Quick, how many “Fantastic Four” movies are there? If you said two, you’ve fallen into my diabolical rhetorical device. If you said “three, there’s that one coming out in 2015,” then you’re more informed but also wrong. The answer, appropriately, is four: but that’s not to say they all got released (actually, there was even a fifth never-made-at-all version set in the 60s, as we discussed here).
The story of Roger Corman‘s 1994 “The Fantastic Four” is semi-legendary among movie and comic book nerds: the ultra-prolific, ultra-influential low-budget maestro made a quick, cheap film about Mr. Fantastic and the gang in 1992, which came this close to being released—trailers played in theaters, the cast did publicity appearances—before vanishing into a haze of Hollywood intrigue. Was it never meant for release, having been put into production purely to prevent the rights from reverting to Marvel? Was it Avi Arad, a controversial Marvel exec who claims to have bought every single print, with cash, and to have destroyed them, believing it to be a movie too terrible to release? The dispute is sill unresolved. But a trailer has dropped for the documentary “Doomed!”, which will tell the story for the first time.
Featuring interviews with much of the cast, and with Corman himself, “Doomed!” is a fan-made attempt at getting the strange tale down on celluloid, complete with a significant amount of footage from the flick itself (various people claim to have seen it at one time or another, so it does seem some versions have survived somewhere). It should be a fascinating tale, even if the trailer’s a little coy about whether they’ve solved the question of who was responsible. Guess we’ll have to watch it to find out. “Doomed!” will be out sometime this year: check out their website to see how to contribute to the project.