Hey, remember The Star Wars Holiday Special, which George Lucas has basically begged you to never watch? It turns out there are a whole bunch of movies that the stars have been trying to hide from everyone, mainly because they're afraid someone will make fun of them.
That's all right, though. That's what we're here for.
If you look closely at the horror section of the video store, you may notice something odd: a cheesy The Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel you've never heard of that happens to feature two Hollywood superstars as the leads. And we're not talking about something they cranked out decades before they were famous, either.
The movie is Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which the studio buried to avoid pissing off a respected actor.
Originally known by the equally nonsensical title of The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the 1994 movie starred Matthew McConaughey (who was months away from becoming an A-list star) as a psychopath with a robotic leg. Oh, and it also starred freaking Renee Zellweger, as the lady who runs and screams.
Also, in the movie McConaughey and his brother Leatherface work for the Illuminati or some stupid shit like that. Judging by this promotional reel, half the movie consisted of McConaughey screaming like an idiot:
The movie was supposed to be released in 1995, but Columbia Pictures tried to sabotage the film because McConaughey had suddenly become a big deal. Producers had already agreed to delay the movie until after a little movie Zellweger was starring in called Jerry Maguire came out in 1996. But by then McConaughey had starred alongside Sandra Bullock and Sam Jackson in A Time To Kill and had Spielberg's Amistad coming up, so he probably wasn't so eager to be seen in some shitty slasher sequel anymore.
At this point, McConaughey was known for playing idealistic lawyers, not choking Jerry Maguire's girlfriend.
According to producer Robert Kuhn, McConaughey's agent was "putting pressure on them not to release the film theatrically." The movie eventually got a limited 20-city release in 1997 because of this, in edited form and with a different name. The producers then got their revenge when they released the DVD version under this awful cover:
If you cover the top and the bottom with your hands, it totally looks like a porno.
Don's Plum is a movie starring two of the highest-grossing American actors of all time -- and because of a lawsuit by the stars themselves, it can never be released in the U.S.
DiCaprio and Maguire claim they made the film as a favor to friend, but never actually intended it to be seen: they agreed to let it be shown in film festivals and stuff, presumably under the understanding that nobody goes to that crap anyway. However, after Titanic came out and made obscene amounts of money, the director began meeting with distributors. DiCaprio, Maguire and other actors appearing in the film responded by trying to (illegally, according to the director) block the movie's domestic release.
Tobey still hasn't stopped his maniacal laughter.
At this point Don's Plum became a bit of a Hollywood legend: what exactly was in it that the actors didn't want America to see? Some news outlets covering the court case described Don's Plum as "the story of a young man exploring all kinds of sexuality and human emotion," which featured "Leonardo DiCaprio as a bisexual who appears nude in one scene." Adjectives like "sexy" and "steamy" were liberally thrown around, making it seem like this was the next Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee tape.
Only, you know, with these guys instead.
But, despite being banned in the U.S., the film did come out in Europe, and it's not as controversial as everyone thought (or hoped it would be). Turns out DiCaprio's role consists of him sitting in a diner booth for 90 minutes, being a huge asshole:
The movie is a fairly typical black-and-white independent film with all the '90s trademarks like nonlinear editing, a retro soundtrack and characters who seriously won't shut up. It's about a group of friends getting together in a place called Don's Plum and talking about sex and drugs while not actually doing a lot of either. At no point does DiCaprio remove his clothes or declare his bisexuality (that's someone else), so maybe he didn't want the movie released simply because he thought it sucked.
Or because he does come off like an annoying little turd in it.
The "Censored Eleven" are a bunch of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons (one of them starring Bugs Bunny) that were withdrawn from syndication in 1968 and never aired again. The 11 animated shorts have never been officially released in home video, and Cartoon Network's owner Ted Turner personally vowed to never let them be shown.
Why would they ban some harmless WB cartoons? Well ... probably on account of all the racism.
OK, definitely because of all the racism.
This isn't just Bugs Bunny doing blackface for a few seconds, by the way -- the racist jokes are so central to the plot of these cartoons that no amount of editing could salvage them. Ethnic stereotypes are cut from old cartoons all the time, but if they did that here, all they'd be left with is the WB logo and "That's all folks!"
For example, one 1937 cartoon, "Clean Pastures," is set in what appears to be an all-black section of heaven called Pair-O-Dice (that's the least offensive thing here). A black version of Saint Peter is worried because not enough black people are going to heaven, so he sends his slow-witted angel on a mission to Earth. But wait, at least they're casting black people as saints and angels -- that couldn't be bad, right?
OK, never mind.
The mouth-breathing angel then stands in the middle of Harlem trying to convince people to come to Pair-O-Dice by offering things like food, travel and, of course, watermelon.
Which hadn't been classified as "food" in the '30s, apparently.
Eventually, only a group of hip, jazz-playing angels are capable of convincing the people of Harlem to come along to heaven, which happens instantly, so we're guessing there was some sort of mass suicide or rapture involved. Another short called "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" is a parody of a travel documentary showing a tropical island where the black natives are seen playing a "primitive, savage rhythm." You know where this is going.
The joke being that those black people sure like jazz!
And of course there's the Bugs Bunny one, "All This and Rabbit Stew," which is actually available in some cheap unofficial DVD releases, since it's in the public domain. It's the typical cartoon where Bugs Bunny outwits his opponent, except in this case the person trying to hunt him happens to be every black stereotype combined.
The character's voice is even more offensive than the way he's drawn. Somehow.
Last year Warner Bros. admitted they are considering releasing the Censored Eleven through the Warner Archives program, which is when they charge you a lot of money to burn you a copy of an otherwise unavailable DVD, basically. The videos are incredibly popular on YouTube. Yes, that would technically be profiting off of blatant racism, but Warner Bros. has spent 50 years proving that they will not tolerate racism so long as it's not profitable.
Cocksucker Blues was supposed to be a backstage documentary showing what happens behind the scenes of a Rolling Stones tour in the '70s. When the Stones saw the film, they were so outraged by it that they sued the director to stop it from being released ... despite being the ones doing most of the crazy shit in it.
"That's disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourself," they said to the director.
Highlights include: baffling close-ups of Jagger groping himself in a bed, graphic sex scenes in unlikely places and so much drug consumption that Colombia now specifically mentions the band in their national anthem. There's even some rare footage of Keith Richards having a difficult time handling his drugs:
Jagger is also seen snorting coke backstage. We all know they did that stuff, but it's still kind of shocking to see it. It's one thing to hear your grandad saying, "Why, I used to be crazy like you kids, too!" and quite another to actually watch him get drunk and punch a hooker.
At one point, members of the entourage start having sex with groupies while the Stones watch and play percussion instruments. It's like a scene straight out of Caligula.
Oh, and all of this happens inside a plane, by the way.
The production of Cocksucker Blues was rather unusual: anyone in the entourage could basically pick up a camera and just film whatever, which is why you get long sequences where it's just unknown people doing coke in a hotel room and raving nonsensically interspersed with the Stones doing press interviews, meeting Andy Warhol and Truman Capote at a party and occasionally playing rock music.
She must be diabetic.
The documentary has never been officially released, and due to a court order, it can't be shown unless the director is standing in the same room. That doesn't mean he can host Rolling Stones marathons at his house every day, because the court order also specifies he can only screen the film once a year.
For years, nobody working for the band Kiss was allowed to so much as utter the name of their first and only feature film, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. Seriously.
So why did they make that movie? The reason, shockingly, is money. In the late '70s, Kiss had reached the height of their popularity and their manager felt that this whole "music" thing had taken them as far as it could. So the band began venturing out into other media, starting with a ridiculous Marvel comic book where they had superpowers. Then it was time for the next step in their plan: a somehow even stupider movie where they battle evil robots in an amusement park.
"Perhaps they will look less ridiculous in comparison."
Oh yeah, and they had powers here, too. Gene Simmons could breath fire, Paul Stanley could shoot lasers from his eye and control minds, Ace Frehley could also shoot lasers and teleport and Peter Criss had ... "leaping powers."
"Because you suck, Pete, that's why."
The movie was cheaply produced and plagued with problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that the band didn't have any acting experience. Or, you know, talent. The screenwriters had spent some time with the band in order to make the script more authentic, but that didn't go so well: Apparently Ace did nothing but squawk at them the whole time, so in the original script all he ever said was "Ack!" (and that's still the bulk of his lines in the finished movie). In some scenes you can tell one member of Kiss is being played by someone else, because he's black.
"No, no, that's the fifth Kiss member ... um, Jamaal."
On top of all that, the original TV broadcast used generic disco music and cartoon sound effects instead of Kiss songs (other than the ones played "live"), presumably because they were too cheap to license their music to their own movie.
The movie was one of the highest-rated TV films of 1978, but the band still hated it for making them look "buffoonish" (apparently they had never seen themselves in full makeup before). Eventually it was re-edited and released theatrically outside the U.S., with an actual Kiss soundtrack this time. It's hard to imagine it helped all that much.