Issue January 11, 2006

Video TapeWorm – Releases through January 17

ALL SOULS DAY: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
1997; DVD $19.95, UR
Danny Trejo got top billing in this hackneyed, if fun, South of the Border zombie-thon, but the real stars are mostly attractive newcomers. Peppered with cameos by Trejo, the incomparable Jeffrey Combs, underused Ellie Cornell and David Keith, if you’ve only seen this on the SciFi Channel, you’re missing a great over-the-top gore-and-taco-fest with extra ham. Recommended.

ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $26.95, R
The head honchos of Enron walked out with a cool $1 billion — that’s with a “B” — while their workers, your white-haired granny and you, yourself took one up the stove-pipe. This doc features insider accounts and too-true-to-be-funny audio and videotapes from actual board meetings where they discuss how to do it and why it’s “not” illegal. A fun look at the utter moral vacuum that passes for Corporate America these days.

FINAL DESTINATION SCARED-2-DEATH PACK
2000; DVD $19.95, UR
“Final Destination 3″ arrives at the theaters in a few weeks, so here’s your chance to revisit the first two outings. A group of likable teens are dragged away from calamity by one of their members with prophetic visions, leading them to understand how Death works and how to thwart his plans. For a while, anyway. A fun updating of the run-and-splatter genre with a nice, dark sense of humor.

GIRL NEXT DOOR
2005; DVD $26.95, UR
No, not “THE Girl Next Door” with Elisha “Won’t Show ’Em” Cuthbert, this is a documentary about the rise to fame of gorgeous porn star Stacy Valentine. A mousy housefrau, she reluctantly entered a Hustler contest to please her sleaze-ball husband. When she won, she dumped his butt and became an award-winning hardcore performer almost overnight. After making some 60-plus movies in just five years, she supposedly retired in 2000 to return to college, but has since made a number of video cheapies, including the wonderfully titled “Tits Ahoy” (2004). Possible the best behind-the-scenes look at the adult entertainment industry ever filmed.

INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH KEATON
2005; DVD $24.95, UR
We are major fans of Buster Keaton, the now all-but-forgotten king of physical comedy from the roaring ’20s. His breakneck style — he was often seen in the path of oncoming traffic or amidst burning buildings — has never been duplicated. This is a two-disc collection of rare and breathtakingly funny commercials, industrial films, promotional features and outtakes that would make Jackie Chan wince. All b&w and wonderfully silent, as God intended.

JUNEBUG
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $26.95, R
A spry and clever comedy/drama about culture clashes — small town vs. big city, artsy-fartsy vs. bible-thumpers — within an extended family and how priorities change to fit the situation. Embeth Davidtz stars.

LORD OF WAR
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $30.95, R
Noisy but vacuous action/black-comedy yarn centered on Nicolas Cage as a globetrotting arms dealer. We really wish Nick would just get himself a quiet desk job somewhere and quit making movies. Send your hate-mail to biteme@leoweekly.com.

PUPPETMASTER VS. DEMONIC TOYS
2004; DVD $9.95, UR
This mixmaster melding of two arguably great cheeze franchises from Charles Band is pretty bad, even for our tastes. A Christmas tale of miniaturized murder and mayhem with (shudder) Corey Feldman as Robert Toulon and (shriek) Vanessa Angel as an actress with a bad lip-job.

THE MAN
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $27.95, PG-13
Action/comedy turkey/bomb with Samuel L. Jackson as a hard-as-nails undercover agent and Eugene Levy as a dim-witted salesman mistaken by the bad guys as an arms dealer. The less said the better.

TITUS: SEASON THREE
2003; DVD $39.95, UR
The final, somewhat abbreviated, season of The Best Damned Sit-Com EVER! Christopher Titus once again tries to find some kind of peace with his gorgeous girlfriend amid all their crazed, dysfunctional relatives. At the top of the list is Stacy Keach as his drunken, cruel womanizing father, who gets his comeuppance when his mother (Phyllis Diller!) comes to visit. The first two seasons are also available in a single set for $44.95. Highly recommended.

TWO FOR THE MONEY
2005; VHS $29.95/DVD $29.95, R
Al Pacino, Rene Russo and Matthew McConaughey lead an all-star cast in this savage look at sports-betting in the 21st century. Unfortunately, they don’t lead them anyplace you’d want to go. Pacino should switch to decaf.

UNDERCLASSMAN
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, PG-13
Nick Cannon continues his rise to be America’s next Will Smith in this lively — if preposterous — “smart-mouthed police detective who infiltrates a preppie high school” comedy/actioner. Fast, spry and gangs of fun with a lively and attractive young cast, plus a cameo by Cheech Marin.

VENOM
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, R
Unbelievable stupid teen horror/thriller with lots of atmosphere about a Louisiana swamp and its voodoo boogie-man, “Mr. Jangles,” who is possessed by 13 evil souls, relentlessly in pursuit of new victims. Bwahahaaaaa! Of COURSE we liked it!

OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST
BLACK SISTER’S REVENGE
2005; DVD $9.95, R

PINK FLOYD: PULSE
1995; DVD $24.95, UR

THE ASYLUM
2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, R

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
1970; DVD $29.95, UR

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, VOL. 2
2003; DVD $24.95, UR

A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!