Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXVII

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXVII
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Before snarky jokes found a more natural home on Twitter and other social media, they were once the main line of defense against terribly cheesy movies for the protagonists of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In the cult show's 27th volume, our heroes once again amusingly tackle cinematic disasters plagued by low production values, bad acting and incomprehensible plots with the usual assortment of scathing comments and pithy in-jokes. Rather than assemble all of the episodes in any logical order, the four included here (much like past collections) instead reflect the different eras of the show's ten-season run. For instance, features The Slime People and Rocket Attack U.S.A. are viewed with sardonic commentary from creator Joel Hodgson, while Village of the Giants and The Deadly Mantis feature Hodgson's eventual replacement, Michael J. Nelson. The ridiculous elements of the plot remain the same for both, with the two playing average men who've been launched into space and forced to watch the worst B-movies imaginable. It's all part of an experiment by mad scientist Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) and his sidekick, Frank (Frank Conniff), to gauge the films' effects on the human brain and use the results to help plot world domination (Josh Weinstein appears in one episode as Forrester's original sidekick). To help Hodgson and Nelson belittle the movies is a host of crudely assembled robots, led by converted bubble-gum dispenser Tom Servo and irreverent metal bird Crow. The highlight is Village of the Giants, if only because it stars two actors who would want it stricken from their resumes: Beau Bridges and a pint-sized, ginger-haired Ron Howard. The quips and references are delivered in an off-hand manner, so as not to distract too much from following the plot of these abominations, and usually elicit more chuckles than big laughs. As the three figures crowd the bottom of the screen in their iconic spots, it's occasionally the visual gags that are the funniest, as when Hodgson stands to mime cleaning a character's glasses. The bonus material is relatively thin, offering an interview with an actress from one of the ridiculed films looking back at how she came to be involved with such an unfortunate project. Elsewhere, there are appearances by some of the MST3K cast, including an introduction by Mary-Jo Pehl and an opportunity to catch up with Trace Beaulieu to find out what projects he's worked on since the show went off the air (such as his failed audition for the role of Jar-Jar Binks). (Shout! Factory)