1, Episode 12), Hercules and the Captive Women (Season 4, Episode 12), The Thing That Couldn’t Die (Season 8, Episode 5), and The Pumaman (Season 9, Episode 3).
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. For this set, Shout! Factory went all out and got four episodes that are generally considered fan favorites. Untamed Youth is your somewhat typical rebellious teen movie from the 1950’s, while Hercules and the Captive Women features the on-going adventures of the Greek muscle man. The Thing That Couldn’t Die features a somewhat bizarre plot about a devil-worshipping madman who was killed in the middle ages, only to be rediscovered centuries later by a farmhouse full of odd characters. The Pumaman, which is considered one of the very best episodes of the show, features the Italian-bred Superman take-off that failed miserably upon release, but lived on as a favorite good-bad movie by many.
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 Untamed Youth, there’s an introduction by Joel, an interview with Mamie Van Doren, the About Joel Hodgson’s “Riffing Myself” segment, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Hercules and the Captive Women, there’s also an introduction by Joel, the featurette MST3K Artist in Residence: Steve Nance, and a still gallery of all of the poster artwork from all of the previous DVD boxed sets up until this release. For The Thing That Couldn’t Die, there’s The Movie That Couldn’t Die featurette, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer. For The Pumaman, you get the original version of the movie itself, Walter G. Alton, Jr. on Pumaman, which is an interview with the lead actor, and the Much Ado About Nanites featurette. 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