Top 5 Laughably Failed Attempts at Superhero Movies

Both DC Comics and Marvel would have you think that big budget, blockbuster films like “Man of Steel,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “X-Men: First Class,” and “The Avengers” are their only attempts to bring popular comic book characters into the live-action arena. They would like everyone to forget the sometimes absurd, ridiculous and often ugly reality: that there were numerous early—and failed—attempts to bring super heroes to both the big and small screens.

Over the next few pages you can read about these early superhero attempts and the actors who portrayed them on-screen. Some you may be familiar with, but we’ll bet you’ve never heard of many of them.

5. The Phantom
1943 – Columbia Pictures created a 15-part serial based on the Lee Falk’s popular comic strip called The Phantom, about a masked crusader fighting off poachers in the jungles with his trusted German shepherd at his side.

“The Ghost Who Walks” could have used a better costume though, as the striped briefs make him look ridiculous.

4. Daredevil
1975 –This extremely laughable attempt at creating Daredevil for television was the brainchild of Angela Bowie—the wife of singer David Bowie. Fortunately, the network nixed the idea due to budget concerns before it ever got off the ground. This photo shoot  (pictured on left) was as far as it went.

3. The Fantastic Four
1994 – Low-budget B-movie king Roger Corman was chosen to bring Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s super-powered group The Fantastic Four to life. Unfortunately, they only allowed him a budget of a scant $1.5 million—most of which he spent on The Thing’s suit.

As with most early attempts at live-action superheroes, the film suffered from the limited special effects technology of the day. While The Thing’s rock suit was actually pretty good and the Human Torch looked okay, Mr. Fantastic’s stretching ability was laughable and Invisible Woman’s power was displayed by just making her no longer appear in frame.

2. Dr. Strange
1978 – Peter Hooten played Dr. Stephen Strange in this ill-fated TV movie attempt by Marvel. The film was supposed to be the launching vehicle for a Dr. Strange TV series but after the film received a less than lukewarm reception by audiences, the project was nixed.

1. She-Hulk
1990 –Writer/Director Larry Cohen planned a live-action big screen adaptation of She-Hulk with Sylvester Stallone ex-wife Brigitte Neilsen announced to play the title role in 1990. However, all that came of the project was a series of photographs with Neilsen dressed as She-Hulk and her alter ego Jennifer Walters.
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