All right, I need to be professional about this but... HOLY JUMPING JUJU BEES, THEY'RE BACK!!! THE GUYS FROM MST3K ARE BACK!!!

OK, deep breath, let me explain. I'm a B-movie guy; that's why I write this Killer B's thing every week. Movies with cheap rubber monsters, juvenile delinquents played by guys in their 30s, and space ships on clearly visible wires are what get me out of bed in the morning. As such, Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- the TV show in which a guy and two robots were stranded in space and forced to make fun of the cheesiest flicks this side of a video taped tour of a gorgonzola factory -- was for me a high point of western civilization. It was also funny as hell, and I'm happy to say so is this new project from the former residents of the Satellite of Love. Three of the show's stars -- Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett -- have reformed as The Film Crew and are producing a line of DVD's through Shout Factory, and as far as I'm concerned this is the B-movie equivalent of a Beatles reunion. All three wrote for MST3K, with Nelson acting as head writer and host/star (original host Joel Hodgson left in the fifth of the show's eleven seasons). Murphy and Corbett also appeared on the show as the voices of the robotic Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot respectively. Now as members of The Film Crew these three begin each adventure with a conference call from their boss Bob Honcho who delivers their latest assignment in the quest to provide a commentary track for every crappy movie that doesn't yet have one.

The main feature this time is Hollywood After Dark, a trashy little flick released in 1968 (though it looks like it was shot several years earlier) whose main claim to fame is that it features Rue McClanahan as a stripper, which is just as unappealing as it sounds. A junk dealer and former navy demolitions expert named Tony gets caught up in a heist and along the way falls in love with a stripper named Sandy (McClanahan) who has dreams of becoming an actress. There are slimy gangsters, casting couches and some incredibly unerotic stripping here, and the Film Crew guys tear into it without mercy. Of course we no longer have the silhouettes of Mike and the 'bots in the lower right corner of the screen, but aside from that you could swear this is a new MST3K episode, and these guys haven't lost their touch in the slightest. To demonstrate here are some of my favorite lines from the commentary track:
  • "I guess that's sexy in kind of an Ed Grimley way."
  • "Wait, I hear the smell of sex."
  • "My ball of bread dough will comfort me."
  • "Oh, I shouldn't have eaten that translucent mayonnaise.
The only weak spot in the production is the wrap around device. At the beginning of the movie and a few times throughout we get some brief sketch-style comedy with the Film Crew in their basement office. None of it really worked for me, but then not all the skits on MST3K worked either, so I can't get too down on it.

Nelson and company haven't been entirely out of the movie riffing business, of course. Over at Mike Nelson's Rifftrax you can purchase and download MST3K style commentary tracks in MP3 format for mainstream Hollywood flicks like Casino Royale and Terminator 3, or even TV shows like the two hour premiere of Lost. Nelson is joined on these commentaries by a variety of MST3K alumni including Murphy and Corbett, as well as Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson. The new Film Crew project, however, gets Mike and the guys back to their B-movie roots and I can't wait to see more. Hollywood After Dark is currently available and Killers From Space featuring Peter Graves will be out on August 7th, and later this year the film crew will be releasing The Giant of Marathon starring Steve Reeves as well as the wonderfully titled The Wild Women of Wongo.
categories Dvds, Cinematical