updated 10:05 pm EST, Mon December 5, 2011
Free commentary offered for limited time
Fans of bad-movie-riffing comedy as was made popular by Mystery Science Theater 3000 can now enjoy new comedic commentaries on movies both bad and good with the release of RiffPlayer for Mac and Windows. The player automatically syncs purchased MP3 commentaries from the RiffTrax crew to user-purchased DVDs of the movie to be parodied, from major cult blockbusters to obscure public-domain B-movies.
When Mystery Science Theatre 3000 ended, two new movie-riffing outfits emerged: the first was RiffTrax, which took the approach of selling inexpensive MP3 audio files that purchasers would have to manually sync (with some helpful cues) to their movie themselves. The other was Cinematic Titanic, founded by original creator Joel Hodgson, which offers full DVDs of the (generally little-known) movie as well as commentary already joined together.
RiffTrax's approach, however, allowed the company to parody any film they wished, since they did not have to obtain permission from studios or rights holders, but presented the major drawback of having the user be the one to get and keep the RiffTrax soundtrack in sync with the film. The new RiffPlayer partially solves the issue by automatically keeping the movie and commentary in sync while the DVD is played on a user's computer (DVD streaming to HDTVs via Airplay may be possible on some Macs). The user must obtain the DVD separately from their own choice of retail outlet.
The RiffPlayer works with both Mac OS X and Windows (XP or later), but requires an Intel-based machine running OS X 10.6 or higher for Macs. Users purchase a RiffTrax commentary from the website, which features Mike Nelson (the on-screen host for the second half of the MST3K run, and former head writer of the show) as well as Bill Corbett (former voice of Crow and The Observer) and Kevin Murphy (former voice of Tom Servo). The MP3-based commentaries normally run between $1-$5, through for a limited time users who download and register the free RiffPlayer will receive a code good for a free MP3 commentary.
Once the player is opened and the RiffTrax commentary loaded, users simply insert the movie DVD that goes with it, and the player will synchronize the playing of the film to the commentary. Sync files are available free for customers who have previously bought the RiffTrax audio file and now want to use the RiffPlayer.