Something You Are Going To Want To Take A Look At!!! It's Pretty Damn Cool!! And It's All Of It You'll Ever See!!!
On September 22, 1998 I first ran a report about the footage you are going to see. It was shown at Siggraph that year and... for me... was one of the most exciting film projects that was ushering it's way into existence. At the time, Casey Silver was head of UNIVERSAL, and he had given the go-ahead for Industrial Lights & Magic to move forward with an ambitious 100% CGI film to hit theaters as a giant Halloween, 2000 event film for Universal. It was all based upon the 17 second clip you are about to see. I am, of course, talking about the now abandoned CGI FRANKENSTEIN film. Here's a brief bit about the film as it existed at that time:
This super secret project is an 80 million dollar movie will be overseen by 2 directors, ILM's visual effects supervisor Dave Carson and Brett Maddock, a veteran screenwriter who co-wrote the "Frankenstein" script with writing partner S.S Wilson. The story will retain a period setting of 19 century Europe, and is expected to have close to 1500 cgi shots. They plan on using the computer technology to re-create the original makeup done by Jack Pierce and the Boris Karloff profile, to have the monster look the way it should. Look for "The Wolfman" to co-star .
As the years went by Casey Silver was... no longer the Head of Universal, and a new team of executives came in. They began to be a bit afraid of the FRANKENSTEIN film as... 1. It was very expensive. 2. It was going to be Black & White. and 3. It was going to be scary and not so kid friendly. And... gosh, animated films are for kids... right? So the rewrites came, soon the project began to lose sight of what it once was. The original script... forgotten... the new regime of executives turning a great project into... well a waste of money... they finally pulled the plug. Never once going back to that original script and original directing team. This was going to be one of those GREAT films that we all hunger for, and it was ruined by the studio process. It became a dead thing.
So... this design for the WOLFMAN... forget about it. It's just a statue now. In FALL of 1998, Universal was selling it's investors on how UNIVERSAL was going to get back in the Horror Business with THE MUMMY (which was profitable) and FRANKENSTEIN... which is dead... Here's what the WOLFMAN looked like...
Pretty damn cool... It echoes the Henry Hull and Oliver Reed werewolves but... well is just more wolfish and violent looking. People don't want to be scared.... (BLAIR WITCH.... $140 million, THE MUMMY.... $155 million, THE SIXTH SENSE.... $293 million) I'm not going to try to campaign UNIVERSAL into making the right decision, because... this is ancient history for them. This is locked away in some vault somewhere... with the ark.... never to be seen by the eyes of man again. Well... folks, that's just fucking bullshit. This was once a great project till these kneejerk nimrods went and screwed the pooch on the S.O.B. When you look at the clip below... think about this...
This was a 17 second clip. SEVENTEEN SECONDS... This was TEST FOOTAGE by ILM over 2 years ago now. Imagine an entire film with this sort of art direction and style. With a story that was straightforward and scary. Imagine the trailers and the posters. The toys and the model kits. Imagine the t-shirts and the kid shoes and the candy. Imagine all the ancillary money UNIVERSAL lost by screwing with a project that Casey Silver knew was gold. I'm sorry... I have a problem letting go sometimes. I follow these projects for years and I just... I just want to see the good ones made. ILM was going to be pulling out the stops for this film. You've seen the DINOSAUR trailers... imagine what ILM would have done with FRANKENSTEIN and the WOLFMAN! My god. This Halloween. This movie could've been just 6 months away now. Sigh. If you want to read more about the FRANKENSTEIN film project and it's history of decay.... Click Here To Read About The Death of Frankenstein and the dream of what it could've been.
As for the clip.... We have it in Two Formats for you... Click on which one you want.
And when you go to bed tonight, and you want to give thanks... Think HERR DIRECTOR who sent this amazing footage!