As a geeks, Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four is one the greatest myths, puzzles, and objects of affection we’ll know. It’s forever talked about on message boards, convention halls and comic shops across the land. As a kid I remember hearing about while it filming at the local comic stop, I saw the poster even, then like a dream it was gone: never to be spoken of again.
Lots of rumors swelled, but nothing stuck. Though I quickly moved on to the next great geek conquest, the image of that glossy poster always remained. Remember this was a time when Marvel still created Fantastic Four comics.
Luckily there were plenty of other nerds that remembered this film and wanted to know the truth. None bigger than Marty Langford, who with help from the Corman’s and film’s creative team tracked down the answer to the question so many of us geeks have had for so long; “What Happened To Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four Film?”
Next to Raiders, this is my favorite (film/geek )related documentary of the year and can’t recommend it enough. Enjoy my little chat with Marty!
Hey Marty really enjoyed Doomed! It’s always been a puzzling story, thanks for being in depth. It’s one thing to be interested in a thing, it’s another to make an entire documentary on it. When did you know you had to tell this story?
I’d always been fascinating by the subject, and back in 2012, it dawned on me that nobody else was going to do it. It was originally going to be a book, but when I contacted Mark Sikes (childhood friend, DOOMED! executive producer, and Corman’s casting assistant in 1992) to help with facilitating contact with the cast/crew, he said to me, “dummy, we’re filmmakers, why not make a documentary?”. I had originally assumed that we wouldn’t be able use any footage from Oley Sassine’s original film, and we’d be stuck with 90 minute of talking heads. But Mark assured me that we’d “figure it out”. He was right, we did.
Was it easy to get all the principle players onboard?
That was all Mark (Sikes, executive producer). He’s now an LA-based casting director. And I guess when actors are contacted by casting directors, they pick up the phone.
Marvel is at the heart of Doomed! But not interviewed, what type of push back did you receive?
Absolutely no pushback, because absolutely no one returned our calls, emails, letters or social media requests. They were either ignoring us or actively didn’t want to discuss it. We still don’t know which one. To this day, no one has contacted us from Marvel.
After watching, I still can’t believe Corman didn’t know…I don’t blame him if he did, it was big pay day for his indie studio. Am I off ?
I think you are. The one compelling piece of evidence is that Corman continued to put money into the project, however little, as it stumbled through post-production. He paid FF editor,Glenn Garland a weekly wage to continue work on effects and music, and most tellingly, he paid for a few thousand one-sheet posters, buttons, pins and other marketing materials. If you’re familiar with the notoriously frugal Corman, you know that he’d NEVER spend thousands of dollars on something that was never coming out.
Do you think if the film was released-would the Marvel machine exist like it does now?
Oh yeah, I don’t think it would have affected the current Marvel Studios one bit. It was a blip on the radar for them. The only difference it would have made was if Constantin was unable to get the film made. If that happened, the rights would have reverted back to Marvel, and they would be the current rights-holders for the FF.
I’m guessing you’ve seen a bootleg-I’ve seen bits-Alex Hyde White is probably the best Reed so far on film-what do you think?
I honestly believe, and I’m putting my hand to my heart here, that EVERY individual cast member was the best representation of each character to date. The budget may have restricted the effects, the schedule may have compromised the project, but the development and performances of each member of the cast are my favorite from all of the current films.
Should the film be released?
Of course it should. There should absolutely be an acknowledgment of all the work every crew.cast member put into this film. It really is a shame that the film has never been seen as it should be – with proper effects, audio mixing, color grading and the like. The original trailer that was edited for the movie looks AMAZING. I just wish the whole film did.
As a film/comic geek I really dig this–where can people view it and what’s next for you?
We come out in pretty much every VOD platform on October 11th, and on DVD/Blu on December 20th. And right now I’m just trying to get through this semester (I teach) while doing all the press for the film!