Single White Female

Like POISON IVY earlier in the summer, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (released August 14, 1992) is a quintessential, much-imitated suspense thriller of the specific type that reigned in the ‘90s. I rented it on VHS back in the day and I believe I liked it, but I have to admit to thinking of this type of thriller as pretty interchangeable and disposable. Watching it now I can see that this is one of the best of its type.

There are many factors to that. Director Barbet Schroeder (BARFLY) creates a tense and atmospheric slow burn of a character piece. The script by first-timer Don Roos (adapted from a book by John Lutz) nicely establishes layered characters in an uncomfortable scenario, plus numerous details to the apartment building setting that you just know will become relevant late in the movie when violence is afoot. And it looks great – credit to cinematographer Luciano Tovoli (SUSPIRIA, TITUS) and production designer Milena Canonero (also the costume designer, as she was for BARRY LYNDON, TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM, DICK TRACY, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, OCEAN’S TWELVE, MARIE ANTOINETTE – man, that’s a resume!). The score by Cronenberg’s guy Howard Shore is certainly a big part of setting the eerie mood. And I don’t really know how to measure it but I gotta assume the editing is crucial to the suspense, so I want to mention that editor Lee Percy comes out of the world of exploitation – he was the scamp who bastardized LONE WOLF AND CUB into SHOGUN ASSASSIN, and he did THE KILLING OF AMERICA, THEY CALL ME BRUCE, RE-ANIMATOR, TROLL, FROM BEYOND and DOLLS. Also BLUE STEEL.

But above and beyond the great work of all these top of the line craftspeople and visionaries, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE works because of the great performances by protagonist/straight woman Bridget Fonda (DOC HOLLYWOOD) and sympathetic/terrifying stalker Jennifer Jason Leigh (BACKDRAFT).

Fonda plays Allie Jones, a talented software designer who lives with her fiancé Sam (Steven Weber, THE FLAMINGO KID) in a rent-controlled apartment on the 11th floor of the historic Ansonia in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After discovering that Sam cheated on her she kicks him out. Since she’s afraid to live alone and her business situation isn’t great (her only client Mitchell Myerson [Stephen Tobolowsky, THELMA & LOUISE] doesn’t pay as much as she’d like) she goes looking for a roommate to split the rent off-the-books.

Leigh, of course, plays the roommate, Hedra Carlson, who Allie renames Hedy. She’s kinda shy and awkward but seems sweet, and they hit it off so well that part of me just wanted it to be a movie where they’re friends and nothing bad happens. Of course, we can see pretty quick that she’s doing inappropriate things – hiding letters and messages from Sam, buying a puppy without asking, pretending she got it for free, undressing in front of Allie and not caring that it clearly makes her uncomfortable.

Allie gets in too deep partly because she puts Hedy in a bad position and is a nice enough person to feel bad about it. When Hedy’s moving in and hears about the Sam situation she wants to make sure they’re not gonna just get back together and want her to move out, and of course that does happen almost immediately. Allie tries to navigate it by letting her stay for a while and taking the engagement slowly. She even seriously considers moving out herself and leaving the place for Hedy. But by this point Hedy has become possessive and alternates between trying to win them over (making breakfast and shit) and creepier stuff (spying on them having sex and then going to her room to masturbate).

As I alluded to earlier, I love in an action movie, a horror movie, or a suspense thriller when the early scenes establish geographical details or objects that either you don’t give much thought to and then they become important for a big set piece and you think “ah ha,” or better yet you see them and think “that’s gonna come up later” and then you anticipate it and appreciate it when it arrives. Here Allie gives her new roommate a tour of the building, and we know all of this will come up again: the rickety elevator that sometimes requires a screwdriver to close, the storage unit in the basement, the incinerator, the doorman who knows everybody. In other scenes we see the bars on the window that have a broken piece, her upstairs neighbor friend Graham (Peter Friedman, CHRISTMAS EVIL)’s vent through which he can hear sounds from Allie’s apartment, and the weird lock on his door. And as soon as Hedy gets the puppy you think “Oh shit.” That’s a little different type of anticipation, but related.

The best one I foolishly didn’t see coming (SPOILER): Allie’s very tall stiletto heel that lobotomizes Sam in the end. They both try them on at the store but Hedy says, “You take them. I’ll just borrow them when I want to.” And she does! Bravo.

The main thing I remembered from the movie happens later than I thought it would – it’s when Hedy takes Allie to the salon and comes out with an identical hairstyle. Obviously this is taken advantage of for many thriller possibilities (she tricks half awake Sam into accepting a blowjob, Graham sees her from behind and mistakes her for Allie, everything she does in front of witnesses could be blamed on Allie) but the real genius of it is calling up the more down-to-earth discomfort of geez, how would you feel if somebody (even someone you had less ambivalent feelings about) mimicked you in that way? It’s such a simple, on-the-surface-non-threatening bit of fuckery.

Honestly Leigh’s acting is pretty nuanced for a character who turns out to be quite deranged. The places Hedy goes to are over-the-top but the performance is very controlled. Hedy is not a total phony, she’s not completely putting on an act. She can be genuinely nice and she can also let it be known she’s mad, though in a passive aggressive way. But she tries to keep her worst side private. I think her scariest moments are when she’s alone and angry at the dog and just sounds so mean. It’s like we’re spying on something we’re not supposed to see.

There’s also a bit that cleverly makes us complicit in her darkness. After Allie’s meeting with her client Mitchell goes from sexual harassment to attempted rape, Hedy tries to comfort her by calling him up, pretending to be Allie, and convincingly threatening to destroy his business and family. You can’t help but get a charge out of her telling him “You’re fucked!” Allie looks horrified but also can’t help but go along with it, like us. The best part, though, is the way Hedy demonstrates her surprising skill at threatening phone calls and then turns to Allie and says, “Ta-da!”

Who the fuck knows what she’s thinking there, but the way she can let her guard down and try to share a moment of humor in the middle of all that, I take it as “Surprise! This is the real me!” My favorite moment in the whole movie.

But there’s a close runner up in the last ten minutes, when shit is going sideways for Hedy, she goes into the storage unit and gets a suitcase… and then climbs into it and starts to curl into a fetal position!

For a second I thought she was at the end of her rope and her solution was just to zip herself into a suitcase and wait for something to happen. But I think she was probly trying to measure if Allie would fit in it. Dead or alive. I’m not totally sure her reason, but I love it whatever it is.

Fonda’s performance is less showy but also excellent. There are so many small, observant character touches. I like the section where Sam is staying over and Hedy has befriended him, they’re having breakfast together and enjoying each other’s company. Allie comes out and shows her annoyance just by half smiling and taking an orange instead of what Hedy cooked. Then Sam gives Hedy a look that kinda says, “whoops, she’s mad, not your fault, but I need to take care of this.” A relatable situation conveyed with expressions, not words. It’s alot of subtle stuff like that.

But also she gets to punch Stephen Tobolowsky in the dick and throw a rat at Jennifer Jason Leigh.

30 years later in the futuristic year of 2022 there are many essays calling SINGLE WHITE FEMALE lesbophobic. Yeah, that’s an understandable interpretation. I won’t rebut it other than to say that the sexual threat never seems to be the emphasis, and that Hedy is portrayed as more sad and broken than evil. But yeah, there weren’t enough lesbians in movies back then to justify most of them being evil or sad and broken. That’s fair.

Today I also don’t think you’d make a movie that had a race in the title if it wasn’t about race. But that’s how classified ads work(ed), and it’s a catchy title. It would seem worse if they’d kept the book title, SWF Seeks Same – Wait a minute, you mean only whites need apply to be her roommate?

Despite all that, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE was an attempt to be progressive for the genre and the time. In an interview on the Shout Factory blu-ray Roos (who is a gay man) explains that he wanted to write a thriller where both leads were women, the gay friend was heroic (and didn’t die), and all the straight men were bad. And maybe that seems like nothing today, but at the time it wasn’t. In the days when horrible misogyny and homophobia were common even in light comedies I really believe this was a step forward.

If you’re wanting it to be more sex positive than the other thrillers of the time, that’s debatable. There’s a pretty out-of-nowhere scene (but all the more effective for it) where Allie follows Hedy on the street, and she goes down some stairs into some kind of fetish club with leather and latex lovers, punks, businessmen in suits seemingly watching a sex show outside of the frame, a fully clothed dude in a cage, and (this is the most ‘90s touch of the movie) Enigma’s “Sadeness Part I” playing. But the big reveal here is not that Hedy is into anything kinky, but that she hangs out there and the bartenders and everyone think her name is Allie. That’s fucked up!

I don’t think of it as an erotic thriller, because it really doesn’t seem to me like the obsession at the center of it is sexual like it would be in a Shannon Tweed movie. It’s not about temptation and forbidden lust and shit. But I suppose it qualifies because of what Hedy does to Sam, plus multiple sex scenes and more nudity than mainstream movies ever have these days. It’s all between adults and mostly without coercion, though, so it dodged the sleazy reputation of a POISON IVY.

One thing it does have in common with POISON IVY that I really like is that it’s more sympathetic toward its villainess than, say, FATAL ATTRACTION or BASIC INSTINCT. She’s tragic, not evil. When Allie sees that Hedy has completely lost it and is impersonating her around town she goes to Graham to try to figure out how to get psychological help for her. She also locates her family and calls them, and it’s a matter of “your daughter needs help,” not “come get your psycho daughter.” She even says “She’s been under alot of stress lately.” After she kills her in self defense she pushes her eyes closed. She’s not gonna spit on her grave. And just like POISON IVY it ends with a solemn voiceover. Allie seems to have talked to Hedy’s parents afterwards, and she says that every day she tries to forgive her.

Looking at the reviews from the time, it seems like I wasn’t alone in my snobby attitude about thrillers like this. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 53% rotten, but most of the reviews from major outlets that I could find were on the positive side. Roger Ebert, for example, gave it 3 out 4 stars, acknowledging it as a good example of its genre (though I disagree with him about which one: “No genre is beyond redemption or beneath contempt, and here the slasher genre is given its due with strong performances and direction.”) Still, it’s hard to find positive reviews of it that don’t compliment it in underhanded ways. Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly called it “entertaining claptrap.” Desson Thomson wrote in the Washington Post, “Even though SINGLE WHITE FEMALE is more second-rate, knife-stabbing psycho drivel, it’s no pain to sit through.”

There is good news, though. It was a hit, earning five times its budget in theaters. And Leigh won “Best Villain” at the MTV Movie Awards, beating out Danny DeVito for BATMAN RETURNS, Ray Liotta for UNLAWFUL ENTRY, Jack Nicholson for A FEW GOOD MEN and even Sharon Stone for BASIC INSTINCT. At the time this was a good category for thriller villainesses – the year before it went to Rebecca De Mornay for THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, and the year after to Alicia Silverstone for THE CRUSH.

Roos’ later scripts include BOYS ON THE SIDE (1995), DIABOLIQUE (1996) and MARLEY & ME (2008). He also started directing with THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, which I was really happy to revisit in my summer of ’98 retrospective. I had mostly forgotten it, but it held up really well.

I’m honestly pretty ignorant of Schroeder’s work (other than playing the French president in MARS ATTACKS!, of course). He started in France in the ‘60s, so I didn’t realize he’s Swiss, born in Iran. I know he did documentaries about Idi Amin and Koko the gorilla, then the Bukowski movies and REVERSAL OF FORTUNE and then this started a period of Hollywood suspense thrillers for him. The only one I remember for sure seeing is the crime movie KISS OF DEATH, which I think is really good and underrated. So I should probly check out more of his stuff.

I’ll probly start with BEVERLY HILLS COP III, where he plays “Man in Porsche.”

In 2005 SINGLE WHITE FEMALE finally got a DTV sequel, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE 2: THE PSYCHO. It sounds like it’s unrelated, just reusing the roommate/haircut idea, but you know me. I’ll probly watch it.

Anyway, Allie, I think this all could’ve been avoided if you’d gone through with calling Betty Finn from HEATHERS (Renee Estevez) instead of getting distracted by a photo of dumbass Sam (R.I.P.). I’m not saying it’s your fault, but I am saying you can make better decisions in the future.


Time capsule part 1:

Looks like The Pogues featuring Joe Strummer were about to play the Beacon Theatre when they filmed this scene.

Time capsule part 2:

When Allie is taped to a chair she tries to get the attention of the neighbors by changing the TV to a Front 242 video – or as the subtitles call it, “(loud synth music)” – and turning the volume all the way up.

As a side note, I want to point out that Hedy treats “my crush found out I murdered her fiance and is going to turn me in” similar to how the kid in HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID treated “my crush found out my baby brother got turned giant.” Things turned out better for him, though.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2022 at 1:11 pm and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

33 Responses to “Single White Female”

  1. I remember this movie being quite a big deal when it came out, but for some reason always thought it was about a kidnapping. Don’t know why.

    Also I looked up the sequel and was not just surprised to learn that it was written by Andy Hurst, who directed back in 99 the quite entertaining British dark humored bank-robbery-gone-extremely-wrong comedy YOU’RE DEAD, with Rhys Ifans and John Hurt, but also that Hurst’s career instantly moved to DTV land. He wrote WILD THINGS 2 & 3 and directed part 4, as well as a cheap NUTCRACKER cartoon movie, the Wesley Snipes movie THE MARKSMAN and something called VAMPIRES: THE TURNING, which seems to be a sequel to Carpenter’s VAMPIRES, but involves Muay Thai fighters. I did not expect that.

  2. Ah! This has always been my Guilty Pleasure. What’s not to like? Fonda and Jason Leigh at Peak Hotness embodying some pretty ripe Male Fantasies such as:

    – Hot women sharing an apartment frequently parade around in undies or in the altogether

    – Hot women eventually fuck each other over as they’re bitchy, needy, competitive, vindictive and when pushed, murderously psychotic

    – The object of strife between Hot Women is frequently a Man

    All of the above packaged in my favorite genre wrapping of the 90s: The Psycho Thriller.

  3. God, I miss the _____ From Hell thrillers and god damn I miss Bridget Fonda!

  4. Weird tangential note: Milena Canonero is married to Marshall Bell. I remember when she won her academy award it cut to him in the audience and I was like “who the fuck let Quato into the Oscars!?”

  5. A confession:

    -I’m not the biggest slasher fan in the world (I know this immediately throws everything I say into question with some parties. But sorry, it’s true)

    -I’m especially not a fan of the ’15-minute slasher ending’ to non-slasher movies. I almost always feel it’s just a lame cop-out used so the filmmakers don’t have to deal with whatever other issues they have brought up over the previous 45-minutes.

    -I’ve always felt this is a particularly egregious example.

  6. I’m the opposite. Whenever a critic trashes a movie by saying it devolves into a slasher film at the end, I’m like, “Sweet! Free slasher film!”

  7. Another litmus test is whether or not you think FROM DUSK TIL DAWN jumps the shark halfway through

  8. Another litmus test is whether or not you think FROM DUSK TIL DAWN jumps the shark halfway through

    That was sort of the opposite, I spent 45 minutes thinking “I thought this was supposed to be a fucking vampire movie” then “Jesus Christ, finally…” for the concluding 15.

  9. “In an interview on the Shout Factory blu-ray Roos (who is a gay man) explains that he wanted to write a thriller where both leads were women, the gay friend was heroic (and didn’t die), and all the straight men were bad.”

    This movie *is* dated. These days, they’d never admit that, they’d just call anyone who noticed a toxic fan.

  10. No, it’s just bozos that are offended by that stuff, not Toxie fans. Maybe I’m biased as a Toxie fan but don’t lump us in with those weiners please.

  11. I remember an interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli (I think it was on the SUSPIRIA Anchor Bay DVD), where he had an amusing anecdote about working on SINGLE WHITE FEMALE; they were setting up for the scene where Bridget Fonda is tied up and gagged, and director Barbet Schroeder made a comment to Tovoli, something like “The way you lit this scene reminds me of your work on SUSPIRIA”. Fonda immediately bolted up and tried to talk, squirming like crazy, but of course, she was tied up and had tape over her mouth. The crew thought something was wrong and she needed help, so they rushed over and pulled the tape off. It turns out she overheard the exchange; she told Tovoli something like “Oh my god, I didn’t know you shot that movie, I love that movie…” and proceeded to geek out/pick his brain about SUSPIRIA. (At least that’s how I remember that story, I haven’t seen that interview in over 20 years.)

  12. That sounds very plausible. Bridget Fonda also famously asked to be in ARMY OF DARKNESS in any capacity, even a wordless role as Linda #3, so I’d say her horror cred is pretty unimpeachable.

  13. I completely hate this movie for the inspiration it provided to one of the lowest, most evil and diseased-brain people I’ve ever known, who is closely affiliated with people involved in this movie and who took RPGing as SWF as a major initial part of stalking myself, a disturbing and ceaseless fixation that has now found itself the basis for some dumb fucking movie that is the production a group of interconnected rich people known for supporting unconscionable criminal acts of forced sexual wronging and physical assault otherwise, and some crimes that are unmentionable. Some of these matters of negativity are widely known and some are not, but none of it affected the PR campaign of this stupid movie in which boastful arrogance is the primary defense mechanism of some person too angry at his mental ruination to ever try to be a decent person, but too wrapped up in exploiting connection to the process that harmed him to ever stop benefiting from it. The group of people involved in this movie have done and supported horrible things, with the seriousness being such that my troubles they’ve caused are almost selfish to state for their being lesser among them.

    I’m feeling bleak, gang, and I just survived something bad. People are being fucking horrible to me from all angles, and I’m no longer the jolly old A.L.F. of the past, or even the A.L.F. of manically posting about Milla to deal with tragedy and resulting trauma. Please forgive and do not reply to this comment.

    I know you can’t blame video games or heavy metal for tragedy, but really, sometimes media can arouse diseased, mindless, destructive instincts. I wish that SWF did not exist, and though I love Vern as a writer (and a legit friend going back to the 90s), I wish this review had not been written.

    I’m not going anywhere, but I’m in a sad place and wholeheartedly wish to be somewhere nicer, happier and more productive. This place is virtual, but at least it truly has those qualities.

  14. ALF, I hope you’re OK. For what it’s worth, have a random internet person’s support; I’ve only recently started posting regularly here, but I’m a long-time lurker and I’ve always appreciated your posts here.

  15. I appreciate your comment, dread guacamole. The world is a hellish place in which bizarre systems of money, power and PR can cause unimaginable destruction. My current contexts are literally hurting me physically for some psychotic sadist’s fun, due to the simple fact of my standing up for my rights. Long story, maybe I’ll get “real” with you all about it in the near future.

    These looming issues with movie people are so insane, beyond description and if a web of influence and involvement beyond what one could imagine. This movie glamourized, legitimized and articulated the evil action of a person who thinks it’s all fun, because he knows the lady from this stupid movie. The other people involved in this movie are quite possibly worse.

    I’ve got a broken clavicle, broken ribs, brain bleeding, head swelling, an unfunctioning jaw and I’m being denied suitable treatment by bullies who are as evil-action-in-response-to-resentment as this loathsome industry kid. There’s nowhere for me to go in the world and the unconscionable mistreatment several women I cared about very much is only known of by those closest to them, and considered a non existent matter by a bunch of sleazebags who love getting away with evil, or letting their friends get away with evil.

    There’s no place for me to go in the world.

    Almost Famous is bullshit, but Vern really was my teenage equivalent to Lester Bangs. He continually has shown kindness to myself. It amazes me that he has maintained a community of similar decency.

    The world seems totally without any hope. Commenters here do so much to counter that, which isn’t easy to do. I am very lonely. Thank you kind people here for your goodness.

    One of my favorite aspects of the geocities sight was when you opened the alphabetical “o” page, and it was titled “o as in o shit”.

    I appreciate your wishes, dreadguacamole, but in the words of the Meat Loaf influenced, indie comics fan and supportive collaborator to Elliot Page, “I’m not OK, I’m not O fucking K”.

    Go to hell, SWF, you ugly, stupid, advantageous, evil-associated/evil-yourself mother fucker. Everyone knows about you, you stupid piece of shit, and your attempts to “collect” people are empty and wrong. Your sense of values is as empty as your useless mind. All of your distracting bluster and people-for-sport culture of evil will be proved worthless when it all concludes.

  16. Shit man, whatever is going on, stay strong!

  17. A.L.F. I’m sorry you’re going through this and I hope it resolves and gives you relief.

  18. All the best ALF.

    I hope this is supportive rather than trivialising or inappropriate, and I apologise if it is, but when/if you feel like it hop in the STAY TUNED or HALLOWEEN 2 thread and we can talk Chuck Jones or MUNSTERS (or various other related or unrelated tangents).

    ALMOST FAMOUS did always set off my bullshit alarm.

  19. ALF, this might not mean much, but I consider you one of this sight’s genuine holy oddballs. It just wouldn’t be the same without you. The world can be a real dark place, but just know you got friends here ready to hold the flashlight for you.

  20. When I saw Almost Famous my first year of being a journalist I thought it was the dream to be embedded with the artists. Then I saw it after a decade of working for a living and thought he was on tour for a month to make $700? Thats a sweatshop!

  21. Hi gang, I thank the commenters that replied with empathy, consideration and warmth. It feels wrong not to reply to showings of humanity with individual messages of appreciation, but I’m in such a bad way that I cannot do so properly.

    Before writing much more, I’d like to apologize to our dude Vern for having said I wish this review wasn’t written. It was because I am disturbed by the thought of the person who took this movie (and knowing one of the principals) as inspiration for a loathsomeness that I’m too fragile to articulate. This brainless creep and his employees/cronies of even worse action (or support of the lowest actions of criminality) should realize that there are people connected to the deceased women who were wronged that are as upset as I am and not as easy to harm or dismiss, and the same is true of those who have suffered from their culture of victimization otherwise.

    My hospital stay has found myself spending twelve hours a day seeking processes of self-advocacy that are denied myself with literal aggression. The nurses, however, have said that they feel badly about how I’m being treated and that they wouldn’t want to be submitted to this hospital’s (mis) treatment. My ribs (many of them) and clavicle are still fractured severely, the gigantic eggs on my face still hurt intensely and I cannot even stand with a cane. Sadistically, my “uppity” “problem starting” nature has it so that tomorrow I will be transferred to a nursing home for elderly people tomorrow, where I will share a room with someone and not have on-site medical care of any sort. It’s an hour car ride away and even the enforced times with a walker or sitting in a chair have caused me physical agony. I’ve had friends suffer from much greater health concerns than this, so I both do not wish to make myself out to be the ultimate in suffering, but also, those friends systematic mistreatment (in several ways) has me aware of how hopeless I am at countering structures that propagate these harms.

    Also, I’m an unhoused person. From April through September, I spent 141 days living outdoors under fearful, unsafe and improper conditions and 159 days without a room of my own, all rooting from a roommate violently intimidating me for having caught COVID. Four states and nearly half a year of placelesness and deep sorrow. If this sounds unbelievable, I could share the email threads. I’m literally getting sick of being quiet about destructive wronging that takes advantage of my vulnerability. To quote young Vern, “I am a Writer”; vulnerability is actually my truest strength.

    For the record, my real name is Abe, though I draw comics under the name Abigail as a way of expressing my complicated gender identity and sarcastically mocking the burden of a father’s horrifying, “you should die” tyranny.

    If any of you are old timers, I’m the young teenager Persona Vern used to get pissed off at in the early days, those of organizing badassery. I still think that time Bosko swore was badass, though. I’ve often wished those posts could be edited, but now see it as an honor to have somehow stumbled across the earliest stages of something important and good.

    Vern has given me brighter things to think of than the corporeal bullshit since I was very, very young. Inspiration is something good, and I cannot let life pollute that thought. Though I’m close to giving up, the fact that luck prevailing, I could enjoy another solid two and a half decades of such inspiration is a continual help.

    I like you all so much, and wish I was speaking about the achievements of Mikes Maltese and Jai White, instead of being brought to this point of articulation. Put a little A.L.F. in your heart, gang, and maybe before too much time we can discuss the comparative goodness of Broomstick Bunny and BLOOD AND BONE, which was on hospital TV the other day but too traumatizing to watch.

    I’m miserable, but I’m also a pro. I will offer some Automatic A.L.F. in another thread as an apology for this selfish seriousness.

    Maggie, if you’re out there, I thought of you every time Lilith showed up during the eight episodes of Cheers I’ve watched on hospital TV – similarly, I think of yourself every time I contemplate the comedic genius of C. Applegate. Vern, those NOW Comics Married with Children books are pretty good, and found a good and odd home for erstwhile MAD artist Tom Richmond. Good comics, even if they did not draw Dylan’s onetime backing singer as being truly beautiful.

    There’s some really sad material about Married…with Children in “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues: The Arthur Alexander Story”, which is a really heart rending read. That “Anna” episode is so wonderful, though.

    Fred T, I still think so happily of so many of your expressions of happiness. I really value your positivity, scholarship, happy spirit and amazing enthusiasm. You are top dog on the list of people I’d like to attend a movie with.

    Majestyk, that is so moving, thank you. You don’t put on no airs, so what you’ve offered really means a lot. I value yourself as well, you contribute such unique goodness and appreciation. Thanks for not being frustrated when I change the style like I was Son of Bazerk. Maybe things will get better and one of these days we could get duly blunted and I could tell you my amazing true life Kool Keith story.

    Dreadguacamole, sincerely, thank you so much once again. You are kind and such a help. Your sentiments are a real thing and mean a lot.

    CJ, I relate to and appreciate you so much. You are truly my G, thank you, sincerely.

    Thanks, buds.

    Sincerely, A Longtime Fan

  22. Thanks for sharing ALF. Not much that can be said, but we’ll be here for you. Take care.

  23. URGENT: In recent weeks, the revelation of crimes of sexual degradation and exploitation of a minor on behalf of The Safdie Brothers (in a new story phrasing it as a matter of initiation on part of their former producer) have gone woefully underreported, what with political issues (of a number of intense seriousnesses, be the matters of resolution or harm) and/including the Ike Pererlmutter news. I hope that people can look up the Variety story that I will link to below this post, as it is a matter of great seriousness.

    Also of great seriousness is my decision to finally be of public opposition to Owen Kline, Charlie Judkins, Joann Carlo, Brian Jackson (and, indirectly, a number of Safdie-associates who have done severely unconscionable, harmful, evil things).

    There is also the matter of Noah Baumbach having made a work of child pornography in The Squid and the Whale and the way this both ruined and provided a base of power for one of the most damaged people I’ve ever met in my life.

    Simulated sex acts performed by a child that utilize editing to demonstrate sexual occurrence are still without question a child pornography. Simulated depiction of sex still counts as depiction of sex. Depicting a child in a sex act is insane, particularly one in which the “edge” of a work hinges upon the filmed ruination of a child’s mind, allowed by his parents, mother’s closest friend/most public associate and her then-husband at the time.

    I met Wes Anderson once and mentioned Owen. He seemed upset and concerned. These people know that what they did was wrong.

    They’re sure as shit not admitting it.

    The issues with the aforementioned and directly-named individuals (and their disgusting little cult) involves my being stalked, touched, harmed, harrassed and in turn, ruined for taking an oppositional stance (not always in the brightest of ways).

    Some of those not-too-bright ways included thinking that some sort of private, “under-the-table” resolution was possible and that risking public harm and countering by these “people” would also bring harm and risk their other victims, and the families of the victims that are no longer alive – of which there are several.

    The matter of greatest seriousness to myself was the horrifying, permanently-damaging rape, assault and stalking-through-nuisance-lawsuits by someone who is the closest associate to the closest associate to The Safdies that there is.

    This woman is no longer alive, having died of a rare form of bone cancer at age 30. I dated her briefly, and I think I was the only person that she dated at the very small wedding she had during COVID in order to, well, give her strength, have a nice moment and maybe say goodbye to people.

    The last year of her life was spent in horrible seclusion during lockdown. She essentially lost so much of the happiness and stability that she would have had in the last third of her life due to this rapist monster, which is the matter I’ve alluded to earlier in this thread.

    Some of this involves a very serious death in their world and the way in which this death was used to torment myself, and how making human “sport” of myself was the priority of these people.

    I also have taken great exception to Owen Kline’s (secretly Scott-Rudin-produced) movie “Funny Pages”, and how it is intended to deplatform, insult, harm and lessen me – after more than a decade of Owen making this his priority otherwise.

    Two days ago, I was moments away from killing myself. This is not a matter of depression, but a matter of circumstantial impossibility and the physical impossibility of living how I’ve had to for so long.

    For a decade, I have tried to resolve this matter privately (with a legally-admissible paper trail, countless pieces of evidence and any number of witnesses and other forms of confirmation), but have had no luck. Also, the sanctity of other victims’ privacy was – and is – very important to me. However, I am basically ignored by the entire world for being exhausting or too involved in a seriousness others don’t wish to publicly confront – which I understand, but can’t continue living this way – as it is literally unlivable.

    I didn’t want to have to be the one to do this, but I am one of the ones it has affected the most, who has been the most obsessed-over and the most continually targeted.

    If anybody can see a shred of possibility in what I could contribute to the world were I not such a hardened, miserable, repetitive, tired and nearly-anonymous person, I would appreciate it if you gave the trudge through this information some of your time.

    More than that, I would greatly appreciate it if you do not support these detestable criminals with your time, money, energy, attention or even work-based conversation. Leave it for the next generation to “artist/art”, please – what matters now is that these people are not emboldened further and supported in the way their close ties to politics, industry, architecture, land surveying and the “jesters” of the status quo, the entertainment industry.

    The thread can be found on twitter.com/zeroabigail

    Any signal boost would be appreciated, as would any form of support or solidarity otherwise, whatever that may be.

    I realize the fun and nice environment of outlawvern.com was not made for settling longstanding social justice issues and that I’ve spoken about this a lot – but that was for a reason, and when one reduces oneself to the point of no context there’s not a lot else to think about.

    Lives are gone and lives were destroyed by these people.

    Please do not support them, and please challenge their power in any way that you can. That is how things change.

    My thanks to you for reading and for your time.

    Abigail Zero
    also known as:
    A.L.F. (A Longtime Fan)
    Abe Scott
    Abraham Scott
    Forced Into Anonymity
    America’s Cartoonist

    A proud member of the Wallace Wood fan club, one of many.

  24. The thread regarding these urgent matters can be found in the pinned post at twitter.com/zeroabigail

  25. A.L.F., I know I don’t really know you, but you have probably the strongest moral fiber of anyone I’ve seen on the internet. I want you to know that we like you and we want you to stay in this world.

  26. Hi Bill, your comment means a lot to me, and while I cannot accept your compliment I certainly thank you for being called moral.

    I am very close to death. I am not safe, there are no people in my life and I have slept literally an hour every night for the past two weeks. No one will treat me humanely, the way a person who was actually cared for would. Nobody cared about my social justice attempts and I am not making any long-term plans.

    Life isn’t worth living. I keep trying to be positive but in all honesty I am being forced to die by lack of human concern.

  27. A.L.F., my heart breaks for you. Everybody is always calling people like you brave, but what they don’t bring up is the fact that most white knights don’t save the princess. They just get roasted by the dragon while the cowardly townsfolk tell tales of their bravery. Becoming an inspirational story is of little comfort to a pile of charred bones.

    I have read your diatribes and haven’t known what to say. You have been kind to me in the past and I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you reached out. What I should have said is that you deserve to be on this shitty planet whether or not anybody else thinks so. I haven’t been through half the bullshit you’ve been through and the fact that I can’t do anything about how awful people are and how cruel and insane the world we’ve made for ourselves is makes me want to vacate the planet earth on a regular basis. I often-bordering-on-constantly feel like I don’t want to be here and that human existence is a sadistic joke. But so what? This is it. This is what we got. We have to make the best of it. Not to defeat the unfeeling cunts who will never stop multiplying or to save the incurious masses from themselves, but for ourselves. We were given this one one-in-a-trillion chance at existing and we can’t let some vicious dipshits and their casual brutality take that from us. We have to remind ourselves that the world is a little better because we’re here and we’re not one of them. I know mine is a little better with you in it.

    I know I’m just some anonymous dickhead on the internet who mouths off about A24 and Star Wars. But I’d be crushed if I found out you gave up. That isn’t much but maybe it’ll get you through a few hours until something better comes along. Because something better is coming. And something better IS coming along so you better make sure you’re around for it.

  28. Shit, ALF, I’ve been trying really hard to come up with anything, but all I can say is “Don’t give up”, which admittedly is a bit of an obvious thing to say from someone who isn’t in your situation, but I do mean it. Life is horrible and I guess what you told us and could puzzle together is only the tip of the iceberg of what you are going through, but y’know, there are good parts that would be a shame to miss.

  29. Man I finish the ending of Snowfall with a heavy heart and then come into this thread and get bummed out by the ugliness of life even more. A.L.F I really really hope you hold your head. I’ve seen your posts here along the years and have enjoyed your contributions to this comment section. No matter what any of these cocksuckers think you have a lot of value and you are appreciated.

    I just came off one of the darkest spells in my life recently and can confidently tell you no matter how much people suck there is still a lot of stuff out here worth carrying on for. To put it in a filmatic context the ROCKY BALBOA speech to Rocky Jr. comes to mind because it’s not just empty platitudes. It’s pretty damn on the money. I really hope you continue displaying your strength and stay loyal to your truth no matter what but don’t let any of the residual stuff drag you down because you know, I know and they know that you’re somebody and deserve all the respect and consideration just like anybody else.

    If anything it just reminds me why I turned down so many entertainment biz opportunities along the way. So many people within it have the moral compass of a lizard it’d be difficult to stomach on the daily. I applaud you for continuing to swim in those waters no matter how murky they get because it really can’t be easy.

  30. Hi all, I am returning to this thread with more social justice information. I hope you will accept my apologies for not returning to this page to thank you all, or to follow up with additional information.

    The most important first: I have named the name of the person who raped my late friend after a month spent in harsh, terrible contexts and an increasing feeling that the most important thing to do would be to prevent future victims. I also discuss who supported him and what their dynamics are.

    I am also still homeless and am trying to figure out some way of getting 1,000 dollars – a large some in some senses, a measly one in others – so that I may cease being homeless. Today is – to the day – month 13 of being homeless in very scary contexts. (The month in a hospital and two weeks in a hostel were not housing.) I am seeking either a loan with the unfortunately-requiste-unless-things-REALLY-change long-term-payback options, or the criticisable but necessary option of charity. I am also a cartoonist who is open for comissions, my work is sort of easy to find online now.

    The Safdie Brothers got $19 million dollars to make Uncut Gems and will surely get more to make their next garbage heap.

    I am deserving of at least being loaned money so that I may cease living in dangerous, scary, unmentionable places.

    Personally-appreciative thanks are due to Bill, Alf, Majestyk, CJ and Broddie for their warm, understanding responses at a time when even simple regard was almost nowhere to be found. Also, thanks to my pen-pal yet-true-friend Pacman for having wished me happy birthday, kept in contact via e-mail and generally being a reminder – as you all are too – of why fan culture really bridges the distances in the world.

    (Pacman, I have a music/nerd culture joke of such specificity that literally ONLY YOU would appreciate it. I will write it in a Twitter thread with a shout-out to ya in the near future, when the time is better for such a thing.)

    I am feeling much more positive than I had in previous times of suffering, and that is very much due to the regard of being told I’ve done the right thing.

    My GoFundMe appears at the bottom of the thread in which I whistleblow who raped my dead friend. Retweets and signal boosts would be GREATLY appreciated. This information is getting lost in the shuffle, and it’s going to take a grassroots effort to make this one known of.

    Somehow, I don’t think Eli Bush, Owen Kline, The Safdie Brothers or Eleonore Hendricks are going to be issuing any press releases hyping this one up.

    This is a good place and I’m happy to be here. I read every Ronny Yu review with a true appreciation for a longtime friend. (I hope he won’t be embarrassed by this, but still draw those characters from that script you dreamed he’d direct when you were 24 a few times every year, Vern.)

    I will be releasing two new comic books before the end of the month, BACKSTREETS MAGAZINE and THE EXPEDITIOUS ABIGAIL ZERO – God willing.

    I intend to stay alive and I thank you for your part in the help in getting to that point. Even if it was just letting me speak and be heard. Seriously.

    Thanks buds.

  31. The thread in which I blow the rape-whistle on who hurt (and continued to hurt) my late friend is at: https://twitter.com/ZeroAbigail/status/1659955268636262401

  32. I know this is not the forum for my social justice concerns, but it is also the only one that has allowed them fairly.

    I am trying to seek some level of accountability in response to an event scheduled for tomorrow, announced last-minute and as sort of a “party” for a truly evil person. Owen Kline – who I’ve established is a completely loathsome monster, as described above – is giving a Q&A at a movie directed by his grandfather and starring Sal Mineo.

    The person raped by Sam Stillman was named Claire Mineo, after marriage. Her name was Claire Lucido.

    I am not being supported in any way and no system protects me. The one person to retweet my social justice concerns was a friend from this forum. I see no reason to keep quiet about this.

    Neither should you.

    I am hoping that e-mails and phone calls to Film Forum tomorrow will see to it that this event will not pass without at least some action of protest.

    This is a special place and I hope to be back to talk to you all more positively soon, and to find the healthy contexts that will allow me to be a better-capable person of keeping this conversation going. It is my life’s intention from here on out. I know my strangeness is a lot to deal with. There are more important things in this world, quite frankly.

    A list of who you can contact at Film Forum is in this tweet thread, as are my threads about Owen’s crimes and the crimes committed to Claire Mineo/Claire Lucido.


    I am done with silence. I hope that you are too.

    Thank you, people of outlawvern.com.

    A Longtime Fan/Abigail Zero/Abe Scott

  33. Hello Vern people, I have called Film Forum in protest of tonight’s event mentioned above and it was totally clear that my unwillingness to settle for rape culture was taken seriously, and a matter of panic and distress for their staff. I do not wish to waste your time, but if you feel a protest is possible I would STRONGLY recommend making a quick phone call to their ADMINISTRATIVE office – NOT their Box-Office.

    The administrative office’s phone number is 212-627-2035.

    The screening is tonight at 7:30. Please call as soon as you can, before their administrators are done for the day and with a quickness that shows that there are in fact serious-minded, politically people out there.

    I’ve also alerted Film Forum that some people I know may be showing up tonight with tickets they purchased rightfully to this public event and demonstrate their right to vocal (yet peaceful) protest by verbally interrupting Owen’s introduction.

    Would anybody out there like to join them? If so, let me know.

    Owen’s stalking of myself was mostly allowed to occur by “technicality”, abusing things being “public”, such as the Kim’s Video phone number, the internet, etc.

    The same “technicality” by which he behaved so disgustingly is the one that will allow moral people see to it that a system to change.

    The right to free speech is inherently a moral one, and thus, is best utilized by the moral.

    Give Film Forum a call as soon as you can.

    I look forward to joining the 1983 series with you all soon, particularly SUPERMAN. For those of you who are Vern Twitter types, I’m gonna pop in either there or here with some interesting examples of the dedication Lucas has shown to treating obscure cartoonists over the years (and why this legitimizes the idea of Star Wars merchandising entirely), and a sad, little-known story of a secretly (but identifiably) garbage person who famously on the crew of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

    I love this website and I thank you for not opposing my attempts at opposing cultures of rape, stalking, harm, control and harrsement.

    I will be back soon for happier conversations with you all. Thanks buds.

    Abigail Zero
    A Longtime Fan

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