Release Date(s)Various (November 27, 2018)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s Volume VIII DVD set. Shout Factory’s boxed sets of the show are normally released three to four times a year with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
In this instance, this release is an update of an out-of-print boxed set from Rhino Entertainment. After Rhino’s release of Volume 12, Shout! Factory took over the home video distribution rights and they have been re-releasing these sets, which have since become very expensive to acquire. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Hobgoblins (Season 9, Episode 7), The Phantom Planet (Season 9, Episode 2), Monster A Go-Go (Season 4, Episode 21), and The Dead Talk Back (Season 6, Episode 3).
The episodes in this set feature three hosted by Mike and only one hosted by Joel. The quality of each episode varies as some are better than others. In Hobgoblins, Gremlin/Critter-like creatures escape from their confines and wreak havoc on a group of hormonal teenagers and a strip club full of morons. In The Phantom Planet, two rocket-propelled astronauts wax poetic about the beauty of life before making an emergency landing on an asteroid inhabited by tiny humanoid aliens and predictable romantic entanglements. In Monster A Go-Go, an astronaut crash-lands on Earth and is turned into a creature with a bad skin condition. And finally in The Dead Talk Back, a scientist who can communicate with the dead recounts the painfully uninteresting events of an evening in which a murder occurred, and how it was solved.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which are on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for the extras, you get a couple from disc to disc, most of which have been carried over from the original Rhino boxed set releases, but some featuring newly-produced content from the likes of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. For Hobgoblins, there’s the 19-minute documentary Hobgoblins Revisited, featuring writer/producer/director Rick Sloane speaking about his film, as well as the film’s trailer. For The Phantom Planet, there’s the trailer only. For Monster A Go-Go, there’s the trailer and Bill Rebane Speaks, a 9-minute interview with the writer/director about the film and his career. For The Dead Talk Back, there’s Myron Natwick Talks Back, a 9-minute interview with the actor, who also talks about his career and the film itself.
All in all, this is another solid release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. I for one am incredibly thankful to have an out-of-print release of the show back on the market, even without substantial extras. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.
– Tim Salmons