Shout! Factory’s latest “Mystery Science Theater 3000” set is another worthwhile entry in the series, but its bonus features aren’t as copious as those found in some of the other volumes, such as the previous one. However, there’s some good stuff found here, and the episodes are hilarious, as always.
Volume 27 features a season one episode (“The Slime People”), another from season two (“Rocket Attack USA”), and a pair of Mike episodes from seasons five (“Village of the Giants”) and eight (“The Deadly Mantis”). The Bert I. Gordon-produced “Village of the Giants” is notable for starring a young Ron Howard, as well as Beau Bridges, both of which provide plenty of fodder for the riffing.
None of the episodes offer anything very notable in “MST3K” history, except “Rocket Attack USA,” which was the first one to use a stinger, or short video clip, at the end of the credits. It also has a different head on Tom Servo — some viewers complained that his gumball machine head got in the way, so he received a thin cylindrical one that was described as a “haircut.” He went back to the old one after the next episode, though.
As far as bonus features go, the “Rocket Attack USA” disc has a “Life After ‘MST3K’: Trace Beaulieu” interview while “Village of the Giants” and “The Slime People” offer interviews with cast members who reminisce about their experiences. “The Deadly Mantis” has the best bonus stuff: an introduction by Mary Jo Pehl and “Chasing Rosebud: The Cinematic Life of William Alland,” which focuses on the producer’s prolific sci-fi output for Universal Pictures during the 1950s. I always enjoy putting some historical context around the movies that Mike, Joel, and the ‘bots riff on, so the Alland piece is a welcome addition to this volume.
I should also note that if you order this set from Shout! Factory’s site, you’ll receive a bonus fifth disc with some of the serials from the series. It wasn’t part of the set I received for review, so I can’t say much about it.