In the late 1990s, I was drawn into the hilarious world of Mystery Science Theater 3000; a TV series orginally on Comedy Central and, eventually, moved to The Sci-Fi Channel (back in the day when its name was spelled right) that poked fun at the worst movies ever made by Hollywood. The idea of a group of people making fun of a movie while its playing out in front of you may sound strange to outsiders, but, after watching the show's feature film (riffing on the Universal classic This Island Earth), I was hooked.
The premise centers around Mike Nelson, a temp worker who is shot into space by the demented Dr. Forrester and his assistant, TV's Frank. Stuck on board a space ship called the Satellite of Love, the doctor's goal is to force Mike to watch countless bad movies in order to break his will and use him to enhance his world domination schemes. However, Mike has three things to counter Forrester's plan; a sharp sense of humor and two wise-cracking robots named Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot. Watching a bad movie can be a joy to behold or a utter pain, depending on your tolerance for these sorts of movies. Thankfully, the fast-paced humor of Mike and the 'bots make an already goofy movie like The Beginning of The End even more enjoyable.
The film was made by Bert I. Gordon, a b-movie director who's running theme is giant creatures; ranging from a bald man in a sarong to giant teenagers boogieing to 1960s music, and, with 1957's The Beginning of The End, we can now add giant grasshoppers to the list. The film stars Peggie Castle and Peter Graves as a female news reporter and a scientist who must find a way to stop an army of giant grasshoppers from destroying most of Illinois. Perhaps the biggest star, no pun intended, is the low budget special effects to make the grasshoppers look gigantic. And, by low budget, I mean using photo cutouts of the city of Chicago and some trick photography. And, while all of this is going on, Mike, Crow, and Tom sling their comedic arrows at this turkey without mercy. Also, during intermissions, we get to see a bit of what goes on aboard the Satellite of Love; ranging from a wrong number that won't take a hint, the weekly invention exchange, and other strange shinanigans that happen between the heroes of the SOL and the villains in Deep 13 (best example is Crow's production play involving the college years of Peter Graves).
The DVD only contains the episode as it appeared on Comedy Central and not much else. It's a bare bones DVD. But, if you're looking to expand your MST3K collection or if you're looking for a gateway into this madcap show, then pick up this DVD and have a good laugh.