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April 2000

Focus on the Family attacks anime
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 9:53PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The Religious Right is attacking anime again. A "review" posted on the Focus on the Family Web site takes aim at several anime series and films, especially "Ghost In the Shell." According to Focus on the Family, we should "[n]ever think of anime as just cartoons. In reality, many of these morally corrupt products constitute one of America's most dangerous entertainment imports." In 1998, The right-wing group Concerned Women for America attacked anime and, in particular, "Kiki's Delivery Service." Focus on the Family is run by Dr. James Dobson, whom many regard as the single most powerful figure in the so-called Christian Right.

Sci-Fi announces new programming
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:59PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The Sci-Fi Channel has announced several new original programs:

  • "Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher" features a thawed WWII hero whose mission is to save the world from an evil manufacturer of monsters. Richard Donner (director of the "Lethal Weapon" franchise) will executive produce.
  • The contemporary vampire miniseries, "Ultraviolet." The British three-parter will air on consecutive nights beginning July 31.
  • Along with sister network USA Network, Sci-Fi will broadcast the New York City Village Halloween Parade live, marking the first time that the pair will mount a joint simulcast.
  • "Blair Witch 2: Set Report," a one-hour movie special timed to the release of the film, "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows" in October.

Source: Variety

Showtime renews 'Stargate SG-1'
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:40PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Showtime has agreed to renew Stargate SG-1 for a fifth season, ordering another 22 episodes of the SF series starring Richard Dean Anderson, the cable network announced. The announcement was part of a deal between Showtime and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that produces the program.

Source: The Sci-Fi Wire

Benford joins Space.com
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:39PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Nebula Award-winning SF author Gregory Benford will join the Space.com Web site as a monthly columnist, with his first column focusing on the practical demands of getting humans to Mars, the site announced. Benford, author of Timescape, joins fellow SF author Larry Niven as a contributor to Space.com.

Source: The Sci-Fi Wire

FF movie coming next year?
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:36PM CDT by Franklin Harris
From AnotherUniverse.com:

Sometimes when you're scouring the web for news items, the most interesting facts appear in the final paragraph of a story. Case in point: Daily Variety's article about director Chris Columbus signing a new TV deal. While most of the article explains that the director of Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire will be developing an hour-long drama and a half-hour comedy series for BGTV, it glosses over the fact that Columbus recently wrote the script for his production of the Fantastic Four. The article also states that Fox will be releasing that comic-based film sometime next year.

My observation: If Fox has decided to release an FF movie next year, the final paragraph of a story is not where we'd find the news. Any FF film in development at Fox is probably less a sure thing than Daily Variety would have us believe.

'Dune' mini-series to air in December
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:30PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The Sci-Fi Channel will air its six-hour "Dune" mini-series this December. William Hurt stars in the original series based on Frank Herbert's science ficiton novel.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Moore's LOEG #5 delayed again
Posted Friday, April 28, 2000, 6:29PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” No. 5 has been delayed -- again! This time the story is almost too bizarre. According to Michael Doran of Newsarama, the entire run of issue No. 5 will be destroyed because one of the phony Victorian-style advertisements in the back of the comic turned out to be not so phony. And, what’s more, it is an advertisement for a “Marvel Douche Company.” There is no word on whether DC decided to scrap the comic because of the “marvel” reference, the “douche” reference or both. LOEG No. 5 is now expected to ship on May 10. It was to ship on May 3. For the full story in all its glory, see AnotherUniverse.com’s Daily Buzz.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2000, 7:36PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Remember "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs?" It was a bad -- and badly dubbed -- Japanese import from the late '80s, the days before anime hit it big. It actually makes 30 minutes of Goku grunting and "powering up" on "Dragonball Z" look entertaining. IGN Sci-Fi takes a funny look at this better-forgotten series here.

Excelcior campaign lost in space
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2000, 7:31PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Only about 20 people bothered to show up at Paramount Studios to try to convince studio executives to base the next "Star Trek" TV series on the adventures of Capt. Sulu (60-year-old George Takei) and the U.S.S. Excelsior. That was a far cry from the hundred -- or at least dozens -- of Trekkers expected to rally for their cause. Takei was also a no-show.

"Star Trek: Excelsior" is dead, Jim.

Source: IGN Sci-Fi

'Mononoke' delayed again?
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2000, 7:21PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Things are just getting more uncertain when it comes to the upcoming release of "Princess Mononoke" on DVD. According to Eric Maehara, vice president of Home Video, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the disc will be out "before the end of the year." And there is no confirmation of previously announced features (like a Japanese-language track).

Source: Anime on DVD

Kevin Spacey as Clouseau???
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2000, 6:59PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The rumor mill is at it again. This time the story is that Kevin Spacey ("American Beauty") may be up for the role of Inspector Clouseau in a remake of "The Pink Panther." Memo to MGM: Do not remake this movie. Memo to Spacey: You are no Peter Sellers, no matter how many Oscars you win for masturbating on screen.

Source: Cinescape Online

APRIL 27 UPDATE: Good News. Reuters is reporting that Spacey has denied the Clouseau rumor. Now if they'll just kill the remake outright.

New Trek to feature an 'Enterprise'?
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2000, 5:23PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The latest "Star Trek" series 5 rumor is that the new series, which is rumored to be set in pre-Federation days, will feature a ship with a familiar name: Enterprise. Will it be an earlier version of the Enterprise, pre-NCC-1701? Will it be a time-travelling Enterprise from some other time? Only time will tell.

Source: Cinescape Online

'Jaws,' 'E.T.', 'Jurassic Park' come to DVD
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2000, 5:07PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Steven Spielberg has announced that he will begin to release his films on DVD in the coming months. The first release will be "Jaws" on July 11. The DVD edition will feature deleted scenes, outtakes, a trivia game and a new digital widescreen view with a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 Surround-sound.

Spielberg's other Universal films, including "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "Jurassic Park," "Schindler's List" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," will be released on a staggered basis.

Other Universal/Amblin titles such as "Back to the Future," "Casper," "An American Tail" and "The Land Before Time," series will also be coming to DVD in the coming months.

There is still no word on the "Indiana Jones Trillogy" (Paramount), which is probably George Lucas' fault, and the "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" DVD (Sony/Columbia) is still rumored but M.I.A.

Source: AnotherUniverse.com

Liotta signing on for 'Hannibal'
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2000, 5:03PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Ray Liotta is reportedly close to signing on to director Ridley Scott’s "The Silence of the Lambs" sequel, "Hannibal." Liotta would take on the role of FBI investigator Thomas Krendler, according to Variety. Production is scheduled to begin in May.

Source: Cinescape Online and Variety

'Shazam' movie in the works?
Posted Monday, April 24, 2000, 9:11AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Ain't It Cool News has posted a rumor of a "Shazam!" movie being in the works at Warner Bros. This is the first I've heard of such a thing, and I'm very skeptical to say the least. Just follow the link and read the story yourself. (The Golden Age Captain Marvel on the big screen? Handled right, this could be the greatest superhero movie ever. On the other hand, this could be DEEP HURTING. Of course, probably nothing will come of this rumor, anyway.)

APRIL 25 UPDATE: Forget it. Ain't It Cool News says now that this story is bogus. (I told you so.)

D&D returns in reruns on Fox Kids
Posted Monday, April 24, 2000, 8:30AM CDT by Franklin Harris
You may have seen the ads on Saturday morning: "Dungeons and Dragons," the classic '80s adventure cartoon, originally broadcast on CBS, is back. Reruns of the series will start on Fox on April 29. Here is the schedule:

  • "Dungeons and Dragons" at 10 a.m. Central
  • "Flint the Time Detective" moves to 10:30 a.m., replacing "Godzilla."
  • "Godzilla" is off the Fox Kids schedule for the time being.

'Transformers' DVD to be edited version
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2000, 8:48AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Ain't It Cool News reports that the October DVD release of "Transformers: The Movie" will be the same edited version Kid Rhino released on video. (Damn them all to Hell!) The uncut version, however, which contains more violence and a few lines of profanity, is still available (on VHS only) from Canadian video outlets like www.videoflicks.com.

'The Ninth Gate' video release set for July
Posted Friday, April 21, 2000, 9:23PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Roman Polanski's latest film, "The Ninth Gate," is slated for video and DVD release on July 18. The DVD will retail for $24.98 and will have the following features:

  • Director's Commentary with Polanski
  • Featurette
  • Gallery/Description of Satanic Drawings that Appear in the Film
  • Cast/Crew Information
  • Production Notes

Source: DVD Nightmare

Vatican catches Pokemon fever
Posted Friday, April 21, 2000, 9:22AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From The Times of London: The Vatican has given its blessing to the children's craze Pokémon, saying that the irritating but addictive "pocket monsters" are morally improving. The trading card and computer game phenomenon may be banned in many British school playgrounds and give parents nightmares, but Sat2000, the satellite television station run by the Italian Bishops' Conference, concluded yesterday that it did not have "any harmful moral side effects". Sat2000, an arm of the Vatican, said that Pokémon was "full of inventive imagination". At the heart of the game lay "ties of intense friendship" between the "trainer" and his monsters.

Warren Ellis announces Image deal
Posted Friday, April 21, 2000, 8:48AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Warren Ellis announced today that he has signed a deal with Image Comics to publish a slate of three-issue serials, original graphic novels and trade paperbacks. According to Ellis, "These will be commercial full-colour comics series, with the sort of first-class widescreen production values associated with books like PLANETARY and THE AUTHORITY. If not better. Each serial I do will be its own complete story; no ongoing series, no continuing stories in the form of strings of miniseries. I'm talking about a minimum of four completely new serialised books a year." The books will start appearing in 2001. Meanwhile, an unrelated three-issue series by Ellis, "City of Silence," is scheduled to be published by Image beginning May 10.

'Perfect Blue' delayed one week
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2000, 5:51PM CDT by Franklin Harris
"Perfect Blue," set to be released on DVD on April 25, is now due on May 2.

Horror on DVD announcements
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2000, 5:50PM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to The Digital Bits, several horror DVDs are in the works. From MGM: "The Fog," "The Howling," "Misery," "Phantasm IV," "Pumpkinhead," "Scanners," "The Swamp Thing," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" and "Escape from New York." These titles will start being released in August. And from Fox: The original "The Fly" and "The Fly Returns" will released as a box set with the remake of "The Fly" and "The Fly II."

Dorkin's 'Club' heads to Cartoon Network
Posted Monday, April 17, 2000, 5:18PM CDT by Franklin Harris
A pilot based on Evan Dorkin's Eisner award-winning "The Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Role-Playing Club" stories from "Dork!" will be produced for the Cartoon Network.

Source: The Comic Wire

Clive Barker and Disney join forces
Posted Monday, April 17, 2000, 5:04PM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to Variety, Disney has paid horror novelist/filmmaker Clive Barker a $4 million advance for the film and ancillary rights to four yet-to-be-published novels. Reportedly, "The Abarat Quartet" will tell the story of a 16-year-old Minnesotan named Candy Quakenbush, who crosses into another dimension where she gets involved with a rebel leader's struggle to protect the 25 islands of Abarat from the evil conqueror Christopher Carrion, otherwise known as the Lord of Midnight. HarperCollins will be releasing the first book in the series in the fall of 2001. Disney executives describe the books as "being a combination of Harry Potter and a contemporary 'Wizard of Oz' but even richer in character and setting."

Jet Li to take on 'The First King'
Posted Monday, April 17, 2000, 4:49PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Jet Li ("Romeo Must Die") and producer Joel Silver are teaming up for "The First King." Described as a cross between "Indiana Jones" and "The Mummy," the film is about the first king of China and his court being resurrected in the modern world. Li, who came up with the idea for the film, will be paid a career-high $5 million against 5 per cent of the film's first-dollar gross.

Li is also being courted by Universal to play Kato in the movie version of "The Green Hornet."

Source: Variety

Edward Gorey dies at 75
Posted Monday, April 17, 2000, 4:46PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Edward Gorey, best known for his illustrations for the opening and closing credits of PBS' "Mystery" series, died away Saturday near his Cape Cod home. He was 75.

Source: Reuters

More Episode I DVD ramblings
Posted Monday, April 17, 2000, 4:44PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Dark Horizons and Ain't It Cool News both report that there is news on the "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" front. Reportedly George Lucas called Los Angels radio station KROQ on Friday to say he had finished work on the Episode II script a few days earlier. He added that Industrial Light and Magic is working on a DVD version of "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" that will contain extra film footage.

New U.S. Godzilla won't be from Centropolis
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 4:16PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Hollywood.com reports that there likely will be a sequel to Sony's disappointing big-budget 1998 "Godzilla". However, the guys who made the first film won't have anything to do with the second. Although Sony Pictures Entertainment and director Roland Emmerich's Centropolis Entertainment couldn't immediately confirm it, an insider tells Hollywood.com that the two sides parted ways on "Godzilla 2" in March, and Sony (which holds the U.S. rights to the Japanese-born Godzilla character) now hopes to hire a new production team within a few months. Meanwhile, "Godzilla 2000," the latest film in the Japanese-produced series, will hit American theaters this summer.

Lucas seeks help on Episode II script
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 1:05PM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to official Lucasfilm sources, George Lucas has brought in Jonathan Hales to help out on the script for "Star Wars: Episode Two." Hales was a scriptwriter for "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles."

Chris Carter to direct non-X-Files film
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 1:03PM CDT by Franklin Harris
"X-Files" creator Chris Carter is set to direct, co-write and co-produce "The World of Ted Serios," based on the book by Jule Eisenbud, reports Variety. The book is based on Eisenbud's real life encounters with a Chicago bellhop in the '60s. The bellhop seemed to be able to project his thoughts onto unexposed film negatives.

'Queen of the Damned' cast changes
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 12:58PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Wes Bentley has dropped out of the "Queen of the Damned" project, based on two of Anne Rice's vampire novels, "The Vampire Lestat" and "The Queen of the Damned." Meanwhile, singer Aaliyah ("Romeo Must Die") has signed up to portray the Queen of the Vampires, herself.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Scooby Doo film on fast track
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 12:54PM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Cinescape Online: Warner Bros. has placed the Scooby Doo film project on the fast track. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the reason for this turn for the best was due to James Gunn's recently finished script. The trade reports that the script's story would place live-action versions of the familiar cartoon gang in an Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein or Ghostbusters vein. Oh, and even though Mike Myers had left the project after word that his script with Jay Kogan was turned down, the studio is said to still be eying the Austin Powers actor for the role of Shaggy.

Oldman set to join 'Hannibal'
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2000, 11:16AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gary Oldman is on the verge of signing to join the cast of "Hannibal" as Hannibal Lecter's nemesis, Mason Verger.

More Hammer Horror from Anchor Bay
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2000, 8:54PM CDT by Franklin Harris
DVD Nightare reports that Anchor Bay Entertainment is preparing DVD releases of three currently out-of-print Hammer Horror films: "Scars of Dracula," "Lust For a Vampire" and "Dr. Jeykll and Sister Hyde." Presumably VHS releases are also forthcoming.

Christopher Walken in 'Star Wars' ???
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2000, 6:13AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Ain't It Cool News reports -- so take it for what it's worth -- that Christopher Walken has been cast in an as yet unknown part in "Star Wars: Episode II."

Gaiman to write and direct 'Death' movie!
Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2000, 3:59PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Neil Gaiman announced this past weekend that he will both write and direct Warner Brothers' upcoming, big-budget film version of his graphic novel, "Death: The High Cost of Living." He also announced that he and illustrator Dave McKean are working on an animated series based on their children's book, "The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish." And, lastly, Miramax has purchased the film rights to a Gaiman short story, "Chivalry," collected in both "Smoke and Mirrors" and "Angels and Visitations."

Source: IGN Sci-Fi

Stan Lee takes on DC superheroes
Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2000, 12:34PM CDT by Franklin Harris
It's official: Stan Lee, the 77-year-old former head honcho of Marvel Comics, will be working for DC Comics. Lee will be writing 12 prestige-format "Elseworlds" comics featuring his own takes on DC's flagship heroes, including Superman, Batman and Green Lantern. Read the full story at USA Today.

Harlan Ellison to write Batman comic
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2000, 5:25PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Michael Doran of Newsarama reports that Harlan Ellison is working on a Batman story to be published in a forthcoming issue of "Batman: Gotham Knights." The story is said to focus on Batman's detective side. DC Comics says, however, that the story is not yet on its publication schedule.

No more hentai at Amazon.com
Posted Monday, April 10, 2000, 5:22PM CDT by Franklin Harris
For those of you who need another reason to boycott Amazon.com, at least two hentai anime titles, "Urotsukidoji" and "La Blue Girl," have been removed from Amazon.com's database in all formats. Anime on DVD reports that Amazon.com made the move after receiving an e-mail complaint.

Frank Miller says 'Dark Knight 2' is on the way
Posted Monday, April 10, 2000, 5:05PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Michael Doran of Newsarama reports that Frank Miller has agreed to write and illustrate a sequel to his pathbreaking 1986 mini-series, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns." Publication is expected the first half of next year. Also, Miller is reportedly working on a "Daredevil" story arc for Marvel Comics, but nothing has been finalized as yet.

New 'Trek' series approved?
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2000, 10:58AM CDT by Franklin Harris
TrekToday.com and TrekWeb.com are both reporting that the fifth "Star Trek" TV series has been given the green light by Paramount. The series reportedly will be set during the formative years of the Federation (well before the adventures of Capt. Kirk) and will revolve around a plot by a time-travelling, 29th Century villain's attempt to destroy the Federation before it starts. (Hmm. Sounds a lot like the plot of "Star Trek: First Contact.")

'Prisoner' film moves forward
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2000, 10:51AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Barry Mendel ("The Sixth Sense") has signed on to produce Universal Studios' big screen adaptation of the classic TV series "The Prisoner." Chris McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects") is already on board to write the screenplay, and Simon West ("The General's Daughter") is committed to direct. Patrick McGoohan, who starred in and created the TV series as well as wrote many of the episodes, will serve as executive producer on the project.

Source: Variety

'Babylon 5' moves from TNT to Sci-Fi
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2000, 5:22PM CDT by Franklin Harris
The SCI FI Channel has acquired exclusive rights to the Emmy Award-winning SF series Babylon 5, the cable network announced Monday. The series will premiere on SCI FI beginning Sept. 25 and will air Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET. In a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Pay TV, Cable and Network Features, SCI FI picked up the rights to all 112 hour-long episodes of the series, as well as four two-hour telefilms based on the show.

Source: The Sci-Fi Wire

Columbia kills 'Daredevil' and 'Dr. Strange'
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2000, 5:14PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Columbia Pictures has halted two of its Marvel Comics-based movie projects, "Daredevil" and "Doctor Strange." According to Variety, Columbia and Marvel "hit a wall" after six months of negotiating. The projects may, however, resurface at another studio.

Columbia is still going ahead with Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" feature film.

Source: Variety

Art Bell retires from radio... again
Posted Monday, April 3, 2000, 7:11PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Art Bell, host of a popular syndicated radio show that explores UFO's and other "paranormal" subjects, claims he is retiring from radio -- again. He announced his retirement, effective April 26, on the April 1 edition of his radio show. (Take note, the announcement was on April Fool's Day.) In his statement, Bell cites the same "painful events that have occured to my family over the past several years" that caused his temporary retirement from radio last year. Premier Radio Networks plans to continue Bell's show, "Coast to Coast AM," with a new host, who will presumably be just as credulous (read, "nuts") as Bell.

New Eurotrash from Anchor Bay
Posted Monday, April 3, 2000, 12:54PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Anchor Bay Entertainment has finally released detailed information on the upcoming DVD and VHS releases of two Eurohorror favorites, "Vampyres" and "The Blood Spattered Bride." The DVDs for both are 16x9 enhanced, and "Vampires" features a commentary track with the director and producer. "Vampires" is set for a May 9 release, while "The Blood Spattered Bride" is due on May 23. Also due out on May 9 is "Posession," starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. It also features a commentary track.


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