How Cynicism is Killing Entertainment

COREY HAIM: Fighting Cynema in the Most Personal Way

"When I was 19 years old, I was the number one star of the world for two years; when I was 40, nobody wanted me -- I couldn't get a job." -- Mickey Rooney at his Oscar acceptance speech, 1980.


It's easy to forget the human element of filmmaking and despite the toll the industry takes on an individual film, it sometimes takes a greater toll on a human individual. That's the focus of this entry.



Fans have set up a petition: CLICK  to sign the online request for a star for Corey Haim.

A fan created TUMBLR PAGE to the cause can be found here: CLICK


All photos courtesy of Judy Haim, Corey's mother for this article


We were approached on Twitter by Corey Haim fans asking for help in securing a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the late actor and former teen box office heartthrob. I assumed we were approached because 6 Degrees of Hell stars the other half of "The Two Coreys", Corey Feldman. The two defined the 80's with their films and became the "Dynamic Duo" of high school lockers, notebook covers and subjects of popular teen fanzines like Tiger Beat.


Photos courtesy of Judy Haim


As the film's screenwriter and producer, I decided to use whatever influence our film had to help this cause after giving it some thought and thinking back on a young man who brought so much to so many people and was collateral damage in such a darkly seductive industry. To be fair, I like to claim that I "grew up" with both Corey's. I saw all of their films but can't say I shared the same thrill for them as the girls around me. They had their good films and bad. There is no doubt that Feldman's horror pedigree and my appreciation of his genre films played an influence on soliciting him for 6 Degrees of Hell. I do know for a fact that had Haim been alive while casting 6 Degrees I would have gone for both Corey's to be in the film. It would have been an 80's lovers dream and a distribution coup.


Corey Haim is gone now, having died a little over two years ago amidst a swirl of media scrutiny, speculation and outright hypocritical exploitation. The industry that made him a star also contributed to his deconstruction, and if Corey Feldman is correct, far darker, individual forces were at work--things worse than any horror movie could dredge up because it resides in reality.


This article will not focus on these things. The Internet is awash with unsubstantiated "facts", out of context analyses and boldface lies about Haim, his life and those last days. Only Haim, his family and those truly close to him knew what demons tormented him and how he lived his life. Anything else is nonsense as many former child stars can testify to this horrid persecution by the press and an increasingly ignorant and shallow public.


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


Tara Reid, the star of my previous film, The Fields ( is a living record of what happens when the media conspires to assassinate one of its own. For whatever reason, these stars run afoul of the "the system", and they find that the same executives, studios and media that built them up are more than happy to tear them down. A career can turn on a dime and I have included Tara's plight in a book I am writing on this savage business. What exactly did Tara Reid do to earn her such enmity and become the target of cowardly bloggers and their even more cowardly anonymous comment makers that punctuate such yellow journalism?


“How many more years are [the media] going to pick on me? There's other new young bad girls. Move on to someone else!” – Tara Reid


Cynema is the fuel that drives such an cannibalistic engine. The industry devours its children.


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


Dana Plato, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Linda Blair, Tara Reid, Drew Barrymore, Robert Downey, Jr., Judd Nelson, MacCaulay Culkin, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Anthony Michael Hall, Jay North, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Charlie Sheen, Michael Jackson, Ed Furlong, Crispin Glover, River Phoenix...this list can go on.


All of these names were associated with lavish success and then "fallen on hard times." Some regained luster to their Hollywood crowns and are once again looked upon favorably by the Powers That Be. They have been "rehabilitated," made amends or atonement" in the eyes of an industry that is hardly the paragon of virtue or moral piety.


Oscar winning producer and self-admitted hypocrite, Julia Philips once said that "Hollywood is a place that attracts people with massive holes in their souls." Philips succumbed to cancer a number of years ago, but also knew Corey Haim and put him in her scathing Hollywood memoir, You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again which is now recognized as one of the most venomous and scathing accounts of Hollywood behind the scenes ever put to paper. She was also referring to herself in that statement.


The Internet has created the "cult of the fan," giving a new outlet for obsession and star scrutiny. In a day and age of 24 hour, instant download news, the line between information and entertainment is gone. Now an inadvertent crotch shot can translate into big bucks and race around the globe in moments. More and more comments under such articles ask "why is this news?" but they are whispers in a hurricane. It's news because people want it. Period.


This new "Cult of the Fan" has allowed ignorant people to become "experts" on a celebrity's life. From judgmental statements to stalking; many fans believe and are fueled by what is fed to them by the media. Celebrities on the wrong side of industry find themselves trying to ride this wave of ignorance. They will shop themselves out to reality shows for drug rehab or worse yet, turn the cameras on their private lives as if offering some sort of sacrifice to the Media Gods to appease them and find redemption that will make them "right" in the eyes of the industry and a distracted, silly public.


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


Which brings me to Corey Haim. We are going to work in securing this star because Corey Haim was someone's son. He was someone's brother. He was a lot of people's friend. He loved animals. He helped out children. He had birthday parties. He cried. He laughed. He went to school and struggled with homework. He wanted to be loved and he gave love. He made girls swoon. He watched a sunrise. He played with toys and went swimming. He bled when he fell down and knew the worse pain of a broken heart.


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


He gave wonderful memories and enjoyment to fans. He sacrificed a normal childhood to grow up in front of a camera. He was rewarded with adulation, money, prestige and more, but when all is said and done, Corey Haim gave far more to his fanbase than he received. We get to have Corey for as long as we watch his films and he reminds us of the fun of being 16. Many of his fans lived vicariously through him, modeling their childhoods on his onscreen misadventures . Critics fell in love with him in Lucas while now Gen X fans get to think back on their teen years every time License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream or The Lost Boys hits their TV screens.


Corey got little in return. The cynical fans and media will say he was rewarded with large paychecks and everything a young teen could have want. Yet, we get to learn through his exposed life, that these things did not bring him what was needed to fill that "massive hole in his soul." Corey Haim performed for us and now entertains a whole new generation that didn't grow up in the decade he dominated. Many are his fans because of their parents, and those parents are now looking back on their own lives through nostalgia or regret. Maybe a little of both.


Judgmental people will convict him of a life misspent. Yet they have the luxury of enjoying him without the pain of truly losing him. When fans tell one of his family or friends how much they loved one of his films, and own it, there is the fact that most likely Corey's films are not taken from the shelf too often in his family's households. Some may not even have them at all. The memories are not as fond for those who knew and loved him, for the films are a reminder of his absence and how much he is truly missed.


Fans may say "I miss him." They did not know him and it is ignorant to truly believe a fan's pain can come anywhere close to a mother's or sibling's loss. They say such things with the best of intent, but it is a hollow statement, kind of like saying "I'm sorry" to someone at a funeral. It means nothing, but it is the thing to say nonetheless.


Grief is not a public thing to be shared on Twitter or Facebook. Grief is private. It is personal. Anyone who says it is not is grandstanding and self-serving.



Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


Corey Haim was not mentioned in a televised "in memorium"  segment on the Academy Awards. The excuse was "he was on a long list but there was a short list" and simply the old "we didn't have enough time" chestnut was used. For all the money Corey Haim made people, for giving as much as he did to an industry that fed off him like the vampires he and Feldman once fought , 10 seconds was not a lot to ask. Corey Haim was abandoned by the industry that profited from his life. A-list celebs and industry personalities did nothing to make sure his picture made that Oscar screen. There was apparently no effort other than to shrug shoulders and say "that's show business."





6 Degrees of Hell will push for a star for Corey Haim. I never met him. I never knew him. I enjoyed his films and I ignored his final TV show and the press that went with it, because unlike many that cast dispersions, I am in the business and I knew what it was doing to him as his pain was broadcast for entertainment. We do this for his family and because it is the right thing to do.


A star sunk in cement is the least this industry can do. Being left off a simple memorial list, our official stance is, if you can't memorialize everyone then you don't do it at all. Cut down on film nominations, nominees or enforce the speech time limit and cue up that exit music faster. "Long list, short list" subterfuge is just nothing more than movie smoke and mirrors.


We will be organizing a benefit screening this fall to raise the required application funds for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. We will be inviting those industry personalities that have professed their love and allegiance to Corey Haim. We hope they will come to honor his memory and send a message to the industry that there are those who take care of one their fallen.


Fans have set up a petition: CLICK


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim


I end this entry with a quote from the great poem Hurt Hawks by Robinson Jeffers that I feel evokes what Corey Haim was in his life. However that is simply my own speculation. Richard Adams used this passage in his brilliant novel Watership Down. It came to me as I wrote this entry.


He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.


Our efforts for a star are ironically not for a "star" but a human being, Corey Ian Haim.


Photo courtesy of Judy Haim



















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