Tag Archives: carrie linden

Notes on a Remake

Date: January 18, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Jimmy, can you please get me a fucking clean copy of this movie? How the hell am I supposed to do a shot-by-shot remake if I don’t even know what the fucking thing looks like? The one you left me is shit, skipping all over the place, audio all fucked up. Jesus fucking Christ. And yes, I fucking know how to use email. I don’t trust it. Just get me a clean copy.

Date: February 13, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

The message boards are blowing up. (I told you I know how to use a computer.) Fans are already shitting themselves, and we haven’t even starting casting. How’s that for market research? I’m telling you, Jimmy, we’ve got a goldmine on our hands, presuming we can ever get the fucking thing made.

Date: February 28, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

So there was a rumor a while back that Carrie Linden’s still around. Did you know about this? No, of course not, because you would have fucking told me, right? Think we can get her? Cast her as the grandmother or shit? Again, yes, Jimmy, I know there’s no fucking grandmother in the movie, but who cares. The dickweeds who hang out on these message boards will eat it up, I promise.

Date: March 8, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Okay, maybe bringing in a live snake for the screen tests is bad idea. Duly noted. We’ll CGI that shit. Nobody’ll know the difference. Any word on the Lyndon woman, whatever her name is? Maybe we ought to CGI her in, too.

Date: March 30, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Ever heard of a guy named Jackson Mortar? Apparently he’s some sort of Kaleidoscope super-fan. His name is all over the messgage boards. They invoke him like some kind of fucking god. He showed up outside the studio the other day, screaming at me as I got into my car. I couldn’t even understand what he was saying. Fucking frothing at the mouth lunatic. I called security to escort him off the premises, and come to fucking find out he’s been camping the gates for weeks. And of course nobody has any idea how he got in, but they promise it’ll never happen again Mr. Elgin, sir. Bunch of fucking assholes. Anyway, just keep an eye out, okay?

Date: April 11, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Do you mind telling me what exactly the fuck that tangle of rush print film was doing on my desk? Jesus fuck, Jimmy. Where’d you even find that shit? We’re shooting the whole thing on digital and you’re dicking around wasting antique supplies. However, if it gives you some sort of sick pleasure, you’ll be happy to know I did look at a few frames before I threw it in the trash. Did you shoot an entire reel of trees around an empty parking lot? Sometimes I really fucking wonder about you, Jimmy. Those few frames at the end, though? Pure fucking gold. Where’d you find that girl? Is she from make-up? She could be Kerry Lymon’s motherfucking twin. Maybe you could introduce me sometime? Unless you’re saving her for yourself. I know how you hate to share.

Date: April 29, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Again with the film, Jimmy? Raw fucking stock? Seriously? What am I even supposed to do with that shit? Leave your goddamn garbage some place other than my office.

Date: May 3, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Jimmy. Look, I’m sorry about last week. Legal’s on my ass. They think the kid’s family might sue. How the fuck did we get here, right? Didn’t we just want to make good movies? I mean, remember back in college, all those late nights we should have been studying, thinking we could do better than whatever shit they were running on IFC, calling those directors hacks and those writers pussies. Where did we go wrong, Jimmy? Shit. I’m going to take a couple days. Maybe we all should. My right eye has been bothering the fuck out of me lately. It’s like there’s always something right in my peripheral vision. Ever since Gina left, home alone at night, you know how it is. Anyway, more than once, it’s freaked me the fuck out. What was it your mother used to take to sleep? Maybe I should get some of that.

From: Thomas Elgin [telgin@studionice.com]
Sent: June 10, 2012
To: James Heinz
Subject: Kaleidoscope

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjimmy. fuck.
they buried her where she could see the sky the sky could see her. fuuuuuuuuuck.
the glass goes in and it never comes out. it just keeps pushing through the flesh and through and though and through.
i’m tired jimmy. run.

From: James Heinz [jheinz@studionice.com]
Sent: June 18, 2012
To: James Heinz
Subject: Kaleidoscope – CANCELLED


I’ve spoken to most of you individually, but I wanted to reiterate how much I value your work on this project, and how much it pains me that it will never come to fruition. Some things simply aren’t meant to be. I sincerely hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with all of you on other projects.

As I’ve said many times over the past months, I have an open door policy. That hasn’t changed. If any of you have any questions or concerns, about anything, you know where to find me.

Finally, since many of you have asked, there will be no formal services, but I am organizing my own small get together for Tom. A wake, if you will. Those of you who knew him will take it in the right spirit, I trust: I know he would’ve hated it. Since he wasn’t religious, or charitable, and isn’t survived by any family, I’d suggest that if you’d like to do something to honor him, make a donation to the charity of your choice. He’d have hated that, too.


James Heinz, Acting President and CEO
Studio Nice

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Love’s Suicide

Arthur G. Love was found dead in his apartment on the morning of April 22, 1987. His death was ruled as a suicide. Love was survived by his estranged mother, Estelle.

Several years prior to his death, Love was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the Lyric Theater where Love was employed at the time. Twenty seven people were killed in the fire, and a dozen others severely injured. Police determined the fire originated in the theater where Love was running the projection booth, showing the first public screening of the classic cult film, Kaleidoscope. The fire spread to the two adjacent theaters, which were empty at the time, except for other Lyric employees. Love was held in police custody, but charges were later dropped, with authorities citing a lack of evidence. The text below reproduces the note found with Love’s body. All errors in spelling and grammar,  are original to the note’s author.

They say I burned down the theater. I don’t remember.

The police don’t have proof, but they keep asking, saying why I did it. I don’t know. I can’t tell them what I don’t know.

Maybe I burned down the theater.

Sometimes I dream I did it, and I even smell smoke. I hear people screaming. I see them through the projection window. They’re running around like ants with fire in their hair and their clothes. They say I locked the doors, and they ask me that, too, over and over. WHY. The screen burns last, with the movie still running. The fire is eating the picture, cutting away all the bad parts. It’s beautiful.

When I dream it, my eyes water from smoke. I want the dreams to stop. The glass breaks, sometimes, in the booth. It cuts my hands and I wake up with blood.

It wasn’t fair all those people died, and aren’t I sorry, the police say. Of course I’m sorry people died. I didn’t mean for them to, if I did it, but I don’t know. I wish they stop asking.

I wished I burned in the fire, too.

I thought I would do this with fire, but now I’m scared. So Ill use just gas instead. I heard it’s like going to sleep. But with no dreams.

Whoever finds this note, I’m sorry. I hope you don’t have to clean up the mess, and I hope it isn’t Mrs. Hammond, because you were always nice to me even when I didn’t pay rent on time. Thank you.

I have to say one more thing. I DO know why I did it, if I did it. I didn’t tell the police. But I’ll tell now inc ase I don’t go to Heaven otherwise.

It was because of the movie. They showed it to us, everyone who worked at the theater first before we showed it to the public. Two men came in suits, with the film cans in brief cases. They took out two reels, but I think they had another one they didn’t show. I would like to know what was on it.

They had their own projector. We all sat and watched. At the end, they asked us if we had any questions, and no one did. I was too scared to say anything. The man asked who would be in charge of the projection booth tomorrow night, and the manager pointed at me. The man in the suit left the film cans with me. He wouldn’t let anyone else touch them.

At night, I came back. I had the key, from my manager because he said he I could trust me. I put the reels in my projector, and I watched the movie again alone. It was beautiful.

When I ran the movie the nect day, with an audience, the movie was different. It was all wrong. They changed it.

MY Carrie Linden and MY Mary Short were angels. But this was a different movie. I hated it. It made me feel sick, and I cried. And.

I don’t know what happened, but if I did put the fire that’s why, and I’m sorry. Tell the police I said that if they ask again. I’m sorry.

That’s all.


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Bucklin Mills, Bury Me

The following is an excerpt from the un-aired documentary, Searching for Carrie Linden: The Jackson Mortar Story. This segment, an interview between documentarian Sid Nein, and self-proclaimed Kaleidoscope scholar Lorn Ellis, was filmed, but purportedly cut from the final version of the documentary. All existing copies of the documentary, originally scheduled for limited theater release, have vanished. Transcripts of the interviews have been recovered, but it is unclear whether the collected documents represent every interview filmed, or whether some of the transcripts have been lost, or altered, as well.

Sid Nein: I want to talk about an aspect of Kaleidoscope lore you haven’t touched on yet, the Bucklin Mills case.

Lorn Ellis:
It’s really tangential…

SN: In what way?

LE: The connection to the film is so tenuous, y’know? Most people think it doesn’t even exist. It’s almost an urban legend. It would be like including the story of the woman who bought a rat, thinking it was a Chihuahua in travel guide for Mexico.

[Nervous laughter.]

SN: Except the Bucklin Mills case is real, and there are verifiable police records.

LE: Right…

SN: For the viewers who may not be familiar with the case, would you care to outline it?

[Long pause. Ellis appears reluctant to answer the question, and sighs audibly.]

LE: It was in all the papers. Summer, quite a few years back now. Some kids found a dead body – a woman – in an abandoned parking lot. It was one of those dirt and gravel jobs, with a chain link fence. Of course, you know kids…they’ll climb anything. They went there to drink, smoke, fuck around…whatever.

[Another pause, shorter this time.]

LE: After the kids found the body, the lot was condemned. The city boarded it up completely, but people still got in, of course. Everyone wanted to see the site where, well…you know. And of course there were the stories…

SN: Why did people connect the dead woman with Kaleidoscope?

LE: They shouldn’t have. But…okay, I’m not saying there is a connection, let’s just get that straight but, the woman…her body, and the things they found with her made people think…

SN: What things?

LE: In the dirt, beside the body, there was a driver’s license, and a page from a notebook. There was a card in her hand.

SN: And you mentioned something about her body itself?

[Ellis grows visible uncomfortable again, shifting in his seat, looking away from the camera. When he first speaks again, it’s barely audible.]

LE: Yeah…. There was writing on her skin. On the back of both hands, and the soles of her feet. Two words, one word for each foot and hand.

SN: And those were?

Bury. Me.

SN: The children who found the body – is it possible they wrote the words?

No. I don’t… From everything I learned in my research, the police believed the body to be in its original condition when they arrived. Her…the woman’s hands were over her eyes. Bury. Me.

[Ellis is visibly shaken. He passes a hand over his face, and for a moment, he looks to be on the verge of tears before he takes a deep breath and composes himself.]

There were words on her stomach, too, written above and below her belly button, forming a circle. Bucklin Mills.

The name of the town where she was found?

LE: Yes.

SN: And…?

LE: And, it’s one of the locations where they supposedly filmed part of Kaleidoscope. Look. For a while, every small town in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere claimed part of the movie had been filmed there. Bucklin Mills…it’s supposed to be where the carnival scene was filmed, outside the funhouse.

SN: As you said, tenuous as connections go, but there’s more, isn’t there? The dead woman’s name…

Alleged name. It was on the driver’s license they found with the body, but they never proved it was hers. The picture, it was hard to tell. The license was out of date by several years.

SN: The name on the driver’s license was Mary Short, correct?

LE: It’s not an uncommon name.

SN: Mary Short is the name of one of the characters in Kaleidoscope, is it not? Character, and actor?

[There is a long pause.]

Yes… Mary Short disappears partway through the film. It’s never explained. Some people….

SN: Some people made the connection between the character and the dead woman?

Some people are fucking idiots.

But there is a resemblance?

LE: A lot of women are five-one with blue eyes and long brown hair.

What about the notebook page. Can you tell us about that?

LE: Mostly it was nonsense. Scribbling.

But the handwriting matches?

LE: Yes, but… Look, a pen isn’t the same as a marker. Writing on paper isn’t the same as writing on skin.

SN: Indeed. In your upcoming book, you include quotes from the page – can you paraphrase any of it for us now?

[Nein leans forward. Ellis slumps, takes a deep breath, and quotes from memory.]

LE:  Bucklin Mills. Bury me. Hide me deep. Hide me where the sky can’t see me. Where they can’t see me in the sky. I…

[Ellis’ tone changes.]

She wrote can’t, and crossed it out, and wrote won’t be the Standing Woman. She capitalized that part, underlined it. Bury me deep where they can’t hear my dreams. Where they can’t hear me. Inside, they can always hear. Inside, I got lost. Lost. They told me the future. I never found my way out. I can’t be her. Won’t. Won’t. But she is always me, and I am. It ends there.

Thank you.

[Nein takes in a deep breath, closes his eyes for a moment, and exhales.]

SN: Now. I want to ask you about the card found in Mary Short’s hand.

LE: It was…

[Off camera, something is knocked over.]

LE: Fucking….

[Visibly trembling, Ellis starts again, gripping the arms of his chair.]

LE: The card. It was one of the fucking tarot cards, okay?

SN: That would be the fabled Kaleidoscope deck?

Yes. The fucking cards that correspond to the film. Movie stills. Pictures of pictures. Reproductions. Fan art. Group think. It’s all fucking there. Carrie, Mary, Lance, they’re all in the Major Arcana. The Wheel…

In an article for Fangoria some years ago, you explicitly denied the existence of the Kaleidoscope Deck.

[Here, the film jumps as if damaged, or cut. This transcript picks up where the film does.]

LE: …police were never fucking able to make a determination regarding the corpse’s identity.

The body disappeared during the course of the investigation, correct?

LE: Yes. Fuck. Yes. The Bucklin Mills body was in police custody for three days, then it vanished.

[The recording skips again, another portion of the interview is lost.]

…a body at the Bucklin Mills site buried standing up. I… People who’ve gone there since, I mean, there are accounts of a hole. It’s just an urban legend, y’know? But people say there’s a hole straight down, about four and half feet. The body is standing in it, slumped, but also stiff, like rigor mortis has set in, or…like a mummy. Sometimes her eyes are open, and sometimes they’re closed. Sometimes her hands are covering her eyes. Even standing up. Even dead. It’s impossible…

The legend of the Standing Woman…

Yes, but…

SN: It’s referenced in the notebook pages found with the body…

LE: It’s all bullshit! Urban legends. Pattern matching. People want to make sense of the world, so they make connections, they draw invisible lines and the real world gets tangled up in them. Someone makes a film, thirty, forty, years ago. An actress disappears. Some kids find a body twenty years later, and the woman has the same name as the girl in the film. The body disappears. So it must be connected, right?

[Ellis wipes his mouth. His hand is shaking.]

LE: Look, the Kaleidoscope deck, it shouldn’t… The cards tell you when you’re going to die. Like saying Bloody Mary three times in a mirror. People say you can cheat, change the rules. But you can’t. In the end it’s always the same. People, real people, people you love die. And Carrie Fucking Linden always survives.

SN: Carrie Linden is a real person, too.

EL: That’s what I’m saying. No one asks for the role they’re assigned. People want to make it into a fucking myth, but it isn’t. It’s…

[Ellis stands.]

LE: You know what? Fuck this. I’m done.

[The segment ends with Ellis’ hand approaching the camera. The camera tilts, falls, and the feed cuts out in a static blur.]

–Transcript Ends–

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The Third Reel

There’s a third reel to Kaleidoscope.

No one has ever seen it (but everyone knows a guy who has). It doesn’t exist. But what part of Kaleidoscope does? It’s as real as the rest of the film (the reel deal.)

Depending on who you ask, it’s meant to be played between the first and second reels, or after the second one. Some people claim it should be played first, before either of the others. All three are equally problematic.

The third reel is only five minutes long (most of the time.) In it, Carrie Linden walks out of the funhouse alone. (But is it the Carrie who stepped through the mirror, or the real one?)

If you play the reel first, there’s no context. Or is there? Does Carrie become the prime mover of the film? After all, she was there before every one else. (And she’s still there at the end.)

If you play the third reel last, after the other two, what does that mean? Why would Carrie go back to the carnival alone, after everything is said and done? (Or did she ever leave?) Does she exist here, in this moment, outside the funhouse? Or does she exist in the final frames of the movie (the ending everyone knows, don’t let them tell you otherwise), running, always running?

And if you play the third reel between the first and second reels, where it’s supposed to go (depending on who you believe), is it any better? Carrie Linden steps out of the funhouse alone. (She has always been alone.) But is it really her? Maybe it’s the ghost of Carrie Linden, following herself out into the night, made up of all the pieces she tried to leave behind when she stepped through the mirror. Maybe it’s her evil twin. Maybe it’s an imposter. Everyone has a theory. (They’re all right. They’re all wrong.)

In the end, there is only this – a reel that doesn’t exist, in a film that isn’t real. No one filmed it; it manifested itself, a ghost haunting the edges of the cinema of the mind. Like the opening sequence, (the most famous three and half minutes ever put on film) there’s no sound. Carrie Linden walks out of the funhouse alone. She stands on the gravel, cutting-sharp, and looks everywhere but at the camera. She takes a step. (Does it make a sound?) Some people think they hear a whisper as Carrie walks toward the camera (still not looking).

She’s unsteady, as if drunk. She stumbles once, but she never falls. The third reel is just this: Carrie steps out of the funhouse, walks toward the camera without seeing it, and disappears from the frame. (If you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice it’s the same way she entered the movie, but in reverse. In the party scene, Carrie walks away from the camera to straddle the lap of a man twice her age, and never once looks back at camera, as if it isn’t there.)

The third reel of Kaleidoscope is the least famous five minutes ever put on film. It doesn’t exist. Nobody has seen it, but everyone knows someone who has. And they all know, deep down in the dark, if they wait long enough, one day, they’ll see it, too.


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