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Shout Factory presents
The Film Crew: Killers From Space (2007)

"Ewww! Watching Peter Graves get all kitten-ish is creepy."
- Kevin Murphy

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: August 06, 2007

Stars: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Other Stars: Peter Graves, James Seay, Steve Pendleton, Barbara Bestar, Jack Daly, Mike Dodge
Director: W. Lee Wilder

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (occasional mature humor)
Run Time: 01h:19m:06s
Release Date: August 07, 2007
UPC: 826663103793
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-B-B- C

DVD Review

Rising out of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 ashes comes The Film Crew, consisting of venerable MST3K vets Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. And like that series, the concept is very much the same. Take an old B-movie and serve up a running commentary full of jokes and observations that transform a forgettable flick into something ridiculously funny. While MST3K was set on the orbiting Satellite of Love—and featured wise-ass robots and frequent wacky host segments—the Film Crew guys operate out of a basement somewhere, and work for the mysterious Mr. Honcho (Mike Dodge), who sends them a film to provide commentary for (much like Dr. Forrester/Pearl did in MST3K). Unlike MST3K, however, there are only three host segments here—at the beginning, a mid-movie "lunch break", and at the end.

Once they strap on the headsets and let the movie roll, that same familiar spirit of clever weirdness comes through immediately. The absence of their onscreen silhouettes (a trademark of MST3K) is a small quibble for those looking to wholly relive the past, because the interplay between the three is still strong, and their steady stream of riffs carry the expected mix of intelligently mocking humor. They're allowed to be slightly more randy as The Film Crew, with a few gags moving loosely into more mature areas, though nothing here is ever close to R-rated by any stretch.

Their subject for this edition (the second in a series of three initial titles) is a largely rotten 1954 sci-fi film from director W. Lee Wilder—Billy's brother—that stars a lumbering Peter Graves as a scientist who mysteriously survives a terrible plane crash only to find that he is plagued by terrible dreams and a general sense of paranoia. Turns out some really bug-eyed aliens are involved (that's them on the cover), and their plan for world domination involves pilfered power, impromptu heart surgery and a race of giant-sized lizards and insects to do their dirty work. That plot description actually makes it sound much better than it is, as Wilder relies on plenty of stock footage, a slowly developing plot ("from here on out it's a completely watch-based movie"), laughable dialogue and a propensity for uncomfortably awkward closeups.

But that's good for us, because The Film Crew make quick and easy work of this one, spending a fair amount of time skewering Graves mercilessly for his perceived blandness ("Peter Graves: duller than white gravy") and plenty of the expected Biography! and Mission: Impossible jokes. Nelson, Murphy and Corbett do make this look easy, and their riffing has the feel of having three friends sitting in the same room with you, casually making fun of a very bad movie. The jokes never sound especially scripted, and the delivery is augmented by frequent chuckles from the other two, adding to that natural flow.

The only weak spots here are the three non-movie host bits, which meander a little while overworking gags a little too hard. The host breaks on MST3K were also hit-or-miss (though typically more funny than not, but then I love Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy), and with only three here the unevenness seems more pronounced. No question that these are funny guys, but perhaps they're still getting their on-camera sea legs after a few years off, and I hope future releases in The Film Crew series can tighten these up a little.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The fullframe transfer of Killers From Space looks a little ragged, sporting a number of splices, burns and assorted debris throughout. Yet somehow the disheveled appearance of the film itself enhances its inherent badness. The "new" host footage—featuring Nelson, Murphy and Corbett—look presentable, with a minimal range of colors (the set is kind of drab, colorwise). Edges and details during these in-studio bits are rather soft, as well.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 stereo, and with a 1954 sci-fi B-movie as the basis, the mix is more than adequate. During the riffing of the film, the comments from Nelson, Murphy and Corbett are clear, as are they during the couple of in-studio bits. The Killers From Space print itself has a number of age-related audio issues (hiss, crackle, pop), yet they are not major distractions.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Zach Galiafinakis: Live At The Purple Onion
1 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: clear plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Packaging is a clear plastic case, and when opened reveals some additional images from the feature. Fans may bemoan the absence of an un-Film-Crew'd version of Killers From Space here, so be forewarned.

The only extra is a segment entitled Did You Know? (01m:13s), hosted by Kevin Murphy, in which he explains backwards masking used on a scene from the movie of an alien speaking what initially sounds like gibberish. There are then five outtakes with the same ten second scene, with Mike Nelson offering up such revised translations as "Peter Graves is stupider than a Norwegian puff pastry". Funny stuff, but it runs less than a minute altogether.

The disc is cut into a rather thin 5 chapters.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Gone are the robots and the onscreen silhouettes, but thankfully this is essentially MST3K all over again. In this second entry in their new Film Crew series, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett riff their way through a particularly shoddy 1950s sci-fi feature, layering on their own special brand of bizarre references and clever jabs.

Peter Graves may not find this funny, but everyone else should.

Highly recommended.

 


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