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Embrace of the Vampire (1995)

October 9, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Oct. 15

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE (1995)

1995; $14.98-$19.98; R/UR

Pretty, pouty little Alyssa Milano, whom we all watched grow up on TV’s “Who’s The Boss?,” body-slammed into puberty with pretty, pouty, pointy little results in this brain-dead virgin-and-vampire boobfest. Her left mamm gives the kind of bravura performance that only a seasoned performer can aspire to, while the right one just lays there, providing no support whatsoever. Gangs of where-are-they-now fun, this thing is a Halloween staple around our place.

EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE (2013)

2013; $26.98; UR

Blonde hottie Sharon Hinnendael is 27 but looks much younger in this reboot of the movie that made Alyssa Milano a mainstay of ’90s titty movies. She’s an incoming college freshman with a drug problem and a rough backstory, despite graduating from a Catholic girls’ school. But her fresh start is being blocked by a teensy problem: One of her professors is a vampire who, like most profs we’ve ever met, wants to make her his slave. But this isn’t the usual helpless virgin! Ultimately she will decide her own fate, thank you very much. We liked it.

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BLACK SABBATH

1963; $10.98-$12.98; UR

The immortal Mario Bava directed this classic Italian horror anthology as “The Three Faces of Fear,” but it was renamed and edited for content (including hinted-at lesbianism) by AIP for wimpy British audiences. This new name was later appropriated by Ozzy Osbourne and friends. Really! Now available from Cheezy Flicks: the original Italian-language version, subtitled and far more terrifying than what you may have seen before, with the wonderfully textured and spooky original soundtrack. Boris Karloff stars in the best-known segment as a wild-haired vampire. Truly frightening; our highest recommendation.

DEFIANCE: SEASON ONE

2013; $41.93-$59.98; UR

Thirty-something years from now, the Earth has been visited by and terraformed for a series of alien races, decimating the human population who now crawl like maggots among the ruins of former cities, presided over by lawless feudal lords. Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas arrive at the ruins of former St. Louis just as conflicts begin to boil over from all sides. Yeah, this idea has been tried before on TV, but this one seems to be jumping the pitfalls and aiming for a quality dystopian sci-fi drama for adults, with just enough vidgame elements to appeal to the social media crowd. Surprising, smart and addictive.

LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE: VINTAGE 2000

2013; $29.98-$34.98; UR

Can you name the longest-running comedy series in England? It’s this silly-nanny bunch of fluff and nonsense about a trio of old guys from Yorkshire who have simply never grown up. The year 2000 (after 27 friggin’ years on the air!) finds the leader of the pack, played by Peter Sallis (the voice of Wallace from “Wallace and Gromit”), leading them back to France to honor their WWII dead. If that doesn’t sound hilarious to you now, it will once you see how much trouble three old farts can get into! A gentle yet wonderfully funny look at life.

PACIFIC RIM

2013; $49.98; PG-13

Guillermo del Toro, a man truly in love with movies, takes the juvenile “big robots vs. giant monsters” cartoon genre and does it up like nobody else could (or would). Earth finds herself being attacked by Godzilla-ish monsters from another dimension, and humanity’s last hope lies in a handful of giant, nuclear-powered automatons guided by twin pilots. But the joy here is not in who it stars or the plot: It’s in the way del Toro has so completely captured the essence of the genre. Despite decades of evolution, he has realized it perfectly. From the eye-popping visuals to the dialogue to the plot to the characters, this is movie as celebration — not simply product to satisfy corporate shareholders. Perfect.

THE FALL: SERIES 1

2013; $27.98; UR

Gillian “X-Files” Anderson will actually make you forget about Agent Scully in this excellent and original British detective series set in Belfast, previously seen on Netflix. She’s on the trail of a serial killer, played by Jamie Dornan (“Once Upon a Time”), who is on the trail of his next victim — clearly aware of the she-hound-sniffing at his heels. Seeing this pair of hunters circling their targets, tightening their respective nooses until they are within striking distance is brilliant and very creepy. And let’s just say it: She looks damn good here, if deliberately cold and distant.

THE HEAT

2013; $21.98; R

Right up front: Most modern comedies leave us cold. But we let our wives pick the movie one night and ended up at this Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy chick-cop buddy flick. We endured two hours of women yelling at each other, any nearby men, children, cats, relatives, good guys, bad guys or gay guys. It gave us a headache — but the females in the audience seemed to be experiencing comic orgasms with each pratfall or insult. Apparently, we weren’t the target audience, but our partners left happy and spent, repeating each put-down as if it were Shakespeare. We didn’t get it, but now you can on DVD and Blu-ray.

THE NEW THREE STOOGES: COMPLETE CARTOON COLLECTION

1965; $26.98-$29.98; UR

In the 1959 classic “Have Rocket – Will Travel,” a scientist invents a way to produce cartoons directly from live-action for the Three Stooges — decades before the term “motion capture” was invented! We don’t know if they used that technique in this 1965 cartoon series, but the characters sure look the same. Larry, Moe and Curly Joe provide the voices for 156 rarely seen animated shorts and perform the live-action “wrap arounds” that accompanied them. The set also includes a CD of related sing-alongs and Christmas songs. A must-own for any working Stooge.

A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.