Once again a PR firm decided to be nice and sent me over a copy of The Mystery Science Theater Collection Volume 9. I'm a fan of the show, so getting it sent to me is a nice perk. The set contains a good cross-section from the long run of MST3K. There is an episode from seasons one, two, six and eight.
According to Joel, the show didn't hit its stride until at least season two. Season one didn't have TV's Frank and the voice for Tom Servo was different. Season eight was the first year the series ran on the Sci-Fi channel. I never saw any of those episodes though I heard the Pearl, who replaced Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank was terrible. With Dr. Forrester gone, the voice of Crow also changed.
I know they're just robots, but it was disconcerting to hear someone else's voice playing those parts.
Disc 1: Women of the Prehistoric Planet – I have no idea why the movie has this title. The only people native to the planet were some cavemen. The only woman came on the rescue ship. The plot has a Star Trekkie feel to it, with plenty of attempts to make social statements. It's poorly acted and full of plenty of jaw-droppingly bad special effects. Joel and the robots do a good job skewering this one. At one point we see the crash victims encased in ice. Strangely, the entire planet seems tropical, so I'm not sure how they stay frozen. The disc also contained a short interview with one of the stars of the film. It was interesting to hear what she had to say about making the film, and what she went on to do with her acting career.
Disc 2: Wild Rebels - For the kicks man, for the kicks. In this sad excuse for a movie, a former stock car racer goes undercover to bust a motorcycle gang (which only has four members). One biker is named Banjo and one can't talk because he was hit in the head. The female member of the gang gets passed around from member to member. The commentary and host segments are top notch.
Disc 3: The Sinister Urge – A classic Ed Wood tale of the smut trade of 60s Hollywood. This DVD also includes a short interview with one of the stars of the film and an entertaining short entitled "Keeping Clean and Neat." The Sinister Urge has some of the worst fight sequences ever filmed. One includes Ed Wood himself. There's plenty to make fun of, including cops that sit around a desk a lot and lots of opportunity for porn jokes. I enjoyed this movie the most out of the four.
Disc 4: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies – This is one of those films that has you scratching your head throughout, wondering how it ever got money to be made. It contains too many musical numbers and not enough of the titular mixed-up zombies. Their definition of zombies is a bit loose. Apparently if you get hypnotized and acid splashed on your face, you become a zombie. Pearl didn't spend too much time on the screen, which was a good thing. She wasn't funny. However, the comments and host segments were good quality. This is probably the weakest of the four DVDs.
This is a nice collection of DVDs, especially Wild Rebels and The Sinister Urge. The other two, while not classics, are still enjoyable episodes.
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