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[VIDEO VAULT]

by Mark Burger

| marksburger@yahoo.com DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: THE FLY (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

One of the most memorable sci-fi classics of the 1950s makes its Blu-ray bow ($24.99 retail).

Al (David) Hedison plays a brilliant scientist whose experiments in teleportation go disastrously awry when he accidentally shares the machine with a common housefly, thereby creating a horrific hybrid.

A fine cast includes Patricia Owens as his desperate wife, while horror perennial Vincent Price plays his initially skeptical brother and Herbert Marshall the inspector on the case. All bring conviction to their roles.

The special effects and makeup still hold up, but what distinguishes the film is its indelible emotions. There’s a true sense of tragedy, culminating in an unforgettable denouement.

7 SINS OF THE VAMPIRE (Alpha New Video): Baltimore bloodsuckers are tracked by cops Al Darago and Mark Wenger in screenwriter/editor/director Doug Ulrich’s camp shocker. George Stover, a mainstay of Baltimore cult cinema, plays the coroner, and scene-stealer Rita Weidinger plays Wenger’s sister, who turns into a tramp of a vamp. Filmed in 2002 (as Blood Seduction) but unreleased until now. Ulrich (who also appears) and high-school chum Darago also co-wrote the story and produced. Extremely clunky but not without its cheesy charm. The DVD includes the 2012 silent comedy/horror short The Devilish Desire of Dario Dragani.

“CHINA BEACH”: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE (Time Life/Star Vista Entertainment): A three-DVD collection ($22.95 retail) of all seven episodes (including the two-hour pilot) of the acclaimed, awardwinning ABC series about the women and men who served in Vietnam. The regular cast includes Dana Delany, Robert Picardo, Michael Boatman, Marg Helgenberger and Chloe Webb. The first season, the series won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Costuming and additional nominations for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series, Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series and Outstanding Editing for a Series. Many more Emmys and accolades would follow. Time Life/Star Vista also releases the DVD boxed sets “China Beach: The Complete Series” ($199.95 retail) and “China Beach: The Complete Series – 25 th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” ($274.95 retail).

“DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK” (DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera and Christopher Mintz- Plasse reprise their voiceover roles in this award-winning, animated Cartoon Network fantasy series based on the 2010 feature film How to Train Your Dragon. “Part 1” ($19.99 retail) includes the first 11 episodes from the inaugural 2012 season plus bonus features, “Part 2” ($19.99 retail) includes the remaining nine episodes plus bonus features.

THE FEED (Indie Go!/VCI Entertainment): Chip Facka, Seth Drick and Brianna Healey play members of the reality-TV series “Ghost Chasers,” whose live broadcast from a haunted movie theater proves an unwise decision. This award-winning low-budget shocker could have moved faster but isn’t bad. The faux TV ads, including one with Troma Films founder Lloyd Kaufman, are a treat.

“HAUNTED HISTORY” (LionsGate): A DVD collection ($19.98 retail) of eight episodes from the History Channel documentary series that delves into the history of supposedly haunted sites throughout the United States.

THE HAUNTING OF HELENA (Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): Recently divorced teacher Harriet McMasters-Green and young daughter Sabrina Jolie Perez are spooked when they move to Italy in this moody but disjointed chiller, originally titled Fairytale. Noted filmmaker Giuliano Montaldo (Sacco and Vanzetti, Machine Gun McCain) appears briefly. Nice locations, though.

HOUSE OF WAX 3-D (Warner Home Video): The Blu-ray bow ($39.99 retail) of the 1953 shocker starring Vincent Price as the murderous proprietor of the title establishment, now available in 3-D. Re-released several times over the years — including as recently as 1982 — this is the quintessential 3-D horror film, although it doesn’t quite live up to its reputation. The package also includes a 2-D version, a retrospective documentary, and the original 1933 chiller Mystery of the Wax Museum. Rated PG.

“LEVERAGE”: THE 5TH SEASON (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Timothy Hutton and his crack team of con artists are back in action, in all 15 episodes from the 2012 (and final) season of the award-winning TNT series, in which they aim to swindle such guest stars as Treat Williams (Hey, I’ve interviewed him!), Cary Elwes, Matthew Lillard and Mark Shappard. The four-DVD boxed set, replete with bonus features, retails for $39.98.

THE SALZBURG CONNECTION (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): American lawyer Barry Newman is drawn into international intrigue in this curiously dull, sluggish 1972 adaptation of Helen MacInnes’ bestseller, although the locations are nice to look at. The cast includes Anna Karina, Udo Kier, Whit Bissell, Wolfgang Preiss, Karen Jensen (her last film to date) and charismatic Klaus Maria Brandauer (his screen debut). Ingo Preminger produced two films: this and M*A*S*H (1970). From the studio’s Cinema Archives series. Rated PG.

SCAVENGERS (Image Entertainment): Tedious space opera about an unimaginable power that could spell doom for the galaxy. Sean Patrick Flanery growls his way through an imitation of Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II, but this is totally a lost cause. No stars.

“SUPERJAIL!”: SEASON 3 (Adult Swim/Warner Home Video): A DVD collection ($19.97 retail) of all 10 episodes from the 2012 season of the top-rated animated Adult Swim comedy series about the weird and wacky inmates and staff of a maximum-security penitentiary built in an active volcano.

“SUPERNATURAL”: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON (Warner Home Video): The battle against evil continues for the hunky and heroic Winchester brothers (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) in all 23 episodes from the 2012-’13 season of the award-winning CW series. The DVD boxed set retails for $59.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $69.97 — both with extensive special features.

“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TUR- TLES”: ENTER SHREDDER (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The title tells all in this DVD selection ($14.99 retail) of seven episodes from the popular, CGI-animated Nickeloeon fantasy series continuing the adventures of the “heroes in a half-shell,” featuring the voices of Jason Biggs, Sean Astin, Mae Whitman, Rob Paulsen and Michael Richardson as the villainous Shredder. Nickelodeon/Paramount has also released “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown,” a 12-episode, two-DVD collection ($19.99 retail) that includes a bonus LEGO comic book.

“THE TWILIGHT ZONE”: THE COM- PLETE FIFTH SEASON (Image Entertainment): A DVD boxed set ($29.98 retail) of all 36 episodes from the 1963-’64 (and final) season of the immortal, award-winning CBS fantasy anthology series created by host Rod Serling. Guest stars include Lee Marvin, James Coburn, William Shatner, Jack Klugman, Mickey Rooney, Telly Savalas and more.

TWINS OF EVIL (Synapse Films): The DVD release ($19.95 retail) of director John Hough’s stylish, savage 1971 Hammer horror favorite starring Playboy’s first twin playmates, Mary and Madeleine Collinson, in the title roles, and the great Peter Cushing (in top form) as their puritanical and tyrannical uncle. A must for the Hammer faithful. Rated R.

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.

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