Though people will tell you to avoid it, it’s almost impossible not to dwell on what could have been. The choices not made, the risks not taken, the opportunities that slipped through our fingers, they’re the kinds of thoughts that can keep you up at night. Cinephiles know this phenomenon well, and it seems like the branch of film studies and speculation devoted to studying and speculating on the films that almost were, but got snatched away from us. Documentaries like Lost in La Mancha and Jodorowsky’s Dune tell us the sad tales of films that almost were, and there are more than a couple of books devoted to the subject of “the greatest movies never made”. I own at least one of them.
Several years back, a poster series from Fernando Reza commemorated some of these films, including Orson Welles’ Don Quixote and Kubrick’s scrapped Napoleon film. Now, a full five years later, Reza is back with more. The second volume of “The Ones That Got Away” continues the obsession with films too beautiful or ambitious for this world, celebrating Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, David Lynch’s Ronnie Rocket and more. The prints are all gorgeous pieces of art, but as Slashfilm’s Ethan Anderton points out, the style looks closer to something you’d see on novel covers than movie posters. For Anderton, this is a plus, but once this was pointed out, I actually found myself wondering what a more traditional movie poster aesthetic on a project like this would look like. I want to see a poster for At the Mountains of Madness like you would normally see hanging on a theater wall, to make it that much easier to fantasize that I live in a world where the plug hadn’t been pulled on the project.
Still, this minor aesthetic quibble doesn’t detract from the series, and they’d each look quite at home on any film buff’s wall. Prints of the series are now on sale on Reza’s site for 30$ each, 110$ for the full set. Reza also provides brief writeups for each piece, detailing the history of the film and why it wasn’t allowed to be.
Check out the posters below and let us know which your favorite is!