12 Lost Movies You May Never Get to See
Sometimes a movie gets made (or mostly made) but never released. Here are 12 films that still haven’t seen the light of day.
‘THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED’ (1972)
In 1972, Jerry Lewis completed a film titled ‘The Day the Clown Cried,’ a World War II drama about a circus clown who leads children to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Rumor has it Lewis owns the only remaining print of the film and on occasion he’s held private screenings. (Director Roberto Benigni was supposedly allowed to see the film while working on his holocaust dramedy ‘Life is Beautiful.’) In Los Angeles, there have been staged readings of the script with comedians like David Cross and Patton Oswalt. The Simpsons’ Harry Shearer claims to have seen a copy of the film and has discussed it on the Howard Stern show, describing the jaw-dropping experience of not being able to turn it off.
‘DARK BLOOD’ (2013)
River Phoenix’s final film has been “on hold” for 19 years since the star’s death. The movie, about a widower awaiting the end of the world, has just recently been completed by Dutch director George Sluizer. The 80-year-old Sluizer is bringing the movie to the festival circuit and the world may finally get to see River’s last movie.
‘TOMORROW NIGHT’ (1998)
Louis C.K. is so hot right now, you’d think someone would release his 1998 feature-debut ‘Tomorrow Night.’ The unusual comedy includes a great cast including Wanda Sykes, Steve Carell, JB Smoove, Conan O’Brien and Rick Shapiro (in drag!). The trailer suggests that the movie is filled with the sort of absurd and awkward moments that made FX’s ‘Louie’ a hit. If the movie doesn’t get a DVD release maybe Louis will offer a digital download for five bucks.
‘NOTHING LASTS FORVER’ (1984)
Lorne Michaels has produced several film comedies. (Remember ‘Black Sheep’ or ‘The Ladies Man’?) But his greatest movie never had a proper release. In 1984 Tom Schiller — who’d made several short films on ‘Saturday Night Live’ — wrote and directed a bizarre, black-and-white musical comedy about a young artist finding his creative voice by leaving a depressed New York City and taking a flying-bus to the Moon. The film stars Zach Galligan (‘Gremlins’), Dan Aykroyd, Mort Sahl and Lauren Tom (Amy on ‘Futurama’) as the beautiful woman who falls in love with our hero. Bill Murray co-stars as the bus captain and has occasionally gotten the film screened in New York during his career retrospectives. The struggle to release the film has been chronicled by Michael Streeter in his book ‘Nothing Lost Forever.’
‘DON’S PLUM’ (2001)
Before Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire became household names they starred in an improvisational black-and-white drama titled ‘Don’s Plum.’ The 2001 movie was released overseas but never screened in the U.S. Some critics believe the movie was suppressed by DiCaprio and Maguire because it’s terrible and would only disappoint fans of the two superstars. (Note: trailer is NSFW)
‘UNLAWFUL KILLING’ (2012)
This recent documentary created a controversy outside of the Cannes Film Festival because the film suggests that “dark forces” in Britain have covered up the facts surrounding Princess Diana’s death. The movie is rumored to be financed by Mohamed Al Fayed whose son, Dodi Fayed, died alongside Diana in 1997. Apparently the film was unable to secure the proper insurance for release in the US and there’s no word on when the movie will be shown here.
‘THE FANTASTIC FOUR’ (1994)
One of the best-selling bootlegs at comic book conventions is the 1994 low-budget version of ‘The Fantastic Four.’ In the early ’90s, Constantin Films was about to lose its option to make a film version of the Marvel super-team. The only way they could retain the rights was to make a movie, any movie, even if it never got released. So they asked famed B-movie guru Roger Corman to quickly turn around a film. ‘The Fantastic Four’ was initially budgeted at $30 million dollars — Corman made it for one million. (It shows in the cheesy Human Torch special effects.) The film was produced but the company knew all along they’d never release it.
‘BUNYAN AND THE BABE’
Bad news for the fans who are dying to see John Goodman and Jeff Foxworthy team-up in an animated adventure loosely based on American folklore: this movie does not have a release date. The makers of ‘Igor’ produced this family film about the legendary lumberjack and his oversized blue ox, but it got lost in the shuffle when MGM filed for bankruptcy.
‘I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED’ (1998)
Ed Wood died before producing this bizarre noir thriller. Nearly 20 years after his death, Wood’s script was filmed as a campy homage to the infamous B-movie director. ‘Titanic’ stud Billy Zane stars as a fugitive from a mental asylum who goes on a crime spree and encounters oddball characters played by Ron Perlman and Christina Ricci. The film features no dialogue, but there are cameos by Tippi Hedren, Bud Court, Eartha Kitt, Ann Magnuson, Tara Reid and Dana Gould. After playing a few festivals, the production company delayed video release due to financial problems.
‘A BAD SITUATIONIST’ (2001)
Air America radio-host Sam Seder made this dark political satire in just two weeks. The cast is a who’s who of New York comedy (circa 2001) including David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Jon Benjamin, Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, Todd Barry, Jon Glaser and Brendon Small. So what happened? Well, the movie centers around the fallout of the 2000 presidential election and the characters resort to radical acts of violence (i.e. firing a bazooka at a Manhattan high-rise). A bad situation, indeed. The film never got a theatrical release, but in 2008 Seder began selling DVDs on his website.
‘ALL AMERICAN MASSACRE’
Infamous horror film ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ spawned a few sequels, but there’s one spin-off that remains un-seen. William Hooper (son of Tobe Hooper, who directed the first two ‘Texas Chain Massacres’) directed a flashback prequel starring Bill Mosley, who reprised his role as Chop-Top from ‘TCM 2.’ The film features a heavy metal score by Buckethead, but still has no official release date. Die-hard fans can visit the ‘All American Massacre’ websiteto make a donation, which will go towards finishing the film.
What do Charlie Sheen, Cap’n Crunch, Hilary Duff and Chester Cheetah have in common? They’re all stars from the still un-released movie ‘Foodfight!’ The full length CG-animated adventure takes place in a supermarket after hours, promising to be the ‘Toy Story’ of household cleaners and snack foods. With cameos by Mrs. Butterworth, Mr. Clean and Charlie the Tuna, this movie may contain more product placement than ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ combined. Threshold Entertainment insists that ‘Foodfight!’ will come out on DVD in the spring of 2013. (But they also claim they’re going to be the next Pixar.)