Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The "Never Got Made" Files Mini-update: Green Giants and Evil Priests emerge

We interrupt our (not so) regularly scheduled “never got made” pieces for a tiny little update on a couple of rare unfinished titles – GODZILLA VS. THE WOLF MAN and THE EVIL CLERGYMAN – that have left fans wondering for decades. Footage from both unfinished films has long been sought after and it appears to have finally surfaced via the convention circuit.  So let’s take a look at what is going down in fandom town.

GODZILLA VS. THE WOLF MAN is the simplified Western titling of a Japanese fan film originally titled DENSETSU-NO KYOJU OOKAMI OTOKO TAI GOJIRA. That literally translates to WOLFMAN, THE LEGENDARY COLOSSAL BEAST VS. GODZILLA.  This was a fan-made flick was started in the late 1970s under the direction of Shizuo Nakajima.  While Godzilla’s home studio Toho was not involved with this, rumor has it that they did offer their blessing for the film. Nakajima created a Godzilla suit alongside effects man Fuyuki Shinada (who would later go on to work on the real Godzilla films) that resembled the 1960s era green monster.  A few stills from this 8mm epic surfaced over the years, but nothing else much in the way of footage.  Well, that all changed this month at the annual G-Fest in Illinois.  Our blogging buddy Dr. AC was on hand and got to check out the minutes of super rare footage screened.  Check out his blog about it here (scroll down a bit for the write up) for the lowdown on the footage and how it came to screen.  And if that weren’t enough, some kind soul uploaded the footage (shot via handheld phone) onto Youtube, which you can see at the following link.  So if you ever wanted to see the G-man tangle with a big, albino werewolf, your dreams have finally come true.

Hot on the heels of that amazing convention premiere, Charles Band is now preparing to screen the long-considered-lost THE EVIL CLERGYMAN.  This H.P. Lovecraft adaptation was 1/3 of an anthology title PULSE POUNDERS that Band shot during the dying days of his Empire Pictures in 1987.  Something for the ADD crowd, it featured sequels to two of Band’s more popular titles – TRANCERS and THE DUNGEONMASTER – alongside this standalone Lovecraft adaptation. Band’s company had struck pay dirt mining the work of Cthulhu’s daddy with the films by director Stuart Gordon.  So he recruited Gordon screenwriter Dennis Paoli to adapt Lovecraft’s 1939 short story that originally appeared in Weird Tales.  Not leaving anything to chance, Band also brought back RE-ANIMATOR stars Jeffrey Combs, David Gale and Barbara Crampton to star.  Joining them was veteran actor David Warner.

This horror short shot in early 1987 under the direction of Band, with the two sequels filming later in the summer.  Unfortunately, the anthology became one of several films that got caught up in Empire’s financial collapse and subsequent sale.  Until recently, very little footage of the film has been seen.  Stills emerged for both THE EVIL CLERGYMAN and the TRANCERS follow-up, but little has been seen from THE DUNGEONMASTER follow up.  In late 2011 when Band launched FullMoonhorror.com, he announced a workprint of the film had been found.  He teased fans with a tiny bit of footage and the promise that THE EVIL CLERGYMAN would be available to fans one day.  Well, it looks like that day is finally upon us as Band is giving the film its world premiere at the Flashback Weekend convention next month in Chicago.  Lucky fans will not only get to screen this rare 25-year-old film, but actors Combs and Crampton will also be on hand to discuss it.  More info about the film’s premiere can be found here and info about the convention here.  If you’re in the Chicago area, definitely try to check it out.  Oh, and make sure to harass the guy running the Kitley’s Krypt table.  Thanks!

Rare PULSE POUNDERS ads circa 1987/88:

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