The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 1 (Bloodlust / Catalina Caper / The Creeping Terror / Skydivers)
DVD | Box Set
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This four-disc set, bundled together in an appropriately cheesy but charming package that sports pop-up-book-styled artwork, compiles four episodes of the Peabody Award-winning comedy series. The "experiments" in question (Bloodlust, Catalina Caper, The Creeping Terror, and The Skydivers) aren't necessarily MST3K's finest hours--they don't hold a candle to the show's takes on The Magic Sword, The Atomic Brain, and The Brain That Wouldn't Die. But the barrage of verbal zingers and pop-culture references slung by hosts Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson and their puppet pals Crow and Tom Servo are still quite funny, and should please both longtime fans and science fiction aficionados who don't take too much umbrage at having their beloved movies heckled.
The Collection is decidedly Mike-centric, with The Creeping Terror, Bloodlust, and The Skydivers all culled from his reign during the sixth season. Series creator Joel Hodgson's participation is relegated to season 2's Catalina Caper, a fan favorite that at one time was pulled from circulation over rights issues. As with most of Rhino's MST3K DVDs, each disc is dual-sided, with one side devoted to the original, uncut version of each film, and the other given over to the "MSTied" version. Theatrical trailers for each movie round out the remainder of the supplemental features. Given the size of this presentation, it might have been interesting to include some interviews with the show's writers and performers (Comedy Central once ran a passable special about the series), but fans will still appreciate having these four episodes together, each providing a wealth of laugh-out-loud moments. --Paul Gaita
From the Back Cover
It's Mystery Science Theater 3000, America's only show that makes fun of really bad B movies from the comfort of a spaceship floating above Earth. Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson, along with their mechanical companions, wisecracking Crow and well-read chick magnet Tom Servo, make suffering through Hollywood's worst films a breeze. Adding their own dialogue, barrage of witty remarks, and an occasional colorful skit, the next hour and a half will fly by like it were only 90 minutes. There's no ushers with flashlights, crying babies, or women with big hair to spoil the fun!
Included in Volume 1: Bloodlust--Pirates, cannibals, and "Mr. Brady"... oh my! Starring Robert Reed, Wilton Graff, and Lylyan Chauvin; Show #607. Catalina Caper--Bikini-clad nymphs swing their hips while Little Richard flaps his lips. Starring Tommy Kirk, Del Moore, Peter Duryea, and Robert Donner; Show #204. The Creeping Terror--An alien is eating couples in mid-bliss. Starring Vic Savage, Shannon O'Neil, and William Thourlby; show #606. The Skydivers--a skydiving film without the skydivers. Starring Kevin Casey, Eric Tomlin, Tony Cardoza, and Marcia Knight; show #109.
- Includes Bloodlust, Catalina Caper, The Creeping Terror, and Skydivers
- Also includes the uncut version of each film
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"The Skydivers" (1963), the second film in the infamous Coleman Francis trilogy, is a bizarre melodrama about an extramarital affair that leads to murder, without anything actually happening onscreen. Like "The Creeping Terror," it's a Mike-era masterpiece of savage riffing, but "Skydivers" reminds me more of a Daniel Clowes fever dream than of anything else in the history of cinema. It's unwatchable, but unmissable.
After that, the Joel-era episode "Catalina Caper" (1967) and season six's "Bloodlust!" (1959) are disappointing by comparison. "Catalina Caper" is a beach party crime comedy with the anodyne Tommy Kirk, a musical number by the high-as-a-kite Little Richard, and the unfunny pratfalls of Robert Donner and Jim Begg. "Bloodlust!" is Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma in a ridiculous version of "The Most Dangerous Game" that substitutes shock effects (boiled heads, etc.) for suspense.
*Catalina Caper-a 1967 beach party comedy murder mystery movie starring Tommy Kirk.
*The Creeping Terror-the 1964 science fiction narrated film featuring a shag carpet as a monster and is often considered to be one of the worst films of all time.
*Bloodlust!-a 1961 thriller starring Robert Reed. This episode also features the educational short film Uncle Jim's Dairy Farm
*The Skydivers-a 1963 Coleman Francis film which was once the lowest-rated film of all time on the Internet Movie Database. This episode also features the educational short film Why Study Industrial Arts?
The satire is biting, the jokes are quick are sometimes subtle and all episodes are worth multiple viewings to get all the jokes. Classic stuff!
CATALINA CAPER: I gotta get this one out of the way first, it sucks. Not just the movie (all the movies suck, its kinda the point) but the episode itself. This episode ranks next to SWAMP DIAMONDS as the lousiest Joel episode I've seen. The movie itself is odd because its kind of a comedy, though (obviously) a failure of a comedy, and MST3K didn't really do a lot of comedies. Kids go out for a summer at the beach, some art gets stolen, lots of go-go dancing ensues. Plenty to make fun of, but because its so early on in the shows history, the riffs come slowly and are rarely funny. Outside of some witty comments about how white everyone in the movie is, the remarks are the kind you and your friends would be making yourselves if you were just watching the movie. Servo's host segment about the creepy girl is the best part of the episode, and when a host segment is the show's best moment, that should tell you something.
SKYDIVERS: The reason I bought this set. I love love LOVE the wonderful RED ZONE CUBA. Coleman Francis made such a weird movie and it made for such a great MST3K episode (one of my top 5, actually) that I just had to see the rest of his work. SKYDIVERS definitely delivers. This weird, inept drama of the crumbling marriage of two people who run a recreational skydiving business makes for such good MST. And what is with the characters of Coleman Francis' movies all being shot from helicopters at the end? I haven't seen BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS yet but I wouldn't be surprised if someone guns down Tor Johnson from a helicopter at the end. At least in SKYDIVERS it instills the message that sleeping with people for acid doesn't pay. Oddly enough, this movie is the only film I've seen that features a go-go dancing/skydiving viewing party. Who knew people did that? And that stereotypical Scotsmen attended such parties? Every bit as great as RED ZONE CUBA and that one was totally awesome.
THE CREEPING TERROR: Has to be seen to be believed. I can't fathom how someone made this into a feature length film. A bunch of people walking under a comforter, uh, I mean a space alien, slowly creeps around eating people for 80 minutes. The thing is, the monster moves so slowly that its victims have to stay still for a long time to be eaten. Which is weird, since the movie insists on showing this as point of view shots from the monster itself, meaning that they could have been approached a lot FASTER since the monster wasn't ON SCREEN!!! But thats just the tip of the iceberg on this one. Most of the movie is music and voice over work from a narrator, who literally says dialogue for some of the characters, but then other scenes have dialogue. So confusing. I think my favorite scenes were when a dozen troops were firing bullet after bullet at the monster but nothing happens, yet three minutes later they accidentally hit it with a car and kill it.
Also, like the last two movies, this one has random go-go dancing. And its the worst dancing of the three. Overall, a slow moving, repetitive movie (Like PRINCE OF SPACE). It'd be boring if it wasn't so freakin' weird (Like PRINCE OF SPACE). As such, it just gets sillier and sillier (I found myself laughing out loud just at the movie) and Mike and the bots do a great job with all of it(Like PRINCE OF SPACE). A very good episode (Like... well you get the idea).
BLOODLUST: This movie is what happens if "The Most Dangerous Game" story featured the kids from Scooby Doo. Not as totally weird as the other three movies (and no go-go dancing either, otherwise we'd have a themed box set), this is mostly just B-grade black and white horror with all the melodrama and over acting you'd expect. Its also one of the few exploitation flicks of the era to really deliver on the promise inherent in the title! Considering its from '61, I'm really surprised by just how GORY this flick is. You'll see severed limbs, a man stuffing a human head, a guy get an arrow in his eye, another guy get one in his gut, a guy shooting a dude with an arrow, then pulling it out and cleaning the blood off, a man burning to death in acid (with several cuts to and away from the burning man so they can keep cutting back to his skin melting off), and a guy getting his wrists and neck impaled on spikes (complete with tons of spraying blood). Again, this is from 1961, and its not Hammer flick. Gory! Its makes for a pretty good episode, not as good as SKYDIVERS or CREEPING TERROR but still a worthy candidate for DVD. BTW, The short on farming that comes before the movie is flat out awesome. Totally classic.
All in all, its a good set. Sure, you'll only watch CATALINA CAPER once, but the other 3 are all worth repeat viewings.