Since Mystery Science Theater 3000 came to an end, fans have been having to make do with various second-best replacements. The most obvious one has been Mike Nelson’s solo commentaries on the likes of Reefer Madness and House on Haunted Hill. Though his efforts have been amusing, they have like the lunatic fun generated when he had Tom Servo and Crow to bounce off. With The Film Crew releases, we have the closest thing yet to a return of MST3K, as Nelson is reunited with Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (who were the ‘bots). Playing themselves, they are a trio of working joes whose job is to provide commentary tracks to undeserving films. We don’t see their silhouettes, but we hear their exchanges over the course of the film. The result is pretty damn funny.
Killers from Space is a hilariously dismal 1954 SF opus from W. Lee Wilder (Billy’s singularly untalented younger brother). The boys give this tale of Peter Graves encountering aliens with ping-pong-ball eyes a deserved trouncing. Their work is easily on par with their MST3K days, and some of their post-film antics (which I will not spoil here) have me cackling even as I write these words. This really is the next best thing to MST3K.
It gets the job done, and really, one can’t ask for much more. The film is mono, of course, and its volume is relatively low in order to give priority to the commentary, which is in stereo (as are the scenes with the Crew outside of the film). The stereo is workmanlike, though some odd leakage into the rear speakers does take place. This last is not enough to really draw much attention, however.
The Crew scenes are non-anamorphic widescreen, and have a soft look to them. The colours are fine, but the look is definitely a cheap one. This is even more true of the film itself. The image here is fullscreen, and the print is in very sorry condition, riddled with scratches, dirt, speckling, heavy grain and splices (though these last do lead to some good comic moments from the Crew). Granted, anyone picking up this disc is not buying it for the movie itself, but be warned that it looks very rough indeed.
There’s an extra gag involving phony outtakes – it’s a one-note joke that outstays its welcome. Otherwise, nuttin’.
As close as we can reasonably expect to a full MST3K return. I laughed pretty hard. I think you might too.