Before the atrocities 20th Century Fox hurled at the screen, Roger Corman crafted an abomination that was never even released. Except if you ask the people that starred in it they’ll tell you it was going to be the end all be all adaptation of the Fantastic Four. If anything, Doomed is an interesting study about how people get stuck in the past and brood over what could’ve been.
Much like how I felt about Lost in La Mancha, I’ve come to realize most documentaries regarding failed film projects end up being quite dull, with the exception of the fabulous Jodorowsky’s Dune. Most of these films simply end up being fallen celebrities getting interviewed about the project that most likely halted their career. What is interesting about Doomed is that it goes beyond the grunts and complains these stars normally divulge in their interviews, but rather presents us with the fact that in some cases these people have come to terms with what transpired during the production of the film or in other cases it feels as if they’re still condemning the production despite what they’re actually saying. There’s a layer of subtext in Doomed that is missing from several documentaries like these that makes it all the more special and interesting to watch.
If it weren’t for that subtextual observation about how people view the past that Marty Langford incorporates into this film, it would just be another run-of-mill doomed- project-documentary with nothing real to say about anything. The genius of Jodorowsky’s Dune relied on the way it presented the passion of Jodorowsky and the way it analyzed how the unmade masterpiece would come to influence the entirety of Hollywood throughout the years, the intelligence of Doomed lies in how it presents each individual’s idea about where the project would’ve placed them in today’s world of movie stardom. Langford is secretly showing us how people address their past, whether that’s with anger, indifference or regret.
Besides that, Doomed is but a series of interviews about a movie literally nobody cares about. And in a way its even darkly comedic to see how this group of people care so much about a Roger Corman production which they’ve come to regard as a cinematic masterpiece that would’ve launched them to stardom, one of them even asks for people to unite and commission this film be released on the Criterion Collection, it’s all so absurd. These collection of individuals revere a sad adaptation of the Fantastic Four just because of the implications it might’ve held. The final product is honestly terrible and despite all the fixing you attempt to do to that film its still a low-budget Roger Corman production in the end that wasn’t even meant to be released. Is there injustice in that? Most definitely, but there’s also a cruel side of me that finds Langford’s documentary to be less about the injustice regarding the production and more about the absurdity of a group of people who’s careers never came to be deeming this film is a Criterion Collection-worthy film that could’ve changed their lives.