Shout! Factory // 1997 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino (Retired) // February 25th, 2011
"The movie that dares to show you every pore!"
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies isn't satisfied abiding by the etiquette of appropriate title length. Heck, this self-proclaimed "monster musical" doesn't even play by the rules of montage or cinematography. It's like a series of overexposed Kodachrome photos that just happen to be moving at 24 frames per second, capturing some of the worst lounge acts and gypsy impersonations in the history of film. Thank goodness there's a guy and two poorly assembled robots floating around in space ready and willing to tear this thing apart.
Incredibly Strange Creatures is one of the highlights of the Michael J. Nelson years of Mystery Science Theater 3000; in fact, it's close to being the "Manos: The Hands of Fate of the Sci-Fi Channel Years" in terms of overall quality. The movie is so painfully constructed I can't say how any television survives playing it. Mike and the gang never miss an opportunity to skewer the film, whether they're focusing on the voyeuristic song and dance numbers, the low-budget zombies, roller coaster shots, the director's shameless starring role, or Ortega, the film's equivalent of Manos's Torgo. Ortega creeps around the last third of the film grunting and wiggling his fingers, his fake prosthetic make-up and hitchhiker demeanor make him one of the most terrifying right-hand-men in B-movie history. This one's a real winner.
Incredibly Strange Creatures is brimming with suspense, all of which is derived from the confusing editing and non-existent sound. If there's a problem with the episode, it's the technical quality of Incredibly Strange Creatures: the audio on the film is so poor the MST-cast often resorts to just riffing on that instead of the movie itself. It's hilarious, sure, but I wish I could also hear what's happening in the movie. At least, I think I do...
Thankfully, the Incredibly Strange Creatures DVD release falls in line with just about every other Shout! Factory MST3k installment. The video quality of the actual episode is about as good as when it first aired (bright, colorful late 90s cable). This specific episode was originally released in a box set from Rhino Productions, and has since gone out of print. As such, it's one of the first single-disc MST3k releases from Shout!, available only through their website. For fans who can't shell out $40-50 for every box set the company releases, this is a nice alternative to relive the glory of the show.
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is, if you can get past the film's technical shortcomings, one of the better episodes of the show's latter years.
Review content copyright © 2011 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: MST3K
* IMDb: The Incredibly Strange Creatures