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Where on the Shelf Is...The Fantastic Four?

Mar. 20, 2013by:

Welcome to "Where on the Shelf Is..." In this column, I look at great TV shows and movies that have never been on DVD and/or Blu-ray. For your pleasure and out of all of our frustrations, this column examines the Where, When and, of course, WHY?! of these non-releases.

Up this week is...THE FANTASTIC FOUR

What Is It?:

Most of us acknowledge that there are two bad FANTASTIC FOUR movies. But what most of us may have forgotten is that there are actually three bad FANTASTIC FOUR movies.

In the 1980s, Neue Constantin studio head Bernd Eichinger acquired the rights to Marvel's Fantastic Four. With the deal set to expire at the end of 1992, Eichinger quickly scooped up music video director Oley Sassone, B-movie legend Roger Corman (DEATH RACE 2000, ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and, of course, THE SAGA OF THE VIKING WOMEN AND THEIR VOYAGE TO THE WATERS OF THE GREAT SEA SERPENT) and a $1 million budget, and rushed a 20-some-odd-day shoot.

The studio teased the film the following year, promising comic book fans they would see The Thing & company battle Dr. Doom in 1994.

Where Is It?:

The Thing, Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman didn't make it to theaters that January. Or any other January. Or any other month. Nearly two decades after its intended release, THE FANTASTIC FOUR has never been made available to the public.

Not along after it was shelved, word got around that THE FANTASTIC FOUR was never even intended for wide release and that Eichinger only made the movie when he did to retain the rights (as per the contractual agreement with Marvel). Eichinger debunked this, stating, "When the movie was there, we wanted to release it."

The blame then goes to Marvel suit Avi Arad, who purchased the rights to Sassone's movie and "ordered all prints destroyed," unaware that the film's prestige would eventually help land Rebecca "Susan Storm" Staab a role on DIAGNOSIS MURDERtwice!

Marvel later resold the property to Fox.

When Will We See It?:

Considering Fox's success with the modern FANTASTIC FOUR movies (which collectively grossed more than $600 million worldwide), it's extremely unlikely they would give up their ownership or purchase '94's version for release, even with the reboot scheduled for 2015.

In their mind, doing so would taint the brand. They may as well give H.E.R.B.I.E. his own spin-off.

But is there any damage to be done, really, in putting it out on DVD? Other early, low-budget and just plain awful comic book adaptations have made their way to home video: 1989's THE PUNISHER (starring Dolph Lundgren) is out on DVD, 1990's CAPTAIN AMERICA is getting the Blu-ray treatment this May and 1984's SUPERGIRL has been on home video probably too many times.

Where Can We See It?:

Avi Arad clearly didn't send the film canisters to the incinerator or "the trash someplace" as promised, as THE FANTASTIC FOUR is readily available all over the web, from eBay and YouTube to torrent sites and online retailers.

Stellar Products currently has FANTASTIC FOUR for the low-low price of $12.99. Qualify for free shipping by stocking up on some sweet Queensryche bootlegs!

Is one of your favorite movies or TV shows not available on DVD or Blu-ray? Leave your suggestions below or shoot me an e-mail at mathewplale@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:04AM on 03/20/2013
That Supergirl sure has some weird creepy looking ribs.
That Supergirl sure has some weird creepy looking ribs.
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6:48AM on 03/20/2013

Good and bad

The origins of Doctor Doom and of the Fantastic Four were closer to the origins in the comics than that of the movie that came out in 2005: this movie had Doctor Doom injured as a result of an experiment that he and Reed were working on; when Reed realized that the experiment was too dangerous he ran out of the lab but Victor stayed behind. Victor was sent back to his native country for hospitalization and Reed never heard from him again so Reed assumed he was dead. Victor, on the other hand,
The origins of Doctor Doom and of the Fantastic Four were closer to the origins in the comics than that of the movie that came out in 2005: this movie had Doctor Doom injured as a result of an experiment that he and Reed were working on; when Reed realized that the experiment was too dangerous he ran out of the lab but Victor stayed behind. Victor was sent back to his native country for hospitalization and Reed never heard from him again so Reed assumed he was dead. Victor, on the other hand, was angry at Reed for abandoning him and leaving him for dead which is why he never contacted his friend to let him know he was still alive. This is actually a perfectly reasonable reaction! Victor then planned to sabotage Reed's rocket but it ended up getting sabotaged by a second villain called the Jeweler

The Jeweler was an awful villain: he lived in the sewers and he stole jewelry. One would think that if he was such a good thief he could afford a better place to live. He sabotaged Reed's rocket because he wanted a huge diamond, one that would absorb cosmic rays. He replaced the diamond with a fake diamond so the rocket had no protection against cosmic rays. This was the really cheesy part of the movie. I can only think that they created a second villain because the simple plot of having Victor Von Doom sabotage the rocket and then the Fantastic Four going after him would not have been enough plot for a whole movie.

It is possible that an early draft of the script featured the Mole Man instead seeing as how the Mole Man was the first villain the Fantastic Four faced in Fantastic Four #1. If the Jeweler had originally been written as the Mole Man then this would explain why the Jeweler lived underground in the sewers. I imagine that there wasn't enough of a budget for monsters so the Mole Man became the Jeweler. There may very well have been an early draft of the script that was actually pretty good.

Imagine if this, complete with a fight against the Mole Man and his monsters, had been the plot of the Fantastic Four movie that came out in 2005! Yes it would have been campy but, honestly, this was a much better Doctor Doom than we got in 2005. All it would have needed was better acting and better special effects.
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+2
5:13AM on 03/21/2013

W.T..F...

Did I just watch?

Oddly enough, I can't decide which FF movie is better.
Did I just watch?

Oddly enough, I can't decide which FF movie is better.
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7:41AM on 03/20/2013
Mathew, I agree with you completely. Other superhero B-movies have been released: Captain America, The Punisher, Wonder Woman (w/ Cathy Lee Crosby) et. al. So, The Fantastic Four-1994 might as well be available. Obviously, fans would buy a few copies to see this noted movie and to complete their collections. I watched part of this FF on-line one time. martinphipps writes the truth. This 1994 version is closer to the comic. And, I found it to be a watchable B-movie.
Mathew, I agree with you completely. Other superhero B-movies have been released: Captain America, The Punisher, Wonder Woman (w/ Cathy Lee Crosby) et. al. So, The Fantastic Four-1994 might as well be available. Obviously, fans would buy a few copies to see this noted movie and to complete their collections. I watched part of this FF on-line one time. martinphipps writes the truth. This 1994 version is closer to the comic. And, I found it to be a watchable B-movie.
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1:08AM on 03/20/2013

I just relented and watched the embedded trailer.

THAT. WAS. APPALLING.

Give me my 90 seconds back.
THAT. WAS. APPALLING.

Give me my 90 seconds back.
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2:24PM on 03/20/2013
I would love to know if we'll ever see Werewolf: The Series from 1987 on DVD.
I would love to know if we'll ever see Werewolf: The Series from 1987 on DVD.
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7:25PM on 03/20/2013

Wow

Is it just me or does The Thing in this look like he has Down Syndrome?
Is it just me or does The Thing in this look like he has Down Syndrome?
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7:02AM on 03/20/2013
I hate to say this guys but even though this is a cheap looking film, they all at least look the part compared to the original comic books characters! I don't think we can say the same thing about that awful 2005 movie and its sequel.
[link]
I hate to say this guys but even though this is a cheap looking film, they all at least look the part compared to the original comic books characters! I don't think we can say the same thing about that awful 2005 movie and its sequel.
[link]
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4:55AM on 03/20/2013
I've never watched the full film, just that trailer. And just that trailer, it doesn't look like a movie. It looks like an 1-Hour special live action episode.
I've never watched the full film, just that trailer. And just that trailer, it doesn't look like a movie. It looks like an 1-Hour special live action episode.
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3:58PM on 03/20/2013

for sale

i have it will sell for 30$
i have it will sell for 30$
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12:31AM on 03/20/2013
I would watch the hell out of this if I was able to get my hands on a copy.
I would watch the hell out of this if I was able to get my hands on a copy.
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