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July 25, 2012

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, July 31

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

HATFIELDS & MCCOYS: AN AMERICAN FEUD

2012; $13.98-$19.98; UR

A well-done doc on the famous dust-up between two families near the Big Sandy River on the Kentucky/West Virginia border. While popularly portrayed as a battle between illiterate, drunken hillbillies fighting over a pig, its roots lie in racism (the McCoys were first-generation immigrants from Ireland), poverty (the Hatfields were much more affluent), and unresolved post-Civil War animosities (the first death was a returning Union soldier, Asa McCoy). This A&E cable doc makes the perfect intro to the History Channel’s big-budget miniseries.

HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS

2012; $31.98-$55.98; UR

Focusing on the breakdown between close friends and former Civil War comrades William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield (Kevin Costner) and Randolph “Ol’ Ran’l” McCoy (Bill Paxton), returning to their homes on opposite sides of the Tug River bordering Kentucky and West Virginia, this excellent miniseries ignores all the hearsay and legend, instead telling an entertaining and historically accurate tale of pride and anger leading to madness. Costars Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe, Katie Griffiths and Mare Winningham. Damn good TV.

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FEDERAL MEN

1950; $22.98-$24.98; UR

Better known as “Treasury Men in Action,” this was a crime/action TV series that ran from 1950-55 starring Walter Greaza as “The Chief.” He was head of a squad of agents (a different roster every few weeks) who tracked down counterfeiters and other currency racketeers for the Treasury Department. Among the actors honing their craft were Ross Martin (“The Wild Wild West”), Tom McKee (“The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin”), Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones, James Dean, Ben Gazzara, Claude Akins, and many, many more. Sixteen episodes on three discs.

FORTRESS

2012; $22.98-$35.98; R

A far-better-than-average B-film shot largely in green-screen about a young, inexperienced pilot who takes over the reins of a B-17 Flying Fortress — and its hot-tempered Irish crew — after the captain is killed while on a raid in 1943. Stars Bug Hall (“American Pie: Book of Love”), Donnie Jeffcoat (TV’s “One Life to Live”) and Sean McGowan (“Star Trek: Enterprise”).

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXIV

2012; $41.98-$59.98; UR

This latest release from the Satellite of Love includes the crazy-assed Russian fable “The Sword and The Dragon”; a former Japanese kids’ TV show (a ripoff of the “Starwolf” books) edited into two films, “Fugitive Alien” and “Star Force Fugitive Alien II”; and the infamously bad Mexican wrestling flick “Samson vs. The Vampire Women.” While the riffing on these flicks isn’t necessarily the ’bots best ever, the films themselves are so damn goofy and entertaining, it’s really not necessary. (FYI: “Samson” was Frank’s final episode, and they say goodbye to him in style.)

SCALENE

2011; $19.98-$24.98; UR

A mentally handicapped man rapes a college student, and his mother seeks revenge on his accuser — but this is NOT a rape-revenge movie! It’s an excellent indie drama, brilliantly written, exactingly acted, and cleverly directed, with the tale being told from three distinct points of view — all of them “true.” Stars Margo Martindale, Hanna Hall (“Forrest Gump”) and Adam Scarimbolo; directed by Zack Parker, who you will no doubt be hearing more from in the very near future (watch for “Proxy” due out in 2013).

SOUL OF SAND (PAIRON TALLE)

2012; $24.98; UR

A Bollywood look at the nature of man in a world consumed by commerce. Even after it has shut down, a devoted security guard stands silent watch on his employer’s silica mine, drawing from the task a sense of self-worth that his life otherwise lacks. But all that changes when the employer offers his own beautiful daughter (Geeta Bisht) to a potential buyer to sweeten the deal. Then the guard risks everything to protect the girl, her lower-caste lover, and his own family from a masked hitman.

THE BUNNY GAME

2012; $14.98-$29.98; UR

An exceptionally twisted, violent, raw film based in part on life experiences of the star: singer, activist and performance artist Rodleen Getsic. She writes, produces and plays the junkie hooker who services an out-of-control trucker (Jeff Renfro, from behind the camera on “Three Amigos!”), whose sadism escalates from simple bondage to life-threatening beatings and suffocation. Banned in the UK for its constant nudity, sex and violence, this is a good movie with something important to say, but is not for mass consumption.

THE KENT CHRONICLES

1978; $49.98-$59.98; UR

Do you remember this Golden Globes and Emmy-nominated TV miniseries from the late ’70s? If not, here’s a rare opportunity to catch this excellent Revolutionary War tale starring William “Captain Kirk” Shatner, Kim “Sex In The City” Cattrall, Don “Miami Vice” Johnson, Patricia Neal, George Hamilton, Delta Burke, Tom Bosley, and more than 40 other notable TV and movie actors from back in the day. All three parts — “The Bastard,” “The Rebels” and “The Seekers” — in one three-disc set; includes a biography of author John Jakes.

THE MAID

2005; $14.98; UR

The country of Singapore has never been recognized as being a hotbed of moviemaking, but ever so often they turn out a minor gem like this very Chinese tale — and the country’s first-ever horror film. A visiting maid (breathtaking Alessandra de Rossi) ignores a local superstition, making her the target of a malevolent spirit. Fun.

TWISTED LOVE STORY

2012; $17.98-$24.98; UR

A far-better-than-it-has-to-be battle-of-the-sexes flick with a remarkable cast, starting with one of our favorite actors, Zack Ward (“Titus,” “A Christmas Story”). He and some guy friends come up with a scheme guaranteed to fill their lives with money, power and especially women. The men include Tony Daly (“General Hospital”) and Steven Roy (“Skin Walker”); and the women — who show these losers that they are ALWAYS in control — include Jennifer Aspen (“GCB”), Sarah Thompson (“7th Heaven”), hot little Clare Kramer (“Bring It On”), and SI Swimsuit model Josie Maran. Fun.

For a more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.