Page 2 of 2
Is it your guess that the original cut would be a better movie?
Well, Russ Dvonch saw both cuts and he said they were both terrible, but I think he thought the first cut was the worst, because of the 3D. He said the movie was dark, it was hard to see anyway, and he had to wear 3D glasses, which only made it darker, and he said those 3D effects worked, the non-3D production values were cheap and amateurish, and he honestly, I think the second cut is slightly better according to him.
(Laughing) I know. I know.
So you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Exactly. There was no winning solution for this thing. Which is weird; the one thing I thought was strange was, by the time Dick Sweet recut it in 1986, I don't know if he even released it. I don't think he did. There's no evidence that he did. But Judd Nelson was actually a bankable star by that point; Rachel Sweet was pretty much a nobody in 1986. Why he didn't choose to show Judd Nelson is indicative of the lousy planning that went into this thing.
Tell me about the fundraiser screening, for Richmond's Byrd Theater, back in 2010.
It went fantastic. We packed the place. About a thousand people showed up; we had a party beforehand, down at the Jefferson, which was fixed up beautifully. We bussed people up to watch the movie and then we had an afterparty. The movie was a hit—it's one of those things where you're watching it and it's not a terrible movie like Transformers is a terrible movie, it's terrible in the fact that it's fun and goofy-terrible. It's not like you're gonna watch it several times—it's fun to watch it one time, and if you've had a couple of drinks in you, it's even more fun to watch. But really, it is a godawful movie. There's no other... Russ Dvonch said, “I think it's the worst movie I've ever seen.” Russ said, “Well, they credited me as lead scriptwriter, but almost nothing I wrote is in this movie.” They went through so many rewrites... I think it was rewritten constantly. God knows what they did to it when it reached the West coast. That's when they added all these extra scenes and it became almost like two different movies spliced together.
Let's say you're a studio executive and you have to release this thing in its current form; since the movie has no single director credit, whose name do you put on it?
I have to say Paul Justman directed the whole of the music numbers, so I'd say he had the biggest hand in it. If you would get permission I think his name would be the one to go on it, but there's no director credit on the movie at all. I would say Justman, more than anybody, if you look at some of the videos he did at the time, but the first 45 minutes of the film is West coast stuff, and I have no clue who did that. Nobody knows. For us, the trailer was the holy grail, so we had no idea we'd ever get the whole movie.
Are you holding out hope that you'll someday get your hands on a copy of the 3D version?
I did send out some feelers after we showed the film and it was so big, people embraced it and loved it so much, just saying “Hey, here's the article, we loved it, we'd really like to find the 3D version.” Our crowning achievement would be being able to show the original 3D version. Nothing ever came of it, so I don't know if it exists. It may have been destroyed. Maybe something really did happen to the negatives... Honestly, I think people don't want their—don't want to be attached to it.
Um. It's basically a full-length music video... just, a very hard-to-describe mishmash of teen horror, and rock-and-roll musical. The only way I can describe it. The connecting scenes are what stops the movie dead in the water. If it were just the musical numbers, it would be salvageable, but it's the bridges, the first 45 minutes, the lead-up... and then it turns into a kind of a Frankenstein story at one point, and then it veers off into some really beautifully done musical numbers, and then it veers back into some weird horror thing again. It's all over the freakin' place.