Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four (1994), DOOMED! features never before seen footage from the production as well as interviews with cast and crew including Jay Underwood, Michael Bailey Smith, Joseph Culp, Alex Hyde-White and Rebecca Staab.
None of them realized that this version of The Fantastic Four was designed never to be seen. In order to hold on to the rights, Eichinger had to rush a film featuring the characters into production. Failure to do so before a certain deadline would have made the rights revert back to Marvel. His concern was retaining his option on the property. Once 20th Century Fox and producer Christopher Columbus realized how profitable comic book movies could be, they made sure this low-budget version never surfaced so they could do a bigger version. It was a con, and people made money off of the deal.
However, bootlegs surfaced, and the film took on a mystique that hardcore fans could get behind. The result of that mystique and feeling of ‘What if” is the core of this documentary. For anyone interested in film production, this is truly a sad story, but educational in some respects. Aside from merely telling the story of the conned cast and crew, Doomed! gets at some of the larger frustrations creative people have.
The actors and crew all intended to make something special, like Superman: The Movie or Batman. They went out promoting their movie, not knowing that the film was to be shelved. It underlines the fact that Hollywood is a business in which art is great but money is superior, and the people in charge will almost always handle things from a financial perspective.