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Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIV
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119 of 128 people found the following review helpful
Wow, Shout! Factory completes the MST3K Sandy Frank episode releases with BOTH Fugitive Alien episodes and tops that off with one of the Russo-Finnish films and a Mexican wrestling horror movie that says farewell to TV's Frank. This is a pretty eclectic mix of episodes that should please most fans.

310- FUGITIVE ALIEN
This 1987 TV "movie" is actually a 1978 Japanese TV series called Star Wolf imported and modified for the US by Sandy Frank, which tells you it's got to be good in that special way that Mighty Jack and Time Of The Apes are "good". Seriously, they don't get much funnier than this. A brutal alien "Wolf Raider" named Ken stops another "Star Wolf" from killing a human child also named Ken and becomes a fugitive from his own villainous comrades and their planet Valnastar. Ken is reluctantly taken in by the crew of the Earth ship Bacchus III commanded by the puffy-jowled Captain Joe and together they defend the Earth from further Wolf Raider attacks. There is much conflict amongst Ken and his new human companions while they learn to trust each other. Unintentional comedy ensues with the usual overwrought and breathy Sandy Frank cheap dubbing combined with the cheap production values of the original Japanese show. Wolf Raider's have superhuman abilities, but otherwise look just like humans except for the silly long-haired wigs they wear on their raids. And in one memorable scene "they tried to kill him with a forklift", which is used as a premise for one fantastically funny song and host segment with Joel and the 'Bots. There's also a fun host segment based around Syd Field's Screenplay writing guide. This is a much beloved MSTie must-have episode you'll want to watch over and over again. It's MST3K at its absolute best.

318- STAR FORCE - FUGITIVE ALIEN II
The further adventures of Captain Joe, fugitive Star Wolf Ken and the rest of the crew of the Bacchus III is also compiled from a couple episodes of the aforementioned 1978 Japanese TV series. This time they have to destroy an alien super weapon and Ken must deal with his ex-girlfriend Rita who has been sent by the dictator of Valnastar (from which I took my reviewer name years ago!) to kill him. It's about as goofy as the first Fugitive Alien and the episode is about the same level of funny. If you couldn't get enough of Fugitive Alien the first time around (and I never can!) then this episode is for you. Host segments include a Fugitive Alien medley and the Captain Joe action figure.

617- THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON
This is another fantastic Russo-Finnish production with thousands of extras in massive battle scenes as well as fairly well done fantasy elements including an impressive looking dragon. Nevertheless, the dubbing and folk-tale fantasy elements make it pretty good fodder for a humorous MST3K take and like the other Russo-Finnish films used on the show it's enjoyable both for the fantastically beautiful and expensive movie and the silly fun that Mike and the 'Bots have with it. Hero of the film Ilya Murametz visits on the hexfield viewscreen. An enjoyable episode all around.

624- SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN
Sadly, this episode bids farewell to Frank Conniff, but not before we're treated to a pretty amusing episode based around a 1962 black-and-white Mexican wrestling horror film starring the most popular and famous Mexican wrestler of his time, El Santo. El Santo is an early example of a professional wrestler becoming so popular that he got a deal to star in a series of feature films. Renamed "Samson" for this badly dubbed US release, our hero must battle a cult of villainous vampire women all while being careful to keep his mask on. This silly film is fairly low-budget and it shows while the cheap dubbing makes it seem even sillier if that's possible. One highlight of the episode is a host segment featuring a visit to Deep 13 by "Torgo The White" who wants to take TV's Frank to "second banana heaven". Not a great episode, but solid fun nonetheless.

Extra Features Include:
- MST3K Shorts: Snow Thrills & A Date With Your Family
- Introductions by Japanese cinema historian August Ragone
- You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks!
- MST Hour Wraps
- Life After MST3K: Frank Conniff
- Lucha Gringo: K. Gordon Murray Meets Santo
- And as usual, four exclusive Mini-Posters by artist Steve Vance.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Wow, I'm the 12th reviewer on this thing and I'm so far the first to actually post a review AFTER the products come out.

After the last volume's somewhat less than stellar set of episodes, I was really hoping this box would have some winners, and I'm happy to report that it is EXCELLENT! It even includes some interesting bonus features. Here's the show by show breakdown:

FUGITIVE ALIEN: Another Japanese TV show stapled together by Sandy Frank to make a "movie," this one involves a renegade "wolf raider" named Ken who is a fugitive from his evil planet after not killing a kid during a raid, then accidentally shooting his partner when THAT guy tries to kill the kid. He is begrudgingly accepted onto spaceship of humans, led by drunk, puffy-faced Captain Joe. That sets up the rest of the "movie" which is mostly short unrelated adventures, since this was a TV show first. The movie is goofy fun, with some of the most hilarious Cheap-Star-Wars-Rip-Off style special effects this side of StarCrash. It also includes the "They tried to kill him with a forklift" song that honestly gets funnier and funnier every time they sing it. I feel like I'm doing a terrible job explaining its appeal, so let me stop here and just say that this is a fantasic episode and one that will definitely be an easy choice for repeat viewings.

Bonus features include the always amusing MST HOUR wraps and a short introduction to the episode from August Ragone which ends in a hilarious moment of clarity for August where he admits he's kind of a dateless loser.

STAR FORCE - FUGITIVE ALIEN 2: The further adventures of Ken, Captain Joe, those other two guys, and the female crew member with the jacked up teeth! This one is just as funny as the first, with great riffing all around and plenty of reprisals of "they tried to kill him with a forklift!" There's three main plot segments to the actual movie, the first two taking up most of the runtime. The last, however, had me laughing the most, because in the last 5-10 minutes of the movie comes a hilarious Kubuki version of Darth Vader that we have NEVER seen before, who apparently tricks Ken with a fake version of his mom (???) before a quick, shoddy firefight ensues. That ends with Ken leaving in what looks kinda like an X-wing, with an obvious R2-D2 type robot behind him. All of this comes out of nowhere, all of it so obviously there just to rip-off Star Wars, all of it so very funny! Another excellent episode of MST3k.

The bonus feature here is called "You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks!" and after watching it, I really doubt MST3k fans were asking for a 25 minute interview where at minute 24, Sandy Frank finally addresses MST only to immediately dismiss it as "a lark." The first 24 minutes are him relating (in exhaustive detail!) his career history of buying and selling TV properites, so if you're fresh out of chloroform and can't easily locate your copy of the Book of Mormon, just fire up "You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks!" and you should be out in no time.

THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON: Another Russo-Finnish fantasy movie, and its just like all the others MST did in that its colorful, very well budgeted (how DID they do that wind demon effect anyways?), super energetic and pretty darn goofy. Also like the other Russo-Finnish flicks they did, its a fantastic episode, with strong riffing from start to finish. There's a funny host segment on this one where Gypsy imitates a woman in the movie by singing while Mike and the bots come out scampering around in ridiculous animal costumes only to have her stop mid-song, say "You guys are so weird" and leave. My wife laughed forever at that, and quotes it often. Another great episode.

This disc has two great shorts as bonus features, one called "Snow Thrills" and the other "A Date With Your Family." Both are very very funny, with "Snow Thrills" being my favorite of the two. I laughed hysterically when the narrator of "Snow Thrills" said he was told skiing is correctly pronounced "shee-ing" and Joel replied "Yeah, but those guys are full of skit."

SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN: TV's Frank gets a clever send-off in this episode when Torgo the White takes him to 2nd Banana Heaven. The movie itself is quite a trip. Samson is actually world famous Mexican Wrestler El Santo, and Mike and Co. actually refer to him as El Santo when riffing the film. The film itself is a fun little bit of trashy, B-movie goodness. A bunch of vampire women wanna capture a Mexican officials daughter so they can turn her into their new queen or something. A good chunk of the first act is all the women rising from their coffins, going through some ceremony, all of it happening pretty slow, since slow equals menacing in movies like these. About halfway through, Santo barges in and the movie gets much more interesting (and goofy). My favorite parts are the vampires themselves. First of all, they drain the life of their victims by first running up and beating them unconscious THEN sucking their blood. Second, one of the male vampires impersonates a black-masked wrestler to get an opportunity to take on El Santo. When El Santo beats him and removes his mask, he's got a WEREWOLF FACE! Except both before AND after this scene, every vampire including that one has a human face! The best part though, has to be the ending (SPOILERS, as if you really care) where Santo gets tied down to a slab in the vampires lair and is tortured by the vampires, only to be freed when they apparently lose track of time and morning sun shines in through THE WINDOW OF THE VAMPIRE'S LAIR and sends the vampires either fleeing to their coffins or bursting into flames. Why didn't the vampires cover up that window before including that room in their lair? Or at least keep a clock on the wall so they know when to get out of there? The vampires in this movie are not particularly smart. There's plenty of other weird scenes, and combined with some good riffing and the casual racism that MST3k got away with by being a show in the 90's makes this one a very memorable episode.

Bonus features for this one include TV's Frank discussing what he did after MST3k, and he's very humble about his accomplishments. For example, though he was head writer of Invader Zim he's very quick to give all the credit for that show to the visual designers and the creator of the series. He seems like a nice, humble guy.

You also get a TV spot for the movie which shows most of the film's climax, as well as a brief documentary about the fame of El Santo, Mexican horror movies of that time period, and what led to him being in such movies. Overall, very interesting and the Luchador expert interviewed for the doc is a masked man with a heavy Boston accent, the absurdity of which just cracked me up to no end.

So there you have it, four excellent and rather accessible episodes, making this volume an easy choice for fans, as well as a great set for someone new to MST3k.

Buy it today!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Here we have another 4 disc set from everyone's favorite stranded in space trio, the MST3K crew, featuring 2 Joel and 2 Mike episodes, we fans are treated to 2 of the best from Joel's era and 2 good ones from Mike's run.

Episode 310, "Fugitive Alien": Sandy Frank once again chops up some Japanese stuff and turns it into a badly dubbed and even worsely edited flick, which is footage from a 1978 Japanese TV show called "Star Wolf", where some invading alien race called Wolf Raiders are attacking Earth. When one of the raiders kills one of his own he goes on the run and ends up with a crew on Bacchus III, a ship that is fighting the Wolf Raiders, it's quite a mess from the get-go with all the quick edits, close-ups and bad dialogue, not to mention the choppy plot that's hard to follow. Joel and the bots do a great job with this as they were on fire throughout this episode.

Episode 318, "Star Force-Fugitive Alien II: And we are back to follow the exploits of Bacchus III as they need to stop the Wolf Raiders from using a Doomsday Device on Earth and Ken (the alien from the first one) has issues with an ex (the one from the end of the first flick) and Ken really wants to get back at the leader of the Raiders for trying to kill him. There's not much more coherency to this one in comparison to the last flick, more footage from "Star Wolf" episodes is used by Sandy Frank, but it's little more than fodder for Joel and the crew. They again do quite well with the astounding amount of goofiness and everything else especially the bad acting.

Episode 617, "The Sword and The Dragon": So we have this flick with lots of fights, cool visuals, expensive sets, a pretty nice dragon (for the '60's at least), bad dubbing, some silliness and an overall fun time. Mike and the crew do a good job with this Russian/Finland flick, though they would go on to do better with a similar Russian produced film called "Jack Frost". This isn't the worst type of movie they've done, so it equals out to a fun outing just nothing groundbreaking.

Episode 624, "Samson vs. The Vampire Women: There's some vampire women who are killing people and the Mexican police force is
powerless to stop them, only one man can save them, that man is El Santo. Yes the famous masked luchador who was so mega popular that he got a starring role in a few cheap movies and this was one of them. There's a lot of bad editing, bad fighting, the dubbing is beyond terrible and while it starts kinda slow, the riffing picks up when El Santo makes his entrance (which takes a bit longer than one would think given how he's the star). Of course wrestling footage is included in this film, (though thankfully not nearly as much as "Racket Girls"), this is a big mess of a movie and while they've done better this had some great funny parts to it.

Extras Include

-Introduction to "Fugitive Alien" by August Ragone (Author of Master of Monsters)

-Sandy Franks Speaks: We hear from the man who brought "Fugitive Alien" and the "Gamera" movies to the U.S. audiences.

-MST3K Shorts: Snow Thrills and A Date With Your Family (on "The Sword and The Dragon" disc), both are quite funny.

-Life After MST3K, Frank Conniff: Nice piece where we hear from TV's Frank about what he's been up to since leaving the show years back.

-Lucha Gringo-K. Gordon Murray meets El Santo: Fun piece here with a little history on how El Santo got into films.

This is a pretty good set in all honesty, for once the Joel episodes trump the Mike ones, not that the Mike ones are bad mind you. But Joel and the bots are just magic with the "Fugitive Alien" flicks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another great set from the SHOUT! studios. They really understand the MST3k universe. I've waited for the FUGITIVE ALIEN movies for soooo long! And Frank's last episode is noteworthy as well. (Sadly, I missed it in first runs, as our cable had been taken away.) With this episode, SHOUT! Factory has released most of the major "pivotal" plot-point episodes that encase the narrative which surrounds our movie riffers, and I couldn't be happier! Please note this is NOT a set for those just learning about/exploring MST3k.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Another solid+ plus set from Shout Factory with some really great episodes. We get the last of the Sandy Frank *they came from Japan* episodes,another Russo-Finnish, episode, and a lovely Mexican import Santo-here called Samson for some odd reason

*Fugitive Alien* # 310 - Basically to summarize this and Fugitive Alien 2 is a series of their TV series clustered together to make a movie. In this movie a Wolf Raider known as Ken prevents another Wolf Raider from killing a child (also named Ken, lord knows why Ken again) and becomes your "fugitive alien" who joins forces in a strained relationship with Captain Joe and his team of earthlings saving worlds aboard the Bacchus III. Especially funny is when Ken is nearly killed by his biggest antagonist Rocky with a forklift. Also funny is Captain Joe whose face is all puffy and has that great line "ha ha ha youre stuck here !" Fabulous dialog, cheap sets, and the songs & segments by Joel and the bots make this a big time winner. Yes this is where the forklift song debuted and was a huge hit. Mike Nelson plays A&E's Jack Perkins for the first time in this as well.
*Star Force - Fugitive Alien II* # 318 - basically is more of the same, 2 more episodes of their TV series (called Star Wolf) made to make a "movie". Ken's girlfriend Rita has been sent by the dreaded dictator of Valnastar to destroy the man she loves. Along the way their is a heat attack on the Bacchus III (check the *Tenperature) which causes Tom Servo's head to explode leading to a fun semi suspenseful segment. Segments are fun with songs, action figures and saving Toms head.
*The Sword & the Dragon* # 617 - we jump 3 seasons - we go from Japan to Russia to enjoy another colorful fantasy film with our hero Ilya Murametz out to slay a 3 headed dragon. Those that have seen Jack Frost and other Russo-Finnish know what to expect in this whacky but fun episode. A couple of classic segments with Kevin Murphy as Ilya and a long semi silent, black & white segment as a tribute of sorts to Ingmar Bergman. Mary Jo Pehl and Beidget Jones (Nelson) also appear in this.
*Samson vs. the Vampire Women* From Russia we go to Mexico where "Samson" ( Santo) wrestles and saves humanity from vampire women. As campy and corny as the come. This episode is best known for being TV Frank's last episode. Clayton sings " who will I kill " ( you would never hear Dr. F sing in the Joel era to show how much changed when Mike took over)
Extra Features Include:
- MST3K Shorts: Snow Thrills & A Date With Your Family
- Introductions by Japanese cinema historian August Ragone
- You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks!
- MST Hour Wraps
- Life After MST3K: Frank Conniff
- Lucha Gringo: K. Gordon Murray Meets Santo
- We also get as per every set four exclusive Mini-Posters by artist Steve Vance.
All in all a very colorful set and has me anxiously waiting for this time come out and whats going to be on Volume 25 !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
If you love Mystery Science Theater 3000 then you will adore this box full of it. Join us, won't you?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
I love the fact that you get a quite a variety in this pack. The two Fugitive Alien "films" are so absurd they are hilarious even without riffing. The forklift song will be with me, always. Ha! The Soviet film makes an excellent target, as it is like a fever dream in places. The Samson one turned out to be a treat because I thought it was another of the Hercules-type films from Italy. Instead, it's a tale about a lucha libre who masquerades as a crime fighter (pun intended).

Even though I don't like Joel as much as Mike, the whole crew tears these films up very well; the Alien films alone would be worth the set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
Family loves MST3K, so when we can, we snap up a new set. While any true fan knows there are good, great, and yeah, not so great episodes, they're all worth watching. Once. C'mon, you have to watch once! Product arrived in a timely manner, didn't last a week before we finished and were ready for a new set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
Volume XXIV of Shout! Factory's MST3K DVD sets is chock full of gems. "Fugitive Alien" and "Star Force: Fugitive Alien II" makes for a rare two-parter in MST3K history, and both are excellent Joel episodes from the Joel-era's prime. "The Sword and the Dragon" could actually be considered a good, if odd, movie; at the very least, it's productions values are extremely high, especially for MST3K-fare, as Tom Servo even remarks that the budget for the film is likely double the combined budgets of every film they've watched on the show before. Finally, a classic Mike episode rounds out the set with "Samson VS. The Vampire Women," a great Mexican action-horror film featuring luchadore legend, "The Silver Maskedman" himself, Santo! This episode has a special place in the hearts of many MSTies as Dr. F and the gang bid a tearful farewell to TV's Frank.

Special features are, typical of Shout! Factory, all very fun, including another introduction to the Japanese material from August Ragone, a surprising little documentary interview with none other than Sandy Frank himself, another documentary about El Santo and the Santo films' relationship with film importer K. Gordon Murray, some always-hilarious MST Hour wraps (though Mike sounded a little sick when playing Jack Perkins this time; maybe he had a cold?) and finally, apropos of nothing but much appreciated, two bonus MST3K shorts, including one riffed by Joel and one riffed by Mike. I believe at least one of them, "A Date with Your Family," was previously released on one of the early Rhino sets, but it's great to see it back in print via Shout! Factory.

All in all, this is a fantastic set, and I recommend it highly to any MSTie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
If you are an MST3K fan - you NEED this. I am, and I did get it (obviously). Is it the best set? No. These are 4 dud movies that the crew of the SOL bring to life. And actually, I was a little hard there - The Sword and the Dragon was one that could probably be watched without the SOL crew's input. The others? No way.

The bonus features are pretty good on this boxed set too. I have to applaud SHOUT factory for doing a great job of putting these sets out. Please keep up the good work.
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