Sunday, June 20, 2010

The "Never Got Made" File #18: ESCAPE FROM BEYOND (1984)

We wind down our one week look at 3-D movies (which, naturally, ran for two weeks) with a sad glance at another "whatcouldbeen" flick. From 1981-83, 3-D looked like the gimmick that would keep on giving for filmmakers. Nobody could have seen (bah-dah-dah) how quickly 3-D would drop out of public favor. What cruel irony that Tony Anthony, one of the guys responsible for making 3-D popular again in the early '80s, couldn't get his 3rd feature made. COMIN' AT YA! had been a runaway (and unexpected) success. Anthony quickly re-teamed with producer Gene Quintano and director Ferdinando Baldi to make the highly enjoyable Indiana Jones riff TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS for Cannon films. Cannon was high on the project and 3-D so they planned a third 3-D feature with Anthony, despite TREASURE not performing at the box office. Behold ESCAPE FROM BEYOND!

Cannon announced the film in early 1983 and ran ads in the Variety and Hollywood Reporter. In October 1983, they ran a huge ad two page ad for the feature in Variety (above). Along with a projected 1984 release date, the film promised continuing Wonder-Vision 3-D and something called "The Flying Optical Frame"! Baldi was, once again, listed as the director and Reb Brown and Richard Lynch announced for the cast. Let that sink in a minute...Reb Brown...AND...Richard Lynch! No doubt Tony Anthony was going to be in the cast too.

Before any shooting took place, Anthony spoked with genre mag Cinefantastique in 1983 about the project. The film was to be shot on a budget of $5 million in Spain and Italy for a 1984 release. The film was originally described as a "space opera" but that idea what scrapped when SPACEHUNTER came out. As far as the plot goes, here is how Anthony described it:
"The story's roots are planted firmly in the pulps of the '30s: Spaceman Jimbojudd is an interplanetary bounty hunter who is accidentally thrown into a dimension where magic and madness are one and the same. Armed with his wits and a beautiful companion, he must survive a series of deadly encounters before his climactic battle with Cainem, an evil man with incredible powers."
So, yeah, that sounds like it could be badass. No doubt the spaceman would have been Reb Brown and Richard Lynch would have essayed the villain Cainem. I'd love to meet either guy and hear exactly how the production folded.

In addition to advertising in industry mags, Cannon also printed up a program filled with some preliminary artwork inside to sell it at film markets. Here are some pics of what was inside and, if this stuff looked half as cool as it does in art form, I think we would have had a pretty bitchin' 3-D movie. Alas, it was not meant to be and the film never got made.

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