By Editorial Staff
Published April 7, 2008
by Joseph Farah
Last year, one of United Artists Pictures surprise hits was “Child’s Play,” a horror film about a diabolical and murderous spirit that inhabits a doll and terrorizes a mother and her son. Not only did the moderate-budget screamer gross $35 million in theatrical release, it also sold more that 200,000 video cassettes.
Therefore, by Hollywood standards the film, starring Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon, was a natural for a sequel. Producer David Kirschner and director John Lafia were set to start shooting the sequel on Oct. 15, 1989, when United Artists (UA) movie President Richard Berger called to say “Child’s Play II” was dead.
The decision to kill the project has horrified the Hollywood establishment because it was made not for financial reasons, but for considerations of taste. UA, you see, is about to be purchased by an Australian group that thinks horror films, while profitable in the short term, are destructive to the image and long-term success of the company.
“Why would you make a film like this?” David Evans, who will be the new chief executive of UA, asked of Kirschner. Startled and puzzled, Kirschner pointed out that it was a sure thing. He explained that Universal Studios built its entire foundation on horror films. Gore, excessive violence and shock had long been a Hollywood tradition.
As befuddled as Kirschner was, the rest of the industry was even more perplexed by this unusual programming decision based on higher standards and moral values. “I think the decision is insane,” one unnamed studio chief told the Los Angeles Times. “The one thing they don’t have is product.” A top Hollywood agent asked: “Since when had anyone in this business drawn a line that means not making money?”
Indeed, when word got out that “Child’s Play II” had been turned down by UA, every other studio in town immediately went after it. Conventional wisdom held that the film had the potential to be another long-running series like “Friday the 13th” or “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Paramount, Warner Bros., Columbia, 20th Century Fox, the Price Co., Carolco, New Line, and even Disney all expressed interest, but Universal appears to have the inside track on distribution rights. Kirschner plans to shoot the film as an independent production.
Still, there is concern throughout the business about UA’s apparent prohibition on horror and what its officials describe as certain other “exploitation genres.” Admission by industry insiders that Hollywood actually “exploits” audiences is considered a form of heresy within the establishment. The industry is still spoiling over a campaign for “higher standards” waged by British producer David Puttnam during his reign at Columbia. Even current UA honcho Berger reportedly disagrees with the decision of the Australians.
Meanwhile, the new team, which includes Christopher Skase, chairman of the Gintex Group, and Evans, is due to take over the company September 30. Evans said he did not want the company associated with any film that connected a child with murder. One source said the new rules would prohibit films like “The Bad Seed,” “The Omen” and “The Exorcist” from being made by UA.
The development raises some interesting questions: Is if possible that foreign ownership will actually bring some standards to Hollywood? With the entry of the Japanese and Australians into mainstream Hollywood production, will studio executives be more likely to begin questioning the long-term implications of producing exploitative entertainment? Will the bottom line remain the only criterion for determining which projects are pursued?
In Hollywood lately, there’s been much concern expressed about pollution of our environment. Rarely if ever, however, have the self-righteous activists in the entertainment industry bothered to look in the mirror and examine the kinds of effluents they themselves are spewing into our homes and theaters. They apparently believe the environment is limited to the air, the water and the earth, and that pollution of the mind is somehow less important than pollution of the body.
At a time when criminal and sexual violence are reaching epidemic proportions in our urban areas, few Hollywood executives have been willing to reflect honestly on how their own products may be helping to spread such diseases. In fact, the widespread gratuitous sex and ultra-violence in the media is certainly having a far greater impact on our society’s values than the occasional public service messages encouraging recycling and preservation of the rain forest.
Whether moved to do so entirely by public relations motivations or by genuine ethical concerns, UA officials are Hollywood pioneers in the art of restraint and self-control. While it is too early to begin celebrating the redemption of Hollywood, the incoming team at UA at least deserves some credit for bucking the tide.
Please contact Mr. David Evans to thank him for his stand against exploitation films and his decision to drop “Child’s Play II” from the United artist production schedule. He needs your encouragement since many Hollywood leaders have expressed their displeasure at his morality. His address is: Mr. David Evans, President, United Artists Pictures Inc., 450 N. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Arts and Media
Your comments are welcome!
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)