Release Date(s)Various (July 31, 2012)
- 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 XXIV 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: Fugitive Alien (Season 3, Episode 10), Star Force: Fugitive Alien II (Season 3, Episode 18), The Sword and the Dragon (Season 6, Episode 17), and Samson Vs. the Vampire Women (Season 6, Episode 24).
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. Fugitive Alien and Star Force: Fugitive Alien II are taken from the Japanese TV series Star Wolf. They were later overdubbed and brought overseas as two feature films by Sandy Frank who was looking to capitalize upon the success of Star Wars. The Sword and the Dragon is another redubbed import, but this time from Russia. Ilya Muromets (the film’s original title) tells of Russian folklore, but through a Roger Corman filter. Samson Vs. the Vampire Women (one of my favorite episodes of the show) is yet another foreign title, this time from Mexico, and features the masked wrestler Santo as he battles a coven of vampires.
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 Fugitive Alien, you get an introduction by August Ragone and a set of MST Hour Wraps. For Star Force: Fugitive Alien II, you get the You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks! half hour interview. For The Sword and the Dragon, you get two MST3K shorts: Snow Thrills and A Date with Your Family. For Samson Vs. the Vampire Women, you get two featurettes: Lucha Gringo: K. Gordon Murray Meets Santo and Life After MST3K: Frank Conniff, as well as a TV spot for the movie. 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