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Old 07-02-07, 02:38 AM   #1
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THE PLAGUE: WRITERS & DIRECTOR'S CUT unreleased and needs your help

In the fall of 2005, the film, THE PLAGUE, was taken away from its writers and director during post. After an 8 year struggle to make a thought-provoking, socially relevant horror film dealing with the subject of kids and violence, the film was re-cut from scratch by the producers without the involvement of the film's creators. The new focus of the producers? To make a "killer-kid film". Stock footage was added, new dialogue recorded, and the film completely restructured.*The result was a version of the film that in no way reflects the years of hard work, creativity, or artistic intent of the writers and director of the film. Nor does it reflects any conversations, development ideas or intentions that were shared during the three-year collaboration process. It is solely and completely a "producers' cut".* It was released to dvd in September of 2006 at a running time of 88 minutes under the title CLIVE BARKER'S THE PLAGUE, though it was not based on any of Barker's work (it was an original screenplay by director Hal Masonberg and co-writer Teal Minton) and Barker, personally, had very little to do with the making of the film.*

However, after having been removed from the film, director Hal Masonberg took it upon himself to finish the film with the materials available to him (the film's dailies on dvd and a Macintosh computer-turned post-production facility) The film was originally shot in Super 35 by veteran cinematographer, Bill Butler (JAWS, THE CONVERSATION, FRAILTY), who was also not invited to partake in the film's post-production process.

The response to the Writers & Director's Cut by those who have seen it has been through the roof. However, without further support, this film may never see the light of day as the film's current distributor, Screen Gems, has no plans to release this cut.

I ask that you take a look at this site. On it you will find an hour-long documentary containing interviews with not only director, Hal Masonberg, but many others including Dee Wallace and other cast members, film authors/ journalists.

There is also a link to a petition and much more info on what happened to this film.

The link is:

http://www.spreadingtheplague.com/

Last edited by Mike Parker; 07-11-07 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 07-02-07, 08:23 AM   #2
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Wow, I heard about this movie a while back and had been looking forward to it. After the initial reviews i never even bothered to rent it. As bad as it sounds I wonder how much can be done to turn it into a good movie.

Good luck, if it ever comes out I will definitely give it a chance.
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Old 07-02-07, 08:48 AM   #3
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I believe it's possible to re-cut and re-edit material making a good movie even better or slightly worse. But you can't take all the film that was shot and make a nice piece out of a bad one. And The Plague is just a disaster. I doubt anyone can make something decent out of it. You know, Tony Kaye who directed American History X also complained the movie had been re-edited without his participation. I don't know what his concept was, but I'm pretty sure the final version does not differ a lot from what Kaye conceived. But The Plague... I mean I've seen it and unless there're another 2 hours of unrevealed material that was cut, you just can't do anything with the one that was in a movie primarily. It's just hopeless.
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Old 07-02-07, 10:02 AM   #4
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One really doesn't have too look any further than the "Love Conquers All" cut of Brazil on the Criterion DVD set to see how a great film can be butchered into something that's, at best, forgettable.

Now, I'm not saying that the director's cut of The Plague will be a great film. But maybe it'll be better enough to be considered a good film. It's always sad to hear when a director loses complete control over his project. I mean, if you're going to make a film and fail, at least the failure should be of the film you made.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay G.
One really doesn't have too look any further than the "Love Conquers All" cut of Brazil on the Criterion DVD set to see how a great film can be butchered into something that's, at best, forgettable.

Now, I'm not saying that the director's cut of The Plague will be a great film. But maybe it'll be better enough to be considered a good film. It's always sad to hear when a director loses complete control over his project. I mean, if you're going to make a film and fail, at least the failure should be of the film you made.
I don't think that's a very good comparison. Having only seen the "happy" cut of Brazil in the 80's I still loved the movie. The director's cut only took a good movie and made it very good. I have yet to see an awful film be re-edited into a good one. If I'm forgetting one, let me know.
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Old 07-02-07, 05:06 PM   #6
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I saw this movie...an enjoyable B horror/action movie.
I'd watch it again if it was going to be better..
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Old 07-03-07, 07:32 AM   #7
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Fascinating and well written post. Will definitely check out the documentary and for sure support the efforts of getting this film out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggles
But you can't take all the film that was shot and make a nice piece out of a bad one. And The Plague is just a disaster. I doubt anyone can make something decent out of it.
What's your level of expertise in this area? An ill conceived edit could've ruined this film - which is what the OP is saying. Also, they're working with footage not included the final cut.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabe
Fascinating and well written post. Will definitely check out the documentary and for sure support the efforts of getting this film out.



What's your level of expertise in this area? An ill conceived edit could've ruined this film - which is what the OP is saying. Also, they're working with footage not included the final cut.
Can you think of one example where a bad film was turned into a good one by a re-edit or extended edition?
Hmmm... maybe that would make a good thread topic in MovieTalk.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabe
What's your level of expertise in this area? An ill conceived edit could've ruined this film - which is what the OP is saying. Also, they're working with footage not included the final cut.
You're right, bad edit can ruin it all. Just like it was with Pathfinder where I could see glimpses of something that had a potential of becoming a decent action movie. I can easily believe that right editing could turn Pathfinder into a flick that many people would praise. But I've seen The Plague's material. OK, let them work on footage not originally included. But I don't think they'll edit the film using exclusively this hidden materials. It'll be done mostly using the old source which is dreadful in my opinion. And I'm referring mostly not to the story-line etc., but to how it all was done cinematographically. And it was done very poorly. A little local straight-to-video B or even C horror without any ambition. So I'm not inclined to wait for any revelations here.
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Old 07-03-07, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeputyDave
Can you think of one example where a bad film was turned into a good one by a re-edit or extended edition?
Hmmm... maybe that would make a good thread topic in MovieTalk.
Brown Bunny.
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Old 07-03-07, 12:40 PM   #11
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I might watch this version. I saw the film a few weeks ago and it was so damn boring and crappy, but i'd give it another chance if what they say is true.
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Old 07-03-07, 12:42 PM   #12
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I tried to sign the petition, and it was forcing me to donate money to them through Paypal.

Thanks but no thanks.
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Old 07-03-07, 02:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeputyDave
Can you think of one example where a bad film was turned into a good one by a re-edit or extended edition?
That's not actually a fair question. The question is, can you think of one example of a good film being turned into a bad one by a re-edit.

because, the point is, the producers took the film away and re-cut it, not that he's going back and re-cutting it based on people's reactions (a la Oliver Stone with 'Alexander').

But that's just semantic. I, personally, would submit "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" as an answer, but some people think the theatrical cut of that was really good. That's the other problem with your question; it's entirely dependent on opinion. (For instance, did the studio forcing Ridley Scott to add a voiceover track to 'Blade Runner' make the film significantly worse? Many people seem to think so. I've never seen it.)

'Kingdom of Heaven' -- a theatrical cut prepared by the director but forced by the producers -- was almost universally panned, and the extended cut was almost universally praised...

'Once Upon A Time In America' -- I have never heard anybody with a single good thing to say about the producer's cut, where the director's cut is considered a masterpiece in many circles.

'Army of Darkness' -- the director's cut is very much better than the American theatrical release, which is streamlined and dumbed-down (for an already tight and fun-but-stupid movie).

[Also, since the "Love Conquers All" edit of 'Brazil' was not available in the '80's, I'm going to asssume you mean that you saw the US cut, which is not the same thing at all. If you genuinely thought that the "Love Conquers All" version of 'Brazil' was a good movie, then the fact that you didn't like 'The Plague' is practically an endorsement of it.]

Last edited by ThatGuamGuy; 07-03-07 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 07-03-07, 02:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seantn
I tried to sign the petition, and it was forcing me to donate money to them through Paypal
That's nice!
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Old 07-03-07, 02:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ThatGuamGuy
That's not actually a fair question. The question is, can you think of one example of a good film being turned into a bad one by a re-edit.
Come to think of it, even this is unfair. The real question is one that there would be no answer to -- how many movies which have been completely dismissed as "shitty" over the years were cut together quickly by the producers to get them released as quickly as possible, with no regard for the quality of the editing? Just as writing is more than just typing, editing is more than just cutting. But, if producers don't want to spend any more money (which always happens in post-production), then they're not going to want to pay to get from rough cut to fine cut. This is way more likely to happen on a low budget movie like "The Plague" than a high budget movie (like, say, "Brazil"), since editors on higher budget movies are guild members... but also have experienced producers who know that a good edit(or) can save a bad film where a bad edit(or) can kill a good one.
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Old 07-03-07, 02:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seantn
I tried to sign the petition, and it was forcing me to donate money to them through Paypal.
That's not actually true, as far as I can tell. If you sign the petition, the next screen says:

"Your signature has been recorded. Please consider donating money to [a bunch of information about ipetitions.com, the site which hosts the petition itself]."

So, your signature probably is on the petition now.
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Old 07-03-07, 04:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuamGuy
That's not actually a fair question. The question is, can you think of one example of a good film being turned into a bad one by a re-edit.

because, the point is, the producers took the film away and re-cut it, not that he's going back and re-cutting it based on people's reactions (a la Oliver Stone with 'Alexander').

But that's just semantic. I, personally, would submit "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" as an answer, but some people think the theatrical cut of that was really good. That's the other problem with your question; it's entirely dependent on opinion. (For instance, did the studio forcing Ridley Scott to add a voiceover track to 'Blade Runner' make the film significantly worse? Many people seem to think so. I've never seen it.)

'Kingdom of Heaven' -- a theatrical cut prepared by the director but forced by the producers -- was almost universally panned, and the extended cut was almost universally praised...

'Once Upon A Time In America' -- I have never heard anybody with a single good thing to say about the producer's cut, where the director's cut is considered a masterpiece in many circles.

'Army of Darkness' -- the director's cut is very much better than the American theatrical release, which is streamlined and dumbed-down (for an already tight and fun-but-stupid movie).

[Also, since the "Love Conquers All" edit of 'Brazil' was not available in the '80's, I'm going to asssume you mean that you saw the US cut, which is not the same thing at all. If you genuinely thought that the "Love Conquers All" version of 'Brazil' was a good movie, then the fact that you didn't like 'The Plague' is practically an endorsement of it.]
Well, the version I saw many times in the 80's was taped off cable. I'm not sure which version it was, but I do know it was much different (and shorter) than the final directors cut on the CC. I haven't bothered to watch the "love conquers all" cut to see if thatís the one I remember. Regardless, I loved that movie. Sure it wasn't perfect, but it was still great in its unique way, and many people agreed with me who never knew there was any other version. If that was the only way you ever saw it, you may not actually be judging it against its potential.

I'm talking about a truly bad film becoming good with a re-edit. Blade Runner can't count, it was one of my all time favorite movies (and for many others, again, as well) long before I knew a different edit existed.

All of the other movies you mentioned were fair to good movies (IMHO and others) before the director's cuts. Show me something as bad as The Plague being re-done and we can talk. I guess the promises and hype of the new cut of the Exorcist prequel kind of soured me on this type of thing.
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Old 07-03-07, 05:26 PM   #18
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I'm with you Dave, let's hold the fort together
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Old 07-03-07, 05:59 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Giggles
I'm with you Dave, let's hold the fort together
Shouldn't you be in bed already?


Good to have you in the forum the same time I am. Come to San Diego and I'll buy you a beer.
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Old 07-03-07, 10:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggles
OK, let them work on footage not originally included. But I don't think they'll edit the film using exclusively this hidden materials. It'll be done mostly using the old source which is dreadful in my opinion. And I'm referring mostly not to the story-line etc., but to how it all was done cinematographically. And it was done very poorly.
The director states in an interview on the website that the cinematographer wasn't allowed to color-time his work for the producer's cut, and that they didn't use his preferred cuts either. It sounds like his edit of the film could be practically all new footage, even if it's just alternate takes of the same scene.
http://www.spreadingtheplague.com/Text/Interview.htm

BTW, even if one doesn't have any interest at all to see any cut of this film, that interview is still a fascinating read into the inner workings of a production company, and the mindset of the people who front the money for motion pictures.
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Old 07-03-07, 11:42 PM   #21
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I thought it was interesting to see the interviews with Dee Wallace Stone supporting the director and saying that the version released was just another teen hack-n-slash, where as his version was not.
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Old 07-04-07, 03:17 AM   #22
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Well, the Hal Masonberg interview is fascinating. And sad. He says producers started everything from scratch... Well, maybe it really would be interesting to give it a second try. Although I still have doubts. Well, they didn't reshoot the whole thing just re-edited. If the director's cut turns out to be good, it's time to open a Holy editing church and go there to pray an Editing God.
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Good to have you in the forum the same time I am. Come to San Diego and I'll buy you a beer.
Yeah, that would be nice. Hope I'll make it someday. Certainly you can count on one also if you're in Moscow somehow
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Old 07-04-07, 06:03 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuamGuy
'Kingdom of Heaven' -- a theatrical cut prepared by the director but forced by the producers -- was almost universally panned, and the extended cut was almost universally praised...

'Once Upon A Time In America' -- I have never heard anybody with a single good thing to say about the producer's cut, where the director's cut is considered a masterpiece in many circles.
The two I thought of. Particularly OUATIA. The first theatrical cut was an incoherent mess. The director's cut is a masterpiece.
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