The legendary film zine FilmThreat is no longer on newsstands, but an e-mail version has surfaced on the Internet; it's still run by Editor Chris Gore, and is available for free by requesting a subscription at FilmThreat@aol.com.
Among the fun movie factoids FilmThreat is presenting (Russ Meyer is directing a remake of Faster Pussycat!; Jenny McCarthy to star in a new version of I Dream of Jeannie!; studio insiders are referring to Kevin Costner's The Postman as Dirtworld!) appears an angry letter from artist H.R. Giger to 20th Century-Fox. According to the FilmThreat bunch, the letter was written after the first U.S. screening of Alien Resurrection, when Giger received the news that although the alien creatures are still based on his designs, his name is not mentioned anywhere in the film credits. Giger's opinions about this state of affairs are emphatic.
TO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, November 13, 1997 FROM: H.R. GIGER
The Alien Quartet has, from the very beginning, contained my unique and personal style. For the first film ALIEN, I was awarded an Oscar for “Best Achievement for Visual Effects.” In ALIENS, a film I was not asked to work on, I still received a screen credit for “Original Alien Design.” On ALIEN 3, I was cheated out of the Oscar nomination received by that film because 20th Century Fox gave me the credit, “Original Alien Design” again, instead of “Alien 3 Creature Design,” as it was my rightful title in accordance to my contract and the work I had performed on the film. In 1976 I had completed two paintings, “Necronom IV” and “Necronom V”, in which two long-headed creatures appeared. In 1977 these paintings were published in my book, NECRONOMICON, by Sphinx Verlag, Basel, in German. It was in this version of the book that Ridley Scott, in his search for a credible Alien creature, came across these two paintings and decided on them for the full-grown Alien, using the words “That's it!” The statement has been graciously repeated by Ridley Scott in almost every interview about his work on ALIEN.
The creatures in ALIEN: RESURRECTION are even closer to my original Alien designs than the ones which appear in ALIENS and ALIEN 3. The film also resurrects my original designs for the other stages of the creature's life-cycle, the Eggs, the Facehugger and the Chestburster. ALIEN: RESURRECTION is an excellent film. What would it look like without my Alien life-forms? In all likelihood, all the sequels to ALIEN would not even exist! The designs and my credit have been stolen from me, since I alone have designed the Alien. So why does not Fox give me the credit I rightfully earned?
As for those responsible for this conspiracy: All I can wish them is an Alien breeding inside their chests, which might just remind them that the “Alien Father” is H.R. Giger.
“Have you seen the bus ads for GUESS? brand kids' clothes that are running on the back-ends of Muni buses currently?” writes an anonymous reader. “They're not little placard ads, they're the big kind that covers the whole surface of the bus, window and all. The picture shows a boy of about ten or twelve, in wintry looking clothes, seated with his hands folded at crotch level. Now, right where his hands are, Muni buses have some kind of protrusion — I'm not sure if it's a pipe, or a handle, or a light. And because it's near the boy's hands, the protrusion is painted or printed a (caucasian) flesh color. But because it's a protrusion, it looks exactly as if … how do I put this … as if little Johnny has taken his pee-pee out of his pants, and is letting it take a little peek at the world from between his fingers.”
Is this what they mean by product placement?
The Shame of the Doobie Brothers
Editors of Notorious, a start-up magazine for men and women that supposedly deals with sex, asked author Bruce Jay Friedman to contribute some first-person reminiscences of his ribald and adventurous life. After initially refusing, Friedman eventually contributed two pages of funny and devastating little scenarios, including:
* “When the book came out, naming the men she had slept with, he was relieved that he had not been mentioned. Then slowly, the disappointment set in.”
* “He insisted that she compare him to her other lovers. After some consideration, she said he was the most 'thorough,' which, of course, was not the answer he was looking for.”
* “The most shameful secret of her life is that she went to bed with a man after accepting his claim that he was a Doobie Brother.”
It's backstage at a taping of Late Night With Conan O'Brien in New York's Rockefeller Center. People in the greenroom work their way through the complimentary sodas and a nearly empty platter of Fig Newtons. No caviar or champagne in sight. On the monitors is the short-fingered vulgarian himself, realtor Donald Trump, entering the studio set to applause. He behaves as pompously as expected, his hair a mysteriously unnatural shade of blond. (According to the makeup department, most of it is an elaborate comb-over.) Trump sits down in the chair next to Conan, and to everyone's surprise pulls a condom out of his pocket. He attempts to josh it up with Conan, but the act catches everyone off guard. What a sleazebag. Is it supposed to be funny? What's he thinking?
Comedian Marc Maron (formerly of S.F., now living in New York) paces the greenroom. He is the next guest after Trump, and the condom moment is too strange and weird not to acknowledge it on his segment. Maron checks with the show's producers to see if he can deviate from the anecdotes he's already cleared with them and make a joke about Trump. They seem cautious and reluctant.
Trump finishes his segment, retrieves his 7-foot-tall bodyguard, and vanishes from the building. Maron is introduced and sits down in the chair. Instead of launching into the prepared material, he turns to Conan and asks what is the deal with Donald Trump pulling a condom out on the air. The greenroom comes alive — he's actually going to say something about it! Conan's face registers momentary panic. He says he had no idea what was going on. Maron then delivers the goods: “Doesn't he know that hookers carry their own?”
Check out Maron as he returns to the Punch Line for shows this Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Tony Morewood opens. Call 397-4337.
By Jack Boulware