Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conceptual Art Gallery for films that never got made!

The Sandworms of Dune as envisioned by artist H.R. Giger for Alejandro Jodorowsky's unproduced adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune.

Coneptual art often times decides how a film is going to look or feel. It decides how the sets will be built, what kind of clothes wardrobe department will make and even how visual effects will be handled. I thought it might be interesting to post a couple of examples of conceptual artwork for films that never got made, because I find those most interesting for some reason. Dreams that never got to be. Some of these unmade projects didnt get made for obvious reasons (usually its a stinker of an idea!) but other times you just wonder why the hell they never happened. Some films never get passed that conceptual art work stage, as a result there is a lot of interesting conceptual art out there for films that never got made! I hope you find the interesting. Enjoy!

Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune - This film never got made, but the conceptual artwork makes me wish it had gotten made! It would have been such an interesting looking film! Some of my favorite artists worked on the conceptual artwork for this film, Jodorowsky employed some of the best there is for this project, which was probably one of the problems. He spent a bundle on pre-production alone. We have some very interesting designs for the planet Geidi Prime from non other then H.R. Giger himself! Had these designs made it to the silver's a lot more conceptual artwork out there for this film, I only posted a couple of them here, but trust me a search on the net will be worth your while if you are a Dune nut like I am. Part of the artwork was also done by conceptual artist extraordinaire Jean Giraud, one of my personal heroes. Too bad this one never got made. I hear there's a documentary being made on the work that went into the pre-production of this doomed project, be on the look out for it.

Thundercat's - This one hasnt gotten made (yet!) but conceptual artwork has leaked. The pics you see below shows us what Lion-O and Mum-Ra would have looked like had the film ever gotten made. Im a die hard Thundercats fan, and deep down inside, arent we all?? Of course I'd love to see this one get made!

Voltron- Defender of the Universe - With the success of the Transformer's films, Im surprised this film hasnt gotten made yet, it would make for a kick ass sci-fi film! I used to watch this cartoon almost as much as I watched the Thundercats. Here we have some concept art for Voltron in its giant robot form.

Superman Lives! - This was too be Tim Burton's version of Superman and to be honest I'm kind of glad it never got off the ground. On the other hand, you kind of have to wonder what the film would have been like! Putting aside the fact that Nick Cage was going to be the one playing supes (a bad idea from the get go)  the film was going to be "weird" any way you look at it. Even Supes wardrobe was going to look strange! I like the desing for Doomsday though! And you have to admit, it was going to be cool seeing Doomsday fight Supes!

The Gate Remake - Director and ex Bill and Ted star Alex Winters has been talking about getting this remake made for years. Yet I've never seen it go past the pre-production stage, or development hell, however you want to call it. Still, he has said that the film would include 3-D effects and that they have already made some pre-visualization thats something. But come on! I'd love to see this one make it to the big screen with modern effects! If it never got made, it would be...whats the word? BOGUS!   

James Cameron's Spiderman - Once upon a time, when Sam Raimi hadnt made his Spiderman trilogy James Cameron was interested in the franchise. There was even a script! It was going to be a much darker version of Spiderman, spidey wouldnt be as squeaky clean as he is on these new films. He was a troubled man with lots of anger inside of him. Hell, he was even going to end up having sex with Mary Jane! Of course the studio scrapped it because it wasnt the spidey they wanted to show the masses, but still, I'm guessing it would have been an interesting film from an fx/action point of view. I mean on this one we were going to see Spidey go up against Electro!

Rob Zombies Tyranosaurous Rex - Rob Zombie is at best when left to his own devices instead of working on pre-existing material. And I still think he has potential as a filmmaker inspite of the abortion that was Halloween 2. So when he announced that he was working on something called Tyranosaurous Rex, I was excited, especially after seeing the concept art which makes the whole idea look like a mix between Mad Max, Jurassic Park and a Mexican Wrestling movie, with a mix like that...something interesting is sure to turn up. I hope we get to see this one at some point. 

Darren Aronofsky's Batman Year One - Before Nolan got a go at the franchise, studio's were looking for a serious director to take the franchise in a darker more adult direction and Aronofsky was one of the directors chosen for this 'Year One' film. Unfortunately, Aronofsky wasnt as big a name as he is now, and the whole thing went down the tubes. Hey, but we got some interesting concept art to ponder on the idea of what could have been a Batman film directed by this great director. Hey, who knows, Aronofsky has been snooping around to direct a comic book film for a while now, he was inches away from directing 'The Wolverine'! Now that would have been something!  

Darren Aronofsky's Robocop Reboot - Man, I salivating at this idea because I'm the biggest Robonerd out there. I mean, I use to do a little robocop comic book when I was in school that was a parody of Robocop and everyone loved it. I love the Robo movies. And when I heard that Aronofsky was going to be involved! Wow! The possibilities! Unfortunately Aronofsky stepped out of this project and went with Black Swan, which was an awesome film no doubt, but damn, I hope he hasnt given up entirely on making this. I got my fingers crossed! I mean with the Iron Man movies making so much bank at the box office, I'm still wondering why this project hasnt lifted off yet.

Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash - Now here's a match made in heaven. I mean, people would have gone in droves to see this movie! But apparently this never got made because Sam Raimi was interested in getting another Evil Dead movie rolling. That never came to be either! But hey, at least we got a 12 part mini-series that joined all three characters in one awesome series! Highly recommend you get it. On that one, Freddy is after the Necronomicon and Ash is there to stop him! Wanna see Freddy use the Necronomicon to resurrect all of Jason's victims as deadites? Look no further!

Hamer Films Zepellin's vs. Pterodactyl's - This unproduced Hammer Film had one of the craziest concepts ever! A German Zepellin headed for war deviates and ends up in a mysterious world filled with all sorts of strange creatures, including Pterodactyl's! I guess this mysterious unchartered land falls somewhere around the same vicinity where Godzilla and King Kongs Islands are at! Either way it was going to be an interesting sci-fi film. I dont know exactly why this one never came to be, but maybe the idea was too epic for the kind of budgets that Hammer was used to working with. All we got left from this crazy idea is the pic you see below, enjoy!

Orson Welles Batman - This ones a joke, it was a hoax that roamed around the net for a while. But still, makes you wonder huh? Hope you liked this article you knuckleheads!


Manuel Marrero said...

Im so glad Tim Burton didnt do the Superman movie, Superman looks stupid as hell; Stick to Batman Tim!! The Ash versus Freddy and Jason movie would have been cool but...I highly doubt it would have been made cause of the production values of the visuals and magnitude that the comic brings to the table but, theres always the animated movie choice.

Franco Macabro said...

For the Superman Lives film, they even made a suit! The suit had some lights beneath it, so whenever Supes would wear it, it would "power up" and light up all the lights. Im sure it would have made an interesting visual, but Superman it wasnt!

Plus, Nicholas Cage as Superman? No freaking way man!

Believe it or not, the studio was seriously considering doing it, it was Raimi who wasnt to happy with the idea, I guess he wants Ash and the Evil Dead series all to himself.

Thanks for commenting!

Cadet said...


Now this is what I’m talkin’ about – total imagination station. I have to say, the one I fancy the most is from the Jodorowsky/Giger Dune selection; the spaceship designed as, what I can only describe, a wacked-out hybrid of ‘Circus Circus’ and sherbert ice cream. Yet it oddly works. Think how cool would it be to see such a vessel fully realized on the big screen. The two bottom ones from Giger are really interesting as well.

I also really dig the two bottom renderings from the Tyrannosaurus Rex selection in the way capture a certain Frazetta feel. As for Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls, long ago did I happen upon that poster while surfing the web, and, yes, it is already a classic--that never was. I mean, Jesus! You’ve got a zeppelin and biplanes in a full-on sky war with flying dinosaurs. That’s something only a 10 year old boy could dream up, or any grown man who still sets some time aside from his busy day schedule to think about cool shit (i.e., any man worth mentioning).

I have some to add to the mix. I’m not sure if they were ever a preproduction concept design or just some good ol’ fan fiction, but checkout these rad Ninja Turtles artworks.

I also recommend you Google Image ‘Dave Rapoza’ for either Ninja Turtles or Thundercats.

Franco Macabro said...

Thanks for the links and the info Cadet! Every time I see those pics of what could have been Jodorowsky's Dune, I weap! I mean, Im sure it would have been one overblown, surreal, trippy ride!

Hey, maybe the New Hammer Films people will pick this one up and do it, though right now, it sounds like something Roger Corman should be producing, I mean he is currently making films like Dinoshark...this should be right up his alley! But then again, not if we want it done right! If shit like Snakes on a Plane gets made...why not Zepellin's vs. Pterodactyls? You know what I mean?

Im personally hopoing that T-Rex gets made at some point, but Zombie the filmmaker seems to have slowed down a bit in terms of getting his projects produced. I hope he hasnt given up, Hollywood has a tendency to destroy creativity...

Thanks for commenting! Ill look at those links soon!

Ivan said...

Great post; thanks!

One good thing that came out of Jodoworsky's Alien: Dan O'Bannon was working on Dune (b/c Jodoworsky loved the effects of Dark Star), and met Giger, Moebius and others. When Alien was being preproductioned, O'Bannon brought Giger and Moebius along.

Franco Macabro said...

Yeah, when O'Bannon brought Moebius and Giger along, he knew what he was doing, I mean both of those artist are amongst my top favorites. Moebius can draw such rich fantasy worlds, so detailed and different. What you see in his comics, you dont see anywhere else. Giger is organic and mechanic and nightmarish at the same time.

I guess all these geniuses always look for each other to do something really kick ass, and we're lucky if that ever happens, I mean look at Alien. Unfortunately sometimes hollywood doesnt know what's good for them. Jodorowskys Dune was going to be a collision of true talent. The result was bound to be something special. But sadly, it never came to be.

Thanks for commenting Ivan!

venoms5 said...

Awesome post, Fran! I remember the Jodorowsky DUNE being mentioned several times in old issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

I remember rolling my eyes when a new SUPERMAN was announced with Nicolas Cage in the lead. Terrible decision, that one.

There's no love lost with me and anything RZ does, or doesn't do. That guy is behind some of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. Yeah, he's a fan of good trash, but he's not good at making them, in my opinion and his newest movie looks to be another "winner".

That ZEPPELIN VS PTERODACTYLS was supposed to be an answer to the popularity of the Amicus lost world movies that were doing big bucks in the mid 70s. Those films also inspired a couple Spanish lost world/dinosaur movies, too, from 1976 and 1980. Hammer was also prepping a big screen version of NESSIE and VAMPIRELLA. I got some photos and ads promoting the latter.

Franco Macabro said...

I think Hammer could have found a way to make that film too, I mean, they had done sci-fi before, I wonder what really got this project shelved, Im going to look into it see what I can find out.

About Rob Zombie, I enjoyed his Devils Rejects and his take on Halloween (the first one). House of a Thousand Corpses has its own charm as well, its Halloween II I cant stomach, it just looked so sloppy. It had its moments, but it didnt really feel like a Halloween film. I hope he gets to make T-Rex though, it looks like a film thats closer to what he would be good at making. Im always willing to give directors a second chance, lets see what he comes up with next.

venoms5 said...

Their money troubles were one of the major reasons. By that point, they were getting virtually zero backing from any major studios like they did in the 50s and 60s. It would have been cool if they could have gotten VAMPIRELLA off the ground, though.

Franco Macabro said...

Oh, so this one was about to get made when Hammer was already on their last legs! Yeah, those days, their movies just got worse and worse...until it all ended with To the Devil a Daughter. Blah, what a crap fest!

Zepellins vs Pterodactyl's deserved a good budget, not a half assed production.

I've always salivated at the idea of a Vampirella movie...and I believe there was a t.v. movie or something, but never a theatrical full blast Vampirella movie, I die to see that! Sci-fi and horror and a hot babe all in the same movie, whats not to like!

venoms5 said...

Roger Corman did a VAMPIRELLA movie in the mid to late 90s. I only saw part of it. It was pretty bad. It was made for Showtime Cable Channel. He did a series of movies for them back in the 90s including the first PIRANHA remake and a remake of HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP among some others.

Jack L said...

Awesome post,

I also find concept art fascinating, especially for films never made.
Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon has some great concept art and is probably the "best film never made".

This post has reminded me that I need to watch Dune, even if it got pretty bad reviews it still seems intriguing...

Jack L said...

Sorry for the double post :(
Feel free to delete it as well as this one...

Franco Macabro said...

Venom5: Didnt even know there was a Piranha remake! Thanks for the info! Never saw that vampirella, but it seems like the kind of movie I'd watch on You Tube, just cause its not all that important. Otherwise, I dont care much for watching films on You Tube.

Jack L: Yeah, Napoleon along with A.I. were the two films he never got to make himself, they way he would have wanted to.

I recommend DUNE, Im a big fan of it even though everybody seems to take a huge dump on that one! Its not purely a LYNCH film because it was taken from him and edited by the studio, but it does have great production values and more or less sticks to Herbert's novel. But on production value alone, the film has its merits. Its a great sci-fi flick in my book, I revisit it often. I think the film benefited from all the pre-production work done in Jodorowsky's version, to an extent.

I hope that some great director picks up these books and makes great movies out of them, they truly are sci-fi masterpieces! I'm currently on the fourth one and I love it so far!

Thanks for commenting dudes!

Unknown said...

What a great list. Some would have been crazy to watch if they went through. One of my favs is that David Lynch was asked to direct Return of the Jedi. I can only imagine how that would have turned out. Peoples heads would have prob exploded in the theatre.

Franco Macabro said...

@SlowDeath77: I didnt even know David Lynch had been considered to direct Return of the Jedi! Thats totally nuts! It would have been such a different film! That would have been interesting to see thats for sure!

Thanks for commenting!


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