Release Date(s)Various (November 22, 2016)
- 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 XXXVII DVD set. Shout’s boxed sets of the show are normally released three to four times a year, with some nice extras and better quality episodes than you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. Their price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the series, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K in past reviews, so I won’t bother getting into that again here. We’ll just cover the set itself. Here you get the following four episodes: The Human Duplicators (Season 4, Episode 20), Escape 2000 (Season 7, Episode 5), The Horror of Party Beach (Season 8, Episode 17), and Invasion of the Neptune Men (Season 8, Episode 19).
The episodes in these sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, there’s only one hosted by Joel and three hosted by Mike. The quality of each episode varies. Released under many different titles, The Human Duplicators tells what would happen if aliens came to Earth to replicate us using robots but couldn’t control their love for our blind nieces... or something. Escape 2000 comes from the cycle of Escape from New York/Road Warrior knock-offs in the 1980’s and is about a band of rebels fighting against an evil corporation, hell-bent on taking over the Bronx and eradicating its residents. The music, the dancing, and the babes come full force in The Horror of Party Beach, wherein a mysterious sea creature is killing beach-bound teenagers left and right. Invasion of the Neptune Men tells of an evil, invading alien race and a young Sonny Chiba as Space Chief there to stop them as wide-eyed Japanese children look on.
In terms of image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on analog 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 extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely still a major upgrade from the circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for extras, you get a few here, most of them newly-produced for this set (courtesy of the great Ballyhoo Motion Pictures). For The Human Duplicators, there’s set of MST Hour Wraps featuring Mike Nelson as Jack Perkins. For Escape 2000, you get an introduction by Mary Jo Pehl, the Leave the Bronx: Making Escape 2000 featurette, and the original theatrical trailer. For The Horror of Party Beach, you get another introduction by Pehl, the Return to Party Beach: Making the First Horror-Monster Musical featurette, and the original theatrical trailer. For Invasion of the Neptune Men, you get another introduction by Pehl, the August on Neptune featurette, and the original theatrical trailer. And if you bought this set through Shout! Factory’s website, the first 1,500 orders came with a bonus disc that features both of The Fancy MST3K Hollywood Awards Specials, which consists of the Academy of Robots’ Choice Awards Special from 1998 and the Little Gold Statue Preview Special from 1995 (presented in that order, oddly enough). 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 from the good folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons