Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 1

Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Black & White, Color, Box set, Also includes the uncut version of each film, Full-screen format
Number of discs:



These may not be the best Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the now defunct TV show that mocked really bad movies) episodes - where is Prince of Space, damn it? However, this particular DVD box set rates along with Volume 4 as one of one of my favourites when it comes to the various sets released by Rhino.

And that's not just because it is the only DVD box set which also feature the original movies being lampooned (the joke-free movies can be found on the other side of these double-sided discs). Nope, unlike some fans of this show I'm not that masochistic. The fact is that the episodes in Volume 1 are pretty funny and as good as any place for the newcomers to the show to start. For complete newbies I still recommend checking out Mystery Science Theater 3000 - the Movie and Eegah though.

Some notables: only one of the episodes here is actually science fiction (The Creeping Terror) and all the episodes are hosted by Mike Nelson except for one (Catalina Caper, which is hosted by the show's creator Joel Hodgson).

One of the silliest in-fights in fandom is the one between MSTies, as fans of the show are called, as to whether Hodgson (who hosted the show during the show's early years on the Comedy Channel) or Mike Nelson (who took over later during the show's run on the Sci-Fi Channel) were the best or funniest.

The whole issue is a bit like geeks arguing over whether Captain Picard or Kirk rocked the most.


I enjoy both but must admit that at times I found some of the pop cultural references in some of Hodgson's episodes just a tad too obscure. However, Hodgson can be more caustic than Nelson, especially when it comes to the famed shorts - usually short educational films dating from the 1950s - which makes for brilliantly funny viewing.

As you might have gathered the so-called shorts (collected on volumes 2 and 3) are highly recommended.

The episodes collected in this collection are:

BLOODLUST - A B&W version of The Deadliest Game short story as a group of "kids" are stranded on an island lorded over by a megalomaniacal big game hunter, who predictably hunts them for sports.

CATALINA CAPER - An early 'Sixties caper story whose attempts at humour is achingly embarrassing to watch.

THE CREEPING TERROR - An alien resembling a cardboard dragon from a Chinese New Year street parade chomps up loads of victims. Astoundingly bad, yet hilariously funny. My fave episode on this set.

SKYDIVERS - "They forgot to make something happen," one of bots remark on this movie, which consists of endless skydiving footage and no plot sandwiched in-between. And I mean, no plot. Somehow also one of my favourite episodes on this set.

THE DISCS: Double-sided (don't ya hate them?) and Region 1 encoded. I won't complain about the regional encoding on these discs. Some trailers. If you think is a bare-bone set, then wait till you the later episodes. Like I said previously: I am sure that two episodes can be fitted on a disc. Then again, I'm probably just being greedy - one can't ever have enough Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes . . .

WORTH IT? Like I said, one can't have enough Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes . . .

RECOMMENDATION: Fans of and relative newcomers to this hilarious show should buy it if they haven't done so already. Complete newbies should check out some of the other material I've mentioned here.



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