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Starring Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbitt, Kevin Murphy, Frank Conniff, Trace Beaulieu

“I’m Rowsdower… Zap Rowsdower”
Bruce J Mitchell from The Final Sacrifice

I have been a “MSTie” (Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan) from way back. So, each time a new collection comes out, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. So, what is in the latest collection released by Shout Factory?

The Movies

This boxset is equally split amongst the two former stars of the show, Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson. They each get two films in this 4 film boxset. So, let’s break them down, shall we?

The Crawling Eye or The Trollenberg Terror (1958)
Directed by Quentin Lawrence
Starring Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Janet Munro

In this episode hosted by Joel Hodgson, A remote mountain resort in Switzerland is invaded by horrible alien creatures which inhabit a radioactive cloud at the peak of the Trollenberg mountain.

Yes, you read that right. Everyone from Stephen King, the band The Misfits and even the animated series Freakazoid have made reference to this cinematic “gem” from the vaults.

The Beatniks (1960)
Directed by Paul Frees
Starring Tony Travis, Peter Breck, Joyce Terry

In another Joel episode, Eddie Crane is on his way to becoming a top recording star. But, temptation surrounds poor Eddie in the form of his lawless beatnik friends who are his only companions. More trouble is on the horizon when his so called “friends” kill a bartender during a botched hold-up. Is a life of gold records of a life surrounded by bars in his future?

The Final Sacrifice (1990)
Directed by Tjardus Greidanus
Starring Bruce J. Mitchell

In the first of the two Mike Nelson episodes, an ancient cult of Canadian wrestlers, the Ziox, is bent on world domination. They are under the power of the evil Satoris. The Ziox need the map to the ancient Ziox cult idol, recently discovered by a young boy, Troy. When the Ziox invade his home to recover the map, he flees and ends up in the bed of a passing pickup truck, driven by Zap Rowsdower. Rowsdower and Troy become friends and together search for the lost idol before the Ziox can claim it and take over the world.

The Final Sacrifice was the project of a film student named Tjardus Greidanus, who was enrolled in the aspiring filmmaker program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. The film had a  budget of approximately $1500.00, and was completed by utilizing cameras borrowed from the school.

With a character name like Zap Rowsdower and a $1500.00 budget, you can imagine what fun Mike and the gang have with this one.

Blood Waters of Dr. Z (1975)
Directed by Don Barton
Starring Marshall Grauer, Wade Popwell

In this Mike Nelson episode, an evil marine biologist, who also works as a janitor and speaks only in voice-overs, develops a process to turn people into super-powerful amphibious sea creatures. Once he transforms himself, however, he seems to lose focus and distracts himself for hours at a local pond. Later, he develops a weak interest in chasing after nubile women so that he can transform them as well, mate, and produce a race of super beings which will, of course, rule the world.

Again, the gang has a lot of fun with this “treasure”.

What can I say in this review that I haven’t said before about Mystery Science Theater 3000? Every film/episode included in this boxset will have you in stitches.

Whether it is a Joel Hodgson or Mike Nelson episode, you can’t go wrong with anything in this boxset, and all the other great MST3K boxsets released by Shout Factory.


The Video

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVII is presented in the original full frame. Of course, it is expected that the transfer of the films included in this release are not going to be first rate, the source material is rough. So, with that in mind, these look about as good as can be expected.


The Audio

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVII is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in the original English Language. The dialogue is clear and easily understood. I did not notice any instances of balance problems.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVII is presented in 4 amaray cases encased in a cardboard slipcover.

Some nice bonus features await your enjoyment on this release. Each of the film’s original trailers and teasers are included. As well as a funny introduction by Joel Hodgson for The Crawling Eye.

Also offered is a 30 minute interview with Trace Beaulieu and Bill Corbett called Crow VS Crow at Dragon Con 2009 which is a lot of fun.

MST3K fans will love Mystery Science Theater Hour Wraps on The Beatniks and a new interview with Bruce J. Mitchell, unforgettable star of The Final Sacrifice is a hoot to watch.

Finally, there is a Blood Waters of Dr. Z photo gallery to turn your peepers on.


Overall (Not an Average) 8/10

The Review
The Movies 10/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (not an average) 8/10