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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Science Fiction > Horror > TV > Mystery Science Theater 3000 – Volume XVII (Shout Factory DVD Set)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 – Volume XVII (Shout Factory DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: A



Having just recently viewed Mystery Science Theater 3000 – Volume XVI it was almost a seamless transition when jumping into the new Volume XVII release.  The newest volume once again features four new to DVD films/episodes.  The films are as follows:


  1. The Crawling Eye (1958) Season One; Episode 1
  2. The Beatniks Season Four; Episode 15
  3. The Final Sacrifice Season Nine; Episode 10
  4. Blood Waters of Dr. Z Season 10; Episode 5



For a bit of background on Mystery Science Theater 3000 before jumping into the review please refer to one of the number of many previous volume reviews on this site.


Moving right along, the first film in this volume is in fact the first episode (on Comedy Central) of the series ever.  The Crawling Eye (1958) is directed by Quentin Lawrence follows a journalist as he investigates unusual accidents that are occurring at a Swiss resort.  This episode is probably one of my least favorite, because as with many of the early episodes the crew did not have their best timing yet and certain elements were lacking.  I do, however, enjoy how epic this episode is in how it got the MST3K crews’ foot in the door with audiences around the world.  We got a taste of what they had to offer and demanded more, more, more!  On a side note, I remember this film the most as an episode of Freakazoid!  Also spoofed The Crawling Eye, but instead the victims are turned into clowns…classic.


The one-liners continue with Beatniks (1960) a film by Paul Frees that is plain horrible!  Joel is still around as this is only Season 4 and gives the crew a perfect opportunity to lay into a film that features a bunch of idiotic punks (rather than actual beatniks) and hilarity ensues.  Season 4 is probably one of this reviewer's favorite seasons as the crew got a stronghold on their innovative movie mocking premise and went all out, full blast.


Next is The Final Sacrifice (1990) is a Canadian film about the take over of earth.  The low budget film was directed by Tjardus Greidanus and the film that centers on a beer drinking drifter simply sets the MST3K crew off the deep end.  This is a Season 9 episode and whereas I do love Joel, this Mike episode is downright hilarious.  It would be in my top episodes of all time list and has jokes that extend well beyond just this single episode.


Finally, Blood Waters of Dr. Z (1975) which is another great later episode.  The film is pretty much all over the place as it involves a mad scientist swearing revenge and then there are some fish and long monologues and so on and so forth.  As you can imagine it establishes a perfect launching point for an array of jokes and the controlled chaos that is MST3K.  The episode is great, but no the best as the crew doesn’t seem on their best game.


Once again the technical features on this new set (like the prior) are far from great, but once again I am happy to view the episodes and don’t care as much about the technicals.  The picture remains your standard definition type and appears to have a very rough VHS quality about them with bits of debris flying by.  Production issues are still apparent, less so in later episodes.  The sound is a Dolby 2.0 Stereo is pretty bad with me again finding myself blasting my speakers to hear everything loud and clear enough.  I reiterate that all the MST3K sets definitely need some restoration work, but I won’t hold my breath and instead will just enjoy some great episodes.


The extras include The Crawling Eye Special Introduction by Joel Hodgson; Mystery Science Theater Hour Wraps On The Beatniks; Brand-New Interview with The Final Sacrifice’s Bruce J. Mitchell; The Main Event: Crow vs. Crow at Dragon * Con ’09; Blood Waters of Doctor Z Photo Gallery; Original Trailers and Promos.  The standout extras are definitely the Bruce Mitchell Interview and Crow vs. Crow as both are refreshingly interesting and add a new layer to an already brilliant program.


Final thought is, buy this set!



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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