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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

to give or to keep: ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’: Vol. XIX Limited Edition

Starting today and until I run out of cool giftable stuff to tell you about or until we run out of days till Christmas, I’ll be sharing some neat-o things that your geeky pals might enjoy, or that you might want to give to yourself, if you’ve been especially good this year.


Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XIX is the best MST3K gift set yet, and not just because it includes a six-inch-tall, startlingly lifelike figurine of Gypsy, the robot stranded spaceman Joel Robinson created to run his orbital life raft. The set also includes the classic “experiment” during which Joel, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo riff on the Ed Wood eyesore Bride of the Monster, which could well be packed denser with laughs than any other… and which also features a short that prompted some of the wittiest pushback ever: Hired!, a Chevrolet sales training film from the 1950s that inspired Joel and the bots to create a Broadway-style stage musical around it. I still find myself humming tunes from Hired! once in a while:

He’s hired! He’s hired!

The other films getting the riff-a-riffic treatment are Robot Monster, Devil Doll, and Devil Fish. Extras in the set include Joel “Robinson” Hodgson reflecting on the “invention exchange” bits, video from a 2009 CONvergence panel, and more.



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