You know how we’ve been waiting for over a decade for the third chapter in the Jeepers Creepers franchise? While many fans are under the impression that it went into pre-production years ago, but actually, Jeepers Creepers 3 was stuck in Development Hell until earlier this year. True, writer/director Victor Salva’s past legal woes are probably a factor, but it’s not uncommon for films to be announced and then shelved for years—or even indefinitely. It’s a fate that has unfortunately befallen many potentially amazing horror projects, consigning them to the dustbin of cinematic history.
Below, in no particular order, are the Top 10 Horror Movies I’d most like to see escape from Development Hell. Have a read and let us know what you think in the Comments section. Enjoy!
Alien 5 aka Neill Blomkamp’s Alien
It’s been over a year since we first heard rumblings of an Alien sequel helmed by District 9’s Neill Blomkamp. Everyone from Sigourney Weaver to James Cameron was thrilled with the script, which reportedly ignored the events of Alien 3, Resurrection, and the AVP movies. Pre-production ground to a halt when producer Ridley Scott decided he’d rather finish his Prometheus Trilogy (a trio of films serving as an Alien prequel) first. Considering the 2nd installation of said Trilogy won’t be released until next Summer, and the third has yet to even receive a green light, we may be waiting quite some time for Blomkamp’s Alien to emerge from Development Hell—if ever.
Star of the first 2 Hellboy films, Ron Perlman, has been championing a third installment in the franchise for years, but even he had to admit recently that it’ll probably never happen, “but never say never”. Director of the first 2 Hellboy films, Guillermo del Toro said that the fate of Hellboy 3 is tied to the performance of the Pacific Rim sequel currently in the works. If that film performs well, Columbia may finally greenlight the next Hellboy movie; if it fails to bring in high profits, Hellboy 3 will likely remain in Development Hell forever.
At the Mountains of Madness
And speaking of Guillermo del Toro, and extremely promising project that ended up in Development Hell is At the Mountains of Madness. Per WhatCulture.com:
One of the most interesting potential projects that never came to light was [del Toro’s] adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, which tells the story of a horrific expedition to Antartica, and would have starred Tom Cruise. Featuring a storyline that contains several similarities to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, the demise of Mountains is a sad outcome for all those who admire the director’s ability to balance both the fantasy of his stories with the humanity of the characters
Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires
Don Coscarelli’s beautiful anomaly, Bubba Ho-Tep (released in 2002) saw a retired Elvis Presley (played by genre icon Bruce Campbell) battling a cursed mummy. Fans have been clamoring for the follow-up, reportedly titled Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires, for over a decade, but Coscarelli recently admitted the film is deeply entrenched in Development Hell: “I would love to do more Bubba Ho-tep and more Elvis. That was a film I really enjoyed making. We had it set up at one time with Bruce playing opposite Paul Giamatti as Elvis’s manager Colonel Parker. Unfortunately that one fell apart. Elvis is eternal, though. We’ll get it done one day.”
Questions over the ownership of the Candyman franchise derailed plans for a 4th installment back in 2004. At the time, Tony Todd did his best to explain the situation, saying: “That problem that is going on much like many backstage workings, is determining who owns the Candyman franchise. Which is strange to me because it’s Clive’s Character? But in dividing the first Candyman’s profits, the ownership went from Propaganda, to Sony, to Columbia, then to Artisan. Then Artisan became Lions Gate. As soon as it’s all straightened out and it’s determined who has to be paid before the film even gets written, then the movie will move forward.” Don’t expect the film to emerge from Development hell in the near (or distant) future. (Source)
It was just announced this week that an American remake of the Norwegian found-footage juggernaut Troll Hunter is one of the newest damned residents occupying Development Hell. Despite the fact that rights were purchased in 2011, and Neil Marshall (Descent) was attached to direct, original director Andre Øvredal says the deal expired and nothing new is currently in the works: “[Troll Hunter] is not going anymore. We got the rights back, and I don’t think they [we’ll] be pursuing another remake”. Bloody shame. (Source)
The Last of Us
Also announced earlier this week: A film adaptation of the post-apocalyptic survival horror game The Last of Us is also on its way to the bowels of Development Hell. This one stings as it was supposedly being produced under the supervision of Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures, with a script penned by the game’s chief designer Neil Druckmann. Raimi recently told IGN:
“Well, unfortunately that one — when we went to Neil with Ghost House Pictures we were hoping to get the rights like we do any project and then we’d take it out and sell it but we’d control the rights. With this one he went to Sony — who I have a very good relationship with — but they have their own plans for it and I think Neil’s plan for it — I’m not trying to be political — Neil’s plan for it is not the same as Sony’s. And because my company doesn’t have the rights, I actually can’t help him too much. Even though I’m one of the producers on it the way he set it up, he sold his rights to Sony, Sony hired me as a producer by chance, and I can’t get the rights free for him so I’m not in the driver’s seat and I can’t tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward I’d love to help them again.” (Source)
Pontypool 2 aka Pontypool Changes
Pontypool (released in 2008), from director Bruce McDonald and based on the novel by Tony Burgess, is widely regarded as one of the most creative and cerebral films that compose the zombie subgenre of horror. McDonald hoped to turn the film into a trilogy and announced hopes to begin filming Pontypool Changes back in 2010. That was a long time ago and, obviously, that film never came to fruition; it must be trapped down in Development Hell with the other films on this list.
Worst Case Scenario
Dutch filmmaker Richard Raaphorst released a couple proof of concept trailers (above and below) for a revolutionary horror-comedy called Worst Case Scenario, in which Germany attacks Holland with an army of mechanized zombies following a World Cup defeat, back in 2004. Despite generating serious buzz and procuring funding, producers pulled out at the last minute, apparently too nervous to back a first-time filmmaker on such an ambitious project. Eventually, Raaphorst abandoned plans to make Worst Case Scenario and moved on to his next project starting in 2009; Frankenstein’s Army was released in 2013.
House of Re-Animator
At one point, the dynamic duo behind Re-Animator, director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna, planed on launching a new trilogy that would completely ignore the first 3 films in the franchise. Conceived as a satirical jab at the George W. Bush administration, William H. Macy was attached to play a bumbling US president who dies while in office. Original cast members Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton were also reportedly on board. Rumors suggest that producers were too nervous to openly deride then-President Bush, but with a new often-mocked President on his way to the White House, House of Re-Animator could be ripe for re-imagination. Just don’t hold your breath.