"The Haunting of Morella"
The Haunting of Morella (1990) is a Roger Corman produced titty flick based on a story of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. Jim Wynorsky directed, and tried to include homages to both early Italian horror masters and Corman's Poe films fro the 60s. Morella, a witch, is put to death via crucifixion and haveing her eyes put out with a hot poker in colonial America. She warns her husband that she will return in the body of their baby daughter, Lenora. Cut to the future, and Lenora is nearly 18, but has been kept a near prisoner by her father, who is now blind. She is under the care of her governess, Lana Clarkson.
When a handsome attorney from town arrives to talk with Lenora about her inheritance, her father refuses to let them meet. Clarkson arranges the meeting anyway, and it is not long before we learn that Clarkson actually has Morella's best interests at heart. Lenora and Morella are both played by Nicole Eggert, and her nude scenes are done by a body double. Clarkson shows breasts and buns, and is also seen in a pair of wet panties that reveals a lot of detail at the juncture of her thighs. We also have breasts and buns from Maria Ford as Clarkson's lesbian lover, and from Gail Harris and Deborah Dutch as virgin sacrifices. I am getting the idea that virginity has always been a serious liability, much the same as winning Aztec championships.
IMDb readers say 3.9. It does drag on way too long, especially for a film with an obvious outcome. Still, it concentrates late 80s scream queens in one handy place, and some of the sets and photography are rather good for a small budget film. This is a C-.
|Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
Heaven's Gate (1980):
those of you who have been living in a mountain monastery,
this film is the standard by which all other
underperforming high budget fiascos are measured. Waterworld was called
Kevin's Gate, Sliver was Evans' Gate, und so weiter.
The version of
Heaven's Gate on the DVD has rarely been seen. It is the first version
screened for the public in New York on November 18, 1980, and runs just
less than four hours. The response to it was so negative that the
nationwide roll-out was postponed and a shorter version was
prepared for national distribution. Amazingly enough, the 3:39 edit is
not the longest known version. Before the public ever saw Heaven's
Gate, director Michael Cimino had screened a 5 1/2 hour version for
the studio execs who had originally approved a $7.8 million dollar
budget and had watched the total costs increase to more than forty million
dollars as of
the day of that screening. It is amazing to me that Cimino survived that meeting. I'm
pretty sure that if I had been head of the studio, I would have killed
him right then and there, irrespective of the legal consequences. At
least his death would have created a big enough scandal to bring
curious people into the theaters.
In fact, I would like to see a movie about that screening day,
starting from the moment the lights went up. Now that would be a good
movie. Those studio boys must have had some tense talks that night,
because every man in the room must have realized that the studio's
money was lost forever, and that they would either have to write off
the forty million or approve even more for a rescue effort. The
smartest boys in the room must have known right then and there that
their company would surely go
belly up no matter which choice they made, and that their own
negligence had created the financial debacle.
Some of the people in the
room had greenlighted the project personally, and all of them had
contributed toward giving Cimino a free hand. United Artists had given
Cimino such free reign that the studio had assigned Joann Carelli,
Cimino's girlfriend, to be the studio's line producer on the project.
It was her job to check his excesses. The studio suits could have
skated through their lax management techniques and might even have
laughed off all the budgetary excesses if a blockbuster had resulted,
but when they saw what they had received for their money that day,
they knew their heads would soon roll, and that many of them could
never again work in the industry. It's surprising there weren't any
suicides that day, ala the 1929 stock market crash.
Yup, I'd go to a movie about that.
NOTE: There has been no fictional treatment
of that episode, but
a documentary film has been
After the November
18th public screening in
New York, there was a party at The Four
Seasons. Virtually nobody attended. That was a harbinger of the bad news
which would come in the New York Times the next day. Respected film
critic Vincent Canby called Heaven's Gate
"an unqualified disaster" and pointed out that it "fails
so completely that you might suspect Cimino sold his soul to the Devil
to obtain the success of The Deer Hunter, and the Devil has just come
around to collect."
In a completely
unprecedented move, United Artists immediately canceled the L.A. premiere and withdrew the film
in order to try to cut it to a reasonable length. When it was re-opened in April
1981, in a version pared down to about two and a half hours, it grossed a pathetic $1.3 million in
830 theaters. Some people say that the film's total cost had climbed close to $100 million dollars
including the promotional and distributional costs. Andy Albeck, the
head of the studio, resigned between the New York premiere and the
L.A. re-release. He had been with United Artists for 32 years.
In a sense, Heaven's Gate was an
important film in the history of the industry. The film not only broke
the United Artists studio and destroyed its executives, but changed the entire system
for making movies. Directors had taken control of the industry in the
1970s and the best ones could even obtain "final cut." There was
nothing then present in the system to rein in the talent and force it
to be cohesive, coherent or succinct. Heaven's Gate forced the studios
to stand up and take notice of the problem, and thus to take control
back from the directors so that the Cimino debacle could not be
repeated. Martin Scorsese said, "Heaven's Gate undercut
all of us. I knew at the time that it was the end of something. That
something had died." Francis Ford Coppola said, "There was a
coup d'etat that happened after Heaven's Gate. The studios were
outraged that directors ... had all the control. So they took the
The final casualty of the film was, of course, Michael Cimino.
- In November of 1979, because of his continued tinkering with
Heaven's Gate, Cimino was fired as the director of The King of
Comedy. The job went to some kid named Martin Scorsese.
In December 1981, Cimino could have had a second
chance. He was signed to direct Footloose, under a contractual
agreement that if the film went over its budget of $7.5 million,
Cimino would have to cover the additional amounts himself. The
following month, just as the movie was about to begin shooting,
Cimino asked the producer for an additional $250,000 to rewrite
the script and for an indefinite delay of production until the
script changes were completed. The producer promptly fired him and
hired Herbert Ross to direct.
- In the last fifteen years Cimino has directed exactly one
film, and that one (The Sunchaser, which I haven't seen) went
straight to video in the USA. His previous film had been a
Hours, a film in the "so bad it's good" category.
So is Heaven's Gate really that bad?
Of course not. It isn't a bad film in
the sense that it is incompetent. Indeed, many of the bad things you have
heard about it are wildly exaggerated.
Heaven's Gate is not a bottom-dwelling grade-Z movie. Cimino is not Ed
Wood, so he doesn't suffer from lunatic ideas. He is not Kevin
Costner, so he is not susceptible to
mawkish sentimentality. Michael Cimino did have a monumental ego, but he
also had great talent, and there is a lot of it on display in this
film. There is some rich
characterization and some of the actors deliver excellent
Chris Walken plays a complex good/bad character, the most richly
written in the film, and turns in possibly the most nuanced
performance of his career. Sam Waterston, Jeff Bridges, Brad Dourif
and Mickey Rourke are good in small roles.
Many of the
visuals are artfully and beautifully composed. Filmgoers were
actually awed by some
But the film has two monumental
problems: the pacing and the sound editing.
First and foremost, the pacing is
languorous. Heaven's Gate can be
exquisite from time to time, but overall it is
an exercise in tedium.
the notable exception of "Run Lola Run", Heaven's Gate may be the
only movie longer than the events it portrays.
At least it seems that way. Of course, the events
in "Lola" occupy about 20 minutes of real time, while Heaven's Gate
spans 20 years. Oh, Lord, this is one
slow-movin' film! And all the ponderous gravity of its four hour
running time is brought to bear merely to develop the ever-hackneyed
Western subject of "the farmers versus the cowmen."
kinda like watching Oklahoma! without the singin'.
I have exaggerated,
of course, but not by much. Several scenes are shot in real time or
- In the beginning
of the film, John Hurt delivers the Harvard class valedictory, and
we hear every single word of the speech.
- Following the
ceremony, the graduates perform a long celebratory
waltz number in the courtyard. This might have been a beautiful scene
because the costumes were spectacular and the dance was meticulously
choreographed. Unfortunately, the director spoiled the impact of the
scene by including every single beat of music.
- Kris Kristofferson
and Isabelle Huppert go for a buckboard ride for thrills and we see
almost every minute of their journey from the Kristofferson Cam as
if it we were supposed to feel the experience, like one of those 360
degree Disney things.
- At one point a
group holds a roll-call vote and we hear pretty much every member
give his "aye".
- Oh, there are
other examples as well, but you get the point.
The first two
tedious scenes at Harvard actually place take place in the
introduction, before the story even starts, in what seems to be an
all-but-irrelevant prologue. This may be the only movie in history
which put some people to sleep before the story even began! By the way, that
marginally relevant prologue was never in the studio-approved version
of the screenplay, and was not even written until the filming was
supposed to have been completed. It was a Cimino brainstorm that just
had to be added, and was filmed eight months after the rest of the film.
Boy, that was worth
Those scenes not only droned on at a
length unnecessary to make their points, but Cimino had spent millions
on elements of those scenes which were not critical to the
presentation, arguably not even relevant. To film the tacked-on
Cimino flew the entire crew to Oxford, which played the part of
Harvard. To get the right centerpiece for the graduation waltz, Cimino
uprooted a gigantic tree from a nearby town and re-planted it in the
The second major
problem in the film is the sound
track. In fact, audiences found this even more irritating than the
slow pace. Cimino
decided to throw out the old movie saw which states that the audience
should always hear
what the actors are saying, even if that would not actually be
possible in the situation being portrayed. In the old fashioned style
of Hollywood movies, we can hear Nelson Eddy even if he is standing in front of a
foghorn, or in a rioting crowd. The background noises are never loud
enough to drown out the principal dialogue. OK, that is obviously not
realistic, so maybe that old chestnut needed some
cracking, or at least some tweaking, in the mode of Robert Altman. But what did
Cimino choose as his alternative to the trite conventional approach?
Complete anarchy. We sometimes can't hear
what the main actors are saying over locomotive noises, raging
rivers, and angry crowds. Let's face it, Kris Kristofferson's mumbling is difficult to decipher under ideal
conditions, but with ambient noises he's nigh on to impossible.
Cimino seemed to save all of his
legendary attention to detail for visual details, and to ignore or
deprecate the sound problems.
Cimino brought an authentic period locomotive to the set over thousands
of miles of track, on a circuitous route mandated by the fact that the
19th century engine didn't fit into 20th century tunnels. He recreated
every scene in the film from authentic period photographs. Yet he
wouldn't spend a few minutes to get the dialogue comprehensible.
In addition to the ambient noise issues,
Cimino allowed Isabelle Huppert to misread some dialogue in the final
cut, even though a fix would have required nothing more than re-taking a
simple two shot. Cimino's editor, William Reynolds, a competent old-time
pro who had edited The Godfather and The Sting, told his director about
the dialogue problems, but the auteur huffed, "I don't know what you're
talking about. I can understand every word." Reynolds knew that was only
the case because Cimino had written those words, but he could not
convince his boss to make any changes.
I guess it would be remiss of
me to point out that the film's claims to be based on real events
are, to say the least, fanciful, although the authenticity claims of
the marketing campaign persist to this day. The current DVD box
says, "this lavish epic Western retells the true story of Wyoming's
famous Johnson County War - a brutal conflict in which wealthy
cattlemen, backed by the U.S. government, hired mercenaries to
murder 125 immigrant settlers." In the real Johnson County War, two
guys died, one of whom was a notorious cattle rustler. The
U.S. Government was involved, but only insofar as the U.S. Cavalry
arrived to break up the standoff before any further casualties could
occur. The troopers did, in fact, take the mercenaries into
protective custody, thus saving their lives, but the invaders were
arrested and jailed - at least temporarily - and were driven from
the county permanently. In other words, Michael Cimino's dedication
to the historical accuracy of his visuals did not extend to his
facts. When informed of this, he said, "It was not my intention to
write a history book. The specific facts of that incident recounted
in a literal way would be of no interest. One uses history in a very
Or to put it another way, if history refutes our preconceptions, we
need to change it.
Heaven's Gate has some beautiful
visuals created from period photographs, and some good moments
scattered through the film, but in
general is a bloated and tiresome cliché with sound problems. On the other hand,
it doesn't deserve its reputation as an utter disaster. If you ever watch it (which
I don't recommend), you'll see that there is tremendous talent
on display, but it is out of control.
Dennis Rodman to vie for Wife-Carrying World Championship title
- Dennis Rodman is unique in that you can put his name into
just about any headline not involving a Nobel Prize and it
would be believable. Dennis Rodman marries Cher. Sure, why
not? Dennis Rodman marries Sonny. Yeah, he would do it. Dennis
Rodman to set world tuna-eating record. Dennis Rodman to
manage the Mets. Dennis Rodman travels to Middle East on Peace
Mission. Dennis Rodman to play Hamlet in Chinese Opera. You
name it, Dennis might try it.
Help Weird Al make the Rock Hall of Fame.
Celebrity Bra Sizes
SCTV Guide - the complete reference
In Russia, reality TV watches you. Critics argue that
a popular show forces people into prostitution in order to win
- Reminds me of an old SCTV skit: Dante's Inferno. Host Bill
Dante would give fabulous prizes to the person willing to
commit the best sin. The first two contestants were willing to
commit major crimes like genocide - pretty tough for
contestant three to beat. Bill Dante asked #3 what she was
willing to do for the prizes, and she responded lasciviously,
"I would commit adultery, Bill - with you!" Without
hesitation, Bill Dante (John Candy) turned to the camera and
replied, "Tell her what she's won, Don Pardo!"
Some classic quotes from The Daily Show
- Geek site of the day:
Understanding (and abusing) Amazon's image catalog
Keep track of those four people who are rowing across the
Urban Legends about the kitchen. Does baking soda
really absorb odors? Do lobsters feel pain when boiled?
The world's largest puppets??. See the only known
wooden creatures larger than Hayden Christensen.
The international (Spanish) trailer for "The Bridge of San Luis
Rey," the Thornton Wilder classic which is ubiquitous
on prep school summer reading lists. The cast is impressive.
Check out DeNiro and Salieri speaking Spanish in the trailer.
Steve Carell is The 40 Year-Old Virgin. There seems
to be no truth to the rumor that this film is based on Carell's
Sith holds on to the #1 spot after all.
- The Star Wars finale ended up holding off the challengers
with a $55 million weekend and a $70 million four-day weekend.
- After winning the Friday competition, The Longest Yard
dropped to the #3 spot for the next three days.
- The runner-up spot was a virtual dead heat. The Longest
Yard ended up #2 for the three-day weekend, but Madagascar
ended up #2 for the extended period including Monday.
- Crash continued to be a steady earner with almost the
exact same earnings per screen as last week.
A mobile ring tone has reached #1 on the British hit singles
"The spirit of small-town America was vibrant and strong, and
strangely enough it was zucchini that brought these people
Here is yet another R-rated clip from High Tension (#7)
The bad news? We're closing down the military base in your town
and destroying the local economy. The good news? We finally have
a place to dump nuclear waste!
- Daily AstroPic:
What caused this great white spot on the surface of Saturn's
- Highbrow concept of the day:
Hamlet - as an opera - in Chinese - performed in Hamlet's actual
castle in Elsinore. The story will take place in
China but director Shi Yukun said it "maintains the tragic soul
of the original play." Damn, and I was hoping for the zany
Martin Short version!
Katie Holmes ready to strip if the role calls for it.
On the other hand, the article couldn't even get Katie's age
right, so the reliability factor may be a bit low ...
News Reporter Gets Hit With Snow From Plow as she
does her report. Great video. The woman remained amazingly
The trailer for The Re-penetrator
- "Zombie porn from hell." Spoof of HP Lovecraft's
re-animator. The trailer is XXX rated.
AFI's top 400 movie quotes (PDF format)
- BBC wins the headline of the day:
"Beer mat ads to recruit priests"
- "St. Pauli Girl - I drink it ... and He drinks it."
- "Tired of paying for your wine ...?"
Students' ratings of professorial teaching quality are highly
correlated with the 'easiness' of the course and the 'sexiness'
of the professors.
Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the
since it's sorta in real time.
to submit a URL for Other Crap
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
Finally...here are the results of our recent "Most Overrated Movie" poll
.Email Scoopy Jr. if suggestions for future polls.
Here are the results of our previous polls:
The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004
The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s
The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 90s
Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.
Who has the best bum in Hollywood?
Best All Time Television Comedy
Best Nudity in an Oscar-winning performance
The Top 20 Best Straight Sex Scenes
Best Lesbian Love Scenes
'Caps and comments by Hankster:
Today is an all "Hankster Light Day.
First up is Angelina Jolie in "Gia",cleavage, bra and then showing her beautiful body topless.
- Angelina Jolie
Then we move on to Pamela Anderson in "Scary Movie 3". She kept her clothes on, but did display a whole bunch of awesome cleavage.
- Pamela Anderson
'Caps and comments by Oz:
Judith Godreche is down to her underwear in Quicksand and some unknowns are topless.
"Chicago Joe and the Showgirl"
No nudity in Chicago Joe and the Showgirl but there are nice caps of Patsy Kensit and Emily Lloyd.
Misty Rowe flashes her breasts in Class Reunion and Shelley Smith is supposed to be doing the same in a photograph, although it doesn't look like her.
- Misty Rowe
- Shelley Smith
A bit of Shirley Anne Field's leg in the 1960 British film, The Entertainer.
- Shirley Anne Field
"How to Beat the High Co$t of Living"
An upskirt by Jessica Lange in How to Beat the High Co$t of Living and Jane Curtin flashes her breasts, although it is obviously a body double.
"Dumb and Dumberer"
No nudity in Dumb and Dumberer just lots of cleavage and pokies by Mimi Rogers, Rachel Nichols, Cheri Oteri and some unknowns.
Daryl Hannah is an assassin in The Job. She is topless but we can see nothing.
It's all sex appeal by Elizabeth McGovern and Harley Jane Kozak in The Favor.
- Elizabeth McGovern
- Harley Jane Kozak
"The Last Casino"
A fair bit of cleavage by Katharine Isabelle in The Last Casino.
- Katharine Isabelle
It's the same again by Susan Saint James in Outlaw Blues, not that she had much to boast about.
"Sex and the Single Mom"
Gail O'Grady is the single mom in Sex and the Single Mom and Danielle Panabaker is her daughter. Gail exposes her breasts, although it is probably a body double, and Danielle is in her underwear.
It's close but there's no nudity in Hollywood Homicide by Ragan Wallake and Lena Olin.
|Jennifer Jason Leigh
|Kitt 'caps of Leigh topless and going full frontal in scenes from the 1985 Paul Verhoeven movie, "Flesh & Blood".
|DeadLamb collages featuring some Prime Time Skin as seen in the made-for-TV movie, "Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution". "West Wing" co-star Moloney plays Amber Frey and shows pokies and poses semi-nude (black bars over the goods). Paget Brewster looks fantastic while showing a bit of cleavage.
|We frist ran these back in February, but since Scoop has beem covering the films of Michael Winterbottom, it seemed like a good time to revisit these LC 'caps. Here is the former model in scenes from the controversial UK movie "9 Songs" (2004). We see every inch of her body (including close-up gyno views) as she bares all, masturbates and has 100% genuine sex on screen.
|The Skin-man takes a look at Witherspoon's first and only on screen nudity in scenes from "Twilight".
Subject: Danica Patrick
Scoop, I was watching Fox News this morning and according to Lynn St. James, Danica Paatrick has done some risque posing, if not totally nude. She didn't say for sure.
I looked on the web and found some of her from FHM magazine but nothing I would write home about. Do you (or anyone out in Scoopy-land) know of or have any pics to share?
|Pat Reeder www.comedy-wire.com
Pat's comments in yellow...
JACKSON CASE GOES TO JURY AND TAILORS
Try Horizontal Stripes - Friday, both the prosecution and defense in
Michael Jackson's trial rested. Next comes Michael's toughest choice: what
to wear for the verdict. Two personal tailors have been creating a new
outfit every day and driving 90 miles to deliver it. One told the L.A.
Times that the first day, they had him all in white to suggest pure
innocence, but people got upset, so they switched to darker suits accented
with epaulets, gold braid, brocade, faux reptile fabric or British military
medals. He said they have several tailors who can't work fast enough
because "when we get together with Michael, it's show time."
Same thing his defense attorneys say.
Nothing makes a man look less like a gay pedophile than an ice cream
suit covered with brocade and epaulets.
The velvet "Little Lord Fauntleroy" suit was not a good idea.
The combination of the white suit and Michael's face kept blinding the
Just in case Michael is sent to prison, I'd suggest something with cast
PENTHOUSE DWELLERS DOOMED
Imagine Our Sadness - A British government study found that the penthouse
may be the worst place to live in case of an emergency. In three separate
tests, firefighters who climbed 28 floors carrying emergency equipment were
too exhausted and overheated to commit to battling the fire for more than a
minute or so.
If it's Trump's penthouse, the firefighters might decide it's in such
bad taste, let it burn.
The firefighters could land on the helipad on the roof, but the
penthouse owners would say, "Sorry, that's private."
|A quick site note
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