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10 Unreleased Movies You’ll Probably Never See

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The Spoils Before Dying — the “film-itization” of Eric Jonrosh’s tale of sex, murder, and jazz — was banned before ever seeing the light of day. Thankfully, IFC has finally brought his words to life with an epic three-night event that concludes tonight at 9p with back-to-back episodes.

Sadly, not every lost project is so lucky. Whether it’s because of funding issues, creative conflicts, or just plain suck-itude, some movies are filmed, even finished, only to spend decades sitting on a shelf. Here are some of the most famous unreleased movies, starring everyone from Bill Murray to Marlon Brando.


1. Dark Blood

The last film River Phoenix starred in before his death, Dark Blood remained unfinished for 19 years, until director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) edited what he had into a finished product.

A surreal tale about a couple (Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce) who encounter a troubled young man (Phoenix) while on a desert honeymoon, Dark Blood became a point of contention between Sluizer and the Phoenix family after the actor’s death. Sluizer’s solution for Phoenix’s scenes that remained unfilmed was simple: he just narrated what would’ve happened.

While the finished product was shown at a handful of festivals, and received warm reviews, it still hasn’t been released to a wider audience. Sadly, Sluizer passed away in 2012 and the Phoenix family isn’t on board with the film’s release, so it’s anyone’s guess when it will be shown again.


2. Hippie Hippie Shake

Working Title Films

Working Title Films

Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller fronted this look at the swinging ’60s in London. Based on the true story of the “psychedelic hippy” magazine Oz getting charged with obscenity, the film received good reviews, but was shelved after Sienna Miler found herself in the eye of a bad press storm, due to an affair with the married actor Balthazar Getty. Oddly, while the actress weathered the storm, the film has yet to be released.


3. The Fantastic Four

With a new Fantastic Four movie about to hit theaters, it’s important to remember the dark days of the film franchise.

In the early 1990s, Marvel movies didn’t have the cache they enjoy now. Producer Bernd Eichinger owned the film rights to Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, et al., but couldn’t get a film off the ground with the major studios. Due to a clause in his contract, he had to produce a movie quickly in order to retain the rights to the property. Desperate, he reached out to schlock producer Roger Corman, who knocked a movie out in a few weeks. The cast showed off clips at the San Diego Comic Con and the film was set to premiere at the Mall of America in January of 1994.

With the rights retained, Eichinger outdid Doctor Doom himself, and buried the film. Turns out he never intended to release the film at all, and never informed the cast and crew of his diabolical plan. But bootleg copies of the film — which contains some delightfully wooden acting and seriously dated special effects — circulated at fan conventions and became a cult classic among fans of Marvel’s failed attempts at cinematic glory.


4. The Other Side of the Wind

Steven Jaffe/Courtesy of The Welles-Kodar Collection, University of Michigan, Special Collections Library

Orson Welles is sort of the granddaddy of unreleased masterpieces. The Deep, a thriller plagued by bad weather and the death of the lead actor, never saw the light of day. The Magnificent Ambersons, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, was taken away from him in post-production, taking decades for his cut to be released.

But of all the unrealized projects from the great Orson Welles, none intrigues us as much as The Other Side of the Wind, a black-and-white mockumentary about Hollywood that took six years to shoot, and spent decades being fought over in court. Finishing the film is now in the hands of crowdfunding, with a million dollar goal to finish a cut.


5. Don’s Plum

While this film has seen a limited release in Europe, it will never see the light of day stateside. For that you can thank/blame Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. When Jack Dawson and Spider-Man want to shut a movie down, they shut that sh*t down.

The story behind this movie’s failure is simple, if sad. The two actors starred in it as a favor to their filmmaker friend, R.D. Robb. (You might remember him as Schwartz from A Christmas Story.) This was back in the days when DiCaprio and the then up-and-coming Pleasantville star rolled together in the very Entourage-like crew tastefully known as “The P—y Posse,” which explains why the film feels like the equivalent of hanging out with a bunch of rich Hollywood douchebags. The cast also included Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, Amber Benson, Jeremy Sisto and (of course) future Entourage-er Kevin Connolly.

According to the stars, the movie was supposed to be a short, and make the festival rounds, but Robb turned it into a feature and started seeking distribution. DiCaprio, who was coming off of Titanic at the time, didn’t want it released. Why? Well, rumors circulated that DiCaprio got naked and engaged in bisexual sex in the film, but that turned out to be a lie. Sadly, the movie simply sucked, or at least DiCaprio and Maguire thought it did. They sued the filmmaker into oblivion, losing a friend in the process. Hopefully the pile of supermodels DiCaprio is buried under right now can help cheer him up.


6. Glitterati

While filming the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction, director Roger Avary spent weeks in Europe with star Kip Pardue, shooting over 70 hours of video for a short sequence in the movie. He eventually assembled the footage into its own film, called Glitterati, which he hoped would act as a bridge to a planned adaptation of Ellis’ 1998 novel Glamorama.

Due to some legal questions marks, and what Ellis himself describes as the dubious ethics of releasing a film that’s basically hours of Pardue in character, picking up women, without them even knowing they were in a movie, the film has never been released, and the planned sequel never realized.


7. The Brave

If you thought The Lone Ranger was the first time Johnny Depp awkwardly played a Native American on film, have we got a story for you.

Depp may be one of the biggest stars in the world now, but there was a time when he specialized in the type of unique, avant-garde projects that struggled to find an audience, or even get released. The Brave, based on a novel by Fletch novelist Gregory Mcdonald, told the story of a young Native American man who accepts an offer to die in a snuff film in order to make money for his struggling family. This was a passion project for Depp, who co-wrote and directed the project, and even roped in friend Marlon Brando for a cameo. Sadly, reviews from the 1997 Cannes Film Festival were mixed, and the film never saw the light of day in the U.S.


8. Humor Risk

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Screengrab from “The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell”

The first film to star The Marx Brothers, Humor Risk has sat on the shelf for almost as long as movies have been around. Shot around 1920 between performances on a vaudeville stage, the short film was shown exactly one time. Rumors have circulated that The Marx Brothers were so unhappy with the movie they either burned the print, or left it behind in a projector booth, never to retrieve it. With a solid 95 years since its last showing, we’re guessing this one is lost to the ages.


9. Nothing Lasts Forever

This odd outing, which never saw a theatrical release, came from the mind of Saturday Night Live’s resident filmmaker Tom Schiller. After years of churning out shorts during SNL’s early years (you might remember his classics Don’t Look Back in Anger and La Dolce Gilda), Schiller made a movie that truly defies description.

Taking place in an alternate universe New York City, where everything has the feel of a 1930s musical, the partially black-and-white film is an homage to classic cinema that proved too strange for MGM to release. But it occasionally screened at repertory theaters over the years and earned a cult following thanks to cameos from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Calvert DeForest and other comedy favorites. Rumor has it that John Belushi was supposed to cameo, but died six weeks before filming. The film finally saw the light of day earlier this year, for a one-night only viewing on Turner Classic Movies.


10. The Day the Clown Cried

The big bopper of unreleased movies, this film has taken on legendary status thanks to its disturbing subject matter and wildly inappropriate star.

The story of a circus clown who leads Jewish children into the gas chamber during the Holocaust, director and star Jerry Lewis completed the entire film before realizing what a horrible mistake it was. Rumor has it he locked it in a private vault, and refuses to even reference it in interviews. The Simpsons star Harry Shearer is one of the few to have actually seen the movie, and says, “this was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is.”


The Spoils Before Dying concludes tonight at 9p with back-to-back episodes.

Also, catch The Spoils Before Dying Marathon (all six episodes!) immediately after the finale at 10p tonight and Sat, July 11 starting at 9:45a.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.