10 of the Greatest Horror Movies Never Made

01
of 10

'Battle Royale'

Battle Royale
© Tartan Video

What is it? An American remake of the controversial cult Japanese film about high school classmates unknowingly recruited by the government for a fight to the death on a deserted island.

Why didn't it happen? The remake began to take shape in 2006 with New Line Cinema tentatively aiming for a 2008 release, but the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech put a damper on the prospect of marketing a movie about teenage students killing each other.

Will it ever happen? The successful big-budget adaptations of the popular Hunger Games, featuring a similar plot, probably made it hard to green light a comparable project with a smaller built-in fan base.

02
of 10

Ridley Scott's 'I Am Legend'

I Am Legend
© Orb Books

What is it? An adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel about a survivor of a worldwide plague that turns most of humanity into vampire-like beings.

Why didn't it happen? Warner Brothers began developing an adaptation in 1995, and shooting was scheduled to begin in 1997 with Scott behind the camera and Arnold Schwarzenegger starring. However, growing concerns about the $100 million-plus budget and the dwindling bankability of the star, the director and the dark, artsy, psychological script with minimal dialogue (that was later rewritten) led the studio to pull the plug.

Will it ever happen? Seeing as the project was eventually made in 2007 with Will Smith starring and Francis Lawrence directing (earning over half a billion dollars worldwide), there's little reason to think that Scott—or any other director—would "reboot" it, although rumors of a sequel to Smith's film swirled in the years after his film was released.

03
of 10

Alfred Hitchcock's 'Kaleidoscope'

Alfred Hitchcock
Photo by Peter Dunne/Express/Getty Images

What is it? What would've been Alfred Hitchcock's most daring and controversial work, an avant-garde film utilizing hand-held camerawork, a first-person viewpoint and natural lighting (predating the 21st century "found footage" craze by four decades), detailing the exploits of a gay body builder who dabbles in murder, rape and possibly even necrophilia. It was conceived in 1964 as a prequel to his 1942 film Shadow of a Doubt and was initially titled Frenzy, not to be confused with his eventual 1972 movie of the same name.

Why didn't it happen? The studio (MCA) found the content to be too extreme and the lead character too unlikable. The project was canceled in 1967 after about an hour's worth of test footage was shot.

Will it ever happen? Alas, Hitchcock died in 1980, so unless another director picks up the reins, Kaleidoscope will never see the light of day. The fact that Hitchcock already carried over some of the ideas into 1972's Frenzy makes it all the less likely that someone will adopt his creation, but the (silent) footage survives as a testament to what could have been.

04
of 10

'Worst Case Scenario'

Worst Case Scenario
© Gorehound Canned Film

What is it? A Dutch Nazi zombie movie that began production in 2004 and made waves on the Web in 2006 when a couple of striking trailers (here and here) made to generate interest from investors caught the attention of the zombie-loving online community.

Why didn't it happen? Basically, the filmmakers (headed by director Richard Raaphorst) never got the money they needed. It appeared that they had finances lined up in 2008, but due to unspecified behind-the-scenes wrangling, money was never secured, and the project was shelved in 2009.

Will it ever happen? Chances are pretty much nil. Raaphorst and company have moved on, incorporating some of the Nazi horror elements from ​Worst Case Scenario into 2013's Frankenstein's Army. In the meantime, the Norwegian  movies broached the Nazi zombie subject matter with some success, perhaps making it more difficult for a similarly themed film to get off the ground.

05
of 10

William Gibson's 'Alien 3'

The cast of 'Aliens'.
The cast of 'Aliens'. © 20th Century Fox

What is it? A third film in the Alien franchise, written by legendary "cyberpunk" science fiction author William Gibson (Neuromancer), which featured the characters of Hicks and Bishop instead of Ripley and included the added dimension of a contagion that turns humans into aliens. The script was reportedly action-heavy, with plenty of hot alien-on-Marine action, although Gibson himself compared it to introspective Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris).

Why didn't it happen? The producers simply didn't like the script, a result that happened with several other writers—including Pitch Black's David Twohy and The Hitcher's Eric Red.

Will it ever happen? Doubtful. The Alien franchise has moved on, with not only a third film (directed by David Fincher), but additional sequels, prequels and Predator spin-offs, all without Gibson's input. I suppose it's possible he could be approached again to work on an Alien film, but with plans for an Alien prequel scrapped in 2011, that would be years away, and the storyline would probably have to be quite different from what he previously wrote.

06
of 10

Steven Spielberg's 'Night Skies'

Poltergeist / E.T.
© MGM / Universal

What is it? A sci-fi-horror film conceived by Steven Spielberg as an extraterrestrial follow-up to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and based on real-life accounts of a Kentucky family terrorized by aliens on their farm. With Spielberg producing, Tobe Hooper was tapped in 1980 to direct the story of a family attacked by a group of five aliens (with nicknames like Scar, Squirt, and Buddy), one of whom befriends the family's young son.

Why didn't it happen? Weary from the violent action filmed for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg yearned for a kinder, gentler film more along the lines of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He recognized the heartwarming potential in the alien-boy relationship in Night Skies and decided to expand it into a feature film: E.T. He then parlayed the family-in-peril angle into not one, but two additional hits that he produced: Poltergeist (with Hooper directing) and Gremlins (with Stripe and Gizmo instead of Scar and Buddy).

Will it ever happen? Not with the source material bled dry, turning into not only E.T., Poltergeist and Gremlins, but also probably inspiring Critters, which features a farm-family-under-alien-siege plot as well.

07
of 10

Henri-Georges Clouzot's 'Inferno'

A scene from Henri-Georges Clouzot's 'Inferno'.
© Flicker Alley, LLC

What is it? An artsy, impressionistic thriller from French director Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique) that was to serve as his career reinvention. Hours of footage was shot in 1964 in both black-and-white and color (used to emphasize the protagonist's increasing madness, as he suspects his wife of cheating) before production ceased.

Why didn't it happen? The production was plagued with troubles, from Clouzot's reported difficulty making decisions (nerves due to the importance of the film?) to his conflict with leading man Serge Reggiani (who walked out) to Clouzot's near-fatal heart attack.

Will it ever happen? No, with an asterisk. Clouzot died in 1977, but his widow sold his screenplay to French New Wave filmmaker Claude Chabrol (Le Boucher), who made his own version, L'Enfer, in 1994. It was released in the US as Hell.

08
of 10

David Fincher's 'Torso'

Torso
© Marvel

What is it? Director David Fincher's adaptation of the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis, based on Elliot Ness' true-life pursuit of a Cleveland serial killer. Matt Damon was attached to star alongside Gary Oldman, Casey Affleck and Rachel McAdams, with Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Arlington Road, Scream 3, The Skeleton Key) hired to write the script.

Why didn't it happen? Like the case of the Cleveland Torso Murderer, it remains bit of a mystery. Paramount green-lit the project in January 2006, but three years (and apparently much miscommunication) later, the studio let the rights to the project slip back to Bendis without any tangible progress made toward a finished product. Maybe Paramount was concerned that Fincher's reality-based serial killer thriller Zodiac covered similar territory first (in 2007)...and did less than boffo at the box office in the process. Just as likely a culprit is the fact that Fincher and Paramount had a bitter battle over its demand that he cut down the running time of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Will it ever happen? With Fincher's stock skyrocketing following Benjamin ButtonThe Social Network and Gone Girl, he can direct anything he wants -- meaning he might have grown bigger than Torso. A cinematic adaptation of Torso is still very much a possibility, however, with director David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) reportedly attached in 2013. 

09
of 10

George Romero's 'Resident Evil'

Resident Evil video game zombie
© Capcom

What is it? An adaptation of the popular Resident Evil video game written and directed by zombie maestro George Romero. In 1999, Romero was hired to write and direct Resident Evil, but after turning in his script, he was fired from both duties.

Why didn't it happen? The producers just didn't like Romero's script. According to the director, they wanted a more action-oriented "war movie" rather than the horror movie he planned. Capcom producer Yoshiki Okamoto has stated simply that "Romero's script wasn't good."

Will it ever happen? Don't count on it. The Resident Evil movie franchise is still going strong, with the creative thrust coming from writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, a filmmaker with a decidedly more shoddy critical following than Romero. However, the series remains profitable, so there doesn't appear to be any desire to rock the boat by including Romero in the mix. And an aging Romero, who hasn't helmed a film since 2009's Survival of the Dead, doesn't appear to be in any a rush back to the director's chair.

10
of 10

'Black the Ripper'

Black the Ripper
'Blackenstein' artwork © Frisco Productions

What is it? A blaxploitation riff on the Jack the Ripper tale, rumored to have been directed by Frank R. Saletri (writer of fellow blaxploitation horror flick Blackenstein) in 1975. OK, so "great" is probably a stretch for this one.

Why didn't it happen? Maybe it did happen...? The film was announced in Variety and even had a reported cast -- Renata Harmon, Bole Nikoli and Hugh Van Putten -- but no solid evidence of it ever being filmed has emerged. It's a true Hollywood mystery.

Will it ever happen? Saletri died in 1982, so unless a print is discovered, we may never find out whether or not Black the Ripper in fact ever existed. Although African-American horror has made a comeback in the late 20th/early 21st century, anyone who's seen Blackenstein can attest that it's doubtful that Saletri's script was worthy of revisiting.