Combustible Celluloid
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With: Trace Beaulieu, Joel Hodgson, Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson
Written by: Joel Hodgson and various others
Directed by: Joel Hodgson and various others
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 90
Date: 03/18/2013

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. 6 (2004)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cheesy Goodness

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rhino's new four-disc box set contains three feature films, Attackof the Giant Leeches (1959), Teenagersfrom Outer Space (1959) and Gunslinger (1956), and a fourth disc of shorts. All four are"Joel" episodes, which most fans prefer to the later "Mike"episodes.

The most successful of the MST3K films are the ones that can very nearly hold their own but are still stupid enough to deserve ridicule. First aired in 1992, Attack of the Giant Leeches is the funniest -- and shortest -- of the three features. It stars the gorgeous Yvette Vickers as a swamp-dwelling town hottie who cheats on her husband and gets fed to the giant leeches. This episode also includes the first chapter of a "Crash" Corrigan serial, Undersea Kingdom.

On the other hand, Teenagers from Outer Space, first aired in 1992, is pretty dull, talky and long. Even Joel and his robots, Crow and Tom, seem to get a little bored.

Roger Corman's Gunfighter, however, is actually a pretty watchable movie starring Beverly Garland as a female sheriff, John Ireland (Red River) as her slightly shady man, and sexy Allison Hayes as a barmaid. Corman was far from a bad director, though he had his many misfires and failed experiments, which is exactly the type of movie that works in the MST3K format. The quality of the film itself is pretty bad, and the sound is muffled, making listening to the original dialogue a chore. This one first aired in 1993.

The fourth disc contains the following shorts: Johnny at the Fair, Hired, Mr. B Natural, X Marks the Spot, Design for Dreaming and Are You Ready for Marriage? Johnny at the Fair in particular is one of the most brutally funny things I've ever seen from the MST3K crew. It concerns a little boy who wanders away from his parents at the fair.

On the MST3K Vol. 1 box set, Rhino was good enough to include the original, uncut films on the "B" sides of the discs. Now they've stopped, which is everyone's loss.

Best Buy Co, Inc.