In today's movie climate, it seems that every other movie has us asking ourselves "How did that movie ever get made let alone get released?!" The sheer volume of movies that are put out today means that Hollywood heavy-hitters are bound to churn out the odd failure. Whether it's the movie itself, the story, the script, or the actors, some movies just have us questioning the very reality we live in that these bad movies can be made and then released. Who makes these decisions? Who can we complain to about this?
However, as bad as those movies are, there are some movies out there that are so much worse that they don't even see the light of day let alone a cinema release. We hear about them in the media, movies that have been in production forever, movies that flopped before even being released, or even movies that lost their star too soon, and just never got released. Considering that even the smallest movies take millions of dollars and a lot of time to make, any return that they get from a cinematic, or even DVD release, would be seen as a good thing. However, some movies are just so bad or embarrassing that the very idea of letting the public see them is worth wasting millions of dollars. With this list we look at 15 completed movies that were so bad they never got released. If you're lucky, maybe you can find some of these somewhere on the dark web!
15 The Day The Clown Cried
We start our list with an infamous movie that has been the source of many stories and interviews over the years. The Day The Clown Cried was supposed to be Jerry Lewis' masterpiece, although it turned out to be his biggest embarrassment. For most of his career, Lewis was known for his comedy roles and for entertaining the world but one day he wanted to show the world the more serious side of his humanity.
Taking on the Holocaust, Lewis directed and starred in this movie which saw a German clown who had to entertain and make children laugh as they were sent to the gas chamber. The subject matter isn't easy and reports are that this movie had Lewis running for the hills, with the movie in his hand so he could bury it and let no one ever see it. Although his intentions may have been good, since he wanted to share the horrors of the Holocaust with the world, the movie is apparently so bad that even after all this time, the movie has never been seen in its entirety by anyone.
14 Don's Plum
It can be difficult for young and aspiring artists, especially if they suddenly become very famous, to hide all the bad things you've done in the past. Long before Leonardo DiCaprio became a superstar and won an Oscar and Tobey Maguire put the Spider-Man suit on, they were known in the tabloids as the "Pussy Patrol." Not exactly a flattering term or a term you want people hearing once you've become a serious actor.
Back in that time, DiCaprio and Maguire worked on Don's Plum. Most of the misogyny and womanizing antics of this young group have largely been forgotten, except for in this black and white movie. The movie itself is a low budget, mainly improvised movie that shows Leo and co. in a very bad light. Once the stars reached their superstar status, fearing that this movie would undermine and ruin their reputations, Don's Plum was hidden away for ever so no one could ever see it.
Sometimes movies are plagued with so many problems that the movie itself becomes more of a sideline than the actual main focus. This is the case with the dark comedy that was Nailed. Considering this movie starred some of the biggest talent around (Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, and James Marsden, plus Oscar winner David O. Russell at the helm, you would think all of that had the ingredients to be a hit, or at the very least a mediocre cash cow.
However, so many problems plagued the set, famously having Russell in charge as he seemed to be the main problem. So with all the reports of bad things happening, the movie was never seen and Russell actually left production. Mind you, none of us are really that sad about it. Considering that the plot involved a woman being shot in the head and then running for congress, we're all pleased we were never forced to sit through this one.
12 Bunyan And Babe
A few years ago, MGM studios were one of the big boys in the movie world, but then things didn't really go their way and they were forced into bankruptcy. But just before they did, MGM wanted to bring out a huge animated movie, after all, even a slice of Toy Story or Shrek money probably would have saved them.
So, about ten years ago they decided to retell the story of Paul Bunyan and picked John Goodman and Kelsey Grammer to do the voices, which was a smart move as both actors were at the height of their careers. However, the story, animation and in fact the entire movie, including its tagline "An adventure that's too big for reality," were all so bad that MGM not only didn't release it but actively went out of their way to hide the movie so that no one would ever see it. Even Goodman and Grammer seemed to have wiped it from their resumes.
11 Hippie Hippie Shake
Not too long ago, Sienna Miller was starting to make a bit of a name for herself. The former model threw herself into the movies and started to have a few hits. However, her personal life started to over shadow her career, especially her relationship with Jude Law, and her affair with married man Balthazar Getty. This could have been one of the many reasons that our next entry never saw the light of day.
Based on a real life memoir, Hippie Hippie Shake was set in the 1960s and told the story of the culture and environment that was going on in Australia at that time. With Cillian Murphy taking the lead and Miller playing his girlfriend, the story and even the actors, seemed to go down quite well with test screenings,. However, with Miller in the press more and more, and also the real life people that were depicted in this movie starting to voice their concerns about the story and how they were portrayed, it meant that this movie was never released.
10 Empires Of The Deep
The next entry on our list is a fantasy epic that...well, we don't actually know what it's about exactly. The only thing we do know is that it has mermaids and cost millions upon millions to make, so much money in fact that it was the most expensive movie in Chinese movie history. Empires of the Deep was meant to be a Chinese-American fantasy epic that was going to blow the world away.
However, problems soon started to mount up and not only did the movie go through several directors but it was also rewritten several times by at least ten different writers and the cast were replaced on almost a daily basis. The problems got so big that someone should have stepped in to stop this movie in its tracks, but someone somewhere decided to just keep going and to keep throwing money and people at it until it was done. When the trailer was originally released, the film world mocked it so much that they decided to do the honorable thing and kill this movie so the audience would never have to witness it.
9 Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales: The Movie For Homosexuals
That's right, once upon a time there was a movie that actually had this title. And yes, the movie is reportedly as bad as the title sounds. During the late 1960s, Richard Pryor was seriously hot property and movie studios were all desperate to get him on the movie screen. Obviously they would eventually, and his superstar status would shine. But his first dip in the movie pond was this seriously weird attempt at a movie.
Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales: The Story for Homosexuals was about a group of Black Panthers who kidnap a white guy and decide to put him on trial for every racial crime in American history. No one is sure what the movie actually has in it or what the story is about as reports are that when Pryor and his wife saw a private screening of the movie, Pryor ended up tearing the negatives to shreds. Allegedly there is a copy of the movie still out there but even after the late great Pryor passed away, no one has ever seen this movie so we know that it must be truly bad.
8 Dark Blood
A lot of problems can plague a movie; whether it's money, the story, the script or disagreements between the cast and crew. However, there is one thing that can really stop a movie in it's tracks and there's nothing anyone can do about it and that's when the lead actor dies. This has happened a few times in Hollywood and more often than not, the fans and the movie crew want the movie to be finished and to show it off to the world. Just think of Brandon Lee and Heath Ledger.
However, when one of the biggest stars of the late 1980s and early 1990s died, his last movie was somehow hidden away. River Phoenix starred in Dark Blood, which followed a man named "Boy" who lived in the desert as he awaited the apocalypse. Unfortunately Phoenix died but as most of the movie was completed, we're not sure why it has never been seen. There has been no official reason but each year people campaign for this movie to be released in some form, but so far it never has been.
7 All American Massacre
Unfortunately the horror genre has been the victim of over saturating their movies. "Flogging a dead horse" is actually a more appropriate phrase. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is unfortunately one of those franchise that has, well, been flogged to death. The original movie is arguably one of the best horror movies that has ever been released, but the many, many sequels that followed were not and in fact went on to taint our memories of the original.
So, when a planned prequel was bouncing around, no one was excited about it. They were even less excited when they actually heard what the movie was about. Having the original Chop-Off, and a series of flashbacks, All American Massacre tried to set up the history of the family and their ways. Considering the fact that the movie was only 60 minutes long, although that's 60 minutes too long for us, and no one was sure who owned the rights to The Chainsaw Massacre franchise, the movie was hidden and has never been seen since.
We must say that our next entry has actually been released on DVD in 2012, however, it actually took over a decade for this movie to see the light of day and even after its release, no one saw it so we are counting it on our list. This was an animated and CGI movie that had Charlie Sheen as its lead voice, so the expectations were never high.
The story itself is a ridiculous and childish mess of stupidity, but what this movie became famous for before its eventual release is that it was going to be filled with product placement, a great way for them to raise money. However, with delay after delay, problem after problem and then being dubbed "the worst movie of all time," Foodfight has become a huge mistake on the resumes of all those involved, and that's saying something for Charlie Sheen.
5 The Brave
Oh dear, poor Johnny Depp. Over the years Depp, has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He's gone from being Hollywood's golden boy to a joke, from one of the biggest superstars in the world to an actor that will seemingly do anything for a big pay check. However, long before he flogged Captain Jack Sparrow to death, Depp wanted to try his hand at something different.
Back in the days when Depp was seen as a bit different with his role choices, he decided to star in and direct The Brave. The movie was completed and in true Depp style, he unleashed it at Cannes Film Festival, but everyone slammed it and him so badly that he decided that the world should never see this movie. This was probably the first ever time that Depp had a misfire and was criticized in his career. It's such a shame that he didn't learn from it as the reason for his shaming was for his portrayal of a Native American, yet jump ahead to a few years later and Depp was at it again in The Lone Ranger, for which he got slammed for his portrayal of a Native American. Will he ever learn?
4 Gods Behaving Badly
We all know that a movie adaptation of a popular book can be a huge financial and critical success. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings anyone? Because of this, many movie studios and producers are strolling through the book store in order to find their next big hit. However, such adaptations don't always work; Percy Jackson and Eragon anyone else? The same can be said for the movie Gods Behaving Badly.
Based on the best selling book by Marie Phillips, which told the story of real Greek gods living in modern day New York, the movie version actually boasted an impressive cast; Christopher Walken, Alicia Silverstone, John Turturro, and Sharon Stone. However, the finished cut of the movie didn't impress anyone. The overblown CGI opening and the fact that the reviewers compared it to a bad SNL sketch didn't do anything for this movie and it was never released.
3 Big Bug Man
Over the years, there have been many rumors and stories about the legendary actor that was Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, most of them don't paint him in a good light as he became increasingly difficult to work with. However, the last movie he ever worked on before he died, Brando claims it was the most fun he had working on a movie in years and yet, no one will ever see his efforts on the big screen.
That movie in question was Big Bug Man, an animated movie that involved a man being bitten by an insect and gaining superpowers. I wonder where they got that idea from? Incidentally, Brando was actually hired to play a man in the movie but decided he liked the role of Mrs. Sour better so he took that one, letting the old Brando out there. He then put on a wig and dressed as an old lady as he read his lines. That image alone is much more entertaining than this movie could ever be so it's no wonder there still aren't any plans to get this movie out there.
2 Nothing Lasts Forever
During the 1980s, if there were a pair of comedians that were guaranteed to be a box office smash, it was Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. The SNL hot shots could seemingly do no wrong, which makes us wonder just how bad Nothing Lasts Forever must have been to have never been shown to anyone. The movie itself, which was actually produced by SNL legend Lorne Michaels, was set in a dystopian New York City in which the main character dreams of being an artist, but the totalitarian state crush his dreams. That is, until he learns that there are magical hobos living under the city that can grant his wishes and dreams for him. Throw in a trip to the moon and a few other psychedelic and surreal moments, and what you have is one giant mess of a movie. It was such a disaster that when MGM held a press screening, it got such bad reviews that the company decided to shelve this forever.
1 The Fantastic Four
The number one entry on our list of movies so bad that they have never been released, has to go to a movie that has turned into legend. In the 1990s, long before Marvel got their MCU up and running, and even before their Spider-Man franchise and their many failed Fantastic Four movies, came the original movie that was set to feature the infamous Fantastic Four.
The movie was made, albeit in a "B-movie" kind of way. The cast went to every event possible to promote the movie and trailers were even played everywhere, but nothing happened. The Fantastic Four never saw the light of day and no real reason has been given. There are reports that people in high places thought the movie would damage the reputation of Marvel and any future plans for movies. Unfortunately, most of the prints were destroyed and fans can only dream about just how bad this movie could have been. Although, the big boys have done their part to destroy The Fantastic Four brand, so it couldn't get any worse.