Release the Craven Cut: Wes Craven’s ‘Cursed’ Werewolf Film History


With all of the discuss of Justice League and the infamous “Snyder Minimize” lastly being launched subsequent 12 months, I made a decision it was time to essentially take a deep dive into one among horror’s biggest unseens: the elusive Wes Craven Minimize of werewolf film Cursed. Extra importantly although, I needed to dive into the largest query of all: does it even actually exist?

Everyone knows the tales surrounding Wes Craven’s re-teaming with Kevin Williamson for his or her werewolf image. Trapped in an incredulous ‘manufacturing hell,’ Cursed ended up likening its namesake greater than anybody ever would have guessed. Initially written in 2000, execs at Dimension claimed that it was going to reinvent the werewolf style. It will be half a decade and 4 reshoots later earlier than Cursed lastly made its option to screens within the spring of 2005.

Williamson’s script was purchased in 2000, positive, however it might be one other two years earlier than Craven was tapped and one other half a 12 months earlier than capturing would begin. Now, what was written, what was shot, and what we’ve seen are all three very various things. Whereas plenty of these parts had been thought for a very long time to be misplaced to the sands of time, as we march on, little bits and items proceed to seek out the sunshine of day.

Williamson’s authentic script, which is vastly completely different from the ultimate lower, might be discovered on-line right here, amongst different locations. Even this screenplay might have some discrepancies from the unique, famous because the 2nd revision and up to date in 2003, however the bulk of this film shares only a few similarities with the Cursed that might hit theaters two years later. I might extremely encourage anybody to provide it a learn, as this feels far more like Williamson whereas additionally providing a a lot gorier and fewer goofy movie. A number of the massive scenes keep largely related; the preliminary automotive crash, Ellie and Jimmy realizing that one thing has modified about themselves, and even among the climax don’t stray too far. But, it’s straightforward to approximate about eighty % of the script doesn’t line up. Ellie and Jimmy aren’t brother and sister on this model and the character of Jake doesn’t even exist, as an alternative changed by the burnout son of a millionaire, Vince. Many ancillary characters have bigger roles, corresponding to Scott Baio and Jenny (our lady from the start of the movie model), and different characters are launched that by no means discovered an on-screen counterpart, such because the butler Toby, the self titled “star f*cker” Becky and Vince’s deadbeat dad.

The whole existence of the character Vince leads the film in a totally completely different route than the Cursed we all know. It creates a dynamic between our three leads that isn’t seen on display screen; Vince and Ellie turn into an merchandise however he in the end isn’t our massive dangerous, and it permits Jimmy to have some separation and character development exterior of Ellie that feels proper within Williamson’s wheelhouse. Now this isn’t the one drastic disparity. Sure, Joanie stays because the alpha werewolf, however now as an alternative of Jake operating round as a cub within the pack, Scott Baio is the subordinate wolf. Our complete climax is far more centered and fewer cluttered, nonetheless going down in a wax museum however as an alternative one which’s open already and merely closed on the time. Once more, Williamson retains a a lot tighter rein on the ending by reeling issues in; much less flash, extra focus.

And that’s simply the script!

Cursed Jesse Eisenberg

As soon as precise manufacturing began, primarily based on this authentic therapy from Williamson, Skeet Ulrich was tapped because the Vince character with Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg nonetheless slotted because the roles that might come to life. A variety of different actors had been introduced for the challenge and even filmed scenes however in what capability and what position, nonetheless stays a thriller. Whereas we’ve got seen precise stills of Skeet Ulrich getting bitten by spectacular Rick Baker werewolves (we’ll get there), most of the different actors listed had been both lower from the film by Weinstein or Craven. Whereas it’s straightforward to return and see a who’s who of well-known actors now, the unique line-up is extremely stacked. On prime of Ulrich, we additionally had Omar Epps, Mandy Moore, Robert Forster, Illeana Douglas, Scott Foley, and horror vets Heather Langenkamp and Corey Feldman. Based on an interview with Marc Shapiro in 2005, Craven mentions Freddie Prinze Jr. had been connected too – however that appears to be the one actual point out of his involvement.

Dimension was infamous for leaping into filming earlier than scripts had been accomplished, one thing that Craven and Williamson had expertise with as they’d accomplished the identical turnaround with Scream 2, and once more this grew to become an issue with Cursed. Execs determined the third act was too weak and requested Williamson to rewrite it, which is ironic as a result of it’s one of many solely parts from the unique script that not less than has the identical basic framework; this put the manufacturing right into a 4 week halt. Dimension began interjecting and it led to Williamson basically rewriting your complete script however once more, this resulted in additional delays as he was additionally ending up the collection finale of “Dawson’s Creek.” 4 weeks became three months.

So as to add extra complications to the combination, Rick Baker was let go (though some reviews say he walked away from the challenge) and KNB was introduced on to now substitute all the sensible werewolf results with CG. It’s one other unlucky facet impact of the manufacturing hell, because the CG werewolves had been costly and it lower a lot of their on-screen time down; and what stays didn’t precisely age properly. By the tip of the movie, so many cuts and edits had been made that it was trimmed down from a gory R to a extra accessible PG-13.

Rick Baker’s design for the Judy Greer Werewolf

The fixed stops and begins of the filming course of had an exhaustive toll on Craven as properly, who had already began the method in a little bit of a funk. He was attributable to remake Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse however that had been pulled from him as properly, ultimately getting a author credit score on the movie when it got here out from director Jim Sonzero in 2006. In an interview with Eisenberg from Bloody Disgusting’s personal Hint Thurman, it’s famous that they’d 4 completely different reshoots, even making shirts for the fourth return that mentioned “Cursed 4: Again For Extra.” The whole learn is fascinating, and you’ll find it right here. Eisenberg confirms what Craven had acknowledged as properly, that about ninety % of what was filmed was canned earlier than reshoots that lasted the size of most unbiased motion pictures. The film remains to be listed at $38 million for a funds however many suspect the quantity ballooned up a lot larger because of the continued reshoots.

Now we’re within the current. Cursed got here out to mediocre fare, though this critic stands by his unabashed love for the completed challenge; however that doesn’t imply I wouldn’t completely like to see the mythic “Craven Minimize.” Does something prefer it really exist? We all know the footage remains to be on the market. It’s been confirmed by quite a few sources, largely editor Patrick Lussier, who’s now a giant time horror director in his personal proper. After the horrendous acts of its proprietor, The Weinstein Firm was pressured to unload its properties and Lantern Leisure ended up with a big chunk of them, a reported 200+ movies, so it stands to purpose that Cursed is more than likely someplace with Lantern. When Meagan Navarro wrote her piece about director’s cuts that we deserve, it led to a variety of us Craven followers as soon as once more touting the notorious lower of the movie. Buddy of mine Joshua Tonks posted a mock-up graphic for the movie and Patrick Lussier popped in to tell us that “Sadly, this doesn’t exist the way in which you’d prefer it to.” Interpret that as you’ll. To me, it appears the footage should still technically exist however not within the full imaginative and prescient that Craven would have needed.

Perhaps we’ll by no means know. The additional we get away from Cursed, the extra we discover out that sure issues will likely be misplaced to the annals of time, particularly with the tragic lack of Wes Craven in 2015. However I nonetheless stay optimistic that we’ll discover a treatment for this specific curse.

If it exists, it’s time to #ReleasetheCravenCut.

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