Release Date(s)Various (January 15, 2019)
- 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 IX DVD set. Shout Factory’s boxed sets of the show are normally released three to four times a year 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.
In this instance, this release is an update of an out-of-print boxed set from Rhino Entertainment. After Rhino’s release of Volume 12, Shout! Factory took over the home video distribution rights and they have been re-releasing these sets, which have since become very expensive to acquire. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Women of the Prehistoric Planet (Season 1, Episode 4), Wild Rebels (Season 2, Episode 7), The Sinister Urge (Season 6, Episode 13), and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (Season 8, Episode 12).
The episodes in this set feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike. The quality of each episode varies as some are better than others. In Women of the Prehistoric Planet, racial relations are the special of the day as humans and “centaurians” find themselves on a mysterious primordial world of dinosaurs and clichés. Meanwhile, Wild Rebels cashes in on the biker/trucker/counter-culture film scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but with less interesting results. In Ed Wood’s The Sinister Urge, a police lieutenant is investigating a series of murders involving young models who take “smut pictures”. And in regional filmmaker Ray Dennis Steckler’s The Incredibly Strange Creatures, a directionless guy visits a carnival and is hypnotized into murdering some of the other acts.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which are 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 couple from disc to disc, most of which have been carried over from the original Rhino boxed set releases, but some featuring newly-produced content from the likes of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. For Women of the Prehistoric Planet, there’s an introduction to the episode by actress Irene Tsu. For Wild Rebels, there’s They Kill for Kicks: Making Wild Rebels, a 9-minute interview with writer/director William Grefe, actor Steve Alaimo, and film historian Chris Poggiali, as well as some rare behind-the-scenes footage. For The Sinister Urge, there’s an introduction to the film by actor Conrad Brooks, and Wood: Taming The Sinister Urge, a 12-minute featurette with horror host Mr. Lobo about both the film and the MST3K episode. For The Incredibly Strange Creatures, only the film’s trailer is included.
All in all, this is another solid release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. I for one am incredibly thankful to have an out-of-print release of the show back on the market, even without substantial extras. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.
– Tim Salmons