Release Date(s)Various (March 28, 2017)
- 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 XXXVIII 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.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K in past reviews, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet instead and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Invasion USA (Season 6, Episode 2), Colossus and the Headhunters (Season 6, Episode 5), High School Big Shot (Season 6, Episode 18), and Track of the Moon Beast (Season 10, Episode 7).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, all of the episodes are hosted by Mike. The quality of each episode varies, with some better than others. Invasion USA comes from producer Albert Zugsmith and tells the fictional tale of the United States being invaded by Soviets. Colossus and the Headhunters is a swords and sandals quickie from American International Pictures about the heroic Maciste and his adventure defeating the titular attacking headhunters. Then a young man attempts a robbery in the less than savory High School Big Shot, directed by TV veteran Joel Rapp. Last but not least is Track of the Moon Beast, an MST3K fan favorite in which a mineralogist begins transforming into a ferocious reptile-like creature after being struck by a falling meteor... with a Native American professor giving out stew recipes.
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.
You get a few extras here from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set (courtesy of the great Ballyhoo Motion Pictures). For Invasion USA, you get the Zugsmith Confidential featurette and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Colossus and the Headhunters, you get a great little featurette Mike, by Joel. For High School Big Shot, you get the movie’s theatrical trailer, as well as the original movie itself. For Track of the Moon Beast, you get the interview Tracking a Moon Beast with Actress Leigh Drake. And if you bought this set through Shout! Factory’s website, the first 1,500 orders came with a bonus disc which features the long out-of-print Play MSTIE for Me Triple Decker collection. It features a collection of musical numbers from the show and is nearly an hour and a half long. 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 from the good folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons