While none are classics, the four episodes collected here make for a terrific representation of the comedy series’ range, as our host (Joel Hodgson or Mike Nelson, depending on the ep) and his trusty robot friends rip bad movies a new one from the corner of your screen.
They can lampoon no-budget sci-fi (1986’s Robot Holocaust), which was arguably MST3K's genre bread and butter, but they also can do:
• horror, like Revenge of the Creature, Universal’s 1955 Black Lagoon sequel whose Clint Eastwood pre-fame cameo does not go unmocked;
• action, à la Operation Kid Brother, a ’67 James Bond rip-off from Italy that aired under the title Operation Double 007, so named because it starred Sean Connery’s younger brother, Neil;
• and drama. Well, I suppose 1964’s Kitten with a Whip could be perceived as a drama. The only reason the teensploitation trash is remembered today is because of its titular pussycat, Ann-Margret. Vamping opposite tease target John Forsythe, she’s at her pre-Vegas va-va-voomiest. I’d like to think the ’bots had erections while watching.
The four-disc set does have extras, just not in abundance. MST3K vets J. Elvis Weinstein and Bill Corbett catch viewers up on the lives after the show (in part respectively, Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax), while Jack Arnold is feted in a featurette — less for directing Revenge of the Creature than for the original Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man of course. The usual mini-posters are tucked into the box, but since they’re just reproductions of the individual slim-case covers, I find them superfluous.
As I type, the contents of Volume XXVI already have been announced prior to its March 2013 release; like always, I cannot wait. —Rod Lott
Hey! Read This:
• MST3K vs. Gamera: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXI DVD review
• Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XX DVD review
• Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXII DVD review
• Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXIII DVD review
• Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXIV DVD review