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.
Fairy tales are some of the first horror stories we’re introduced to as children. They’re aimed for kids, they’re told to kids and they’re all attempting to convey some moral message—but at the same time, they can be absolutely horrifying. They’re violent and mean-spirited, from everything like the notoriously bloody stories by the Brothers Grimm to even seemingly harmless nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty.
Given that we’d already seen so many takes throughout the eighties and nineties like Company of Wolves, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, Pinocchio’s Revenge, Rumplestiltsken, Leprechaun and so on and so forth, it’s really no surprise at all to learn how close Humpty Dumpty came to being reimagined as a horror film. The only surprising thing might be that it wasn’t going to be directed by Mark Jones, who had seemed to carve that dwarfish fairy tale monster niche for himself with Rumpelstiltsken and Leprechaun.
Instead, this was—somewhat shockingly—always planned as a theatrical vehicle. Slated to begin production in 2009, Humpty Dumpty was to be produced through Amber Entertainment and Intandem Films. With a script by Billy Majestic, it was to be directed by David R. Ellis, who had previously helmed Final Destination 2 and Snakes on a Plane for New Line.
The plot would have been, well, a radical update on the source material to say the least. Two redneck brothers discover that aliens have landed in the woods behind their property. These aliens are simply here to collect plant life so that they can study Earth’s environment, but the brothers wind up killing all of them except one—a female. They take her back home with them, where they torture, abuse and rape her until she’s nearly dead. She escapes into the woods where, just before she dies, she gives birth to a half-human/half-alien baby: Humpty Dumpty.
This is an utterly messed up and bizarre take on that character, even as far as fairy tale horror flicks go. Ultimately, you would have to think that that approach would simply not gel with mainstream audiences but unfortunately that’s not what held this one back from ever being released.
By all accounts, it looks like we may actually have gotten to see Humpty Dumpty had it not been for the untimely death of director David R. Ellis. A successful filmmaker with a tongue-in-cheek approach that this project certainly would have needed, Ellis was a driving force behind the project. His death was completely unexpected and though it did not immediately cancel development, it seems to be the clearest reason why the film never came to be.
Humpty Dumpty was eventually released as a graphic novel, though even then it claimed to be “Based on the upcoming film.” While there was still hope that there would be more demand for the product if people knew what it was, I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see it on the screen. If you’re interested, though, you should still be able to track down a copy of the book, which was published by IDW, through Amazon or eBay.
While Humpty Dumpty certainly would have been weird, bizarre, tasteless extreme horror, I think that there’s somewhat of a ‘90s charm about it. I think that had the film been made, they never would have stopped making these movies and I love that idea. The 2000s never really got its Leprechaun franchise—Gingerdead Man is the closest we’ve come—and this one certainly could have been it.
David R. Ellis was an extremely fun and talented filmmaker. I’m sure there were other projects in the pipeline that never saw the light of day, either. His last film Shark Night is definitely worth another look for its style and entertainment value.