Welcome to Script to Pieces, a recurring feature at Wicked Horror where we look at the best, most interesting and at times most unbelievable horror movies that never happened. Sometimes these will be productions that never came together at all, other times, they will be original incarnations that were completely different from what we wound up with. Each should be fascinating in its own way, because the stories of movies that never see the light of day can sometimes be even more interesting than the stories of those that do.
Bad luck is something that befalls filmmakers all too often, even when they set out with the best intentions. In the case of this film, it was a title that fit the overall production a little too accurately. Still, this is an interesting idea and could have made for a pretty fun movie. Bad Luck started with the simple concept “What if all of our superstitions were real?” That would pave the way for a Final Destination-esque horror film laced with danger at every turn, which is exactly what this feature was planned to be.
With that in mind, there was no better person for the job than David R. Ellis, the director behind Final Destination 2 and The Final Destination. Add to that David J. Schow (writer of The Crow, Hills Run Red, and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) and this becomes a serious genre effort with some strong talent attached.
A horror movie based around the concept of exploring bad luck as a serious and dangerous threat sounds like the film you’d expect upon hearing about Friday the 13th for the very first time. It’s a concept with a lot of potential and that led people to start getting excited about Bad Luck fairly quick.
Also added to the lineup of talent attached to the project was Mark Ordesky, one of the producers behind the Lord of the Rings franchise, who had also previously worked with Schow on Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and Critters 4. Ordesky’s Amber Entertainment teamed with Entertainment 7 to produce the feature.
After its announcement in February of 2010, the film was budgeted around $17 million, but that escalated to $30 million by the summer, the same time that Milla Jovovich became attached to star.
Speaking on the project at the time, Ordesky said, “The intention is to honor my New Line roots with a new franchise that harkens back to what I loved about films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Final Destination.”
While Bad Luck was one of several projects that Ellis had in development at the time, it seemed to be running smoothly and was even headed into pre-production when everything shut down.
As for what stopped Bad Luck, it’s sadly very simple. While preparing to direct Kite, David R. Ellis was found dead in his hotel room in South Africa. A cause of death was never released, but it doesn’t sound as if foul play was ever suspected.
After the tragic loss of its director, Bad Luck halted and never picked up steam again, nor did it seem like anyone wanted to try and move the project forward without Ellis at the helm. It feels like the right move to not have someone else come in and simply take over the project as if nothing had happened. The loss of a talent like Ellis was more important than getting this movie made, and so it ultimately never happened.