- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Arguably the most cere- bral drive-in movie ever made, Wesley E. Barry’s minimalist but mega-brained 1962 cult sci-fi film Creation of the Humanoids at last joins the DVD ranks, via Dark Sky Films ($14.98). It’s our …

DVD pick of the week

Part ontological meditation, part contemporaneous civil-rights parable, this post-apocalyptic gem pits the Klan-like Order of Flesh and Blood, led by the strident Cragis (Don Megowan), against a race of well-meaning, ever-evolving automata (called “clickers” by their bigoted human overseers) initially developed as slaves to help mankind’s nuclear-war-depleted ranks.

When Cragis learns that his own sister Esme (Frances McCann) is “in rapport” with a clicker named Pax (David Cross), he vows to home-wreck that happy relationship.

While slight on action — the movie is virtually a filmed play — “Creation” more than compensates with Jay Simms’ at once thoughtful and witty script, Mr. Barry’s low-key (indeed, nearly no-key) direction, Ted Rich’s garish pop-art set designs, veteran Hal Mohr’s colorful cinematography and Universal Pictures legend Jack Pierce’s robotic make-up effects.

And though not perfect, Dark Sky’s new digital transfer represents a major improvement over long-withdrawn VHS versions we’ve seen.

Dark Sky’s disc includes a bonus second feature, Antonio Margheriti’s 1965 Italian space opus War Between the Planets, plus theatrical trailers and vintage drive-in intermission ads.

The same label also issues the jaw-dropping 1965 campfest Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster in a separate edition ($14.98), another must for couchside drive-in buffs.


Comedies of all stripes and eras dominate the week’s TV-on-DVD slate. Warner Home Video continues the misadventures of Tom Wopat and John Schneider in The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Sixth Season and introduces the “Friends” spin-off Joey: The Complete First Season (four-disc, $39.98 each), starring Matt LeBlanc as the eponymous hero.

A 1980s alien icon beams down in Alf: Season 3 (Lions Gate Home Entertainment, four-disc, $39.98), while MPI Home Video returns to the 1960s with The Doris Day Show: Season 3 (four-disc, $39.98).

A&E Home Video contributes Kids in the Hall: Complete Season 4, 1992-1993 (four-disc, $59.95), augmented by a new “Kids” audio commentary, previously unseen archival footage, fan-favorite sketches and more.

The supernatural holds sway in a pair of shock series. MPI Home Video’s Dark Shadows Collection 24 (four-disc, $59.98) assembles another 40 episodes of the popular goth soap, along with bonus interviews, while Walt Disney Home Entertainment debuts the 2005 update of the original Darren McGavin show The Night Stalker: The Complete Series (two-disc, $29.99), starring Stuart Townsend in the title role.

Warner Home Video issues two bonus-packed collections from Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” bloc — Samurai Jack: Season 3 and The Venture Bros.: Season One (two-disc, $29.98 each).

For reality TV fans, A&E unleashes Rollergirls: The Complete Season One (four-disc, $39.95), an up-close and personal look at the all-girl Texas roller derby, outfitted with generous extras.

Collectors’ corner

Warner Home Video honors an enduring Hollywood idol via The Bette Davis Collection Volume 2 (seven-disc, $59.98). Along with the bonus documentary Stardust: The Bette Davis Story, the set brings together:

• Bette’s Best Actress Oscar-winner Jezebel (1938);

• The comedy classic The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941);

• The gangster drama Marked Woman, co-starring Humphrey Bogart (1937);

• The stage adaptation Old Acquaintance (1943);

• The still-twisted black comedy/thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with Bette and Joan Crawford as seriously quibbling siblings (1962).

Meanwhile, a legendary director and showman receives his digital due via Universal Studios’ The Cecil B. DeMille Collection (five-disc, $59.98), assembling four historical epics: The Sign of the Cross (1932), Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra (1934), The Crusades (1935), Union Pacific (1939) — and the lesser-known jungle adventure Four Frightened People (1934).

And it’s on to the Wild West with a half-dozen sagebrush faves from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment: 100 Rifles (1969), The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972), The Last Wagon (1956), The Proud Ones (1956), These Thousand Hills (1959) and Yellow Sky (1948).

The ‘A’ list

In a light week for recent theatrical releases, 20th Century Fox debuts an extras-enriched Date Movie ($29.98); Monarch Home Video offers the comedy Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys ($26.95), with John Cleese and Dan Marino; while Sony Pictures bows the limited-release drama London ($24.96), starring Chris Evans and Jessica Biel; and Magnolia Home Entertainment issues the comedy-drama One Last Thing ($29.98).

Video verite

In documentary developments, Milestone Films & Video unearths the still-powerful 1971 Vietnam War-themed Winter Soldiers ($24.95), while Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs ($19.98).

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: Any chance of the old David Janssen show “Richard Diamond” being released on DVD?

Peter Ellison, via e-mail

Passport International recently issued a two-episode Richard Diamond, Private Eye disc ($9.98), available via Amazon.com and other sources.

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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