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Merlin's Manifesto - Movie News
last updated 12/13/99 Next update is on 12-22:Take the challenge
The Movie Trivia Challenge

Greetings and welcome to the latest update from Merlin's Manifesto, your home for the latest and greatest information on upcoming horror and fantasy projects. In this update we take a look at Roman Polanski's 'The Ninth Gate', the 'X-Files', 'Heart of Love', superhero movies and that's not all, just scroll down to read more. We would like to announce a great new feature of Merlin's Manifesto, Merlin's Top 25 sites list, learn more about increasing your traffic, and getting user feedback at the same time.Would you like to receive Merlin's monthly manifesto in your e-mail? Click here to sign up.

An In-depth Look: The Ninth Gate
Few directors have faced the problems that have plagued Roman Polanski, especially considering his wife and unborn child's murder at the hands of the infamous Manson family. Through this adversity, including statutory rape charges that caused him to flee in exile to France, Polanski is still known as a great director, especially when considering his film 'Rosemary's Baby', which is arguably one of the best psychological thrillers of all time. 'The Ninth Gate' is only Polanski's third film in this decade, following the brilliant 'Death and the Maiden' and 1992's 'Bitter Moon'. It is interesting to note that the delay between this film and 'Death and the Maiden' is due in no small part to the failed production of 'The Double' which was set to star John Travolta, but was canceled by Polanski after Travolta bailed.

On March 31st, 2000 Artisan Entertainment will release Polanski's 'Ninth Gate' film starring Johnny Depp. "Corso (Depp) is a rather dubious rare book finder, whose services are engaged by the owner of one of Europe's largest collection of demonic texts. The prize of his collection is a 16th century tome entitled "The Ninth Gate," a book containing nine etchings, which supposedly hold the key to summoning the ultimate in dark powers. But duplicates of the texts exist and Corso is sent out to the corners Europe to search for the two remaining volumes. The job seems straightforward, but the unsuspecting Corso is dealing with more than he expected. Unbeknownst to him, the books carry a curse of misfortune or death to any and all holders."

The Bookshelf: List Price: $17.95 Our Price: $14.36 You Save: $3.59 (20%)
Datlow and Windling, renowned for crossing genre boundaries, gather stories and poems from mainstream magazines, literary journals, and Internet zines. There are vampires, a Lovecraft homage, enchanted birds and animals, shapeshifters, adult fairy tales, ghosts, and even a hunted muse. The best are Byatt's sensuous, enchanting "Cold"--about an ice princess who marries a glass-blowing desert prince--and Straub's novella, "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff" (which won the Stoker award for Best Long Fiction in 1999), a black comedy of revenge gone awry. The reference material includes each editor's review of the year's best novels, collections and anthologies, magazines, related nonfiction, children's books, and art. There's also a roundup of 1998's film, television, and dramatic offerings by Ed Bryant, a brief essay on comics by Seth Johnson, and obituaries by James Frenkel.

Rumors and Gossip
The directors of the Blair Witch Project, recently interviewed in Variety, have officially announced their next project. Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick briefly described a film that is a Monty Python meets Airplane type movie entitled 'Heart of Love'. The duo promises that there will be no camcorder in the woods footage, which they say is a once in a lifetime gag. Sanchez and Myrick go on to say that this is the film they would have done first if they had the money and that they did not want to be known only as horror directors as it wasn't really their 'forte'. Something that an increasing number of anti-Blair Witch fans would agree with.

The Webmaster (Donsimus) over at sent me an e-mail telling me that he just got done talking to Corey Solomon, the director of the 'Dungeons and Dragons' movie. Apparently he answered some questions about the film and he even dropped off a concept sketch for a gauntlet that will be worn in the movie. Take a cruise over for these and other stories, only at

A great teaser poster for Ridley Scott's upcoming Roman epic entitled 'The Gladiator' appeared on the net recently. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of this interesting poster. I wonder what all that blood is about, will it be a bloodbath of true Roman proportions, oh I can only hope. This film is scheduled to hit theaters in the summer of 2000.

Speaking of Monthly Python, ex-Pythoner Terry Gilliam, who recently directed 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', has been confirmed to direct an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's novel 'Good Omens'. Neil Gaiman recently spoke on where he has his own message board, that the project was 'in the hands of the perfect director. Terry Pratchett and I are both on the sidelines, and are keeping our fingers crossed.'

Harry over at Ain't-it-Cool News got his chubby hands on the script for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes and the 'Vengeance of Dracula' movie. And from the way it sounds, it will be pretty good unless Will Smith is playing Sherlock, click here to read more.

Time magazine recently published a great photo essay and article on Ang Lee's upcoming kung-fu action flick entitled 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. Click here to read the article, and they click here to see the photo essay.

Months ago the comics world was stunned when word got out that the family of Superman co-creator, the late Jerry Siegel, had filed legal papers that would allow the family to take at least 50% control of the character created way back in the ‘30s. Now, as reported by Mania’s Matt Brady, Captain America creator Joe Simon has stepped up and his lawyers have filed copyright termination notices with the U.S. Copyright Office for the rights to the shield-slinging hero. Read more at Cinescape on this topic.

X-Files co-executive produce Vince Gilligan came with a neat idea for an episode of the X-Files that will happen this season. The episode will be shot in Cops style, following a rookie cop on his beat when he comes across Mulder and Sculley. Gilligan then explained that the episode was still in consideration, "We don't want people tuning in, seeing COPS, and saying, ‘What the heck? Our show was preempted this week.’ We need to try to make clear that it's indeed an episode of The X-Files."

Producer Glen Larson recently spoke about his 'Battlestar Galactica' project, and the rumors that it will be brought to the IMAX theaters. "The motion picture rights reverted to me, and [Universal's] not interested in going back to television at this point. I want to do something more adventurous. Universal came back to us [after turning down a feature film idea] with the IMAX proposal. It's kind of the direction we're heading right now, though the ink's not dry on this area yet."

Gaston Leroux's classic novel, 'The Phantom of the Opera' looks to be the next Universal Studios monster to get a makeover. Alfonso Arau (Picking Up the Pieces, Like Water for Chocolate) is currently in negotiations to direct what is expected to a contemporary retelling of the story of a girl who learns to sing from the hideously deformed Phantom.

Rumors have been flying rampant about Sony's 'Spider-Man' project but according to Variety, the studio will select either David Fincher (Fight Club, The Game, Seven) or Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone, Bicentennial Man). Word has it that the studio will make their final decision before Christmas.

Dark Horizons had a couple of cool posters up from the upcoming movies, the Matt Damon drama 'The Talented Mr. Ripley', the Johnny Depp thriller 'The Ninth Gate' and the animated adventure 'The Road to El Dorado'.

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