Out of nearly 200 episodes that comprised the late, lamented “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ television series, all but maybe three are a guaranteed good time, which makes every box set Rhino Home Video puts out a must-buy.
For the uninitiated, “MST3K” involves a space-stranded host forced to heckle excruciatingly bad movies with his two robot pals, all of whom sit silhouetted in the corner of your screen. “Volume 11″ showcases four terrific episodes, all but one from the show’s early years.
The earliest is season two’s “Ring of Terror,” a frat-prank cheapie. Its mercifully brief running time allows time to make fun of a Bela Lugosi serial as well: “The Phantom Creeps.”
Two episodes from season four feature the Lon Chaney Jr. vehicle “The Indestructible Man” (paired with an “UnderseaKingdom” serial) and the ghost story “Tormented,” in which a guy is haunted by a busty blonde. It’s a longtime favorite of mine, as is season 10’s “Horrors of Spider Island,” pitting exotic dancers against a half-man/half-arachnid.
Rhino heaps on more extras than usual, with a “Tormented” cast reunion, original trailers for three of the films, a “jukebox” of the show’s memorable musical numbers and, best, wraparound segments featuring Mike Nelson spoofing “Biography” host Jack Perkins.