Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four (2015)
November 9, 2020 8:34 PM - Subscribe

A history of the ill-fated 1994 production of The Fantastic Four that was executive produced by Roger Corman.

One of the most interesting making-of documentaries that I've ever seen, because it concerns a movie that was never officially released to the public: not the pair of Tim Story-directed films in the aughts (co-starring a pre-Captain America Chris Evans as the Human Torch) nor the 2015 reboot that had a pre-Black Panther Michael B. Jordan as the Torch (previously on the purple), but the first live-action FF film, whose best known actor (again, oddly, the one playing the Torch) was a fairly prolific child actor who is now a Baptist pastor, and whose lead actors, playing Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom, were the sons of much more famous actors. The film, seen in excerpts apparently taken from multiple-generation bootlegs, isn't very good, but the cast and crew interviewed are all pretty clear that they did the best that they could with the film's wholly inadequate $1 million budget, and thought that the film was their ticket to fame and fortune. The popular rumor was that the film was never intended to be released, made solely to retain the rights to the FF subfranchise, but the interviewees have other theories.

Streaming for free on Amazon Prime. IMDB page for the original film and the docco; Wikipedia page for the same and the same.
posted by Halloween Jack (6 comments total)
Regardless of everything (Oho!) this movie probably has the best Thing costume.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:57 PM on November 9, 2020

It should also be mentioned that the legend of this movie inspired a Maria Bamford-focused storyline in one of Arrested Development's latter and more uneven seasons (the fourth, IIRC).
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:38 AM on November 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's kinda wild how much publicity this got, even though it was a Potemkin production. It had some promotion in the comics trade at the time, and there was a write up in Starlog(or something similar) about the production of the flame effects.

The performance by Joseph Culp completely gets Doctor Doom. If it's ham, it's beautifully cured.
posted by StarkRoads at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2020

One of the things I found interesting about the documentary was how much the actors seemed to care about the project and even went as far as to promote it on their own dime when it was clear that the producer had no intention of releasing the film. Which was another thing about the production I hadn't known - that it was essentially just done as a placeholder until the producer could score a better deal.

Having seen the film (it was a popular title during my tape trading days), it is not great (maybe better than those Spider-Man TV movies from the late 70s), but it does have a fair bit of heart and enthusiasm so I wasn't bored. And for a cheap production, the Thing costume is pretty good. Mr. Fantastic's stretching not so much.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:27 AM on November 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think this is the one we've seen in MST Club? I remember thinking Doctor Doom was a lot of fun at least.
posted by JHarris at 2:29 PM on November 11, 2020

I think this is the one we've seen in MST Club?

I think the movie itself made it into the holiday show.

For being a Fantastic Four movie there's a lot in this that really wishes it could be Batman Returns. The Grimy Underground Not Mole Man parts especially.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:20 AM on November 13, 2020

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