The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 11 (Ring of Terror / The Indestructible Man / Tormented / Horrors of Spider Island)
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Four more episodes of sharp and joyfully painful lunacy aboard the Sattelite Of Love with Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow. 4 disc set.
Book your return flight to the Satellite of Love and join Joel, Mike and the 'bots for another fearful foursome of flops in this collection of episodes from the Peabody Award-winning series Mystery Science Theater 3000. First up on Volume 11's menu of muck is Season Two's Ring of Terror, with Joel, Crow and Tom Servo riffing furiously on a half-baked story of fraternity pranks gone wrong; it's partnered with another interminable episode of the Bela Lugosi serial The Phantom Creeps. Next is Season Four's The Indestructible Man, in which Joel performs a frightening imitation of the movie's star, Lon Chaney Jr.; an episode of The Undersea Kingdom is also celebrated with a parade that goes predictably awry. Season Four's Tormented features headless ghosts, a guilt-ridden Richard Carlson, and Joel stuck in a ventilation shaft, plus a day-rescuing round of happy thoughts. And last but not least is Season Ten's Horrors of Spider Island, a German-made monster movie about dancers on a deserted island and a giant spider than transforms their manager into a hideous creature; Mike also undergoes a man-to-spider switcheroo after getting trapped in the 'bots' homemade spider web. For veteran MiSTies and pop culture fanatics, it doesn't get funnier than this.
Extras include theatrical trailers for all of the films save Ring of Terror; a brief interview with Tormented director Bert I. Gordon, his daughter Susan, and star Joseph Turkel, and wrap-arounds from the syndicated Mystery Science Hour, with Mike Nelson as an obsequious Jack Perkins, are also included. However, the best supplement is the second MST3K Jukebox, which compiles some of the show's funniest and most memorable musical numbers, including "Sidehackin',"Joel and the 'bots' garage-rock tribute to The Sidehackers and the incredible "Patrick Swayze Christmas" from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. --Paul Gaita
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For those unfamiliar with MST3K, the premise is that an innocent man, Joel Robinson, has been shot into space by a mad scientist, whose sadistic experiment is to subject Joel to bad movies and see how long it takes for him to snap. Joel is smart enough to construct some robot friends, in particular Tom Servo (who looks something like a living gumball machine) and Crow T. Robot (who looks something like a robotic crow). This trio watches the movies together and maintain Joel's sanity by mocking the films. Later, Joel would be replaced by Mike Nelson, but the concept remained the same.
The four movies in the tenth collection are another set of really rotten films:
Godzilla vs. Megalon is pretty awful, even by Godzilla movie standards. When nuclear tests disrupt the undersea kingdom of Seatopia, it retaliates by sending oversized cockroach Megalon to destroy the surface world. When opposed by robot Jet Jaguar (at least that's what it sounds like), another monster joins Megalon, while Jet Jaguar is allied with Godzilla. What follows is a tag-team wrestling match with four monsters. At least Godzilla vs. Megalon has the excuse of being an obvious kids' movie. The others in the set have no such justification.
Swamp Diamonds is an early Roger Corman film. I'm willing to admit that Corman is not as bad a moviemaker as some say (his Poe movies are typically good), but this is one of the movies that cemented his "bad" reputation. A pre-Mannix Mike Connors is kidnapped by escaped female convicts (one of whom is actually an undercover cop) and they go into a swamp seeking some stolen diamonds. Done correctly, it could be good, but it isn't, so it makes good MST3K fare.
The truly shoddiest in the bunch (which makes it the best in the set) is Teen-Age Strangler. Sure, you expect the writing, direction and acting to be lousy, but even the title doesn't really make sense (watch and you'll understand). At least the Giant Spider Invasion deals with a giant spider, or at least a VW Beetle dressed as a spider.
In addition to the movies, we have a couple of short educational films, What To Do on a Date (part of the Swamp Diamonds episode) and Is This Love? (accompanying Teen-Age Strangler). We also get a Video Jukebox and a photo gallery. All in all, this is another fun-to-watch set Joel, Mike and the `bots once again attack these movies with great wit, and gets a full five-star rating.
212- GODZILLA VS. MEGALON
This extremely silly Toho picture from 1973 is a blast whether you love or loathe Godzilla movies. Its original Japanese title is Gojira tai Megaro. It is simply goofy beyond belief! The people of Seatopia, who live under the ocean, decide that it's time they controlled the surface world as well, launching an all out assault on surface dwelling humans. Their main instrument of destruction is Megalon, a large monster with big spike-like arms and a star-shaped projection on his head. Godzilla comes to the rescue, assisted by a man-made robot named Jet Jaguar that can change its size to become gigantic. Together, Godzilla and Jet Jaguar teach Megalon and the Seatopians a lesson they'll not soon forget.
This is a GREAT episode and includes some of the BEST host segments ever, including the "Rex Dart, Eskimo Spy" sketch, the `Bots get new arms sketch, the `Bots argue over whose monster is the "coolest" sketch, and the HILARIOUS translation of the Jet Jaguar fight song during the final host segment. The scene of Godzilla dropkicking as if flying through the air during the opening titles in later seasons of the show comes from this episode. This is a must-see episode!
503- SWAMP DIAMONDS (plus short: WHAT TO DO ON A DATE)
This is a 1955 Roger Corman "classic" starring Beverly Garland and Mike "Touch" Connors before his fame with Mannix. Beverly Garland leads a gang of escaped female convicts to a cache of diamonds and they kidnap the innocent Mr. Connors and his girlfriend along the way. A policewoman goes undercover inside the gang hoping to recover the stolen diamonds. Beverly Garland turns in the usual good performance and looks great doing it in spite of the mediocre film quality.
Host segments in this episode focus on the dating short as Servo tries to get up the nerve to ask Gypsy for a date. There's also a hilarious bit based on the "This Side of Paradise" episode of the original Star Trek series.
514- TEEN-AGE STRANGLER (plus short: IS THIS LOVE?)
This is the second episode of MST3K to be hosted by Mike Nelson after the departure of show creator Joel Hodgson. The main feature is a small independent film made in 1968 West Virginia about a serial killer in a small town and it looks every bit the amateur film. Highlights in this episode include Mike Nelson transforming into Mikey from the movie and the hilarious "The Janitor Song." The short is also a winner with some of the oldest looking "young people" you're likely to see on film; this is really funny stuff!
810- THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION
This movie is a 1975 monster flick from Bill Rebane, the same man who brought you Monster A-Go Go! This film is ever so slightly more competently made than Monster A-Go Go and actually features a couple of well-known actors: Barbara Hale of Perry Mason fame and Alan Hale, Jr. who was The Skipper on Gilligan's Island and also the sheriff in the film The Crawling Hand which was featured in MST3K episode # 106. The movie is really goofy fun, with large spiders everywhere, sleazy and gross yokel-type characters less appealing than the spiders, and a small car dressed up as the biggest and cheesiest looking spider of them all. The scene where Barbara Hale's character does an odd tumble down a hill is worth seeing all by itself and there's plenty of other good material here as well for the MST3K writers. This is certainly one of the more fun episodes done after the show moved to the Sci-Fi Channel. The amusing host segments are based loosely on the classic SF film Invasion of the Body Snatchers rather than on the film featured in the episode.
This DVD set also contains the following extra features:
-MST3K Video Jukebox with 15 songs from the series
-Outtakes consisting of about 15 minutes of the best moments from "Poopie 2"
This is a great set any MST3K fan, film buff or comedy aficionado would enjoy, with a wide variety of film genres and seasons of the show represented here. Join Us! Movie Sign!
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Horrors of Spider Island, well, isn't.Read more