Attack [1956]

It's business as usual for Mystery Science Theater 3000 in this sixth volume of episodes taken from the archives of the long-running television show, which is nothing but good news for MST3K's many adherents--and with four discs and six hours of content, neither longtime fans nor newcomers to the series will be shortchanged. The formula is the same as ever: having been sentenced by mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester to watch unspeakably bad movies (all part of the doc's wacky plan for world domination), janitor Joel Robinson (portrayed by series creator Joel Hodgson, who would later write for Jimmy Kimmel's variety show) and his robot buddies Crow and Tom Servo sit aboard their spaceship, the Satellite of Love, and do exactly that. Their own skits and interstitial shtick are mildly diverting, but as always it's the wisecracks our heroes direct at the screen that dominate the proceedings far more than the movies themselves. By turns genuinely witty and groan-inducing, their nonstop riffing, laden with puns, sarcasm, and cultural references (from poet Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" to atrocious pop songs like Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods' "Billy Don't Be a Hero," all in the space of a couple of breaths), usually drowns out the dialogue in the films. That's not a bad thing, of course, when the movies are turkeys on the order of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 6 lineup, which comes from episodes first aired between 1990 and 1994. They include Attack of the Giant Leeches (boasting perhaps the least convincing movie monsters ever created), Gunslinger (a Western that drags on interminably), and the self-explanatory Teenagers from Outer Space. Disc 3 contains six shorter films, and may be the best of the lot for that reason alone. With Mystery Science Theater 3000 having departed the airwaves in 1999 (it began in '88), the show lives on primarily by way of these DVD releases. And while some would argue that a little of this stuff goes a fairly long way, Rhino's typically fine packaging and presentation (even without any bonus features) make this and the other MST3K sets a collector's treat. --Sam Graham

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