The unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four film is an independent superhero movie that was executive produced by low-budget mavens Roger Corman and Bernd Eichinger (both of them produced a big-budget Fantastic Four later, in 2005). The film features the first battle with Doctor Doom and portrays the stories from Marvel’s’ long-running comic book.
The original elements of this Fantastic Four film are combined with Doom’s origin from Fantastic Four Annual #2, and the super team’s origin from Fantastic Four #1. Ultimately, the film wasn’t released officially, albeit illegal copies started circulating a couple of years later.
Victor Von Doom and Reed Richards are two college allies who try an experiment using a passing comet. However, the experiment goes wrong and Victor becomes horribly scarred.
Johnny Storm and Sue are children living under one roof with their mother Annie Gagen, who also owns a boarding house where Reed resides. Then there’s a close buddy and a family friend of Reed’s going by the name of Ben Grimm.
One decade later, Sue, Reed, Ben, and Johnny embark on their way to an experimental spacelab as the same comet traverses the Earth. Cosmic rays from the comet hit them.
The four friends learn that the rays gave them special powers. The bodily structure of Reed can become elastic, Johnny can generate fire when needed, Sue can become invisible, and Ben can turn into a mortal with stone-like skin known as the Thing.
Later, Victor’s men posing as Marines capture them and take them to a villainous monarch, Dr. Doom. They all manage to escape from Doom’s men and reunite at the Baxter Building to decide what to do with the superpowers they’ve gained.
Through a series of adventures and battles, each member of the Fantastic Four struggles with his or her powers and the changes that have occurred in their lives. They must learn how to work together to defeat evil and protect the citizens of earth from those who wish them harm
In 1993, advertisements and trailers for the movie could be seen around the United States. The release date was set for January 1994. But then, the word came that the movie was not going to be released and all promotion was halted. Rumors spread that it had never actually been intended for release, but the directors dismissed these reports.
Even though the film was never officially released, it was screened once in 1994, and bootleg copies have made their way around the internet. A documentary about the making of the failed film was made, and it was released in 2015.
Indeed, Fantastic Four received overwhelmingly negative reviews from all over the press. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 38% after eight reviews. Many critics claimed the film was terribly low-budget (estimated to be $250,000), feebly performed, and ridiculously campy. Hence, it became the worst Fantastic Four movie you never got to see as it never went into theaters.