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Famous Movies Turned down by Legendary Horror Directors

Batman 1989

A directing career is a volatile thing. Plum directing gigs are hard to come by. Yet there are always movies that get turned down, for whatever reason. Movies that turn out great on the screen don’t always stand out on the page, and certainly not always in initial pitches. Sometimes they have to be turned down for reasons of time. And money is always a factor in professional matters as well. For whatever the reason, here are five great horror directors that turned down famous movies.

John Carpenter Passed on Fatal Attraction and Top Gun

While the reasons for Top Gun are not entirely clear, Carpenter turned down Fatal Attraction because he saw it as nothing more than a thinly veiled remake of Play Misty for Me. 

John Carpenter

David Cronenberg Turned Down The Truman Show 

Virtually every director in Hollywood was attached to The Truman Show before director Peter Weir came aboard. One of the names on the list is acclaimed horror director David Cronenberg. While it’s easy to imagine what Cronenberg could have done with the material, it’s hard to imagine Jim Carrey as his leading man.

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David Cronenberg

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Guillermo Del Toro Turned Down Blade Trinity, Alien vs. Predator, Hellraiser: Bloodline and I am Legend 

Guillermo Del Toro has turned down many films in his career and made vague promises to make even more. Most of the above movies were turned down for reasons of time. Del Toro turned down Blade Trinity and Alien vs. Predator in order to make the first Hellboy and he turned down I am Legend to do Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The reasons for Hellraiser: Bloodline are unclear.

Guillermo del Toro

Sam Raimi Turned Down The Shadow, I am Legend and Batman

It was mostly reasons of timing and rights that led Raimi to walk away from Batman (1989), which wound up being directed by Tim Burton. He turned down the offer to do I am Legend because he was not interested. He did seek the chance to do The Shadow, but when the rights eventually fell through, he left to create his own dark superhero, Darkman. The Shadow ended up happening a short time later.

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Sam Raimi

Alfred Hitchcock Turned Down The Exorcist, Wait Until Dark, Rosemary’s Baby and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Hitchcock initially turned down the offer to pick up the rights to the William Peter Blatty novel on which The Exorcist is based and later turned down the offer to direct the film itself. He was also offered the initial screen rights to Wait Until Dark, but turned that down as well. Moreover, he turned down the rights to the Rosemary’s Baby novel before passing on the film itself. Most of these instances relate to Hitchcock’s lack of interest. But with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, he was simply too busy promoting the release of Psycho and trying to get The Birds off the ground.

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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