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October 17, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, Oct. 24

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:MONSTER HOUSE2006; DVD $28.95, PGThis spooky/goofy CGI haunted-houser is an all-around hoot and an instant Halloween classic through terrific animation (particularly the titular house), great voice talent and a clever plot (though we took some offense at their treatment of fat people). Three kids discover that the house across the street, where a wicked old man lives, is actually ALIVE. And it EATS PEOPLE. And when the old man goes down clutching his heart, there’s no one left to protect the neighborhood from his rampaging two-story ramshackle shack!SLITHER2006; DVD $29.95, RWoo-hoo! What fun! “Serenity”’s Captain, Nathan Fillion, runs afoul of some foul outer-space slugs that turn humans into zombies — or worse — in this wonderful ode to ’50s monster-movies a la “Tremors.” Nathan plays a small-town policeman who pines for comely Elizabeth Banks, but she’s married to a guy whose brain just got eaten. And he’s still walking around! More comedy than horror, it succeeds on every level and deserved a much longer run at the theaters. Our highest recommendation.AN AMERICAN HAUNTING2005; DVD $28.95, UR/RDonald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek rise above the weak material in this true-life historical haunter — supposedly the only case of its kind where a man was actually killed by a ghost! The Bell Family of Red River, Tenn., is plagued by yellow-eyed spirit-wolves and all manner of spookydoins in the early 1800s.BODY HEAT1981; DVD $19.95, RA new Deluxe Edition of Lawrence Kasdan’s sexy murder/thriller starring William Hurt, sultry Kathleen Turner and Lack O’Airconditionin. A fabulous take on the film-noir/private-dick potboilers of the ’40s, with the added advantage of being as naughty as they want to be without the damnedable “Code” that kept the lid on things back in the Depression. Still ranks as one of the most entertaining and intelligent thrillers around; now with lots of neat bonus stuff!COVENANT2006; DVD $19.95, URDocumentary on the influential Swedish band whose early ’90s “electronic body music” (think Throbbing Gristle or Front 242) reinvented the way techno was perceived and performed.GREG THE BUNNY: BEST OF THE FILM PARODIES2006; DVD $24.95, URWhat more could you want to know? OK: two discs, 14 skits, two featurettes and some very clever Easter Eggs.I’M ALAN PARTRIDGE: SERIES 12006; DVD $29.95, URFans of Steve Coogan have been breathlessly awaiting the U.S. release of this very clever — and VERY funny — sitcom from Britain that gores celebrity and the constant pursuit of fame by the hopelessly average.KISS ME AGAIN2006; DVD $29.95, UROne of those artsy NY tales of an aging intellectual couple who invite a hot young Spanish woman into their bed in hopes of putting some spark in the ol’ plug again. When the wife learns that the woman is one of her husband’s students, she goes after him with a stick.NACHO LIBRE2006; DVD $29.95, PGWe know people who think Jack Black is a genius. We won’t go that far, but this was a lot of fun. Black once again plays the lovable loser; a cook in an orphanage, he longs to be a hero/wrestler, a “Lucho Libre”: masked master of the ring, righter of wrongs, scourge of evil. Unfortunately, he’s no better at wrestling than he is cooking, but by pure dunderheaded perseverance he stumbles on to save the day and frolic with the pretty young nun. Heavy on sight-gags and pratfalls, Black makes the most of this overlooked genre, long in need of a lampoon.NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING2006; DVD $39.95, URA clever idea for a miniseries: eight of King’s short stories, starring largely TV actors, directed by Brian Henson and featuring state-of-the-art special effects. The results were hit-and-miss, but the biggest problem was that they received so little promotion. Worth checking out.SCTV: BEST OF THE EARLY YEARS1978; DVD $39.95, URThis is, hands down, the best seven hours of comedy to arrive in our Video Viewtorium for many a year. Fifteen of SCTV’s best episodes with Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara and John Candy from back when they were giving “Saturday Night Live” a run for its money.SKINWALKER: CURSE OF THE SHAMAN2005; DVD $26.95, RJames “Scotty” Doohan, in his last film, is the only recognizable name in this flick’s otherwise shallow talent pool. But what they lack in recognition they more than make up for in originality as an attractive young mythology student finds herself caught up in a native curse that caused six young people to vanish decades earlier from a town with more secrets than people.THE ADDAMS FAMILY VOLUME ONE2006; DVD $29.95, URThree discs, 22 episodes, an entire season of spooky TV magic from the original series. Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, Cousin Itt, Uncle Fester ... and a big steamin’ cauldron of DVD bonus goodies — Duhduhdadum. Snap! Snap!.WESTERNS WITH A TWIST1966; DVD $39.95, URHere’s something you don’t see every day: Communist East German-made anti-American-propaganda Westerns! Most are from the point of view of Native Americans, which makes your definition of “propaganda” a rather important matter when judging these films; but, their political stance aside, they are fascinating to watch. Features “Apaches,” “The Sons of Great Bear” and James Fenimore Cooper’s “Chingachgook: The Great Snake,” all starring Serbian Gojko Mitic.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTBATMAN BEYOND: SEASON 22006; DVD $44.95, URDEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION — SEASON 42006; DVD $49.95, URKRYPTO, THE SUPERDOG: VOLUME 22006; DVD $14.95, URMACGYVER: THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON1985; DVD $39.95, URTHE ASTAIRE & ROGERS COLLECTION: VOLUME 22006; DVD $59.95, URTHE L WORD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON2006; DVD $62.95, URTHE O.C.: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON2006; DVD $69.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!