1987, Dir. Todd Haynes
Director Todd Haynes’ (Poison, Far From Heaven, Velvet Goldmine) feature-length debut, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story retells the tragic rise and fall of the pop sensation Karen Carpenter, using Barbie Dolls to enact the story.
Originally released in 1987, the film was pulled from shelves in 1990 when Karen’s brother and musical collaborator, Richard Carpenter, sued Haynes over the film. Reportedly angered by the film’s insinuation that he was a homosexual, Richard Carpenter won his lawsuit and all copies were ordered destroyed. However, because VHS is so easily replicated, bootleg videotapes of Superstar, The Karen Carpenter Story continued to be available at video rental stores throughout the world. Living on through this underground avenue, Superstar, The Karen Carpenter Story is not only an example of Todd Haynes’ burgeoning artistic talent, but also of VHS’s ability to extend the lives of cinematic works.
Special introduction Kseniya Yarosh and Matt Carman, Creators of I Love Bad Movies zine and coordinators of the Brooklyn Zine Fest