March 21, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through March 28

2001 MANIACS2006; DVD $26.95, RNot the awesome drive-in “Brigadoon-cum-Hillbilly-Ghouls” masterpiece of Herschell Gordon Lewis from the ’60s, this is a modern remake with Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund as the mayor of that sleepy little Southern town that rises from the grave every few decades to playfully eat Yankees.A SOUND OF THUNDER2005; VHS Rental/DVD $27.95, PG-13This came and went in a weekend at the box office, which only goes to show that Americans don’t read anymore. A “movie-ized” telling of Ray Bradbury’s seminal short story about time travel and the nature of Man. Ben Kingsley stars as the owner of Time Safari Inc., taking Edward Burns and Catherine McCormack back to the Prehistoric past to determine why the future is unraveling. And it all comes down to a single butterfly ...ALCHEMY2005; VHS Rental/DVD $26.95, PG-13Can a computer genius build a box to distract a woman from another man? That’s the premise (sort of) to this clever and smart little indie charmer starring Thomas Cavanagh and Sarah Chalke. A great date flick.DEL TENNEY DOUBLE FEATURE1963; DVD $14.95, URDel Tenney was the most underappreciated no-budget drive-in movie-maker of the ’60s, and here are two prime examples: “The Horror of Party Beach” and “The Curse of the Living Corpse.” “Beach” is, of course, the fabulous mating of beach movies and radioactive monsters, featuring a terrific “genesis” sequence, surf music by The Del-Aires, and Death-by-Sodium — courtesy of the black maid, Eulabelle! “Corpse” is among the world’s first slasher movies. Set in 1892 New England, a crusty patriarch dies, leaving a will that includes a curse: Each will die in the manner that most terrifies them, should any of the inheritors disobey its terms.DON’T DELIVER US FROM EVIL1970; DVD $24.95, URFirst mainstream release of an infamous French ’70s drive-in shocker about young girls sexually taunting a village idiot, and other “devilish” inventions. Lots of naughty goings-on and some very serious church-bashing for the day. Urban legend has it that it was banned by the Catholic Church along with the song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha!”GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RSupposed breakout vehicle for rapper 50 Cent, but it’s more of the same old clichéd “rap is mah only whey outtada streets” bullshit. Just say no.KIBAKICHI 22001; DVD $24.95, URKibakichi, that bizarre werewolf/kung fu man-flesh-eating-demon assassin movie from a few years back, spawned this sequel that’s nearly a remake of the original. But that’s OK, because it was so poorly lit, photographed and recorded that you usually couldn’t tell what was going on! For true cult-movie junkies.MASTERS OF HORROR: CARPENTER/GORDON2006; DVD $29.95, URA pair of offerings from the new Showtime series: John Carpenter’s “Cigarette Burns” and Stuart Gordon’s “Dreams in the Witch House.” Many are praising “Burns” as Carpenter’s best work, the tale of a rabid film-fan on the trail of a cursed movie called “La Fin Absolue Du Monde.” It’s definitely one of the goriest he’s ever done. And “Dreams” is, of course, Gordon’s take on the H.P. Lovecraft standard, with the addition of gratuitous nudity, sex and gallons of blood. Also available separately for about $17 each.MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA2005; DVD $28.96, PG-13Big-budget Disney/Columbia/DreamWorks/Amblin co-production designed to sweep the Oscars. It got nominated for six technical entries and then left the theaters. Oscar movies bore the snot out of us, but this is a lavish and colorful tale of love and longing in a bygone era, an epic sweep of brilliant performances portraying sacrifice and duty. In other words, a “chick flick.” Hey, whatever supports yer sampan.ROBOT CHICKEN: SEASON ONE2005; DVD $29.95, URCartoon Network’s latest Adult Swim comic juggernaut. The 15-minute pilot from Seth Green and Matt Senreich (included) is one of the funniest things we ever saw on TV! A low-budget computer-animation/stop-action/live-action sketch-comedy show using off-the-shelf action figures that savages pop culture.SNAKE WOMAN1961; DVD $19.95, URLong overdue release of a true Jesus Franco classic that was banned throughout most of Scandinavia. An evil child with black eyes grows into a beautiful young woman whose charms are deadly. (“Snake”? “Charms”? Ho, ho. Man, we slay us.)STAY2005; VHS Rental/DVD $27.95, REwan McGregor, Ryan Gosling, Naomi Watts, Bob Hoskins and Janeane Garofalo star in this vastly underrated psychological horror tale that simply got dumped by its studio. McGregor is a NY shrink, trying to help the suicidal Gosling, whose reality is slipping away — and taking McGregor with it! Well worth your time.VIOLENT MIDNIGHT1963; DVD $14.95, URAnother great Del Tenney scare-fest, aka “Psychomania.” An axe-murderer plagues a small New England town, somehow giving Del the excuse to add a bit of gratuitous nudity to his usual mix of gore and grainy hand-held b&w. Many people believe this film inspired the great Giallo director, Mario Bava, whose seminal “Blood and Black Lace” was released the following year. And watch for then-unknowns James Farentino and Dick Van Patten from their early days. Lots of fun.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTG2002; DVD $26.95, RSIX FEET UNDER: THE COMPLETE SEASONS 1-52006; DVD $499.95, URTHE ANDY MILONAKIS SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2005; DVD $26.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at!