Release Date(s)Various (October 17, 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 VI 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 three episodes: Teenagers from Outer Space (Season 4, Episode 4), Attack of the Giant Leeches (Season 4, Episode 6), and Gunslinger (Season 5, Episode 11), plus a short films collection: Mr. B’s Lost Shorts.
The episodes in these sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, all of these feature Joel as the host (aside from the shorts). The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Starting things off is Teenagers from Outer Space, an independently-made B schlocker from Tom Graeff, who did everything on the movie but cater it. Alien beings come to Earth searching for a planet to wipe out the life on it for farming purposes, but things go awry when one of them leaves the ship against orders to inspect Earth and is being hunted by his shipmates. Unfortunately, Teenagers was the only professional film that Tom Graeff ever made as he purportedly lost his mind and killed himself several years later. Another Roger Corman-related project, Attack of the Giant Leeches, directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (Night of the Blood Beast, Sssssss), tells of the titular oversized blood-sucking worms and the locals who are sucked dry one by one. The film was also released on a double bill with A Bucket of Blood. Gunslinger, another Roger Corman production, tells of two feuding women in a western town and a man who has been hired to kill one of them. An unusual film for its time, it was co-written by Charles B. Griffith, who Quentin Tarantino considers “the father of redneck cinema”. Last but not least is Mr. B’s Lost Shorts, containing Mr. B. Natural, Marks the Spot, Hired! Part 1, Design for Dreaming, Johnny at the Fair, and Are You Ready for Marriage?.
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 no extras at all, but newly-added to this set on Disc 4 is Shortsighted, an interview with film archivist Rick Prelinger of Prelinger Archives about his association with the show.
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 at least one new extra. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons