Fist Things First

Caligula: Imperial Edition

Caligula: Imperial Edition(Penthouse)

(Spoiler alert: Fisting!) One day back in the swingin' '70s, somebody mentioned how "absolute power corrupts absolutely," and then Bob Guccione, Gore Vidal, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, and Peter O'Toole said, "Let's make a big-budget movie about that, with come shots." And Caligula was born. Actually, Penthousepublisher Guccione added the hardcore shots to the unrated edition that makes up the centerpiece of this three-disc set, but the more demure cut (also included) still features fisting and dozens of dry-humping extras. The movie's not as horrifically bad as its reputation suggests -- or secretly brilliant, for that matter. But you must see it at least once (okay, only once). And who needs three discs of this stuff? This set was originally listed as four discs; excised is the one dedicated to the music of the film. Guess you'll have to find your party music elsewhere. -- Jordan Harper

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special(S'More Entertainment)

Aired once in 1976, then promptly buried, this schlockfest has returned from the dead as if to prove that the '70s were even weirder than we remember. Watch and see: Lynde performing a musical number about his love/hate relationship with children. Lynde trading quips with Margaret Hamilton, decked out in her complete Wicked Witch costume. Kiss crooning "Beth." Florence Henderson singing "That Old Black Magic." A brief interlude in a Hollywood disco. Then, in what is perhaps best described as a kitsch orgasm, there's Lynde and Hamilton, bantering with Kiss between songs while the guys in the band struggle to look cool. It doesn't get any better/worse than this. If you still aren't sated, the extra slideshow of Lynde quotes ought to finish you off. -- Harper

1408: Collector's Edition(Dimension)

Director Mikael Håfström's big-screen version of Stephen King's short story came and went like a phantom -- so much for subtlety playing at theaters, where kiddies like their scares cheap and easy. It's more or less a one-man show, with John Cusack as a cynical ghostbuster trolling tourist traps for guidebook blurbs. Only, he checks into one room from which he can't check out. The collection has two versions: theatrical and extended dance mix, the latter accompanied by a director-and-screenwriters commentary track in which they suggest they shot too much and cut out just enough. 1408 could've been four or five different films with 20 or 30 different interpretations. As this edition makes clear, their best effort was their theatrical version. -- Robert Wilonsky

Mystics in Bali(Mondo Macabro)

This legendary 1981 Indonesian shocker, a mix of ancient folklore, ventriloquist-dummy dubbing, and the worst of '80s big-hair cinema, was even more absurd and alarming on grimy bootlegs -- but it'll still put hair on your eyeballs. A visiting American (played by a German tourist cast on the fly) decides unwisely to learn the dark arts from a leyak, a cackling witch with the world's most unruly Lee Press-On Nails. Then comes the money shot that floored seen-it-all gorehounds: The American's head detaches from her body, organs attached, to suck the baby from a pregnant woman's womb -- and I don't care how ludicrous the special effects are, you'll be tormented by flashbacks for years. Extras include a tutorial on Indonesian exploitation, the filmography of schlockmeister director H. Tjut Djalil, and instructions on how to become a leyak, which only an idiot would read aloud. -- Jim Ridley

 
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