In 1994, Roger Corman finished production on the first live-action film adaptation of the classic Stan Lee comic The Fantastic Four. The movie then promptly went straight into hiding. Despite trailers promising it was coming, it was never to see a full release. The reason for this mysterious disappearance is simple: it’s absolutely terrible. But now you can easily see just how terrible it is as the full thing has been uploaded to YouTube for your viewing displeasure.
As you’ll discover, the film easily lives up to its bad reputation, with costumes that look like they’ve been scraped out of a dollar store, laughable special effects and a general feeling of being rushed towards completion as quickly as possible. And that’s precisely what happened.
In 1983, the production company Neue Constantin purchased the Fantastic Four movie rights from Marvel for a song, but with a contract stipulating that if a big budget pic wasn’t in full production within ten years, they’d revert back to the House of Ideas. So, 1992 rolls around, nothing’s happening and the company’s beginning to get antsy. They needed a movie – and fast! And there’s only one person you dial when you need a cheap film done quick: Roger Corman.
Of course, Corman did exactly what was required of him when producing The Fantastic Four, but it’s safe to say that while it fulfilled the terms of the contract, it certainly didn’t fulfill the expectations of any audiences. Then again, while the Corman film objectively sucks, it’s not like the other Fantastic Four movies that have come out since then are that great, either. I genuinely can’t remember much about the two 20th Century Fox efforts (I think Galactus was.. a cloud?) and the less said about the rubbish Josh Trank reboot the better.
With the rights now reverting to Disney though if they complete their purchase of Fox, let’s hope we’ll finally see a genuinely good Fantastic Four movie. There are certainly enough great comic storylines to work with, that’s for sure.