Thursday, April 08, 2010

MST3K: Volume XVI

DVD review from The Movie Snob

MST3K Volume XVI. Another collection of four episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Corpse Vanishes. (D) This episode was from MST3K’s first year on regular cable TV, and sadly it is just not very good. Kevin Murphy had not yet taken over as the voice of Tom Servo, so that was a big strike against it right there. The movie is a lame horror movie starring Bela Lugosi as a mad scientist who kidnaps young brides and uses their blood to keep his frightful hag of a wife alive. There’s also a short, an episode from an old-timey space opera called “Commander Cody and the Radar Men from the Moon.” Lame episode, best forgotten.

Warrior of the Lost World. (B) This is a much more solid effort from a few years later. The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a bearded nonentity rides around on an annoying talking motorcycle and begrudgingly helps some rebels against a fascist dictatorship led by the always-reliable Donald Pleasance (Pumaman). I was astonished to see Persis Khambatta in the credits—she played the totally bald navigator in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and I thought she had virtually no other film roles after that. Then I started thinking maybe this was a renamed version of a terrible movie I saw back in the 80’s called Megaforce, which she was in, but no, apparently that was a different terrible movie. Anyway, this was a pretty entertaining exercise for the guys on the Satellite of Love. As a special bonus, we get a short interview with the director of Warrior, and to his credit he doesn’t really try to defend his movie.

Santa Claus. (B-). Not a bad episode. This is a Mexican Christmas tale depicting Santa as a snoopy old guy who lives in a castle on a cloud with a doddering old Merlin and lots of children from all over the world. A junior devil named Pitch is sent to Earth on Christmas Eve night to tempt children to behave badly and try to impede St. Nick’s progress with diabolical pranks. Amid all the goofiness is a surprisingly touching story about a poor little girl named Lupita who just wants a dolly for Christmas. (Even Tom Servo has to concede that she is “aggressively cute.”)

Night of the Blood Beast (B-). Another decent but not spectacular episode. In this old black-and-white sci-fi movie, a rocket pilot returns to Earth--dead. And a hideous alien has somehow stowed away on his ship. The other five people who work at NASA try to figure out what is going on when the dead guy comes back to life and is revealed to have alien babies incubating inside of him. Some decently funny riffs from Mike and the robots.


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