Film Review: The Fantastic Four (1994)

Release Date: Officially unreleased, once screened on May 31st, 1994
Directed by: Oley Sassone
Written by: Craig J. Nevius, Kevin Rock
Based on: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Music by: David Wurst, Eric Wurst
Cast: Alex Hyde-White, Jay Underwood, Rebecca Staab, Michael Bailey Smith, Kat Green, Joseph Culp

Marvel, Constantin Film Production, New Horizons, 90 Minutes

Review:

“What kind of thing have I turned into?” – The Thing

I’ve seen clips of this for years, I enjoyed the documentary on it but never have I seen the movie in its entirety until now.

Man, is this bad. I mean, really f’n bad. Roger Corman, whose cheesiness and low budget mastery I have enjoyed for decades, really took things to an incredibly new low with this in 1994.

But then again, if you watch the documentary on this film, it was made to hold onto the trademark and wasn’t really intended for actual release.

This film was rushed. It was made half assed. But that was mainly due to the producers and not the actors and crew who weren’t clued in to the reality of this production and the intentions of the people pulling the strings.

On the positive side, this surprisingly feels closer to the spirit of the source material than the three big budget Fantastic Four movies that came after it. It takes a few liberties with the origin but isn’t as drastic of a change as the most modern reboot. And fuck, I loved Doctor Doom in this more than the other films because he literally looked like the comic book Doom I grew up with and was just as hammy but in a great way and not an unintentional, terrible way like the Julian McMahon and Toby Kebbell versions.

I also thought that the score was pretty decent for a no budget, mid-’90s superhero flick. If you remember the era, Marvel had nothing but a string of atrocious movies up to this point. Even their television shows before this were shit, excluding The Incredible Hulk, but that show wasn’t as close to the source material as it should have been, let’s be honest.

The thing is, had the producers cared, this could have been a better picture and maybe have done well on the VHS market. It certainly would’ve bombed in the theater but it had imagination and the story isn’t terrible.

Okay, the jewel thief midget character was terrible and I’m not sure why they didn’t just make him Mole Man, as there were a lot of similarities but this movie could have been fine tuned into something at least palatable. It’s like they just ran with the first draft of the script and maybe that’s exactly what they did, as they had to rush this the hell out.

This isn’t unwatchable, if you are a fan of terrible f’n movies or want to see something that is certainly worthy of being riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000 or RiffTrax. And honestly, I’d probably watch this again before touching any of the big budget Fantastic Four films.

Rating: 3.5/10
Pairs well with: I guess 2005’s Fantastic Four and its sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and the second reboot, 2015’s Fantastic Four. However, all these movies are terrible.

TV Review: Portraits In Terror (1957)

Release Date: unaired pilot from 1957
Directed by: Ed Wood
Written by: Ed Wood
Music by: Gordon Zahler
Cast: Duke Moore, Dudley Manlove, Jeannie Stevens

E.S. Moore & Associates, 1 Episode, 22 Minutes

Review:

Portraits In Terror was a television show that was never to be. It had one episode, its pilot: Final Curtain. Therefore, this is a review of that one episode.

This show was developed by Ed Wood, a man often times referred to as the worst director of all-time. There are directors who are much worse because despite Ed Wood’s lack of technical talent, bad scripts and bizarreness, he still creates films that are beloved. Many because of their flaws but also because there is some sort of magic behind his movies.

Final Curtain, unfortunately, isn’t one of those Wood projects where it captured any sort of magic. It is boring and hard to get through, even at just 22 minutes in length.

The short film or episode, follows a man exploring a playhouse late at night. It is made to be mysterious as this man is drawn into some sort of dark power that is pulling at him. It takes him almost the full twenty minutes to climb up a spiral staircase as we listen to his awfully written inner monologue. Once he gets to the second floor, he discovers that the vampire from the play is standing silent and still in a room. He touches her and she doesn’t react. As he leaves the room, she is smiling. He goes into another room, discovers a coffin, climbs in, THE END.

Final Curtain is not engaging in any way. It is drab and drawn out and really serves no purpose other than Wood having a reason to display a 22 minute inner monologue that tries really hard to be captivating but falls short in every way imaginable.