DVD Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXIX



Before we discuss the final boxset (for the foreseeable future) of first generation episodes, let’s take a moment to rejoice that Netflix is producing a second season of the rejuvenated Mystery Science Theater 3000. This new batch won’t need a pledge drive from fans to make the budget. What can you do with that money that you’d saved to get a cool MST3K premium? How about pick up Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXIX with the last full episodes and the breaks from the movies that wouldn’t agree to being licensed to DVD? The boxset does a fitting farewell to the cult series.

Girls Town (Season Six) is another trip to a correctional facility with Mamie Van Doren. She’d already smoked up the Satelitte of Love in Untamed Youth. Could the Bots survive a second visit from the smoking ’50s icon? This film is so ripe for weirdness. What if I told you that the Velvet Fog Mel Torme is a leather clad tough guy. Quit laughing! It’s true. Paul Anka is a singer who drives a girl nuts. Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Harold Lloyd Jr. prove they aren’t going to have to worry about the burden of being comedy legends. Both sons of icons died in their early 40s. Can we call this the curse of Girls Town? The show opens with Crow giving us a glimpse of a hot new band. The Mad Scientists make the amazing announcement to attach an umbilical cord to the Satellite of Love.

The Amazing Transparent Man (Season Six) starts off with the Mad Scientists turning Deep 13 into a romantic bed and breakfast except the morning food is leftover Chinese and beers. This is what was done before AirBnB. You want to touch the llama? The movie is a film about gangsters on a crime spree with a twist. They don’t bust into banks, but use a scientific device to become invisible. What security guard can stop floating moneybags? In case you’re thinking the film was short, it really did have a running time of 57 minutes. The opening short from Union Pacific Railroad is about how their employees shouldn’t die on the job. The Bots try to put the film’s lesson to practice with hilarious results.

Diabolik (Season Ten) is the final episode of the original series. They picked a fine movie for goodbye. Mario Bava (Planet of the Vampires) adapts the comic book anti-hero Diabolik (Barbarella‘s John Phillip Law) is a major thief eager to rob money, jewelry and gold. It’s a pop culture joy with Terry-Thomas and the villain from Thunderball (Adolfo Celi) trying to yank the mask of the super criminal. Mike and the Bots have fun poking at the Italian production with odd effects and lots of bills covering Marisa Mell. The film covers their final hours on the Satellite of Love as Pearl has to quit and lets her experiment crash to Earth. The series comes to a perfect ending with Mike and the Bots sitting on a sofa watching a surprise film on TV. It’s an endless circle of riffs.

Satellite Dishes includes the host segments for the 11 unfortunate episodes that couldn’t be brought onto DVD because of rights issues with the people that control the movies. Maybe someday in the future a few of the titles will be negotiated. But for now we at least get the Joel, Mike and the Bots work so you can have them in the collection. It’s odd not having the movie in between. The semi-lost episodes include Ep #201 Rocketship X-M, Ep #213 Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster, Ep #309 The Amazing Colossal Man , Ep #311 It Conquered the World , Ep #416 Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Ep #418 The Eye Creatures, Ep #807 Terror from the Year 5000, Ep #809 I Was A Teenage Werewolf , Ep #905 The Deadly Bees , Ep #906 The Space Children and Ep #913 Quest of the Delta Knights. If you enjoy the DVDs, remember to grab them quick since a few released titles have gone out of print because the right expired.

It’s sad think that after 15 years, there will be no “new” episodes of MST3K from the Comedy Channel/SyFy era. Sure there will still be re-issues of the early boxsets with Volume VII arriving in February. There will eventually be the Netflix episodes. But this era is closed (until the person controlling the rights to the AIP titles changes their mind).

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The quality of transfers is fine since they are from later years. You’ll see the details of what happens when Mike comes home. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. You’ll hear the quips clearly. The shows are Closed Captioned.

Chuck Love and the Anatomy of a Theme (8:23) chats with the man responsible for the music. Turns out Chuck is Joel’s cousin. Joel wrote the lyrics and Chuck came up with the synth music. He came up with the end theme on a lark.

Trailer (1:57) lets us know that Girls Town has a few women inside.

Beyond Transparency (11:39) looks at how rich Texas oilmen got into backing movies as a tax shelter. He brought out director Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour) to make The Amazing Transparent Man and Beyond the Time Barrier. Horror make up icon Jack Pierce also came out for the Texas fun. C. Courtney Joyner gives the background and how the productions had issues with money at the end.

Theatrical Trailer (1:37) sets up the sci-fi crime spree of The Transparent Man.

Showdown in Eden Prairie: Their Final Experiment (10:16) lets us know the executives at SyFy pulled the plug because they were changing their format. There’s a Beez sighting! The great discovery of the ’90s would not make it into the 21st Century…until later. It’s kinda sad as they recount the final shoot and selling off elements of the show on eBay.

The Last Dance (76 minutes) is raw video footage from Jim Mallon running around the Best Brains Studio giving us a look at all it took to make the show during the final episode. Did you know Crow and Tom Servo were secretly black?

Theatrical Trailer (2:22) show how groovy Diabolik is. They give away the film in the trailer.

Behind the Scream (18:26) Daniel Griffith on Ballyhoo. He enjoyed being able to make documentaries about several of the films and actors to give them a greater understanding. He does talk about making bonus features for the new series.

Shout! Factory presents Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXIX. Starring: Joel Hodgson & Michael J. Nelson. Boxset Content: 4 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: November 21, 2017.

Tags: , ,