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A mixed bag of tricks or treats

Just in time for Halloween: The comedy `Monster House.' Also, the offbeat `Nacho Libre.'

October 24, 2006|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

Creepy houses have long been fodder for children to taunt each other with dares, but no neighborhood has had a domicile like the one depicted in the scary animated "Monster House" (Sony, $29) -- a creaky pile with teeth, a tongue, mouth and eyes.

The Halloween-set comedy finds three youngsters (voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke) trying to unravel the house's secret. Steve Buscemi supplies the voice of the ogre-like homeowner. Extras include documentaries on the production and animation and enthusiastic commentary with director Gil Kenan, among others.

Jack Black tones down his manic side in the offbeat "Nacho Libre" (Paramount, $30). Black plays a sweet Swedish-Mexican friar who enters a Lucha Libre wrestling contest.

Directed by Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite"), the comedy also stars Ana de la Reguera and Hector Jimenez. Included are a lengthy documentary and deleted scenes. Hess, Black and co-writer Mike White offer commentary while eating Mexican food -- not a bad idea, except that talking with their mouths full isn't particularly entertaining.

"Slither" (Universal, $29), writer-director James Gunn's valentine to creature features, is grisly, gross and funny, revolving around a South Carolina town invaded by nasty, sluglike aliens. Nathan Fillion ("Serenity"), Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker star. The DVD is filled with tongue-in-cheek extras including a recipe for movie blood -- hot water, dark corn syrup, red food coloring and chocolate sauce -- a look at the grotesque special effects, a gag reel, Fillion's acerbic set tour and commentary from Gunn and Fillion.


Also new

"Body Heat -- Deluxe Edition" (Warner, $20): After writing the screenplays for "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Lawrence Kasdan made his directorial debut in 1981 with this sultry, erotic film noir with Kathleen Turner, William Hurt and Richard Crenna. Extras include interviews with Kasdan and his two stars and several deleted scenes -- one involving a subplot about a first murder attempt.

"La Commune" (First Run Features, $40): Brilliantly evocative 2001 documentary from Oscar-winning British filmmaker Peter Watkins ("The War Game"). In this six-hour epic, Watkins captures events surrounding the Paris Commune of 1871 when the poor people of Paris rose up against national authorities. Three-disc set features a production documentary.

"The Addams Family -- Volume One" (MGM, $30): ABC's macabre family comedy series based on Charles Addams' cartoons may have lasted only from 1964 to '66, but it has endured. John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ken Weatherwax, Lisa Loring, Ted Cassidy and Felix Silla star. Extras feature a documentary on Addams and interviews with surviving cast members.

"SCTV -- Best of the Early Years" (Shout, $40): Before "SCTV" came to NBC in the early 1980s, it began as a 30-minute syndicated series in 1978. Extras include commentary with Robin Duke and Joe Flaherty, a look at the genesis of the McKenzie Brothers and "The Great White North" and an interview with Andrea Martin.

"Saturday Night Live -- the Best of Saturday TV Funhouse" (Universal, $20): Robert Smigel's cartoons for "Saturday Night Live," including the "Ambiguously Gay Duo," "Saddam and Osama" and "The X-Presidents," have been consistently funny -- as well as tasteless, offensive and politically incorrect. Smigel and several voice actors provide commentary, including Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, who play the "Duo."

"I'm Alan Partridge" (BBC America, $30): Wacky sequel to Steve Coogan's spoof of British chat shows, "Knowing Me, Knowing You," finds the pompously inept Partridge working a pre-breakfast radio slot while desperately trying to return to the BBC. Extras include wry deleted scenes, outtakes, tepid commentary from Coogan and writers Peter Baynham and Armando Iannucci, and a far wittier track with Partridge and his assistant Lynn.


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