As hard as it is to believe, nearly 50% of all MST3K episodes are actually on disc at this point (nearly 100 episodes are currently available). Amazon Instant Video has sixty episodes streaming on Prime.
It’s a weird situation for a MSTie to be in: I’ve still got VHS tapes of old episodes that were circulated to me by friends back when the show went off the air and it looked like it was about to vanish for good. Hell, by 2004 you couldn’t find a DVD of the movie, which had been banished to rights hell. And a few movies will likely never be released: Toho has (politely) denied permission to re-release Godzilla Vs. Megalon, possibly due to shame.
Man, have things changed. Granted that these DVDs are overpriced and Blu-Rays of this show will never exist. But ironically, the money for these awful movies has become too good for the rights-holders, formerly the biggest roadblock, not to take it.
Which brings us to this set.
The episodes themselves are the two Fugitive Alien movies, which are actually a Japanese TV series called Star Wolf recut by Sandy Frank; The Sword and the Dragon, another Russian/Finnish co-production recut by Roger Corman; and Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, a luchadore movie.
You might have noticed a redubbing theme. For those wondering: two Mikes and two Joels.
The episodes themselves are all hilarious, but the special features actually stand out here. Two shorts are also included, included the infamous Date With Your Family. There’s an interview with Frank Coniff about what he’s been up to since he left the show, Japanese film historian August Ragone introduces Fugitive Alien, we get a little feature about luchadores, and, amazingly, they dug up Sandy Frank.
This alone is actually worth the sixty bucks. Frank brought Gamera and Battle of the Planets to the US, not to mention Fugitive Alien. It’s not exactly in-depth on his career but it is a fun feature and he rarely gets interviewed in the first place.
The episodes are worth the money, but it’s nice to see these formerly bare bones sets getting some extras.
Now get cracking on releasing the other 101 episodes, Shout!
image courtesy Shout Factory.