Issue December 4, 2012

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Dec. 11

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

CHILLER: THE COMPLETE TELEVISION SERIES

1995; $29.98; UR

This short-lived Limey TV horror anthology has never been seen in the United States in any form but has been on every horror-hound’s wish list for more than a decade. Now available: all five — count ’em, five! — big supernatural shockers featuring Britain’s best actors, writers and directors. Our favorite tale is “The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Ghosts” about a paranormal debunker (Peter Egan, The Marquess of Flintshire from “Downton Abbey”) who moves his family into “just another haunted house,” only to find something beyond his experience. Very entertaining.

ULTRA SEVEN: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2002; $34.98-$49.98; UR

If you were a kid with cable back in the ’90s, you know that this was initially shown weekday mornings on TNT, a heavily edited, badly dubbed Japanese import from the guys behind “Ultraman.” And by the time it had moved to late weekend nights, Ultraman had actually “returned” to the show, appearing as a guest star in many episodes, saving the Earth from evil aliens from a distant star. Finally available in as complete a form as we’ll probably ever see — in the original Japanese with subtitles, no less — our vote for the best “suitmation” series ever made. Six discs (lacking at least one episode that was pulled as being “insensitive”), 19 hours of intergalactic fun.

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ASHANTI

1979; $27.98-$29.98; R

This provocative and adventurous, er, adventure has been absent from video shelves for some time due to its legendary imagery and bogus NC-17 rating. But now you can own this glorious and savage hyper-romantic desert swashbuckler on Blu-ray, with Michael Caine chasing “depraved Arab slave trader” Peter Ustinov(!) across the burning sands to rescue skinny-dipping supermodel wife, Beverly “Boy Howdy!” Johnson, with help from Rex Harrison, William Holden and Omar Sharif. The all-new interview with Johnson, detailing the film’s notorious history and long road to restoration, is worth the price alone.

DOOMSDAY BOOK

2012; $19.98-$29.98; UR

We loved this wonderfully inventive zombie apocalypse comedy anthology from Korea. A Buddhist robot becomes sentient, despite the efforts of a repairman sent to “fix” it; a young boy zombie examines his new “life”; and (best of all), O. Henry’s famous “The Christmas Gift” is rewritten for the undead-Internet age. Highly recommended.

I LOVE IT FROM BEHIND!

1981; $19.98; UR

More silly named naughtiness from those ’80s pervs at Nikkatso Pictures. Ignore the title, this is about a beautiful young girl about to be bound into an arranged marriage, whose hobby is making “penis prints” — a truly uplifting art project! She wants to have 100 of them before she takes her vows, so her days are spent chasing random men around Japan, trying to get them to drop their pants. But the 100th man has a price. Truly warped as only Nikkatso could do it.

ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT

2012; $24.98-$49.98; PG

If you don’t know what to expect from an “Ice Age” film by now, we can’t help you. Prehistoric pals Manny, Diego and Sid are caught in a planet-wide disaster triggered by our old acorn-chasing friend, the Scrat. Of course it’s all just an excuse to teach comic family lessons, this time with crazed pirate-critters and Sid’s irascible grandma. Not the best of the series, but gangs of fun for all ages.

LES MISERABLES

1998; $14.99; PG-13

Victor Hugo’s classic tale has been filmed now some 25 times in every format imaginable: from narrative drama to opera to musical to animated comedy, many starring some of the world’s great talents. This two-plus-hour straight-up drama — considered by many to be the definitive dramatic interpretation — features Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, with Uma Thurman as the prostitute, Claire Danes as her child, and Geoffrey Rush (who steals the movie) as the obsessed Javert.

MANKIND: THE STORY OF ALL OF US

2012; $34.95; UR

This anthropological adventure from The History Channel is all about our favorite damn smelly apes: humanity. Beginning with our first experiments in Mesopotamian socialization and ending with Christopher Columbus’ trek to the New World, it shows that our basic goals haven’t changed one bit, only our technology. And our savagery. Twelve damn entertaining episodes.

TED

2012; $24.98; R

“Family Guy”’s Seth MacFarlane crashes onto the big screen in this truly warped, vulgar — and damn funny — tale of a grown man (Mark Wahlberg), saddled with the fulfillment of a childhood wish: a real, live teddy bear best friend. No act of perversion or social outrage is out of bounds as MacFarlane lets this experiment run wild, and he wisely makes “Ted” and Wahlberg the best of buds; just two dudes, the natural outgrowth of a childhood friendship, but one that leaves the man unable to truly become an adult. Not for the easily offended, but a godsend for the rest of us.

THE BOURNE LEGACY

2012; $19.98-$34.98; PG-13

OK, right up front: We didn’t like this Jeremy Renner reboot. Yes, it has all the trademark Bourne elements: Parkour-like chase scenes, high-tech savagery, near-superhuman abilities thanks to experimental drugs — even most of the actors (who supposedly met their end in the third Bourne movie) have returned. And that’s what’s wrong. This isn’t another Bourne movie, it’s an imitation Bourne movie, with all the frantic camera work and exotic locales, but none of the empathy or depth that Matt Damon brought to the role. Go back and watch the first three flicks (available in a multi-pack for about $17) to see what me mean.

THOMAS & FRIENDS: STICKY SITUATIONS

2012; $9.98-$14.98; UR

All the wee-ones in our neighborhood hang around our doorstep, knowing that eventually we’ll have more “Thomas The Tank Engine” vids for them. This latest one really tickled their funny bones: The engines all get themselves into sticky/slippery jams — just doin’ what comes naturally and havin’ some fun — and must learn how to get out of them without causing even more trouble. If that’s not a universal theme of childhood, we don’t know what is. OK, you little buggers, come and get it!

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