The 1980's film "Mazes and Monsters" is often cited along other materials as evidence of the dangers of pen-and-paper role-playing games; the film is a thinly-veiled fictionalized adaptation of the investigation into the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III. It encouraged the panic against a growing gaming subculture.

Have any of those involved with the film (question includes, but is not constrained to, the film's star, Tom Hanks) ever apologized for creating material that helped ostracize many?

  • 3
    Art is art. One should never apologize for art. Did Nirvana apologize for killing the bank accounts of countless 80's Hair Metal bands? Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:32
  • 4
    @JohnnyBones - One could say that countless 80's Hair Metal bands did themselves in by being countless.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:46
  • 3
    Considering the brutal interpretations and drastic changes Hollywood screenwriters have made and continue to make in basically every movie "based on a true story," I doubt it. Spend a little time researching other movies in this vein - some of the changes are truly horrifying in how they misrepresent real people just to tell a more interesting story.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 18:57
  • 3
    A movie, based on a book, based loosely on a real event. Hardly anything to apologize for.
    – user25738
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 20:39
  • 3
    For the record, the film was not based on a real event, loosely or otherwise. It was based on a wild and unsupported theory about a real event that turned out to be completely false. There was never any evidence that Eggbert played live action D&D, and he was found alive, having run away from College because he was sent there too young. He committed suicide a year later because of the ostracization he faced for being a homosexual. His disappearance and later death had nothing to do with LARP (which by the way he never took part in) or D&D.
    – ruffdove
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


It's hard to prove a negative, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say "No". I've looked up all the combinations of the cast and crew I can think of, and while I've found a lot of information from the time, and a lot of (relatively recent vintage) reviews of this quickly forgotten TV movie—and for all the hype about the book and movie's impact you'll see mentioned in these post-hoc retrospectives, its effects were highly localized—and I can't find anyone even mentioning it.

But we can also look at the type of novel and type of TV movie and see how often anyone apologizes for them, and it's pretty close to none. Wikipedia lists it as a social novel, which includes some classic novels like Uncle Tom's Cabin and Grapes of Wrath, but I put it more in the ripped-from-the-headline-exploitation category, like any random episode of "Law & Order", where the claim to be fiction allows libel with impunity. Or, say, "Valley of the Dolls", with its thinly disguised references to Judy Garland, Carole Landis and Ethel Merman.

There is a similar category of works that purports to be non-fiction, but isn't, or probably isn't, like Go Ask Alice, Coffee, Tea or Me? and House of 1,0000 Pleasures. It's all of a piece: Books and films turned out for a quick buck to exploit some current social issue.

Jaffe never apologized for it any more than she apologized for her other work, any more than Jacqueline Suzanne did, nor generally any of the people who worked on these things.

For those saying art isn't something that should be apologized for, I think it's legitimate to question the artistic aspirations at play here, and would further submit the artistic masterpieces of Birth of the Nation, Triumph of the Will and Escape (The Piña Colada Song): If you use your art to create a false impression of a group of people who end up being persecuted as a result—particularly as a result of your attempting to catch a pop trend, an apology is certainly warranted.

They Know What They Did

  • 3
    "If you use your art to create a false impression of a group of people who end up being persecuted as a result - particularly as a result of your attempting to catch a pop trend, an apology is certainly warranted." Excellent statement.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 21:50
  • In general, public figures will only talk about or apologize for something if another raises the issue with them. By far the most likely platform for raising something like this with the actors or writers would be an interview. I doubt Chris Makepeace, or the other non-Tom Hanks actors from the film get interviewed much these days. Tom Hanks gets interviewed, but he's won Oscars and continues to make blockbuster movies. Nobody is going to ask him about a TV movie from nearly 40 years ago.
    – ruffdove
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 0:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .