August 29, 2006

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Nov. 5

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:GODZILLA: GOJIRA DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION1954; DVD $21.95, URFINALLY! A halfway decent release of this seminal cross-cultural phenomenon. A two-disc set containing the original subtitled “Gojira” in its complete 98-minute theatrical length, plus its American cutting, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” sliced down to 79 minutes and stuffed with ham (Raymond Burr). Includes audio commentaries, the original theatrical trailers and a cool featurette on Godzilla history. A bit of trivia: In “Gorija,” he’s measured at 164 feet tall, but the American box art put him at 400 feet! Damned liberal media.RED DWARF: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION1989; DVD $249.95, URHoly SMEGGIN’ HELL! The entire eight-season run of the world’s best and funniest sci-fi comedy on 18 discs! Given its claustrophobic premise — a slacker on an intergalactic mining ship wakes from a 3 million-year stasis to find he’s the only human left on board — it’s a biblical miracle that they found enough plot for one season, let alone eight. But the side-splitting, mind-expanding and incredibly inventive adventures of Dave Lister would not be denied. Free vid-junk to anyone who knows the connections between Red Dwarf, “Frazier” and “Becker.” (Contact us via YEARS OF HORROR: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION2006; DVD $19.95, URWhile not perfect, this is by far the most comprehensive series on the history of fright-films from the silent era to the near-present ever assembled. Twenty-six half-hour episodes on five discs, each focusing on a particular well-chosen and well-researched topic. Obviously a labor of love by fans of the genre; hosted by Christopher Lee.CLIVE BARKER’S THE PLAGUE2006; DVD $24.95, RBarker produced this attempt at a “Living Dead”-style franchise, rich in social allegory, but it actually was written and directed by Hal Masonberg. Lots of familiar TV faces surface when the world’s kids fall into a coma for 10 years, then wake up to wage unholy war on adults. (Insert snarky “lazy teenager” comment here.) Much better than we expected.DISTRICT B13 (BANLIEUE 13)2006; DVD $26.95, RSort of a Gallic “Escape From New York,” without the cheeze. A hyperkinetic rogue agent must penetrate the walled confines of Paris’ worst ghetto and disable a stolen neutron bomb. The best French import of the year.GINGER BAKER: IN AFRICA2006; DVD $9.95, URDocumentary on the legendary drummer from Cream and Blind Faith who, in 1971, moved to Nigeria to establish a recording studio and promote what we now call “World Music.” (It’s where Paul McCartney recorded Band on the Run.) Along the way he took several vision-quest-like sojourns into the desert to uncover the unknown music of Africa. Really cool.KINKY BOOTS2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13No one does PG-13 sex comedies like the Limeys. Case in point: this exercise in clever double-entendres about a family-owned shoe factory that accidentally corners the S&M footwear market. POPULATION 4362006; DVD $24.95, RA neat, quiet little indie horror-thriller about a small town whose population count — which hasn’t changed by one digit in more than 100 years — draws the attention of a curious census agent.PRETTY POISON1968; DVD $14.95, URNow available for cheap, this vastly underrated very-black comedy starring Anthony “Psycho” Perkins and the amazing Tuesday Weld. Tony, newly released from a mental institution, falls head-over-heels for sexy Tuesday (as the world’s most scrumptious cheerleader — yow!), plying her with tall tales of being a secret agent. But she’s crazier than he is, by a long shot. The slam-bang ending is a shocker you won’t soon forget.RYNA2005; DVD $24.95, URAward-winning subtitler from Romania ... wait! Come back! Raised as a boy by a cruel father, Ryna is, in fact, a beautiful teenage girl who desperately wants to escape her upbringing, family and small-town life.SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE2006; DVD $19.95, URA two-disc doc from Dan Burstein who set out originally to debunk “The Da Vinci Code,” only to find evidence that Mary Magdalene may, in fact, have had much more to do with Christian history, culture and mythology than just showing Jesus a good time.THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW — SEASON 1: 100TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION1952; DVD $39.95, UR100th anniversary? Nah, it’s just a welcome come-on to promote the 100th birthday of funnyman Lou Costello, born Louis Francis Cristillo on March 6, 1906. Happy Birthday, little guy; you left the world a better place. A five-disc set with all 26 episodes from their groundbreaking, if little remembered, TV show.THE BELA LUGOSI BOX: 15 FRIGHTFUL FILMS2006; DVD $19.95, URLugosi’s films have been badly treated over the years, the fodder for Wal-Mart crap-bins, but this collection makes up for many an oversight. Includes Ed Wood flicks (“Plan 9,” “Glen or Glenda,” “Bride of the Monster”), zombie thrillers (“White Zombie,” “Bowery at Midnight”), mysteries (“Scared to Death,” “The Death Kiss,” “The Human Monster”), sci-fi (“The Corpse Vanishes,” “The Devil Bat,” “The Ape Man”), fantasy (“The Mysterious Mr. Wong” and two Chandu flicks), straight-up dramas and a featurette.THE LEGEND OF LUCY KEYES2004, DVD $29.95, URReal nice indie haunter about a young girl who disappeared into the piney-woods 250 years ago yet finds the time to spook — with help from her degenerate kinfolk — the new family in the holler.UNITED 932006; DVD $29.95, RLimited Edition two-disc set with tons of featurettes. As an exploitive rah-rah-feel-good testimony to real-life courage on board a doomed aircraft at the hands of evil maniacal 9/11 terrorists, it’s dead on target. As a movie? Well, were it not a tale of a sadness from recent history, it’s unlikely anyone would have noticed.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTALF: SEASON 41986; DVD $39.95, URFRAGGLE ROCK: COMPLETE SECOND SEASON1983; DVD $49.95, URGUYS AND BALLS2006; DVD $24.95, RLOST: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON2004; DVD $59.95, URTHE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON2006; DVD $44.95, URTHE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW/SHOCK TREATMENT: GIFT SET1975; DVD $29.95, RA more complete listing and free vids at!