From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Aug 02 2009 - 18:19:32 PDT
I've written on Thundercrack, so I was delighted to find all this
attention directed to it. I've hunted around on the web for more info.
The Fox News team must have taken the clip segments they ran from the
trailer which appears on a website that promises to sell a fully
restored DVD of the film (in the near future):
Apparently there is a pirate version which circulates which is
significantly shorter than the original, and which shows scratches
and burns out the highlights.
There is a pretty complete summary of the film's narrative on Wikipedia
If you look at the Fox clip, it's worth it to also click on their
"automatically generated transcript" which includes such howlers as:
> That 25000 dollars of taxpayer money went to the San Francisco
> cinema attack.
Other than the usual demagoguery, what's fascinating (to me) in the
Fox and other sources is the constant transmutation of the story and
it's wild inaccuracies. In the "Perverts Put Out" segment that Scott
Stark originally flagged, the news reader (one Megyn Kelly, which
somehow in this context makes me think she's her own gynecologist)
claims that the NEA is "getting a rather big slice of the pie" of the
787,000,000,000 stimulus package. But, the House member being
interviewed says that the NEA got $15,000,000 in the stimulus
package. That makes the "big slice" 0.0019%. So much for accuracy.
Part of the problem here may be Fox confusing the entire NEA annual
budget with the 15 million in the stimulus package, but even the
whole NEA budget for FY 2009 is only 155 million, which brings sit up
to 0.0196% of the TARP stimulus package.
One downstream recapitulation of the report made the stimulus package
787 trillion, not billion. And lots of the reports mistakenly think
that Frameline, the distributor which showed the film at a festival
that took place in several venues, is a movie theatre, and they don't
seem to know what the SF Cinematheque (sorry, Cinema Attack) is.
They also seem to not grasp the fact that the film was made in 1975
and is not being funded by the NEA.
But also delicious in the whole thing is the alarm that Thundercrack
sets off because it shows "sex with animals." Of course if they'd
seen the film (or even the trailer) they would realize that George
Kuchar plays a circus truck driver guy who is in love with a female
gorilla he transports, which is very obviously someone in a gorilla
costume, not a live animal. Fox News marionette Greta Van Sustern is
particularly clueless on this matter.
Probably the biggest lie the Fox team tells is that they couldn't
present most of the images or any of the audio on air (actually on
cable). The trailer, available on the DVD website, is 3:35 minutes
long. I'd say only about 15 seconds of that couldn't be shown, and
that's just for bare breast nudity and one brief shot of a bare ass.
(You actually can show both on regular broadcast with a digital
blur.) But any extended part of the trailer would make it perfectly
obvious that it is a campy parody of film genres. And the audio
(George Kuchar's voice over and comic over-inflated sensationalizing
of the film) could be presented, but it would reveal that the whole
thing is a send-up of extreme proportions. Given that Me-GYN is a
lawyer according to the Fox News website, apparently (1) she never
saw the trailer even though she discusses it, or (2) she missed the
law school classes on broadcast and cable law, or (3) she thinks
lying is OK if you can goose the ratings and score points on the
Obama administration. She says she can't show most of the trailer on
TV, but she can show a fair amount of cleavage in talking about it.
(To be fair, not as much as most female detectives on network and
cable crime shows such as CSI are expected to display, but rather
more than her "official" Fox News website pix which are coded as
And a note to Fred Camper: I don't think Scott Stark needed to add
editorializing to his posting the link to the Fox News clip. Since
you don't have cable and don't watch Fox, Fred, you're probably not
aware of it (no fault there), but lots of folks are aware of Fox
foolishness because it frequently is quoted for sarcastic purposes on
The Daily Show (on Comedy Central channel) and Countdown with Keith
Obermann and The Rachel Maddow Show (both MSNBC). When I'm browsing
TV, I usually take a look at Fox News to see what the latest
stupidity is (like Glenn Beck saying Obama is a racist or anything by
Bill O'Reilly). But hey, Bill O'Reilly once called me a "pinhead" on
his show because I declined to appear on it to talk about teaching a
college course on pornography. For anyone with a modicum of
intellect and/or middle to left leanings, Fox News is an endless joke.
Maybe all this attention to the film will accelerate production of
the new DVD. It's an ill wind....
My article that discusses Thundercrack:
“Taking Out the Trash: Camp and the Politics of Irony,” The Politics
and Poetics of Camp, ed. Moe Meyer (NY and London: Routledge, 1994)
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.