Shout! Factory will release the thirtieth (yes, thirtieth!) volume of episodes from the classic cult hit series Mystery Science Theater 3000 later this month. This latest grouping of episodes is one more welcome addition to the library of any MST3K fan and an equally welcome way to beat the heat this summer. For that matter, it’s just as welcome an alternative to the seemingly endless stream of prequels, sequels, and remakes currently polluting the nation’s theaters right now. The main reason for the enjoyment of this set is obviously the movies featured in the set. As with every single previous box set, the writing for Mike, Joe, and all the rest is just as sharp and hilarious as ever. And last but definitely not least, the bonus features included in each disc round out the whole thing. All three pieces together make MST3K: Volume XXX one more must have both for any fan of this cult favorite and for any true-blooded classic film buff.
The first and most obvious reason for the success of MST3K: Volume XXX is the grouping of movies chosen for the collection. Four more movies from Hollywood’s golden era have been chosen for this collection. And they feature some of the most legendary names in the history of the movie industry. One of those names in question is none other than Willis O’Brien, who was the mentor to fellow legend Ray Harryhausen. O’Brien’s famed stop-motion techniques were used in The Black Scorpion (1957), which is the first of the set’s movies. Also included in the set are Outlaw of Gor (1988), It Lives By Night (1974), and The Projected Man (1966). Audiences may or may not recognize a very young Jack Palance (City Slickers, City Slickers II, Batman) in Outlaw of Gor. And while they may not have ever become as big as Palance, the cast members of each of the other movies included in this set each put forth their best effort, which will potentially make them memorable in their own right. And now thanks to the movies seeing the light of day once again thanks to this new box set, those cast members both famous and not so much will get new notoriety. What’s more, audiences that might never have heard of these movies will receive a film history lesson from the movies themselves. That featuring of some of Hollywood’s biggest names alongside some of the lesser known names and movies shows why the movies themselves are key to the enjoyment of this latest volume from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The movies included in this volume of MST3K are the biggest reason for the collection’s enjoyment. On a somewhat deeper level, the show’s writing holds its own importance. Whether it be in the outrageous skits that bookend the movies or the biting commentary itself made during the movie, the show’s writing in these episodes is hilarious. The barbs aimed at the movies include countless pop culture references that the show’s original audiences will appreciate. From the Three Stooges and the Smashing Pumpkins to Cosmo magazine to classic movies and television shows other than the movies being exhibited, the writers (and the delivery of the jokes) will have audiences laughing tears of joy. The writing in the show’s skits is just as entertaining as the commentary that fills each of the movies. This time out, Pearl discovers her evil lineage in one episode. In another, Dr. Forrester’s experiment ends up badly, with both his assistant and himself altered in unexpected ways. There are plenty more laughs from the skits that will leave audiences in stitches. Those laughs will come when audiences purchase this box set for themselves.
The writing that went into the skits and commentary along with the movies themselves chosen for this volume of episodes together more than put the box set over the top by themselves. The bonus features included with each of the movies collectively finish off the set. Just one example of how the bonus features put that finishing touch on this set is the bonus “Making of” featurette included with The Black Scorpion. That featurette is more a history lesson about the history of stop motion in film than a documentary on how the movie in question came to life. Audiences learn where stop motion started in the movie industry and its significance in the overall picture of The Black Scorpion. Audiences will enjoy just as much the interviews with the heads of Outlaw of Gor. Included as bonus material in this movie are interviews with the movie’s director and producer. There is also a feature on author John Norman and his books from which Outlaw of Gor was adapted. It all definitely makes for its own added entertainment. And that entertainment together with each episode’s solid writing and the movies themselves puts the finishing touch on one more volume of films and comedy that every MST3K fan will definitely want to add to their own home library.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXX will bbe available Tuesday, July 29th. It can be pre-ordered now on DVD at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/mystery-science-theater-3000-volume-30. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.