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June 26, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, July 3

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSBATFINK: THE COMPLETE SERIES1966; DVD $34.95, UR“Your bullets cannot harm me, my wings are like a shield of steel!” And so ends another Chiropterological crime-fighting caper by the world’s greatest superhero, Batfink! This fabulous, loving animated spoof of Batman ran for 100 episodes, facing down fantastic foes like Hugo A-Go-Go and Judy Jitsu with the help of his trusty sidekick Karate and the bumbling Chief of Police. A superb sample of super-sonar Americana from the days of the “Milton The Monster Show” that’s as fresh and funny as the day it first aired. What a time to be alive!EUREKA: SEASON ONE2006; DVD $39.95, URFor all of the SciFi Channel’s flaws (and they are legion), they have distinguished themselves on rare occasion, and this gentle light-comedy/sci-fi-drama series ranks as one of their best. Colin Ferguson stars as the new sheriff of a small town, the protected home of the country’s most brilliant — and cracked — scientists who are forever breaking the laws of Time and Space. A fun trip through the “X-Files” courtesy of “Northern Exposure”; 12 episodes co-starring Joe Morton, sexy Debrah Farentino and Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer, plus some of the best original bonus material ever.4 LIFE2007; DVD $19.95, URA savage, low-budget indie tale of street crime, honor and retribution. Two gangbangers, one who wants to leave the ’hood and the other about to get out of prison, clash as the convict comes to blame the other for his arrest, leading to a “High Noon”-style standoff.BELLS OF DEATH1968; DVD $19.95, URThe brooding and uniquely adventurous Shaw Brothers’ classic of kung-fu swordplay, now available in crystal-clear DVD.CHERRY CRUSH2006; DVD $26.95, RJonathan “Pulse” Tucker plays a teenage photographer (yeah, right) who gets thrown out of prep school and into the bed of luscious Nikki “The O.C.” Reed in this above-average tale of murder, that’s like, most foul, dude.DEAD MAN’S HAND2007; DVD $19.95, URIndie-horror icon Sid Haig leads this entertaining tale as a gangster ghost, haunting a run-down Vegas casino, recently inherited by a young man who arrives with a group of good-looking friends who know how to scream. Bloody good stuff from the fair-haired lads at Full Moon Entertainment.DRIVING LESSONS2006; DVD $24.95, PG-13The phenomenal Laura Linney all but steals the show from young Rupert Grint (from the “Harry Potter” movies) in this wild and wicked coming-of-age dramedy. She’s an overzealous, evangelical Christian do-gooder whose vise-like grip on her teenage son is threatened by the incomparable Julie Walters as a feisty, foul-mouthed ex-actress who decides to turn him into a Man.GHOST IN THE SHELL: SOLID STATE SOCIETY2007; DVD $19.95-39.95, URThe latest chapter in this incredibly popular anime series about a near-future world of sentient machines and deadly cyber-menaces. A new nemesis arises: an ultra-wizard hacker nicknamed the Puppet Master.HOW YOU LOOK TO ME2007; DVD $24.95, RFilmed entirely in Louisville with the help of local auteur Archie Borders by the guys at Hart/Lunsford Pictures. You’ll recognize the interiors of U of L and Churchill Downs — plus more than a few locals — in this coming-of-age drama about the son of wealthy Southern horse people who must reluctantly return to grad school or be cut off financially. Stars Frank Langella, Laura Allen, Bruce Romans and local talent including William McNulty.NEVERWAS2005; DVD $29.95, PG-13Wow! Why this went straight to video is beyond us. Psychiatrist Aaron Eckhart, who fondly daydreams of a childhood fantasyland, is researching his writer-father’s life (Nick Nolte) when he finds Sir Ian McKellen — a psychiatric patient lost in an alternate reality exactly like the one he remembers! With William Hurt, Jessica Lange, Michael Moriarty, Alan Cumming and Brittany Murphy. Banned in Malaysia, probably because of the score by Philip Glass. Worth your time.RAY CAMPI: ROCKABILLY MAN2007; DVD $29.95, URDon’t know the name “Ray Campi”? Shame on you! The original rockabilly star, a man whose visage should be enshrined with Jerry Lee Lewis, a young Johnny Cash, Elvis and Carl Perkins, Ray has been slappin’ and ridin’ that upright bass since the ’50s but has never signed with a major record label because he finds their business practices exploitive. Check out his Web site at www.electricearl.com/campi.html and grab this cool DVD at any good vidstore, Daddy-o.THE WARRIORS1979; DVD $29.95, RHD/Blu-Ray release of director Walter “48 Hours” Hill’s little epic of tire irons and bottles and bats, oh my! A notoriously violent and tough-spirited movie that is also a great deal of lightning-fast comic-book fun as a small group of hellraisers fight to get back to Coney Island before an army of street gangs wipe them out.WELCOME TO THE GRINDHOUSE: BLACK CANDLES/EVIL EYE2007; DVD $12.95, UR“Grindhouse” movies — a short-lived cultural phenomenon of unabashed violence and sexuality that kept local indie theaters afloat as the “studio system” ebbed — were part of our inspiration for this column. This new DVD series features little-known cult and grinder double features, along with trailers, theater ads and “let’s go out to the lobby” come-ons on each way-too-cheap disc. The first is’80s satanic cult horror from England; the second a 1974 tale of a man who believes he is possessed after a series of gruesome murders. Also available: “Pick-Up” (1975) and “The Teacher” (1974), the latter of which stars lovely Angel Tompkins and Jay “Dennis the Menace” North!WHAT THE PEEPER SAW1971; DVD $24.95, URA renowned cult favorite, finally available on a collector’s DVD. Britt Ekland plays the sexy stepmother to a 12-year-old boy — Mark Lester from the musical “Oliver!” — whom she believes may have killed his mother and is trying to drive a psychotic wedge between her and his father. The kid is incredible. Also includes the original uncut UK version, “Night Child.”OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTCHANCER: SERIES 11990; DVD $59.95, URDEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION: SEASON 52005; DVD $49.95, URGHOSTBUSTERS: THE ANIMATED SERIES: VOL. 21986; DVD $39.95, URNOPI TUNERVISION: SEASON 1, PART 12004; DVD $14.95, URSTRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW: COMPLETE SERIES2005; DVD $59.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!