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Featured VOD Review: MST3K: Season 11, Volume 2

May 14th, 2017

MST3K: Season 11 - Watch on Netflix: Video on Demand

MST3K

MST3K revival hit Netflix in April and I reviewed the first four episodes at that time. I only reviewed the first four episodes, partially because it matched the previous MST3K reviews I’ve done, but also because the show was made without binge watching in mind. This time around, I’m reviewing the next five episodes starting with The Beast of Hollow Mountain and ending with Yongary. Are these episodes as good as the first four? Or does the season start to peter out too quickly?

The Show

  1. Experiment 1105: The Beast of Hollow Mountain - 1956

    Another monster movie, this time set in Mexico. It’s about an American cowboy who lives in Mexico on his ranch and has to deal with a rival Mexican rancher, and a potential love triangle between himself, his rival, and the rivals fiancée. ... Also there’s a monster that shows up. Eventually. It takes a while to show up, but it is worth the wait.

    This movie is not as good as Reptilicus was, as the monster doesn’t show up until late in the movie and before then the film is more of a straight western. Fortunately, this part still has a lot to offer even without a beast. Once the beast does show up, it has all of the elements a movie like this needs to be prime riffing material: big monster, poor special effects, bad acting, and a really bizarre comedy relief character. Yep. That’s nearly a cut and paste from the previous review, but it also applies here.

    The show starts with painting day, while the invention exchange includes the disco cannon. In the first host break, Tom and Crow talk about how they would make a monster movie that wouldn’t focus on the humans so much. The second host segment has Tom and Crow doing... something. I can’t explain it, but my reaction was similar to Jonah’s, Kinga’s and Max’s. Finally, they discuss movies that would be improved by someone being eaten by a dinosaur. The answer is all of them.

  2. Experiment 1106: Starcrash - 1978

    If you want to know more about Starcrash, then check out our review. This is the first movie riffed by MST3K that I reviewed before they riffed it. Because of that, it has a special place in my heart.

    Also, it’s an incredible movie. I enjoy the original movie; yes, it is a Star Wars rip-off, but it is a really entertaining Star War rip-off. The film itself is high energy and there are plenty of oddities to keep Jonah and the bots going. Personally, this is my favorite episode so far.

    The host skits start spin the bottle... it’s lonely in space. The invention exchange features the Band-Eat-O. Crow wrote a movie, World War Space , and Jonah and Tom Servo have to act it out. The next host segment has Jonah dressing up as Akton. Jerry Seinfeld shows up as an investor Kinga is trying to woo. Strangely, it’s one of the weakest guest spots of the season. Finally, they re-enact the climactic battle from the movie. It’s a great end to what I think is the best episode so far.

  3. Experiment 1107: The Land that Time Forgot - 1974

    The first of two Doug McClure films during this season. Both are also Edgar Rice Burroughs movies. A German U-Boat sinks a British passenger ship, but the survivors somehow manage to takeover the sub and in the chaos, they accidentally wind up in the land that time forgot. They have to deal with cavemen and dinosaurs, all while trying to get back to civilization.

    This film belongs to a genre that used to be really popular, but now seems really old fashioned and hooky, in other words, it is perfect for MST3K. It’s a Dinosaurs vs. Humans movie and they are almost always a good time. It is also a big budget movie, or relatively big budget movie for its day, so it is competently made and worth watching on its own. So we have two movies in a row where I would suggest buying the original movie on DVD or Blu-ray.

    Host skits include an invention exchange, which is one of the biggest reveals of the show. I’m not going to spoil the details, but the fact that there is a spoiler is a spoiler of its own. Originally, MST3K was written so that any episode could be watched in any order without the viewer losing out on anything. Outside of some running jokes, there were only a few episodes that had any real continuity. That’s not true for the revival and this is the first episode where that becomes obvious. In the first host break, the gang pretends to be in a submarine only to be attacked by a octopus / squid thing. The second host break is my favorite break in the entire season. Kinga and Max try to entice Jonah to dine at the Moon 14 Mesozoic Ranch Dinosaur BBQ restaurant. The way these two dance for the jingles it a sight to behold. “Flame-broiled, deep-fried, Crime against nature!” Next up, Crow worries about turning into a human. Finally, the movie helped Jonah come up with a plan to get rescued.

  4. Experiment 1108: The Loves of Hercules - 1960

    Originally, I watched only the first four episodes of the MST3K revival before doing the first review, but afterwards I watched the rest of the season a couple of episodes per day. This is the first episode I had to rewatch in order to remember what happened in the movie. That’s a bad sign. The film stars then married couple Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay. He plays Hercules and she plays the dual role of Queen Deianira / Hippolyta both of whom Hercules will fall in love with. ... Shortly after his wife’s death. Unlike the Greek Myth, here Hercules doesn’t kill his wife due to the gods’ influence. His wife is killed by a politician hoping to use Hercules to become king.

    I like political intrigue in movies, when it is done right. It isn’t done right here. Worse still, political intrigue doesn’t offer a lot of riffing opportunities. This is the second worst movie featured so far (Cry Wilderness was worse.) and it is the worst episode so far. However, and this is important, it is not a bad episode. I would put it in the bottom third out of all of the episodes I’ve seen, but that still funnier than most TV shows can hope for.

    Invention exchange includes the Mexican Jumping Beanbag Chairs. Crow and Tom try Jonah for his crimes in People’s Throwing Court. Crow and Tom debate whether or not it is ethical to hunt Hydras. The third segment has them gossiping like the Queen's maidens. Finally, the gang on the Satellite of Love and the Mads in Moon Base 13 sing along with the end of the movie. The episode ends on a high note.

  5. Experiment 1109: Yongary - 1967

    A 1960s Kaiju movie from South Korea. The film starts with a wedding, which gives Kinga ideas. The honeymoon is short-lived, as the bride is called into work. He’s an astronaut and is needed to fly in orbit to do reconnaissance over the Middle East, because of a nuclear weapon test. By sheer coincidence, an earthquake happens in South Korea. It has to be a coincidence, because a nuclear blast in the Middle East causing an earthquake in South Korea is silly. The epicenter of the quake moves towards Seoul, but what could cause an earthquake’s epicenter to move? Yongary!

    There is a prophecy that says MST3K will never truly be over till they riff the last Kaiju movie. Okay, that’s not quite true, but the show and the genre are inextricably linked. This film is very riffable and has everything MST3K needs in a film. On a side note, Youngary’s death scene is ... it goes too far. It’s a strange tonal shift from dancing Kaiju to bleeding out in a river. Who thought that was a good idea? That’s bad for the movie, but good for the gang riffing it.

    The host skits start the gang going over their dream journals. The invention exchange includes Tiny Desks that you can flip in angry. I want one of those. Up next is Jonah explaining the music tastes of various real life astronauts. Tom Servo wants Jonah to invest in his Yongary Nights, a Yongary-themed night club. The gang talks about what monsters they most want to hang out with. Finally, the gang react to the ending of the movie.

The Verdict

As I said previously, I’m really happy with the overall quality of the show. Of the five episodes I reviewed here, only one of them, The Loves of Hercules is below average in the shows 200 plus episode run so far. On the other hand, I would put Starcrash, The Land Time Forgot, and Yongary in the upper echelon. Granted, they are not instant classics, but absolutely worth watching and rewatching. I really hope the show is doing well on Netflix right now, because I can’t wait for a second season.

Filed under: Video Review, Starcrash, Patton Oswalt, Jerry Seinfeld, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jonah Ray, Baron Vaughn, Felicia Day, Marjoe Gortner
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