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.
Every single movie made by the Beatles has been released and repackaged several times over -- except for this one. In 2008, plans to finally release Let It Be on DVD were blocked by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr themselves. If the film was as awkward to make as it is to watch, we can't really say we blame them.
The documentary shows the Beatles working on the album of the same name, which would turn out to be their last. Even though it's edited in such a way as to avoid showing that the band is about to break up, the awkwardness is still pretty obvious: at one point, right after an argument between McCartney and George Harrison, there's a song where Harrison isn't present. That's because he actually quit the band for a few days there, and only agreed to return once he was allowed to bring his friend Billy Preston along.
"Hey, George says to tell you guys to suck my dick."
In the movie, Preston simply appears out of nowhere from one scene to the next and nobody ever acknowledges the fact that there are suddenly five Beatles for some reason. Meanwhile, John Lennon is completely disinterested in anything the rest of the guys say, as Yoko Ono eerily hovers around him in literally every studio scene. Nobody (except Lennon) acknowledges her presence either.
Or Ringo's, for the most part.
This is a long way from the image of the Beatles goofing around in their early movies and interviews: in one scene, McCartney pretentiously looks down on those same films, while Lennon does his best not to murder him.
Let It Be includes the historic footage of the unannounced Beatles concert on the rooftop of a London building, their first live presentation in years and the last one ever. However, because it also includes a bunch of petty squabbling, Paul and Ringo probably won't allow it to be released as long as they live.
And both are known to be immortal.
The Carter is a critically acclaimed documentary about Lil Wayne that was shot with his full cooperation -- and by "full cooperation," we mean he let them follow him around but refused to actually do any interviews. Wayne withdrew his support and sued the filmmakers after realizing that the movie dwelled on his addiction to pot and cough syrup, because it's not like he talks about those things in half his songs or anything.
In the movie, the rapper can be seen mixing "purple drank" in his tour bus, proudly telling people about his first sexual experience at age 11 and generally raving like a beautiful lunatic. Wayne's people were reportedly "consternated" by the film: in the $50 million lawsuit, -- which begins with the phrase "Corporate greed and fraud reached its zenith in 2008" -- they compare the producers to fraudster Bernard Madoff and accuse them of staging some sort of "massive con game."
We think he wrote the lawsuit himself while high.
The filmmakers countersued Lil Wayne for not doing the agreed interviews, refusing to provide the video material he had promised and improperly trying to convince MTV and Viacom to snub the movie. In the meantime, Lil Wayne did eight months in jail for weapon charges and has since been trying to clean up his image, which you'd think would involve not suing people for bullshit anymore.
Mad Magazine Presents: Up the Academy was an unfortunate attempt to cash in on the popularity of National Lampoon's Animal House, right down to the part where the title of the movie starts with the name of a humor magazine. The only problem was that the movie was so offensive and stupid, even Mad wanted nothing to do with it.
The movie is about a group of teens attending a military academy, and much of the humor (as far as we can tell) comes from the fact that one of the instructors is sexually attracted to young boys. Perhaps realizing that creeping out the magazine's target audience wasn't a wise business decision, Mad's founder William Gaines actually paid Warner Bros. $30,000 to have all references to his magazine removed from the film.
This included slicing the title by half ...
So Dancing With the Stars isn't the worst thing you've done after all, Ralph Macchio.
... and removing all shots of the military academy's statue of Alfred E. Neuman, even though it was prominently featured in the trailer:
Gaines was so embarrassed that he personally mailed a handwritten letter of apology to anyone who wrote to Mad complaining about the movie. He wasn't the only one: One of the adult actors, Ron Leibman (Friends, The Sopranos), had his name completely removed from the credits, a fact that was referenced in Mad's scathing review of the film.
Yeah, we had the same look when we watched it.
Apparently Warner Bros. pulled a fast one on Gaines, though, because if you buy the DVD now, all the Mad-related stuff is still in there. We promise we won't bring this up again if Mad does us the same courtesy and stops mentioning 1982's Cracked Presents the Sexual Adventures of Teddy Roosevelt (starring Rodney Dangerfield).
A follow-up to the 1975 sexploitation classic If You Don't Stop It ... You'll Go Blind!!! (gratuitous exclamation marks in the original), Can I Do It ... 'Til I Need Glasses? was a series of disconnected comedy skits of vaguely sexual nature. It's also the only movie so bad that even Robin Williams was ashamed of it.
Williams, in what would have been his film debut, shot two short sketches that ended up being cut from the movie, presumably because they didn't measure up to the level of quality set by that other sketch where a snake bites the Lone Ranger in the penis and Tonto doesn't want to suck the venom out. A couple of years later, Williams was a superstar, and suddenly his shitty sketches were good enough to be put back into the movie. Right before the highly publicized Popeye film starring Williams came out, Can I Do It ... was re-released using a slightly different marketing plan.
Oh, of course.
They slapped Williams' name on top of all the posters and made new trailers to play up the fact that he appeared in the movie. The total duration of his part, by the way? Under two minutes. Here's one of his scenes:
That's the whole joke, by the way. Williams' sketches aren't too outrageous, but the rest of the movie includes full frontal nudity, jokes about bestiality and Ron Jeremy.
His face alone was enough to give the film an X rating.
Williams (who had been cultivating a family friendly image with Mork & Mindy and Popeye) sued the producers to have his scenes removed from the movie again, which is why there are actually three slightly different cuts of the same crappy film. You can buy all three off eBay and watch them back to back, which has the same effect as a lobotomy.
When most comedians want to be respected as actors, they'll usually do a dramedy like The Majestic or Punch Drunk Love. Maybe they'll even do a full drama like One Hour Photo. Jerry Lewis went all out and did a movie about a circus clown who delivers children to the Nazis. It is one of the most infamous unreleased movies in the history of Hollywood.
You never go full Nazi. Everyone knows that, Jerry Lewis.
In the movie, Lewis plays Helmut Doork, an unemployed German clown who's arrested for drunkenly mocking Hitler and sent to a Nazi camp (a punishment usually reserved for mimes). At the camp, Doork begins entertaining Jewish children with his zany antics and eventually lands a job leading those same children into Auschwitz.
Yes, Jerry Lewis, the guy from the Labor Day telethons and The Nutty Professor, agrees to get some children into a Nazi train like some sort of sick pied piper. When the kids are on their way to the gas chamber, Doork decides to fight off the guards and escape with them ... no, not really, he just goes into the chambers with them and they all die.
But it's OK because it's a family film, guys.
It's like Life Is Beautiful, only a million times more awkward and wrong. Just wrong. And yes, at one point Lewis actually wanted children to see it -- in his 1985 autobiography, he wrote: "The picture must be seen, and if by nobody else, at least by every kid in the world who's only heard there was such a thing as the Holocaust."
"I just hate kids so much."
However, due to a series of legal and financial complications, The Day the Clown Cried was never actually released. Also, we think the fact that it was a movie about a clown who leads children into the gas chamber probably had something to do with that, too. Over time, it seems like Lewis' eagerness to release the film has waned: reporters are warned never to bring up the movie during interviews, and he allegedly keeps the only existing VHS copy locked in a vault in his office.
Only a handful of people have seen a rough cut of the movie, including actor Harry Shearer (The Simpsons), who saw it in 1979, in what must have been the worst Hollywood party ever. Shearer doesn't have a high opinion of the film: "This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is .... It's not funny, and it's not good, and somebody's trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly held feeling."
"I'm Jerry Lewis, and I approved this dark comedy about the Holocaust."
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