Saturday, January 15, 2011

The "Never Got Made" Files #41 & #42: Craving some Wes

Hard to believe now, but Wes Craven used to be persona non grata in the film world thanks to his shocker LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972).  Well, it isn't like people didn't want him around but he did have a helluva time trying to get projects funded (before he became the Weinsteins' whipping boy).  Following THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977), Craven spent time in TV land with the Linda Blair starring STRANGER IN OUR HOUSE (aka SUMMER OF FEAR; 1978) before doing Hollywood's project limbo dance.

#41: One project Craven found himself attached to (and I don't even know if he knew) was something advertised in a 1982 issue of Variety called THE FALLEN.  Who wouldn't love a film "in the genre of THE OMEN, THE EXORCIST, THE RAIDERS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS" to see?  THE RAIDERS, yes!  The only mention I've ever been able to find from Craven on this project is in the book Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven where he said (when talking of the failed MARIMBA movie [see below]):
"I've since turned down two more jungle things - one was a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK type movie; the other about a sniper in the jungles of Vietnam."  

#42: MARIMBA is quite a different project than the unidentified THE FALLEN.  This was a film that Craven actually researched heavily, cast and was fully prepared to direct.  As relayed in Screams & Nightmares, the film's genesis stems from some Italian producers approaching Craven to write two scripts.  Craven on the project:
"I had written a script called MARIMBA about drug smuggling.  Dirk Benedict and Tim McIntyre were cast, but the money I was promised never came through."
"I spent years in the jungles of Colombia on this thing that never got made about cocaine smuggling, called MARIMBA."
Sure, Wes, we totally believe your story about spending years in the Columbian jungles in the late 70s doing "research" on a film about cocaine.  Was Dennis Hopper with you by any chance?  Anyway, the Italians heavily advertised MARIMBA in the late 70s/early 80s issues of Variety.  One ad confirms Craven's casting story and adds an additional cast member of Chris Mitchum.  Damn you Movie Gods!  According to Craven the producers refused to give him back his script and they eventually morphed it into the entertaining CUT AND RUN (1985), which featured Craven alum Michael Berryman. This appears to be true as MARIMBA's credited producer Alessandro Fracassi did in fact produce CUT AND RUN.  Ain't the movie world weird?

1 Reactions:

  1. Don't know if it's your typo, or what you were quoting, but the country should be spelled "Colombia" not "Columbia"


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