Perhaps the most famously bad Marvel movie in history is now available to watch in its entirety online. In 1994, a low-budget The Fantastic Four movie was completed, but never released and has existed in infamy ever since. In an era long before the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even a few years before Blade would help establish Marvel as a brand that could do business at the box office, this cheap monstrosity happened. And now, those brave enough can view it for themselves.
For those who don't know about the history of this movie, it's pretty fascinating. In 1983, the rights to the Fantastic Four were purchased by Bernd Eichinger and his Neue Constantin production company. After a full decade, no big-budget movie materialized and, if they didn't make something, the rights were going to revert back to Marvel. So, Eichinger recruited Roger Corman, a legendary producer famous for turning profits on micro-budget features, such as The Wild Angels and Death Race 2000, and they set out to make a low-budget Fantastic Four movie in order to keep the rights.
Upon its completion, trailers for the movie played in theaters and it was attached to the home video release of Carnosaur, one of Roger Corman's other productions that spawned a franchise and was released right around the same time as Jurassic Park in 1993. However, despite having a completed movie and trailers out in the world, Fantastic Four never saw the light of day. Even though a release was scheduled for January 1994, it was pulled by the producers and that was that. Ever since, the movie has had a certain mystique surrounding it, even though the trailer was more than enough to showcase just how cheaply made and surely bad this movie was.
The movie stars Alex Hyde-White as Reed Richards, Jay Underwood as Johnny Storm, Rebecca Staub as Su Storm, Michael Bailey Smith as Ben Grimm, and Joseph Culp as Victor Von Doom, with Oley Sassone in the director's chair. The costumes are laughably cheap, the effects are terrible and it's stunning to think that just six years after this was going to be released, X-Men arrive in theaters and ushered in the era of comic book movies as we know it.
It's not that anyone is likely to actually enjoy watching this movie, but it's an interesting time capsule and the start of a long string of bad movies based on Marvel's first family. The pair of movies from the early 2000s, Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver Surfer, which starred Chris Evans before he took on the role of Captain America, were modest hits at the box office for Fox and were also produced by Bernd Eichinger, but certainly aren't good movies by modern standards. The famously terrible 2015 reboot looks like a masterpiece compared to this, which is really saying something. It's truly a marker to showcase just how far we've come. Check out the full 1994 Fantastic Four movie over at the Actors Filming YouTube channel, if you dare.