Rifftrax: Three films – DVD Review

“And Here we go with the Citizen Kane of bad movies.”
“It’s more like the Caddyshack 2 of bad movies.”
“I thought Howard The Duck was the Caddyshack 2 of bad movies.”

And with that the Rifftrax commentary for Plan 9 has begun!

Are you a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Were you sad when the show went off the air? Despite owning all the DVDs and a plethora of bootleg episodes on VHS do you still clamor for more?

Then you need not wait any longer, for Michael J. Nelson, Kevin “Tom Servo” Murphy and Bill “Crow T. Robot” Corbett are back to make fun of all the worst films and now the best ones too. Rifftrax originally launched in 2006. Nelson would make audio tracks of his commentary for people to download and sink up with their DVD. This allowed him to attack all sorts of movies including more recent blockbuster hits (The Dark Knight) and stinkers (Battlefield Earth). It started out just Mike, but soon Kevin and Bill were in the mix and the team was back together again.

Now a handful of Rifftrax films are being released on DVD for you to add to your already bulging MST3K collection. I had the good fortune of reviewing three of them.


Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

The Film: This Ed Wood “classic” has been dubbed by many as the worst film ever made. I still say its Manos, The Hands Of Fate but thats a debate for another time. Plan 9 is about an advanced alien race that is concerned about Earths violent tendencies. So they start bringing dead people (including Bela Lugosi is his last and posthumous role, Vampira and Tor Johnson) back to life to attack the humans. Its a very silly, low budget, low talent film. If you love bad movies, you love this film. Plain and simple.

The Rifftrax: Plan 9 never faced the scrutiny of MST3K. Mike did a solo commentary when Rifftrax first launched, but this is the first time all three of them have riffed it together so its nice to say that this is a very solid outing by the impertinent trio. They poke fun at obviously fake sets, the bad acting and scenes that go from day to night and back again. Highlights include them riffing on the flamboyancy of the alien leader and the detectives complete disregard for gun safety.


Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

The Film: This George Romero classic reinvented the zombie genre for years to come. Its a creepy claustrophobic film about a group of strangers trapped in a house with dozens of flesh eating ghouls roaming the grounds outside. But the zombies arent the only danger as the strangers argue and tempers begin to flair. Sure this was a very low budget film, but its a classic of the genre and is still very watchable today.

The Rifftrax: This one is pretty good, but not one of the best. There are a lot of good laughs, but there were long periods that didnt even get a smirk out of me. This one is certainly worth renting but not one of the essentials. Highlights include them making fun of the angry white bald guy and the Barbara who does nothing sit and stare and freak out. One of the best lines comes when we see a shot of the walking dead and one of the guys shouts: “Look out, Jimmy Buffet fans!”


Carnival Of Souls (1962)

The Film: This is a very strange and atmospheric film about a young woman who walks away from a watery car accident in which two of her friends die. She moves to Utah to become an organist at a church. She starts seeing dead people and freaking out. The film was made by a production company that made many of the shorts that appeared on MST3K.

The Rifftrax: This was the weakest of three that I saw. Again, there were laughs to be had, but they were pretty few and far between. There was a lot of making fun of the incessant organ music, which is really annoying and it drives them crazy and how all the woman does is walk around and stare at stuff. Worth renting, only buy it if you are the most hard core fan and need to own them all.

Its exciting that Mike, Kevin and Bill are back together again and while downloading an audio track and playing it along with your DVD is all well and good, its great to have it all together in one package. Plus, you can watch the films as they were meant to be seen without the Rifftrax audio, so its almost like two films for the price of one and at under 10 bucks a piece there really isnt much else to complain about.

Each film is presented fullscreen, 1:33.1 and mono sound. The transfers of the films are about as good as you can get for these films. There is still a lot of grain and dirt on the screen but that happens with old low budget film. The sound mixing is good allowing you to hear the film and the guys riffing.

Each film comes with a code to download the Rifftrax for Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets from the website.

MST3K is classic. Rifftrax is funny. These are good, but they just arent quite as good as the original. However, theyre still worth checking out. If nothing else its just great to have Mike, Kevin and Bill back together making fun of movies, whether they deserve it or not.


Plan 9 From Outer Space

Legend Films presents Rifftrax: Plan 9 From Outer Space. Directed by: Edward D. Wood, Jr. Starring: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson and Vampira. Written by: Edward D. Wood, Jr. Running time: 79 min. Not Rated. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

Night Of The Living Dead

Legend Films presents Rifftrax: Night Of The Living Dead. Directed by: George Romero. Starring: Duane Jones and Judith ODea. Written by: George Romero and John Russo. Running time: 96 min. Not Rated. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

Carnival Of Souls

Legend Films presents Rifftrax: Carnival Of Souls. Directed by: Herk Harvey. Starring: Candace Hilligoss. Written by: Herk Harvey and John Clifford. Running time: 78 min. Not Rated. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

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