Porn, McDonald's, and ''Faces of Death'' made news this week

Porn Again
The slumping video porn business is on the rebound, with ’89 sales up $15 million over ’88. Is it the departure of porn-buster Ed Meese? No, Adult Video News publisher Paul Fishbein says, it’s just that the makers of skin flicks are meetinn consumer demands for higher quality pornography. He blamed shoddy movies for the lackluster years in ’86 and ’87, and says the slicker sleaze is bringing customers back.

The idea: Buy a burger, fries, shake, or Chicken McNuggets and get a fun family video for $5.99! The outcome: McDonald’s is now stuck with 700,000 surplus copies of Hoosiers, Mr. Mom, and Puff the Magic Dragon. Apparently, too many customers just didn’t bite.

We’re Not Amused
Video enthusiasts in Maryland face a 5 percent admissions and amusements tax (about 12 cents) on rentals if a bill now in the state legislature is passed. An industry group called the tax ”economically repressive,” but a backer claimed, ”If they can afford VCRs, this won’t hurt them.”

Hello, Pablo?
For the 200 million people who didn’t see the recent Picasso-Braque exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Home Vision has a video version, complete with commentary. The company gets our kudos for its phone-in offer: To order the tape ($19.95, before April 1), call 1-800-PM-CUBISM

Lethal Letdown
Warner’s decision to release Lethal Weapon 2 for $24.95 was going to open the floodgates for more movies to debut on video at low prices. Variety reports Lethal has so far sold less that half the predicted seven million copies. So much for floodgates.

Oh, Darn
The notorious three-tape ”Faces of Death” series, which has been off the market for two years, won’t be coming back to stores as planned. Gorgon Video had hoped to release the tapes (which purport to show ”the most bizarre, grisly death experiences ever recorded”) this month, but has been delayed by a legal snafu with the owners of the rights.