OFF LEASH FILMS
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Filmmaker Fights To Spread THE PLAGUE
Smart genre film dealing with children/violence grossly re-cut by producers
Writer/Director Hal Masonberg is fighting to get his film seen; a film he finished AFTER he was removed from the project. Now he’s heading an international campaign to get his film released. The film in question is, THE PLAGUE, a thought-provoking, socially relevant horror movie dealing with the subject of kids and violence. THE PLAGUE was taken away from both its writers and director during post production after they'd spent a total of 8 years struggling to get it made. The film was re-cut from scratch by producers who chose to do so without the involvement of the film's creators. The new focus of the producers? To make what they called a "killer-kid film". Stock footage was added, new dialogue recorded, and the film completely restructured. This "new" cut of the film was released to dvd in September of 2006 at a running time of 88 minutes under the title CLIVE BARKER'S THE PLAGUE, though the film was not based on any of Barker's work. It was, in fact, an original screenplay by Masonberg and co-writer Teal Minton.
Not satisfied with having his name, or his writing partner's name, on a film he felt in no way reflected their years of hard work, creative input or artistic intent, Masonberg decided to finish the film on his own with the materials available to him –the dvd dailies and a Macintosh computer. Masonberg would have preferred access to the film's original 35mm negative which was shot by veteran cinematographer, Bill Butler (JAWS, THE CONVERSATION, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST), but such was not the case. Sadly, even Mr. Butler was not invited by producers to participate in the film's post-production process.
Using Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects and a host of other commercially available programs, Masonberg completed his cut of the film from scratch, teaching himself complex sound design and visual effects along the way.
Today, THE PLAGUE: WRITERS & DIRECTOR'S CUT has been seen by only a few, but the response has been through the roof: "It's amazing how people respond to this film," says Masonberg, "It's not a splatter film, not a gore film. We wanted to make a film that harkened back to when horror films were made for adults and were a reflection of our combined social fears. People who never think about going to see horror movies are now asking to see this one again and again because of what the film says and how it says it."
Unfortunately for Masonberg --and the public as well-- the film's current distributor, Screen Gems, has no plans to release this cut. The good news is that there is a web site, growing quickly in popularity, that is devoted to that very cause. On it one will find, not only a link to a petition with an ever-growing number of signatures, but an hour-long documentary titled SPREADING THE PLAGUE: INTERVIEWS ABOUT THE WRITERS & DIRECTOR'S CUT which contains interviews with Masonberg and cast members, including one of the film's stars, Dee Wallace (E.T., CUJO), as well as noted film authors/ journalists. All participants openly voice their desire to see this cut of the film released. There are also written interviews, radio interviews, links to forums and articles all focusing on getting this film out to the public.
The site can be viewed at: http://www.spreadingtheplague.com