Thanksgiving is a time for family, for turkey, and for... bad movies?  It turns out that once upon a time, Thanksgiving was also a time to enjoy a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- and that link is brought back in Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection.

This collection is in some ways like the other MST3K collections (although this time, in a tin).  There are four MST3K epsiodes -- the racist Jungle Goddess, the Lassie movie The Painted Hills, the plastic bones-filled The Screaming Skull, and the worm-filled horror movie Squirm -- with two hosted by Joel Hodgson and two by Mike Nelson.  There are a number of extras, such as shorts for each episode that match their main feature for awfulness, the making of The Screaming Skull, and an interview with Squirm star Don Scardino.  Joel supplies introductions for each episode -- and the episodes are, as always, incredibly funny and Joel or Mike, Crow, and Servo sit through and mercilessly mock these movies that deserve their mockery.

Oh, and then there's Turkey Day.  Back in the 1990s, Comedy Central sometimes held day-long marathons of MST3K on Thanksgiving.  There's a brief documentary ("Overcooked and Understuffed") about making those marathons.  Even better: The Turkey Day Collection also features every sketch and promo done for the three Turkey Day marathons!  This offers such amazing and cheap items as characters from MST3K movies showing up to Dr. Forrester's castle for Thanksgiving dinner, Crow offering different "turkey fact #12," and for every turkey of a movie shown, TV's Frank would eat an entire turkey (off the turkey abacus, naturally).  These are both nice nostalgia who saw the series before it moved to the then-SciFi Channel, and something new who didn't know this element of Thanksgiving!  (The marathon is also returning this year, as six episodes will be streamed online for Thanksgiving.)

Four funny MST3K episodes and all the old Turkey Day spots -- what more could anyone want?  Well I'd like a drumstick -- but I'm glad I have Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection.  

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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