Friday, May 29, 2009

MST3K: 20th Anniversary Edition

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition. This is an above-average collection from one of my favorite TV shows. As extras, three of the discs contain interviews with the cast and crew about the history of MST3K, and the fourth contains footage from a panel discussion with the cast and crew as a sci-fi convention.

First Spaceship on Venus (C). My internet research indicates that this was a 1960 co-production by East Germany and Poland, dubbed into English and released in America in 1962. Scientific study of a meteorite in the Gobi Desert reveals a recording made by a civilization on Venus. A multi-national team sets out for Venus on a spaceship, survives a meteor storm, and investigates a strangely dead world. George Lucas must have seen this movie before he made Star Wars, as it features an R2-D2-like robot that plays chess with the crewmembers. A few funny riffs, but nothing particularly memorable about this one.

Laserblast (B). This is a bizarre 1978 release. A punk teenager who can never seem to manage to button his shirt finds an alien laser rifle in the desert. He enjoys blowing stuff up with it, but the thing has unfortunate side effects. First he starts to develop a metallic sore on his chest, and second he occasionally mutates into a green humanoid that enjoys blowing stuff up and killing people with the laser gun. Also unfortunate are the real actors who for some reason agreed to be in this movie, such as Keenan Wynn (Kiss Me Kate) and Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes). Funny commentary on this one.

Werewolf (A). The highlight of this collection is this 1996 straight-to-video “horror” movie. This movie has too many awesome qualities to mention them all. An appearance by Martin Sheen’s brother Joe Estevez (Soultaker). Numerous actors with bizarre and inexplicable accents. Terrible werewolf special effects. Great riffing by the Satellite of Love crew. This one can’t be missed.

Future War (B). This was a 1997 straight-to-video release about a Jean Claude Van Damme look-alike who escapes to planetEarth with an angry cyborg and his T. rex pets in hot pursuit. An ex-hooker and junkie who’s studying to become a nun hits him with her van and then takes him back to her old halfway house. Nobody would believe his crazy story if these darned dinosaurs didn’t keep popping up and killing people. The special effects are amazingly bad, and continuity is a pipe dream. In the hero’s climactic fight with the cyborg, big red scratches across his chest flash in and out of existence every second or two. Definitely an above-average episode.


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