DVD Review: MST3K: The Atomic Brain & The Touch of Satan



Recent fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 receive a jolt of sticker shock when they search for out of print early boxsets of the show. It seems cheaper to just build your own Satellite of Love and robot puppets. Don’t break out the hammer and hot glue gun so fast. Shout! Factory is now releasing solo titles of the early releases at a more reasonable price at their website’s shop. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Atomic Brain and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan have been relaunched.

The Atomic Brain (Season 5) is from the Mike Nelson era. Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank dress up as Crow and Tom Servo to mock the bots during the exchange. TV’s Frank learns the bad news about his costume. The educational short “What About Juvenile Delinquency?” gets flipped around by Mike and the Bots as a reason to be bad. The teen boys in the gang wear cool jackets with club patches. Even though they’re up to no good, they look snappy. The Atomic Brain is the classic tale of the old woman who wants to stick her brain in a hot girl’s body. This is the secret of Kim Kardashian. Tom Servo turns himself into a weather reporter which isn’t such a great idea since there’s not much weather in space except for meteor showers. Mike demonstrates the secret of the chin puppet. The Bots don’t quite get it. TV’s Frank meets Dr. Fister.

The Touch of Satan (Season 9) opens up with a stunner. Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl) has gone on vacation. She’s left Steffi to babysit Bobo (Kevin Murphy) and Brain (Bill Corbett). But it’s not just any teen girl in charge of the ape and observer. Steffi is played by Beth “Beez” McKeever. While the face might not be familiar, Beez is best known for being in prop diva and occasionally Magic Voice. She dazzles when allowed in front of the camera. There’s something so gleeful in her eyes when she rules up the newspaper to adjust Bobo’s attitude. The actual movie is an unmitigated disasterpiece. A hip guy falls for the farmer’s daughter. The joke’s on him since there’s a psychotic old lady going around stabbing people with pitchforks. Also turns out the farmer’s daughter might be a little older than her daddy. The movie itself opens with the ancient GP rating. MPAA scientists would reverse the letters to PG.

Touch of Satan is the better of the two films because of Beez’s guest starring role. Why wasn’t she brought back as a recurring character? She could have watched the Bots for another episode? Or just become Pearl’s evil henchwoman? So many possibilities that fluttered away. The good news is that Steffi has become legendary for her one appearance. She fulfilled the the old showbiz saying, “Leave them wanting more.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are taken from the video masters. Things look fine on the Satellite of Love. The audio is stereo for the Mike and the Bots business while both films are in mono.

Sadly, there are no bonus features.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Atomic Brain and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan are a double dose of Mike and the Bots in solo shots. The Touch of Satan wins me over with Beez’s award winning performance as Steffi. She’s the perfect TV babysitter. Both films are exclusively available from Shout! Factory’s Shout Select web store. They are DVDs and not burn on demand discs.

Shout! Factory presents Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Atomic Brain and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan Starring: Mike Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Coniff and Beth McKeever. Released on DVD: October 18, 2011. Available at ShoutFactory.com.

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