Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - August 31, 1983

Author: Ann Kolson, Inquirer Staff Writer

Gorehounds are a breed apart.

They can be seen lining up outside movie theaters for such stomach-turners as Corpse Grinder, Maniac, Gore Gore Girls or that all-time favorite I Spit on Your Grave . They crave nothing better than a brutal slaughter, spurting blood, severed limbs, cleaved heads and gouged eyeballs.

Though the low-budget splatter flicks they love are reviled by highbrow critics for their bad acting, poor technical quality and frequently anti- female themes, gorehounds have found a champion in Rick Sullivan.

Sullivan, 28, is the founder, publisher and sole contributor to the Gore Gazette - a 35-cent newsletter dedicated to sleazy films or, as its masthead proclaims, "Your Bi-Weekly Guide to Horror, Exploitation and Gore in the N.Y. Metro Area." Circulation of the three-year-old publication is 5,000 and growing.

Slight, mild-mannered and bespectacled, Sullivan is a "normal guy" who just happens to be known as "Mr. Gore." He looks more like a certified public accountant than a connoisseur of the gross and disgusting. Funny, he is a certified public accountant, working in North Jersey booking films and doing accounting for a small chain of movie theaters. But that's just his job; sleazy cinema is his life.

Most of Sullivan's spare time is spent in the squalid movie houses around 42d Street in New York City or, sometimes, at suburban New Jersey theaters where gory films are screened at midnight. The Fabian, a five-screen theater owned by Sullivan's boss in fraying downtown Paterson, N.J., is a showplace for the greatest in gore. (One recent imaginative, although unprofitable, booking there was the pairing of Gandhi with Tales of the Crypt, "catering strictly to Hindu gorehounds," Sullivan says.)

According to Sullivan, defining the schlock/shock genre - "goon pictures shown in goon theaters" - is easy. An exploitation film is made only to make money and "any artistic statement is only accidental."

Take the movie Blood Feast (1963), for example, that Sullivan considers a classic. "A lot of people think it's the worst movie ever made," Sullivan says cheerfully. It was made for $20,000 in six days ("It was supposed to be five, but it rained one day.")

Blood Feast - filmed in Miami by Herschell Gordon Lewis, a granddaddy of gore - made $2 million, according to Sullivan, without ever playing in New York, Chicago or the West Coast. (It did, however, play Philadelphia.) Rural Southern drive-ins are where it and films like it fare best.

At the theaters he attends, Sullivan sees who goes but can't say what makes the movies popular. At the theaters in urban New Jersey, audiences are primarily black and Hispanic. In trendy Manhattan theaters and bars that screen gore classics, much of the clientele is gay.

Scratchy prints, uninspired scripts and wooden actors are taken for granted by gorehounds. According to Sullivan, 50 percent of the actors in these films are unknowns, the other 50 percent are has-beens. Cameron Mitchell is one who appears. So is Samantha Eggar.

Sullivan sees himself as kind of a Ralph Nader: "I tell them what to see and what's a rip-off." He admits that as much as 80 percent of the movies are ''garbage" but thinks that "a lot are very good films the press ignores."

This is a fast-buck industry where the advertising budget often exceeds the shooting budget for the film. And where greedy filmmakers change the names of films to capture a new, unsuspecting audience.

Who else but Sullivan could caution the unwary that "Dr. Butcher is the 1979 Italian production, formerly Queen of the Cannibals, to which Aquarius added an opening sequence lifted from a mid-'70s American production known as Tales That Will Rip Your Heart Out from director Roy Frumkes."

The gazette is filled with other helpful tips. "Ignore the ad campaign: Class of 1984 is not the trendy throw-away fluff United is promoting it to be," one review reads. ". . . There is plenty of activity with table saws, lead pipes, switchblades, car crashes . . . to more than satiate any gorehound."

Sullivan turned to gore because he was forbidden to watch horror movies as a kid. That's his theory, anyway. But by the time he accidentally saw The Giant Behemoth, at age 5, he was hooked.

After college he wound up in a three-piece suit working as a financial analyst for Exxon in New York City and spending his lunch hours in 42d Street theaters watching gore.

Sullivan began the Gore Gazette in 1980 at Exxon expense (unbeknownst to Exxon), using company printers and mailing it in company envelopes. He "drew the line," he says, at using company stamps.

The gazette, then free, was gaining in popularity ("the printers liked it better than doing financial statements") and all was going well for several years until a security guard found a copy in the men's room. Exxon threatened to get him for mail fraud - they didn't pursue it - and after 4 1/2 years of work, Sullivan found himself unemployed. Three weeks later he found his present job with the theater chain.

Interesting, sometimes elevating - "I try to include vocabulary expansion in the Gore Gazette; I try to include at least three words readers would have to look up" - Sullivan isn't sure that the Gazette will last forever.

Sometimes, he admits, it gets boring. "How many synonyms are there for 'sick,' 'deranged' and 'crazed'?" he asks.


1994 Theater image from the Flickr photosite of sssdc1

Our Own Outrageous Ontario

Washington Post, The (DC) - October 30, 1981

Author: Michael Kernan

IT IS 7:30 on a Saturday night, and the Ontario Theater is embarking on a marathon of the three "Omen" movies, one after the other. Thirty people are rattling around in the great dark chamber which has room for 1,100. The floor isn't canted, to speak of, but the huge screen is so high that it doesn't matter. A stage projects several yards in front of it. The place is clean, amazingly clean.

"We have three films every night," says Seth Hurwitz, the former manager who now books pictures for the Ontario when he isn't running his own booking company, IMP ("(It's May Party"). "Three movies for $3, it's a gimmick. I go to all the screenings of first-run pictures and only use proven hits. The neighborhood is changing, and we try to keep that in mind."

The neighborhood is perhaps Washington's most interesting, Adams-Morgan, the Columbia Road area between 16th and Connecticut. Blacks, whites, Latinos, artists, embassy people, white-haired apartment dwellers . . . and he's right, it is changing, and the prices are going up.

"I tried 'Elephant Man,' and that didn't go. I tried 'Straw Dogs,' which has plenty of violence, but it didn't go. I put the classic 'Freaks' in with 'The Fantastic Animation Festival,' but that didn't work either. But they loved 'Gloria,' which is a classy movie but violent."

Now the audience is building. People drift in steadily, paying no attention to the movie times. A group, laden with cups, pails and bushel baskets of popcorn, files in and settles itself. On the screen, David Warner is being nastily beheaded by sheet glass, the sound track is screaming and blood is pumping, but the talkative newcomers don't bother to look.

Recently a local magazine attacked the Ontario for running so much violence, notably the sadistic " I Spit on Your Grave ." Hurwitz and the present manager, Carlos Rosario, say they are doing their best to upgrade the product while still making a living. On weekends the theater shows Spanish-language films, mostly Mexican, with the occasional Cantinflas comedy (no subtitles). These do very well indeed.The live rock concerts also do well.

"It's expensive to operate as a concert Hall," Hurwitz says, "because there are no lights or sound, everything has to be brought in and taken out. We pick them carefully, charge $8 or $9, you have to be sure you have a hit. We had three this year, all sellouts."

One problem is making the theater attractive to suburban kids who might feel threatened by the neighborhood and perhaps don't understand the uninhibited Columbia Road audiences. The Ontario goes out of its way to have police protection at concerts and a couple of black-belt bouncers hanging around . . . "They're kids themselves, and they're concerned mainly with the fire regulations. It's a happy group, a little noisy, but we've never had any trouble," Hurwitz says.

The first "Omen" picture is over, and more people drift in from the black-marble-and-mirror lobby designed by Marvin Goldman when K-B Theaters took over the place in 1958. Someone calls to a friend clear across the theater. the friend shouts happily back. Small children run up and down the aisles. Everyone seems immune to the film's determined spookiness. It is only when the action explodes that the chatter stops, like crickets in the country when a car passes.

"Outrageous is our byword," Hurwitz says. "We don't do any X-rated stuff. I would say the ideal combination was 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'halloween II.' The perfect Ontario movie. Sometimes they come in late and don't like it and demand their money back, or they want to pay $1 just to see the last picture."

For several years he tried to run hard-ticket reserved-seat programs at the Ontario, but it was no good. The turning point came in March 1979, when Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon" opened, and receipts went through the roof. Since then, the Ontario Theater has provided a fascinating study in esthetics, teetering delicately on the razor's edge between art and money. It's also the last word in community movie theaters.

The other night they had a ridiculous picture called "Dracula's Dog." A guy came up to the box office and said, "I didnt know dracula had no dawg." But he paid his $3 and went in anyway.

INTO THE VALLEY OF THE 'ULTRAVIXEN' bu David Lees and Stan Berkowits

Poster image from Bosnuk's Public Gallery : http://picasaweb.google.com/weirdposters

Into the Valley of the 'Ultravixen'

Washington Post, The (DC) - March 18, 1979

Author: David Lees and Stan Berkowits; Copyright (COPYRIGHT) 1979, David Lees and Stan Berkowitz Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate

The sign on the sandy highway optimistically proclaims: "Rosamond, Gateway to Progress." But if there have ever been any gateways (or any rpogress) during the history of this little town on the edge of the Mojave Desert, they've been sunbaked or sandblasted out of existence. A handful of fast-food franchises huddle together along the only street in town. Hilly desert country stretches out on all sides; a lonely highway cuts across it all, going to nowhere from nowhere.

Nobody in Rosamond knows about it, but the biggest news here is the shooting of the finishing touches of a feature motion picture.

The firm carries the marquee-stretching title "Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens." Coupled with the almost furtive location work, it's a sure sign that Russ Meyer, the man Forbes magazine calls "the Hugh Hefner of the adult-movie business," is back at work.

Work, for Meyer, means shooting -- and marketing -- his own filmed fantasies. Meyer comes up with the ideas for his films. He collaborates in the writing of the scripts. He secures all financing, half of the money usually coming out of his own pocket. In addition to the traditional duties associated with a producerdirector, Meyer feels most comfortable working as his own cinematographer, camera operator, gaffer, transportation captain, unit manager and occasinal cook. He will serve as the film's editor, and after it's completed, he will spend one day each week going over ledger sheets and calling up theaters, in his role as the distributor of the finished product. It may open soon in Dallas.

Although Meyer has kept away from hardcore footage in his work, he has spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself against obscenity charges throughout America.

During the last 18 years, Meyer has turned out 32 films. At last count, the take for his movies totaled around $60 million. Meyer's audience, once limited to older men in raincoats, has grown to include college students and even a few women. This small, youthful Russ Meyer film cult turns out in full force for Meyer reruns.

It takes most of the two-hour drive out to Rosamond for Meyer to sketch in the plot of the film. Concerned with the career of a young man whose sexual dysfunction is cured by the divine intervention of a lady evangelist, "Beneath" is scattered with silly character names, cases of mistaken identity and a cheerful bawdiness throughout. Meyer can point with pride to Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Ebert as a collaborator on "Beneath." Ebert, an old friend of Meyer's who won the journalism prize as a film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times, has his name listed as screenwriter on Meyer's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." This time around, he wants to use a pseudonym.

"Go ahead and use his name," Meyer says. "He just tells everyone anyway. He wants to call himself Holly Martins (the character Joseph Cotten played in "The Third Man"), but I think Mr. Hyde would be better."

There is little chance that "Beneath" will show up on many critics' top-10 lists, despite the shadowy presence of Ebert. In New Times, Richard Corliss accused Meyer of going directly from adolescence to senility in "Up." Another critic wrote that he found "not one damned thing redemptive" about "beyond the Valley of the Dolls."

But to many observers, Meyer's films have become important not so much for their content as for the way they are made. Meyer's working style offers what some say is a sensible alternative to the extravagances of major studio productions. A Meyer film rarely exceeds its $250,000 budget. He takes only a few people along on the crew; the films he makes require only a few weeks to shoot. A finished Meyer product has the high production values of studio features -- and Meyer's astonishing batting average of 30 hits and two flops is far better than any studio's.

On Meyer's small crews, everyone has double duties. Often, the sound recordist helps with the props, the makeup woman claps the slate and the actors help carry the equipment.

"Meyer is very overbearing, but he gets the job done," says Charles Pitt, an actor who played the lead in "Supervixens." "It's like old Blood-and Guts Patton. If he needs a shot, he'll lie down in the mud and show you the shot he wants; he'll never tell an actor to do something he won't."

Meyer has a tired face, the lines etched by the months he has spent looking at his latest film through the tiny window of a Moviola.Sitting in a corner booth in the bar at the Hollywood Nickodell, the 56-year-old Meyer sips on a nonstop series of Bombay martinis. He is reluctant to speculate on how long be will be able to sustain his flat-out working pace, but it is clear he intends to continue as a strictly one-man show.

"I want to make my films, my kind of pictures, one a year," he says.

The relative comfort of a full union crew doesn't seem to appeal to him. He has signed with only one union, Screen Actors Guild; the others have never bothered him.

"If you want to make a picture that has any real scope and name stars, where you have to have portable toilets, policemen, caterers, you have to sign a contract because you need all those services. It serves me no purpose to have a giant crew for my kind of film... but it's very good if you're going to make a musical, like 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.'"

"Beyond" -- or, as some critics called it, "B.V.D." -- was Meyer's first major studio film, made in 1970 for 20th Century-Fox. He went on to direct "The Seven Minutes" for the studio, but when it bombed, Meyer found himself back on his own.

"I wouldn't go back to a major studio," Meyer says flatly. "At Fox, [Richard] Zanuck was always telling me how great it was to see my car in the lot on Sundays, but I don't think he'd ever seen one of my films.

"I don't want to make an art movie," continues Meyer. "I don't want to make a film that has great critical acclaim. It's nice if someone says a few nice things, but the important thing is the guy who plunks down his $3.50 or $4 to see the movie.

"The satisfaction I have is that I can make films that are not peopled with any kind of stars; and if I do it right, people will come in large numbers to see what the hell I've done.

"My films are just extensions of my own fantasies. Right now, I want to make a film a year and have a good time."

Meyer's definition of "a good time" has always included flirting with disaster. Meyer, and nearly everyone who has always included flirting with disaster. Meyer, and nearly everyone who has worked for him, has a stock pile of stories about boat crashes, near-electrocutions and brushes with venomous snakes, all encountered during the course of shooting.

Steve Oliver, who starred in Meyer's 1964 bike epic, "Motorpsycho," before playing in 148 episodes of "Peyton Polace" as Lee Webber, recalls: "If Meyer wanted something, he'd get it. We were shooting on a hill, with about a foot and a half on each side of us and the camera right in the way of the bikes. Two actors ended up in the hospital, one with a hole in his stomach two inches wide."

But for Meyer, the worst disaster is failing to complete a movie.

"You make the film by the grace of God and a long-handled spoon," he says. "The only thing that counts is get the film done, no matter what you have to do. Lie, cheat, steal, bunco, con, get it out."

All Those measures failed recently on a project called (depending on who you talk to) either "Anarchy in the U.K." or "Who Killed Bambi?" Meyer was hired by the management of the then-punk, now-defunct Sex Pistols to direct a takeoff on "A Hard Day's Night"; but after three days of shooting in Ireland, the production stopped.

Meyer is suing the Pistols for back pay; they are counter suing him, claiming unprofessionalism and alleging that he attacked an actress during auditions. Meyer denies the charge, but he hopes the court fight will generate publicity for his new film.

Meyer's hunger for publicity never extends to the actual shooting of his films. He clamps a security lid on the set because he says his actresses balk at appearing naked in front of gawking strangers. It's also cheaper to shoot in a semi secret environment.

Segments of "Supervixens" were filmed in the home of an old Army buddy of Meyer's who lives in Highland Park. An interior for "Beneath" was shot at The Other Ball bar in San Gabriel. In selecting an exterior for "Beneath's" inserts, Meyer simply turned off the main highway, drove across the rough terrain and opened up shop at the foot of a hill.

Meyer's drive to complete his own films in his own way often tempts even the unknown actors he uses to walk off the set and across the desert. On his "Cherry, Harry and Raquel," an actress left in the middle of shooting.

"The person who's involved in simulated sex," Meyer explains, "They think after a while, well, this is just a porno film, why is it so important?"

Uschi Digard, a buxom North Dakotan who has acted in four of Meyer's films and served most recently as associate producer for him, claims, "As an actress, you have to give Russ what Russ wants."

Meyer alumni have graduated to other things from his films. Oliver plays the character role of Dugan in Crown International Pictures' top-grossing "Malibu Beach." Harrison Page, a regular in "C.P.O. Sharkey," Ken Swofford of "The Eddie Capra Mysteries," Alex Rocco, who was Moe Green in "The Godfather," and Charles Napier, Chrome Angel in "Handle With Care," have all worked for Meyer.

Meyer is quick to point out the irony that although he is known for casting actresses of spectacular dimension, few of them have gone on to any prominence. Former Playmate Dolly Reed starred in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," but now she's known mainly for a succession of guest appearances on game shows with her husband, comedian Dick Martin. Erica Gavin, whom Meyer credits with the success of his "Vixen," now works in a boutique in West Hollywood. Shari Eubank worked in "Supervixens," acted in one other exploitation film, then returned to her home in rural Illinois.

"None of them are primarily actresses," says Digard. "They don't really want to be actresses. They either marry a rich man or go into other fields. I never really wanted to be an actress. I've had fun, but I've never felt about acting as I do about being behind the camera."

Francesca (Kitten) Natividad, one of the leads in "Beneath," seems to echo Digard's assessment. "I don't have to be a serious actress. I have a great body, so why not use it?"

Phyllis Elizabeth Davis may become the exception to the dismal track record of ex-Meyer actresses. Her first major role was in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," a film she somehow managed to get through without removing her clothes. Her later work in a couple of women-in-prison films did involve some nudity, but that part of her past didn't prevent her from doing "Love American Style" on television (she was with the blackout cast) and a major feature, "The Choirboys."

Currently on the ABC series "Vegas," Davis remembers that she and Meyer "just didn't hit it off.

"I don't want to say anything negative about him," she adds. "We just didn't become friends -- at all."

Meyer's subject may be sex, but he is puritanical about off screen passion. He demands that the sexes be segregated while on location and is constantly on the alert to make sure they stay that way. Just talking to an actress alone in her room drew an assistant cameraman an angry reprimand from Meyer.

"A newspaper editor came by while we were shooting once," reports Meyer, "a real swinger. He thought we'd all be mingling together like angle worms. Fall asleep, then wake up and do a couple of shots. That's not the way it works."

"Sure, you'd be anxious to see what the girl looked like when she took off her clothes," says one former grip for Meyer, "but then, after about five minutes, it was business as usual. Well... maybe 10 minutes."

"I choose to think that if the actors and actresses continue to keep being horny, their whole attitude is hungry, lean. It may contribute to their performance," Meyer said of his on-location policy.

Ms. Nativdad, who tells a reporter to "make sure to say I'm his girlfriend," seems to contradict Meyer's avowed reluctance to mix real-life sex with is celluloid fantasies. "I was in 'Up,' and after that I really wanted to be in his next one really bad. I kept inviting him out to lunch, but he wouldn't go. Finally, he went, because he had nothing else to do, I guess. You know, he drinks and I don't but I was drinking anyway. I passed out and woke up at his house. That's how our romance started," she says brightly.

Their relationship has continued during the making of "Beneath," and because of it, Meyer lifted has ban on fraternization.

During principal photography, he and Kitten would often slip away together at lunch. Concerned, Kitten says, "Do you think everyone knew what we were doing?"

"Sure," Meyer replies blithely."When you came back, some of your body makeup was gone."

At Rosamond, Kitten sponges on her body makeup for what she hopes will be the last time... on this film. Meyer completed principal photography a year ago, but he is still busy shooting inserts, brief pieces of nonverbal footage that add to the flow of the film. Kitten's figure is pure Little Annie Fannie, with an assist from a Las Vegas plastic surgeon.

Despite the proximity of these distractions, Meyer works steadily through the afternoon. His personality on the set is low-key; he rarely shouts. He moves quickly to set up each shot, but he doesn't seem to panic as he hurries to wrap up shooting before the sun goes behind the mountains. Everything goes so smoothly, one is tempted to wonder why Meyer needs even one assistant.

But suddenly, Meyer asks his assistant to operate the camera, enabling Meyer to do the one thing he hasn't done so far in this film -- act. He will play himself, directing "Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens."

After the scene, with the sun gone, Meyer takes advantage of te natural echo of the hills to record some sound effects. Kitten and the assistant position themselves next to each other, about 20 feet from the microphone. They burst into a cacophony of orgiastic moans and groans, punctuated by lunatic dialogue. Meyer interrupts several times, orchestrating the precise effect he has in mind.

"I want it to sound like lunch at the zoo," he says with satisfaction.


Violence in the Wake of 'Warriors'

Washington Post, The (DC) - February 22, 1979

Author: Megan Rosenfeld

On February 15, Martin Yacabowicz, 16, was riding on a Boston subway at about 10 p.m. when he got into an argument with six young men he knew; one of them had a knife strapped to his right leg. A few minutes later, a knife had been plunged into Yacabowicz' stomach; he staggered off the train and collapsed at a bus stop, where he was found by two policemen and taken to a hospital. He died at 5:15 a.m. Police have charged two young men with his murder, and say they were among the six and that they had all been to see a movie called "The Warriors," advertised as "Boston's Number One Newest Hit."

On February 12, at 10:20 p.m., in the lobby of a movie theater in the Esplanade Shopping Center in Oxnard, Calif., Timothy Gitchel, 18, his brother and two of his friends, all white, were asked for a quarter by one of a group of 20 black youths. They got into a shouting match; Gitchel got a bloody nose. The fight escalated, and a few minutes later Gitchel, who had been stabbed in the heart, staggered into another area, and died. The movie: "The Warriors."

"The Warriors," a $4 million feature made with unknown actors which opened on Feb. 9, grossed $3.5 million in its first three days. At least five incidents of violence have followed in its wake, although a Paramount spokesman denies any direct link. In addition to the deaths in Oxnard and Boston, there was a fatal shooting in a Palm Springs drive-in , a subway rampage in New York, and a rock and bottle throwing incident at a drive-in in Oxnard.

Paramount spokesman Gordon Weaver said that as a result of the incidents the company had withdrawn its advertising, and offered to pay for extra security at any of the 670 movie theaters playing the film. Two theaters , in Oxnard and Palm Springs, have canceled showings of "The Warriors."

"We canceled the advertising because it was turning into a media event," Weaver said. "We didn't want to have a situation where a news commentator would finish a report on one of these incidents and then an ad would come on saying 'now playing at your local theater .'"

(Last night, however, the AP quoted Weaver as saying Paramount had decided to resume advertising but that the ads would be different -- telling prospective patrons only that the film was being shown and where they could see it. "We wanted an ad that could never be construed as being exhortative," he was quoted as saying.)

Weaver said he did not believe that the movie inspired the violence, and cautioned that in the incident in Palm Springs the participants had been involved in another fight unrelated to the movie, and that in Oxnard the blacks had seen the movie but the whites had not.

"What happens is when you have an event where you have large groups of people from diverse backgrounds meeting in a common forum, it perhaps provides a setting for something antisocial to happen. I've seen enough bloody noses at high school football games to know that... You have to look at the number of films released every year and say do people act out their fantasies? That does not seem to happen."

Massachusetts state Sen. Michael LoPresti complained in a letter to the Boston area district attorney that the film "depicts youth crime in a glamorous manner." LoPresti asked to have the movie banned in Boston; assistant district attorney Paul K. Leary said the office would view the film and see if it was violating any local statutes.

"It's a very violent picture," said the assistant manager of the downtown Boston theater where the six youths had allegedly seen "The Warriors."

"It's fantasy violence," said Weaver. "The violence is not real violence, it's pop-gun violence. Obviously, heads get bashed in, but it's not done in an ugly way."

"These are the Armies of the Night," read the advertisements for "The Warriors." "They outnumber the cops five to one..." It takes place in New York City, and involves the efforts of a gang (the Warriors) to reach their home turf via subway after being mistakenly blamed for the death of another gang's leader.

"There are not innocent people who get attacked," said Weaver. "It's good guys and bad guys, like a Western. The one truly bad person receives retribution."

Locally, the film is playing at the Town Downtown, the K.B. Silver, and the K.B. Georgetown Square. The manager of the Town theater said the only problem he'd had was "some noisy kids" one day when school was canceled because of the snow. He said Paramount was paying for the two extra security guards he had hired for the run of the movie.

Oxnard police spokesman Lt. Dan Hanline said the fight did not appear to be a gang war but rather a racial incident. There were 60 people in the lobby during the fight, he said, yet police have been unable to charge anyone with the murder. One suspect was released for insufficient evidence "although there was blood on him."

In another incident the night before in Oxnard, Hanline said, young people threw rocks and bottles at police cars called to a drive-in after a showing of the film was canceled because of fog. Asked if he thought the movie was related to both incidents, Hanline said, "you can't expect me to answer that." However, he said, violence of that type is "rare" in Oxnard, where last year there were a total of 14 murders in a population of 100,000.

Paramount Pictures executives were "shocked, totally shocked," at the violent incidents surrounding the showing of the movie, Weaver said. "Three young people lost their lives," he said. "We knew young people would like it, but we certainly were not prepared for that."

"I'll tell you one thing," said the assistant theater manager in Boston."We haven't done such good business in 15 years, not since we had 'My Fair Lady'."