[Exclusive] Robert Kurtzman Digs Up Concept Models for Unmade, Wes Craven-Produced Sci-fi Film ‘Junk’
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Legendary makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman, of MUFX, has played a crucial role in countless horror gems over the years, from Evil Dead II to It Follows, From Dusk Till Dawn to Bubba Ho-Tep. But it was in the late ’90s that Kurtzman made his mark as a director, unleashing the practical effects-loaded Wishmaster in 1997.
Despite Wishmaster launching a long-running franchise, it would be ten years before Robert Kurtzman returned to the director’s chair with follow-ups The Rage and Buried Alive. Kurtzman was nothing if not a busy man during those years, he and his team whipping up incredible effects for films such as The Faculty and Thirteen Ghosts; but several directing projects that Kurtzman developed and sold during that period of time sadly never came to fruition. One of them was to re-team Kurtzman with Wes Craven, who produced Wishmaster.
It’s possible you’ve heard a mention or two about Junk over the years, a big budget sci-fi family adventure film that Kurtzman was attached to direct in 2001, with Craven producing. Kurtzman had actually sold the project to Dimension films, and the pre-production process was well underway before the plug was eventually pulled completely.
As reported at the time, Junk was created with David Benullo and David Goldstein, based on a story by Kurtzman and Michael McCarty, with Benullo and Goldstein attached to write the script. The story centered on a group of children who find a buried treasure in a junkyard, and Kurtzman spent a year developing the project that never was.
Kurtzman further detailed the fun storyline to us…
“A gang of kids, like Our Gang/Little Rascal, who hang out in a junkyard after school have to defend the earth against an alien invasion by building “junk” into battle bots. I was inspired by the Little Rascals who would come up with inventions/contraptions made out of junk.”
That group of kids, who sound quite like the characters from The Goonies and “Stranger Things,” were to do battle with an alien race known as the Krull. Kurtzman explains, “[The Krull] send a scout ship to earth to establish a beachhead for their armada invasion.”
So about those battle bots. During pre-production, Kurtzman and his team whipped up a handful of small scale miniature concepts for the kid-made bots advertised in the film’s title. Next month, those miniature models are going up for auction through Hanlin’s Hollywood Memorabilia, and Kurtzman has exclusively shared several images with us.
You can check out those models below.
At the time the plug was pulled on Junk, for reasons Kurtzman did not fully explain to us – “It just stalled and didn’t get made,” he told us – no actors were yet attached to star, but Dimension had agreed to an “event film” budget of $50-60 million. Whatever happened, they eventually got cold feet, and these concept models are all that remains.
Hanlin’s Hollywood Memorabilia is proud to present the creatures of Robert Kurtzman at an auction taking place June 2, 2018 at 11am.
The full catalog for the auction will be available this coming Monday.