Film / The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic... Four-gotten?

In 1992, The Constantin Film production company held the film rights to the Fantastic Four comic book, but they were about to lose said film rights unless they began production by December of that year. Since both the budget and the technology necessary for such a venture were lacking at the time, they instead opted to do a very low-budget film produced by Roger Corman and directed by journeyman music video director Oley Sassone; this was done as an Ashcan Copy to maintain the rights, and it was never released in theaters or any home media. However, a release date was set for 1994 and the cast and crew were told the film would be released. Although Stan Lee says that it was never intended to be released, Corman and producer Bernd Eichinger claim that they did plan to release it, but Marvel, fearing that it would cheapen the franchise, bought the film for the amount of money Constantin spent making it and ordered all prints destroyed.

According to some fans and critics who got their hands on the movie (circulated via bootleg video at comic-cons and such), not getting released was the best thing about it. Other viewers exhibit rabid devotion to it and demand an official DVD release. Most people (outside of Arrested Development fans) are unaware that the film even exists.

(You can see it on YouTube here.)

More info here, in case you're interested. Or here, if you got the time. Not to be confused with the 20th-Century Fox films (on which Constantin also produced).

This film provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: Seems like one, or else Doom's gloves are living beings.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Doom accidentally gives the four their powers with his Colossus Ray.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Doctor Doom's brilliant plan involves taking the team's powers and adding them to his own.
  • Cyborg: Doom.
  • Disney Villain Death: Happens to Doom at the end.
  • Disability Superpower: Alicia Masters is blind but when Ben Grimm bumps into her, she can "sense" that he feels sorry about it. Sure, she has no super powers to speak of and Ben did get through telling her how sorry he was, her blindness just gives her that ability to sense peoples' emotions somehow.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Reed tries to tell Johnny that it is too dangerous for him and Sue to go to space with them until he sees Sue for the first time in years. She's apparently sexy enough for him to lose his train of thought and abandon reason all together.
  • Dull Surprise: Reed doesn't seem to react at all during the scene where the Four are irradiated, as opposed to the rather exaggerated reactions of the other three.
  • Evil Laugh: Doom's laugh is so epic that it appears in the background of a scene that has nothing to do with him, and even follows him to his death.
  • Expy: The Jeweler is without question supposed to be the Mole Man. They couldn't use the original name due to rights issues.
  • The Grotesque: The Thing
  • Head Bob: Dr. Doom has a severe case of this.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Reed and Ben are college students and apparently good friends with Johnny and Sue, who haven't even hit puberty yet.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Reed apparently did this for Sue.
  • Large Ham
    • Joseph Culp's performance as Doctor Doom. Strangely, as the Agony Booth's review notes, Culp actually gives a sinister, understated performance in the early sections of the film, only to go batshit insane about half an hour in...which, to the film's credit, is absolutely right for Doom.
    • Reed's teacher at the start of the film is extremely enthusiastic about the speed of light.
  • Lost Episode: Lost movie. Well, it was supposed to be lost.
  • Manly Tears: Reed starts to bawl when the ER doctor tells him that Victor's burns "were too severe".
  • May–December Romance: Reed's relationship with Sue should be this, although they don't look that much different in age once she grows up.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Doctor Doom gestures with no shame, even punctuating "you have twelve hours" by writing "12" with his fingers!
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie is campy and owes a lot to the old Adam West ''Batman'' series, but we still see a surprisingly violent shootout between the Jeweler's men and Doom's.
    • When Ben wanders the streets, it's a surprisingly dark and depressing scene that might seem appropriate in some gritty 1970s drama.
  • Personality Powers: The reasoning behind their powers.
  • Precocious Crush: Sue had one on Reed when she was younger. It developed into a relationship years later.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Believe it or not, the scene in which Sue grabs the zero-g pen while in space was obviously a direct homage of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • Then there's the line "Holy Freud, Batman." See the Personality Powers section for more info on that one.
    • It may not have been on purpose but when Reed sees Sue for the first time since she grew up, it is almost identical to the shot in Blue Velvet in which the protagonist meets his love interest. David Lynch used the same shot in Eraserhead.
    • The sequence with the Human Torch protecting New York from Doctor Doom's "laser" is either this or an outright plagiarism of the first of the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, in which Superman likewise beats back a mad scientist's death ray he was using to try to destroy Metropolis.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Mrs. Storm, who in the comics died when Sue and Johnny were relatively young, is depicted as still being alive when the Four have their accident. Oddly enough their father, who was alive (albeit in prison) during the Four's early career, isn't seen or mentioned at any point in the film.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Alicia and Ben both instantly fall in love when they bump into each other. They don't even say their names. Alicia immediately goes home and sculpts Ben's face and is even seen licking some of the clay from her fingertips.
    • Likewise, the Jeweler has apparently been stalking her and falls in love with her.
  • Take My Hand: Even in his moment of victory, Richards lacks the courage to deliver the final blow.
  • Those Two Guys: Kragstadt and Trigorin.
  • Title Drop: Mrs. Storm does it with enthusiasm and little explanation.
  • Truer to the Text: While the film may have been obscure and had the cases of Adaptation Origin Connection and Spared by the Adaptation, it is much more faithful to the comics than all of the modern live-action adaptations of the Fantastic Four that came after it (especially the one that came out in 2015, which is an example of an adaptation that has nothing in common with the source material outside of its title, well partially it's title in the case of the film).
  • Two Decades Behind: If it wasn't for the CG effects for the Human Torch, you'd believe that this movie was straight from the 70's considering it's low production values note . This movie was actually made in 1994, a full year after Jurassic Park's release.
    • The space suits that the group wear vaguely resemble early space suits worn by astronauts in the early 60's. At the time of this film's production space suits were given a drastically different re-design to allow for safer travel in space.
    • The footage of the house blowing up to establish the power of Dr. Doom's laser cannon is Stock Footage of a house being obliterated by an atomic bomb from 1955. This would have been especially obvious to 90's audiences given the clip's notoriety in the media during the Cold War.
  • Urban Legend: Rumor has it that Marvel bought the film and locked the master copy in a vault so it would never see the light of day. Other accounts claim that Avi Arad burned the negatives himself.
  • Was Once a Man: Doom feels this way.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Jeweler was mostly responsible for the Fantastic Four's transformation (long story) and kidnapped Thing's girlfriend, yet most of the main characters never meet him. He simply walks off camera in a scene with Dr. Doom and is never seen or mentioned again.