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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

1 2