7 of the best movies that never actually happened

With so many craptacular movies released every year, it’s kind of amazing that there are a handful of seemingly can’t miss awesome movies that never find life. Yes, for one reason or another, these movies end up getting scrapped even though fanboys would probably saw off parts of their anatomy to see them made. Sometimes, the budget ends up making the studio uncomfortable, while sometimes a key actor or the director drops out or gets tired of waiting for everyone else to get their shit together. And sure, they might have ended up a disaster if they had been made, but as long as they remain confined to the overactive imaginations of nerds everywhere, they will always be long lost classics. And to celebrate these fictitious treasures, we bring you these, seven of the best movies that never actually happened.

7. ‘Alien 5’

The rumor was that Sigourney Weaver was tired of her beloved Alien franchise getting jerked around, and so she pulled together a super-team consisting of Alien director Ridley Scott and Aliens director James Cameron to make a final movie that would set everything right. The most common scenario involved Cameron producing and Scott directing, while Sigourney would have of course starred and kicked all of the alien ass in the universe. It was enough to get fanboys drooling, but the studio apparently got nervous about sinking in the money necessary to do it right – you know Cameron’s not coming to play unless he’s got a full toy box – and decided to make the cheaper, shittier Alien vs. Predator instead, because if there’s anything expendable about those two universes, it’s Sigourney Weaver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, right? Oh well, at least we got Prometheus.

6. ‘Megalopolis’

This was perhaps the most ambitious movie of Francis Ford Coppola’s career – which is saying an awful lot considering he gave us the Corleone family, and once spent so much time in the Philippines filming Apocalypse Now that he gave poor Martin Sheen a heart attack. But it’s hard to argue that a blockbuster starring Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe, Paul Newman, Kevin Spacey and Nicolas Cage about New York rebuilding from a futuristic disaster was anything other than wildly ambitious. So what happened? Well, 9/11 happened, and suddenly for some strange reason, studios weren’t really big on backing a movie about New York getting all messed up. On the plus side, it freed Cage to make a bunch of terrible movies nobody wanted to see, which is truly the most heinous thing Al Qaeda ever perpetrated.

5. ‘Chinatown 3’

It wouldn’t have been called Chinatown 3, but that’s probably the easiest way to reference it. What it would have been was the third movie in what could best be described as the “Chinatown trilogy,” which began with Chinatown and then found an ill-conceived mess of an end with its sequel, The Two Jakes. Screenwriter and auteur Robert Towne originally envisioned an ambitious project about the creation of modern L.A., spread out across three movies, when he wrote the screenplay to Chinatown in the early ‘70s. Unfortunately, by the time he got around to making The Two Jakes in the 1980s, the atmosphere had changed, his relationship with close friend and the movie’s star Jack Nicholson had gotten contentious and his other best friend, super-producer and Chinatown champion Robert Evans, had been disgraced. The result was an absolute mess of a movie that effectively killed even the possibility of a third movie, and what could have been the definitive L.A. story was instead lost to ego, betrayal and broken dreams. Then again, I guess that ended up making it the definitive L.A. story anyway.

4. ‘Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash’

This was an idea that immediately got horror geeks sprung. They had already seen Freddy vs. Jason, and so why not kick things up a notch – way up – but adding Bruce Campbell’s Ash, from the Evil Dead franchise to the mix? According to Robert Englund, AKA Freddy Krueger, the movie was close to being made, but fell apart when Sam Raimi, who originally made his name by creating Evil Dead, planned to have Ash kill both Freddy and Jason. Naturally, this made things difficult because, well, you don’t fuck with the other franchises. As ridiculous as it sounds, this movie fell apart because there were too many egos involved and people got territorial about their fake characters. In the end, it’s probably good that it didn’t make it because they probably would have tried to bring in Michael Myers next, and I hear that dude is a real bitch when it comes to script revisions.

3. ‘The Vega Brothers’

Oh, what could have been. This was Quentin Tarantino’s long-planned sequel of sorts to both Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, starring John Travolta as Vincent Vega, AKA the dude who danced with Uma, and Michael Madsen as his brother Vic, AKA the dude who danced after cutting that other dude’s ear off. It would have tied Tarantino’s fictional crime universe together, and reportedly would have involved the two characters working for Marsellus Wallace, AKA Ving Rhames’ badass character from Pulp Fiction who was not a fan of basement rape. Sadly, Tarantino decided the actors were too old to pull it off, which is kind of embarrassing for the actors. I mean, when Quentin Tarantino of all people tells you that you’re washed up and he can’t use you in one of his movies, it’s probably time to call it a day. But on the bright side, Tarantino didn’t just sit around after dumping this one. Instead, he spent all his now free time making a little movie called Inglorious Basterds.

2. ‘Heart of Darkness’

Joseph Conrad’s book, Heart of Darkness, was eventually used as the inspiration for Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979. Orson Welles planned on doing it almost 40 years earlier. Sure, that version probably wouldn’t have involved dudes freaking out on drugs or a monstrous Marlon Brando, but you never know. I mean, come on, it was Orson Welles and Heart of Darkness! There’s no way that wouldn’t have been awesome. Sadly, though, Orson couldn’t make it work and had to settle for making his backup movie idea – Citizen Kane, which I suppose was okay.

1. ‘Ghostbusters 3’

Look, I know this damn thing is supposed to come out eventually, but it’s probably time to let this particular ghost drift on off to Heaven. It’s just not gonna happen. And even if it does, do you really want it to? I mean, the original was released in 1984. That’s almost 30 years ago. That would be like people in 1984 clamoring for a sequel to a movie made in 1955. It would have been pretty weird if they made a sequel in the ‘80s to Rebel Without a Cause or The Seven Year Itch, right? It seems as if Bill Murray’s taste is the only thing that has saved us from what would almost definitely be a debacle, but still, there is something magical about Ghostbusters, and if the day ever comes when this actually does get made, I will be standing in line like a total geek with a goofy smile on my face. This is because I’m a fool, but really, isn’t that what movie magic’s really all about?

(Previously published on December 17, 2013.)
Alien 3 image: YouTube
Alien 5 image: YouTube
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash image: YouTube
Ghostbusters image: YouTube