The latest installment of the cult classic, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), keeps the laughs coming yet again. MST3K Volume XXVII brings audiences four more episodes and four more movies that are so bad that they’re good. And of course, what volume of MST3K episodes would be complete without the absolutely hilarious commentary by Mike, Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo? It’s all here in one more collection that any fan of this classic series will love to watch again and again. Audiences even get to see a young Ron Howard away from his more well-known role as Opie Taylor in one of the movies.
From giant dancing teens to Cold War propaganda to a giant killer bug to subterranean creatures coming to take over the surface world, this volume has more than its share of campy greatness in its four discs. The set is anchored by what is one of Universal’s best of the bad in The Deadly Mantis. The Deadly Mantis is just one of the many classic horror/sci-fi flicks that Universal Studios churned out after the success of its original monster movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon). This terribly campy flick features a giant prehistoric praying mantis wreaking havoc on the world when the iceberg in which it was encased breaks loose from the arctic and thaws out in warmer waters. This sci-fi classic was one of the campiest of Universal’s monster movies. But by comparison to today’s over-the-top movies claiming themselves to be horror, it is a welcome inclusion for fans of real sci-fi and horror flicks. Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo’s irreverent commentary makes it even better. There are pop culture references, some slightly politically incorrect jokes, and even some that are so nonsensical that one can’t help but laugh at them. The jokes are just part of what makes this movie the anchor to this new set. Fans of classic movies will appreciate the bonus feature on the life of William Alland. “Chasing Rosebud: The Cinematic Life of William Alland” explains the importance of Alland in the history of monster and sci-fi movies. Whether viewers are watching this movie for the first time or for the first time again, this feature will make audiences appreciate his work and The Deadly Mantis even more as a campy yet highly important piece of movie history.
If a classic monster movie from Universal isn’t enough, then perhaps audiences will enjoy the Cold War era propaganda piece, Rocket Attack U.S.A. This black and white movie was centered on tensions between the United States and Russia and what would happen if the two sides both launched their nuclear warheads. It would be no surprise if this 1961 classic was at least partially the influence behind the far more influential 1964 drama, Failsafe. The movie’s criticisms don’t’ stop during the film. Just as with the other movies in this and previous volumes of MST3K episodes, this episode is presented exactly as it aired, complete with intermission segments. The killing of the movie keeps going with its intermission segment as Joel and company go off on the evil Dr. Forrester about all of the movie’s inconsistencies. It’s so funny hearing them filet the movie because viewers know that what Joel and company have to say is exactly what they themselves would have said. That ability to relate to viewers event today makes both this flick and The Deadly Mantis (as well as the set’s other pair of movies) as enjoyable as they are campy.
The movies included in this latest volume of MST3K episodes are funny and enjoyable. It should be noted that Village of the Giants probably isn’t entirely proper for younger viewers. If anything, it comes across as a little bit of an exploitation film, as the “teen” girls outgrow their clothes when they grow. They do keep themselves covered. But some parents might find this a little unsuitable for children. That aside, there is one more factor to note in this new set of episodes. That factor is the set’s packaging. Each episode is set in its own slim case within the larger box. And each box has its own hilarious artwork that goes along with the movie. The artwork used on each episode’s box is just as campy as the movies themselves. So even before viewers put in each disc, they get a good laugh from the artwork on each case. That each disc has its own slim case, this protects each disc from scratching. It’s one more positive—along with the set’s other factors–that will impress fans from the very first time they pull the wrapping from the box.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXVII will be available Tuesday, July 23rd. It will be available in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/217352. Fans can find out about all of the latest releases from Shout! Factory on its official website, http://www.shoutfactory.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.
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