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January 16, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Jan. 23

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEK’S: MONSTERS AND MADMEN 1959; DVD $79.95, UR A four-disc box set containing two excellent drive-in double-features from the chrome-and-tailfin era, courtesy of producers Richard and Alex Gordon. After becoming mired at the age of 70 in tedious B-movies, Boris Karloff left Hollywood to make a pair of wonderfully lurid 1958 thrillers, “The Haunted Strangler” and “Corridors of Blood” (the former being a Karloff tour-de-force in the Jekyll & Hyde mold). Next, a pair of Atom Age classics, “The Atomic Submarine” — which was remade as a “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” episode about a flying saucer — and “First Man into Space” with Marshall Thompson getting his rocks off over sexy Marla Landi. SAW III 2006; DVD $29.95, R Latest offering from this surprisingly entertaining and inventive gore-franchise about a demented sociopath who tests average people with moral failings by trapping them together in deadly peril, requiring a grisly sacrifice in order to escape. The trick this time is that the loon was mortally wounded at the end of “2,” yet the mayhem continues. Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw; Dina Meyer returns as the cop on his trail; and Shawnee Smith — the only victim to survive the first two films — returns as the only victim to have survived the first two films. CROOKS 2007; DVD $19.95, UR Stand-up comic Mike Marino, “New Jersey’s bad boy,” is terrific in this black-comic ode to the Garden State. He’s a bartender who overhears an ancient postman (Charlie Callas!) detail the perfect crime before dropping dead at the bar. So he gathers together a cadre of dim-witted friends to pull off the heist himself. Aka: “Errors, Freaks And Oddities.” DON’T KNOCK THE ROCK/ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK 1956; DVD $19.95, UR A pair of rock ’n’ roll classics! In the first, DJ Alan Freed — who is credited with popularizing the phrase “rock ’n’ roll” — provides a stage for up-and-coming rockers like former dishwasher Little Richard (who wrote “Tutti Frutti” for this film), The Applejacks, and Bill Haley and His Comets. Stars Sinatra-wannabe Alan Dale. Then Freed and Haley return with The Platters and Freddie Bell and the Bellboys for the all-out rockin’ second feature! Groovy, Daddy-O! Also available: “Don’t Knock the Twist/Twist Around the Clock” with Chubby Checker, Dion and The Marcels for $19.95. JESUS CAMP 2005; DVD $26.95, PG-13 Did you know that there are actually summer camps where parents pay big bucks to teach their kids how to be televangelists? Neither did we — and frankly, we slept better — until this truly frightening documentary about the truly frightening people behind them. The word “Fascist” seems too tame; a perfect chance to see how religious extremism spreads. MAX HAVOC: CURSE OF THE DRAGON 2006; DVD $19.95, UR Mickey Hardt stars in this, the first in a series of martial-arts actioners from Guam. He’s an ex-kickboxing champ who now works as a photographer; a nice guy who always seems to be running into damsels in distress. Lots of fun with Fat Joe, David Carradine (as “Grand Master”), a pair of cutie-sisters and Richard “Shaft” Roundtree. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: AMAZING PLANET 2006; DVD $29.95, UR A two-disc set from our favorite TV series, this one focusing on sharks, with a clever storyline about alien explorers who discover a Great White gnawing on their Miptorian spaceship. Edutainment at its finest. ROBERT MITCHUM: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION 1952; DVD $59.95, PG/UR Fans of the new James Bond would do themselves a favor by checking out this well-chosen six-disc set of Robert Mitchum action/dramas. The original “arrogant tough-guy,” Mitchum shines in “Angel Face” with Jean Simmons, “The Good Guys and the Bad Guys” and the Western “Home from the Hill.” Then the drama shifts to exotic intrigue in “Macao,” Australian action in “The Sundowners” and ends with savage gunplay in “The Yakusa.” SASQUATCH MOUNTAIN 2006; DVD $26.95, R A truly stupid Bad Movie from the SciFi Channel and the always-reliable Lance Henriksen. A group of truly stupid bank robbers takes Cerina “The Yellow Ranger” Vincent hostage and runs into the woods, pursued by Bigfoot, a 95-year-old sheriff and his pimply deputies, and — scariest of all — Tim Thomerson! Man, do we love crap like this! THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER, VOL. 1 2006; DVD $24.95, UR One of America’s most influential filmmakers — the man who inspired Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Andy Warhol and MTV — is given the Collector’s treatment in this excellent set that begins with 1947's “Fireworks” and ends with the 38-minute 1954 mini-epic, “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,” the latter being a Crowley-esque tale of sensuality among the Old Gods by way of Anger’s delicious use of color and imagery. Watch for Joan Whitney as “Aphrodite,” Anaïs Nin and Anger, himself, as Hecate. THE GUARDIAN 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 If you liked “The Perfect Storm,” you’ll love this tale about the men and women who risk their lives rescuing people from angry seas. Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher have real chemistry as the seasoned coast guard and his cocky recruit who must battle themselves as well as the elements in order to save others. THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED 2005; DVD $24.95, NC-17 The ballsiest doc we’ve ever seen! A damning look at the politics, money and manipulations behind the movie rating system. Supposedly an independent board, it is in fact funded by the major Hollywood studios and the Catholic Church, who dictate what movies Americans will see. The filmmakers first reveal the previously hidden names and addresses of those on the board — and then submit their movie to the board for rating! They got an NC-17 for their troubles, preventing it from being shown in 98 percent of all American theaters. Other DVDs of Interest AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER: BOOK 2 EARTH, VOL. 1 2005; DVD $16.95, UR HOPELESS PICTURES: SEASON 1 2005; DVD $26.95, UR THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 2007; DVD $19.95, PG-13 THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON 1972; DVD $39.95, UR WALKER TEXAS RANGER: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 1994; DVD $49.95, UR A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!