Despite occasional low-priced blockbusters such as The Little Mermaid ($26.99), industry insiders expect list prices on most big titles to jump from $89.95 to nearly $100 by the end of the year, due to rising wholesale prices. ''It's hard to imagine retailers not raising rental fees (as a result),'' says Video Business editor Bruce Apar. However, studios are lowering prices on many B-movies. Gee, thanks.
After all, what's a pause button for? The Bare Facts Video Guide 1990 ($10; 408-249-2021), by Craig Hosoda, tells you ''where to find your favorite stars nude on video tape.'' Of the nearly 1,000 raw talents in the book, Richard Gere and Rob Lowe are the actors most likely to take it all off (actress Monique Gabrielle takes topless honors). Here's Hosoda, who gives each entry a star rating, delivering the visibility report for Jack Nicholson's big scene in Chinatown: ''Brief buns, putting pants on getting out of bed after making love with Faye Dunaway: *.''
Home at the Drive-in
To make it into the 22-tape series The Sleaziest Movies in the History of the World, the grade-Z classics had to have ''some historical importance,'' says drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs, who compiled the series for Strand/ VCI ($19.95 each). The first four titles, due June 7, include the pseudo- documentary Let Me Die a Woman, which proved too sleazy even for Joe Bob (he deleted a sex-toy scene), as well as Blood Feast, Suburban Roulette (about wife swapping), and his favorite, Nude on the Moon, featuring a colony of ''moon dolls.'' ''You know they're from the moon because they have pipe cleaners sticking out of their bouffants,'' says Joe Bob.
The Mayor & Me
Some Flint, Mich., citizens didn't like the way last year's controversial Roger & Me portrayed their town. But that hasn't stopped Flint video stores from ordering extra copies (June 20, Warner, $89.95). Jim Jacob, owner of Flint's East Village Video, says a lot of people want to see it, although half the town thinks the movie is ''a total misrepresentation. I hope they won't hold it against me for stocking it. The mayor comes into my store.''
Close Encounters of Your Own Kind
Wanna-be film editors can show Steven Spielberg a thing or two when two versions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind come out together on an interactive laserdisc from Voyager this summer (no price yet). Viewers can choose to watch the original 1977 version or the 1980 rerelease, in which the middle is shortened and the big finale goes on forever. Thanks to the magic of laserdisc programming, viewers can restore missing scenes to either version to create their own deluxe edition. The disc will also include interviews with director Spielberg and composer John Williams.
Junk mail is about to get more interesting. Next month Philmax, Inc., will introduce a disposable, ''90 percent recyclable'' paper videocassette. The hour- long, low-cost tapes, which are good for only five plays, will probably be used for direct-mail advertising and giveaays. Philmax says they ''can be bent and twisted and will still play.''