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An Interview with Marty Langford, Director of Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2016

Films directed by Marty Langford on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four - in a few words, what is it about?

 

It’s a behind the scenes look at the development and fallout from the production of the ill-fated, 1994 version of Marvel ComicsThe Fantastic Four.

 

What got you interested in the subject in the first place?

 

I’ve always loved comic books, movies, and comic books movies. I’ve also always loved behind the scenes documentaries and “lost” films. This story had it all.

 

Maybe connected with the last question, are you at all a comicbook geek, and a Fantastic Four-fan at that?

 

I grew up as, and still am, a DC guy. I may never have been a regular reader of Fantastic Four books, but I recognize them as one of the most important group of comic book characters out there. It’s really a shame how they’ve been treated on the screen.

 

How would you describe your approach to your subject matter?

 

As a celebration of the original film, and as an opportunity to honor the cast and crew of the Oley Sassone’s movie. I wasn’t interested in exposing the ugly underbelly of the industry, of what happened to them (though we absolutely deal with that), but rather to finally acknowledge the work they produced over 20 years ago. They all deserve at least that.

 

How hard or easy was it to find the right interviewees for Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four, and when it comes to cast and crew of the original The Fantastic Four, did you find any bitterness regarding what had happened?

 

Marty with Roger Corman

[Roger Corman bio - click here]

Because my executive producer, Mark Sikes, is a casting director, it was fairly easy to connect with all of the principals. And because their story had never really been told, they were all on board to get it out there.

 

Any facts and stories that actually did not make it into the film?

 

Unfortunately, yeah. I had about 90 hours of interview footage to get through for what ended up being an 87 minute movie. There was a 2012 convention called Contamination that brought together the cast and Oley for a screening and panel that I would have loved to include in the movie. I just didn’t have the space for it. They all told some wonderful stories about it.

 

Now you did manage to stay very objective in Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four - so let me ask now, what are your personal thoughts about why the movie was shelved?

 

It was a business decision, and I can respect that. But the problem is that information was kept from the cast/crew for too long. The people who MADE the movie were disrespected in  a profound way. My intent with this film to determine “who knew what when”. And while I got most of the answers I was looking for, I was hampered by the fact that the one man who had ALL of the answers passed away in 2011 – the president of Constantin Film, Bernd Eichinger.

 

Now I'm supposing you have actually watched the movie in question, the original The Fantastic Four - have you also watched any of the later blockbuster iterations, and how do they hold up to their low budget predecessor?

 

Corman’s film is my favorite, and while I don’t actively hate the others, they certainly lack the theme that an Fantastic Four movie needs – and that’s family. Craig Nevius’ script for The Fantastic Four understood that. You can tell that Craig, not to mention Oley, really understood the characters, understood the comic book. You can tell they both actively read Fantastic Four comics. The same can’t be said for the reboots.

 

The $64-question then, any idea when this first The Fantastic Four might officially be released onto the general public?

 

I think I can say with certainty that if our film doesn’t help facilitate the release of it, then it will never come out. We’ve been SO lucky with the press that we’ve been getting. We’ve been covered by press from all over the world – Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Constantin Film… they all know we’re out there, and they all know that we’re raising awareness of the original film. NOW would be the time to release it. We’re playing with the hastag #ReleaseCormanFF in hopes to continue to raise awareness. I really hope it works!

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four?

 

Reviews are just starting to come out and they seem to be very favourable. It’s very validating to see this. I had been in such a bubble for so long, having edited the film myself, that I was never really sure if I was telling the story in a way the audience would appreciate and with which to engage.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Nothing really to mention, no. I just need time off from production (after nearly 4 years!) to teach and be with my family. I know I’ll catch the bug again, soon enough, though. I DO love the documentary form, and suspect my next feature will be another doc.

 

What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I went to Boston University’s film program (my concentration was screenwriting) in the mid-90’s (I’m 47 years old), and got into the commercial/corporate video world for nearly twenty years before settling into teaching higher ed.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four?

 

Doomed! is my directorial debut, but I have several credits as a screenwriter and producer.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

As a documentary filmmaker, I have pretty good interview skills, having come from the corporate world where I grew up interviewing people for training/educational videos. But I believe my job is most important in the edit, in post production. It’s here that you have to consolidate, compress and tighten without losing the focus of each story. And then it’s juggling the individual stories to serve the greater story of the entire film.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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Paul Thomas Anderson, David Lynch, David Cronenberg are the top three.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, Dr. Strangelove, Dead Ringers.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

The Boondock Saints.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

www.doomedthemovie.com

DoomedFF on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD