MST3K featured Nelson and his robot sidekicks Tom Servo (Murphy) and Crow (Corbett), trapped on a space satellite by an evil scientist and forced to watch especially bad sci-fi B-movies. To remain sane, they maintain a wisecracking running commentary on the film – their characters silhouetted in front of the screen. RiffTrax continues this tradition with the same high level of comedy, lampooning not only cult classics, but some of today’s biggest blockbuster movies. RiffTrax will appeal not only to fans of the original MST3K series but an entirely new generation of enthusiasts.
The initial 10 RiffTrax DVD titles to be released are: RiffTrax: Carnival of Souls, RiffTrax: House on Haunted Hill, RiffTrax: Little Shop of Horrors, RiffTrax: Missile to the Moon, RiffTrax: Night of the Living Dead, RiffTrax: Plan 9 From Outer Space, RiffTrax: Reefer Madness, RiffTrax: Swing Parade, RiffTrax Shorts: Vol. 1 and RiffTrax Shorts: Vol. 2.
For fans Mystery Science Theater 3000 who miss the days of Mike, Tom, and Crow heckling bad movies in the Satellite of Love, rejoicing is in order. With the debut of the RiffTrax, the laughter returns. Mike Nelson rejoins his once robotic companions, Kevin Murphy (Tom) and Bill Corbett (Crow), to add their wisecracking commentaries to cult classics and modern blockbusters alike. On June 16th, Rifftrax released ten initial DVDs of cult classics and shorts, namely: Carnival of Souls, House on Haunted Hill, Little Shop of Horrors, Night of the Living Dead, Missile to the Moon, Reefer Madness, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Swing Parade, and two volumes of short films. Each comes with two versions of the film, the film with the hilarious commentary track, and the original.
I had the pleasure of viewing three of the releases, Little Shop of Horrors, Reefer Madness, and Night of the Living Dead. Classics all of them, they’ve all sparked reincarnations, sequels, and what have you. None of those, however, are like the originals… plus the hilarious RiffTrax commentaries. I had a rule for myself whenever I watched Mystery Science Theater 3000: No eating or drinking allowed, lest I choke and die. The same rule now applies to RiffTrax. Like an idiot, though, I broke my own rule and, sure enough, found myself coughing and sputtering during Reefer Madness. When will I learn?
The RiffTrax for the three films are brilliant, though, and I look forward to getting to watch many more. I loved that the DVDs come with a coupon for a free recording of the commentary for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I’m eagerly anticipating downloading it and enjoying it with friends. Definitely without popcorn though.
Review by Jessica Mahn