This is a first: I'm actually updating my site from outside California. I'm at a friend's in Detroit at the moment. (Not as bad an area as its reputation suggests, by the way.) I didn't intend to add any updates until I got back to LA in early November, but I just learned some obviously big news: Lions Gate has changed the title of my film Claustrophobia to "Serial Slayer". They've also pushed back the video release date by a week, to December 14, 2004.
For the record, I was not involved in this name change decision. Nor in the new artwork that Lions Gate and/or filmnic created. As you may imagine, I'm not happy about giving up my title, and the artwork - while more appropriate for the story than filmnic's original eyeball-in-the-brick-wall approach - isn't exactly an accurate depiction of what happens in the film. But that's showbiz! These decisions were clearly made from a marketing perspective, so oh well. I'd be more shocked if I hadn't worked for years at Paramount, where I learned that studio marketing decisions don't always reflect the filmmakers' lofty ideals.
So here's the big question: If they can change the title of the movie, can they change the movie as well? That's the risk you take when you sell your film. It's very hard to maintain creative control when somebody's writing you a big fat check and you're still a nobody. Nevertheless, I don't think Lions Gate is going to mess around with this movie, because a) at 79 minutes, it's already short, so they can't cut anything; b) they have no access to the raw footage, so they can't re-edit; c) it would cost more money than it would be worth. Also, I heard via Fangoria that Lions Gate is using my director's commentary, which is a good sign that they are keeping my cut. Still, only time will tell. Anyway, I wanted to address this now instead of waiting a month, and until further notice, I'll keep calling the film Claustrophobia. Since it's already out in Norway with that title, all the Norwegians, at least, will know it by its original name.