THE ICS FILES
THE FEBRUARY MEETING WAS A SMASH!
Our February meeting was terrific. It was well attended, with both well known and not so familiar faces. We welcome all! We had a very good discussion on movie soundtracks, led by VINCE DiLEONARDI, a better-than-average film (see below), and a lively consultation on various subjects. More on them to follow. Special thanks to GARY ROBERSON who is providing us with a bridge between our 19" TV and our video projector. He towed along a magnifying lens for the television. You had to sit near the center of the room to get the picture, and every time Joe Plempel went near the TV to fiddle with it his hand looked like it belonged to the Amazing Colossal Man, but it was a lot of fun. Gary, thanks very much.
THE IMAGINATIVE CINEMA SOCIETY
WELCOME'S IT'S NEWEST MEMBER
Greetings to KEVIN HOFFMAN. Kevin was a former member of the Horror and Fantasy Film Society. Pleasure to meet you Kevin. We're looking forward to getting to know you. His vital statistics are:
611 Seneca Gardens Road
Baltimore, Md. 21220-3102
GET WELL SUE!
As most of you will recall, club member SUE FEDER has been working through a round of cancer treatments lately. She dropped me a line after her February newsletter. Thought I'd share it with you.
Glad to get ICS13. I enter Hopkins on Monday, 2/7, for what will
probably be about a month. The first 2-4 weeks after discharge I will
have to stay pretty close to home. Perhaps in the spring I will be able
to get back with you guys and contribute my "units" (!). In the
meantime, I do hope you'll keep me on the e-mail list. Best, Sue
Work on getting well Sue. We're looking forward to seeing you again in the Spring.
Sue wrote about her "units" in the above piece. She was talking about money for the video projector. The projector will cost $2,000. A contribution of a "unit" is 1% of that cost, or $20. We encourage you to think in terms of units when considering contributing to the fund. Some people may need to stretch a single unit out over a few months. Others may be able to contribute a unit a month. Still others may be able to give several units at a time. A few people have made contributions at or over the $100 level. The donations are anonymous. But we thank you just the same. Presently we have $579 in our projector fund. Since "p-r-o-j-e-c-t-o-r" is nine letters long, if we add an "!" at the end we've got ten. So to reflect how the fund is doing, I'll use some basic font size to illustrate (with apologies to folks with text-only computers that won't be able to see this). When we've reached our goal you'll see this:
For the moment we're here:
Each time we achieve another 10% of our total goal, you'll see another letter lit up. So let's shoot for the exclamation point as soon as we can!
An idea was mentioned at the last meeting about finding money for a contribution to the projector fund. If you have anything left of a tax refund, after you've bought your new DVD player, digital TV, home-theater system and a fun filled week in Puerto Vallarta, you may want to slide a slice of it over to the PRojector! fund.
NEWS ON THE CEEGAR BOX
The Board has decided to place out a single contribution box at our meetings. All of the money will go toward the PRojector! fund.
AUCTION NEWS I: APRIL AUCTION
We're having an auction at our April 29th meeting. The proceeds will go to the PRojector! fund. If you have anything to donate you can bring it in for our March meeting.
AUCTION NEWS II: E-BAY
If you have anything of particular value that might not get the full appreciation that it deserves at our April auction, Charlie Wittig (firstname.lastname@example.org) is willing to use his account to place it on E-Bay. Proceeds from the sale would go toward the PRojector!
Dues are due! Everyone has until the end of March to get your dues in to us. It's $20 per person, $30 per couple. As of this writing I'm showing the following people have paid:
Jeff Barker Mark Piasecki
Tom Burke Jerry Pleines
John Clayton Joe Plempel
Linda & Lee Conrad Gary Roberson
Vince DiLeonardi Mike Schilling
Kevin Flynn Brian Smith & Cindy Collins
Ralph & Peggy Gervasio Courtney Spies
Dave Henderson Jack Tydings
Kevin Hoffman Regina Vallerani
Bob Kuzyk John Ward
Bill Littman David Willard
Leith J. Lomakin Charlie Wittig
If you've paid and your name has been left off of this list please contact John Clayton at email@example.com or at 410-730-4678. If you'd like to pay please mail a check to:
|10354 Windstream Drive|
|Columbia, MD 21044|
"I AM NOT A CROOK!" CLAIMS JOHN
And we've got the audit to prove it! As part of an annual housecleaning we are having volunteers from the club audit our transactions at the beginning of each year. I'm pleased to report that REGINA VALLERANI and VINCE DiLEONARDI were nice enough to check our treasure's books for the prior year. They were clean as a whistle. Thanks John and thanks Regina and Vince.
OUR FIRST AMENDMENT
We have consulted about and passed our first constitutional amendment, dealing with the dissolution of the club. We hope that this is one first amendment right that we're far from invoking, but should the time ever arise we'll have the mechanism in place to deal with it. Following is what the new amendment looks like:
Should the need arise to dissolve the club the following procedures will be followed:
1. All tangible assets of the club will be liquidated.
2. All outstanding debts will be settled.
3. All remaining funds will be donated to the National Film Preservation Society, presently at 870 Market Street, Suite 1113/ San Francisco, Ca. 94102/ 415-392-7291/ http://www.filmpreservation.org
If you'd like a copy of our constitution you can see it on our web site. If you haven't got a computer let us know. We'll send you one.
REAR WINDOW AT THE SENATOR
There was talk at our last meeting about a bunch of us renting the balcony of The ("historic") Senator Theater for a showing of Alfred's Hitchcok's classic, REAR WINDOW. Club member BOB KUZYK was nice enough to do some footwork for us to find out the following information. REAR WINDOW opens on Friday, March 17th and will be there for two weeks. The cost of a balcony rental is $10 each with a minimum of 15 people (and a maximum of 40 people). As Bob says, if only two people show up they'll still need to split the $150. The rental goes from $5:30 to 11 P.M. If you'd like to try for a rental contact me by phone (410-788-4086) or e-mail. Apparently weekends book quickly so if you want a weekend, respond immediately.
All of you should have a received a letter that posed the question, "where shall go from here?" We had some good consultation on this in in our February meeting. There was talk of how to expand our numbers and what to do with ourselves once we had. It was a productive dialogue, one that we need to continue. In our dreams of the future we need to anchor ourselves in the statement of purpose found at the opening of our constitution, "This club, the Imaginative Cinema Society, exists to promote fellowship among those interested in all films, with an emphasis on science fiction, horror and fantasy films." We can go in any of a hundred directions, all of them good, as long as we don't loose sight of our vision. If we become more obsessed on any project on which we embark than we are in fellowship and movies then we won't be in pursuit of a goal. We'll be chasing a distraction.
A MODIFICATION TO OUR ELECTION
In order to provide more people the chance to vote and get involved in the affairs of the club, we're are making slight modifications to our election process. We'll be selecting tellers in November and accepting nominations for the Board from November to the January meeting. This way, if people are not able to attend the January meeting, they have more of an opportunity to cast absentee ballots.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our March meeting will be held on Saturday March 25th at 6:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. 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.
TOP TEN SIGNS THAT THE GIRL YOU'RE
DATING IS ONE OF THE CAT PEOPLE
In our February meeting we watched the 1942 Val Lewton classic, THE CAT PEOPLE, thanks to Mr. JOHN WARD. It left me wondering how you could really tell if the young lady that you started seeing was one of them. As a service to the club, I offer the following list of warning signs to look for.
10. The outgoing message on her answering machine is dead silence.
9. She's had her toilet removed and replaced by a huge box of sand.
8. When she offers to make you dinner she asks, "canned or dry?"
7. The guy she used to date, Kevin Flynn, found her boring.
6. You can end any argument with her by dangling string in front of her face.
5. She cries at Sylvester and Tweety cartoons.
4. Every time you go to kiss her she suddenly has to cough up a fur ball.
3. When you walk in a room she rubs her face against your leg.
2. The only guy she ever "went-all-the-way" with was Jimmy Hoffa.
1. When ever you mentioned that you'll get something "fixed" she faints.
THE GLASS TEAT
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR is on the way! BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND will be an animated series later this year. It will recount the story of the his battles with the evil Emporer Zurg. . . . The WB and the apocalypse. The WB has ordered a pilot for a post-apocalyptic drama based on the British miniseries THE LAST TRAIN, entitled DAY ONE. Michael Piller (Star Trek: TNG) is the executive producer. . . . Set phasers for "protest." There is a movement, that has been previously mentioned in THE ICS FILES, to feature a STAR TREK series that would feature the adventures of Captain Sulu of the U.S.S. Excelsior. George Takei has indicated that he'd love to do it. Trek fans have decided to take it outside. On April 22nd Trekkers will be hitting the bricks to make an unresponsive Paramount Studios aware of their demands. . . . Rick Berman strikes back!Producer Rick Berman has discussed the next TREK. He places a tremendous burden on it, saying "I think that the survival of the franchise could hinge upon it." At an apparent swipe at proponents of a Captain Sulu series, he went on to say, "It has to be something unique and fresh, and it can't be a rehashing of one of the previous series." There's been a rumor that Paramount had rejected three story ideas for TREK after disastrous audience tests. When asked about this, Berman responded, "We live in a world where any 15-year-old can start a rumor that will end up on the front page of a newspaper a few days later. Anything you read about us doing audience testing--in fact, most of what comes over the Internet in the guise of rumors--is a pile of crap. . . . The truth is our interest lies in keeping Star Trek pure and interesting and keeping it ever changing while still true to Gene Roddenberry's vision." He said to look for the next series no sooner than January or February of next year, and possibly as late as September. . . . No Mulder & Scully--no Carter! X-FILES producer Chris Carter announced that unless both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were in place, he would not do an eighth season of the show. Anderson is contractually obligated for another year. Duchovny's contract ends this year and has said that he's tired of the show and is suing Fox for more syndication money. Fox's anemic ratings have forced the execs there into doing all that they can to coax their highest rated show back for one more season. . . . Other actors playing Mulder and Scully? Well, sort of. Gary Shandling, has said that he'll appear on an upcoming episode of the X-FILES about a Hollywood studio that wants to turn the adventures of characters Mulder and Scully into a movie. The episode will be entitled, "Hollywood A.D." Shandling says that he will portray the actor playing Mulder and Téa Leoni (X-File's star David Duchovny's wife in real life), will be the actress playing Scully. In one scene Mulder (Duchovny) visits the set "to see if I'm depicting him accurately," Shandling relates. "I make out with Téa Leoni. So I just end up having projects where I make out with my friends' wives." . . . Better living through puppetry. FARSCAPE is hoping to replace their current batch of puppets with an upgrade. According to the series' chief puppeteer, Dave Elsey. "If we've done our job properly, people won't even notice. Our aim is to get the audience to forget they're looking at foam latex, and instead experience the puppets as real characters." . . . The return of ANGEL and BUFFY. The WB has ordered a full 22-episode seasons for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL for next season. Writer/producer Joss Whedon has talked of changes on ANGEL. They'll be a larger ensemble of recurring characters. Even so, they'll be more focus on Angel."We initially saw Angel as being more of a guardian for other characters," Whedon said, "but we found the audience was much more emotionally invested in Angel, so we'll be staying closer to home and exploring his character."
SCOTTY: THE NEXT GENERATION
Double congratulations go to actor James Doohan. On March 3rd he achieves the title of octogenarian. Commander Scott turns 80! A month after that he re-gains another title--"daddy." He and his 43-year old wife, Wende, are expecting a new little Doohan to grace their family. Late-life births are apparently not unknown to the clan-Doohan. His grandfather was 72 when his mother was born. It's said that Doohan accomplished his task with an elaborate combination of transporters, force fields and tractor beams.
THE FATE OF THE X-FILES
A few weeks ago producer Frank Spotnitz said that the final fate of THE X-FILES is still up in the air. He knew that negotiations with David Duchovny and Chris Carter were in progress. It leads to the question, if this is the final season what will happen to all of the numerous loose ends in the show's underlying mythology. Spotnitz explained, "One thing I have noticed is that everybody who follows the show closely has a completely different set of burning questions that we must answer before it's too late. I know we're going to piss off someone! We're probably going to piss off a lot of people. But I think when the end comes, we will have answered all of the most important questions and probably raised some new ones." He said that there was a possibility that there'd be another film but, if there was, it would probably be a stand-alone event rather than an attempt to conclude old business.
ALL'S WELL THAT ORWELLS
First you get the pot boiling. Then you throw in THE TRUMAN SHOW. Then a generous helping of MTV's REAL PEOPLE and a very healthy serving of George Orwell's 1984. Adjust the taste with large quantities of the sort of voyeuristic sadism usually associated with ancient Rome and you've got a Dutch television hit called BIG BROTHER. At the moment American rights for the show's are at the center of a bidding war between ABC, CBS, FOX and the USA Network. The way the Dutch show works, 9 people are selected from a field of 3,000 applicants. These 9 strangers are then confined to a house filled with 29 cameras and more than 50 microphones. Not even the bathroom allows for privacy. The 9 people are allowed to leave at any time, but if they choose to do so they're eliminated from the competition. Viewers tune into the daily doings in the house. Internet users can watch them 24 hours a day. Each week the home audience votes for which of the remaining residents to eliminate from the house. The last person left wins $120,000. BIG BROTHER broke all ratings records in the Netherlands. Viewers became almost dangerously obsessed with the show. It's an American programmer's dream. Big things are expected of it. Particularly since the last import was the British game show, WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?, has done so well for ABC.
KARLOFF VS. UNIVERSAL
The daughter of Boris Karloff has sued Universal Studios for $10 million, claiming that Universal cheated her out of royalties from the merchandising of her father's image. Sara Karloff argues that Universal failed to pay monies owed her from the merchandising of characters played by her father in classic Universal horror films such as FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY. Among other things, the suit argues that Universal designed and licensed generic Frankenstein and Mummy characters that "look confusingly similar to, but not precisely the same as, the Karloff characters" to avoid paying Sara Karloff royalties. Universal declined comment on the pending litigation.
THINGS TO COME
MARCH 4TH-5TH: FESTIVAL OF DARKNESS will begin on Saturday, March 4th with the 10th Anniversary special screening of Stuart Gordonís "The Pit and the Pendulum" sponsored by Full Moon Pictures. The event will be held at the Charles Theater from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The screening will begin with a champagne and hors díoeuvres gala where you can meet the director of the film Stuart Gordon and other special guests of the festival, followed by sneak peeks up upcoming genre films. Than finally the screening of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM starting with an introduction by director, and ending with a Q & A session. Then on Sunday March 5th 2000 the festival officially begins at Bohagerís in Fells Point from 12 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The activities will include feature and independent film screenings and trailers to up coming films Roman Palanski's upcoming film THE NINTH GATE staring Johnny Depp and more. There will be appearances by Stuart Gordon (Director RE-ANIMATOR and SPACE TRUCKERS), Barbara Crampton (Star of RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND), Linda Hassani (Director/Screen writer DARK ANGEL: THE ASCENT), Jonathan Fuller (Star of CASTLE FREAK and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM), Denice Duff (Star of SUBSPECIES II-V), Tom Savini (Make-up f/x wizard DAWN OF THE DEAD, Actor/Director), Ralis (Special Make-up F/X Artist), Brinke Stevens (Star of NIGHTMARE SISTERS), Bill George (The Man, The Myth, The Legend!), Jennifer Huss (Actress/Femme Fatale Magazine Staff), Kevin Summerfield (Director/Screen writer SLEEPY HOLLOW HIGH), Kim Gough (Screen writer JENNY GREEN TEETH), George Stover (Star of ATTACK OF THE 60 FT CENTERFOLD), Michael Todd (Star of STOP IT, YOU'RE KILLING ME), Jamie Donahue (Star of STOP IT, YOU'RE KILLING ME and THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING) and Members of GWAR GWAR. There will also be live D.J music, contests, panel dissuasions, Q & Aís, demos, ethnic foods, demonic vendors, ghastly contests with prizes given by major sponsors, local D.J's Roy, Chad & Travis. And then at nightfall the Masquerade Ball will begin (including, a fetish fashion show by Object, performance by "Jal A Drum" is a Tribal Belly Dance and World Fusion/Folkdance Troupe, side show artists, terrifying national & local bands Tapping the Vein, Carfax Abbey, Dingleberry Dynasty and much more spooky fun. Tickets for the Charles are $30, $10 if you skip the champagne and the chance to hob nob with Stuart Gordon. Bohager's tickets are $25. News of this event comes through the observant Miss REGINA VALLERANI. Thanks Regina.
APRIL 21st-23rd: BALTICON 34 at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel. Their highly literate guest line-up includes the authors Nina Boal, Octavia Butler, Jack L. Chalker, Robert R. Chase, Brenda W. Clough, J.L. Comeau, Michael Flynn, Richard Garfinkle, Alexis Gilliland, Marvin Kaye, Eric Kotani, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Paul Levinson, Joe Mayhew, Ron Miller, Severna Park, Darrell Schweitzer, Hannah M.G. Shapero, Charles Sheffield, Bud Sparhawk, Josepha Sherman, Susan Shwartz, Nancy Springer, James Stoddard, Cecilia Tan and John C. Wright. They'll also include an array of scientists from various fields, musicians, scholars, artists and editors. They'll host dances, a magic show, a costume ball, art demonstrations, writer's workshops, young writer's workshops, a 4,500 sq. foot dealer's room, a computer room, a gaming room, video showings and much more. Call them at 410-563-2737. You can write them at Balticon 34/ P.O. Box 686/ Baltimore, Md. 21203-0686. Or e-mail them at BSFS@ Balticon.Org. Weekend attendance is $40 in advance (by 3/31) or $45 at the door.
THE AGONY. . .
The annual Golden Raspberries nominations were announced recently. The Golden Raspberries celebrate the worst contributions from Hollywood. This will mark the 20th year that the Razzies have been providing us with (in their words) "Tinseltown's Tackiest Anti-Award Show." Below is a list of certain imaginative cinema titles that got a well targeted knee to the groin.
BICENTENNIAL MAN--Worst Actor (Robin Williams, also nominated for JAKOB THE LIAR)
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT--Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Heather Donahue)
DOGMA--Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek)
END OF DAYS--Worst Actor (Ah-nold Schwarzennegger), Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne), Worst Director (Peter Hyams)
ENTRAPMENT--Worst Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Worst Screen Couple (Sean Connery & Catherine Zeta-Jones)
THE HAUNTING--Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Worst Director (Jan deBont), Worst Screenplay (David Self)
STAR WARS: EPISODE I, THE PHANTOM MENACE--Worst Picture, Worst Screen Couple (Jake Lloyd & Natalie Portman), Worst Supporting Actress (Sofia Coppola), two Worst Supporting Actor nominations (for Jar-Jar Binks and for Jake Lloyd), Worst Director (George Lucas), Worst Screenplay (George Lucas)
STIGMATA--Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne)
WILD WILD WEST--Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Kevin Kline), Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Kline & Will Smith), two Worst Supporting Actress nominations (for Salma Hayek and for Kevin Kline posing as a prostitute), Worst Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh), Worst Director (Barry Sonnenfield), Worst Screenplay (Jim Thomas, John Thomas et al.)
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH--Worst Screen Couple (Pirce Brosnan & Denise Richards), Worst Supporting Actress (Denise Richards)
They'll also be selecting Worst Actor of the Century (from nominees Kevin Costner, "The A**hole formerly known as Prince," William Shatner, Pauly Shore and Sylvester Stallone); the Worst Actress of the Century (choosing among Elizabeth Berkley, Bo Derek, Madonna, Brooke Shields and Pia Zadora); the Worst Picture of the Decade (out of AN ALAN SMITHEE FILM: BURN HOLLYWOOD, BURN!, HUDSON HAWK, THE POSTMAN, SHOWGIRLS and STRIPTEASE); and the Worst New Star of the Decade (from among Elizabeth Berkley, Jar-Jar Binks, Sofia Coppola, Dennis Rodman and Pauly Shore).
As usual, the Razzies will be handed out the night before the Oscars, on Saturday, March 25th.
. . . AND THE ECSTASY
Imaginative cinema was well represented in this year's Academy Awards nominations. This year they weren't banished to the purely techinical categories; like sound, visual effects and makeup. Following is a list of the imaginative cinema titles deemed worthy for Oscar consideration:
AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME--Best Makeup
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH-- Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay
BICENTENNIAL MAN--Best Makeup
THE GREEN MILE--Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Michael Clark Duncan), Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay
THE MATRIX--Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects
THE MUMMY--Best Sound
THE SIXTH SENSE--Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Haley Joel Osment), Best Director, Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay
SLEEPY HOLLOW--Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design
SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT--Best Original Song
STAR WARS, EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE--Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects
STUART LITTLE--Best Visual Effects
TOY STORY 2--Best Original Song
"I DEDICATE THIS OSCAR TO MR.
Those are words that you might hear on Oscar night if Michael Clark Duncan wins for Best Supporting Actor for THE GREEN MILE. The two of them were shooting ARMAGEDDON together. Willis recognized the 6-foot-5-inch, 315-pound actor was a natural for the lead role.He urged him to audition for the part. "He said, 'I want you to go buy [Stephen King's novel], read it, and when we get back to Los Angeles I will call [director] Frank Darabont for you and tell him I have found John Coffey,'" Duncan says. He refers to Willis as "his angel."
WANNA BUY A POSTER?
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is providing a official 72nd Academy Award posters that have been inspired by the 1926 classic, METROPOLIS. They feature the familiar gold statue surrounded by three red rings and a "2" over his head, signifying OSCAR 2000. This is the first time that the Academy has made their official posters available. They are 26.75" X 39.75" and sell for $20 (including shipping). You can order online or call 1-800-554-1814 by April 14th.
WANTED MEN BETWEEN THE AGES OF
18-35 TO BE MOVIE STARS
If you're in the target age and you're not particularly busy between, say, April to December contact Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg immediately! You may be who they're looking for to be in BAND OF BROTHERS, that will be shooting in England for a 13-hour miniseries for HBO. It's based on Stephen Ambrose's non-fiction account of a band of paratroopers that landed behind German lines in France and fought their way to Hitler's Eagle's Nest.
YOU'RE GONNA MEG IT AFTER ALL
What an interesting pedigree some movies acquire! In 1997 an adventure novel called THE MEG by Steve Alten hit store shelves. It was "the-next-big-thing." It was about a modern day encounter with a prehistoric shark called a megalodon. There was test footage shot that showed the meg snapping a tyrannosaurus rex in half. It was meant as sort of an "up yours" to JURRASSIC PARK. It was to be the following summer's big summer hit. Renny Harlin's name was attached to it to direct. George Clooney, Jean Reno and Patrick Stewart were rumored to be committed to the project. Buena Vista was to funnel it through one of its stable of production companies. Then things bogged down. The producers kept their eyes trained on the revenue generated by GODZILLA. They assumed they were dealing with a similar audience. When GODZILLA failed to meet their lofty expectations they dragged their feet for a year, then quietly announced in 1999 that the project was shelved. They didn't think they could get their money back on a film projected to cost $200 million. Now an announcement has just been made about an entirely different project. Gary Tunnicliffe, the person responsible for special effects for SLEEPY HOLLOW, BLADE and the upcoming MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2, has written and will direct a movie called MEGALODON. It will be a low budget film, shot directly on high definition video. Some critters just won't stay extinct.
NOW DON'T HOLD BACK, TELL ME
WHAT YOU REALLY THINK
Director Joe Berlinger and two of the producers for the sequel to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT attempted to hold a meeting with the people of Burkittsville, Md. on February 14th. They wanted to discuss the tiny town of 200 people as a site for the film. One resident said that it was unfair that the citizens in the town have had to undergo a steady stream of tourist harassment while the backers have made "obscene profits" (the movie grossed $140 million). Another woman said that she'd just bought a plot in the town cemetery, "and I don't want them up there filming my tombstone. . . . It's a breach of common courtesy." A man who'd only identify himself as the town historian recalled, "They'd come along and be peeking in people's windows, asking them where the witch lived. There were even people holding candlelight vigils in the cemetery for the dead children. . . . they wouldn't believe it was fiction." Former town councilman Sam Brown shouted, "We've already been raped, now they want us to be prostitutes." After enduring repeated such interruptions and insults the film makers finally walked out. Artisan spokesman would not discuss shooting locations.
THE RETURN OF HAMMER
Hammer Films was born in 1935, reached its zenith in the 50's and 60's and ceased active production in 1983. Were it another studio that might have been the end of the story. Someone has dripped blood (in the form of a $1.6 million gamble) on the withered corpse to reanimate it and let it walk abroad in the world again. Hammer will partner with other producers on a project-by-project basis. Hammer also has a library of 179 movies, 29 shorts and documentaries, and six TV series, as well as a catalog of scripts and books that has not yet been developed.
THE RETURN OF AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL (SORT
The son of AIP guru Samuel Z. Arkoff, Lou Arkoff, has signed a deal with HBO to remake several classic AIP productions, to be shown under the banner of CREATURE FEATURES. Stan Winston will do the special effects. Sam will executive produce. Robert Rodriquez has already signed on as one of the directors. Among the titles to be re-made will be THE SHE-CREATURE, HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER and THE BRAIN EATERS. Look for them to appear on HBO sometme next year.
THE MOVEMENT OF MARS
The upcoming film, RED PLANET, has been moved from its June 16th release date to November 10th. At one time Warner's was in a race to open the film before Disney's MISSION TO MARS's March 10th opening. The producers are saying now that they need the time to complete the film's extensive effects.
MORE PROBLEMS FOR LORD OF THE
Peter Jackson, director of LORD OF THE RINGS, has hit yet another bump in the road. He'd been promised the New Zealand army to serve as 15,000 mounted extras. Those troops have been diverted to the conflict in East Timor. Jackson and company are scouring the country, looking for replacements.
SCIENTOLOGY GOES TO THE MOVIES
Scientology, the church founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, has said that they are not involved at all in the upcoming John Travolta release, BATTLEFIELD EARTH. However, all merchandising will be funneled through Author Services, which will be routing a slice of the hoped for $50 million to be earned in related toys, back to the church.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE TV VETS GONE,
LONG TIME PASSING
Well there's a decent chance that they're in the cast of the new Sci-Fi independent film OVERLOAD. The movie is being co-executive produced by Tony Dow (LEAVE IT TO BEAVER) and Bill Mumy (LOST IN SPACE, BABYLON 5). Dow will direct. The cast includes Angela Cartwright (LOST IN SPACE),Don Grady (MY THREE SONS), Billy Gray (FATHER KNOWS BEST) and George Takei (STAR TREK). I hope they find a way to work in Barbara Billingsley talking jive.
AN EL SALVADOREAN STIGAMATA
On February 3rd of this year, El Salvador's censors banned the movie STIGMATA. Apparently it was offensive to a country with a strong Catholic population. On the February 4th, the banned was lifted. They decided to let it be shown during limited hours, and only to people 18 or older. Where the heck were those censors when I went to see it? I wish that they would have banned me and saved my time and money.
AN EXTENDED VERSION OF THE EXORCIST
A restored, enhanced version of the 1973 film, THE EXORCIST, will be playing in a few select cities around the country beginning on March 17th. It will contain eleven extra minutes "plus one or two little surprises." It will more closely conform to the work that author William Peter Blatty.
NUMBER ONE NOW NUMBER TWO!
There's an update to a story reported on the last issue. In listing all-time international box-office champs I said that STAR WARS, EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE was in third place. That's now changed. It has just surpassed JURASSIC PARK for the second place spot on the list. It has earned $431.1 million domestically and $491.4 million, for a total of $922.2 million (except for E.T. and the original STAR WARS all of the film on the list have earned more abroad than at home). It's not likely to beat TITANIC anytime soon for first place. James Cameron's film earned $1.8 billion.
THE RETURN OF BRITISH DRIVE-IN'S
The British supermarket chain ASDA, owned by America's Wal-Mart, is planning to use its parking lots at night to show classic family movies. ASDA said that large screens will be erected in the lots with audio transmitted to the cars' radios. "Usherettes" on roller skates will deliver popcorn, candy and ice-cream. Tickets will sell for $1.60, with all profits going to local charities.
STEVEN SPIELBERG TO RECEIVE YET
The Director's Guild of America (DGA) has decided to confer a Lifetime Achievement Award to Steven Spielberg. This places the 53-year old director in the august company of the likes of Orson Welles, Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Frank Capra and Billy Wilder. This award was named for D. W. Griffith prior to this year. Griffith's name was withdrawn because of his openly bigoted images in the 1914 drama, BIRTH OF A NATION. Spielberg will receive the award at the DGA ceremony on March 11th.
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH
WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? stars Gary Shandling, Annette Benning, Nora Dunn, Linda Fiorentino, John Goodman, Ben Kingsley, Greg Kinnear and Camryn Manheim. Directed by Mike Nichols. Shandling plays an alien dispatched to Earth to breed. He's completely puzzled by human dating rituals. He also discovers a certain "plumbing" incompatibility and has to use alien gizmos to remedy them.
MISSION TO MARS stars Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle. Directed by Bian DePalma. The first manned mission to Mars ends in disaster. A second mission is mounted to save the stranded survivor (Cheadle), discover what went wrong and to continue exploration.
THE NINTH GATE stars Johnny Depp, Lena Olin and Frank Langella. Directed by Roman Polanski. A rare books dealer discovers that he's a pawn in a demonic conspiracy while trying to find the last two volumes of an ancient book said to hold the secret for summoning Satan.
FINAL DESTINATION stars Devon Sawa and Kristen Cloke. Directd by James Wong (formerly a producer on THE X-FILES and MILLENIUM). A high school student on a flight about to take off for Paris gets a premonition that the flight is doomed. He convinces six friends to get off the plane. They feel grateful to have survived when the plane does crash. Slowly, each of the seven begins to die in mysterious ways. The shrinking circle of survivors have to figure out what's going on before they die too.
ROMEO MUST DIE stars Jet Li, Aaliyah Haughton and Delroy Lindo. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak (feature directing debut--cinematographer on SPECIES, FALLING DOWN and SPEED). Hong Kong action star, Jet Li, plays a member of an Asian gang in Oakland, California. Their truce with a rival African-American gang is falling apart. While he's plotting revenge on the murderer of his brother, he finds himself falling in love with his intended target's sister.
THE ROAD TO EL DORADO features the voices of Kenneth Brannagh, Kevin Kline, Armand Assante, Rosie Perez and Edward James Olmos. An animated feature from Dreamworks about a pair of bumbling con men that stow away on one of Cortez's ships after finding a map for the lost City of Gold, El Dorado. They stumble into plots for power that they know nothing about.
THE SKULLS stars Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker and Craig T. Nelson. Directed by Rob Cohen. An ambitious student from a modest economic background attends an Ivy League school but never feels like he's part of the inner circle. Suddenly he's given the opportunity to be on the fast track by joining a secret society called, "The Skulls." He has no idea what he's getting into.
EYES WIDE SHUT CONTROVERSY CONTINUES
EYES WIDE SHUT had footage trimmed from it before its domestic theatrical release to avoid an NC-17 rating. Warner Home Video has announced that the uncensored version, which played in Europe, will not be released in the American VHS or DVD. A total of 65 seconds of nudity were digitally altered.
LUCASFILMS ISSUES STATEMENT ON
In response to worldwide griping about the lack of STAR WARS on DVD, Lucasfilms issued a statement last month to address fan concerns:
"Lucasfilm greatly appreciates the enthusiasm of our fans of the Star Wars movies and their passion to see the films in the best possible format, as demonstrated by various campaigns by fans asking for an immediate release of Star Wars on DVD. There is no plan to release any of the Star Wars films on DVD for the foreseeable future and definitely not this year. George Lucas would like to do something special with the DVD release, and unfortunately he does not have time to concentrate on the DVD project at this time. George is currently working on the script for Episode II and preparing for principal photography that will begin this summer in Australia. Rumors and speculation that waiting to release DVD versions is motivated by a desire to simply drive up demand, or to force fans to purchase multiple copies are completely false."
DVD PRICES MAY BE IN FOR AN INCREASE
Until now, when a new VHS hits the market the accompanying DVD is priced significantly lower. Usually the price lists for somewhere a bit over $30. Two major studios, Warner's and MGM, have announced that they're considering a price increase for new releases. DVD has been considered a sell-through collectible. VHS has been perceived as the rentable format. If DVD continues a significant erosion into the VHS market, with increasing numbers of outlets offering discs for rent, these two studios (with probably many more to follow) will need to account for the lost revenue that would have been contributed by the diminishing tape format. It's only speculation at this point, but the prices may jump to $49.95, with possible increases from there.
MAJOR STUDIOS OPEN ONLINE VIDEO
Warner Video Club and Columbia House have launched sites to offer their catalog titles to the public. Warner's will be releasing their Century 2000 collection with 200 titles scattered throughout the year. They have about 4,000 movies from which to choose. Columbia House has heightened its Internet awareness since merging with the online retailer CDNow. Before this year's newly beefed up presence Columbia House has already grossed $100 million over the web last year.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED.
Toys and merchandise related to STAR WARS: EPISODE I--THE PHANTOM MENACE laid an enormous egg, to use Variety's showbiz lexicon. You might think that wholesalers would be overjoyed at the chance to disburse their overage and simply cut their losses with the April video release of the movie. Many are doing just that. Others are introducing whole new lines of action figures and toys. Go figure.
BIG BLUE GOES THEATRICAL
Blockbuster Video, as mentioned in the last issue, has started to acquire the video distribution rights to certain independent features. It would like these new acquisitions to have spent some time in theaters. In video retailing movies with a theatrical history are preferred over the D-T-V's ("direct-to-video"). They've vowed to commit $1 million or more for prints and advertising. So far two recent Sundance acquisitions, SHADOW HOURS and LOVE AND SEX have received the star treatment.
A DVD PLAYER FOR MINI-ME?
Foreshadowing the day of "movies on the go," Japan's Matsushita Electric Co. says it will begin marketing a 1.4 pound portable DVD player, complete with a 7-inch LCD screen, beginning March 10 in Japan. The lightest of any DVD portable, it is priced at $1,000. Another unit, without a screen and weighing only about three-quarters of a pound, will also be introduced for about $500.
PVR'S GO VOD
Personal Video Recorders (PVR's), like the ones marketed by TiVo and ReplayTV, are looking to become the gateway of choice for Video on Demand (VOD). Both companies acknowledge that providing pay-per-view features, along with broadcast and cable signals, are where their future lies. TiVo has already allied itself with America Online and Blockbuster Inc. to accomplish their goal. PVR's are expected to soar from a current 58,000 to a projected 950,000 units by 2001 to over 8 million in 2003.
RECEIPTS GO DIGITAL
Major retailers, including video stores and electronic hardware stores, are working toward offering digital receipts to patrons. Within a year you'll be offered a digital receipt, and then when promotions come up related to the product that you purchased you'll be notified of a special via e-mail. So if you purchased a DVD player at Best Buys you'd be sent e-mails for DVD releases and upgrades. The Digital Receipt Alliance (made up of Large software firms and the National Cash Register Company) has submitted a standard to the National Retail Federation's Association for Retail Technology Standards. When it's approved you'll be seeing the option pop up everywhere.
NETFLIX TRIES A NEW MATCHING
The DVD specialist site, NetFlix, is launching a new sophisticated matching system called "CineMatch." Instead of saying, "if you liked A you'll like B," they're having people fill out polls on 20 films, rating them with a five star system. When they find a person or people with tastes similar to yours, they match you up and see if they can help you find films that would appeal to your tastes that may have not shown up on your radar.
NETFLIX STARTS A NEW RENTAL PROGRAM
NetFlix has launched a new DVD rental program called "All You Can Watch." Pay a flat fee of $19.95 a month and you can borrow all the DVD's you want. All due dates, late fees and shipping charges are eliminated. Customers are allowed up to four DVD's in their possession at any one time.
Rental title releasing 3/7: DEAD OF NIGHT releases today, from the microscopic production company, A-Pix. This features Leo Rock, "the most merciless serial killer since Leatherface, Michael Myers and Jason." . . . EVIL'S EDGE features a twisted coven of devil worshippers armed with a sword that is the finger tip of Satan. The end of the world is at hand.
Rental titles releasing 3/14: EYES WIDE SHUT, the last movie to be directed by Stanley Kubrick, releases today. The VHS is rental-priced. The DVD carries a suggested retail of $24.98 (with a minimum advertised price of $19.95). . . . PROPHECY III: THE ASCENT, features the return on Christopher Walken as the murderous angel, Gabriel. . . . VELOCITY TRAP features Oliver Gruner as a cop in 2150 assigned to protect the Federal Banking Ship, USF Atlantic, with its currency cargo of $40,000,000,000, as a massive asteroid and space pirates threaten the ship. . . . Fangoria Video releases the horror title ANGEL OF THE NIGHT about three young people who discover a mysterious old vampire book in a stately mansion. One of them discovers that they're the grandchild of the vampire in question and that his story may not yet be over. . . . THE BONE COLLECTOR, with Denzel Washington as a quadriplegic detective and Angelina Jolie as his assistant, releases today. . . . THE SUSPECT, from Hong Kong action director Ringo Lam, releases today. It's about a former hit man, just out of prison, that's refuses a job from an old friend to kill a prominent presidential candidate. When the candidate's killed anyway the ex-con becomes the target of the cops and the conspirators. . . .
Rental titles releasing 3/21: THE LIMEY, featuring Terrence Stamp as a tough Brit thug looking for his daughter's killer in L.A., releases today. The DVD sells for $29.98. . . .
Rental titles releasing 3/28: THE SIXTH SENSE, the surprise mega-hit from last year, releases today. . . . LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD hits the streets today. It stars Ice-T and Warwick Davis. . . . VOODOO DAWN, starring Rosanna Arquette and Michael Madsen, comes out today. It's set deep in Louisiana's Bayou as a criminal and his enemies confront the dark powers of magic. . . .
Sell through titles releasing 3/7: MGM releases it's "Midnight Movies" collection today. For $12.95 each you can pick up THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971), ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE(1958), COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970), JESS JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER(1966), DIE MONSTER, DIE! (1965), INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT (1977). . . . DR. WHO: THE FACE OF EVIL gets released today for all you Time Lord wannabes out there. . . .THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR will be re-released as part of Columbia's "Teen Promotion" campaign (although other than being a science-fiction film this movie would hold no special draw for teens). The new price is $14.95.
Sell through titles releasing 3/14: Artisan re-releases 9 of the edgier films in its catalog to the sell-through market today. RESERVOIR DOGS, PI, SUICIDE KINGS, KILLING ZOE, PERMANENT MIDNIGHT, TREES LOUNGE, NIAGARA NIAGARA, ILLTOWN and . . . AND GOD SPOKE will all be available for a suggested retail of $9.98. . . . THE CARTOONS OF BOB GODFREY becomes available today for $19.95. He's not well known in this country, but is well known and loved in England and Australia. His animation had a strong influence on Monty Python and the Wallace & Gromit series. . . . BEAST COP is a Hong Kong action flick about a cop torn between his career and his life as a gangster. It's got a suggested retail of $19.98.
Sell through titles releasing 3/21: In remembrance of a real life horror, four titles get released today in advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19th). THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE and NIGHT AND FOG are $19.95. THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET and VARIAN FRY: THE ARTIST'S SCHINDLER are $29.95. . . . IN THE REALM OF PASSION is a Japanese ghost story for "mature" audiences. The spirit of a betrayed husband returns to haunt his wife and her husband. The VHS is $19.98. The DVD is $29.98. . . . KEEPERS OF THE FRAME is not the usual sort of movie mentioned in "The ICS Files" but it's a documentary about a topic that we've all discussed. It looks at the history, science and struggles of film preservation. It sells for $19.98.
Sell through titles releasing 3/28: THE OMEGA CODE is the little film that thought it could. It is a sci-fi action flick bought and paid for the ultra-religious Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Despite its limited release last Fall it cracked the national top ten box office list. It stars Michael York and Casper VanDien. It's title refers to a biblical code used to forecast the future. The title will receive a big push by TBN, distribution in 50,000 churches, and will also be made available in regular stores via GoodTimes Video. The VHS is $19.95. The DVD is $24.95. . . .
FRI. 3RD-MOVIES-WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? debuts.
SAT., SUN. 4TH & 5TH: FESTIVAL OF DARKNESS
TUE. 7TH-VIDEO RENTAL-DEAD OF NIGHT and EVIL'S EDGE release today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH-THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971),
ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE(1958), COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970),
JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER(1966), DIE MONSTER,
DIE! (1965), INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) and THE PEOPLE THAT
TIME FORGOT (1977), DR. WHO: THE FACE OF EVIL and THE THIRTEENTH
FLOOR will be released today.
FRI 10TH- MOVIES-MISSION TO MARS debuts
MOVIES-THE NINTH GATE debuts
TUE 14TH- VIDEO RENTALS-EYES WIDE SHUT, PROPHECY III: THE ASCENT,
VELOCITY TRAP, ANGEL OF THE NIGHT, THE BONE COLLECTOR,
and THE SUSPECT release today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- RESERVOIR DOGS, PI, SUICIDE KINGS, KILLING
ZOE, PERMANENT MIDNIGHT, TREES LOUNGE, NIAGARA NIAGARA,
ILLTOWN, . . . AND GOD SPOKE, THE CARTOONS OF BOB GODFREY and
BEAST COP all release today.
FRI 17TH-MOVIES-FINAL DESTINATION debuts
TUE 21ST-VIDEO RENTALS- THE LIMEY releases today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE, NIGHT AND FOG,
THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET, VARIAN FRY: THE ARTIST'S SCHINDLER,
IN THE REALM OF PASSION and KEEPERS OF THE FRAME release today.
FRI 24TH-MOVIES-ROMEO MUST DIE debuts
SAT. 25TH- ICS MEETING
The Golden Raspberries Awards handed out
SUN 26TH-72nd Academy Awards
TUE 28TH-VIDEO RENTALS- THE SIXTH SENSE, LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD and
VOODOO DAWN release today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- THE OMEGA CODE releases today.
FRI 31ST-MOVIES-THE ROAD TO EL DORADO debuts
MOVIES-THE SKULLS debuts.