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Slime People, Rocket Attack USA, Village of the Giants and a Deadly Mantis
, April 5, 2013
This review is from: Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVII (DVD)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Volume XXVII features three episodes from the Comedy Central era of the show and one from the Sci-Fi Channel era. Two episodes feature show creator Joel Hodgson as host and two feature head writer Mike Nelson as host. These are four solid episodes and three of the feature films used are low budget science fiction, the core film genre of the show, though personally I think the incredibly low budget cold war propaganda film makes for the strongest episode of the four. This is another solid set with a wide variety of episodes spanning the history of the show from seasons 1, 2, 5 and 8.
108- THE SLIME PEOPLE with short: COMMANDO CODY PT 6
Los Angeles is invaded by an army of subterranean monsters in this black-and-white film from 1963. A pilot, a scientist with his two daughters and a marine fight to retake the city. It's silly fun with cheap costumes, lots of smoke effects, and a very low budget look all around. 1940s star Robert Hutton both stars in and directs this mist-shrouded film. MST3K host segments focus both on the ridiculous nature of the Commando Cody short and of the feature film. I personally like this one a lot, maybe because I enjoy these kinds of silly monster movies from the period so much and because I think they worked very well for MST3K. Good riffing makes for a good solid effort in just the eighth network episode of the show.
205- ROCKET ATTACK USA with short: THE PHANTOM CREEPS PT 2
This black-and-white 1961 cold war propaganda film comes shortly after the launch of Sputnik, so the premise revolves around the Soviets gathering data from it to launch a nuclear missile against the US. An American spy is sent to Russia to determine how far along the Soviet missile program has progressed and discovers that a nuclear strike is imminent. This is one of my favorite episodes as there are so many poorly constructed scenes and dialogue in the film and MST3K just jumps all over them with great jokes. Some of the best jokes are during the early scene where the spy has to meet his contact in a restaurant, the scenes where the male spy is hiding in the closet of a female spy while she "entertains" (ick!) a gross Russian general, and the later scenes where the two spies try and sabotage the rocket. The movie is so cheap in one scene the Soviets are inspecting their nuclear armed rocket and thanks to the lighting and shadows in the scene it's clear there is no rocket at all. The short, Phantom Creeps, starring Bela Lugosi is also hilarious. I'd buy this DVD set just for this one episode which features the very first "stinger" ever, a short clip from the film that caps off the episode after the MST3K credits have rolled. This one is the blind man saying, "Help me" in an oddly flat tone of voice during the air raid panic after the Soviet missile has been launched.
523- VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS
This 1965 color film by Bert I. Gordon stars Beau Bridges, Tommy Kirk and Ron Howard. The Beau Brummels make a musical appearance as well. This film is a lively science fiction comedy, but it falls somewhat flat and comes off as mostly campy and silly. A teenager's girlfriend's kid brother (Ronny Howard) whom they call, "Genius", invents a compound that makes animals grow extremely large. When some bad teenagers get hold of the stuff they grow to unstoppable giants and it's up to the good kids in town to stop them. Some of the special effects look okay while others are so fake looking as to evoke laughter. The host segments feature TV's Frank getting sacked by Dr. F, interviewing with Mike and the 'bots and then eventually getting his job back.
804- THE DEADLY MANTIS
A prehistoric giant insect spreads winged terror in this 1957 black-and-white film that used to run endlessly on UHF channels back in the 1960s and 1970s. The special effects are passable and the movie is somewhat fun when it's not stuck on some slower scenes added for padding. This is the fourth episode from MST3K's first season on the Sci-Fi Channel so the host segments are full of new characters and story arc elements that the network asked them to add to the show, including bomb worshiping mutants inspired by Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. This episode is solid fun from the classic giant bug movie to the first appearance of Pearl Forrester's VW "Astro-bus".
Bonus features for this set include:
- Interview with The Slime People star Judith Fraser (Judee Morton)
- Interview with Village of the Giants star Joy Harmon
- Introduction by Mary Jo Pehl
- Life After MST3K: Trace Beaulieu
- Chasing Rosebud: The Cinematic Life Of William Alland
- Theatrical Trailers
- Mini-Posters By Artist Steve Vance
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