Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The New Mystery Science Theater 3000

Many of you out there might be familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, the low budget show that had a good run the 1990's on the Sci-Fi Channel and Comedy Central. For those of you who aren't familiar, it was a show where a guy and two robots were banished into outer space and forced to watch really awful movies from the 50's, 60's and 70's. The catch is, as they watched them, they would make fun of them, but at a well thought out comedic level. Eventually the show ran out of steam and finally ended. Many of the episodes are available on DVD with the option of turning off the wise-cracking audio commentary, although why someone would subject themselves to watching Manos: The Hands of Fate or Red Zone Cuba in their original form is beyond me.

Fast forward to today. Mike Nelson, one of MYST3K's creators, has set up a web site called Rifftrax.com where he and some of the old gang have moved on to making fun of current popular movies. How it works is you pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 to download an audio track of snarky comments and then play it in an MP3 player while watching the movie, thus mimicking the Mystery Science Theater experience. The whole idea's popularity appears to be growing along with the available library. They've got big bidget stuff like Star Wars: Episodes I, Casino Royale and The Fantastic Four, plus a number of other movies that are ripe for mockery like Crossroads with Britney Spears and Glitter with Mariah Carey. So far I've downloaded the Rifftrax for X-Men and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (see some sample clips below) and all I can say is it's good to have the guys back. I've even taken it a step further and extracted the movie from the DVD, added the Rifftrax to the audio and re-burned it to DVD. It makes for an enjoyable 2-3 hours of viewing.

For more samples go here.

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