Film: Alien 3 (1992)
Prop: Bishop’s Torso
For the price of a new car you can own the likeness of actor Lance Henricksen who survived briefly into the third installment of the Alien series. Lead character Lt. Ripley salvages the remnants of this cyborg to understand critical information about her predicament as the sole survivor of crashed space vessel.
Film: Death Becomes Her (1992)
Prop: Goldie Hawn’s Fat Suit
Now 20 years old this wonderful fat suit remains in tact and in it’s fully corpulent glory promising to make its lucky owner fat in mere minutes. This season foam latex and spandex backings are in for all winter long warmth. Back zip closure makes it a fit for any size.
Film: Spaceballs (1987)
Prop: Megamaid Face
As real as it once seemed the massive spaceship “Maid” was in fact just a miniature sculpture. Yet, this bit of movie history will fit into any room and accent any decor. Inspired by the classic ending to Planet of the Apes this unexpected twist on the sci-fi genre will inspire wonderful conversation in your living room. Discover why in space no one can hear you clean.
Film: Tropic Thunder (2008)
Prop: Villager’s Coconut Bra
Just in time for the upcoming warm season you can feel like an exotic island-living villager like those seen in Tropic Thunder. A blend of style and comfort like this will have everyone noticing you. Authentic coconut and dried twine for a minimalist appearance.
Prop: Over Sized Die
This over sized weighted die from the classic adventure tale Jumanji promises to inspire style in your home (and perhaps a little danger). Used during filming this 6″ cube evokes the feel and look of the mysterious board game. Chiseled sides and weathered appearance provide the desired look of authenticity and verisimilitude.
Hot Shots Part Deux (1993)
Prop: Flattened Iraqi Soldier
Now you can own a thin slice of movie history with this squashed face from the pivotal sequence in the early 90s comedy Hot Shots. Use as a door mat or an attractive area rug. The solid urethane material is built over a wooden frame featuring the entire body of this fallen victim. Measures to an impressive 91″ x 89″
Star Wars (1997)
Prop: Death Star Fragment
Own this piece used to construct the monolithic Death Star. Features all of the esoteric caverns and panels that gave the man made planet such rich detail. Measures 14” x 8.5”
Available at PropStore.com
“I was fascinated to learn about “Pulgasari”—a 1985 movie that North Korea’s future leader Kim Jong Il forced South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee and director Shin Sang-ok to make after the couple was kidnapped on his orders. It’s hard not to feel a little nostalgic for the honest disasters in Mr. Taylor’s book.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Sometimes the most interesting stories in cinema take place behind the camera. Ben Taylor proves that page by glorious page. It beats the pants off the more superficial entries. One smart decision that Taylor has made in choosing which films to focus on is that he didn’t pick the obvious…and these days, that seriously counts for something. Sequel, sir?”
“Some of the true-life tales are staggering in their sheer level of insanity. …Packs a wallop. Undeniably fascinating”
— Kirkus Reviews
Taylor provides a thoroughly entertaining look at the trials and tribulations that plagued the filming of nine now infamous motion pictures. From ballooning costs to vexing locations to shocking fatalities, the nine films Taylor discusses reveal how easily ambition and stubbornness can plague a production. A must-read for film buffs and anyone curious about the many ways filming a movie can go awry.
— Kristine Huntley
“Taylor details the excruciating, mind-boggling and downright insane conditions in which [these] ﬁlms, both popular and obscure, were made . . . Pick this bad boy up when it hits shelves.”
Late one Sunday night in 2000 Willie Fulgear, an auto parts repair man, was searching for spare boxes near a dumpster in Koreatown, Los Angeles. He was preparing for a move when he noticed 10 unmarked crates stacked next to a dumpster. Inside he discovered 52 Oscar statues for the upcoming ceremony just 7 days away.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had been soliciting authorities to help find the statues after they were stolen 11 days earlier while en route to their destination from Chicago to Los Angeles via Roadway Express.
In a strange twist it was discovered that the Oscars had been stolen by two Roadway employees then brought to the home of Willie’s half brother, John Harris. They were to remain with Harris while contacts were made with potential black market buyers. However, the men became fearful of the intense search for the property and they ultimately discarded the statues in the ally where Willie later made his discovery.
After contacting the authorities to report his find Willie was awarded $50,000, the statues themselves were valued at approximately $18,000. As an additional thank you Willie was invited to attend the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony were the statues were safely returned.
Yet, one piece of the mystery remains unsolved. A total of 55 statues were stolen and only 52 recovered leaving three missing. One statue was later found by FBI agents conducting a drug investigation in Miami, Florida. The last two remain missing to this day.
There is no investment like those made for film. There are no sure bets, only methods of minimizing risk.
One man who would become successful at this practice was David Li. His world was not show business, but rather the equally unsteady terrain of the financial markets. In the late 1990s he began working for a consultant company called Risk Metrics Group launched by J.P. Morgan. Through exhaustive calculations he attempted to make sense of the unpredictable market. This unpredictability lives in the simple fact that incalculable connections exist between financial entities. Each has an influence on all others. If anyone could uncover how these connections work he or she would stand to yield enormous profits.
Li began work on a formula that would do just that.
Li eventually published a paper titled On Default Correlation: A Copula Function Approach in the Journal of Fixed Income. The article, could be distilled to one short equation he developed that could be applied to the world of collateralized debt obligations. The purpose of the formula was to defray risk. His work showed how vastly complex risks could be simplified and thus more easily calculated. The result: The outcome of previously complex trades became more accurate. The equation unlocked trades that once represented too much risk. The formula was adopted by traders, rating agencies and regulators. The bond market exploded into a universe of profits and wealth. Trillions of dollars flooded into the market.
Then, something unexpected happened; the formula faltered. Investors failed to understand that it was possible for a large number of people to default on their homes at once and that, in fact, one default could beget another. Li himself offered,
“It’s not the perfect model.”
Billions were lost. The result was the collapse of the U.S. subprime housing market.
Like Li’s equation, this big-budget summer-event-picture model had been used to great success in the past and continued to pay off for numerous studios. That is why so many became enraptured with a little-known script titled Waterworld. It had all the elements that were so important to financially successful films. However, once again, the formula showed its own fallibility. Just as so many traders invested their faith and capital into the efficacy of Li’s model, the studios invested similar wealth into the notion that any visual thrill would draw a crowd and profits.
The formula worked before and it was believed that it would work again, until it began to show its shortcomings and inconsistency. The mounting costs of Waterworld indicated not only a production out of control, but also a strong allegiance to the blockbuster formula.
Jason E. Squire, former feature film executive for 20th Century Fox, writing in the early 1990s, explains, “By 1990 high-risk, high reward picture-making was supposedly warranted in light of the potential global return from theatrical, home video and other formats.” The diversification of pictures shrank as larger bets were placed on fewer movies.
Throughout its production, Waterworld slowly eroded the faith of more and more in the blockbuster formula. The picture was far past the point of no return leaving everyone looking to the outcome as the final indicator of whether this formula was valid or not.