Before Marvel became the toast of tinsel town, there were some pretty dreadful Marvel-based movies—and I’m not just talking Howard the Duck. Dolph Lundgren starred as The Punisher in 1989, but the movie got only a very limited theatrical release. A 1990 version of Captain America starring JD Salinger’s son, Matt, was so bad it sat on the shelf fro two years before being released in the dead of night on cable. BU worst of all was a Fantastic Four movie produced by legendary horror filmmaker Roger Corman that never got released at all, although bootlegs have long circulated. (There’s an awful JLA pilot from a little bit later that is also pretty horrid, but not much worse than the Superboy TV show that actually aired for a season.) All this would change just three years later with the release of the first Blade movie, and the avalanche of superhero movies would follow to the point where, they are the bread and butter of the whole filmmaking industry.

But if you want to see how NOT to do it, some folks have put together a whole documentary about the making of the FF film, called DOOMED: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s THE FANTASTIC FOUR And you can see a sneak peek above. According to the PR, this documentary will “shed new light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding this legendary cult classic and “lost” Roger Corman film, THE FANTASTIC FOUR.” I didn’t know that there were that many secrets besides the movie being very rough, but director Marty Langford and executive producer Mark Sikes will reveal all in this film. One of the problems, as revealed in the above snippet, is that they had only $1 million to make the movie. Even in 1994 that didn’t get you very far. (although I do like the non-CGI Thing a bit.) Marvel historian Sean Howe will appear, and I’m sure there will be lots of dirt in the final film.

The movie was partially crowdfunded, and you can follow along with more news on how to see it on Facebook of course.



  1. JLA pilot?
    IMDB shows one from 1997.
    Oh, yes… Justice League International.
    David Ogden Stiers as Martian Manhunter.

    There were the two Hanna-Barbera live action specials, from the legendary annus horribilis of Freddie Silverman at NBC.
    (“Legends of the Super Heroes”, at WBShop)

    BTW, the same executive who made this FF also made the two big-budget versions.

  2. Still better than the ones that actually got released.

    Which makes it the second-best Fantastic Four movie. After The Incredibles.

  3. I agree with Thad. The Corman FF movie was better than the eventual big budget release. It certainly had its heart in the right place.

  4. Dear Sirs

    You write ” (There’s an awful JLA pilot from a little bit later that is also pretty horrid, but not much worse than the Superboy TV show that actually aired for a season.) ”
    What Superboy TV show ran for a season?

  5. Not sure if you are being sarcastic or not, but go here for info:

    It was syndicated, and actually ran for 4 seasons, as the above poster commented. While the series wasn’t great, it was very similar (in budget, FX, etc) to other syndicated shows of the time. I’d argue that non-network TV shows getting decent budgets is a relatively recent phenomenon (2000-up).

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