Video news for the week of June 1, 1990 -- Brief updates from the world of VHS

When Jim Henson died suddenly on May 16, a thousand fantastic creatures — funny and frightening, enormous and tiny, outlandish and almost human — lost their guiding spirit. Henson was a pioneer of puppetry, but technical innovations aside, he was a master conjuror who could create an entire world in the palm of an extraordinarily dextrous hand. It’s worth remembering that Henson’s work wasn’t only for children. Beyond Sesame Street, his talents as a special-effects wizard and occasional director brought forth the creepy creations in The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, the complex, grown-up variations on Alice in Wonderland in the movie Dreamchild, and the sly romantic jokes of The Muppet Movie and its sequels. But his characters will be his greatest legacy: Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy, and Kermit the Frog, who wandered with generations of children into the mysteries of the adult world.

The Rating Game
A new alternative to the Motion Picture Association of America’s familiar G through X ratings is gaining ground in video stores. Turner Home Entertainment is the largest video supplier so far to start using the new system developed by the Film Advisory Board, a group of filmmakers and educators. The FAB classifications try to indicate the appropriate audience for a program with these letters: C (children), F (family), M (mature), VM (very mature), and EM (extremely mature). FAB uses additional letters to explain why the movie received one of the mature ratings: L (language), S (sex), N (nudity), and V (violence). The letter E may also precede each of those letters in extreme cases.

The Buried Princess
Some video peddlers are taking this promotion idea too far. In an effort to draw a crowd to her Alexandria, La., Video Worx store, owner Li LiRussell will bury a model named Princess Carcella in the parking lot under two tons of concrete from June 6-9. The princess’coffin will have a video monitor and curious patrons can talk to her via cellular phone or a pipe jutting out of the cement.Carcella will be hypnotized before the concrete is poured, and will come to after it hardens. ”They say she might get a little claustrophobic in the middle of the night,” says Russell.