DVD Review: Cinematic Titanic: The Complete Collection | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Cinematic Titanic: The Complete Collection

Studio: Shout! Factory

Aug 07, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The eighteen-year gap between Mystery Science Theater 3000’s unceremonious cancellation in 1999 and its triumphant return earlier this year produced two primary film-riffing offshoots from its cast, crew, and creator. Former host and head writer Mike Nelson teamed up with Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (the second Crow) to start the commentary crew Rifftrax. Meanwhile, series creator and original host, Joel Hodgson, gathered together Trace Beaulieu (Crow, Forrester), Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl), and J. Elvis Weinstein to become Cinematic Titanic, which toured the country and released twelve episodes of MST3K-style movie riffing. This set collects the entirety of their published output.

Cinematic Titanic will feel familiar for anyone who’s seen any Mystery Science Theater, from the questionable quality of the b-movies they lambast to the blacked-out silhouettes covering part of the screen – even their voices are the same (for obvious reasons.) These are practically bonus episodes of MST3K, minus the framing device of the ‘bots, Satellite of Love, and the host segments. It’s everything boiled down to pure movie riffing. For MSTies, this gets a no-brainer recommendation.

It’s the five live episodes included in this set – East Meets Watts, The Alien Factor, Danger on Tiki Island, War of the Insects, and Rattlers – that give a better idea of what Cinematic Titanic was all about. More so than anything, Cinematic Titanic was a touring act. The fivesome would travel between grand, historic playhouses in different cities and riff for eager audiences; the performers would flank the screen on either side, reading off their jokes as the movies played. Even at home, these episodes have a great social aspect that can be felt. The audience laughs at things happening on-screen without any riffing; if a joke lands particularly well, the hosts will pause until the ruckus dies down. (Most delightfully, the riffes occasionally crack each other up.) After years of watching these guys on MST3K, it’s a lot of fun to see the standup comedians behind those well-known silhouettes. Extra features include a new interview with Weinstein and a vintage documentary of back-stage interviews with the cast at one of their live gigs.



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