Battlefield Earth: Still Making the World Safe From Scientology Nearly 12 Years Later (UPDATED)

Categories: Scientology

UPDATE: Scroll down for our own video of Terl the action figure talking about Battlefield Earth!

Last night, I noticed this excerpt from a Canadian interview show, and boy, did it bring back memories.

It's a priceless reaction by actor Kim Coates when he's asked about Battlefield Earth by CBC show host George Stroumboulopoulos (who mercifully goes by "Strombo"). I mean, imagine having that movie on your resume. Take a look at Kim's reaction in this video, and then after the jump we're going to take you down memory lane.

In the year 2000, when Battlefield Earth opened, I was a staff writer at a newspaper that no longer exists, New Times Los Angeles. At that paper, I had done several stories about Scientology right there in the city where its administrative headquarters are.

So naturally, I jumped at the chance to write about Battlefield Earth, and I came up with a gimmick. Our film reviewer, Luke Y. Thompson, was one of the few critics in the country who actually enjoyed the film -- in particular the campy scenes that had John Travolta going over the top as the whiny, bitchy Psychlo security chief "Terl," some of which were removed in the DVD version for some reason.

Thompson was also an avid toy collector, and he made me a great gift of a large, talking Terl action figure -- which I still have in my office to this day.

Twelve years later, and still on its original batteries, the Terl doll, at the push of a button, utters a series of one-liners, as well as some shooting sounds. And those responses gave me an idea: I wanted to use them to write something that pointed out the obvious, that of course the Church of Scientology was counting on Battlefield Earth to be a hit and help with recruiting, no matter how many denials the film's camp put out that there was no connection between the film and the church.

At the time, the paper had a column by editor Rick Barrs called "The Finger," which poked fun at local politicians and culture while referring to itself as an "appendage" and various other terms. On occasion, I'd submit something to Rick for the column, and that's why this piece is "as told to" Tony Ortega, and explains all of the finger references.

New Times Los Angeles closed in October 2002, and its archives are no longer on line. Thankfully, someone snagged this story for the Internet, where I retrieved it. (Some years back, we managed to get the rights back to NTLA's archives, so I can reprint it here in its entirety without copyright issues.) It brings back a slew of memories for me, and I think it actually holds up pretty well. So, from 12 years ago, here's my column, in which I interview the Terl action figure about the movie, with the action figure's actual answers...


TerlFigure.jpg

Dianetics Boy
John Travolta won't talk to The Finger -- but his action figure will
May 25, 2000

As told to Tony Ortega

The Finger was counting on John Travolta to talk candidly about Battlefield Earth, his colossal summer disaster -- er, blockbuster -- but the glad-handing star was suddenly nowhere to be found after weeks of high-profile pimping for the L. Ron Hubbard epic. Instead, his 11- inch-tall counterpart, the action-figure Terl, agreed to answer questions about how the box-office flop might affect Hubbard's wacky religion, Scientology.

The miniature alien security chief from the planet Psychlo seemed to be taking Battlefield Earth's dismal showing at the box office with stoic calm. In fact, he stood -- silent and motionless, clad in massive platform shoes and a black leather outfit and looking for all the world like a dreadlocked KISS Army reject -- aiming a laser blaster at no one in particular. The action figure resisted all of The Finger's attempts to question it until, with a squawk and a round of gunfire, the tiny Terl came to life when this digit pressed itself against a button on his heavily armored chest.

What follows is a transcript of the conversation that ensued, with The Finger's probing interrogation and actual responses from the Terl doll.

The Finger: First, I wanted to thank you, Terl, for coming through when your overweight human counterpart didn't have the guts to answer phone calls.

Terl: I'm a Psychlo of my word.

The Finger: Did you read what critics had to say about your movie?

Terl: Ratbrain!

The Finger: Yeah, I don't blame you for being sensitive. Battlefield Earth opened May 12 to the most unified chorus of critical derision since Ishtar. Let me just refresh your memory if you've forgotten: 'You don't watch it, you survive it,' said the Denver Post. The Detroit Free Press said the film 'stinks of moldy cheese.' 'Just plain dumb,' said the Dallas Morning News. 'Like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. Not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way,' wrote Roger Ebert. 'One of the most painfully excruciating experiences of my life,' opined the Sacramento Bee. 'Wouldn't tax the smarts of a troglodyte,' chimed in the Washington Post. 'Deeply dumb,' said USA Today. But the New York Times delivered the cruelest blow: 'It may be a bit early to make such judgments, but Battlefield Earth may well turn out to be the worst movie of this century.' That's just gotta hurt, eh?

Terl: Exterminate all man-animals at will!

The Finger: At least the New Times' reviewer, Luke Y. Thompson, was one of the two or three critics in the country who actually enjoyed Battlefield Earth. And why not? No science fiction flick since Plan Nine from Outer Space has more laughs. Thompson was just grateful that the movie was at least more entertaining than Hubbard's dreadful 1,048- page novel. He wrote that it was Travolta's over-the-top camp -- think Pee Wee Herman meets Darth Vader -- that really made the movie a hoot.

This digit decided to get a look itself and squeezed past the large crowd -- all six filmgoers -- at Santa Monica's Cineplex Odeon Broadway on the Monday after opening night. Thompson was right: Seeing Travolta as a post-apocalyptic Rastafarian who treated Forest Whitaker like his space-alien bitch was a cinematic triumph. You go, Terl baby!

Terl: I give the orders, do you understand?!

The Finger: Uh, sure.

Anyway, this appendage noticed that some movie critics were unsure about the connection between Hubbard's science fiction tale and his notorious science fiction cult, and many were downright stupid about Scientology. Some of them seemed unaware that the Commodore, who died in 1986, loved making movies of his own out at his Hemet compound, and that he dreamed of promoting Scientology through the mass appeal of Hollywood. Trouble was, Hubbard never could get studios to bite on a science fiction screenplay he wrote, which was based on the beliefs of Scientology itself. The cult is normally very secretive about its core tenets which, court records show, involve an evil galactic overlord named Xenu who supposedly blew up Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago to vaporize surplus aliens whose disembodied spirits now live in clusters inside unwitting human beings. (Dianetics is the process by which, for a very high fee, Scientologists can purportedly free you of your inner alien horde.)

In his 1977 screenplay, "Revolt in the Stars," Hubbard planned to come clean about Scientology's wacky origin myths in a Star Wars-like space opera. But Hollywood execs wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Instead, Hubbard pinned his hopes on Battlefield Earth, a novel he wrote in 1982 that rips off just about every science fiction story that came before it.

But Battlefield Earth made no mention of Xenu or other Scientology secrets, and some morons have made the mistake of thinking that the story has no connection to Hubbard's religion. The most surprising gaffe appeared in a piece by Lynn Hirschberg in the May 14 New York Times Magazine. For the Times, the piece was surprisingly puffy, and late besides (by the time the article appeared, the movie was already well into its nosedive; meanwhile, the Washington Post and L.A. Times had already done the same story, ostensibly about Battlefield Earth's producer Elie Samaha). Hirschberg asserted that Scientology would not benefit financially from the movie since the rights to Hubbard's book had been acquired in the 1990s from Author Services, Inc., "a Los Angeles agency that handles Hubbard's fiction and is not affiliated with the church." But The Finger checked with one of the church's most high-ranking members ever to defect, Stacy Brooks, and she says that's a stupid blunder for a good newspaper to make. Brooks should know -- she worked for Author Services and was once one of the top people in Scientology's public relations force. Brooks says only the most trusted members of Scientology's Sea Organization get to work at Author Services. Declarations filed in court, meanwhile, show that Author Services is not only made up of church officials but at one time actually ran the Hubbard empire and religion. Recognizable for the curious quasi-naval outfits they wear, Sea Organization members are among the most dedicated of Hubbard's believers.

Hey Terl, they sign billion-year contracts, agreeing to come back, lifetime after lifetime, to serve Hubbard for little pay.

Terl: You wouldn't last one day at the academy.

The Finger: And thank God this digit doesn't have to.

Besides selling the rights to the movie, Scientology also gets a cut of toy sales generated by Battlefield Earth. The Terl figure and several other characters from the movie were produced by Trendmasters, a company that also produced toys for Independence Day and Godzilla. In fact, alert toy experts tell this protuberance that the jet fighter and tank being sold under the Battlefield Earth logo -- neither of which show up in the film -- are really leftover toys from the Godzilla line with a new coat of paint. After Battlefield Earth's opening, Trendmasters may have to figure out a way to recycle a lot more toys.

Battlefield Earth's dismal first weekend resulted in an $11.5 million box-office take the third-worst result for a film opening in 3,000 theaters in movie history. The movie has a long way to go to recoup the $70 million spent to produce it (which includes $5 million put up by Travolta himself). The film's flop also puts a dent in Scientology's attempt to convince the world that Hubbard was not the crackpot that military, government, and court documents make him out to be.

Make no mistake, says Brooks, who once handled some of the most sensitive publicity affairs for the church: Battlefield Earth was very deliberately intended by Travolta and the church as a public relations campaign to promote L. Ron Hubbard and, by extension, his religion. But The Finger doesn't expect lame-ass movie critics, even at the New York Times, to know an E-meter from a Psychlo blaster.

Terl: That's the first intelligent thing you've said yet!

The Finger: Brooks was relieved that the film was taking such a nosedive: "What they have on their hands is something that is going to set back their recruitment very severely, thank God." And she added that the setback couldn't have happened at a worse time for the church. In Germany, France, and other European countries less squeamish than the United States at looking at how religions operate and how they treat their believers, politicians have labeled Scientology a money-making scam and are considering severe restrictions on it. In Florida, meanwhile, the suspicious 1995 death of a Scientologist at one of the religion's holiest sites continues to generate controversy. Looks like the church's long-term plan of taking over the world ("clearing the planet") is in serious jeopardy.

Terl: Man is an endangered species!

The Finger: Can it, Dianetics Boy.


UPDATE: Some of you seemed a little unclear on the concept, so I whipped up this video version so you can see that I actually used Terl's reponses! Oh, this is silly...

And, as mentioned in the comments, here is Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder talking about David Miscavige's obsession with the movie behind the scenes. (They're being filmed fishing from Marty's backyard in Ingleside on the Bay, Texas by Rinder's lovely girlfriend, Christie Collbran.)


In 2010, more hilarity: Battlefield Earth was named the worst movie of the the decade by the Razzies, and in a wonderful show of good sportsmanship, co-writer J.D. Shapiro actually showed up to accept the prize! He also penned a hilarious piece for the New York Post titled, "I penned the suckiest movie ever - sorry!" In the piece, he hints that it was John Travolta wanting to adhere to notes that L. Ron Hubbard made for how to adapt his novel as a movie which ended up make it suck so badly. We'll take his word for it!

Here's a video of Shapiro accepting his award at the Razzies...

And here he is on CNN talking about the movie with Don Lemon...

And finally, we're happy to see that there's a new generation of youngsters learning that Battlefield Earth is not just a bad movie, it is a soul-sucking, brain-damaging, insultingly stupid piece of dreck that is almost impossible to sit through and understand...

And to think, when in 2007 he was asked for the name of his favorite novel, presidential candidate Mitt Romney answered, Battlefield Earth. Chuckling at that admission, Slate pointed out that the book is really no better than the movie...

Everything about the book is bad. Just a few sentences into the first page, you're confronted by this sentence: "Terl could not have produced a more profound effect had he thrown a meat-girl naked into the middle of the room." (A clothed meat-girl apparently gets a big yawn.) Hubbard's soundtrack for the book, when played, either attracts mice or repels dogs, or both. The movie, which starred John Travolta, is what therapists show to the producers of Ishtar and Glitter to help them feel good.

Last year, Romney indicated that he'd moved on to the Twilight series, so, um, good for him.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little excursion to the past. I feel like I just handled an engram on my whole track and my needle is now floating. Hip hip hooray!


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.


My Voice Nation Help
222 comments
DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

I think "Battlefield Earth" movie was awesome. Why?

Well, my wife and I decided to impress and possiblyeven to recruit one of our best friends, when we were in,by watching that piece of work with her at our our place.

When the film was over, our prospect basically said it suckedbad and we had to agree with her too. It was a major WTF? moment.

"Battlefield Earth" movie is probably responsible for creating many Ex'.

Dan Garvin
Dan Garvin

I was in the Sea Org in LA at the time. Everybody got one free ticket, time off to watch it, and a Sea Org bus ride to the theater, to help get the movie's stats up and make people love LRH and Scientology. This was explicitly stated, with no hint of irony. Anybody who wanted to watch it more than once got the time and the bus ride, but no more free tickets. We were briefed in weekly staff meetings on how well it was received and how it was making people love LRH even more than they already did and was going to make tons of new Scientologists. We were reminded constantly of what an awesome movie it was.

Given that Scientology does absolutely nothing for free and that SO members get almost no time off from their vitally important humanitarian work, would it be fair to say that Scientology was buying some cheap advertising?

Other than that, though, no, the movie really had nothing at all to do with Scientology.

Francois
Francois

And just think, you could have read Anna Karenina.  

No matter how "not bad" Hubbard may have ever managed to be, the point is that he was "not good."  

scilonschools
scilonschools

I am surprised there is still a 'Terl' action figure who hasn't had the Sid Phillips (Boy next door b from Toy Story) special make over!.What was the original production run?

scilonschools
scilonschools

Researched now-6" John Travolta As Terl Action Figure with Psychlo Blaster & Accessories - Battlefield Earth: The Movie by Trendmasters, Inc. Standard 'Terl'  available on Amazon , single star rating , $4.79

Deluxe 'Terl'  $300.00 Wow!

poolsclosed
poolsclosed

I was a teenager working at the cinema(snack counter/ticket taker) when this steaming pile of manure was released,i was there for 7 screenings and at least half of the audience which wasnt many walked out within half an hour demanding refunds,my co workers had the same experience.My manager was burnt out from the complaints and after the 3rd screening he would come out and wait for the steady stream of irate customers Thank god they only ran it for 2 weeks before shit canning it.I rate Battlefield Earth as "Mostly Awful"  

Tetloj
Tetloj

Awesome. Exit polls.

Gs4000
Gs4000

You're biting wit is so fucking suppressive. I bow to you Sir TO. I am positive that the two cute girls from Bridge showing up at my house before BE opened and asking for $ because they had to prInt more books cuz all the SF geeks would be rushing in to find out MORE shows no connection whatsoever. I gave them a few hundred to make them go away.

DeckardCain
DeckardCain

John P., I commend you on making me guffaw and chortle (a guffortle?) while reading your private note to me while trying to pass the time in the lobby of an official-like building filled with self-important dim-witted politicians, waiting for an official-like, self-important, and dim-witted meeting to start.

My outburst got me many strange looks from a few partners and building security.  That was most entertaining and a nice tie in with the humor on today's VV post.  I could at least walk into that meeting with a smile, which made others wonder what I was smiling about.  I like it when that happens.

So....thanks.  I do also like the concise replies.  It helps a lot when reading on my phone while it is on my lap, trying to ignore the politicians.

MarcabianFleetCommander
MarcabianFleetCommander

Could have been vastly improved with some Japanese Anime style tentacle pr0n. Just sayin'....

MarcabianFleetCommander
MarcabianFleetCommander

The Battlefield Earth Drinking Game!Take a drink every time:

1) Someone says "man-animal"2) Someone says "leverage"3) Someone says "rat brain"

MarcabianFleetCommander
MarcabianFleetCommander

Battlefield Earth is to a movie-viewing experience what having a yeast infection is to having sex. It's unlikely that it will ruin the experience forever, but you're still glad when it's over, and it may force you to remember other experiences that were far, far better.

Hatchune Shun
Hatchune Shun

Is the toy still available in the market?

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Hatchune Shun, no it's not, but you can buy it on eBay or Amazon. Tony made a lot of Amazon sellers happy today. I've watched the "Terl" talking action figure (through out the day) going for $24.95 and they all sold out about two hours ago, except for the one going for a whopping $300.00 I'll lmao if that one sells. Last I looked, eBay's cheapest one is $59.95.

Julie_Kanon
Julie_Kanon

Hell!  You could just stream this comment section on a screen and you would have a better movie than Battlefield Earth :)

MarcabianFleetCommander
MarcabianFleetCommander

I don't know about gold, but the Psychlos look like they know where to find the most excellent bud. Travolta's "Terl" is part Rastaman pimp and part community theater "Iago".  An epic lulzy peformance.

Are-sics
Are-sics

That is just a really, really mean thing to say about community theater.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Thanks Chuck.

I recall very clearly how 'inside scientology' Hubbard's books and whatever he wrote or said were all pure genius...

and to suggest or even to appear less than enthusiastic was virtually a 'High Crime'.

His work was thin, tepid and rapid... there was a disturbing lack of depth and humanity and his plot convulsions were unsubstantiated.

Are-sics
Are-sics

Would have to be no? I was outside, always.  And a big SF fan.  The old hard stuff.  I like Clarke, Asimov, Bester (etc.).  Hubbard was really, really bad.  Even before I knew anything about Scn... just bottom of the barrel science fiction. (note: I haven't read the one that makes Ellison et al slobber, the novella -- I believe -- "Fear".  But I don't really want to give anything that dude wrote "another chance".  The fact that any science fiction fan know Hubbard's name, and not, say, Alfred Bester's, is just wrong.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

To be brutally honest; Hubbard was a failure as an Artist....

In other words.... He was NOT an Artist.... just paraded as one.

Like Adolf before him ... he was rejected from the ranks he so dearly wanted to be included in... 

And like Adolf... he found a way to 'Get Even' with Humanity.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

The most eerie part of "Fear" I found is when he main character slips into a psychotic mental state of solipsism (where he thinks he alone is animating all of reality and all reality is only in his mind).    

And then the final page of the story, the very last scene, when he finds his hat, the horror sinks in and doesn't wash off.

"Fear" has an ending unlike almost all other Hubbard books.   "Final Blackout" and Hubbard's early very short story "Tah"  have similar endings that one doesn't expect and which are not typical of his grand hero saves the day story endings.

If one wants to see Hubbard's take on a popular spiritual cult leader, and see Hubbard discuss in an early fantasy science fiction story, 1941, taking up the God like powers that Hubbard later sold in Scientology, "One Was Stubborn" is a must read to see Scientology's promises, and to see a cult con man who actually delivers the God powers,(unlike Hubbard's Scientology where Hubbard never was able to deliver the God powers  "goods").   Only in his ficiton "One Was Stubborn" does a nefarious cult leader pull off delivering the God powers.   

sketto
sketto

I gotta ask - just what the hell was it with Hubbard and hats? In all his lectures and policies, he can barely go two sentences without mentioning hats. Even that racist quote he has about blacks talking to their own hats.  It's really odd. Hats, hats, hats.

Are-sics
Are-sics

Thanks, Chuck... still, there's too much to read to make it likely I'll get to any of that stuff.  If it fell in my lap, ok.

LongNeckGoose
LongNeckGoose

I not only have the John Travolta "Terl" doll, but all of the associated toy spaceships, etc. that were released at the same time, still in their original packaging, though I did take the battery out of Terl so it wouldn't leak and ruin the toy.

bobx
bobx

You mean it didn't come with one of those Eternal Batteries(TM) ???

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

That is amazing; also,  sick, but thanks for admitting same.

It's kind of like scientology in its current, dying stage:  "take out the battery so it won't leak and ruin the toy".    The thing is, between the Internetz, Runnin' Scared Village Voice, and bitter appostates like me,  the leaks ARE  unstoppable and the toy IS Mr Ruin. 

LongNeckGoose
LongNeckGoose

I may be the only person on earth who has this particular collection, so the "supply" side of the equation is way in my favor. Unfortunately, the "demand" side isn't materializing as I had hoped.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

This Post was a REPLY to a Patty Moher Post regarding an OSA request.why it posted as a SOLO .... I do not know.

Well, I CAN blame her.

INTEGRITY.

Please remind me where that is in 'The Creed of the Scientologist'.

Maybe you should send an email to Rinder.... if Mary asked you to do that... it was most likely because M.Rinder was asking his OSA staff to find people to go online and PR the movie.

Personally, Thank You for NOT doing what you knew was bullshit.

It Matters.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

The late Susie Watson Taylor, lady staff at ASI, around 1995 for years was failing to get any traction complying with LRH's very clear orders to get Battlefield Earth put into movie version.

I think summer of 1995 both at Int and at ASI, we had to hold group staff "arbitrary policy" spotting and handling.   I myself brought up how I thought Battlefield Earth was NOT being pushed into a movie, which when I by 1995 had re-studied LRH's mainline "property" orders, he so focused on getting Battlefield Earth into a movie, but it just was NOT complied with back in the 1980s when LRH first ordered it.   

Susie confided privately all the whole ongoing failures.   Lack of money, and how the big money  needed to be dug up, and she just was not in the league to even begin that zone.

She said that one major studio or ex stuido biggy said that if Travolta was in the movie, he'd help get it funded.

So, either by 1995, or even years earlier, John did and must have been totally briefed on LRH's private traffic to ASI, but the traffic itself mentions Jeff Pomerrantz (the intro voice of all church events today), LRH wanted Jeff to be "Jonnie Goodboy Tyler", and for years Jeff was hoping during the 1980s it would happen, it didn't, due to funding needed to do a major movie.  

John was way too old, by the 1990s, and John wasn't LRH's pick for Jonny Goodboy Tyler, so John, in a way, settled for Terl.   Fine.

John, from my Scientologist's viewpoint, bless his heart, tried to make the movie a go.

The script, was a problem for years, even before JD Shapiro at least did the best he could, and then his script was nixed, mainly not enough like the book.

The lesson, is Hubbard isn't a movie script writer, and no way could Hubbard get over how his book would have to be revised to be movie quality interesting.   

John's not a movie maker, he's an actor.

Anyways, the movie is for Scientologists, and really has to satisfy "us" who just wanted a movie that matched the book, which us half brain dead and automatic knee jerk supporters of anything Ron wrote, could identify with and cheer on, in our "anything Ron writes is great."

It shows that Hubbard, truly, was just not anything but a very mediocre entertainment writer.

And you can't make a purse out of sow's ear.   

The movie, I wish we had the ASI traffic in the public domain, my standard refrain.

Because the ASI traffic demonstrates LRH's strategic thinking for how ASI was to operate.

LRH said that the whole entertainment field was wrong in how it wasted writer's stories.

His ASI traffic said to STICK and push Battlefield Earth into a movie, and really ensure it become a success, and milk it as a "property" fully, before then methodically taking up the next LRH "property" and make it into a movie.

"Fear" as a book for a couple years, seemed more suitable to become a movie, and talk of getting Miramax interested in doing "Fear" as a movie, was hyped a couple times at 1980s church events, that came to nothing.   It was even going to be filmed in England, never happened, not sure.

But had they done "Fear" first, before "Battlefield Earth", that technically would grossly violate LRH's strategy for how ASI was supposed to do Battlefield Earth first, and milk it fully.

that Terl doll is likely the best milking ASI could think of, from the Battlefield Earth.

chuck beattyex ASI staffer, 1992-1995 (while staff, I proofread almost ALL of LRH's traffic to ASI, as a project, and was a diehard literal Hubbard writings take everything seriously type of staffer)

Lars
Lars

Chuck,

I really enjoyed this post.  Thank you for all your interesting perspectives and information!

 

barbara graham
barbara graham

I had to get that note about batteries out of the way before I forgot it.

Oddly, I remember the above article, as alt.religion.scientology pimped every tiny nugget of Scilon-related media. The night BE debuted in San Diego, I was living downtown so I walked over to Horton Plaza mall for the opening. Oh my! So many glassy-eyed, excited Scientologists, I never seen the like outside the org. Which is also within walking distance, btw. Maybe they all had a big party at the org (cheese pizza and off-brand soda) before straggling down to the theater. There was a line to get in!

I went the next evening to see a different movie. BE was all crickets and tumbleweeds, so I guess their biggest night was the opening, where all the shiny happy clams could see the movie that was going to change everything. It was touted as "bigger than Star Wars," immediately alienating any potential nerdfans. But this movie was going to make people curious about Scientology, and pretty soon stats would boom through the roof!

Only it was a gawdawful piece of dreck, from the wonky cinematography to Travolta in Kiss boots and dreads. And, amusingly, up his nose was a rubber hose.

I finally did manage to watch the whole thing when it aired on tv. After three tries, as I fell asleep the first two times, I took a bong hit before watching and had an epiphany.

If there is any value to this movie at all, it is that its depiction of internal Scientology culture is accurate. I've read enough personal accounts; the verbal and physical abuse is real; scheming, backstabbing, blackmailing to get ahead, it's all there.

Yeah, makes me want to run right out and head to the org!

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

While it is true that Battlefield Earth was hideous, it was not as hideous as the Village Voice is on a daily basis.

Tetloj
Tetloj

OTVIIIisGrrr8 is rendered practically (one sentence) speechless!

LIama
LIama

But B.E. is much more oily!  Out-ethic tech can never compete with OTIIIIIIIIIIIIIXX level oiliness!

barbara graham
barbara graham

Hey Tony,

I have a Talking Terl too. I do not keep batteries in it, because if they deteriorate they will ruin the toy.  I only demonstrate it a few times a year, so it's not that hard to throw in fresh batts when you wanna play.

Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack
Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

Rinder and Rathbun look more like two pudgy middle-aged men, tone level boredom, then Do-It-For-Ron superpowered OT's. Please Marty, tell us about JT's out ethics!  Everyone else is. "Never trust a ________." Could the blank be Italian? Money-Grubber? Good Dancer? Hollywood Star? Mmmmm, what else could it possible be. Is Marty covertly-hostile?

About JT being the super-director. I talked to an old friend in Montreal who was part of the crew for the film. He said the reason it sucked was because the director was not relied on to approve the shots-- Travolta was.

I don't see how Curly and Moe there can call Travolta out ethics. In over his head, maybe a tad stupid, certainly gobsmacked by religious ecstasy, but I don't think ethics have anything to do with it.

I don't think R&R should ever allow themselves to be filmed without suits. And they should never go on film while doing anything physical at all. And they should avoid the Scientologese because when speaking it they seem like fools, which they are, but they would seem like fools even if they were talking about the subtleties of thermodynamics, which they can't. 

I don't want to seem like a cynic so let me add that Rinder has a great head of hair for a man of his age. Travolta does too, in fact, he probably has three or four of them.

Media_lush
Media_lush

"Never trust a ________." Could the blank be Italian? Money-Grubber? Good Dancer? Hollywood Star? Mmmmm, what else could it possible be. Is Marty covertly-hostile?

To me it was obviously "faggot".

Are-sics
Are-sics

Did you actually watch the clip? Or, more to the point, actually listen? Mike and Marty didn't say JT was out-ethics.  

GarryS
GarryS

Several months ago, I ran into Jon Krane, the producer for BE, and his wife, Sally Kellerman at Trader Joes in West Hollywood.  I asked him if he was ever going to make a sequel to BE, and the resulting laughter & look on his face spoke volumes.  LOL.

Francois
Francois

Battlefield Earth:

Written by L Ron HubbardDirected by David Miscavige

AKA, "The A-Team"

Lars
Lars

I had no idea the "pope" of scientology was involved with directing Battlefield Earth.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Kelly Preston (Chirk) "Worst Supporting Actress" for her Gene Simmons like tongue, yuck! <@@@@@@@@:»~~~~~<

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Actually... I thought that was the best part.

mjm
mjm

was that for the movie or in real life? *snare drum*

Tetloj
Tetloj

GI Jane's co-star Beghe may need to cut in here!

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Both, LOL! Especially since her and Lisa Marie Presley are reportedly trying to recruit Demi Moore to the dark side.

Run G.I. Jane, run!!! Leap-frog the hell outta there!

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