WTF? Wednesday: The Fantastic Four Movie You Didn’t See

At the risk of offending Jessica Alba fans the world over, I think most people will agree that the last two Fantastic Four films were pointlesss. Aside from Chris Evans’ fun performance as Johnny Storm, the movies didn’t exactly set the world on fire, pun intended. However, an earlier movie adaptation of the Fantastic Four apparently made Tim Story’s version look like Iron Man by comparison.

Never seen it? That’s because it was never released. There’s a detailed recap here, but we’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes: After sitting on the FF film rights for years, the German company Neue Constantin Film rushed the movie into production in the early ‘90s so it wouldn’t lose the option. So in 1992, producer Roger Corman (Sorority House Massacre II, Piranha) was enlisted to crank out a FF movie on the cheap. It appears that everyone took the job seriously, but there was a tiny problem: It was made specifically so that Constantin Film could keep the rights, shelve the movie and remake it at a later date with a proper budget. Several important people — the actors and the director — never got that bit of information. (Fun fact: Corman’s fellow producer on the film, Bernd Eichinger, later worked on the 2005 and 2007 FF movies.)

The 1994 movie has never been released on DVD, but several scenes, like the one above, are available on YouTube. It’s easy to snicker, but there’s something kinda charming and DIY about those clips, and I really feel for the players who were duped into thinking that it was destined for the big screen. (Besides, the Dr. Doom in this version doesn’t look any sillier than the dude in the 2005 “big budget” FF movie.) When you think of all the terrible big-budget movies that are released intentionally every year, it seems particularly cruel. I’d love to see the finished product, complete with commentary and some making-of footage. And no, I’m not joking.

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8 thoughts on “WTF? Wednesday: The Fantastic Four Movie You Didn’t See

  1. Sadly, I’ve seen this. I got a bootleg at a convention years ago. It felt like an early 1990s syndicated TV show. The Thing looked spongy like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their films. Not a memory I cherish.

    It’s right up there with the unaired live action JLA pilot from the 90s.

    The Irredeemable Shag

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  2. You can easily find bootleg copies of the Fantastic Four on ebay or at any comic convention around the world. For being a movie shelved and never released it’s one of the most available comic book movies out there. I’ve owned a copy of the flick for a decade.

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  3. Ah, yes, I’ve heard of this… hell, I’d watch it, I’ve seen worse! The FF films that were released were a disappointment- Reed in particular was awful casting, he couldn’t convince me that he was at all intelligent, let alone ‘Mr. Fantastic’! And Doom… *sigh* I’ll admit to a huge fanboy rush at seeing the Surfer on screen, though – I’d been waiting 40 years for it!

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  4. I must get my hands on a copy. The backstory is fascinating, and after you’ve seen “Elektra,” how bad could it be? Boy, were those last two FF films pointless.

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    • I ended up taking my son and his friends to see the original FF movie on his birthday. They loved it. I squirmed through it. I don’t understand why directors think they need to “improve” or “update” these classic stories. It’s already been written for you people, and it’s been successful for decades. Why fix what isn’t broken?

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  5. I liked this the first time I watched by bootleg copy on VHS, but I didn’t finish a second viewing. The actress who played Sue Storm was great, and she later turned up on a bunch of sitcoms. I would argue that it was much better than the Justice League pilot, but it’s worth noting that was only slightly better than the Ebola virus.

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  6. Holy crap. The guy who owned the comic shop in Bangor got hold of a bootleg of this steaming pile back in the early ’90’s and had it playing in the shop when I went in to pick up my books one day. I remember the sound effect used for Reed’s stretching was horrible. It was Roger Corman, so I’m not sure why the studio expected a good film out of the guy. Nice find though Ms. E.

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