From Citizen Kane to Troll 2, we’ve put together some of our favourite documentaries about movie-making horror stories. Read more after the jump.
Films are great. Documentaries are great,too. And when you put them together? Forget about it! Don’t forget about it though, because they’re normally really quite good. There’s nothing quite like the gossip and scandal of a movie set for film fans. This is never more true when the movie set has gone to hell in a hundred-million-dollar-handcart. So it’s a particular treat when someone takes the time to record the whole insane affair for the pleasure of the viewing public. We’ve put together some of our favourite movie-horror-story documentaries for your consideration. Enjoy!
Best Worst Movie
Depending on your mood, bad movies can either be the funniest thing in the world or it can be like drinking someone else’s wee. In any case, Troll 2 is still considered one of the worst of the worst. The title of it’s documentary says it all. Troll 2 has received unparalleled notoriety for its ridiculousness. Directed by the child star of its predecessor, an insane filming experience, and the ensuing humiliation. The happy ending? How social media (well, Myspace) saved the movie and made it a cult sensation.
The Battle Over Citizen Kane
From arguably the worst movie ever made to arguably the best movie ever made. This documentary has three parts. One is the story of Orson Welles‘ early career and that of Citizen Kanes‘ real life inspiration, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Two follows the ongoing battles between the two larger-than life characters as Welles made his movie and Hearst sank further into debt. Part Three sees Citizen Kane‘s release, and its inability to make money threatening Welles’ lucrative movie deals. The filmmaking itself wasn’t as a big a disaster as others on this list. However, the clashes and calamities of both men makes its own slow motion car crash.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
Eleanor Coppola has directed a number of film-based documentaries in her career as a filmmaker. But none of them quite raises your blood pressure like Hearts of Darkness. The story of her husband Francis Ford Coppola‘s disastrous experience directing Apocalypse Now. The filming of the Vietnam War movie is a perfect example of “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”. The biggest disaster by far is the impact the process clearly has on the director and how close it came to ending his career. Like Citizen Kane, there’s no denying that the final product was a cinematic masterpiece. It’s documentary was no exception, receiving rave reviews when it premiered at Cannes in 1991.
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
The second documentary in our list about a film starring Marlon Brando. Coincidence? We highly doubt it. Lost Soul focuses on the early stages of the filmmaking process for The Island of Dr Moreau, director Richard Stanley‘s original vision and the horror show that followed. Another big focus is Marlon Brando, who was given carte blanche to do what he liked with the role of the titular doctor. And he did just that. Expect to see Brando with white makeup, a miniature helper and a bucket hat. Oh, but don’t expect a satisfying explanation of why.
But who is the lost soul in the documentary’s title? Was it original director Richard Stanley, spending years on the project only to be fired almost immediately? Was it replacement director John Frankenheimer, at the mercy of a difficult Val Kilmer and an unpredictable Brando. Or was it Brando himself, at the mercy of his own bat-crap crazy whims. In any case, it definitely wasn’t Val Kilmer.
Frank Herbert‘s Dune is widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels in history. It’s also one of Hollywood’s biggest baddest white whales. Forget the 1984 adaptation directed by David Lynch. Forget the failed 2008 adaptation that was finally scrapped 3 years later. This documentary follows the first attempt at adapting Dune by Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s the story of a 9 year journey, a 14-hour screenplay and a grizzly financial end. The most intriguing part of this documentary is seeing how Jodorowsky’s early creative work would go on to inspire future science fiction classics.
Lost in La Mancha
Is there a more tragic hero in Hollywood than Terry Gilliam? Mad genius, big budgets and smaller-than expected takings have played a substantial role in Gilliam’s directorial career. His biggest nemesis by far wasn’t the mainstream movie-going audience. It was a little movie called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. This documentary was originally supposed to be the making-of doc. When the film hit a brick wall, the cameras were there to pick up the wreckage. This documentary also has a happy ending. In March this year the film received new funding, along with Adam Driver and Michael Palin in lead roles. Not too shabby.
Any documentaries you think we missed? Then let us know!
Watch this space for all the latest movie news.