The erroneously titled Volume 10.2 has now hit Amazon. It’s $45, if you take the free shipping option, and it releases on February 5th. If you missed your first chance to own Alan Hale Jr.’s career-defining role as Sheriff Whatshisname in that one giant spider movie, then this would be your cue to strike.
Somehow, tragically, this almost seems to have slipped under most people’s radars (unless I just haven’t been paying attention), but Vampira died on Thursday. Though this isn’t directly MST3K-related, Vampira is very much a significant part of b-movie history. She’s probably best known for her appearance as a zombie in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, a film which the MST3K writing staff rejected numerous times, due to how narration-heavy the film is. Mike Nelson, however, later recorded a commentary for the film for Legend Films, in his pre-Rifftrax days.
Prior to Plan 9, the eerily gorgeous and impossibly thin-waisted Vampira (aka Maila Nurmi) served as a popular cult TV host during the ’50s, hosting horror films. Basically, if you have no knowledge of her, you need to go educate yourself, MSTie. Sadly, it appears that she had no remaining family members at the time of her death. She passed on quietly, in her sleep. She was 86.
[Thanks to Adam for the tip.]
Evidently, EZTakes has finally sent out shipping confirmations to everyone who ordered The Oozing Skull, Cinematic Titanic’s maiden voyage. In other words, if you ordered it, the CD-pressing hamster is done running around in his wheel and has dropped your copy in the mail. Not sure what their delivery time will be, but I’m betting that you’ll be enjoying (or, hey, who knows — maybe you’ll be suffering through) your copy of CineTit’s premiere episode next week.
Today, I’d like to acknowledge the birthday of Lee Van Cleef. True, most people know the late, great Mr. Van Cleef as the spokesman for Midas Mufflers and Cheetos. But what few people realize is that Lee actually did some proper acting on the side. You may have unknowingly seen him in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes It Conquered the World and the famed Master Ninja duology. He even appeared in one or two western films. So, to the memory of that fellow New Jersian, I dedicate this post. One more video after the break.
“You came back from the dead for this,” you ask? Yes.
If you’ve been meaning to finish up your collection of Rhino’s MST3K DVD singles, now would be a good time to do it. In honor of the new year, the MST3K.com store is having a limited-time sale on Rhino’s single-disc episodes. They’re all marked down to $10, before shipping. (And shipping is surprisingly low. It came out to just under $2 for me.) Better hurry, if you’re gonna.
It would seem to the naked, dirty eye that I’ve left behind my days of writing reviews. But nay, say I. As long as I have opinions, I will desire to force those opinions on others. It’s the American way. Of course, since I’m only 50% American, I’ve been slacking off horribly. Now, with the release of the Rifftrax DVD Player software, I have found something so lovely that even I cannot procrastinate it any longer.
For the majority of the Rifftrax brand’s lifespan, the hordes of Nelson followers have been clamoring for a piece of software that would simplify the tedious process of synching the Rifftrax MP3s with their fetid DVD counterparts. Speaking for myself, I know that this has been a large factor in keeping me away from the commentaries. No matter what Rifftrax employees will tell you, synching is a huge pain in the ass. People tried using certain programs, but nothing really seemed to make the process easy enough. Fortunately – and believe me, I’m going light on the hyperbole here – Rifftrax has finally made the synching process downright delightful.
The Rifftrax DVD Player, now currently in beta, far exceeds my expectations of what Rifftrax synching software ought to be. As you can see in the interface pictured above, it’s sleek and relatively straight-forward. Simply pop a DVD in your computer, load the .riff file (more on that later) and, in theory, the player links the commentary and the DVD together, allowing you to start, stop, fast-forward, and rewind them both simultaneously with just a click of a button.
Why do I say “in theory”? My laptop’s DVD player isn’t quite in working condition, so I haven’t actually been able to try it out myself. So, yes, this is a somewhat incomplete review. Still, from what I can see, the player looks like a phenomenally sweet piece of work, especially considering that it’s only just in beta. It’s totally free (not sure if that will ever change), so I’d recommend downloading it right away. Check the FAQ, if you’re still not satisfied, Demanding McDemandypants.
Are they any negatives? Well, yes. For one, Mac users and fans from outside the U.S. are out of luck, as it requires Windows XP/Vista and only works with NTSC DVDs. The Rifftrax in question also has to have a .riff file available, and not all of them have one yet. If you’ve already paid for an MP3 Rifftrax, check the “Files” tab in your order history to see if there’s a .riff file available for the track(s) you own. If so, the .riff file should be free to download. You can even extract the MP3 from the .riff file via the Player, should you need to port the track around in your iPod of choice.
So, if you’ve been complaining about the synching aspect of Rifftrax, your days of legitimately whining are over. (Unless you don’t have a DVD drive, that is.) If you’re still skeptical about the software, the folks at Rifftrax put together a video tutorial for the player, which is embedded above. The negatives are fairly minimal (for me, at least) and I’d have to grade it thusly: