If you’re bored, or you just had a fight with your spouse and need to cool off, or you’re the guy who directed “Parts: The Clonus Horror” and you want to feel bad about your movie, then you can’t go wrong with volume 12 in Rhino’s ongoing series of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” releases. As with previous volumes, this edition features two episodes from the Joel Hodgson era and a pair from the Mike Nelson years — in this case, we have Joel’s “The Rebel Set” and “Secret Agent Super Dragon” and Mike’s “The Starfighters” and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.”
Each episode occupies a single disc, with a smattering of extras. On “The Rebel Set,” we have the original theatrical trailer (in case you’re curious how Hollywood sold suckiness five decades ago) and a 12-minute interview with the movie’s star, Don Sullivan. He plays his role straight, talking about his early days in Hollywood and how he wound up in the film. At the end, he talks about “MST3K” making fun of “The Rebel Set,” but he seems to think the ridicule made the movie better. I guess no one had the heart to tell an old guy the truth.
For “Secret Agent Super Dragon,” we have the original theatrical trailer and “Jack Perkins Wraps,” which were originally part of the episode when it aired. Hosted by Mike Nelson in old guy makeup, these wrappers brought the show back from commercials and mocked those self-important introductions for classic movies, where the host speaks in hushed tones. “The Starfighters” features volume three of the “MST3K” Video Jukebox, which, like volumes one and two, includes 20 minutes of musical bits from various episodes not in this set.
Finally, “Parts: The Clonus Horror” offers up an interview with its director, Robert Fiveson, which can be summed up thus: “This was a film with lots of potential. No, you’re right, it sucked, but I’m glad ‘Mystery Science Theater’ riffed on it, because now we have lots of new ‘fans.’ Hey, did you know we sued over that movie ‘The Island’ and won a settlement? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Oh, and buy ‘The Clonus Horror’ on DVD, so you can compare it against the ‘MST3K’ version.”
If you’re a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” fan (and who isn’t?), you’ll be compelled to add volume 12 to your collection, so that volumes 1 through 11 have a new friend. And you’ll also want to check out a cool interview with producer Jim Mallon at the Rhino Web site, after you’ve made your purchase. If you’re not a fan, then I don’t know what to say, because you’re either with us, or you’re against us.