Shout! Factory continues to churn out more collections of
Mystery Science Theater to the
awaiting fans, and Volume XXV is a solid
entry. It has a strong candidate for
"First Great Episode" the first show made for the Sci-Fi Channel, and a
Ann-Margaret. What more could you want?
Robot Holocaust (episode
110): "In the future, all robots will
act like Don Knotts." - Crow
The first season of MST is generally looked at as a learning
experance. The first installments showed
hints of the greatness that would come, but the crew was generally hit
with the riffs. They really hit their
stride in the second season, but that doesn't mean there aren't
season one. The first really good
episode in the series is Robot Holocaust.
It's a very low budget, incredibly cheesy futuristic SF
is laughably bad even before Joel and the bots start their riffing. This film takes place in a post-apocalyptic
world where the air is poisonous to breath.
The Dark One has an air purification factory, but he'll only
give air to
those who work for him. Into this
nightmarish world come Neo (no, not the Matrix one) who gathers a group
workers and decides to storm the Dark One's stronghold and end his
With a ridiculous looking 'robot,' a lead villainess who can
barely speak her lines, and a nonsensical plot, this movie is so
that it's sometimes hard to look past it and just listen to the riffs. If you can do that however, the jokes are
pretty good and they a peppered through the film at a pretty good rate. Not the best episode ever, but a highlight
from season one.
This also features the last episode of Radar Men from the
Moon that was riffed on the show (episode 9 for
those who are keeping track.) The film
breaks part way through and that's the end of Commander Cody on the
Operation Double 007 (episode
508) [listed as "Operation Kid Brother" on the disc and case to avoid a
suit]: "You are dressed as a space
angel... why?" - Joel
What a horrible idea.
Sean Connery was starring in the James Bond movies and a huge
why not get his little brother to star in a spy movie too!
That's the ticket! In this train
wreck of a film, Neil Connery
plays, well... Neil Connery, a plastic surgeon who is a master of
the brother of Europe's greatest spy. When one of his patients is kidnapped by a
criminal organization the home office orders Neil to cooperate with Ms.
(Lois Maxwell who played Ms. Moneypenny in the Bond films) in order to
nefarious schemes. The reluctant spy
proves to be a lady's man, hand-to-hand combat expert, and all around
You have to give it to the producers... they really tried with
this film. They got sexy girls and had a
criminal syndicate that would be a perfect match for 007, but they
missed the mark. Silly rather than
clever, the movie is absolutely horrid.
Joel and the bots do an admirable job poking fun at some of the
aspects, especially the outrageous costumes, but it never quite reaches
greatness of some of the other episodes that aired in season five. There are a few too many brother jokes, and
the action on screen is more hilarious than some of the riffs. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good episode
and worth watching, but it's just average.
Kitten with a Whip
(episode 615): After John Forsythe see
Ann-Margret in a nightgown "There isn't a shower cold enough for this
man." - Crow
The two Mike episodes in this collection have something in
common: They're actually not horrible
movies. Kitten with a Whip has two big
stars, John Forsythe and Ann-Margret, and has some very good production
values. The reason the film doesn't work
better than it does is that the two stars don't have much on-screen
and John Forsythe in particular looks a bit lost most of the time.
When a senatorial candidate finds a girl running from her
sexually abusive step-father in his house, he helps her out. He buys her clothes and bus money to her
aunts too. But when he returns home and
discovers the girl is still there, and that she's actually an escaped
things get a little dicey. If he turns
her in, she threatens to claim that he raped her, so the powerful man
The main problem with this experiment is that the movie is
too talky. The two leads spend much of
the time yakking away and it's hard for Mike and the bots to get a word
edge-wise. When they do, the riffs are
good, but this installment isn't one that I find myself watching that
Having said that, the first host segment for this episode is
very good. Crow is greased down, folded
up, and sent to Earth via the umbilicus to find the botton that returns
back to Earth. He doesn't quite
Revenge of the Creature
(episode 802): "Great, now I've got
to change my name to 'Creature from the Edinburg Park Kiddie Pool." -Crow
This is the first episode of the show on the Sci-Fi
Channel. If you recall from the last
Comedy Central episode, the Satellite of Love arrived at the end of the
universe and Tom, Gypsy, and Mike turned into pure energy.
As this episode begins the three are brought
back to the SoL and made whole, where Crow has been waiting. It's now the year 2525 (and yes, they make a
of jokes about the song) and while they are orbiting Earth, the surface
ruled by apes who worship The Lawgiver.
This person has told them to send up a movie, so Mike and the
back to the studio...
This movie, a sequel to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, is
actually a pretty good flick in its own right.
Even without the riffing it's great to watch, but with it the
fantastic. Mike and the bots start off
strong and keep the jokes coming for the entire run of the movie. It's pretty hilarious.
The only weak spot in this installment are the host
segments, and it's not really the fault of the cast or crew. The Sci-Fi channel insisted that the host
segments had a plot that ran from one episode to the next, as if anyone
sit through the two-hour run time of the program just for the 10
host segments. In any case, because of
that edict they had Pearl
chase them across the galaxy. I never
really warmed up to that plot, or any of the new characters that they
into the host segments at this time, and I still don't care for these. That's fine, the host segments in this
episode may not be funny, but they're not that long.
Each of the four episodes comes in its own slimcase, and all
of the disc are housed in a slipcase.
The audio on the host segments is very clean, and the riffs
coming through loud and clear. The audio during the movies are pretty
though the films soundtracks leave a little to be desired. There's some
distortion in a couple of cases but nothing major.
They actually do a very good job mixing the
audio from the movie in with the actor's comments however, adjusting
so that both the riffs and the movie can be heard. Of course there are
of times when one or the other isn't easy to discern, but that is
fairly rare. There are no subtitles.
After watching this show for years on the copies that I
taped off of Comedy Central when it was first broadcast, I was very
how clear it was. My S-VHS tapes are good but this is much better. The
segments are clear and bright, while the silhouettes during the movie
I'm pleased that Shout! is including some nice bonus
features with their MST releases. This
set has some cook extras. There are
introduction to all four episodes by Joel or Mike (depending on who
installment) which are more than just "hope you enjoy the show!"
snippets. They last for a few minutes and
the star of
that show talks about what he remembers about the filming, how they
that particular movie, and some of the behind-the-scenes action that
Shout! Factory has started a new extra with this set
too: Life After MST3K.
There are two installments included with this
collection, one focusing on J. Elvis Weinstein and another on Bill
Corbet. These are really nice and I hope
Finally there's a documentary: Jack Arnold
at Universal, a look at the
director of It Came From Outerspace, and Revenge of the Creature among
There are also four mini-posters, one for each movie. All
together this is a great selection of extras.
Not the absolute best collection of MST3K shows, but it's
definitely worth watching. Even the
missteps are enjoyable and this has a good mix from the show's run. Be sure to check this one out.