A version of this review was written for the Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition”
Four horrendous horror films get the hilariously snarky send-ups they deserve on the “Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition” box set.
The cult TV show, known to fans as MST3K, focuses on a poor schmuck (first creator Joel Hodgson, later head writer Mike Nelson) marooned on a spaceship and forced to watch terrible B movies in the name of scientific experimentation.
With only a pair of sardonic robots, Crow and Tom Servo, to keep him company, he turns the age-old practice of mocking bad movies into humorous high art. The series ran for 198 episodes from 1988-99.
To mark the series’ 20th anniversary, Shout Factory’s great limited edition set includes four episodes not previously released on DVD. Chosen by online fan voting, the episodes ridicule “First Spaceship on Venus,” “Laser Blast,” “Werewolf” and “Future War.”
The films’ horror plots aren’t nearly as scary as the poor quality of their acting, editing and cinematography, which provide perfect cinematic straw for Joel, Mike and the ‘bots to spin into comic gold.
The episodes capture different points in the series’ evolution, but Joel fans might be disappointed since he appears in only one.
The set comes in a collectible tin and features new cast interviews, variations of the theme song, footage of the reunion panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, lobby card art and a plastic figurine of Crow.