8 great sci-fi films that were never finished

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

For every great movie, there are dozens, if not hundreds, more that could have been great—had they ever been made. Some get shut down while already in the early stages of production, while others never quite make it out of the starting gate (i.e., development hell).

Popcrunch has posted a list of 15 great movies that were never finished, and there are a number of interesting sci-fi projects among them. Here are some potentially awesome sci-fi flicks that will, in all likelihood, never be seen.

The Works

This post-apocalyptic flick, in which a computer network controls the planet, was supposed to be the first animated movie to be shot completely in 3-D. The team behind it was unconventional, consisting mostly of programmers instead of directors and other filmmaking personnel. The project was abandoned in 1986 because the team had to keep starting over with each new software upgrade.

Vileness Fats

Siamese twin wrestlers protecting a village from an attack by armored aliens disguised as shopping carts? Sounds like it could only come from the minds of the Residents, the avant-garde San Francisco music act who used to perform dressed as giant eyeballs or wrapped in gauze. The band actually filmed scenes for this bizarre concoction between 1972 and 1976, with about 30 minutes of footage surfacing on a 1984 videotape. Pieces of that footage can be seen below.


Producer Peter Jackson plucked special-effects animator and short-film director Neill Blomkamp out of obscurity to direct a big-budget version of the massively popular first-person shooter game for Universal Pictures. Designs were developed, a screenplay was written and preproduction started and stopped several times before the studio pulled the plug over the budget. The good news? Blomkamp went on to direct District 9 instead.

George A. Romero's Resident Evil

Having directed the classic Night of the Living Dead and arguably created the modern movie zombie, George A. Romero was hired to write and direct a film version of the Capcom video game. But Capcom was not happy with Romero's take on the film and passed the torch to Paul W.S. Anderson, leading to the string of utterly mediocre Resident Evil movies we have today. Would Romero's version have been better? Find the script online and see.

Ronnie Rocket

Truly eccentric director David Lynch tried for 10 years to get this bizarre project off the ground, finally abandoning it right around the time he made Blue Velvet. The story follows the adventures of the title character, a "deformed redheaded midget" given electrical powers after two mad scientists experiment on him. It gets even weirder from there.

The Thief and the Cobbler

Animator Richard Williams worked on this 3-D project for 26 years before Warner Brothers finally pulled the plug. It's more of a fantasy in the style of Aladdin than a sci-fi feature, but the line about an "army of warrior cyclopses" caught our eye!

Night Skies

Steven Spielberg planned to follow up Close Encounters of the Third Kind with this creepy thriller about a family held hostage by malevolent alien invaders. Although Spielberg began developing it, somehow the project never got off the ground, and parts of it were recycled in much cuddlier fashion for E.T.: The Extraterrestial. It's possible that the ghost of Night Skies might live on in Super 8, Spielberg's upcoming collaboration with J.J. Abrams.

Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune

Long before David Lynch's 1984 big-screen version and the 2000 miniseries from the Syfy Channel, this cult Chilean director tried to mount his own film adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic novel. He lined up folks like Orson Welles, Salvador Dali (!) and David Carradine for his cast while commissioning famed artists H.R. Giger and Jean "Moebius" Giraud to design the film. But funding for the project dried up, and both Dune and Jodorowsky moved on.

You can see the rest of the non-sci-fi titles over at Popcrunch.

Which of the ones we listed do you wish had made it to the screen?