April 11, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through April 18

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSBAD DREAMS1988; DVD $14.95, URAn all-but-forgotten haunter with a great pedigree. Producer Gale Anne Hurd (“Virus,” “The Abyss,” “The Terminator”) introduces us to Cynthia, the only person to survive a mass suicide by the Unity Fields spiritual community. Awakened from a coma, she begins to hear her former cult leader beckoning from the grave. Cool! HOSTEL2005; VHS Rental/DVD $28.95, UR/RDirector Eli Roth’s latest torture-fest. Savagery, dismemberment and gore have a long history in the movies, reaching its zenith (in our humble opinion) in the works of Herschel Gordon Lewis in the late ’60s. Those drive-in favorites were entertaining because the special effects hadn’t quite caught up with the public’s lust for blood, making them rather innocent. There’s nothing innocent about this movie, however. A pair of likeable American college students are swallowed by a madman’s murder-for-profit scheme in an abandoned Slovakian hell-hole. Not for the squeamish. BREAKFAST ON PLUTO2005; VHS Rental/DVD $24.95, RSkinny, spooky Cillian Murphy revels in the role of the effeminate — yet tough-as-nails — young man who uses his wit and charm to survive amid the harsh society of 1970s Ireland, an era that hates him because he’s “different.” Co-stars Liam Neeson, Brendon Gleeson and Stephen Rea, who starred in the somewhat similarly themed “The Crying Game.”MICHAEL PALIN: SAHARA2003; DVD $34.95, URPalin, sovereign son of Monty Python, drops his usual shtick for this absolutely boffo walk across the great Sahara Desert for the BBC. Passing through the fabled Rock of Gibraltar, across Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and beyond, he spins yarns of the cradle of Civilization — or at least of Commerce — quipping and ad-libbing all the way. Incredibly entertaining.MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS2005; DVD $28.95, RJudi Dench and Bob Hoskins are having an absolute BALL in this true tale of a prim and proper British mum who, after WWI, buys a derelict theater, christens it The Windmill, and begins a run of successful revues. All is more-or-less well — despite constant disagreements with Hoskins as impresario Vivian Van Damm — until she decides to make them all-nude. British society has never fully recovered.NATURAL CITY2003; DVD $24.95, RWe often highlight offerings from the recent wave of Korean horror flicks, but this is the first Korean sci-fi we’ve seen ... and we like it! A total rip-off of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” but with a visual style more in line with “Aliens,” it tells the tale of a future world where human-looking cyborgs revolt and an elite military squad is sent to eliminate them. (Delayed from its original February release.)ONE BRIGHT SHINING MOMENT2005; DVD $29.95, URA documentary look at the presidential campaign of George McGovern, who took on (and lost to) Richard Nixon in 1972. What made it unique was his anti-establishment theme and low-tech, word-of-mouth approach. It was, to coin a phrase, America’s first modern-day “grassroots” political movement. We can only wonder how the last 30 years would have differed had he won.RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 4: NECROPOLIS2005; DVD $26.95, RThe “Return” franchise — not to be confused with George Romero’s actual “Living Dead” franchise — has no dreams of grand rumination on the vacuosity of pop culture  — it IS vacuous pop culture! This latest comedy/horror installment is more of the same: a group of high-school kids meet a passel of living dead zombies. Lunch is served. Filmed in Romania (always a sign of quality).THE COMPLETE MR. ARKADIN1955; DVD $49.95, URFinally, a decent print of our favorite Orson Welles movie, “Mr. Arkadin.” Not his best by any means, but a wonderfully cheezy B-movie with Welles as a feared billionaire with a mysterious past — and anyone who goes looking into that past seems to wind up dead! This set is the complete Criterion Edition containing all three versions: two from 1955, one of which was heavily altered after a lawsuit, and the full 2005 edition, along with a retinue of bonus materials and three episodes of the original radio program, “The Lives of Harry Lime.”THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED/SHE-CREATURE1952; DVD $14.95, URNot the crappy Showtime remakes, these are the Real Deal from Samuel Z. Arkoff! First, a group of survivors from an atomic war settle in a valley that seems untouched, but they are haunted by human fear and a wonderful mutant monster by Paul Blaisdell. Then, hypnotic regression reveals Blaisdell’s masterpiece: the distaff prehistoric terror of the “She-Creature.” Also available at this price: “The Saga of the Viking Women/Teenage Caveman.” First, a boatload of Viking women goes looking for their long-missing men in the land of the great sea-serpent. Then, Robert Vaughn (from those legal commercials) is a young man in a world filled with monsters and odd radioactive death. A steal at this price.VISITING HOURS1982; DVD $14.95, URA true chestnut from the earliest days of slasher-flicks. A maniacal murderer stalks a hospital for his victims. Who will be next? Will it be Michael Ironside? Lee Grant? Linda Purl? Or how about ... William Shatner!? Cheeze that makes a breeze.YES — 9012 LIVE: THE SOLOS1985; DVD $19.95, URDirector Steven Soderbergh created this documentary of Yes’ 1985 tour, starring the “alternate original” lineup of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor Rabin, Alan White and Tony Kaye. For an explanation of the many variations of Yes, and the parallel career of keyboardist Rick Wakeman, check out www.warr.org/yes.html.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA2004; DVD $12.95, PG-13IN LIVING COLOR: SEASON FIVE1993; DVD $39.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!