By John Horn
5:16 PM EDT, July 15, 2013
Lianne MacDougall, a film writer who specializes in genre movies and has been linked romantically to Quentin Tarantino, has been accused of repeated plagiarism and apparently has taken to Twitter to apologize for lifting whole sections of other articles.
Mike White at the website the Impossible Funky said he has chronicled a series of verbatim lifting published by MacDougall, who uses the Web alias Spiderbaby and writes for the sites FEARnet.com and hosts the online show Frightbytes.
In a Twitter message that has been removed, MacDougall appears to have issued a mea culpa, saying, “I apologize for the plagiarism in my work. I am leaving journalism behind for awhile. I’m so very sorry esp those I’ve wronged.”
White published several comparisons of MacDougall’s writings with material that appeared on other genre film fan sites. In one article on FEARnet posted this month about director Dario Argento’s 1977 film “Suspiria,” MacDougall wrote:
“Argento was at the top of his proverbial game when directing both ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Inferno’ as they defy everything you've come to expect from horror films. Not only are they brimming with suspense and incredibly stylized violence, they are absolutely beautifully filmed.”
The language is pretty much identical to an earlier review of the film by Jason Pitt on the site critical-film.com.
“Dario Argento was at the top of his proverbial game when directing both ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Inferno’, as they defy everything you've come to expect from horror films. Not only are they brimming with suspense and incredibly stylized violence, they are absolutely beautifully filmed.”
In another example cited by White, from May of this year, MacDougall wrote about the 1991 film “Popcorn” thusly:
Maggie (Jill Schoelen), a student at USC film school, is plagued by recurring dreams that feature a terrifying man evoking Satan and other cultish horrors. At school, the film department’s funding has just been cut, but the department head comes up with an idea: holding a festival of old gimmick horror films in a soon-to-be-demolished theatre to raise funds.
The language is very close to another story about the film from the website moria.co.nz:
Maggie, a student at the University of Southern California film school, is plagued by recurrent dreams. The film department’s funding has just been cut but the department head comes up with the idea of holding a festival of old gimmick horror films in a soon-to-be-demolished theatre to raise funds.
MaryAnn Johanson, writing on the website Flickfilosopher.com, said that her review of “Turn Me On, Dammit!” was plagiarized by MacDougall.
“I think it’s pretty clear that my style and the complexity of my thoughts here are radically different from her writing, even the writing she uses to string together my thoughts in this piece alone. It’s also plain she has no idea what I’m saying,” Johanson wrote.
MacDougall did not reply immediately to an email seeking comment.
Her Twitter account appears to have been suspended or closed, and her website was inoperative on Monday.
White said MacDougall wrote him twice, asking him to take the story down. "I told her that it would be irresponsible journalism for me to kill the story," White said in an email.
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