Kudos, EW, for the excellent Van Helsing preview. If Stephen Sommers' two Mummy films are any indication, Hugh Jackman's monster mash is really going to be a graveyard smash! DEREK PEEL Gogocrank2003@aol.com Oak Park, Ill.
When reading the article on Van Helsing, one could only assume that the entire film was done in Prague -- not true. We built amazing sets -- once-in-a-lifetime sets -- that will be seen in the film. Prague was a key element in the feel of the film, but when you see the incredible castle interiors (Frankenstein's laboratory, Frankenstein's foyer, Dracula's laboratory, bedroom, and castle, the entrance to Dracula's castle, which includes a 200-foot-long bridge, etc.), they were done right here in good old L.A. At one point, 205 very talented Hollywood craftspeople worked on the sets. We put our hearts and souls into something we thought people would love to see. We are proud of the work we do in Hollywood, and it would be nice to be recognized for that. BROOK W. MANSBRIDGE Brookbwm@aol.com Burbank
Revenge of N.E.R.D.
Pharrell Williams believes that Virgin Records isn't promoting his ''art-for-art's-sake'' album Fly or Die enough (''G.E.E.K. C.H.I.C.''). Pharrell should know that if you're not writing eager-to-please music guaranteed to bring home the bacon to the suits who run the company, they will not be willing to shell out the cash in support of a high-risk album. No label has the balls to do that. That's why innovative artists like him start their own labels. AMANDA PALUCH Spicy025@aol.com Detroit
EW hit the Idol on the head (or should I say, you bang) with your comments on American Idol (News & Notes). Suggestion No. 6? Let's see some contestants who can accept criticism as opposed to those who stand there, mouths agape in amazement, when Simon says, ''That was horrible!'' For that matter, let's ban standing ovations -- not every performance transcends time and space (calling Scat Girl to the mic). And step No. 7 to ensure AI rocks? Bring back Dunkleman! ERIC A. WALTERS EWalters@si.rr.com Staten Island, N.Y.
Great ideas on how to tune up Idol. One more? Bring back Jessica Shaw's hilarious post-show commentary. During AI2, she was our wild-card vote. We especially need some levelheaded perspective on how Jon Jacob Jingleheimer, Pen Salesman, has made it to the finals! VICTORIA CAMPBELL CARTER MsCampbellCarter@aol.com Brooklyn
'Dawn' Again come on! Every week, Lisa Schwarzbaum proves once again she does not know movies. She actually said the original Dawn of the Dead was ''homemade cheesiness'' compared with the remake's ''knowing style'' (Movies). Ask any horror enthusiast with an IQ higher than, say, 5, and they'll call a spade a spade. The new Dawn is a kick in the teeth for fans of smart horror. And Schwarzbaum is a kick in the teeth for fans of cerebral entertainment. SHANE DEVON email@example.com Owensboro, Ky.
No 'Dead' Head
I received your magazine the day after watching the first episode of Deadwood and was amazed you gave it an A- (Television). It was so boring that I just kept waiting to see if it was going to get better. It never did. The plot was lame and so was the acting. And when is the last time you heard the word c -- -sucker in a Western? I thought I was still watching The Sopranos! I will say this -- the title of the show is definitely appropriate! CATHY SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org Lockport, N.Y.