Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 16: Night of the Blood Beast (1958)
The familiar rocks and rills of Los Angeles' Bronson Caverns are seen to good advantage in Night of the Blood Beast. The story begins when a manned space rocket develops trouble and plummets back to earth, apparently killing its occupant, Major John Corcoran (Michael Emmet). Unfortunately, Corcoran's body has become a breeding ground of extraterrestrial embryos, picked up while the rocket was in outer space. The tiny monsters grow and multiply, and before long Corcoran revives from the dead, literally impregnated by the alien beasts. After this promising and decidedly unorthodox buildup, the film goes downhill, settling for standard eek-eek shocks and a most unconvincing "blood beast", whose costume wouldn't have even passed muster at a Halloween party. Still, Night of the Blood Beast is at least half of a good, well-constructed horror flick. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Also includes the short ONCE UPON A HONEYMOON.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 16: Santa Claus (1959)
Yet another oddball Mexican fantasy brought to American audiences by cut-rate exploitation titan K. Gordon Murray, this seasonal tale concerns Santa Claus (Jose Elias Moreno), who we discover doesn't work out of the North Pole after all. Instead, Santa and his friend and associate Merlin the Magician have a base of operations in a castle orbiting the Earth on a small satellite, upon which they observe the activities of children both good and bad through an elaborate surveillance system. While kids all over the globe (most of whom apparently wear stereotypical native costumes at all times) are trying to be good, the Devil wants to increase youthful misbehavior. With this in mind, he sends his emissary Pitch (Cesareo Quezadas, aka Pulgarcito), a demon with a digestive problem, to Earth and Pitch starts his reign of terror by attempting to goad a little girl from a poor family into stealing the doll that she wants. Eventually, Santa and Merlin catch up with Pitch for a final battle of Good vs. Evil. Santa Claus also offers new insight into St. Nick's weight, eating habits, and mode of transportation; the film played the kiddie matinee circuit for years, and later was analyzed by Mike Nelson and his robot pals on Mystery Science Theater 3000. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Includes bonus documentary SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE DEVIL: A 50 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE and trailer for another documentary on the director of the film.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 16: The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
Despite the typical Monogram drawbacks -- murky photography, stolid staging, ramshackle sets -- The Corpse Vanishes remains one of the more deliciously outrageous horror exercises of the 1940s. Bela Lugosi, as hammy as ever, stars as Dr. Lorenz, a European horticulturist whose octogenarian wife (Elizabeth Russell) needs fluids from the glands of young virgins to remain forever young and beautiful. Jumping to conclusions, the insane medico's rationale seems to be that the best place to find a virgin is at the altar. Consequently, seven young women are in short order poisoned by a mysterious orchid just before their "I do's" and brought in a catatonic state to Dr. Lorenz' mansion in Brookdale. Cub reporter Pat Hunter (Luana Walters) is on to the scheme and visits the Lorenz estate under the pretense of researching an article on orchids. With a typical sound-stage storm brewing up, she agrees to spend the night, and what a night it proves to be. Not only is poor Pat awakened by a visit from Dr. Lorenz' slobbering, hunchbacked helper, Angel (Frank Moran, who stalks her while eating a drumstick), the reporter is also slapped in the face by the disagreeable countess, snubbed by a nasty dwarf (Angelo Rossitto), and nearly suffers the same fate as the poor brides when rescued in the nick of time by an enraged housekeeper (Minerva Urecal) and her boyfriend, Dr. Foster (Tristram Coffin). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide
Also features features chapter 3 of COMMANDO CODY AND THE RADAR MEN FROM MARS and theatrical trailers.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 16: Warrior of the Lost World (1984)
This sci-fi adventure is set in a distant future wherein the scorched, irradiated Earth is run by the tyrannical Omega Force until a courageous motorcycle-riding maverick shows up to stop him. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide
Includes an interview with the film's director, David Worth, on the making of the film.