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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Science Fiction > Horror > TV > Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 9 (Rhino DVD)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Volume 9


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: A



Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) enjoyed a long run in the late 1980s through the 1990s, serving up its campy brand of bad-movie humor on two networks (Comedy Central, then Sci-Fi Channel), and delighting fans (known as “Mysties”) the world over.  The fact that Rhino has now released nine boxed sets worth of shows is further testament to the show’s continued popularity with its fans.  Volume 9 of this series serves up some interesting fare for “old-school” fans of the show.  The first disc features Women of the Prehistoric Planet, presenting one of the earliest episodes in the series, including a very primitive opening sequence, early stage sets, and a different and significantly less talented actor playing Dr. Clayton Forester’s assistant.  This assistant, Larry, is no TV’s Frank!  More important, the voice of Tom Servo is not done by ace talent Kevin Murphy; instead, J. Elvis Weinstein does double duty as Servo’s voice and Forester’s ill-fated assistant.  Still, the rawness of this episode provides an excellent bookend for some of the later episodes in this and other collections.


Wild Rebels is the film tackled on the second disc, and it is one of the single best episodes in the history of the series.  Bad biker stereotypes from the 1960s are eviscerated in this tour de force of bad filmmaking, but more important, this disc shows the MST3K crew at the height of its zany powers.  Disc 3 features the Ed Wood masterpiece of bad filmmaking The Sinister Urge.  This episode once again showcases the talents of Joel Hodgson, the first of two unfortunates trapped on the satellite and forced by the mad scientists to watch truly terrible movies.


The fourth disc on this box features a film regarded by many as the worst ever made, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.  This disc is a nice counter to the others on this box, as it features the final iteration of the cast and characters, including Mike Nelson (as himself), Mary Jo Pehl (as the mad scientist Pearl), Kevin Murphy (as Bobo the Chimp), and Bill Corbett (as the Observer).  The movie is horrid, but the MST3K send-up and skits surrounding it are brilliant.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on all of these discs is adequate, but suffers from the same problems that all boxes in this series have.  Barely stereo with the comments, the audio on the actual movies, blended with the cast’s scathing commentaries, sometimes sounds washed out, making it difficult to understand what Mike and the bots are cracking funny about.  The 1.33 X 1 picture image on the films is predictably bad, but the video quality of the satellite sequences does the job, and actually enhances the camp quality of the entire presentation.  No one who watches these shows expects high picture fidelity, but the DVDs are nicer than the broadcast or VHS versions.


The extras on this box are lacking compared to previous offerings.  The only two bonus features include commentaries from actors Irene Tsu (Women of the Prehistoric Planet) and Conrad Brooks (The Sinister Urge).  The actual presentation of the discs and box is up to Rhino’s usual high standards, with each disc decorated with a fun (but disturbing) image.  Overall, Rhino continues its great work with this latest offering in the MST3K series.



-   Scott Pyle


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