Mystery Science Theater 3000 was the silly, wonderful show that skewered terrible films on a weekly basis from 1988 through 1999.  While full seasons haven't been released, there are four-episode collections on dvd.  Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXIX covers a wide range of seasons and genres with the folks aboard the Satellite of Love.

MST3K XXIX features four very different movies: Untamed Youth, a teen exploitation flick; Hercules and the Captive Women, a cheesy Italian action movie; The Thing that Couldn't Die, a black and white horror movie; and The Pumaman, the worst superhero movie ever (and my favorite MST3K epsiode).  The dvds also feature plenty of extra features for each movie: the movies without commentary, interviews with the movies' stars (such as Mamie Van Doren of Untamed Youth and Walter G.. Aton, Jr. of The Pumaman), MST3K folks talking about the behind-the-scenes events of the show, and mini-posters for each movie.

I'm happy to say that for both episodes I've seen and new ones to me, MST3K remains as funny as ever.  The jokes come fast and plentiful, and while some of the references can go over people's heads (especially older actors and directors), it's hard not to laugh at things like "Quick!  Everyone pretend that you don't have blood!" or "Meanwhile, in the very same scene..." and reacting to seeing Pumaman fly by commenting "It's Scoliosis Man!"

I was a little put off at first by the differences between episodes from different seasons (in order: one, five, nine, and ten), but on reflection this showed how the show evolved, changed, and, yes, improved.  Fans can debate whether Joel or Mike make the better main character, but they're both funny -- and both shown a lot here!  (I definitely prefer Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo.)  MST3K XXIX is a nice look at how the show has changed -- and it's funny as hell too!

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: