Every now and then a documentary will tell the story of a movie that never came to be. Terry Gilliam showed why his look at Don Quixote never came to be in Lost In La Mancha and more recently Jodorowsky’s Dune explored the surreal Dune movie that didn’t make it to release. Soon we can add Doomed to the library: it tells the story of a low-budget Fantastic Four movie from the Nineties that was never released.
Fans will know there were quite a few films based on Marvel characters before the current generation of comic book movies. Spider-Man, for example, saw two movies appear and then got stuck in licensing limbo for as many decades. There have also been adaptations of Captain America, The Hulk and Nick Fury. But the least-known is a Roger Corman production from 1994 of the Fantastic Four, made to retain the movie rights to the franchise. Apparently it was never meant to be shown – Stan Lee said as much – and the finished film was shelved. But the message never reached the movie’s cast and crew, who went out of their way to create something special.
Was it something special? That is up to you to decide – the movie was leaked on VHS and lives on through bootlegs and online video sites. Still, to celebrate this forgotten piece of comic book movies, the new documentary Doomed! The Untold Story Of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” lays it all out. Here is a look at the first few minutes:
The clip doesn’t say much, but it does set the tone: a story about a movie that was supposed to be so much more than just a cheap way to keep a license. Here’s the full press release:
In 1994, Roger Corman was tapped to produce this Marvel superhero story on a very small film budget. The film was ultimately shelved prior to distribution, but a VHS copy was mysteriously leaked and the movie became a darling of film bootleggers and, more recently, web pirates. Rumors and speculation surrounding the production have become as much a part of the lore as the film itself.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Roger Corman’s edition of THE FANTASTIC FOUR and finally, all of the secrets, stories and legal shenanigans that have kept this a ‘lost’ film will be revealed through in-depth, investigative interviews with the cast and crew.
The documentary is directed by east coast Film Studies professor and independent filmmaker, Marty Langford and executive produced by LA-based casting director, Mark Sikes. Sikes was the casting assistant on the 1994 Concorde-New Horizons / Neue Constantin co-production, and was on site at Corman’s studio, offices and locations during the 28 day production.
Interview subjects include director, Oley Sassone, editor Glenn Garland, special effects supervisor John Vulich, former Concorde VP of Marketing, Jonathan Fernandez, on set journalist, Chris Gore, casting assistant, Mark Sikes and actors Alex Hyde-White, Rebecca Staab, Jay Underwood, Carl Ciarfalio, Michael Bailey Smith, Kat Green and Joseph Culp. Also interviewed was Hollywood legend and FF executive director, Roger Corman.
Last Updated: August 20, 2014