- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The ‘bots are back in town — joined by human hosts Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson — for more oft-hilarious bad-movie skewering in the four-disc set Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume 7, new from Rhino Video ($59.95). It’s our…

DVD pick of the week

First up, Mr. Hodgsonand synthetic sidekicks Crow and Tom Servo heckle their way through two ripe 1960s sword-and-sandal clinkers, Hercules Unchained, starring Steve Reeves, and the wackier Hercules Against the Moon Men, showcasing the massive muscles and minuscule emotive talents of Steve Reeves wannabe Alan Steel.

The front-row trio further sharpens its collective satiric saber to verbally slice and dice 1959’s The Killer Shrews, a certified camp classic with a once-in-a-lifetime cast — future bumbling “Dukes of Hazzard” lawman James Best, former Miss Sweden Ingrid Goude, Ken Curtis (Festus from “Gunsmoke”) and lots of dogs in bogus shrew coats and cardboard fangs.

Mike Nelson assumes co-hosting chores for our fave episode of the foursome, the 1958 Japanese juvenile sci-fi adventure Prince of Space, and also finds time to rip on three droning “educational” shorts, including the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair puff piece “Century 21 Calling.”

“MST3K” fans will need no further urging, but even newcomers to the late, lamented cable series may find themselves among the converted after checking out this set.

The ‘A’ list

Two very different, equally recommended recent theatrical releases arrive in vidstores this week. Writer-director Bill Condon (late of “Gods and Monsters”) brilliantly dramatizes a complex figure’s controversial life and work in Kinsey, starring Liam Neeson as the pioneering sex researcher and Laura Linney as his supportive spouse. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s double-disc edition ($34.98) offers audio commentary by Mr. Condon, a featurette, alternate ending, gag reel and more. The title is also available as a single disc ($27.98).

More controversy’s in store with “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s outrageously entertaining puppet action parody Team America World Police: Uncensored and Unrated (Paramount Home Entertainment, $29.99), in a disc likewise packed with copious extras, from outtakes to marionette featurettes.

Elsewhere, New Line Home Entertainment bows bonus-enhanced editions of both Son of the Mask ($27.95), with Jamie Kennedy, and its 1994 progenitor The Mask ($19.97), starring Jim Carrey.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment conjures up the EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) scarefest White Noise, with Michael Keaton.

Collectors’ corner

Hollywood’s once and future King of Cool rides again in the four-disc The Steve McQueen Collection ($49.96). MGM Home Entertainment’s set packages Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 rodeo drama Junior Bonner, Norman Jewison’s 1968 heist caper The Thomas Crown Affair and two classics from director John Sturges: the 1963 WW II suspenser The Great Escape and the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven: Special Edition DVD, the latter armed with audio commentary by Eli Wallach, James Coburn and producer Walter Mirisch, as well as a documentary, collectible booklet and more.

The same label introduces a brace of Bob Hope romps, 1944’s The Princess and the Pirate and 1965’s I’ll Take Sweden, along with two Abbott and Costello comedies, 1948’s The Noose Hangs High and the pair’s final screen teaming, 1956’s Dance With Me, Henry.

In a sagebrush vein, MGM also issues John Sturges’ underrated Hour of the Gun (1967), with James Garner as Wyatt Earp and Jason Robards Jr. as Doc Holliday, and the offbeat 1969 oater More Dead Than Alive, starring Clint Walker and Vincent Price ($14.95 each).


In fresh TV-on-DVD developments, Buena Vista Home Entertainment goes the comedy route with two new sets: Bea Arthur and gal pals return in The Golden Girls Season Two, while Zack Braff and his hospital cohort make their digital debut in Scrubs: The Complete First Season, in an extras-packed set with select audio commentaries, a gag reel and previously unseen footage. The three-disc collections are tagged at $49.99 each.

The merriment marches on with Paramount Home Entertainment’s four-disc Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season ($39.99) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Seinfeld Season Four ($49.95), a four-disc affair with commentaries, deleted scenes and more.

HBO Video delivers the Emmy-winning dramatic series Six Feet Under: The Complete Third Season (five-disc, $99.98), with five audio commentaries, bonus interviews and deleted scenes.

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: I’m searching for a TV show (“Way Out”) on VHS or DVD and a film that I have an amazing poster for, “The Mermaids of Tiburon.” Have either made it to the new media?

David, via e-mail

Unfortunately, neither that Roald Dahl-based 1960s teleseries nor that 1962 film (briefly out on VHS) is currently available.

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002, or e-mail us at [email protected]aol. com. Check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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