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Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's the Fantastic Four

USA 2015
produced by
Marty Langford, Mark Sikes
directed by Marty Langford
starring Carl Ciarfalio, Roger Corman, Joseph Culp, Jonathan Fernandez, Glenn Garland, Chris Gore, Kat Green, Sean Howe, Alex Hyde-White, Lloyd Kaufman, Oley Sassone, Mark Sikes, Michael Bailey Smith, Rebecca Staab, Jay Underwood, John Vulich
written by Marty Langford, music by Davis Horgan, Fantastic Four created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, published by Marvel Comics

documentary
Fantastic Four

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Those who are into comicbooks, superheroes and Marvel Comics will probably know: 11 years before the blockbuster Fantastic Four from 2005, comicbooks favourite foursome saw the big screen in the movie The Fantastic Four, a low budget flick produced by legendary Roger Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here] - well, almost, as the plug got pulled on that movie. Popular lore has it that German producer Bernd Eichinger of Constantin Film and Corman struck a deal to produce the movie with the intention to release it, just so Eichinger could keep the license to the characters until a better deal came along - but Doomed! sheds a little bit of a different light on the story: Fact is, the film was actually produced, and on a budget higher than the usual Corman flick of the time, featured some very decent practical special effects (the Thing is actually pretty awesomely rendered), and cast and crew made comicon appearances to promote the movie. So the theory this movie has is that not even Corman himself was aware that the movie would eventually be pulled, maybe not even Eichinger himself (who had died prior to the production of this documentary and thus wasn't available for comment. And unfortunately, the two players in this game that could give clarification on what has happened that led to the movie being canned, Marvel mastermind and former Marvel moviedom bigshot Avi Arad declined to answer any questions - and it's especially disappointing that the latter wasn't up for comment as it is said (in this documentary) that Arad was instrumental in shelving The Fantastic Four - and that in mind, despite costing only a small fraction of any of the later adaptations of the comicbook, it's actually the best Fantastic Four movie yet - a B-movie for sure, but let's face it, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the characters decades back, they were very probably inspired by B-movies (everything in the comics suggests as much), including those by Roger Corman ...

 

Now for anyone not only into comicbooks, superheroes and Marvel Comics, but also the shadowy lanes of Hollywood, B-movies and real life soap operas, this is nothing short of a gem, a lost piece of Hollywood history finally examined - and not in a one-sided, accusatory, biased way, but it seems to be looking for the deeper truth rather than just repeating Hollywood lore. And it's great that the filmmakers really managed to interview all the Fantastic Four (Alex Hyde-White, Jay Underwood, Rebecca Staab, Michael Bailey Smith), Doctor Doom (Joseph Culp), Alicia Masters (Kat Green), the film's director (Oley Sassone) as well as a few others on the cast and crew to give their version of things, without them throwing their disappointment at the screen but giving a decent account of things that were and actually were not, and thus painting a very levelled picture of everything. And the result is just awesome!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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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
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out now on DVD