Brad Cook reviews Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 2…
It’s been about eight months since Shout! Factory released Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume 1, but they’ve finally revisited Rhino’s old sets with a re-release of the second volume in the series. Unfortunately, the bonus features only consist of MST Hour wraps for the Cave Dwellers and Pod People episodes, which is a bummer, but perhaps sales of the first volume weren’t strong enough to warrant putting much money into this collection. (That could also explain the eight-month gap between releases.)
This set contains three episodes from the show, with the fourth disc assembling seven short films skewered during the series’ run. Tom Servo serves as host. Many of the shorts are from the 50s, a time when many adults seemed to think that creating goofy films about careers in the industrial arts and home economics was the best way to create good little citizens. Little did they know that many of their progeny were reading Mad magazine and EC’s horror comics.
The three episodes in this set:
Cave Dwellers: A third season episode that was also known by a much better title, Blade Master, when it was released in theaters. Of course, it was a stinker no matter what name was slapped on it. The film follows the adventures of Ator, a Conan wannabe who also happens to be a graduate of this fantasy world’s equivalent of MIT. It’s actually a sequel to Ator the Fighting Eagle, which might lead you to believe that the unrelated footage during the opening credits is from that film, but it’s not: It’s from a 1963 fantasy film. Needless to say, Joel and the bots have much fun with that during the episode’s first sketch break.
Pod People: Another third season episode that was also created to cash in on another popular 80s character, which in this case was E.T. Like Cave Dwellers, it had footage from an unrelated movie playing during the opening credits. This episode is also notorious for the song “Burning Rubber Tires,” whose bizarre lyrics were often referenced throughout the series’ run.
Angels Revenge: A sixth season episode that dipped into the 70s for its knock-off, which in this case was the popular TV series Charlie’s Angels. Jack Palance has a major role, giving Mike and the bots plenty of chances to mock his gravely voice, and Jim Backus and Alan Hale, Jr. of Gilligan’s Island fame play minor parts. The sketch breaks feature plenty of 70s references.
Like the first volume, this set comes in a standard DVD case with flippers that hold the four discs, as opposed to the box sets with slim DVD cases and mini posters that Shout normally uses for their MST3K releases. Hopefully the company will continue to rerelease these old Rhino sets, since there are plenty of episodes on them that fans want reissued.
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