Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXIV DVD Review
MST3K Volume XXXIV is better than waffles!
2015 is a great year to be a Mistie. Not only is the show on the verge of being resurrected, but Shout! Factory continues to put out fantastic new releases. The latest of which (Volume XXXIV) is one of the best in years. In the 34th volume, fans get the usual four episodes that include “Viking Women Vs. The Sea Serpent, “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Undead,” and “The She-Creature.” How do the episodes fare? Read on to find out!
First up on this set is the Roger Corman stinker “Viking Women Vs. The Sea Serpent.” In this adventure film, a group of Viking women set sail to find their Viking men. As they tend to do, Joel and the bots provide loads of pop culture references (LOTR and Monty Python to name a few) while also spouting hilarious lines about the the whiney Prince, walking scenes, and the “Teenage Caveman” sets. The film is preceded by an equally funny short (“The Home Economics Story”) which is actually much longer than the average short. Highlights here include the crotch song and a few great MST3K callbacks ala “I’m huge.” Perhaps the best part of the entire episode, however, is the host segments. Each and every skit is entirely about waffles. No, I’m not making this up. You have to see it to believe it.
Next up is an episode that has been on many wishlists for years now- “War of the Colossal Beast.” The slow moving and uneventful B-movie proves to be good fodder for Joel and Co. as they crack jokes about the seemingly endless truck plotline, KTLA, bread, and colossal man grunts. Of course, the real pride and joy of this episode is the short film “Mr. B. Natural.” Along with “A Case of Spring Fever,” this is arguably the funniest short. How can you not like a zany and baffling short film about an androgynous spirit of music helping a kid named Buzz?
The third inclusion here is one of the most underrated episodes of the Sci-Fi era- “The Undead.” This B&W Roger Corman movie about Satan, witches, hypnosis, and past lives is convoluted to say the least. Luckily, Mike and the bots provide plenty of sidesplitting funny jokes about the dialogue, snoring, “Stay!” and the annoying gravedigger character. Equally amusing here are the host segments involving Mike spacing out, the gravedigger album, and the bizarre climactic imp and sandwich centric bits.
Last, but not least there’s “The She-Creature.” Honestly, I didn’t remember a single thing about this Sci-Fi era episode. Luckily, the rewatch proved to be greatly beneficial as I found myself cracking up on numerous occasions. This is yet another movie about hypnosis and past lives, but this one has a killer creature. It’s a truly boring movie, but the riffs are fantastic here. Expect plenty of “Sleep!” bits (that never gets old), character mocking, Lance Fuller jokes (and a host segment about him), and even some funny lines involving the dog character (King).
Presentation: Fullscreen. How do the episodes look? As expected, the video quality varies from film to film. In general, the prints for the 4 films and 2 shorts are fairly solid aside from the rather mediocre looking “Mr. B Natural.”
Audio Track: Unspecified. How do the episodes sound? The audio quality is up and down. Sometimes both the film and the riffs sound just right. At other times, the film audio sounds too low.
* 4 mini-posters.
* Intros to “Viking Women Vs. The Sea Serpent” and “War of the Colossal Beast” by Frank Conniff.
* “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The She-Creature,” and “The Undead” theatrical trailers.
* “It Was A Colossal Teenage Movie Machine: The American International Pictures Story”- Another superb Ballyhoo Motion Pictures featurette. This one is about the fascinating story of the AIP studio.
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