[REVIEW] Alien (RiffTrax Presents)

RiffTrax Presents: AlienLong ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a television show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. It aired on three different channels over the course of eleven years and 197 episodes, and then it was gone. Those eleven years were a magical time, where three men (two acting through puppets) would talk their way through various horrible movies, making light of their awfulness and making all of us laugh. The show is a deserved classic, though it’s taken something of a dark turn over the past decade and a half, as the owners of the MST3K property have licensed official DVDs and such without compensating the writers or performers of the episodes featured.

But good comedians know how to bounce back, and so MST3K head writer Michael Nelson inaugurated RiffTrax in 2006. The idea behind that was rather than license the movies being riffed upon, he would record separate audio tracks which could be played in tandem with the DVDs, thus creating a (mostly) seamless viewing experience on par with the old show. It was a great way to get access to big-budget films whose studios would never allow to be used for such purposes.

Nelson worked alone at the outset, but eventually he brought in his old MST3K cohorts, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, and they’ve made a spectacular success of the whole endeavor. RiffTrax now has a mountain of commentary tracks to choose from, they offer sold-out live shows simulcast into theaters and they’ve even started licensing a few lousy movies to riff the old-fashioned way.

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