Some fans in the States of Mystery Science
Theater 3000, the TV show which mercilessly lampoons bad movies in the
guise of three silhouetted figures seen sitting in a cinema, were
disappointed by this particular release,
mostly because many of the
episodes on it are still being shown as re-runs on television.
Well, fans from outside the States probably don't care: Mystery Science Theater
3000 (or MST3K for short)
is no longer showing on the European Sci-Fi Channel, and if it wasn't for
these Region 1 DVDs, there probably would be no other way to see any of
The movies lampooned in this set are:
Yup, the bard himself. This is a dreary Black & White version
made in 1960 for German television. It stars Maximillian (The
Black Hole) Schell as the Danish prince
After hearing some MSTies (as fans of the show are called)
disparage this particular episode, I wasn't expecting too much of it, but
in the end I had a blast. This episode will be of particular appeal to
anyone (like myself) who had to suffer through English Lit at university.
OVERDRAWN AT THE MEMORY BANK
The only clever thing about this movie is
its title. This 1985 made-for-American-public-television show starred Raul
Julia (Gomez of the Addams Family movies!) and has something to do
with . . . well, I don't know really. Matrix-style
virtual reality and a
1984-like dictatorship run by a hugely fat guy.
The plot is confusing, the computer-generated
effects crummier than those in Tron and Julia
gives a truly lousy performance -
sad for such a talented actor really.
(Incidentally, one IMDb reviewer gives Overdrawn at the Memory Bank,
the original version, a 7 out of 10 rating. Shows that you get all kinds .
SPACE MUTINY -
A horrendously bad sci-fi movie about a huge spaceship
facing a mutiny. I think - the plot is confusing to say the least.
Interestingly enough this craptacular movie was filmed in South
Africa in the mid-1980s when Apartheid was at its height. Or make that,
technically filmed in South Africa. You see it was filmed in one of the
apartheid state's controversial so-called homelands -
created countries in which Blacks were supposed to live while actually
working in South Africa itself. This particular country was called
Bophuthatswana, and it was incorporated back into South Africa following a
popular rebellion and coup (noted for the futile interference by a small
White neo-fascist group to prop it up).
Ironically Bophuthatswana was a popular destination for South African
Whites because of Sun City, a huge gambling resort (where Space Mutiny
was filmed). You see, gambling itself was banned in puritan South Africa
itself. Bizarrely the spaceship in the movie is called the Southern Sun,
which was also the name of a hotel
resort owned by the same group.
Filmed in Sun City's huge basement, Space Mutiny is hilariously bad
and the MST3K running comments during it are brilliantly funny.
Definitely the best episode of the bunch and a perennial favourite of mine
which I have seen several times. (Sci-fi fans will note that old
Battlestar Galactica stock footage is used
verbatim instead of any original special effects!)
Also, if you bother reading the credits you'll see that someone who worked
on the film's financial side (no doubt intended as a tax write-off) shares
my wife's maiden surname -
a common Afrikaner surname.
GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN BOOTS ? Not the worst movie in the bunch, but
definitely the worst episode. Only vaguely amusing, this is a 1960s
rag-to-riches tale about a wannabe dancer waitressing at a diner entitled
THE DISCS: What is quite bizarre is that these discs (four of them
in the set) are actually all Region 1 encoded,
which means that people in
Europe and elsewhere with Region 2 or other DVD players won?t be able to
play them! This is despite the fact that there are no Region 2 or 4 or any
other region besides Region 1 MST3K
DVDs available. Really bizarre ? just what is the point
Anyway, if you've done the clever thing and have removed the region
restriction on your DVD player, they should play fine. Why are these
particular episodes still playing on U.S. TV? Well, probably because these
episodes date from the show's later years when it ran in the late-1990s on
the Sci-Fi Channel.
Interestingly enough the show ultimately ran for over a decade ? first on
the Comedy Channel in the early 1990s! So that means that there is a hell
of a lot of episodes out there, right? Right. And one of my minor gripes
with the MST3K DVDs are that I'm sure with the low image and sound
quality of the movies being lampooned, they could easily have fitted in
two episodes on a single-sided disc.
However, a few MST3K episodes are better than none,
especially of this quality ? and this goes doubly for this particular set.
(Oh, I forgot to mention that this is the first time that these particular
episodes are available on either VHS or DVD ? unlike the earlier box sets
which featured material previously available on stand-alone video
WORTH IT? Three out of four very funny MST3K episodes makes
this a must buy set.
RECOMMENDATION: If you
live outside the States the only way to obtain these discs is by buying
them from a U.S.-based on-line retailer like
Amazon.com. If the hilarious Space Mutiny episode doesn't
convert you to the MST3K cause then I'm afraid nothing will.