- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday horror

“Black Christmas” is making some religious groups scream.

The slasher flick is set to open on Christmas Day, much to the horror of some Christians, who are calling for a boycott of the movie. “It’s a disgrace,” said Michele Combs, director of communications for the District-based Christian Coalition, speaking to the Boston Herald. “The movie industry has really gone too far, and we are sending out an e-mail asking people to discourage others, especially young people, from seeing it.” A remake of the 1974 horror classic, “Black Christmas” features the slicing and dicing of sorority sisters on Christmas break and stars Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). The movie, whose trailer plays the hymn “Silent Night” while blood flies, features the tag line “the ultimate slay ride.”

Just reward

A judge awarded a 40 percent share in the copyright of “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” one of the most famous pop songs of all time, to a former organist for Procol Harum.

Lead singer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid always claimed credit for the hit, which became part of the soundtrack for the hippy “summer of love” of 1967.

However, in his ruling, the judge decided that organist Matthew Fisher was entitled to both credit and royalties.

“His contribution to the overall work was on any view substantial but not, in my judgment, as substantial as that of Mr. Brooker,” the judge said, adding that the song’s organ solo “is a distinctive and significant contribution to the overall composition and quite obviously the product of skill and labor on the part of the person who created it.” The judge said Mr. Fisher, 60, was entitled to royalties from May 2005, when he began court proceedings.

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” topped British and American charts in 1967. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked it 57th in a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

In a statement, Mr. Brooker and Mr. Reid said Mr. Fisher’s court victory created a dangerous precedent because it meant any musician who had played on any recording in the past 40 years could claim joint authorship.They intend to file an appeal.

Party pooper

Reclusive pop star Michael Jackson abruptly postponed a Christmas party in Japan that fans paid big money to attend, organizers said yesterday.

Mr. Jackson, who has kept a low profile since his acquittal on child molestation charges last year, was originally scheduled to join fans listening to his music on Tuesday evening, although he was not supposed to sing.

A total of 1,600 tickets were on sale for the Christmas party. Buyers of the 200 “platinum tickets,” each priced at 400,000 yen ($3,380), would have had a “meet and greet” with Mr. Jackson before the show.

He canceled the party “because he said he wants to hold two-day parties on March 8 and 9 next year rather than a one-day party in order to meet more fans,” said a spokeswoman for organizers Positive Productions.

“Those who have the platinum tickets can join the rescheduled party with the same program,” she said.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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