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Mystery Science Theater 3000's verbal brawls with the much-maligned Japanese monster Gamera--you know, the flying turtle--are included in this limited-edition boxed set, which buffets the riffing with some impressive and informative extras. The Gamera films were a staple of MST3K from its humble beginnings as Minneapolis UHF programming, and when the Satellite of Love moved to Comedy Central in the early '90s, the American re-edits released by distributor Sandy Frank were among the show's most popular episodes. All five of the MST3K Gamera episodes, culled from the show's third season in 1991 and featuring series creator Joel Hodgson alongside robots Tom Servo and Crow, are included in the set, as are some of the show's most memorable skits: in Gamera, Tom croons a heartfelt tribute to the film's lost pet, Tibby the Turtle, and head writer/future host Mike Nelson turns up as the giant monster himself to reveal the true nature of his relationship with boy hero Kenny, while Gamera vs. Gaos features the cast's aborted presentation of their opera "Gameradammerung," and Gamera vs. Guiron and Gamera vs. Zigra offer the SOL's rousing "Gamera Song" and several berserk variations. None of the MST3K Gamera experiments have been available on home video prior to this release, so longtime fans can finally retire their worn pre-records and enjoy the episodes in glorious, uncut form.
In addition to the swell limited-edition tin packaging, MST3K vs. Gamera includes a trio of enjoyable featurettes that pay tribute to both the episodes and the films themselves. So Happy Together: A Look Back at MST3K and Gamera features interviews with Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, and Jim Mallon, who recall the show's long history with Gamera and the joys and pains of watching the films; Gamera vs. the Chiodo Brothers is an amusing and nostalgic look at men-in-monster-suit films with Stephen, Edward, and Charles Chiodo, better known as the creators of Killer Klowns from Outer Space; and Gamera Obscura is an exhaustive oral history of the Gamera series, from its cultural origins to its late '90s revival, by Japanese fantasy film expert August Ragone. Mike Nelson's wrap segments as Jack Perkins from the syndicated MST Hour are also included, as are the original Japanese trailers for each film and a quintet of original mini posters by artist Steve Vance. --Paul Gaita