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: Volume 7 (2005)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

More Cheesy Goodness

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The seventh box set of "Mystery Science Theater3000" is just as uneven as any of the rest of them, containing bothhysterical highs and dull lows. Three episodes feature Joel, and the fourthfeatures Mike. (For the uninitiated, Joel is Sean Connery to Mike's RogerMoore.)

The box kicks off with Hercules Unchained, a film I enjoyed as a youngster and still enjoy on some levels. Featuring cinematography and set design by the great Mario Bava, it's good enough that it holds your attention even if Joel, Tom and Crow's comments don't.

Disc Two contains Hercules Against the Moonmen, which first aired in 1992 along with Hercules Unchained. It's yet another sequel and not quite as interesting as Hercules Unchained.

Disc Three features a dubbed Japanese sci-fi film, Prince of Space. As one of the robots remarks, it's a "rare Godzilla-free day in Tokyo." Aired in 1997, this is a "Mike" episode, but it is notable for its "wormhole" effects. Mike and his robots spend the entire episode traveling through a wormhole with odd side effects that carry over into the film. At one point, Mike turns into a robot, and during the film his robot silhouette (with a little antenna) can be seen at the bottom of the screen.

Finally, the box includes Killer Shrews, aired in 1992, a deadly dull horror film from director Ray Kellogg (The Giant Gila Monster). It features mostly talking and very little action. Even Joel and the robots get bored. Happily, this disc comes with four short films, one at the head of the film and three on the "bonus" menu. The crew generally has more success with these old industrial films, mostly because the earnest, na�ve, educational quality makes them a much easier target than cheesy horror films. The shorts include: Junior Rodeo Daredevils, A Case of Spring Fever, 21st Century Calling and the never-before aired Assignment Venezuela, which is probably the funniest of the four.

DVD Details: Once again, I refer Rhino and fans back to MST3K Volume One, which contained the uncut, original films on the flip sides of the discs (Bloodlust, Catalina Caper, The Creeping Terror and Skydivers.) The subsequent discs have discontinued this practice, much to my disappointment. I would have liked to own the uncut, letterboxed version of Hercules Unchained in my library in addition to the funny MST3K version. But, maybe next time.

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