Mystery Science Theater 3000 XVI

Mystery Science Theater 3000 XVI
Watching MST3K on DVD has always posed a number of problems. First off, plopping in a DVD of The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy or Attack of the Eye Creatures spoils something of the random grab-bag appeal of the show's initial TV run. There's also the problem of repeat viewings; it's hard to imagine convincing your friends to re-watch an episode based on the strength of some wiseass comment the robot Crow tosses out halfway through Monster A Go-Go. Finally, there's the curious attraction of watching someone else riff on bad movies, a practice that anyone with enough pop culture savvy and a decent sense of humour can pull off without the silhouettes of MST3K's Joel (or Mike) and their two robot buddies imprinted on the screen. That said, the program's nerd niche demographic of crap-movie completists is bound to buy into this collection. As with the other boxed sets, XVI collects four random episodes from the series. There's the Bela Lugosi-starring The Corpse Vanishes (1942), the AIP-produced Night of the Blood Beast (1958), Santa Claus (1959), a Mexican feature that has Santa squaring off against Satan, and 1985's post-apocalyptic motorcycle flick Warrior of the Lost World. To paraphrase Tolstoy: each of these bad films is bad in their own way. Corpse and Blood Beast are fairly routine MST3K fare: genre B-movies with shoestring budgets. Santa Claus, if only because of its ludicrous premise (a super-powered Saint Nick is basically subbing in for god or Jesus in this battle against Lucifer), is a bit more esoteric entry. Ditto Lost World, which plays out like a mix of Mad Max and George A. Romero's Knightriders. This box set is presented like a male chastity belt, including interviews with Lost World director David Worth, a feature on Santa Claus that seems higher-budgeted than the film (or MST3K itself), four mini-movie posters and a "collectible" Tom Servo figurine. (Shout! Factory)