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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXIV  
USA | 199X
Directed by: Various
Written by: Various
Starring: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu
| 480 Minutes | Not Rated

- By SethDLH

Get ready for more wild and crazy fun with Mike, Joel and our robot buddies in the 24th volume of Mystery Science Theater 3000. First up is a two-part with Fugitive Alien and Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2. Both of these episodes are from the early KTMA days and feature Joel as the main host. Each of these episodes are a bit hit or miss, but when they hit they're dead on. The songs they come up with to mock the soundtracks are probably the best part, or comparing what is going on to old episodes of Star Trek. These films weren't films at all but mashed up episodes of a Japanese TV program that American producer Sandy Frank felt like making some quick dough on as a Star Wars rip-off and made two simply awful films out of. They don't make a whole lot of sense and are rather boring which could be partially why the riffing isn't the best.

The next episode, featuring Mike is from season 6. The Sword and the Dragon is a Russian fantasy adventure film, dubbed and re-edited by none other than Roger Corman. The riffing here is rather funny and what makes it even better is that the cast seems to think the movie is Finnish and not Russian. This episode contains one of the funniest skits I've seen on the show as Mike, Crow and Tom Servo spoof Ingmar Bergman films that had me in tears from laughing, and I love Bergman. That alone makes this episode worthwhile. Finally things are wrapped up with Samson Vs. The Vampire Women. The Luchador (better known as Santo) takes on vampires to save humanity in this wrestler against monster cornball flick. The riffing is good here with plenty of laughs but this episode will probably be remembered more for it being TV's Frank's last episode on the show than for the riffs. Still, it’s a funny conclusion to the set, and who doesn't want to see a famous wrestler actually wrestle a vampire?

The four disc set from Shout! Factory is another one worthy of addition to your collection. The picture quality is good throughout. The 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio maintains the ratio of the original exhibition of MST3K. Even the older episodes from this set look pretty good and have been maintained fairly well. The films themselves come from rougher sources and are beat up as you can imagine but that doesn't take away from the boxset itself. The audio tracks are nothing special to show off but are mixed appropriately so that you can hear the movie and the riffs without any fiddling of the remote. Extra features include a pair of short film riffs, Snow Thrills and A Date with Your Family which are both hilarious. Those old timey PSA’s are prime riff material. An interview with Sandy Frank is next, where he details his career in the TV business and doesn't have very fond memories of MST3K. An introduction to Fugitive Alien by Japanese monster movie expert August Ragone provides good insight into the production of that film. My personal favorite feature on the set is Lucha Gringo- a featurette documenting how the Santo film series came to be and focusing on the featured Vampire Women film. An interview with Frank Conniff (TV's Frank) is a nice touch for one of the main characters of the show. He has good things to say about his time spent on the show and then goes into detail about life after MST3K and other writing and acting jobs including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Invader Zim and The Drew Carey Show. MST Hour Wraps and artwork cards for each film round out the extras in this package.

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