Kaye wasn't happy, however, and he immediately started trimming footage until the film was down to a slim, kid-friendly 87 minutes. New Line Cinema was less than thrilled, and asked Kaye to work with Norton to assemble a version that was, you know, movie length. Kaye agreed, then proceeded to go freaking insane.
First, he apparently was so infuriated by the process that he punched his hand through a wall. Then, he began taking out full-page attack ads in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter (with his own money) with quotes like John Lennon's "I'll scratch your back and you knife mine." Then Kaye brought a priest, a rabbi and a Tibetan monk (no shit) into the studio president's office to ask for an extension to finish his cut of the film, a tactic he later admitted was "insane." The studio flatly refused, telling Kaye that they were releasing the version that he and Norton had worked on together.
"For the last time, the Kenny Rogers bowling dream sequence makes no sense!"
If you assumed that was the end of it, that's because you're probably not insane. Kaye, on the other hand, flew to the Toronto Film Festival to demand that the film not be premiered, bought more attack ads (in all, he spent about $1 million) and threatened to hire protesters to picket theaters where the movie was being shown.
He also asked to have his name taken off the film and replaced by either Alan Smithee or Humpty Dumpty, presumably to highlight his status as an oblivious white guy heading for a fall. However, the Director's Guild only allows this practice if you agree not to badmouth your film in public, and since that ship had not only sailed but plowed into an iceberg and sunk with all hands on deck, Kaye was stuck having his name attached to American History X. You know, the film that was critically acclaimed, earned an Oscar nomination and appears on numerous "Best Movies of All Time" lists.
"I regret it more than my marriage."