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Masonberg PLAGUES Sony Screen Gems

By Jarrod Sarafin, News Editor     July 12, 2007
Source: Spreading the Plague

Poster of THE PLAGUE by its original director Hal Masonberg.
© Spreading the Plague

I got this in the email box today and I thought why not spread it out for all you horror fans. It seems that writer/director Hal Masonberg is trying to pressure Sony's Screen Gems to let him release a  version of THE PLAGUE as he originally intended it. A few years back after he had shot most of the movie and had the cut ready to go, Screen Gems took it from under him and had a new producing crew come in, re-edit it, and slap on a CLIVE BARKER: THE PLAGUE title even though it's been reported that Clive Barker had nothing to do with it nor is it an adapted work from his library of fiction.

Here's the backstory of the situation as told by the original director Hal Masonberg:

In the fall of 2005, the film, THE PLAGUE, was taken away from its writers and director during post. After an 8 year struggle to make a thought-provoking, socially relevant horror film for adults, the film was re-cut from scratch by the producers without the involvement of the film's creators. Stock footage was added, new dialogue recorded, and the film completely restructured. The result was a version of the film that in no way reflects the years of hard work, creativity, or artistic intent of the writers and director of the film. Nor does it reflects any conversations, development ideas or intentions that were shared during the three-year collaboration process. It is solely and completely a "producers' cut".  It was released to dvd in September of 2006 at a running time of 88 minutes under the title CLIVE BARKER'S THE PLAGUE, though it was not based on any of Barker's work (it was an original screenplay by director Hal Masonberg and co-writer Teal Minton) and Barker, personally, had very little to do with the making of the film. 
However, after having been removed from the film, director Hal Masonberg took it upon himself to finish the film anyway with the materials available to him (the film's dailies on dvd and a Macintosh computer-turned post-production facility). The film was originally shot in Super 35mm by veteran cinematographer, Bill Butler (JAWS, THE CONVERSATION, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, FRAILTY), who was also not invited to partake in the film's post-production process.
The response to this Writers & Director's Cut by those who have seen it has been through the roof. However, without further support, this film may never see the light of day as the film's current distributor, Screen Gems, has no plans to release this cut.
I ask that you take a look at this site. On it you will find an hour-long documentary containing interviews with not only director, Hal Masonberg, but many others including Dee Wallace and other cast members, film authors/ journalists 
There is also a link to a petition and much more info on what happened to this film.
The link is:
Thanks in advance for your interest.
Hal Masonberg

This kind of thing seems to happen a lot inside Hollywood and sometimes, it could have been handled better for all the parties involved. I say more power to Hal for trying to get his version released.


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