At the Mountains of Madness isn’t the first unmade film project that Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron tried to collaborate on. Back in 2001, Variety reported that Cameron, via his Lightstorm Entertainment company, bought the rights to the 2001 comic book miniseries The Coffin. Created by Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston, it’s a modern twist on the Frankenstein story. In it, Dr. Ashtar Ahmad has created a polymer suit that is able to trap the soul inside of it, where it can live on. But his research has been funded by a ruthless and very rich old man who will stop at nothing to extend his own life. When he sends assassins to kill Ahmad in order to stop him from sharing his discovery elsewhere, the badly wounded doctor manages to get into one of the suits. Now, essentially a vapour, he must take on the tycoon and his minions in order to save himself and those close to him, including his estranged young daughter. The black and white story feels very much like a movie, and exactly the kind of project del Toro would be interested in, with its Frankenstein premise, dramatic plot, steam-punkish hero, depictions of Hell and child in jeopardy. In fact, the protagonist is strikingly similar to the character of Johann Kraus – a psychic who, due to a paranormal accident, was reduced to an ecotoplasmic form and now lives as a vapour inside of a containment suit – from del Toro’s Hellboy films. (Hellboy creator Mike Mignola premiered the character in 2003, two years after The Coffin.) The announcement about the film was originally made while del Toro was prepping Blade 2, so this was fairly early in his career. He was working on a script and confirmed that he would direct it, as well. The […]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 […]
(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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 email@example.com 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 […]
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 […]
Literary website Quill & Quire has a great interview up with George A. Romero about Humongo Bongo, by Alison Lang. A snippet of Q&A: Legendary horror director George A. Romero on his first (and only) kids book How did you end up illustrating this children’s book? George A. Romero: They said, “Well, go ahead and illustrate,” and I said, “Okay, but it won’t be good!” And it turned out to be good enough. This is a children’s book, but it seems to also have a very serious message. GR: I meant it to be a parable about over-population, greed, and all of the terrible values that we humans have. That’s all it was meant to illustrate. Did you think back to any books you read as a kid while you wrote the story? GR: As a youth, the first actual novel that I ever read was Something of Value. It’s about the Mau Mau Uprising in Africa. That’s the topic, but what it’s about is basically families that are torn apart. It’s almost an anti-apartheid thing. READ THE REST…
Canadian television personality, film critic and author Richard Crouse invited Untold Horror’s Dave Alexander onto his News Talk 1010 radio show in Toronto to chat about some of the most anticipated horror remakes that were never made. As a passionate film critic, Crouse does not hide his enthusiasm for the stories that have merely been hinted at thus far in the Untold Horror universe. Along with guests Ian Lake and Krystin Pellerin, actors discussing their Stratford festival production of Macbeth, Richard and Dave discuss the origins of Untold Horror, as well as potential projects by some of our most beloved horror auteurs, such as David Cronenberg and George A. Romero. Romero has multiple unmade projects in his past, and as Dave explains, all it takes sometimes is “one little wrench in the machine and the whole thing falls apart.” Crouse and Alexander also compare the films that they’d most like to see remade, both of which are classic monster movies — one by Cronenberg and the other by Romero — they feel are immortal and retain the ability to comment on the times they’re made in. Listen to the podcast here. And check out Richard’s movie reviews here.
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.