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The Film Crew: Killers from Space
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Creatures from another planet with ping-pong balls for eyes raise a human scientist (Peter Graves) from the dead to have him spy on Earth for them. This version of the film includes commentary from the Film Crew team.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: NR UPC: 826663103793 Manufacturer No: SF10379
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And yes, for those who are wondering, the riffing is still at a slightly more 'mature' level than MST's standard 'saturday morning cartoon' rating. Nothing overbearing, but a few sex based jokes and a few weak swear words. Most viewers will barely register the elevation in 'adult content.'
The film itself is an early horror film starring Peter Graves against aliens and the military industrial leadership. Given the era, it's obvious that nuclear energy plays a key role in the film, hilariously represented here by either stock footage of very lame special effects. While I like Peter Graves, in this he is totally wooden, which makes him an easy target for skewering. Obviously Graves is eventually vindicated in a climactic scene that is as humorous as it is ludicrous.
This isn't my favorite B-movie, but it is a classic of the genre, and the Film Crew do an admirable job on the commentary track. I recommend this release to any MST3K fan, any fan of comedy, or any fan of B-movies from the black and white era.
Killers From Space is a 1954 black and white science fiction movie directed by W. Lee Wilder, the brother of the much better director Billy Wilder. If you've seen any of W. Lee's work before (e.g., The Snow Creature) you know you're likely in for a dull, hilariously bad film, and Killers From Space does not disappoint! From the dull opening filled with narration over stock footage to the goggle-eyed aliens in jump suits, to scenes of Peter Graves endlessly running away from rear projections of "giant" lizards and insects, this film will alternately make you howl with laughter and nearly doze off to sleep. It is also interesting to note that this is one of the first films wherein a human is taken by aliens, has medical work performed on him, and then has "missing time" and can't remember what happened. It is the only lasting significant, if dubious, contribution to our popular culture this film has to make.
The Film Crew commentary is sharp and funny throughout most of this clunker of a film, although when the film slows to a crawl in the middle there does seem to be a lull in the commentary as well. It's as if the film was so vacuous at that point that it was hard to generate jokes about it. However, once action commences again as the hero races to save the world the jokes pick up too.
The host segments are funny, especially the one in the middle of the film called the "lunch break" and the closing sketch is quite good as well. There is a brief sketch included as an extra feature that is also worth watching. Please note that the jokes on this DVD are intermittently a bit more PG-13 style than what was done on MST3K, so you might want to screen it yourself first before sharing it with younger children.
I definitely recommend this entry from The Film Crew, it is just as enjoyable as their first DVD, "Hollywood After Dark" and I'm looking forward to the next couple releases from them, Wild Women Of Wongo and Giant Of Marathon. Any comedy fan would enjoy this, but it's especially recommended for fans of MST3K and old B-grade SF movies. Mike, Kevin, Bill, it's great to have you back in our living rooms riffing away at new material!
One of the eight Ka-zillion cheaply made sci-fi movies produced during the 1950's; the plot is rather typical. Peter "Don't Mention My Brother" Graves is a noted, if not notable scientist who's plane drops like a rock after circling an atomic blast. He shows up days later in a confused state, which seems fairly normal for him, despite a large L-shaped magic marker stain on his chest passing for a scar. Seven hours into the movie (or so it seems), Pete "remembers" that he ran into some optically challenged aliens sporting cumber bunds after his plane crash who want to "take over" or "kill something" or maybe just fiddle with some dials. Whatever, they have to be destroyed if only for the sake of good taste and Pete figures that turning off the electricity will do it...and so it does.
And I thought "Hollywood After Dark" was dirt cheap, this piece of work makes a Roger Corman film look like "Ben Hur". Peter "Next on Biography" Graves is pretty bad, unless you compare his performance to the sets, special effects, & every other actor in the film. In which case, he deserves an Oscar just for surviving this mess.
The Film Crew is again in top form, though they really pound the "Biography" aspect into the ground. The two skits are really good, especially the one after the film and they won't disappoint any MST3K fan out there. The "Special Feature" tops the one in "Hollywood After Dark" and while I won't give it away, I will suggest that you don't immediately choose a topic and just watch Kevin Murphy.
Once again, I was not pleased with the limitations of the DVD and would suggest that they add scene selection to the menu and perhaps an alternate audio channel that just has the film dialogue. But these are fairly minor nits that won't stop me from purchasing the next release from The Film Crew.
- Hard to believe, but two years after this debacle was released, Peter Graves turned in a very good performance in "Night of the Hunter".
- The final explosion seen through the window is from one of the many atomic bomb tests performed in the Pacific Ocean just after WWII. And judging from the view, the power plant must be 25,000 feet above sea level.
- Although they don't have the robots, it is interesting that The Film Crew falls into the same patter. Mike still seems to be the leader, Kevin's comments are very similar to what Tom Servo used to say, and Bill has the same short fuse with movies like this as his counterpart Crow T. Robot.