Release Date(s)Various (February 13, 2018)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s Volume VII DVD set. Shout Factory’s boxed sets of the show are normally released three to four times a year with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
In this instance, this release is an update of an out-of-print boxed set from Rhino Entertainment. After Rhino’s release of Volume 12, Shout! Factory took over the home video distribution rights and they have been re-releasing these volumes, which have become very expensive to pick up. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Hercules Unchained (Season 4, Episode 8), Hercules Against the Moon Men (Season 4, Episode 10), Prince of Space (Season 8, Episode 16), and The Killer Shrews (Season 4, Episode 7).
The episodes in these sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, three feature Joel and only one features Mike (aside from the shorts). The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Beginning this trip to Schlockville is Hercules Unchained. In this Steve Reeves-led English dub of the Italian original (shot by none other than Mario Bava), the legendary hero must escape the clutches of an evil queen. In Hercules Against the Moon Men, Alan Steel takes over the role and must stop the invasion of an evil alien race. In Prince of Space, an adaptation of a Japanese TV series (as well as a fan favorite episode), a nefarious overlord’s plans to conquer Earth are thwarted by the unstoppable caped hero. Last but not least is The Killer Shrews, a 1959 Ray Kellogg-directed snoozer about a group of people trapped by mutant shrews that were created during an experiment gone awry.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show. As for the extras, they’re extremely light. The original Rhino boxed set contained only three bonus shorts as extras, which have also been included here. They are Assignment: Venezuela, Century 21 Calling, and A Case of Spring Fever.
All in all, this is another solid release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory, and I for one am incredibly thankful to have an out of print release of the show back into print, even without substantial extras. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons