Rehab: GROOM LAKE, A Film by William Shatner…


GL scout with Shatner.jpg

My copy of the new GROOM LAKE DVD from Koch showed up this afternoon, so I gave it a quick spin. On the plus side, the transfer is (finally) 16:9 anamorphic the way we shot it, where the previous disc that Full Moon/Shadow Entertainment briefly released was only 4:3 letterboxed.

But that’s about the only positive thing I can say.

The disc’s only other feature (besides scene selections) is a 28-minute, rambling chat with director/star William Shatner. And an amusing extra it is, as he meanders on and on, trying to make every excuse in the world as to why anyone should even watch the movie to begin with. Of course, along the way he takes credit for producing the movie as well as conceiving, directing and starring in it, which I guess is OK, too.

Of course, the truth is something else. I don’t know all of the details of how Shatner wound up bringing the project to Full Moon head honcho Charles Band, but my guess is that no one else in Hollywood would touch the script with a 10-foot pole. (Not the worst thing I had ever read, but far from the best.) But the reality is, while producing a series of DVCAM features for Full Moon back in 2000, the task of producing GROOM LAKE fell to yours truly and my producing partner at the time, Chuck Williams (the photo above is us with Shatner in better days, while scouting locations at the Biosphere in Arizona). And I have the emotional scars to prove it!

I won’t spoil all the fun of Shatner’s interview, you’ll have to rent or buy the disc for yourself, but trust me, it’s more entertaining than the movie itself. Spoilers: Referring to Gene Corman and Roger Corman as “The Corman Brothers” (that’s a first for me) when talking about his 1962 opus THE INTRUDER. Claiming that the production of GROOM LAKE didn’t have food on set, or trailers for actors, or even chairs to sit on during the shoot. (None of which is true, but I guess it makes it easier for him to help sell how “low budget” the movie supposedly is. The reality is, this mess wound up costing over $1 million!) And best of all, something about “looking into people’s souls and discovering that they’re not who they claimed to be”, which can only be taken as a sly jab at Charles Band himself, and rightfully so. (The whole mess started with him, promising Shatner a $500,000 budget and then telling me to make it for $250,000 or less.)

Someday I’m gonna spill all of my great GROOM LAKE producer stories in a book. Trust me, it’s worth waiting for. In the meantime, you’ll have to just take Shatner’s word for it: It was all his fault.



This entry was posted on Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 3:55 pm and is filed under Movies, Random Thoughts, Seen & Heard, Tempe Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Rehab: GROOM LAKE, A Film by William Shatner…”

  1. drsquid Says:

    Please write that book. I’m dying to read it!