January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

It makes perfect sense: Kiss are bigger than ever; their dolls are more collectible than ever. Could there be a better time to make a Kiss movie? Except that Detroit Rock City, as director Adam Rifkin explains, is not a Kiss movie — even though Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, et al. (along with Edward Furlong and Natasha Lyonne) are in it. ”It’s about Kiss fans,” he says exuberantly. ”It’s set in 1978, about a group of kids going to a Kiss concert.” In fact, the film (due April 16) climaxes with a concert staged in Hamilton, Ontario. ”We put the word out that for one night only, we were re-creating the 1978 Kiss Love Gun Show,” says the director. ”About 8,000 long-tongued fans showed up.” Still scary after all these years.

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