Release Date(s)Various (February 3, 2009)
- 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 XIV DVD set. These boxed sets are released tri-annually 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.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Mad Monster (Season 1, Episode 3), Manhunt in Space (Season 4, Episode 13), Soultaker (Season 10, Episode 1), and Final Justice (Season 10, Episode 8).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Mad Monster features a crazy mad scientist and his werewolf creation running amok; the sci-fi stinker Manhunt in Space features reworked episodes of the 1950’s TV show Rocky Jones, Space Ranger; Soultaker features teenagers who are on the run from mysterious men who want to, well, steal their souls; and last, but not least, Joe Don Baker returns to MST3K in suitably sleazy form as a Texas Deputy Sheriff out to get his man on the run in Italy in Final Justice.
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, you get a few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For Mad Monster, you get the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Manhunt in Space, there are no extras. For Soultaker, you get an interview entitled Joe Estevez on MST3K. For Final Justice, you get another interview entitled Greydon Clark on MST3K, as well as a segment of Mike and the Bots riffing on an episode of the ESPN show Cheap Seats Without Ron Parker. Also included (as is standard with all of the MST3K boxed sets) are 4 paper insert reproductions of the artwork from each DVD in the set.
All in all, this is another solid boxed set release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons