Now you can easily understand Mystery Science Theater 3000’s endless glory — if you so choose. Not totally new news, but Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Manos: The Hand of Fate are coming out in a little DVD two-pack in a few more weeks. If you’re not familiar with MST3K in general, hie thee hence, but if you are and are wondering what the deal is and your file-sharing program queue is too backed up, give these a whirl.

The first film was already a well-known loser that too many people had to deal with on TV while waiting for A Charlie Brown Christmas to air, the latter was plucked from near-oblivion — to my knowledge only the characters at RE/Search had ever written anything about Manos before the MST3K treatment — and is now firmly enshrined as inept hilarity to the nth degree, in large part thanks to the legendary character Torgo. In both episodes the Joel/Dr. Forrester lineup was easily firing on all fours, references running from Tim Weisberg to John Waters to Frank Frazetta to Nam flashbacks to lentils to Soul Train — and then of course the skits as well (“SLEEEEP! In heavenly PEEEEACE!”). Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was the first episode I ever saw, at least in part, so it’s a good starter point, even if it’s July rather than December.

Mind you, those of us who already own the separate Manos DVD will have to sell it back or the like, alas. But that means credit for something at Amoeba when I do sell it back on Saturday and they have a lot to offer, so make me a random suggestion of something moviewise to get if you like.