Thanks to the diligence of nerdom, occasionally productions that failed on a galactic level and NEVER should have seen the light of day again become classics. “Manos” The Hands Of Fate and The Star Wars Holiday Special are good examples of this phenomenon.
Enter Roger Corman‘s production of The Fantastic Four from 1994. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it was never officially released–in theatres or on video. Wouldja like to know why? Well, Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” is here to explain (trailer after the jump).
Lemme give you the story as I’ve heard it–in a nutshell: Corman had acquired the rights to make a Fantastic Four movie, but ONLY if he could do it within a limited amount of time. If he was unable to finish the film, he’d lose the rights. Before long, production and casting problems made Corman realize he’d never be able to get a decent (even decent by Roger Corman standards) flick finished in the allotted time.
So he gathered together a cast of nobodies, and–with the same flair that allowed him to make Little Shop of Horrors in three days and win a bet–he threw together a horrendous excuse for a movie that wasn’t worth the celluloid it was filmed on. His contract never said his film had to be good… or even that it had to be released–just MADE. He figured once he’d fulfilled his end of the deal, and technically finished the movie, he could go back and make a watchable film.
By the way, none of the cast or crew of this disaster realized they were making a movie no one was ever meant to see.
Hollywood promptly forgot there was ever such a thing as Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four, until several years later when enterprising nerds somehow rescued the film from obscurity and made something of an ironic online sensation out of it.
Anyway, that’s the story as I know it. Be kind, smarter people, if my information isn’t 100% accurate. Hopefully this new documentary (brought to us by Badass Digest) will answer questions that are beyond my knowledge.
Here’s the aforementioned trailer:
You can learn more at the Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” website.