June 11, 2018  (Web Review)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection

Shout! Factory, 6 discs, 540 min., not rated, DVD: $59.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

A collection of previously individually released episodes from the cult TV series affectionately known as MST3K—in which a solitary human and his robot companions stranded on a space station riff on bad movies—this set includes five episodes plus a bonus disc of seven vintage shorts used to fill the prearranged timeslot. The features are The Crawling Hand (1963), a sci-fi B-movie directed by Herbert Strock and starring Alan Hale (the captain of Gilligan’s Island); The Hellcats (1968), filmmaker Robert F. Slatzer’s revenge tale involving a gang of female bikers; Nicholas Webster’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), a notoriously awful fantasy about aliens stealing Saint Nick to bring Christmas to their planet; Eegah (1962), Arch Hall’s goofy tale of a revived caveman who kidnaps a girl; and I Accuse My Parents (1944), Sam Newfield’s ludicrous cautionary tale about a gang member who brings suit against his parents for neglect that allegedly caused his bad behavior. The shorts range from primers on public speaking and waterskiing to informational pieces about advances in consumer products and admonitions about safely transporting goods to market and properly preparing for marriage. All would provoke laughs even without the snarky commentary, but the nutty added material is of course part of the enduring attraction. Extras include new introductions by creator-star Joel Hodgson, along with featurettes on the careers of Strock and Newfield. Recommended. (F. Swietek)