Presented by Fantastic Bore, the movie that breaks all the rules such as having an actual story.
It's out of control Fantastic business this week as we prepare for 1994's The Fantastic Four from Roger Corman. Is it possible that it's the best or worst of the Fantastic Four movies?
Well we'll now how it compares to 2015's Fantastic Four. This week instead of Streaming Do's and Don'ts we do a mini "Bad Movie Field Trip" review of one of the worst reviewed superhero movies of all time. Is it that bad? Is it even possible to make the FF look good in film?
In 1961, Martin Goodman directed Stan Lee to create a comic title, under the newly established Marvel division, consisting of a team of super heroes. This was done in response to the overwhelming success of The Justice League of America, which was launched 1 year prior. Lee has noted this as the moment when he started writing comics he would want to read, about characters that were really just people. In 1983, Lee would invite Bernd Eichinger to his home. Eichinger paid, what is estimated to be a sum of $250,000 for the rights to bring the Fantastic Four from the Silver age of comics to the Silver Screen. As it would turn out this film, which was supposed to have been destroyed, was a product of Marvel not giving Eichinger the time and support he wanted. He would hold a death grip on the rights as it was Eichinger who released the 2005 Fantastic Four and it’s follow up, The Rise of The Silver Surfer. The two later films would muster over 600 million against a 230 million combined budget.I thought they were pretty dumb, but compared to the new one, pretty dumb is at least something.
In 1992, with the rights expiring, and Marvel not giving Eichinger an extension, he would enlist Roger Corman to give him the $1 million special. Corman brought in Oley Sasson, then more noted as a music video director to shoot the film on a 25 day schedule in a sound sage and 3 locations. Sassone is also responsible for Bloodfist 3, various episodes of television shows and a couple boobie movies. His IMDB photo is of him standing next to the Thing from this film, lest we ever forget. I would guess if you asked Corman about this he would remember it as well as any of the other ones. This is not to say the Corman gang didn’t go the extra mile, Costume Designer Reve Richards, yes Reve Richards would buy a couple of the comic books so he would know what to do. David and Eric Wurst, the music composers would go out of pocket to the tune of $6 grand. I doubt that turned out to well. There is a lot of hearsay about what happens next; but the reality is that Avi Arad, co founder of Marvel Pictures and CCO of Marvel Entertainment bought the film for what I will estimate at $4 million. He did this in order to have it destroyed. The story of this film has circulated so much that Arrested Development did an episode based on it.
Alex Hyde-White would land the role of Reed Richards. Hyde-White holds the distinction of being one of Hollywood’s last contract actors. This film is most likely responsible for the seven year gap in his filmography. I am a huge Alex Hyde-White fan. How is this possible you ask? Well he is the co-star of one of my all time favorites; Biggle’s Adventure in Time. He is also the young version of Sean Connery’s character in The Last Crusade.
Jay Underwood locked up Johnny Storm. The Boy Who Could Fly thereby became the man who could fly… and be on fire… and have Avi Arad throw in a dumpster. He wasn’t in The Last Crusade, he was in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I like Underwood as CHIP in the Not Quite Human television movie series. I really liked those movies when I was a kid. I am starting to think a 13 year old me would have really liked this movie. Jay was also in the “Good Shepherd” episode of Voyager. This film didn’t do to him what it did to Hyde-White. Underwood has a lifetime achievement award for child acting, which is a fucking oxymoron.
Rebecca Staab got the nod for Sue Storm. She has the boobs for it. Wellington Mara’s granddaughter does not have the boobs for it. Staab is a day player with a laundry list of roles. Micheal Bailey Smith is also a day player and you have seen him before. He plays Ben Grimm for a bit prior to stunt man Carl Ciarfalio taking over as The Thing. They apparently spent a day together so they would move around about the same during filming.
Mark Ruffalo wouldn’t lose his career to this. He didn’t have what it took to play Dr. Doom. That role would instead go to Joseph Culp son of Robert Culp who you may remember form I Spy and The Greatest American Hero. Joseph is beginning to land more roles later in life, the early stuff is sparse.
George Mutha Fuckin Gaynes is in this shit. You know? Commandant Lassard from the Police Academy movies.
Beyond Ruffalo, other hopefuls for roles include Xena side kick Renee O’Connor who auditioned for Sue, and Patrick Warburton, who auditioned for Ben Grimm.