Film Threat: RIP(ped me off)
Film Threat: RIP(ped me off) By Terry Gilmer.
Film Threat was a magazine I often looked at but seldom ever bought. If I saw it at the newsstand I would usually flip through it but probably couldn’t find enough reason to buy it...
Film Threat was a magazine I often looked at but seldom ever bought. If I saw it at the newsstand I would usually flip through it but probably couldn’t find enough reason to buy it. The one thing I could count on though was that whatever movie was on the cover was sure to tank at the box office if it was even released at all. Mallrats, Carnosaur, Fartman, The Fantastic Four and other dreck all graced the cover of Film Threat. It seemed to be the literary kiss of death for movies.
I remember it had been a while since I had seen a copy of Film Threat. Back in January of ’97 I was in an out-of-town bookstore when I saw that Film Threat was back. Courtney Love was on the cover bathed in a hypnotic blue glow. I guess I was drawn to it because the blue glow reminded of television. Sweet television. Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover. There were also articles on The People Vs. Larry Flynt and Beavis and Butthead Do America. It was slick and thinner than Kate Moss on an Ex-Lax binge but for some reason I bought it. I was looking for something to read so I decided to give "Hollywood’s Indie Voice" a go.
Next month a friend told me that Film Threat Online had announced that the magazine was going "subscription only". This would be the first of many ominous announcements from the Film Threat website. Since I had long tired of industry ass-kissers like Premiere and Entertainment Weekly I decided to send my hard-earned money off for a subscription. I went for the two-year deal, which also promised a Film Threat T-shirt. And then the waiting began.
Over the next few months Film Threat Online continued to portray things were business as usual. The cover of the "April/May" issue was posted along with headlines of articles from the supposed next issue. No problems with the magazine were mentioned on the site. In fact Film Threat began offering a "lifetime subscription deal" for $99.95!
Still my mailbox remained empty. I never received a single magazine or even a thank-you note from Film Threat for my two-year subscription. If you’ve ever subscribed to a magazine you know that the publishers begin hassling you to renew your subscription at least six months before it expires. Weeks had turned into months and not a peep from Film Threat.
Finally on June 21, 1997 Chris Gore announced via Film Threat Online that his magazine was going on a "temporary hiatus". He stated that he just wanted to be "honest" and that the magazine might return in the Fall. I guess it was at this point that I realized I had been screwed. Chris by his own admission did not have enough money to restart the magazine. In my book if you advertise a product you know you can’t deliver on, that constitutes fraud. Remember it was after funds for the magazine ran out that Chris began offering his "subscription only" and "lifetime subscription" deals. So what does Chris say to people who’ve sent in their money and not received a single issue? "Too bad. No refunds."
When Chris announced the print magazine’s hiatus he kept saying funding for the magazine was almost in reach. He just needed a little time. Think about this for a second. If Chris is so ready to rip off his loyal readers what bank or group of investors is going to give him the 500K needed to restart the magazine? Talk about your bad risk. Worse yet Chris tries to suck up to the suckers (myself included) who sent him money by saying he’s just a "middle class" kind of guy.
How many of you "middle class" people have edited magazines and sold them to corporations? How many of you have defrauded thousands of people into buying a non-existent product? Class is a word Chris knows nothing about.
On Film Threat Online, Chris says that he asked readers if they would rather receive another magazine as compensation or a refund and that they "voted" overwhelmingly to wait for Film Threat to return. I don’t know about other readers but I was never asked what should be done with my money. I guess my "ballot" got lost in the mail.
Film Threat itself has not gone under. Chris Gore proudly states that his videotape sales are doing quite well. I’m happy for you, Chris. The thing that gets me is that Chris gets all upset over anyone bootlegging Film Threat videos. If you look on Film Threat Online you'll see Chris encourage people to report anyone making illegal copies of his precious tapes. You can almost hear the violins as he talks about supporting independent filmmakers and blasts video junkies for taking food out of their mouths. I guess it’s okay to steal money from Film Threat subscribers just not directors and films that Chris has a financial stake in.
Film Threat seemed to be the zine that wouldn’t die but this time it may have. It’s gone through four different incarnations but it seems now that there’s nowhere else to go. As late as January of this year Film Threat Online said that the print version would return in 1999 but no date has been set. Film Threat Online has shriveled up to almost nothing. The "Interviews" section has ONE interview that being the ass-kissing Richard Linklater interview mentioned in CdC #8. The "store" has ONE item for sale that being the Film Threat T-shirt. Yep, the same T-shirt promised to multi-year subscribers two and a half years ago. I don’t know if anyone shops at this "store" but it doesn’t seems to be the wisest shopping decision. Let the buyer beware and remember what Chris says, there’s "no money-back guarantee".
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