By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
The filmmakers and performers involved in Roger Corman’s ill-fated Fantastic Four can laugh now, but back when it was being made, movie-making was serious business. Their look back at what this film meant to them gives more than an insightful look at Doomed! The Untold Story. This product is going to let it all out, plastic wrap included, about what went on before, during and after the making of the ill-fated project. This documentary is set for release on VOD October 10th and put to DVD for Dec 20th release.
This movie was shelved, never to be seen, and the negative was transferred to some other rights holder – to which Corman let go without too much dispute. If anyone can watch it, only work prints and teases of this cheesy production could be found before the age of the Internet. Anyone enterprising enough can attempt an exhaustive search for a digital bootleg or simply go to a convention to snap up a DVD, but does anyone want to?
Now that comic book movies are in demand, explanations are offered as to why it never got the theatrical treatment. Allusions are made to say the producers were simply holding on to the paperwork required to bank a bigger paycheck.
Writer/director Marty Langford perfectly puts together an engaging narrative which includes multiple voices to express the story of what went on. Amongst the list of interviewees include Oley Sassone (Director), John Vulich (SFX Supervisor), Glenn Garland (Editor), Chris Gore (on set Journalist), Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Films), Alex Hyde-White (Reed Richards), Rebecca Staab (Sue Storm), Michael Bailey Smith (Ben Grimm) and Joseph Culp (Dr. Doom) talking about what they thought went on even further behind the scenes.
The reactions are varied. From initial reactions of betrayal in the past to nonchalant now, everyone is mostly glad that this film can be seen. Comparisons do not have to be made with the new versions and in what this exploration details, the folks here are true filmmakers with a passion equal to Charlie Chaplin’s resolve. You can not destroy a film negative. Somewhere, somehow (perhaps hidden in a fort even more capable of withstanding a nuclear bomb) may exist that original print waiting to be restored and put to disc for a generation who can appreciate this early attempt to bring comic book heroes to life. The badge of honour does not have to belong to the classic television show The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby.