MST3K: Volume XXXV Is Another Must Have For Series’ Fans

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

This summer Shout! Factory will release the 36th (yes, 26th) volume of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The four-disc collection is currently scheduled to be released in stores and online on Tuesday, July 26th.  While not too far off, it is still a little bit of a wait.  Luckily the series’ 35th volume was released late last month.  And it offers plenty of entertainment for fans of the series while they wait for the release of Volume XXXVI and the upcoming reissue of Volume II (yes, II!) beginning with its featured movies.  That will be discussed shortly.  The collective writing and acting presented throughout each episode is just as important to note as the movies themselves.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with each movie is just as important as the movies and their collective writing and acting.  Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXV.  Altogether they make this collection another must have for any of the series’ fans and one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXV is one of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.  It is also yet another welcome addition to the home library of any of the series’ fans.  One element that makes it yet another entertaining collection is its featured movies.  It features four more of Hollywood’s “best of the worst.”  Interestingly enough at least one of the movies—Teenage Cave Man (1958)—features a rather well-known figure before he become a megastar in Robert Vaughan (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.Bullitt,The Magnificent Seven).  That’s just part of what makes this movie so important to the collection.  That Roger Corman-helmed the project is just as important to note.  Audiences that are familiar with Corman’s work will notice a number of his trademarks throughout the movie.  Much the same can be said of Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell, which is another of the movies included in this set.  Corman executive produced the movie.  And while he might not have been behind the lens for this installment of the Deathstalker franchise, his influence can be felt because of its over the top camp from beginning to end.  12 To The Moon and Being From Another Planet are important to note in the bigger picture of this collection as Teenage Caveman and Deathstalker III. The prior is important to note not just for its camp but for the message in its story and certain elements of the story in whole.  Those elements include the fact that audiences never actually see the “moon creatures” save for one fleeting moment early on when the astronauts first go exploring the lunar surface.  Being From Another Planet is an important inclusion in this set because it actually plays on a favorite theory of “ancient alien theorists.”  It presents a mummy in a museum’s Egypt exhibit as in fact not just being a mummy but the mummy of a being….well…from another planet.  There are in fact people that believe to this day that there is a link between Egyptians and beings from other planets, and that they even gave the Egyptians the technology needed to build the pyramids.  Given, that is a completely crackpot theory with no real substantial supportive evidence.  But for some, it is more than just a theory.  It is a belief.  And while the movie is just as terribly campy as this set’s other cinematic offerings, the movie’s plot still makes it an interesting story to see at least once.  The zingers tossed out by the crew of the Satellite of Love give their own reason for audiences to check out this movie.  Speaking of which, the zingers in question are, together with the cast’s acting, just as important to each episode as the movies themselves.

The movies that are featured in Shout! Factory’s latest collection of MST3K (as it will henceforth be known) episodes are important in their own right to the collection’s overall presentation.  While they are undeniably important they are not the only important part of the set’s presentation.  The cast’s work and that of the writers is just as important to each episode as the noted episodes.  Both the writing and acting prove to be razor sharp from one episode to the next in this set.  That should come as no surprise, either considering all of the laughs offered up in every one of the series’ previous installments.  The “Experiment Exchange” skit presented ahead of Teenage Caveman is proof of that.  The crew of the SOL (it just never gets old) is hilarious as they present a book of Rainy Day Ipecacs, a bowl of Lucky Charms with cherry Nyquil, a Snickers bar with honey mustard, and a pair of rather unappetizing other offerings.  There’s something about their presentations that is so hilarious.  Audiences actually believe, thanks to the cast’s work, that these outer space outcasts half believe in their “inventions” yet don’t really care one bit.  On the other end, Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu are just as wildly entertaining as TV’s Frank and Dr. Clayton Forrester.  The pair’s on-screen chemistry is wonderful to see as they fight over who is going to present Dr. Forrester’s (or is it Frank’s?) invention.  The dispute leads to an ongoing conflict between the pair that spans each of the episode’s laugh out loud skits between movie segments.  As if that isn’t enough, the zingers tossed out by the SOL’s crew (See?  It just doesn’t get old) are just as laugh out loud funny.  They include references to Bonanza, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, the Peanuts gang, Jenny Craig (yes, even Jenny Craig), Charlton Heston, and any number of cultural jokes.  There are so many references and jokes that not even a program could hold them all.  It’s a real tribute to the writers that they are still as funny today as they were in the episode’s original broadcast.  The cast’s timing in delivering each of those nonstop zingers shows yet again the importance of their work alongside that of the show’s writers.  Collectively speaking, the writing and acting presented in this episode is just one example of what makes both elements just as important in this collection as in the series’ previous collections.  The work put into 12 To The Moon’s skits and zingers also serves to show the importance of the noted elements.

The work that went into making Teenage Caveman such a laugh riot episode was definitely not for naught.  Yes, that bad joke was intentional.  The end result of the writers’ work and that of the cast is nonstop entertainment from beginning to end.  The same can be said of the work that went into 12 To The Moon’s skits and jokes.  The crew of the Satellite of Love encounters a time traveling woman in this episode who wants to take them back to her time.  This is a completely outrageous plot that is just as stupid as those in the movies that Joel, Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo are forced to watch.  Yet it’s strangely so stupid that it’s hilarious.  Considering that, the writers are once again to be lauded once again for their efforts.  Of course the cast’s handling of this so silly that it’s funny story is just as worthy of applause as that of the writers.  Back on Earth, TV’s Frank finally gets to roast Dr. Forrester.  It doesn’t turn out so well for Frank in the end.  On a more subtle level, Trace Beaulieu’s performance here seems to be homage to Groucho Marx, with the cigar and other elements.  Whether or not the comparison was intentional is anyone’s guess.  But if it was intentional, then Beaulieu is to be commended as he does an outstanding job of channeling the late, great comedic actor.  It’s just one way in which the writing and acting shines in this episode.  They both shine once again throughout the course of the movie as the guys throw out even more pop culture jokes and references.  That includes references to: Star Trek, The Muppet Show/Pigs in Space, Abba, Dr. Dolittle, PBS, and many others.  The pop culture jokes include a stab at all of the moon landing conspiracy theorists, and even some light-hearted biblical and other religious jokes.  Again, there are so many jokes and references that not even a program can contain them all.  It’s even more reason for audiences to pick up this collection of episodes.  The wonderful writing and acting presented here and in Teenage Caveman  clearly shows the importance of the show’s writing and acting.  That is not to discount the work put into the set’s other pairing of episodes.  Those two episodes, and the pair more directly noted here, combine to undeniably show why the work of the show’s writers and cast alike is just as important in these episodes as the set’s featured movies.  Together with said movies, the writing and acting proves once more in the bigger picture why this collection is another must have for the show’s fans, and why it is also one of the year’s best box sets for grown-ups.  It is still not the set’s last notable element.  The bonus material that was included with each episode is just as important to the set’s presentation as the movies and their primary content.

The movies that are featured in Shout! Factory’s latest MST3K collection and their primary content (I.E. writing and acting) are undeniably important to the set’s presentation.  While each element proves to be of the utmost importance to this collection’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The bonus material that is included in each episode is just as important as the movies and their overall content.  That is because of the insight that each bonus offers viewers into the creation and history of each movie.  Deathstalker III’s bonus feature Medieval Boogaloo: The Legend of Deathstalker III is proof of that.  Star Thom Christopher discusses the movie in this bonus feature.  Over the course of his interview he shares quite a bit of insight into the movie.  He discusses the work put in by the prop department to give himself and co-star John Allen Nelson two swords each for their big fight scene and how impressed he was by not just their efforts but the result of that work, too.  He also happily discusses his knowledge of the movie’s camp yet the fun that the cast and crew had in holding that knowledge.  He notes that all involved smiled and laugh throughout the course of the movie’s production because of the fact that it was so campy.  It is refreshing to learn that the cast didn’t take itself too seriously in making this otherwise forgettable flick.  That sentiment alone makes this movie worth more than just one watch.   On another note, Roger Corman discusses the casting of lead star  Robert Vaughan in Teenage Caveman’s bonus feature I Was A Teenage Caveman.  He also discusses the silliness of not being allowed by certain individuals to use I Was A Teenage Caveman’s  title for the movie because it was “too highbrow for audiences.”  That comment alone will leave audiences so shocked that all they can do is laugh.  And in 12 To The Moon’s bonus feature You Are There: Launching 12 To The Moon, audiences will be surprised to learn of the political message behind the movie’s script.  The message in question has to do with the need for unity among the Earth’s people.  It is explained that the world’s global political climate did in fact play a direct role in its script.  Keeping all of this in mind, the importance of the episodes’ bonus features become crystal clear.  They offer just as much insight and entertainment as the movies in this set and the collective writing and acting incorporated into each.  And together with the movies themselves, all of the noted elements combine to show once and for all why MST3K Volume XXXV is another must have for fans of this cult classic series.  It also serves collectively to show why this collection is one more of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXV is unquestionably one of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.  It is also a piece that any of the show’s original audiences will want to have in his or her own home library if he or she doesn’t already own the four-disc set.  The central reason for this is the set’s featured episodes.  Each episode is another sampling of the best of the worst.  Because of that, each episode will keep true fans engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  The bonus material that is included in each episode is just as important to note as the set’s movies, acting, and writing.  It offers its own share of entertainment and insight in each episode.  Each element proves highly important in its own right in the big picture of this collection.  Collectively, they show in whole why this set is, again, another must have for fans that don’t already own the collection.  In the same vein, they also show collectively why it is one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.  It is available in stores and online now and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/action-adventure/mst3k-volume-xxxv.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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