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A weekly update of film releases

* DEMON KNIGHT - Innocent people get caught between supernatural desperadoes fighting over a mysterious talisman. Ernest Dickerson directed this rehash of ``Night of the Living Dead,'' which is more silly than scary despite its ultraviolent effects. The story is introduced by the cackling host of television's ``Tales From the Crypt'' series, and he's equally lacking in charm on the wide screen. (Rated R)

* FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! - Behind the lurid title is a 1965 exploitation picture that seems rather tame by today's standards, although it has near-legendary status among B-movie buffs. The plot centers on three go-go dancers who want to steal the hidden fortune of an eccentric rural family. Russ Meyer directed the movie, which resembles nothing so much as a Eugene O'Neill melodrama gone berserk. It's reissued in a new print for its 30th anniversary. (Not rated)

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* MURDER IN THE FIRST - Fresh out of law school, a young attorney takes the case of an Alcatraz prisoner who murdered another inmate, arguing that the killer's mind was warped beyond control by the tortures of solitary confinement. Based on real events, the story raises important questions about penology and rehabilitation. It's too heavy-handed to be very effective, though, and one wonders why the filmmakers chose to dramatize a case from the 1940s instead of a more current horror story of this kind, which shouldn't be hard to find. Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater play the leads with conviction. Gary Oldman and R. Lee Ermey are best in the uneven supporting cast. Marc Rocco directed. (Rated R)

* S.F.W. - After being victimized in a highly publicized hostage crisis, a young man tries to recover his sense of emotional balance while fending off the media at every turn. It's hard to say what's most irritating about this insufferable movie, but its trite psychologizing and hipper-than-thou posturing are strong candidates for first place. An impossibly smug performance by Stephen Dorff doesn't help. Directed by Jefery Levy. (Rated R)

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