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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume VI
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Are you ready to laugh at the worlds (make that the universes) worst movies? From the comfort of the Satellite of Love, Joel and his trusty companions, the wisecracking Crow and well-read chick magnet Tom Servo, make suffering through Hollywoods worst films a breeze. Adding their dialogue, a barrage of witty remarks and an occasional colorful skit, the hours fly by like they were only 60 minutes long.
Teenagers From Outer Space
Attack Of The Giant Leeches
Mr. Bs Lost Shorts Featuring Mr. B Natural, X Marks the Spot, Hired, Part 1, Design For Dreaming, Johnny At The Fair, and Are You Ready for Marriage?
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* 210 KING DINOSAUR (with short: X MARKS THE SPOT)
King Dinosaur is a black and white 1955 SF film loaded with stock footage and endless walking scenes to pad it out in spite of its sparse 63 minute running time. Ordinary lizards masquerade rather badly as dinosaurs and the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the title is played by an iguana thanks to the animal enlarging talents of Mr. B.I.G. (Bert I. Gordon). A new planet, Nova (clever name for a new planet since it means "new", eh?), is discovered and astronauts are sent to explore Nova via some stock footage of post-WWII captured V2 rocket tests. A tepid romance between two of the astronauts is featured as the secondary plot. The astronauts do a lot of walking, male to female condescending, smooching, and panicking while exploring a planet that looks suspiciously like southern California. Bronson Canyon is again used as it is in so many movies of this type. A kinkajou appears prominently in the film and tags along with the astronauts though Joel and the 'Bots stick him with the monicker, "Joey the lemur", for many jokes during the film and one hilariously memorable host segment. Spoiler alert, amazingly the astronauts bring a nuclear device along with them because, you know, when you are exploring a new planet if you don't like the native flora or fauna you want to annihilate it rather than just leaving. X Marks The Spot is a 1944 driving safety short with the ulterior motive of keeping workers out of the hospital or morgue so they can stay at their jobs in factories to support the war effort. It's the first of many hilariously mocked short subjects used on MST3K. This episode is a MSTie must-have!
* 323- THE CASTLE OF FU-MANCHU
This 1969 (released 1972) color film features the great Christopher Lee and a bunch of lesser known European actors from a variety of countries that collaborated on this badly pieced together jigsaw puzzle of a film. This is one of those episodes that MSTies tend to love or hate and I'm in the love it camp. The movie is a bit of a convoluted collaborative mess and the dubbing on all the non-English speaking actors certainly adds to the confusion, but for my taste it's the good kind of bad that is perfect for MST3K. It's lively and silly fun and because you'll have zero emotional involvement in the characters or story and you'll be able to focus 100% of your attention on the jokes. Fu Manchu plans to freeze the Earth with his latest evil scheme and Nayland Smith sets out to stop him. Along the way much convoluted mystery and intrigue occurs. The biggest mystery is "what did I just watch?" when the film is over! Who cares, MST3K makes it extremely funny.
* 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD (with short: A DAY AT THE FAIR)
This 1977 Quinn Martin TV movie pilot stars Roy Thinnes (The Invaders), France Nuyen (Star Trek, Elaan of Troyius), Zulu (Hawaii Five-O) and Ian McShane (Lovejoy). The pilot failed and did not go to series. It stars many well-known talented actors who luckily have all been in many much more exciting projects than this one. Based in Hawaii, counter spy Diamond Head must stop the evil Tree from stealing nerve gas. Sadly, the intrigue never gets particularly suspenseful or compelling, but the plot at least can be followed. One of the blander offerings from Quinn Martin, it does provide some laughs nonetheless from Mike and the 'Bots. Tom and Crow get to see what it would be like if Mike was not quite so nice in a variety of amusing host segments. The 1947 short, A Day At The Fair is particularly funny with lots of good laughs at the expense of this 1940s farming celebration. Are farm animals someone's dates? Is the fairground where the fair is held? Watch the short to find out. The farm fair short is more exciting than the spy thriller of a movie.
* 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES
This 1948 black and white film is about a cowboy trying to clear his name and bring a real criminal to justice. Romance ensues. Wow. The film is competently done if a bit formulaic and uninteresting. However, this is a MSTie must-see thanks to the Star Trek "Mirror, Mirror" episode themed host segments tying the whole movie watching experience together including a segment with Forrester and TV's Frank in the theater riffing on the movie! Plenty of good riffs and an in movie face whipping make this a strange and funny episode of the show.
This set is loaded with cool extra features including:
4 Exclusive Mini-Posters By Artist Steve Vance
New Introduction By Frank Conniff
The Incredible Mr. Lippert (a Ballyhoo Production)
Vintage MST3K Promos
Life After MST3K: Kevin Murphy (this is the first installment of a new series)
Code Name: Quinn Martin
DARKSTAR: Robots Don't Need SAG Cards
This particular set contains two episodes featuring one of the most weird and hilarious "characters" ever: Joey the Lemur! (He's actually a kinkajou, but the name has kinda stuck by now.)
Of the films riffed on this set, I would say that "King Dinosaur" and "The Castle of Fu Manchu" are the more difficult ones to sit through. The riffing is brilliant on all four episodes, but in terms of basic film watchability, "Code Name: Diamond Head" and "The Last of the Wild Horses" are the winners, while "King Dinosaur" and "The Castle of Fu Manchu" are far more of a slog.
This set contains the requisite mini-posters by Steve Vance. These are nicely made, but I confess I rarely do anything with them but leave them in the case. The documentaries "The Incredible Mr. Lippert" and "Code Name: Quinn Martin" by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures are included, and as with other Ballyhoo documentary extras, these offer a fascinating look behind the scenes of the film-making industry of yore, the very world that, for the most part, makes the humor of MST3K possible. As a documentary fan in general, I love these kinds of extras. The "Life After MST3K" series shows up here as well, offering a nice little interview with Kevin Murphy, and in another extra, Frank Coniff offers a bit of fascinating background info in a new introduction to "The Castle of Fu Manchu." I've yet to watch the DARKSTAR segment, but it looks interesting. There's also a nice collection of old television promos for MST3K: a neat look into MSTie history!
All in all, this is a very worthwhile entry in the MST3K DVD series, featuring one especially memorable episode, "The Last of the Wild Horses" in which we get to see, for the one and only time, a movie being riffed by Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank!
If you're as much of a MSTie as I am, Volume XXIII is a must-have!
I saw two pricings for Vol. V, and went with the cheaper one, and lo and behold, I got Vol. XXIII! There was no "Contact us" option and I was hoping that you would honor the $5 cheaper price seeing that it was listed wrong, but that didn't happen...