Release Date(s)Various (January 31, 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 IV 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: Space Mutiny (Season 8, Episode 20), Overdrawn at the Memory Back (Season 8, Episode 22), Girl in Gold Boots (Season 10, Episode 2), and Hamlet (Season 10, Episode 9).
The episodes in these sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, all of these feature Mike as the host. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. For this set, you get three of the best and one of the worst. Starting things off is Space Mutiny, an all-around fan favorite featuring Reb Brown as a muscle-bound space pilot trying to save a starship run by a heavily-bearded Cameron Mitchell from a crewmen gone rogue, played by John Phillip Law. Overdrawn at the Memory Bank is a TV movie starring Raúl Juliá as a mind without body. In a distant dystopian future, his mind must infiltrate and take control of the central computer system before his live body is given a sex change. Directed by Ted V. Mikels (The Astro-Zombies), Girl in Gold Boots tells of a wayward, curvy lady making her way, with a jealous boyfriend, to sunny California to become a go-go dancer at a local nightclub, later learning that’s run by a drug dealer. Hamlet, which is probably one of the poorer episodes of the show, is just that: William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, dubbed over in English from a black and white German TV broadcast. It’s a very dry and dull movie, making it difficult to successfully riff on, try as they might.
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 very light. Carried over from the previous Rhino boxed set is an intro to each episode by Mike Nelson, and for Girl in Gold Boots, the movie’s trailer and TV spot have also been included.
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 with new extras (few though they may be). If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons