Unmade Horror Themed Spider-Man Movies Would Have Re-imagined His Origin

From Digital Spy

Spider-Man hasn’t always been in the steady hands of Sony and Marvel. In 1985, the rights to make a Spider-Man movie actually passed from Roger Corman to Cannon Films.

As much as we love B-movie supremo Roger Corman, his Fantastic Four adaptation wasn’t exactly MCU standard. It wasn’t even good enough to release officially (producer Berndt Eichinger reputedly only made it so that he could keep hold of the rights to the property).

Related: Amazing Spider-Man #102 (1963 1st Series) November 1971 Marvel Comics Grade Fine+

Cannon, meanwhile, weren’t known for their quality-control standards. The exchange basically meant that Spidey went from the frying pan into the fire. Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus paid just $225,000 for a five-year option (the rights reverted back to Marvel if a movie wasn’t made before 1990), and somehow still didn’t manage to profit from the licence.

Part of the problem was that they fundamentally didn’t get the character, and attempted to do something like David Cronenberg was doing with The Fly.

They targeted The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper, and hired Outer Limits creator Leslie Stevens to draft an out-there version of Peter’s origin story.

In this new version, instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, Parker was deliberately bombarded with radiation by a corporate scientist – named Doctor Zork – who transforms the ID photographer (not student, or journalist) into a giant eight-armed spider-hybrid, who’s so monstrous he swiftly becomes suicidal. Yay?

This man-spider is encouraged to lead the scientist’s race of mutants (shades of The Island Of Dr Moreau), but refuses and fights the creations instead.

Stan Lee, understandably, was unhappy with the changes and convinced Cannon to abandon this version of the project.

A new pitch was put together by Ted Newsom and John Brancato, which felt more traditional – and actually sounds a lot like the recent Spider-Man PS4 game.

As in the game, this take saw Otto Octavius as a teacher and mentor to a college-aged Peter Parker.

The cast they were going for was… Ambitious. Tom Cruise (admittedly early in his career) as Parker, Bob Hoskins as Doc Ock, Christopher Lee as a supporting scientist, Lauren Bacall or Katharine Hepburn for Aunt May, with Stan Lee potentially playing Daily Bugle editor J Jonah Jameson in a role that wasn’t so much a cameo as a supporting part.

Reportedly the movie would have featured profanity, and a sex scene between Parker and Mary Jane Watson. In 1992, the project was shut down.

In 1996, Marvel went bankrupt, returning in 1998 thanks to a Toy Biz deal. They sold many of their properties to film studios, with Spider-Man going to Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

They sold as many licences as they could, only retaining the rights to the comic-book characters no-one else wanted. You know, folks like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye… The nobodies, basically.

If Tobe Hooper had made his horror version of the Spider-Man character, maybe Cannon would still be churning out spider-movies today. Maybe Marvel wouldn’t have had to dip into their intellectual-property barrel, creating the MCU in the process. Maybe the current cinematic landscape would look completely different.

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1 comment:

  1. Spider-Woman's origin might actually work as a something of a horror movie.


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