THE ICS FILES

#10-November '99

LOOKING BACK
    It was a year ago this month that many of us received a letter informing us that the old movie club was dead. Many that I spoke with were crushed by the news. We mourned the end of our time together. None of us realized at the time what an amazing thing would result--a new film club with the guidance and the support of the people who make up its membership. Folks, it's been a very good year. Thanks.

THE OCTOBER MEETING MAY HAVE BEEN THE BEST YET!
    In a year of great meetings our October meeting may have been the best yet! The potluck dinner was fabulous, with enough food to feed at least three times our numbers. The auction was tremendous! We raised a total of $254 (of which $230 were from the auction). The Lugosi film, The Phantom Ship, was excellent. It was a pleasure to see a projected film on a large screen. Special thanks go to BOB KUZYK, for the movie, BARRY MURPHY, JOE PLEMPEL and TOM BURKE for their auctioning services, GARY ROBERSON and RALPH GERVASIO for their special picture taking, REGINA VALLERIANI and DAVE HENDERSON and company for their terrific decorations, and, of course, everyone who brought the too much food!

FAREWELLS, GET WELLS AND APOLOGIES!
    Farewell and thanks go to HOWARD AND JENNIFER GOSTIN as they prepare to face their first New England winter in their new home. They were early and avid supporters of ICS back before it even had a name! Thank you Howard & Jennifer. We'll miss you.We hope that you can come by the November meeting on your moving weekend. You promised that on your trips back to the area that you'd drop in on us from time-to-time. We'll hold you to that promise!
    Get well wishes go to JOHN CLAYTON who called me from his sick bed to tell me that he couldn't make it to the meeting. John, I hope that you felt better than you sounded. As school librarian he's subjected to the infection of hundreds of little walking petri dishes called "students."
    Get well wishes also are extended to LORNE MARSHALL. Unfortunately he had to leave our Halloween extravaganza early due to ill health. Get well soon Lorne.
    Finally apologies to JACK TYDINGS. In assembling a list of addresses for "The ICS Files" mailing I inadvertently left Jack off for the last couple of issues. I included a letter with the last issue begging his forgiveness. He responded back very graciously by card like the true gentleman that he is. Thanks Jack. It's understanding and patience, like yours, as we go through our first year's growing pains, that have made this such a successful club.

GREEN LIGHT FROM THE IRS
    We've just been granted non-profit tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. Please don't claim money to the club as a tax examption, though. We're recognized as a 501-A social club. That means that we don't have to pay tax but the taxpayers won't be allowing you to be exempt for the money spent supporting us.

NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
    Our November meeting will be held on Saturday November 27th at 6:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. The panel will be the (long-awaited!) Barry Murphy presentation on his favorite cereals (oops, excuse me that's "serials"--and here I was ready to bring in sliced bananas to put on everyone's corn flakes!). Cindy Ruth Collins will be bringing a selection of "Ripper" films (that's as in "Jack-the-" not as in the British actor, "Michael"). To get there, take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 410-598-8005. That's Dave Henderson's cell phone. He'll talk you in. Let's try to find time again, after the meeting, to visit the Double "T" Diner (or as my wife calls it, the Double "D" Diner) across the street.

THE GRAND CALENDAR PROJECT!
    The club agreed to work on a calendar for 2000 that would be tailored to us! If we get it done at Staples and order 20 or more copies it would cost $12.95 each. Cindy Collins, Lorne Marshall, Mike Schilling and I will be working on it. if you have any ideas, let us know.

CHRISTMAS GIFT EXCHANGE
    For our December 18th meeting we'll be doing a "Yankee swap" gift exchange. Those who wish to participate will be bringing a gift (the dollar limit has yet to be determined) of a movie-related nature. People who scarfed a lot of stuff in the auction may have already bought their gift!

THE GLASS TEAT:
Renny Harlin's "t.r.a.x." Fox has ordered the pilot for Renny Harlin's "t.r.a.x." It's a 1/2 hour show (based on a CD-ROM game of the same name) about a group of police officers investigating the supernatural. the title stands for "trace, research, analyze, exterminate." . . . The return of Bruce Campbell. Last June I had reported that the replacement for "Hercules" would be a pair of back-to-back 1/2 hour action shows--"Jack of All Trades" and "Cleopatra 2525."  The casting has just been done for "Jack," the show about an 18th century spy fighting pirates. The lead will be Bruce Campbell ("Ash" in The Evil Dead movies and the title character in "The Adventures of Brisco County, jr." . . . "Lexx" on Sci-Fi. The Sci-Fi channel has picked up 20 episodes of the very unusual German show, "Lexx." (aka "Tales From a Parallel Universe." Four nervous misfits steel the most powerful weapon in the universe, an insect names "Lexx." It is also a very fast ship. The misfits are Stanley Tweedle (the self-serving captain), Zev (a former love slave), Kai (a 2,000 year-old dead assassin), and 790 (a lovesick robot head). The show will air in primetime starting in January. . . . NBC and Imaginative TV I: Production has begun on "The Others." It's an NBC mid-season replacement featuring a group with various psychic powers. Glen Morgan and James Wong will be executive producing under the auspices of Dreamworks. Steven Spielberg will also be taking an active interest in the show. . . . NBC and Imaginative TV II: NBC has also begun production on the supernatural TV movie, "The Spring." Kyle MacLachlin is a widowed father passing through a small town with a secret. They've got a fountain of youth in town and will go to any lengths to conceal it from outsiders. . . . Any "Farscape" fanatics in the house? Well there must be some. "Farscape" is the highest rated program on the Sci-Fi Channel. Here's something you should know. Toy Vault has just signed a deal with Henson Production for "Farscape" action figures. Now you can create whole new episodes in the privacy of your very own bathtub! . . .Fox becomes "Fearsum." Haxan Films (the guys who actually made The Blair Witch Project) and screenwriter David Goyer (who wrote Blade and Dark City) are teaming up for a new show for Fox called "Fearsum." It will center on a host of a web site that focuses on bizarre and unexplainable people and events. In the pilot the main character will suspect that his long dead twin brother may actually be alive. all right, let's review the ingredients. Show on Fox, lone wolf character searching for the truth among arcane and edgy stuff and now suspects that he's discovered his lost sibling. I wonder if he'll be working with anyone named "Scully?" . . . Banished Angel. Glen Quinn, who plays the half demon/half human buddy on "Angel" is apparently off the show. It's not clear at this point weather he lift voluntarily or not. There's some possibility that he'll be killed off, only to return again. . . . CBS likes sci-fi "Now & Again." CBS has been very pleased with it's new science fiction show, "Now and Again." They've gone on to order a full season of episodes. In case you missed it the premise is that a man who has been struck by a train finds himself in a bio-engineered replacement body. . . .

FROM THE "X-FILES" TO THE "WHO'S NEXT FILES"
    As reported earlier, David Duchovny is beating a noisy and sloppy retreat from "The X-Files." You may have read where Gillian Anderson (who is contractually obligated beyond this season) has said "physically, psychologically, I don't think I could do another season." Well now creator and producer Chris Carter has piped up. He has vowed that there will be at least one more movie. On the continuation of the show he's said, "I wouldn't make any assumptions about who is going to be with the show or not, or even if the show is going to be around next year. I think there are way too many things that need to be worked out, decided, and cleared up before anyone can say clearly what is going to happen." So he seems to be saying that the show may be continuing but he's not sure who'll "be around next year" to carry it on. I'd like to see a cavalcade of our favorite TV characters working for a week or two as free-lancers for the FBI to move the plot along. We could have Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey take over for a week. Then Will Robinson and Dr. Smith, Kirk & Spock, Jed & Granny, Johnny & Ed, Moose & Squirrel . . . the possibilities are endless! Let's face it folks, without Mulder & Scully it ain't "The X-Files." Maybe Carter needs to take a lesson from "Star Trek" and launch other shows with other characters in "The X-Files" universe.

"ANGEL" KICKS BUTT!
    The suits over at the WB are thrilled with their new spin-off show, "Angel." On average it's actually bringing in 8% more viewers than its leaden mothership, "Buffy." Its ratings are 43% higher than the show that aired in that time slot last year, "Felicity." A full season of new episodes have been ordered.

"HARSH REALM" GETS BUTT KICKED!
    After a mere 3 episodes the boys at Fox pulled the plug on the new Chris Carter show, "Harsh Realm." It's not clear yet if all 8 filmed episodes of the show will hit the small screen. The show broke new records for Fox for the lowest rated Friday night ratings in that timeslot. Carter feels that Fox mishandled the show by not giving it proper promotion. In his best Mulder-like paranoia he said, "I have a feeling that we're a victim of a much bigger problem at Fox." Well, I guess it's bring on "When Otters Attack: Part 72."

DOGMA IS THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL FILM OF THE YEAR
    Thanks in large part to a booklet about the film distributed by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the new movie, Dogma, may well be the most controversial film since Scorcese's Last Temptation of Christ opened (or attempted to open) in 1988. Miramax had to farm the film out to the tiny Lions Gate Films to distribute. Apparently their corporate senior partner, Disney, didn't appreciate the heat. There's is a daily flood of (mostly anonymous) hate mail flowing in every day. Below I've sited a typical example of the quality of correspondence coming in.

"There's the KKK, there's you. There was Hitler, there's you. There are Satanic beliefs, there's you. There are un-American bigots, there's you. There are the un-Godly damned, there's you. All that's vile comes from you. You teach hatred and prejudice. You insult Christians, especially Catholics. How Satanic! Yet you demand respect + are quick to yell prejudice. How can you expect what you don't give?"

    The letter continues on, but you get the gist.
    I think I'm going to see the movie just to piss this guy off.

LORD OF THE RINGS IS FINALLY UNDERWAY
    After 3 years in various phases of pre-production shooting finally started on October 11th on director Peter Jackson's epic filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson is working on all three movies simultaneously (something which has never been attempted before). I'll give you the final cast, announced in the same order as the studio press release:
Elijah Woods............FRODO (the young hobbitt at the center of the quest)
Sean Astin................SAM GAMGEE (Frodo's close friend)
Sean Bean................BOROMIR (a hot-blooded human)
Cate Blanchett..........GALADRIEL (the elven queen)
Orlando Bloom.........LEGOLAS (an adventurous elf on the quest)
Billy Boyd.................PIPPIN (a young hobbit friend of Frodo's)
Brad Douriff..............WORMTONGUE (adviser to King Theoden and pawn of Saruman)
Sir Ian Holm..............BILBO (Frodo's aged uncle and the original bearer of the ring)
Christopher Lee.........SARUMAN (the evil chief of the wizards)
Sir Ian McKellan........GANDALF (the kind wizard who mentors Frodo)
Dominic Monaghan.....MERRY (a mischevous young hobbit)
John Rhys-Davies.......GIMLI (a dwarf who accompanies the quest)
Viggo Mortenson.......ARAGORN (a human raised by elves, the true king of Gondor)
Liv Tyler....................ARWEN (a young elven warrior and princess)

WELL NOW, THAT'S A LITTLE PECULIAR
    Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have just optioned a book about the paranormal. Nothing odd about that. It's (allegedly) a non-fiction account by Officer Ralph Sarchie about his encounters with demonic possession, exorcisms and lycanthropy. all right, kind of odd, I grant you. But here's the kicker--THE BLOODY THING ISN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET! They bought the rights based on a 75-page proposal sold to the publisher. Is it just me? Does anyone feel that they've done such a good job with filming the already published hundreds of millions of great books that Hollywood needs to snatch a fetus from the womb? Sheesh!
    In similar news, Columbia Pictures just paid $400,000 to writer Stephen Cornwell for a pitch (not a script or a book--simply a proposal) for his as-yet untitled idea about an alien entity loose in the 19th Century (oh God, I hope it's not a sequel to The Wild, Wild West). Stan Winston and husband and wife team of  Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are already attached to it.

SCREAM IF YOU READ THIS NOVEL
    Veteran horror director Wes Craven (father of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series) has just published his first novel, entitled Fountain Society. It's about a group of outstanding weapons researchers who have been cloned and the problems that arise from that. If you don't have the time to read the novel wait for about a year. Dreamworks has bought it. It will be in theaters sometime in 2000.

HEY KIDS, WANNA MAKE A MOVIE? LET'S GET MICHAEL CHRICHTON TO WRITE IT!
    Ok, here's my proposal. Let's make a movie, produced and distributed by ICS Films. We can afford Michael Chrichton. Chrichton has shopped his newest novel, Timeline, to every major studio. They've all turned him down. So he's adjusted his price to our range--$0.00! But there are a few minor catches. We've got to agree to hire Chrichton to write the first draft for 15% of the gross (all right so far) with a $15,000,000 cap (uh, ok). Then we've got to agree to hire Richard Donner to direct and he gets up to $10,000,000 a pop (uh oh). Then we've got to agree to give AMG, Chrichton and Donner's agent, a producing credit--which will cost us another $3,000,000 (hmmm, you know Mr. Chrichton, I think we're a little busy right now). And then, if we don't develop the project there'll be substantial penalties (Michael, baby, maybe we can talk about this over lunch sometime--we'll have our girl call you).

OR MAYBE WE COULD BUY OUR OWN TROUBLED BLOCKBUSTER
    Remember last year's gold rush in the sky, with Armageddon and Deep Impact?  Well that was one that didn't make it out of the barn--MGM's Supernova. After a lot of fighting and a couple of directors the movie was finished last year. It's been cut and re-cut a few times now (it's currently undergoing yet another edit by MGM board member Francis Ford Coppola and vice-president Chris McGurk). MGM just doesn't have any confidence in it. They're offering to sell it for $60 million. Let's think about raising dues next year and making them an offer.

WHAT MAKES MARS SUCH AN ANGRY RED PLANET?
    Maybe it's angry about being overpopulated. Suddenly there are film crews all over the Martian landsacpe! The grand race is between Disney's Mission to Mars (about an unusual beacon on the Martian surface) and Warner Brother's Red Planet (about a rescue mission to save stranded astronauts). Sony's new Screen Gems division has just announced it's first project will be John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. In this one, human colonists, in 200 years, are possessed by a bunch of vengeful Martian ghosts. James Cameron is making two Mars films! One will be a 3-D Imax feature about the first manned Martian mission, the other will be five-hour TV miniseries for Fox.

GO GO GO ASTRO-BOY!
    Does anyone remember the old "Astro-Boy" Japanese animated series that ran in syndication here in the states in the early 60's? It's the story of a scientist who creates a powerful little robot in the likeness of his tragically killed son. It started as a comic strip in Japan and ran for 18 years. Well someone at Columbia remembered it! They just optioned it for $1-2 million. It will be written by Todd Alcott (who wrote Antz) and produced by Henson Productions. Look for it sometime in 2001.

THE BOBBITIZATION OF KEVIN COSTNER
    In his recent film, For Love of the Game, test audiences howled with laughter at Kevin Costner during a part of the film that wasn't intended to draw laughter. It was a shower scene. Kevin was fully displaying his, uh, talents. Finally the execs at Universal sat down with an audience focus group. The audience decided that they liked Mr. Costner in the part, they just didn't want to see that part of Mr. Costner.  It must have been very painful for Kevin when the decision was made to cut it (the scene, that is).

AND THE YEAR AIN'T OVER!
    So far studio execs have been basking in the supernatural glow of the box office. 1999's yielded the following riches on the top 6 titles:
The Sixth Sense................$249.9 million
The Mummy.....................$155.2 million
The Blair Witch Project...$140.0 million
The Haunting...................$90.6 million
Stigmata...........................$48.0 million
In Dreams.........................$11.5 million
TOTAL.............................$695.2 million
    This doesn't include science-fiction blockbusters like The Matrix or Star Wars I: Phantom Menace. It also doesn't reflect the spate of titles yet to be released like End of Days and Sleepy Hollow.

LOST SOULS--LOST ON THE RELEASE SCHEDULE
    There is a supernatural thriller called Lost Souls that was announced in the October "ICS Files" as having an October 8th release date. New Line, at the last possible minute, moved the release to February 4th. This may have been, as the studio said, to avoid coming out in the traffic jam of new horror films. More than likely New Line wanted to position themselves on the heels of star Winona Ryder's other big release in January, Girl, Interrupted. As it is, they've scheduled themselves to come out the same day as Scream 3.

AHNOLD ALREADY EYES HIS NEXT BLOCKBUSTER
    Before End of Days opening, Mr. Schwarzenneger is already looking at his next project--The Sixth Day. This is about a man who discovers that he's been replaced by a clone. Michael Rappaport plays his best friend. Sarah Wynter is the assassin out to kill Ahnold #1. The director is Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies). I'd love to see the two Schwarzeneggers get together and start doing a "Hans & Franz" imitation. Maybe they could go pummel girly-men.

THINGS TO COME
    "Classic Film Fest 2000" will be held July 28-30 by our old frinds at Midnight Marquee. The con will take place at the Hyatt in Crystal City. The evolving guest list so far includes Paul Naschy, Margaret O'Brien, Robert Skotak, Robert Dwan, Ib Melchior, Elena Verdugo, Veronica Carlson and Candace Hilligoss. The Hyatt is $109 per night. If you buy an early bird admission (before March 1st) for the event it's $50 for the weekend's registration. Send checks to Midnight Marquee Press/ 9721 Britinay Lane/ Balto., Md. 21234.

IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
11/5-The Bone Collector: Denzel Washington is a quadraplegic detective on the trail of serial killer. A computer is sort of his "window" on the world and Angelina Jolie serves as his arms and legs on the hunt. This would make an interesting double feature with the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window.
 Being John Malkovich is set for wide release today. The movie; which stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Orson Bean and (of course) John Malkovich; is about a puppeteer who discovers a room into the mind of the actor John Malkovich. He can control him for 15 minutes at a time. Things get very complicted when he decides to turn this discovery into an admission-based business.
11/12-Dogma is the extremely controversal (see above) new film by Kevin Smith. Cardinal Glick (George Carlin) has headed up a new movement called "Catholocism WOW." He's unknowingly opened a slight flaw that a pair of fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) seek to exploit to unravel all of creation and gain re-admittance into Paradise. Opossing them are Bethany, a worker in an abortion clinic and Jesus' last living descendent (Linda Fiorentino), and Jay and Silent Bob (recurring characters in several Kevin Smith films, first seen in Clerks). They encounter Melatron, a heavenly messenger (Alan Rickman); Rufus, the 13th Apostle (Chris Rock); a hot-headed demon (Jason Lee); and a heavenly muse (Salma Hayek).
11/17-Sleepy Hollow is loosely based on Washington Irving's story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." In the original Ichabod Crane was a nervous school master. In this he's an analytical policeman from 18th century New York City, dispatched to solve the string of murders in Sleepy Hollow. Director Tim Burton has called it the story the story of a man who lives in his head versus a man with no head. The screenplay was by Andrew Kevin Walker (seven, 8mm) and Tom Stoppard ("Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead," Shakepeare in Love). The killer cast includes Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper vanDien, Christopher Walken, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Michael Gough and Christopher Lee.
11/19-The World is Not Enough has James Bond (Bronson) bodyguarding the daughter of a slain diplomat (Denise Richards) while travelling the world trying to catch the killer.
11/24-End of Days is yet another movie of Satan (this time played by Gabriel Byrne) ariving in New York City to sire a child with a human (a daycare worker played by Robin Tunney). She seeks protection from ex-cop Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenneger).
Toy Story 2 was originally going to be a direct-to-video release. The cost of computer-animation likely made that impractical. In this one a toy collector steals Woody and the other toys team up to save him. The original voices are back with a few additions.

THE BIG BLUE SUIT CONTINUES
    Earlier this year I'd reported that a small alliance of video retailers, known as the Fairness Alliance of Independent Retailers (FAIR) was suing major Hollywood studios and Blockbuster Video (sometimes affectionately known as "Big Blue") in an antitrust lawsuit for unfair practices. That suit nearly sputtered out as the hundreds of thousands of dollars in FAIR's war chest was used just to prepare the suit. Now FAIR is reaching out to video stores across the country for assistance in continuing the fight. What's at stake here is the continued survival of the independently owned video rental store, which have been vanishing at an alarming rate. Even now it is nearly the case that if Blockbuster and Hollywood decide that they won't carry a title you won't see it. If FAIR prevails we may still have a diversity of voices in the retail marketplace.

SPEAKING OF BIG BLUE . . .
    Blockbuster Video has made an increased commitment to DVD. Starting soon the chain will have about 200 DVD titles for rent in each of 3,800 stores across the country for $3.99 a night. Hollywood already has about 100 DVD's per store for rent at $3.49 per night.

A MAJOR WEB EVENT IN NOVEMBER FOR THE MATRIX
    On Saturday, November 6th at 9:00 P.M. a first-time event will occur involving The Matrix for people who own a DVD of the movie and a computer with a DVD-ROM drive. Viewers are to install the disc into their computer and then surf to www.warnervideo.com/matrix event. At 9:00 P.M. a signal will go out from InterActual Technologies that will start the movie on computers around the planet. Latecomers will pick up the movie in progress, as though they'd arrived late to a movie theater. As the movie is screening the audience will be able to ask questions, through a moderator, to co-writers and directors Andy and Larry Wachowski. The dialogue will appear in a special chat box that appears on the screen. Even if you don't have a DVD drive you'll still be able to participate in the chat. You just won't see anything.

INCHING THE WAY TO RECORDABLE DVD'S
    Quantum Corp., the makers of the "QickView" hard drive technology that are now being used in personal video recorders, such as Tivo and Instant Replay (first reported on in our September issue), forsees a hybrid DVD-personal video recorder hitting the market soon. The user would be able to view a DVD while recording a program on the same unit at the same time. The DVD disc is restricted to a (mere) 4.7 gigabytes (about a 2 1/2 hour movie). Quantum's QickView technology provides storage for up to 20 gigabytes, with RAM space expected to double every two years. This is not quite a recordable DVD, but this is the first time a DVD player and a recording device will be available in the same unit.
    Matsushita (makers of Panasonic) has recently announced that it plans to release a recordable DVD that can record up to 120 minutes per side. Users can play, record, delete and edit material. However, there were no examples of hardware to preview and no price was given. The Osaka-based company said they'd release the new units sometime next year.

NETFLIX LAUNCHES A NEW DVD RENTAL PROGRAM
    NetFlix.com has just started a new Marquee program. For a flat fee of $15.95 Marquee members can rent up to 4 DVD's with no return date and no late fee. Members can only rent another title when they return one of the previously rented titles. They can rent additional titles for a reduced rate of $2.99 plus 99 cents for shipping.

VIDEOCY
Rental titles releasing 11/2:The comedy Free Enterprise releases today. A couple of Generation X'ers are discussing how their lives would be so much better if only they could be like Captain Kirk. When they meet William Shatner they decide to make him their adviser in all things, with disastrous results. Shatner does a brilliant self-parody. . . . Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy releases today. A transmission from an advertising satellite challenges the good Doctor to attend the Psychic Circus, the Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

Rental title releasing 11/9: The highly acclaimed Life is Beautiful (or as it was known in its original Italian Life, She ees a Beautiful, eh?) becomes available today. Check out Roberto Benigni's Academy Award performance. The film debuts in both subtitled and a dubbed versions. . . . In G2:Mortal Conquest an ancient warrior, armed with special techniques and the sword of Alexander the Great, vanquishes an entire army. In the year 2003 that warrior is now leading a re-incarnated life as a regular guy. He has to summon long forgotten knowledge to once again combat the ancient foe. . . . Christopher Lambert stars in Resurrection, about a team of detectives who are tracking down "The Numbers Killer;" a murderer who kills men with the same names and avocations of the 12 Apostles. They're about to discover a terrible secret. This is director Russell Mulcahy's interesting twist on the religious/horror that we've been seeing lately. Quoting from a review of it "Those with weak stomachs should avoid this one." . . . Check out the disturbing new documentary Trekkies. This movie (hosted and co-produced by former cast member Denise Crosby) dwells in the lunatic fringe of Trekdom. We meet the woman disqualified from jury service because of her insistence on wearing her Federation uniform, the dentist who designed his office to look like the Enterprise, the man who changed his name to "James T. Kirk," as well as interviews with cast members from the various flavors of "Trek". . . In Strangers, mayhem breaks out in a small town when a new couple arrives just in time for the full moon. They're both werewolves. . . . In the Woods starts with a pair of firefighters digging up a large, horned canine skull. They have accidentally revived a supernatural creature that follows them home and wreaks havoc on the populace. The marketing and reference to horror in the woods is an attempt for this tiny company, Dead Alive Productions, to knock off the popularity of Blair Witch with this hastily thrown together title. . . . The Sore Losers features a 50's style greaser from outer space returning to Earth after a 40 year absence to resume a killing spree. I've got to quote from one reviewer on this. He moaned about,  "The barely coherent script . . ." and said that the actors were, "An outrageously sleazy cast of bad, homely actors . . . "

Rental titles releasing 11/16:Instinct, with Anthony Hopkins as a deranged naturalist and Cuba Gooding, jr. as the young psychiatrist who tries to reach him, releases today. . . . Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera comes out today. It stars Julian Sands and his daughter, Asia. . . . The Haunting of Hell House (not to be confused with Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House or Richard Mattheson's The Legend of Hell House) arrives today from Roger Corman's New Horizons Video. This actually based on the Henry James story, "The Ghostly Rental."  Michael York is renting out the house of his dead wife. The new occupant, Andrew Bowen, is already haunted by his own demons. Also features Claudia Christian ("Babylon 5"). . . .

Rental titles releasing 11/23: The newest version of The Haunting hits the stores today. This one stars Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. . . . Also with Ms. Zeta-Jones is Entrapment which also features Sean Connery and Ving Rhames. . . . Adding to the list of animated films hitting the sell-through arena today, South Park will be hitting store shelves. Get Regina to sing along with the lyrics. . . .Frolic in the Elizabethan forrest today with Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfiffer, Calista Flockhart, Stanley Tucci and Rupert Evert. A Midsummer Night's Dream releases today! . . . In Day of the Beast, 'twas the night before Christmas when a priest decides to hunt down and kill the Antichrist before it can begin a reign of terror across the world. This is a 1995 Spanish cult classic. . . .

Rental titles releasing 11/30: The movie about sharks with genetically enhanced intelligence, Deep Blue Sea, is in stores today.

Sell through titles releasing 11/2: It ain't even close to imaginative cinema, but some of us will be interested (for purely geographical reasons) to the release of The Barry Levinson Collection: The Baltimore Series. This is being coordinated to herald the theatrical release of Liberty Heights. For a suggested retail of $44.92 you can own Diner, Tin Men and Avalon. . . . Steven Spielberg releases one of his blockbusters for the first time on DVD with the release of Saving Private Ryan on disc. The DVD is said to contain an excellent anamorphic widescreen picture and "stunning" Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. . . .
 

Sell through titles releasing 11/9: The classic 1941 Universal film, The Wolf Man, releases today on DVD for $29.98. It features a documentary, audio commentary, film highlights, the trailer and, of course, the movie. . . . Timed for the new Andy Kafman bio-pic, Man on the Moon, two Andy Kaufman comedies release today. There's In God We Trust, a 1980 movie with Marty Feldman as a naive monk and Ricahrd Pryor as God! Then there's also Heartbeeps with Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as a pair of robotic servants who find love. The videos are available for $14.95 each. . . .
 

Sell through titles releasing 11/11: Disney is releasing 101 Dalmatians, Hercules and Mulan exclusively on DVD today. These titles will be available for 60 days after which they'll be placed on a 10 moratorium. They're priced at $34.95 each. . . .

Sell through titles releasing 11/16: Look for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The VHS is $22.98. The DVD is $24.98. . . . The fantasy title, Meet Joe Black, hits the sell-through streets today. It carries a suggested retail of $19.98.

Sell through titles releasing 11/23: More Disney DVD's are hitting the streets today. Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan and Lion King II: Simba's Pride will go on sale for $34.95. As mentioned above, they'll be available for 60 days only. After that they'll be returned to Disney's vaults for another 10 years. . . .It seems to stretch the term "sell-through" but Disney/Pixar's DVD version of A Bug's Life Deluxe Edition will become available for $49.99. They're timing it to be on the eve of the theatrical release of Toy Story 2. This version will include "Bugcam" footage to see action from the point-of-view of an animated insect, early abandoned story reels, the story of the evolution of the character designs, and feature length commentary by the film's directors. . . . Adding to the list of great animation hitting the streets today is A Chinese Ghost Story. It's based on the live-action film of the same title. the VHS is $19.95. The DVD is $29.98. . . . The 1981 anime-style film, Heavy Metal, gets re-released today. The video will be re-priced to $14.95, the disc (which includes a documentary and deleted scenes) is $24.95. . . . The 25th anniversary edition of one of my favorite films comes out, Chinatown. The movie; with Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Houston; sells for $14.95 for the VHS, $29.99 for the DVD. . . . If you're looking for down and dirty today, check out the debauchery of ancient Rome in today's DVD release of Caligula. You can watch Malcom McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Sir John Gielgud and Helen Mirren misbehave for $29.99.

Sell through titles releasing 11/30:Wild Wild West releases today. The VHS is $22.96. the DVD (loaded with the usual bells and whistles and with DVD-ROM options) goes for $24.98. . . . The Last Broadcast (mentioned in the September issue) has, up to now, been available exclusively at Hollywood Video. This Blair-Witch-like film appears everywhere else today. Both the video and DVD are $19.95. . . . The Ray Harryhousen classic 1958 film, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, releases today on DVD, bristling with the usual bells and whistles. It's going for $27.95. . . .

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
    On September 25th, on the day of our last meeting, science-fiction and fantasy author and editor MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY died of a massive heart attack at the age of 69. From her first sale in 1952 to the time of her death she remained a passionate and committed force in the field of imaginative fiction. She'll probably best be remembered for her Darkover series and The Mists of Avalon (which spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list) and subsequent books. She served as editor for the DAW annual series Sword and Sorceress and, of course, for the "Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine." The magazine will continue on. Perhaps she'll be most missed by young aspiring writers. She'll no longer be here to help them start their careers. We can only hope that the many who've received help from her will attempt to fill this void.

NOVEMBER CALENDAR

TUE 2ND: VIDEO RENTAL- Free Enterprise and Doctor Who: The Greatest
                  Show in the Galaxy release today.
                  VIDEO SELL-THROUGH-The Barry Levinson Collection: The
                   Baltimore Series and the DVD version of  Saving Private Ryan release today.

FRI 5TH: MOVIES-The Bone Collector releases today
             Being John Malkovich releases today

SUN 7TH: TV: (Last?) season premiere of "The X-Files"

TUE 9TH: VIDEO RENTAL- Life is Beautiful, G2:Mortal Conquest, Resurrection,
                 Trekkies, In the Woods, The Sore Losers and Strangers, release today.
                 VIDEO SELL-THROUGH-The Wolf Man on DVD, In God We Trust
                  and Heartbeeps release today.

FRI 12TH: MOVIES-Dogma releases today

TUE 16TH-VIDEO RENTAL- Instinct, Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera and
                   The Haunting of Hell House release today
                   VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and
                   Meet Joe Black release today
                          happy birthday to me! happy birthday to me!

WED 17TH: MOVIES-Sleepy Hollow releases today

FRI 19TH: MOVIES-The World is Not Enough releases today

TUE 23RD: VIDEO RENTAL- The Haunting, Entrapment, South Park, A Midsummer
                    Night's Dream and Day of the Beast release today
                   VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Lion King II:
                    Simba's Pride, A Bug's Life Deluxe Edition, Toy Story 2,A Chinese Ghost
                    Story,Heavy Metal, Chinatown and the DVD of Caligula release today

WED 24TH: MOVIES-End of Days releases today
                 Toy Story 2 releases today

TUE 30TH: VIDEO RENTAL-Deep Blue Sea releases today
                   VIDEO SELL THROUGH-Wild Wild West, The Last Broadcast and the DVD
                   of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad release today.