A progressive techno jig by Deepsky, written and produced by J. Scott G. and jason Blum, released in 1997 on fragrant records, published by the Dayspring Collective, Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Proof positive that not *all* good progressive techno comes from the UK.)

Dj Micro has it mixed in one of his cds. The flip side has an equally progressive tune entitled, "Stargazer".

Heaven's Gate was a western created by Michael Cimino in 1978—and 1979 and 1980, to the horror of the people paying him. The plot concerned a real-life 19th century event, the Johnson County Massacre, in Wyoming; briefly, immigrants inhabit a town called Heaven's Gate, but nasty cattle barons hire mercenaries to kill them all and take the land, and it all ends unhappily. Kris Kristofferson played an educated lawyer who moved from New York to help the immigrants; Christopher Walken was a mercenary; Isabelle Huppert—in her first Hollywood role—was a tart with a heart, loved by both Walken and Kristofferson, with inevitably tragic consequences.

It was produced by United Artists, who were famous at the time for the James Bond films, the Woody Allen films, and the Pink Panther films. It was a famous financial disaster, the three main contributing factors being:

1. As detailed in the excellent 1985 book "Final Cut : Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate" by ex-UA executive Stephen Bach, Cimino's directorial style mirrored than of Stanley Kubrick, with each shot running to several dozen takes, each of which was subsequently printed. After the first six days of shooting, Cimino had produced a little over a minute of usable footage, and was five days behind schedule. Under pressure from UA, he did not accelerate his schedule until threatened with replacement.

2. Cimino's approach to making 'Heaven's Gate' can be summarised thus:

  1. Build a town on a raised platform in Wyoming;
  2. Fill it with hundreds of extras;
  3. Put some actors in front of them, and make everybody talk at once;
  4. Shoot. Print. Take. Retake.
  5. Review the film - decide to add a few hundred more extras. Repeat from step 1.

3. Cimino's previous directorial effort, The Deer Hunter, had won five Academy Awards, including best picture, and one for Christopher Walken as best supporting actor. This made Cimino a hot property. Then and now, directors who create a hit movie are usually given financial leeway on their subsequent project - witness Francis Ford Coppola's contemporary, archetypal Apocalypse Now, David Lynch's Dune, and Kevin Costner's double-whammy of Waterworld and The Postman'.

United Artists' key management team had recently split to form Orion Pictures. Those who remained at UA badly needed a large, credible hit movie to re-establish their standing amongst the artistic community. When Heaven's Gate started to go off the rails, the team faced a stark choice between admitting failure and cutting their losses, and carrying on in the hope of greatness; they chose the latter option, and whilst the film didn't technically bankrupt United Artists (which was, by 1978, merely a division of the giant, anonymous Transamerica), the negative publicity and financial losses caused Transamerica to pull out of the film business, something it was only interested in as a way of massaging brand equity.

Heaven's Gate was filmed largely on location, in Wyoming, a two-hour drive from the nearest major town. This meant that all the extras and crew members were being paid to do nothing for at least four hours of their working time as they commuted - and Cimino insisted on shooting at the twilight "magic hour", which meant that everybody was on overtime. Executives could not see this, however, as they could not readily visit the set. Wyoming is a long way from Hollywood and Cimino did not want to meet them.

Cimino was warned repeatedly to produce a film no longer than three hours. Nonetheless, his first cut was five and a half hours long, and apparently consisted of stunning shots of Wyoming interspersed with actors mumbling dialogue, topped with a ninety minute battle sequence which consisted of explosions and shouting and gunfire and noise.

The film was quickly cut to four and a half hours, four hours, and finally three and a half hours, at which length it was premiered to hostile critics in New York. But only for three nights. It was quickly withdrawn and re-edited down to a little under two and a half hours, but the damage was done; the film now made no sense at all, and whatever buzz it had built up died. It was re-released a year later, stillborn, and failed to recoup even the tiniest fraction of its reported $35 million production cost (grossing $1.5 million dollars, it was a flop on a scale seemingly impossible today, given the great improvements made in tie-in marketing). The film became a byword for Hollywood hubris and directorial excess, and effectively ended Cimino's brief career as a major artist; it was as if Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Lucas' Star Wars had been absolute failures of the highest magnitude. In 1978 Cimino was spoken of in the same breath as Francis Ford Coppola, whose expensive and troubled Apocalypse Now was almost a parallel-universe version of Heaven's Gate, one that actually turned out to be a success. Nowadays, Cimino is not spoke of in the same breath as anyone; he is not spoken of at all. His subsequent films, The Sicilian and Year of the Dragon do not feature on anybody's 'best film' lists. He does not have studios beating a path to his door.

The film's budget was originally set at $7.5 million (slightly less than Star Wars); it grew to $11 million, and then to $25 million. The final tally was somewhere in the region of $35 million, although this will never be known for sure, as the accounts were forever obscured when, in 1981, United Artists were sold by their parent company, Transamerica, to MGM.

Heaven's Gate is called La porte du paradis in France. The film was released in Europe in its 210-minute version, where the allegations of studio interference prompted critics to review it favourably, if only out of loyalty for a spurned artistic talent. Despite this, the film is remembered only for its notoriety.

Heaven's Gate was, until the appearance of Hale-Bopp in 1997, a fundamentalist, post-apocalyptic cult based in San Diego, California. Comprising of 39 members, Heaven's Gate followed a system of beliefs based on science-fiction television programs such as Star Trek and the X-Files.

The cult centered around two leaders, Marshall Herf Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, known respectively as Do and Ti, Peep and Bo and, collectively, "The Two". Nettles died of cancer in 1985, after allegedly ascending to 'the level above human'. 'The Two' had come together in Houston in 1972, after Applewhite had been dismissed from his job over allegations that he had entered into a relationship with a male pupil. He had committed himself to a psychiatric hospital, in which Nettles was a nurse, attempting to find a 'cure' for his homosexuality. They formed a close relationship and were together for thirteen years. Applewhite was disgusted by his sexuality, and found Nettles a perfect partner, one he could love without the complications of physical attraction ever arising.

While camping in Oregon in 1973, Applewhite had a vision in which both he and Nettles were the two prophets from the eleventh book of revelations. He believed that in 1260 days, they would both be assassinated by satanic forces, at which time they would ascend to heaven in a spaceship. 'The Two' set out across America to spread the word, driven by a relentless sense of purpose. Originally calling themselves Guinea and Pig, they eventually settled on Bo and Peep. After giving a number of lectures and 'sermons', the pair accumulated a sizable following of several hundred men and women. In 1975, they instructed that the group should be split into smaller 'cells', and spread out across the country. After this, both Nettles and Applewhite vanished without a trace, appearing six months later only to discover that a number of their followers had lost faith and abandoned them. Those who had remained loyal were proclaimed by The Two the 'true believers', and the 1260 day deadline was abandoned. To explain the cancellation of the deadline, The Two told their followers that their assassinations had been postponed, as their followers were not ready. Their new mission was apparently to prepare their followers so that they too could join Nettles and Applewhite when they made their heavenly ascension.

The message they spread was thus: that Christ had been an emissary from the beings they knew as 'the level above human', and that when he was killed, his extraterrestrial leaders had given the people of earth two thousand more years to evolve before sending two more messengers, this time Ti and Do, as The Two were now calling themselves. Their mission was to gather a group of 'enlightened followers', who could be saved before the earth was recycled (it was apparently seen as a moral threat to the welfare of the universe).

The group relocated to a forty acre compound in the area around Albuquerue, New Mexico. The group, now numbering at around fifty, began work on 'The Earthship', using Ti and Do's limited knowledge on the layout and construction of flying saucers. The group's strict policies against sex, drugs and alcohol were enforced with strenuous physical and mental exercises, along with meditation, all helping to prepare the group for their ascension to the level above human.

In the late 1980's, the group established a web design company, providing low-cost, low-maintenance websites for their commercial clients. The company designed a website for the Heaven's Gate cult, designed to spread the views of the group throughout the world. A mirror of the site can be found at:

http://www.wave.net/upg/gate/

The website featured video lectures given by Applegate available for download, advertisements for books published by the group, a picture of how a member of the level above human might appear, as well as pages detailing the group's views on various topics, including, ironically, an account of the groups opposition to suicide:

The true meaning of "suicide" is to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered. In these last days, we are focused on two primary tasks: one - of making a last attempt at telling the truth about how the Next Level may be entered (our last effort at offering to individuals of this civilization the way to avoid "suicide"); and two - taking advantage of the rare opportunity we have each day - to work individually on our personal overcoming and change, in preparation for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

With the appearance of Hale-Bopp in 1997, the following statement was made on the group's website:

Whether Hale-Bopp has a "companion" or not is irrelevant from our perspective. However, its arrival is joyously very significant to us at "Heaven's Gate." The joy is that our Older Member in the Evolutionary Level Above Human (the "Kingdom of Heaven") has made it clear to us that Hale-Bopp's approach is the "marker" we've been waiting for -- the time for the arrival of the spacecraft from the Level Above Human to take us home to "Their World" -- in the literal Heavens. Our 22 years of classroom here on planet Earth is finally coming to conclusion -- "graduation" from the Human Evolutionary Level. We are happily prepared to leave "this world" and go with Ti's crew.

The 'older member' referred to in the statement was apparently Applewhite, and the group took the coming of the comet as a sign that it was time for them to depart from this world and join their 'older member' in his ascension to the next evolutionary level. They believed that cloaked in the tail of Hale-Bopp was in fact a spacecraft belonging to the beings of the level above human, which was to take them on to the next evolutionary level. In order to board this space ship, they would not utilise any special transporter system. Instead, they would all simply take a lethal dose of phenobarbital and place plastic bags over their heads in order to ensure swift evacuation of the earth; they did not believe that they would need their earthly bodies once aboard the ship. The 'evacuation' actually took place over a period of three days, with two other members following a week later. On day one, the first fifteen people departed, followed by another fifteen the next day. On the third day, nine members committed suicide, after tidying up multi-million dollar mansion rented by the group as a training base and placing the rubbish out for collection.

When police arrived at the scene after an anonymous tip-off, they found the eighteen females and twenty-one males all dressed in baggy black trousers, loose shirts and brand-new Nike trainers. Each member lay on his or her own bunk, each draped in a purple shroud. Strangest of all, each person there had a five dollar bill in their pockets, as well as some spare change. Evidently they believed the concept of currency was not restricted to Earth alone.

The following week, the bodies of two more members of the cult, those of Wayne Cook and Chuck Humphrey, were found in a Holiday Inn in San Diego. One of the men was dead, and the other is still in a coma. The clothes worn by the men were identical to those of the thirty-nine found the week previous, and, like the others, both were found with a five dollar bill stuffed in their pockets. A suicide video left by Wayne Cook revealed that he regretted having left the group, and had decided to join them. It emerged that his wife had been among those who had died the previous week. He sent copies of the tape to both his family and CNN.

Unlike other cult-related mass suicides such as the Jonestown Massacre, Heaven's Gate was not seen as a dark marker in the history of organised religion, but was instead regarded in a light, almost humourous way. Before the suicide, there was not the hysterical fear of impending doom witnessed in other apocalyptic cults. Instead, the members of the group are seen in videos shot days before the suicide to be light hearted and in good humour. Unlike Jim Jones, there was no evidence of corruption amongst the group leaders. It is obvious that they too believed what they preached, right up until the end.

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