Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume I (DVD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Sep 09, 2015
  • Format: DVD
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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume I (DVD Review)



Release Date(s)

Various (September 1, 2015)


Shout! Factory
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: B-
  • Audio Grade: B-
  • Extras Grade: B+
  • Overall Grade: B+

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1 (reissue DVD)




Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s Volume I DVD set. Shout Factory’s boxed sets of the show are normally released tri-annually 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 since they have been successful with their releases, it seems like the perfect idea to go back and put those sets back into print. They’re currently going for hundreds of dollars after the fact, so if you’re into MST3K and you have those twelve volumes missing from your shelves, you’d definitely want to get the rest eventually. Thankfully, all is being set right. It’s also worth noting that the packaging has changed for this release. Usually these sets come in a thick slipcase with separate slim cases for each disc. But for this release, Shout! Factory has chosen to house the discs in a single standard case multiple housing spaces for each disc. Most fans will likely complain about this because of how it winds up looking on shelves next to their other sets, but in Shout!’s defense, it’s more of a cost-saving measure. It makes it more equitable for both fans and Shout! without other fans resorting to pay regular price for a set of episodes that they might already own. Besides, this isn’t simply just a reprinting. There’s some new stuff that goes with it, which I’ll get into in a second.

Now I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Catalina Caper (Season 2, Episode 4), The Creeping Terror (Season 6, Episode 6), Bloodlust (Season 6, Episode 7), and Final Justice (Season 6, Episode 9).

The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, but in this case, there is only one from Joel and three from Mike. The reason for this is because it’s a collection of movies from Crown International Pictures. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Catalina Caper is a 60’s beach party romp about a group of teenagers who are out to find a stolen ancient Chinese scroll (Scooby Doo, anybody?). The Creeping Terror is 60’s sci-fi schlock featuring a giant walking carpet, er, I mean alien, that crash lands on Earth, eating everybody in its path. Bloodlust is another entry in the rich humans hunting other humans subgenre, except that it’s not as thrilling as you might think. Likewise for The Skydivers, which is another Coleman Francis snorefest about a group of skydivers that zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Anyway, as far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were 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 few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For Catalina Caper, you get the featurette The Crown Jewels and the movie’s original theatrical trailer. For The Creeping Terror, you get the extended trailer for The Creep Behind the Camera, the Screamfest 2014 trailer for The Creeping Terror, and a Q&A from Screamfest 2014 on The Creep Behind the Camera with Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu. For Bloodlust, you get the movie’s original theatrical trailer only. For The Skydivers, you also get the movie’s original theatrical trailer only. The previous Rhino release also featured the original uncut versions of each movie, but for obvious reasons, this hasn’t been replicated here. Again, this is a budget re-release, and having the movies themselves just seems to pointless, at least to me.

All in all, this is another solid release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory, and I for one am incredibly thankful to have an out of print release of the show back into print with new extras. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Now push the button, Frank.

- Tim Salmons