Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly
The thing about this episode from the late fourth season of MST3K is that the subject – Boris Petroff's evil doctor, anti-progress parable, The Unearthly – is less bad than it is unremarkable. While the premise of a doctor experimenting on depressed people without families to find an untapped fountain of youth is fairly lame, there's an abundance of recognizable actors doing a mediocre job delivering crap dialogue in a bland film that's interchangeable with other monster films of the era. And since this series relies specifically on the commentary of Joel Hodgson and his gang of hand-made robots, a blasé subject makes for a middling, forgettable episode. In fact, beyond the on-the-nose mockery of the preceding short edutainment video, Appreciating Your Parents, where they make comments about a '50s housewife repressing her dreams and calling her husband "Master," there's nothing memorable about this instalment at all. Part of this has to do with Hodgson being a weaker host than Mike Nelson, who took over after the sixth season, but mostly it's that there really isn't much to go on with a film that offers only bad pick-up lines and some occasional sexism to riff on. Perhaps this is why the mid-movie sketches about the actors and the subject matter last longer than normal. Fortunately, the two shorts and the brief runtime of the actual film make it all clip by at a reasonable pace. It's just unfortunate that there are very few laughs to be had. And, like most standalone releases of MST3K episodes, there are no special features to speak of, aside from the glory of new packaging and a standard DVD menu. (Shout! Factory)