On the finish of each episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 throughout its authentic run from 1988 to 1999, the credit advised followers ought to “hold circulating the tapes.” Since, for such a very long time, there was no official VHS launch of any of the episodes, taping MST3K your self off of Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel was the one strategy to take pleasure in it. Many (but not all) of the episodes have been launched by Shout! Manufacturing facility over the almost 20 years because the present went off the air, however even lots of these stay extraordinarily arduous to seek out. Or at the very least they did till now!
Shout! has been re-releasing all of their earliest MST3K DVD volumes (from again within the Rhino Video days) for some time now, however a number of the episodes have been solely ever launched individually. In an effort to wash that up a bit, Shout! has seen match to launch a set they’re calling “The Singles Assortment,” which gathers 5 of essentially the most beloved episodes with the uncommon third quantity of shorts. I bear in mind having a few of these on VHS once I was youthful. Ah, these have been the bizarre, analog days.
Thriller Science Theater in its heyday was a present most followers taped and watched time and again, to the purpose that they bear in mind some obscure-ass jokes. However from my expertise, every rewatch gives the chance to chuckle for minutes at a time at a joke you had utterly forgotten about. Except you have been a forward-thinking TV watcher in Minnesota in 1988, no one taped all 197 episodes of the unique run, so those we did tape grew to become valuable, whereas those we didn’t, or had perhaps by no means seen, handed into the ether as, at finest, distant reminiscences.
For this reason the Shout! Manufacturing facility mission to place out as lots of the episodes as potential is such a noble one, not merely as a model, however for all the followers who perhaps by no means received an opportunity to see a number of the lesser classics on TV or VHS. Quite a lot of episodes are on Netflix, now because of the manufacturing of season 11 and the upcoming season 12, but it surely’s undoubtedly not an entire episode record, so DVDs are nonetheless the very best and solely strategy to hold these episodes alive now that VHS is useless as Dillinger.
“The Singles Assortment” re-releases a number of the earliest single-issue releases, a few of which have been out of print for over a decade. All of those come from the Joel Hodgson period, and three of them have a model new introduction by the person himself, with a few retrospective featurettes as nicely.
We begin with episode 106: The Crawling Hand, one of many early VHS releases. It’s a dirt-cheap 1963 sci-fi/horror flick concerning the arm of an exploded astronaut, dropped at life via God is aware of what, that wreaks one thing akin to havoc on a small city. As one of many earliest episodes of the Comedy Central period, it’s bizarre to see Joel need to restate the premise of the film within the first host section, and a number of the references are notably dated, however there’s some good things, particularly from some extent earlier than all the parts of the sequence had been absolutely established.
Subsequent up is episode 209: The Hellcats, a doofy ’60s biker film produced by longtime Coleman Francis collaborator Anthony Cardoza, is an early basic. So lots of the motion pictures they did on the present have been crappy little B-pictures designed to enchantment to the youth market of the 1960s, and this can be a good instance of that.
The subsequent three episodes are respectable classics, and it’s a marvel they haven’t been on DVD in such a very long time. The primary of those is episode 321: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a Christmas custom for lots of people, I’d wager. Every of the sequence’ eras did a Christmas episode, and it started with Joel’s first foray proper about midway via his time on the present. A bananas 1964 youngsters’s film about Martians (which have been simply actors painted inexperienced, carrying inexperienced, and sporting inexperienced motorbike helmets with no visors) who wish to steal Santa Claus for their very own youngsters’s toy whims. This provided Joel and the Bots no finish of riffing alternative.
Then we now have episode 506: Eegah, one other of those B-pictures made for teenagers within the ’60s. Eegah is a few big caveman (performed by the good Richard Kiel) who by no means died out or developed and who runs afoul of some hip folks dwelling within the desert. Written and directed by Arch Corridor Sr and starring his son Arch Corridor Jr, that is the film that gave the world the immortal line “Be careful for snakes!” which grew to become the identify of final 12 months’s dwell MST3K tour, during which Jonah Ray and the brand new solid alternated between riffing on Eegah and an Italian superhero/spy film known as Argoman: The Implausible Superman. Eegah stays a touchstone for MSTies to today.
And the ultimate film within the Singles set is episode 507: I Accuse My Mother and father, a 1944 exploitation film coping with juvenile delinquency. In response to Hodgson in his intro/retrospective, it was a film made for the G.I.s in WWII who have been perhaps morally lax after their time at conflict, and so a film was commissioned to indicate these younger thugs that mendacity and unhealthy habits are actually not the precise factor to do. This episode—the one proper after Eegah—exhibits how nicely the writing and riffing workforce had begun to work collectively, on the top of their powers.
And the ultimate disc within the sequence is the third quantity of shorts, initially launched because the final VHS in 2001, and once more as an additional on the 2004 “Necessities” DVD set, which included Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Manos: The Palms of Destiny. The shorts have been at all times among the many finest issues they did on the sequence, so getting to observe a bunch collectively is a grand outdated time.
Thriller Science Theater 3000 is a present that can definitely stand the take a look at of time, and has proved so for over 30 years. That mentioned, not each episode is on the forefront of individuals’s minds. However simply because there are a ton of episodes doesn’t imply some can stand to be left behind. So long as there are followers on the market, no episode of MST3K ought to ever be forgotten.
Pictures: Shout Manufacturing facility
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