DVD Review: MST3K (The Wild World of Bat Woman & Girl In Gold Boots)

What can a snarky culture fiend do when a Mystery Science Theater 3000 title goes out of print? Hunt down a used copy online? Sounds easy until you notice the used price costs as much as mom swears she’s going to charge you for living in the basement. Thankfully the older titles are coming back in print on Shout! Factory’s Shout Select Series available from their website’s store. These are not burn on demand DVD-Rs. They are shiny silver discs. The latest two titles to be revived are Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Wild World of the Bat Woman and Mystery Science Theater 3000: Girl in Gold Boots.

The Wild World of Bat Woman (Season Five) is not a Bob Kane inspired production. Writer, director and producer Jerry Warren cashed in on the Batmania sweeping the country by coming up with Bat Woman. He got so blatant in his marketing that “Batmania!” is written on the poster. He was sued by the folks behind Batman and eventually beat them in court. Pow! Although by the time the lawsuit was over, Batmania had ceased and the Adam West series was canceled. Warren retitled the movie as She Was a Hippy Vampire. He needed to latch onto the next big youth fad or lose his Exploitation Filmmaker card.

What MST3K does to Bat Woman is more evil than any plot from the Joker. First off the quickie movie is too short for the show. This means an educational short is required to fill out the episode. “Cheating” is a classic in teaching the consequences to not learning the right way. Mike Nelson and the Bots remind us that cheating can have a positive effect on your career. “Is this Ingmar Bergman’s first American film?” gets quipped by Crow. This short works great with Bat Woman since that production really cheats in calling itself a movie. Bat Woman fights crime with her ladies that luckily aren’t dressed as Robin. She is dressed like challenge on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The bat logo drawn on her chest. Her arch-villain is the diabolical Ratfink. The audio on Bat Woman is so cheaply done it’s hard to tell if the actors are talking or if its the Bots impersonating them. Mike points out that this looks like an Andy Warhol movie except there’s no critic who can prove this is art. This film makes Roger Corman productions look lavish. There’s a lot of ladies in bikini tops go-go dancing to make up for plot holes. The invention exchange has TV’s Frank (Frank Conniff) creates the atomic power hairdryer to use on Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu). The segment breaks end up focusing on “Cheating.” Mike has everyone write an essay about cheating. Crow cheats on his essay and there’s a price to pay. Luckily you’ll no longer have to pay $100 for the 2001 solo DVD release of Bat Woman.

Girl in Gold Boots (Season Ten) is from filmmaker Ted V. Mikels. This cult character was best known for The Astro-Zombies, The Corpse Grinders and The Doll Squad. His career got a boost with a feature in ReSearch magazine’s Incredibly Strange Films. Girl in the Gold Boots exposes the sinister world of Go-Go dancing. A girl working at a greasy spoon diner in the middle of the high desert gets tempted by an offer from a leather jacket wearing customer. She splits for the high paying world of go-go dancing in Los Angeles. Turns out that the glamorous job of shaking your moneymaker for hours on end has a downside. Seems that the owner of the club and dancers are part of the drug underworld. Mike Nelson and the Bots are horrified at this truth. There’s also a Batman connection since the credits use the same font as the Adam West series. The segments include recreating a moment from the film as Crow pours beer on Mike’s most beloved objects. Mike gets the last laugh. Crow gets inspired by the film to slap on gold boots and go-go dance in the Satellite of Love. Pearl Forrester nearly loses her Mad Scientist license. Girl in the Gold Boots was originally released as part of the Volume 4 boxset back in 2003.

While not officially a double feature, The Wild World of Bat Woman and Girl in the Gold Boots remind us that America was all about go-go dancing in the mid-’60s. Filmmakers didn’t have to worry about plot, acting or substance as long as they lined up enough women who could shake their rumps to the groovy beats. Luckily for MST3K fans, Mike, Crow and Tom Servo filled in all the gaps that couldn’t be ignored with go-go fun.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The show was produced on videotape. The films look like they just escaped extended runs at the drive-in. But the roughness allows riffs from Mike and the Bots stick to the frame. The audio is stereo with a good separation between mike

No bonus features.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Wild World of the Bat Woman and Mystery Science Theater 3000: Girl in Gold Boots revive two episodes that have gone out of print on DVD. No longer will you have to pay more for a used DVD than the movie’s original production budget. Both films fill the screen with go-go dancing when there’s nothing in the script.

Shout! Factory presents Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Wild World of the Bat Woman and . Starring: Mike Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl. Running Time: 91 minutes. Released on DVD: March 20, 2012. Available at the Shout! Factory Store.

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