One of the most enduring things you'll remember after watching filmmaker Marty Langford's Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four is the heartfelt conclusion, in which cast and crew tied to the 1994 movie wish for it to get an official release.
"I think no Fantastic Four film will ever be very successful, the franchise will never take off, until you honor the original film," Joseph Culp, who played Doctor Doom in the film, told ComicBook.com recently. "I just wanted to throw that out there because there are powers that be that could release this film and they would do well if they did."
Of course, "honoring" the film would be easier than releasing it at this stage, by most reckonings. There are people with financial and emotional investments in the film and no clear path toward how to repay those things if it were to get a release, since home entertainment formats currently in use literally didn't exist when those contracts were written.
There's also the matter of longtime Marvel movie maven Avi Arad, who claims to have purchased and destroyed the actual, physical film of Fantastic Four. In the Doomed! documentary, though, numerous people involved with the production express doubt that Arad would really have done such a thing.
"Yeah, I absolutely believe that the negative exists," Langford told ComicBook.com when we cauht up with him recently. "I don't believe Avi Arad's claims that he burned it. There is a question as to who ultimately owns the rights. Corman is kind of out of the picture. Through his own statements and through the legal contracts, Corman signed away everything when he accepted a check from Constantin films. That was part of their kind of escape clause in the contract, but you have 20th Century Fox, who were the ones that Constantin was courting for the time was running out on the option. You have Marvel Studios, as they are called now, and then ultimately you have Constantin Films, which are, in my opinion, the biggest player in this, and as to the kind of possibility of them helping to facilitate a release of the original film? I doubt it. I mean, we had a trailer that we originally posted about a year ago put up, and it was so frustrating because we had close to a half a million views on it....I woke up to go check the total and it had been removed through a copyright violation through Constantin films."
He added that while several people involved with the production of Fantastic Four declined to be interviewed for Doomed!, it was only Constantin who flat-out refused to acknowledge their attempts to make contact.
"They are clearly aware of it, and we reached out to them countless times during production for even just a 'no comment,' but we just had nothing but silence," Langford added. "At least when we reached out to Stan Lee, at least he acknowledged us and said 'no.' Marvel acknowledged us and said 'no.' Constantin, I just see them holed up in this little evil dark part of Germany, biding their time and trying to sink us, but they haven't been able to yet."
Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four will be available on Video On Demand services from Uncork'd Media on October 11, and then on DVD December 20.