Twenty years ago, Roger Corman (The Wasp Woman, Sharktopus) produced his own version of the tale of Reed Richards and his fellow space explorers-turned-superheroes. The film had a scant million dollar budget—miniscule for even 1994—and never made it to theaters. The only folks who saw the film were those (un)fortunate enough to get their hands on a bootleg copy of the leaked production.* The story behind the story of the making of The Fantastic Four has been wrapped in myth and urban legend, hidden like Doctor Doom’s scarred face.
A new documentary by Marty Langford hopes to shed some light on the trials and tribulations of the making and, ultimately, the shelving of the production. A new sneak peek of DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four has just been released, and the filmmakers look to examine the making of the movie from the points of view of those who tried to get the production off the ground.
For years, the most commonly heard legend surrounding the film was that Contantin Film, which held the rights to producing a Fantastic Four film, rushed to make the movie before they lost those rights. The movie, as the tale goes, was never meant to see the light of day.
Not so, says Corman and others associated with the film. In the sneak peek to the documentary, the actors, writers, and producers contend that they were all under the impression that the FF movie would be available for public consumption. The interviews show entertainers who seem pained at the blood, sweat, and passion they had poured into making the story with the resources that they had at their disposal. As well they should. You can see that they had longed to make a successful Marvel blockbuster, but, sadly, a dollar can’t stretch as far as Mr. Fantastic.
DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four doesn’t have a release date quite yet. Keep an eye out for its appearance on the festival circuit in the near future, though. In the meantime, Corman’s entire film is up on YouTube if you have 90 minutes to kill.
*Side note: I had the opportunity to watch the film. The best I can say is that the film definitely had a beginning, a middle, and an end and, technically, was a movie. To be fair, the costume for the Thing was pretty serviceable.