It's hard to know exactly where the new UA will draw the line. One individual who spoke recently with the company's officers maintains that they explicitly declared films such as "The Bad Seed," "The Omen," and "The Exorcist" to be out of bounds as far as they are concerned. Does this mean that UA will quit licensing reruns of "Carrie," Brian DePalma's bloody 1976 horror classic? Kirschner, who created the story for "American Tail" and co-produced that children's film with Steven Spielberg, said his greatest fear is that "Child's Play" will be publicly perceived as something more vicious than it really is as a result of the UA action.
"I mean, this isn't a snuff film. . . . A child doesn't kill in this film," he says.
Kirschner adds that Evans--who will release this week a more innocent UA production called "Little Monsters," starring Fred Savage of TV's "The Wonder Years"--was "very gracious" when the two eventually discussed the Australians' distaste for "Child's Play." He said Evans seemed genuinely puzzled by Hollywood's enthusiasm for the film.
"Why would you make a film like this?" Evans asked the producer.
Says Kirschner: "I tried to explain that Universal built a foundation on horror movies. . . . I told him that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote 'Kidnapped,' then turned around and did 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.' "
Leonard Klady contributed to this article.