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DVD Review: The Oozing Skull

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It is a mystery that only a MSTie could know. For the fans of the revolutionary science fiction comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000: how long has it been since the Peabody Award, or the Emmy Award nominations, or the Siskel and Ebert-approved motion picture release? How long has it been since the culmination of the show's momentous ten seasons and the end of the show's syndication? To add insult to inquiry, this notice appeared on the MST3K FAQ (frequently asked questions) site:

Q: So, it's over?
A: Yes. There will be no new episodes of MST3K.

It would seem as if all the MSTies now are trapped in outer space while being forced to watch cheesy movies, the worst that can be found, "la la-la." After four years of numbing space silence, the cast and crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 have finally returned for an encore. They have combined forces to form Cinematic Titanic and cast their silhouettes on the 1970s horror movie Brain of Blood.

Of course, most of the horror in Brain of Blood turns out to be unintentional, but this is a type B movie after all. Equipped with their signature comedic method of riffing off horrible movies, the players of Cinematic Titanic delightfully transform a scary awful film into a hysterically hip jaunt down scrutiny lane. Cinematic Titanic's braining of The Brain of Blood is titled The Oozing Skull. The original Brain of Blood is sold separately and batteries of jokes are not included.

Let's bone up on the movie. It is a tender story of brain drain, about a beloved foreign dignitary, Abdul Amir, who secretly dies and comes to America because the only way to regain his life is to transplant his brain into another person's body via an infamous doctor who has gone mad. The mad surgeon's lackey bungles the body-snatching mission which forces them to make other plans. The last minute body they find for the Amir's brain isn't exactly an improvement from his previous (too dead) one. "Zippy the Pinhead?" asks Joel. Then the whole evil scheme implodes into a black hole of chaos that becomes this monster of a film.


What stars from Mystery Science Theater 3000 grace the foreground? The Skull oozes stars none other than (creator) Joel Hodgson, (writer/actor) Trace Beaulieu, (writer/actor and person who has not left the building) J. Elvis Weinstein, (TV's) Frank Conniff, and (writer/actress/casted Pearl) Mary Jo Pehl. Fans will be happy to know that even though the rest of the MST3K crew including (Joel pro tempore) Mike Nelson, (Crow II) Bill Corbett, and (regular Saturday night Servo) Kevin Murphy missed out in all the Oozing goodness, but they still flow with the bon mots over at FilmCrewOnline and RiffTrax.

For the DVD, the disc is pretty stripped down as far as features go. The packaging art is nonexistent and the label doesn't have any of the retro 1970s horror movie poster feel or comic book appeal. Cinematic Titanic lacks the variety show aspect of the original MST3K. You won't see any musical numbers like "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas," comedy sketches featuring robots with the Pinocchio Syndrome, puppetry, or prop comedy invention exchanges in The Oozing Skull. But unlike MST3K, The Oozing Skull has a special guest star appearance that participates in a drive-by spoofing. Also, the cast and crew are in rare comedic form. This heady stroke of genius packs more zingers than the Hostess brand.

So although the Satellite of Love will now only orbit the hearts of fans, and although Tom Servo's inoperable arms will now only flap away the blues in a DVD boxed set or in Jim Mallon's cartoons, MSTies can appreciate that in a way the hilarious experiment will go on.

All this means one thing to the MSTies from coast to coast: WE'VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!

I've always wanted to say that.

The Oozing Skull is on sale now at EZ Takes. The motion picture of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been re-released and can be purchased through Amazon. Also available at Amazon is Kevin Murphy's new book A Year At The Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey.

About James O'Neil

  • You Got Servoed

    Bravo!

  • bobo

    Supposedly CT is going to make customizable packaging for their DVD’s.