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You know how NASA occasionally comes out and announces an asteroid nearly missed Earth? And you can't help but think about the disaster that was averted?

This is like that.

Dolemite (2001), Starring LL Cool J

If you've seen the original Dolemite, then you know that it's a completely bug-fuck insane mix of classic blaxploitation, bad kung fu, pimping and some kind of bizarre poetry about monkeys, lions and the Titanic.

If you haven't seen the original Dolemite, feel free to go ahead and do that now. We'll wait.

What Went Wrong?

We could go on all day about the immense bitchslap involved in casting particularly-unlikable plank of wood LL Cool J as the Human Fucking Tornado, but that's not the worst that this project had going for it.

No, the worst was that some clever devil at Dimension Films (possibly screenwriter Buddy Johnson of Scary Movie and several episodes of the Wayans Brothers) decided that Dolemite would be a much better character if he wasn't a pimp, and if he was framed for a crime he didn't commit, and if he had three female sidekicks who most definitely were not hookers. Apparently if he really, really sucked.

What Went Right?

Delays. Fallout Entertainment has picked up the rights to Dolemite (though it seems no amount of money would be sufficient to buy them). LL Cool J is no longer attached to the project, and rumors have the infinitely more appropriate Snoop Dogg in the running for the lead.

What You Can Watch Instead:

The Dolemite Explosion.

Fuck. Yes.

Despite apparently being the greatest film ever made, The Dolemite Explosion has not yet been released, possibly due to some kind of elaborate evil scheme that can only be stopped with kung fu hookers and magic lightning bolts.

Ghengis Khan (2002), Starring Steven Seagal

As historical badasses go, they don't get much more badass than Ghengis Khan. The Mongolian warlord's story is full of revenge, crazy adventures and enormously bloody battles. Hell, he was still commanding armies at the age of 72 (and this was in 1227, so that's like being 150 today, you know, after inflation) if you believe some of the records, anyway. We're talking about a badass for the ages.

What Went Wrong?

Did you know that Steven Seagal is white? Seriously, he's not even slightly Asian.

It sounds like the kind of casting choice you'd get from a stereotypical coked-out Robert-Evans-style lunatic of a Hollywood producer ("That lead role for the big Chinese period piece? I've got two words for you: Steven Seagal!"). No, this was Seagal's dream project.

He scouted locations in China himself and auditioned Chinese people to play his relatives. And, somehow, no one thought to let him in on that one little detail: That the whole project was a really fucking retarded idea.

This often happens

What Went Right?

The Mafia. Seagal's producing partner on this project, a guy named Julius Nasso, made the slightly-misguided career move of bringing in thugs from the Gambino crime family to try to intimidate Seagal into a new contract.

Since there are actually a couple of laws against that kind of thing, Nasso spent a few years in jail, and Ghengis Khan went right into the crapper.

What You Can Watch Instead:


This sprawling epic has the advantage of actual Asians in the cast. Like The Dolemite Explosion, Mongol hasn't gotten a full US release yet, so there's not much to say except that it looks pretty damn gory, and we can always get behind that.

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Diamond Dead (2004), Starring Asia Argento

It was a more innocent time, a time when the words "Romero" and "zombie" conjured up images of Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead and maybe Day of the Dead and here was Romero directing another zombie movie for the first time in almost 20 years.

What Went Wrong?

And it was going to be a movie about a zombie rock band.

The zombie rock band's zombie rock music would have been handled by Richard Hartley, who was responsible for the songs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie so famously awful that large groups of dedicated followers get together regularly to mock it and throw things at the screen.

To be fair, though, Diamond Dead would be a comedy. However, it'd be a comedy written by a guy (Brian Cooper) who's best known for designing haunted attractions for amusement parks. We have been unable confirm whether or not his haunted rides were particularly funny.

Also, keep in mind that this wasn't the George Romero of 1968 or the George Romero of 1978, or even the George Romero of 1985. No, this was the George Romero of the 21st century, the George Romero whose last movie had been a straight-to-video snooze-fest called Bruiser and whose next movie would be Land of the Fucking Dead.

Yes, more than one person had this idea

What Went Right?

Land of the Fucking Dead. The much larger studio project pushed Diamond Dead off the radar, and even if you thought Land of the Dead was a shit sandwich (and plenty of people did), you'd probably have to admit that it wouldn't have been much of an improvement if the zombies had started a band.

On February 8, 2008, online rumors started circulating that Diamond Dead was back on track, but an interview with Romero six days later revealed that the only new development was a new draft of the script and that the project was still no closer to a green light than it had ever been.

In George's words, "There's so much shit that goes out on the internet."

What You Can Watch Instead:

Diary of the Dead:

This is Romero's Cloverfield-style (or Blair-Witch-style, or Cannibal-Holocaust-style, or whatever) zombie DVD, in which the dead come back to life and eat people, on video.

Hey, at least they're not singing.

Westworld (2002), Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Well, robots are cool and cowboys are kind of cool, so robot cowboys should be pretty cool. Right?

What Went Wrong?

The first Westworld movie (in which tourists pay good money to pretend that they're killing people or fucking people, when they're really just playing with robots), didn't exactly age like fine wine.

Though the poster was creepy as fuck, what's wrong with his mouth?!?

To start with, playing cowboys with real bullets might be fun for half an hour or so, but since the robots never shoot back, you end up with a difficulty-curve that makes the first level of Super Mario Bros look like the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. That's right, it's science-fiction fantasy fulfillment that offers considerably less challenge (and therefore less satisfaction) than the average video game.

And why the fuck would you cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the evil robot cowboy? Evil we can understand. Robot we get. But, cowboy?

This, with robots

How the hell were they planning to explain a robotic Wild West villain with an Austrian accent? A malfunction in the voice programming? Some kind of practical joke from the maintenance guys?

What Went Right?

Politics. Specifically, the 2003 California recall election, which ended with Schwarzenegger elected as Governor of the state of Cal-e-for-ne-uh. With Arnie out of the acting game, the new Westworld was toastworld.

In 2005 it was announced that one-named director Tarsem (The Cell, The Fall) was attached to a new Schwarzenegger-less version of the project, but that was the last anybody heard of this crap.

What You Can Watch Instead:

If it's killer robots you want, how about Transmorphers:

It's apparently a Terminator rip-off masquerading as a Transformers rip-off.

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Stray Dawgz (2000), Starring Ice Cube

You know what's cool? Rappers. Also, movies about big hairy monsters that eat people.

And if your film's plot is "it's basically Blade, only with werewolves instead of vampires," a big chunk of the geek community would line up outside the theater on opening night. Probably.

What Went Wrong?

To start with, it was going to be about Ice Cube fighting a "new breed" of werewolf.

Said "new breed" was the brainchild of screenwriter Darryl Quarles (Big Momma's House, Black Knight), which we assume means that these new werewolves could be distinguished from the old breed of werewolves by virtue of their being completely fucking retarded. And possibly in fat suits.

Actual photo from the film

This was scheduled to be Ice Cube's follow-up to John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. You can probably see where this is going.

What Went Right?

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, and probably Black Knight. We're talking about career killers, here. Ice Cube managed to escape from Ghosts of Mars with his film career (if not his dignity) intact, but we doubt that anybody was looking to put him in another action-horror picture. And Black Knight made damn sure that Darryl Quarles never had another movie deal ever again.

According to an Esquire interview, director Gregory Dark (See No Evil, Hootermania) was still trying to get this project off the ground in 2001, but New Line Pictures, in their own subtle way, told him to go fuck himself.

What You Can Watch Instead:

Werewolf in a Women's Prison:

We haven't seen it yet, but it looks like a modern classic.

The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe (2001), Starring Michael Jackson

Edgar Allan Poe's gloomy ass pretty much invented American horror. His life story is filled with the kind of drunken, drug-crazed insanity that was made for the cinema. Sure, most of that craziness was completely made up by one Rufus Wilmot Griswold (Poe's bitter enemy in life and official biographer in death), but that's no reason to let the truth spoil a kick-ass story.

What Went Wrong?

This might surprise you, but we're actually not going to talk any shit about the talk of casting Michael Jackson. It's a horror project and Michael Jackson is fucking terrifying. It's like chocolate and peanut butter meeting up for the first time or something.

Whatever you do, don't imagine those two fucking

So, what could go wrong? Well, they could have hired William Malone (Fear Dot Com, Creature) to direct. They could have gotten the script from some guy named Philip Levins (nine episodes of Smallville, including one where, we are not fucking kidding, Superman's dad is wrongly accused of shooting Lex Luthor's dad, which we guess must be what started that whole crazy feud between the two of them).

That's exactly what they did. This would have been pretty much the worst horror movie ever.

What Went Right?

Michael Jackson, probably. Jackson had kind of a string of these canceled projects. Over the years, there were plans for him to play the lead in a musical version of Peter Pan, a film version of the Phantom of the Opera musical, and some kind of werewolf movie that may or may not have been a musical.

Now, we can't say for sure what it was that killed these projects, but imagine that you're in a meeting with the King of Pop, ironing out the details of a major film. How long do you think it would take for you to realize that "meeting" is just a euphemism for "I'm trapped in this room with a fucking lunatic?" Until he started humping your leg? A few minutes after that, maybe?

What You Can Watch Instead:

We'd love to say that it's the biopic Poe, written and directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, but that one hasn't been shot yet, and we can't help thinking that the project is destined to show up in a list not unlike this one some day.

No, instead, we've got some dippy direct-to-video thing called The Death of Poe:

If you enjoyed that, you'll probably like Steve's article about The 5 Kick Ass Action Movies That Are Pure Propaganda. And speaking of things that kick ass, Uncle Terry has some sex advice for you. Or show us what the 08 election would look like if the candidates had balls in this week's Forum Photoshop contest. And be sure to get the Cracked Hit List delivered in your electronic mailbox every Thursday.

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