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MST3K vs. Gamera: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXI



• It's packaged in a collectible tin.
• It's the first to focus on one character: Japan's giant flying turtle, Gamera, to be exact.
• It contains five eps instead of the usual four.
• Most notably, it has the first ep I ever saw: their 1991 roasting of "Gamera vs. Barugon."

Bear with me as I get *sniff* sentimental. Early in my senior year of college, my friend Jamie loaned me a VHS tape with a handwritten label and told me to watch it. When I did over the weekend, I was immediately enthralled with, entranced by and addicted to the insanity onscreen. When it broke for its commercials, I thought, "Certainly they're not going to do the whole movie." But, yep, they did, and it wasn't long before "MST3K" earned the prestigious title of My All-Time Favorite TV Show in the History of Ever.

This set
contains not only the Satellite of Love crew's skewering of the original, black-and-white "Gamera" film from 1965, but the colorful sequels "vs. Gaos," "vs. Guiron," "vs. Zigra" and the aforementioned "vs. Barugon." You may wish to refer to those four as, respectively, the one where Gamera fights a giant bat; a giant, knife-faced reptile; a giant, flying fish thingie; and a giant lizard that shoots ice breath. You'll thrill to their cheap costumed antics, the ever-present boy in short pants, and the goofy officer our riffers mercilessly dub as Cornjob.

You'll never forget Cornjob — in part because his very invented name became a recurring punch line throughout the series' 10-year run on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel.

Gamera's now-indelible link with MST3K is explored in a fun, interview- and clip-heavy retrospective featurette, "So Happy Together." It's a natural conclusion, as I hadn't heard of Gamera before I inserting that VHS tape into my player. Kaiju expert August Ragone discusses Gamera's history in "Gamera Obscura"; while the guy is a fount of knowledge, be warned that it's just him talking to the camera for about half an hour.

I've been a Chiodo Brothers fan since their '80s B-movie classic, "Killer Klowns from Outer Space," so it's nice to see the trio discussing their childhood love of far-out Far East monster flicks. They even have a surprise, unwanted guest. You also get five trailers for the film's theatrical releases, as well as the always hysterical "MST Hour" wraparound segments featuring Mike Nelson. It's your only Nelson fix, since the eps were hosted by Joel Hogdson.

It’s yet another great set from Shout! Factory; even the show’s “worst” episodes would make a great set. —Rod Lott

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