Unknown Untold:  Wes Craven’s The Fallen

May 19, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

In our ongoing research into Untold Horror, we have uncovered a variety of projects which for better or worse went unrealized.  Many of them only exist in pitch material artwork if nothing else.   This ongoing series, entitled “Unknown Untold”, will shine a light on artwork for movies that never existed beyond what is seen on the page. If you have any further knowledge of any of the images posted, please let us know – Email mark@untoldhorror.ca with any details you may have about these projects! One of my personal favourite aspects of digging into the world of Untold Horror, is taking a look at the many “what ifs” that come up when dealing with films that fell into the depths of Development Hell. What would have happened if so and so directed a certain project at some point, meaning a non-existent film would now exist.  It would also likely mean an entirely different chain of events would follow…  The mind races with possibilities.  This is one such project. From the pages of the May 12, 1982 issue of Variety comes today’s “Unknown Untold”. “An Unusual Drama of one man’s saga into primitive terror, love and all-out war with the fallen forces of evil for a treasure that will destroy all.”  – So reads the tagline for this mysterious film. Beyond this, we also have comparisons to Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Exorcist, The Omen, and, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  With promises of “Relentless action”, “Suspenseful Terror” and “Astonishing Special Effects”, one can only imagine the type of spectacle scripted. Finally, and in larger font than anything else, the project was promised to be “Set in Three Continents” and a “Star-Studded Cast”. This clearly had the vision of being a large picture and production.  Much larger than anything that […]

PLANET CORN AND OTHER KERNELS ABOUT THE ORIGINAL TWIN PEAKS SEASON 3

May 17, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

(Presenting a special guest post by Andy Burns of Biff Bam Pop!) This Sunday, May 21st brings us the long-awaited return of Twin Peaks. The surreal show, set in the Pacific Northwest, was co-created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, for brief period in the early 1990s, was the biggest television show in North America. An audience of 34 million watched the hypnotic two-hour ABC premiere, which felt more like a movie than a television show. There, we were introduced to Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), sent to the town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of the homecoming queen, sixteen-year-old Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Over the course of two seasons, Twin Peaks would meld auteur cinema with soap opera storytelling; myths and conspiracy theories; aliens and the supernatural; coffee and cherry pie. However, the series would quickly flame out thanks to network interference, and both Lynch and Frost’s other interests. When the final episode aired in the spring of 1991, fans were left with multiple cliffhangers, most notably Agent Cooper’s body now in possession of the malevolent spirit, BOB (Frank Silva). While David Lynch would release the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me one year later, it served as a prequel rather than sequel, leaving so many questions unanswered. Season two wasn’t meant to be the end of Twin Peaks, though. In fact, David Lynch appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in an appeal to fans to write in to ABC to give it a third season order. It didn’t work, but what if it had? In an interview back in July 2007, with the Twin Peaks Archive, artist Matt Haley revealed he and Twin Peaks producer and Fire Walk With Me co-writer Robert Engels were working on a graphic novel that would have incorporated various ideas […]

If Lynch Met Lightsabres

May 4, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

As bizarre as it seems, in the ’80s, after he’d made the classics Eraserhead and The Elephant Man, but before he directed Dune, David Lynch was approached by George Lucas about directing Return of the Jedi. Now, he wasn’t the only director known for strange, dark film to be approached about it. David Cronenberg was also queried about making a movie with ewoks, and also turned it down. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, “I got a phone call once asking if I was interested in directing one of the Star Wars sequels. And instead of saying ‘Oh my God, yes!’ I said, ‘Well, you know, I don’t really do other people’s material.’ Click. I don’t know how far it would have gone, but it ended there.” Lynch didn’t get much further with the project, but he did take a meeting with Lucas. He tells the following story (see the whole thing in this YouTube video) about the experience:   He showed me these things called wookies, and now, y’know, this headache is getting stronger. And he showed me many animals and different things. Then he took me for a ride in his Ferrari for lunch. And George is kind of short, so his seat was way back and he was almost lying down in the car, and we were flying through this little town up in northern California. We went to a restaurant – and not that I don’t like salad, but all they had was salad. Then I got, like, almost a migraine headache and I could hardly wait to get home. And before I even got home I kind of crawled into a phone booth and phoned my agent and said, “There is no way – no way! – I can do this.” Of course, that doesn’t […]

Dracula, Chaney Style

April 28, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

As the more hardcore fans of the original Universal monster movies know, Bela Lugosi wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play the title role in 1931’s Dracula, despite starring in the stage play version of the Bram Stoker novel that the film was based upon. Studio head Carl Laemmle reluctantly gave his son, Carl Laemmle Jr., permission to make Dracula only if he could secure Lon Chaney for a dual role as Dracula and the creature’s nemesis, Professor Van Helsing. Chaney was big star at the time, having starred in Universal’s The Phantom of the Opera in 1925, but was under contract to rival studio MGM, where he had starred as a pointy-toothed ghoul in the Dracula-like London After Midnight in 1927 — now the most famous of all lost horror films. Chaney and director Tod Browning (Freaks, and then of course Dracula) had apparently discussed making a version of the film as early as 1922, and Laemmle Jr. was eager to get him. There was a script written by Pulitzer-prize-winning author Louis Bromfield that followed Stoker’s books more closely. Since it was’t based on a stage play, it’s more dynamic, with more locations, but also more sensual and violent. Alas, Chaney died of throat cancer on August 26, 1930, and the film was re-tooled for a new star. The earlier version of the script, along with the story behind it, the script for the 1922 Nosferatu, and a reprinted magazine feature in which Chaney talks about his life, was released as a book titled Lon Chaney’s Dracula. Part of series by Philip J. Riley featuring scripts of unmade genre movies, including Universal’s The Wolf Man Vs. Dracula, it was released by Bear Manor Media in 2010. It’s a fascinating read, especially because it feels tailor-made for Chaney, something that’s most evident in its description of The […]

Unknown Untold: TASHMAD

April 11, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

In our ongoing research into Untold Horror, we have uncovered a variety of projects which for better or worse went unrealized.  Many of them only exist in pitch material artwork if nothing else.   This ongoing series, entitled “Unknown Untold”, will shine a light on artwork for movies that never existed beyond what is seen on the page. If you have any further knowledge of any of the images posted, please let us know – Email mark@untoldhorror.ca with any details you may have about these projects! In digging into this one, let’s start with the title: TASHMAD. Who or what does this exactly refer to?   Some research turned up the following: The four Hebrew letters representing the new year 5744, each bearing numerical values as in Latin, form the Hebrew word Tashmad. The word means ‘destroy.’ So, taking this bit of knowledge and combine it with the the below pre-sale artwork and stated cinematic comparisons to The Exorcist and Poltergeist, one can only assume that this was some sort of end-of-the-world scenario, religious horror film. Besides literally citing the film, there are certainly more than a couple of similarities between this artwork with the iconic poster art for The Exorcist as well. Moving along  –  lets take a look at that catchy tag line: IT STARTED AS A GAME… BUT NOW THE EVIL WAS THE OPPONENT. If you find yourself  reading that over several times you’re not alone.   I’ve read it well over a dozen times, and the changing from past to present back to past tense is way more jarring than it should be. But perhaps this all makes sense when we get down to the director behind the attached filmmaker… Lucio Fulci. Fulci, director of genre classics like The Beyond, Don’t Torture a Duckling, Zombi 2, New York Ripper, and many more, is among […]

Unknown Untold: The Dead of Night

March 27, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

In our ongoing research into Untold Horror, we have uncovered a variety of projects which for better or worse went unrealized.  Many of them only exist in pitch material artwork if nothing else.   This ongoing series, entitled “Unknown Untold”, will shine a light on artwork for movies that never existed beyond what is seen on the page. If you have any further knowledge of any of the images posted, please let us know! Harry Houdini, the master trickster. Aleister Crowley, the student of Satan. An incredible adventure with the fate of an empire hanging in the balance. … and so reads the incredibly evocative advertisement from a May 1990 issue of Variety, taken out by Eagle Intermedia (apparently made up of producers David Sugar, Lawrence Vanger, and Martin Barab), for the never made The Dead of Night.   No writer, nor director is listed. If a picture is worth a thousand words – then I can’t be the only one who really, really wants to see this movie!    Harry Houdini, action hero battling the demonic Aleister Crowley! And if that wasn’t enough, it appears as though Crowley (or maybe even Satan himself) could soon be wearing the crown jewels, and ruling over the empire. These great Variety advertisements while heartbreaking in the sense we’ll never get to see the promised excitement on screen, certainly also let the mind race with possibilities. I mean, let’s just imagine a 1990 Sylvester Stallone, fresh off of a decade of Rambo and Rocky sequels, taking a page out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Predator playbook, and takes his action hero chops into horror territory. And Crowley… One can only imagine all the different choices of who could have stepped into the role of The Wickedest Man Alive.   The possibilities are endless!  Imagine Dracula himself, Christopher Lee stepping into the […]

Versions of The Fly that Didn’t Fly

March 15, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

Given that David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly is considered the director’s ultimate meditation on body horror, one of the greatest horror films ever made, and was a box office success that earned over $60 million worldwide, it’s no surprise that it keeps coming back. This week, Deadline Hollywood announced that J.D. Dillard will direct a remake written by himself and his writing partner Alex Theurer, for Fox. (The duo’s first feature is the upcoming street magic-themed gangland thriller/superhero movie Sleight.) But what about the versions of The Fly that didn’t get made? First, some background: Cronenberg’s movie is loosely based on George Langelan’s 1957 short story of the same name – about a scientist who accidentally fuses his DNA with that of a house fly, turning himself into a hideous half-insect creature – and it’s 1958 film adaptation by Kurt Neumann. That movie spawned two sequels, Return of the Fly (1959) and Curse of The Fly (1965), while Cronenberg’s resulted in one sequel, 1989’s The Fly II, a poorly-received opera in 2008 and a five-issue comic book series in 2015 titled The Fly: Outbreak, which continued the story of Brundle’s son from The Fly II. The first of these was a sequel proposed by Cronenberg’s Fly star Geena Davis as a project for her then-husband to direct, titled Flies. According to an article at Wicked Horror, this version, “was to focus on Veronica giving birth to twin boys—picking up right after the original and totally ignoring the sequel—who start out normally and then begin their respective transformations at the onset of puberty.” The article also states that the genesis of the idea came from a pitch that author/screenwriter/creator of Video Watchdog Tim Lucas made before The Fly II. “His story would have been very different, revealing that the telepods could actually be re-purposed to function as cloning devices, which is where the Flies title would be relevant. Geena Davis would again have a leading role in […]

Unknown Untold: “Amityville Vertigo”

March 14, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

In our ongoing research into Untold Horror, we have uncovered a variety of projects which for better or worse went unrealized.  Many of them only exist in pitch material artwork if nothing else.   This ongoing series, entitled “Unknown Untold”, will shine a light on artwork for movies that never existed beyond what is seen on the page. If you have any further knowledge of any of the images posted, please let us know! In 1977 Jay Anson’s novel “The Amityville Horror” sparked a supernatural cultural phenomenon surrounding the alleged otherworldly events which centered around the Lutz family, and their Long Island, NY home. In 1979, an even wider audience was introduced to the terrifying “true story” as MGM released their film adaptation.  Grossing over $85 million dollars domestically, the film was a hit, and invariably lead to sequels (and rip offs).  By the summer of 1982, production was wrapped on an official sequel. However prior to the official sequel, if this advertisement from a fall 1981 Variety magazine is to be believed, there seemed to be an attempt at a European rip-off / sequel, “Amityville Vertigo”. There isn’t much that has turned up when digging into the production companies listed.  There are neither credited talents nor stars attached.   So take a look at this poster, and judge for yourself…   Was there anything beyond this artwork?  Or, was it just as real as the alleged haunting itself?

The King Kong Movie Neil Marshall Never Made

March 9, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

There are monsters, giant creatures and exotic sights aplenty in Kong: Skull Island, but it could have had pirates. Lots of dinosaurs. And maybe Gollum himself, Andy Serkis. That is, if Neil Marshall had taken his cinematic trip to Skull Island. In 2013 it was reported that Marshall – writer/director of Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday – was trying to mount his own Kong movie, based on the novel Kong: King of Skull Island, which was officially licensed by the estate of Merian C. Cooper, who wrote, produced and directed the original 1933 King Kong. The film rights to Kong have traditionally been tricky due to Cooper’s failure to properly secure them back in the day. (BirthMoviesDeath.com gives an excellent explanation here.) He did, however, copyright the novelization of the movie. So an official sequel (ignoring the Son of Kong sequel) was licensed, and in 2005 King of Skull Island was released, which was written by Joe DeVito (visit DeVito’s website for more official Kong stuff) and Brad Strickland. The official synopsis: “In 1933, American showman Carl Denham returned from a mysterious, hidden island with a priceless treasure. A treasure not gold or jewels, but the island’s barbaric god, a monstrous anthropoid called ‘Kong.’ The savage giant escaped and wreaked havoc among the man-made canyons of Manhattan, but within hours of the giant ape’s death his body – and Carl Denham – disappeared. Twenty-five years later, the son of Carl Denham makes a shocking discovery that leads him back to the site of his father’s greatest adventure and to the answers that will unlock the century’s greatest mystery and history’s greatest miracle.” Marshall acquired the rights and penned a screenplay with another writer, but Universal wasn’t interested at the time (remember, this was before the studio remade Godzilla and started seriously developing a shared universe for its giant monsters). In a 2015 interview with CHUD.com, he discusses his version, saying that it would […]

The Little World of Humongo Bongo

March 5, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

George A. Romero is best known for making The Crazies, Creepshow and his seven Dead films, beginning with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. However, in 1996 the Godfather of the Modern Zombie published his first and only children’s book, The Little World of Humongo Bongo. Both written and illustrated by Romero, it’s the tale of fire-breathing giant Humongo Bongo, who lives on the tiny planet of Tongo. Gentle and curious, his world is thrown upside down when he encounters a race of tiny people named the Minus, who initially worship him as a God but then turn on him when they succumb to fear, greed and the lust for power. Both an imaginative morality tale for pre-teens, and a fascinating vehicle for the social commentary lauded by Romero’s loyal fan base, The Little World of Humongo Bongo is the first Untold Horror release, in a partnership with ChiZine Publications. Previously only released in French for the European market, the story has been resurrected with the involvement of Romero, who will be contributing to this special edition. Watch for it at the end of 2017. More from the ChiZine press release… CHIZINE PUBLICATIONS ANNOUNCES ILLUSTRATED BOOK DEAL WITH GEORGE A. ROMERO PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 1, 2017 – ChiZine Publications (CZP)  announced today the acquisition of The Little World of Humongo Bongo, an illustrated book, originally published in French, by genre legend George A. Romero, best known for Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies, and Creepshow. George Romero sold World English rights (excluding France and Belgium) to Sandra Kasturi and Samantha Beiko, Co-Publishers of CZP, a British Fantasy, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Award-winning independent publisher of surreal, subtle, and disturbing dark literary fiction. The publication is in association with Dave Alexander’s Untold Horror. The Little World of Humongo Bongo is the […]

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