I think that's a good start. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the greatest shows in the history of the world because it was never afraid to rip into a bad film and give it the thrashing it deserves. It inspired a generation to do the same, just via the medium of YouTube, and lives on via Rifftrax.com and Cinematic Titanic.
That being said, the episodes contained herein are among some of the finest the show ever aired. You've got a Bert I Gordon classic that somehow roped in a number of classically trained actors. There's a crappy Atlantis-mythos based movie starring Kathy Ireland's shrill whining. Some of the finest toys ever sunk in a bathtub or blown up with a firecracker. And a Universal classic that not only features half the cast of another Universal film that MST3K ripped into in the previous volume, but it could almost be a precursor to the Kathy Ireland one.
Is it worth the money? Yes. Will you laugh? Absolutely. Will Kathy Ireland's voice make your ears bleed? Oh, probably, I suggest stuffing them with cotton ahead of time.
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102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
A Magic Sword, an Alien From L.A., a Death Ray and Mole People.Dec 8 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
This latest MST3K DVD set features one episode with show creator Joel Hodgson as host and three with head writer Mike Nelson as host. Three episodes are from the Comedy Central era of the show while the fourth is from the first season on the Sci-Fi Channel. It's quite a good selection of episodes with some movies that are fun and entertaining in their own way even before the riffing starts. Of course, MST3K makes them way more fun.
411- THE MAGIC SWORD This 1962 color film from Bert I. Gordon is certainly one of his best and it's actually a fairly fun and well made fantasy film aimed at younger audiences. It features a fine cast including Basil Rathbone, Estelle Winwood and Gary Lockwood. Entertaining as it is on its own it still makes for a terrific and hilarious episode of MST3K. In fact the endless fantasy elements and bits of intentional humor in the film work exceedingly and surprisingly well as fodder for jokes on the Satellite Of Love. A beautiful princess (Anne Helm) is kidnapped by an evil wizard (Rathbone) and a young man (Lockwood) raised by a kind sorceress (Winwood) is determined to rescue her. There's even a quite decent looking dragon in the film. The riffing is constant, unending fun during this one and as an added bonus one of the host segments features Crow T. Robot declaring his love for Estelle Winwood in song. There's no better example than this to show that MST3K worked just as well with a decent film as it did making fun of a terrible one. I've been wanting this one on DVD for years and am excited to see it finally get released.
516- ALIEN FROM L.A. This 1988 Golan Globus color film is a comedy action update loosely based on Jules Verne's Journey To The Center Of The Earth starring Kathy Ireland. However lovely and attractive model Kathy Ireland is the fact that she is not an experienced or trained actress shows clearly in every frame of the film. This of course leads to many wonderful jokes at her expense. The film is quite goofy and in some cases deliberately so, but the low budget production with its silly script can't escape the wrath of the writers at MST3K. The musical host segment "Wild Irish Ireland" is charming and extremely funny. There's also a host segment quiz about the many yet few facial expressions of Kathy Ireland in the film that is quite funny. Great riffing throughout.
620- DANGER! DEATH RAY Poorly made James Bond knock-offs were all the rage in 1967 when this Italian spy flick was released with former Tarzan actor Gordon Scott as agent Bart Fargo (really!) trying to track down a stolen "death ray". Oddly, the maker of the death ray declares at the beginning of the film that it was built "only for peaceful purposes" which is a good laugh right there for something referred to as a "death ray" even before the MST3K writers latch onto it as they do for some great riffing and an entire host segment! Like Secret Agent Super Dragon and Operation Double 007 before it the crew of the Satellite Of Love give us yet another hilarious episode making fun of a terrible attempt to cash in on the James Bond film craze. This is one off the better episodes from MST3K season 6.
803- THE MOLE PEOPLE Wow, another classic Universal horror picture finally makes it to MST3K DVD release. John Agar stars in this 1956 black-and-white film about a subterranean civilization that enslaves the bug-eyed mole people who share their underground world. This movie was shown endlessly on UHF TV stations back in the 1960s and 1970s and I was thrilled when MST3K had the chance to make fun of it in their first year on the Sci-Fi Channel. MST3K had been referring to this movie from its earliest days with "mole people" working for Dr. Forrester in Deep 13 so getting a crack at the actual film must have been quite fun. This episode features MST3K's first guest star ever, NFL player Robert Smith. It's a fun outing as MST3K returns to making fun of its core film genre, low budget science fiction.
Extra features include: - Bert I. Gordon: The Amazing Colossal Filmmaker, a new interview with "The Magic Sword" director Bert I. Gordon by Ballyhoo - Of Mushrooms and Madmen: Making The Mole People, a documentary by Ballyhoo - A new interview With "Alien From L.A." director Albert Pyun. - Life After MST3K: Mike Nelson.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Another Great SetMarch 6 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been enjoying these guys since season one first aired ,I have every available episode that I could get my hands on including pre-ordering every new set that is released right here on Amazon and I can tell you for re-watchability you cant beat MST3K. Ive veiwed every episode multiple times and I can still sit here right now and veiw them again ,these guys are multi-talented and they make me laugh more than any other program Ive ever watched ,you cant go wrong purchasing anything these guys do and if you want more of the same you can purchase RIFF TRAXX from the same guys right here on Amazon for peanuts ,so if you havent checked out any of there work give yourself a treat ,Thank You.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
LOOKING at the EXTRASApril 4 2013
W. T. Hoffman
- Published on Amazon.com
Everybody's favorite pop culture satirizing, puppet show mocking TV show has just released VOLUME 26, filled with insightful dainties deconstructing the people behind the films, and behind MST3K as well. Even tho the captives on the Satelite of Love's riffing over these cheesey masterpieces is the primary rationale behind buying these box sets, I personally love that SHOUT! takes the time and trouble, to create these mini-documentaries about the films, and the MST3K cast. Now that the show's creation lies over two decades in the past, and the pop culture comments up to 50 years in the past, with films at times 80 years in the past, it does take cultural historians to keep these films in perspective. (Especially for those who are discovering these films for perhaps the first time, instead of finding them on saturday afternoon TV back in 1968, or late night cable TV in 1978, etc.) So, I'll comment briefly on each film, and then tell you wants great about those Extras, that often make up for MST3K episodes which are less than classic, or films which are at times better left forgotten.
Episode 802 THE MOLE PEOPLE They're finally releasing an early Season 8 episode, from when "Big Mama" Pearl Forester, Brain Guy, and Bobo take over. Not since the beginning of season 2 has the cast changed so much. Instead of Deep 13, the show shifts to Pearl chasing the Satilite of Love, thru space and time, with a weekly serialized storyline, which became confusing over time. The second SCIFI episode is still setting up how Professor Bobo and Brain Guy joined Pearl, after the previous week discovery of why Crow's voice changed. (Not being able to follow this plot, does little to add or detract from the show's enjoyment. But--best to follow it anyway.) The film this week--A JOHN AGAR FILM!(Shades of Francis Coleman). The MOLE PEOPLE is basically "Lost Horizon", but with mole people, and very bleached out ancient Sumerians. SCIFI repeated this episode so often, I know it forward and backward. I always thought it was fun, tho. The 20 minute long documentary on THE MOLE PEOPLE that SHOUT! produced, does much to explain how UNIVERSAL STUDIOS could crank out so many films like this one, LEECH WOMAN, and THE THING THAT COULDNT DIE, on as little as $330,000, using stock fotage, and "Moviestars" on salery to the studio. It's always amazing to me, that these films have their true believers in LA, who know everything worth knowing, about the costumes, the sets, and the guys that could create one-take films, without cringing. For students wishing to study the evolution of the USA's entertainment industry, these mini-documentaries provide CRITERION COLLECTION insights into these lowbrow cinematic achievements.
EPISODE 516 ALIEN FROM LA Even tho the film's from 1986, its a complete disaster. VIDEOHOUND movie guide doesnt even give it one star. But the best MST3K shows often fell on the worst films. Its not that this film lacked for budget, just talent. Casting a fashion model with a voice 5 octaves above soprano, gives the movie a "nails-on-chalkboard" irritation that never lets up. (Altho supplies the cast with plenty of riffing material.) A woman's archeologist father falls into a subterranian world, not unlike the MOLE PEOPLE, but in color, and with New Wave Hair. The skits around the film, written by BEST BRAINS still sailing high just weeks after JOEL left the show, keep the episode fun to watch. The extra for this DVD is a LONG extended interview with the mastermind director behind ALIEN FROM LA. Apparently he doesnt realize what a turkey the movie is, and made comments like "If we could have filmed this today with modern CGI effects, it'd be a hit" or "If people could only see the 35mm print of the film, they could appreciate the cinematic composistion of the shots." REALLY?!?! What was interesting, was hearing how the film was shot in Africa, in an Ex-Nazi community, with production money so diry it was not allowed to leave the country. In other words, someone wanted to do some money launderies, and used this hideous excuse of a film to do it. At the interview's end, the director said he had no intention of ever watching MST3K's treatment of this masterpiece. His loss. One of the most bizarre interviews I've seen on any of these MST3K DVDs, definately.
EPISODE 620 DANGER! DEATH RAY Altho I'm sure I've seen every episode of MST3K, if only on U-toob, I have no recollection of the film. Even in the MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, they only devoted a paragraph to this film. However, having such an obscure episode has its own value, ie, it'll be just like watching the show for the first time. Basically the movie's about a scientist who invents a death ray, and while demonstating it, is kidnapped along with the Death Ray, by "The bad guys". Unlike the Italian spy films MST3K tackled before, SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON, and OPERATION DOUBLE 007, this one has little entertainment value. It's not even CHEESY in a cool way. But the extra here is great: MICHAEL NELSON giving us an overview of his entire career, including his work at CGI FRIDAYs. He talks about how the cast wanted to stay together, like the Rolling Stones I guess, so they became involved in various computer comedy projects when MST3K finally was canceled. For example, there was the short lived LORD OF THE RINGS parody on SCIFI's website. Mike Nelson, like Kevin Murphy, wrote some books reviewing various films. Then later, there's THE FILM CREW, and RIFFTRAX. Mike doesnt give as much behind the scenes insider gossip as Elvis Weinstein and Joel gave in their respective interviews, but he does refer to his effort at attempting to "Work together" with the others. (As head writer, he obviously was stepping on toes, and is the main reason Joel left the show.) However, for MST3K fans, its the best of this Boxset's EXTRAS.
EPISODE 411 THE MAGIC SWORD AHA! The cinematic HIGHLIGHT of this boxset, and Burt I. Gordon's masterpiece, THE MAGIC SWORD is a film which actually has a modicum of quality to it. In fact, this is one of my favorite films they ever riffed on. The MAGIC SWORD is filmed in LSD HORRORVISION, with each frame saturated with bizarre set lighting, creepy humanoid creatures, fractured fairy tale plot logic, and Burt I Gordon's signiture "special effects". (Humans 4 inches tall, dragon monster, skeletons, two headed men, and endless process shots.) The plot is simple. A witch (Estelle Winwood) raises a foster son, who when he reaches 20, falls in love with the fair maiden, who's been kidnapped by Baisel Rathbone the evil wizard, to feed to his dragon. But the witch's foster son (Played by 2001 a SPACE ODDESY's Gary Lockwood), who's called GEORGE, slays the dragon, and wins the princess's hand. Sound Familar? Its the story of ST GEORGE. The movie is enough of a treat, but this is season four JOEL, which is MST3K at it's mighty best! Best skit: The INCREDIBLE song that Crow, Tom and Joel sing, after Crow reveals that his love affair with Kim Cattrel is ended, with his affections switched to ESTELLE WINWOOD! And the Extra for this film is fantastic as well. BURT I GORDON in PERSON discusses his career. As it turned out, he started out as a D.I.Y Ed Wood-type amateur with a 16mm camera, and determination. MST3K has done a LOT of Burt I Gordon's films, so it was cool discovering how his oeveur fits together. (His first film was KING DINOSAUR, from episode 210.) Unlike Ed Wood, tho, Burt I Gordon had a bit of talent, and was able to raise more and more money, until he could afford to film MAGIC SWORD in color, with some real movie stars. And what impressed me most, was the genuine love of cinema, for all types of cinema, that came across from Mr. Gordon. This is one extra you DEFINATELY will want to watch. And, like all these films, the movie trailer is included, the artwork mini posters, along with "Mystery Science Theater Hour" wraps for MAGIC SWORD.
And there you are...another fun box set of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Apparently the box set will be released in December 2013, and will have a Burt I Gordon film with a "giant Insent". (Probibly Episode 313 EARTH VS THE SPIDER). Let's hope that SHOUT! keeps releasing these boxsets, for those of us who find as much artistic revelation about the human condistion in ROBOT MONSTER, as is in Tarkovsky's STALKER. Well, ALMOST as much.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great combination of four "B" movies for mst3k to cover in a set.May 29 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Hilarious movies. One of the best of the mst3k movie collections. Well chosen mix of comedy. I loved this set.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Make it and I will order itJune 8 2013
J. F. Karnitz
- Published on Amazon.com
I own all the other MST3K sets and enjoy each one over and over again. The cutting dialogue makes each set worth owning. Some of the faces change but the movies don't get any better.