- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2007

The “Village of the Damned” meets “Night of the Living Dead” in the powerfully unsettling 1976 Spanish chiller Who Can Kill a Child? ($19.98), new from Dark Sky Films (darkskyfilms.com) in an uncut edition. It’s our … DVD pick of the week Loosely based on a novel by Juan Jose Plans, the film follows a British tourist couple — initially optimistic Tom (Lewis Fiander, in a role originally earmarked for Anthony Hopkins) and his pregnant wife Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) — as they journey to a remote Mediterranean island for a much-needed holiday.There, they find the formerly busy vacation hamlet nearly bereft of human life save for the local children, who are behaving oddly indeed.Director-screenwriter Narciso Ibanez Serrador skillfully builds the tension as the frolicking youngsters systematically terminate the town’s remaining adults — adults who, like Tom and Evelyn, are understandably slow to comprehend the situation and reluctant, per the film’s title, to fight back with lethal force.While the roots of the deadly phenomenon are never overtly explained, Mr. Serrador makes it clear, both within his film and in a bonus interview, that the children’s collective revenge represents instinctive payback for the suffering visited upon the innocent throughout history by adult-engineered wars, famines and other atrocities.Though fairly light on explicit violence, the film, unfolding almost entirely in eerily bright sunshine and further sold by composer Waldo de los Rios’ haunting score, is long on white-knuckle suspense. Beyond the interview with auteur Serrador, Dark Sky’s disc includes a discussion with cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, an image gallery and subtitled and dubbed language options. Collectors’ corner

On the subject of British thespians, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment salutes an enduring actress with its five-film Joan Collins Collection (five-disc, $49.98), assembling a quintet of early vehicles: the fact-based he Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955); the Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward satire ally ‘Round the Flag, Boys! (1958); ea Wife (1957), costarring Richard Burton; Henry Hathaway’s excellent heist caper Seven Thieves (1960); and the spy thriller Stopover Tokyo (1957), with Robert Wagner. Extras include film-historian audio commentaries, photo galleries, trailers and more.MGM Home Entertainment celebrates summer love, 1960s style, with its Frankie & Annette: Movie Legends Collection (four-disc, $39.98), gathering the duo’s Beach Party (1963), Bikini Beach, Muscle Beach Party (both 1964), Beach Blanket Bingo, Ski Party, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (all 1965) and the racing movies Fireball 500 (1966) and Thunder Alley (1967).The same label services film noir fans with a quartet of backdate crime thrillers ($19.98 each): Edward G. Robinson and George Raft in A Bullet for Joey (1955), John Payne in Phil Karlson’s riveting Kansas City Confidential (1952), Orson Welles as The Stranger (1946) and Mr. Robinson again in Fritz Lang’s 1944 classic Woman in the Window, with Joan Bennett as a memorable femme fatale.Bad-movie buffs will want to visit Rue McClanahan in 1962’s amateur-hour crime/exploitation number Hollywood After Dark (Shout! Factory, $19.98), the first entry in a new Film Crew series reuniting erstwhile “Mystery Science Theater 3000”no boldchael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, whose caustic comments are sure to make Miss McClanahan rue the day she agreed to appear in this vintage turkey.

Tele-video

Paramount Home Entertainment leads the week’s fresh TV-on-DVD releases with a trio of titles: Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman in Beauty and the Beast: The Second Season (six-disc, $49.99), the teen-targeted My Super Sweet 16: Seasons 1&2 and the companion TV movie Super Sweet 16: The Movie ($24.99 each).In other comedy offerings, Elizabeth Montgomery returns for more magical mischief in Bewitched: The Complete Fifth Season (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, four-disc, $39.95) and Ricky Gervais stars in the show-biz spoof Extras: The Complete Second Season (two-disc, $29.98).

The ‘A’ list A quartet of recent domestic theatrical releases debuts this week: Billy Bob Thornton headlines as The Astronaut Farmer in Michael Polish’s offbeat drama (Warner Home Video, $27.95); Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser navigate NYC’s cutthroat business world in The Last Time (Sony Pictures, $24.96); mysterious toys furnish the focus of the family-oriented sci-fi adventure The Last Mimzy (New Line Home Entertainment, $28.98); and Heather Reaser stars in the farm-set film festival favorite Sweet Land (20th Century Fox, $27.98).

Video verite In new documentary developments, BBC Video issues Simon Schama’s Power of Art (three-disc, $49.98), exploring iconic works by eight artists ranging from Rembrandt to Picasso.

Phan mail —Dear Pantom: I was wondering if the TV series “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”—no bold will ever be available on DVD preferably in a complete box set. John Slonaker, via e-mail

Haven’t heard of any imminent plans, though several episodes are still available on VHS via Amazon.com.

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