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TOUR TALK

Rivers wasn't exactly a no-show

July 12, 2006|Lynn Smith

Joan Rivers was just a shadow of herself on the hot Viennese Terrace of the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena.

She was, in fact, in Pennsylvania, selling things on QVC.

Only her ethereal satellite-fed video image cracked jokes for critics and reporters who had come to TV Guide Channel's first press tour event to schmooze with Rivers, her daughter Melissa and the lesser celebrities who were "scheduled to appear" at the Monday cocktail party.

"There was some miscommunication," said Leslie Furuta, vice president of communication for the channel, who just a few moments earlier indicated Rivers had a suite at the hotel.

To seasoned reporters, this is Hollywood as usual.

Ryan O'Hara, president of the channel, said, "We knew a couple of days ago" that Rivers had a "scheduling conflict." To gain "wiggle room," communication people "tweaked the language" of descriptions of the event to the media "so it wasn't totally misleading but wasn't saying that everyone ... would be there," he said.

To counter such runarounds, some reporters employ their own strategies, asking, for instance, "Have you sent a car to pick [the celebrity] up?"

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Horror films good for us, Craven says

Monday, opening day of the two-week TCA, most seemed unconcerned, content with free drinks, gorgeous starlets, palm shaded terrace and a steak dinner that, for one, lived up to its sizzle. There's a good reason people will pay good money to go to a frightening film: They're already scared. At least according to Wes Craven ("A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream"), who analyzed the horror genre Monday afternoon at the television industry's press tour, where a Starz panel promoted its documentary "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film."

Craven, who appears in the film, said it was no coincidence the genre was reborn during the Vietnam War era, when Americans were shocked not only by the brutality depicted in television news coverage but also at the fact that U.S. soldiers were participating.

Horror films provide a catharsis for viewers, he said, and help them accept the reality of human frailty.

"Whatever is in the news that is deeply troubling will turn up in films," he said.

Many movies at the moment feature torture, he said, as a way to deal with images of torture from the war in Iraq and the outsourcing of torture by governments.

"Horror films," Craven said, "are the boot camp of the psyche."

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-- Lynn Smith

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