With the advancement of new technology, the time needed to make a film has considerately shortened. Despite this factor, however, there still are several film makers who, for one reason or another, have extended the pleasurable time of making a movie to quite unthinkable extents ranging from as big as 4 to 30 years.
In some cases it isn’t necessarily the directors doing as there are a billion factors that may influence the time of the production of a film – whether it’s the budget, development issues or a difficult and time consuming editing and effects adding process.
However, for one reason or another the following movies took an extremely longer-than-usual time to make – the results of some justifying the wait and others not so much.
And so, without further ado, here is a list describing the various reasons that justify the extended production time of the various films.
10. Eraserhead (David Lynch) – 5 Years
One of the movies that was definitely worth the wait is the legendary cult classic Eraserhead. The filming and production of one of the most bizarre classics lasted 5 years for several reasons. The first was Lynch’s obsession with perfectionism which led to one of the shots of Henry Spence’s (Jack Nance) entrance taking a year to complete which justly explains the other four.
The other more substantial reason however, as is with many movies, was the lack of funding that caused a time lag. In the end the movie was practically fully funded by Lynch himself with the generous help of friends and family that donated their small incomes to the creation of this masterpiece.
There have been many interpretations of the dark plot of the movie, including many metaphorical and post-apocalyptic elucidations. The film follows Henry, a simple factory worker in a town taken over by industry.
After his girlfriend, Mary (Charlotte Stewart) gives birth to their child, Henry who is on vacation, is stranded alone in his apartment with the deformed and mutant-like baby who spends his days screaming away uncontrollably, driving Henry and Mary to misery and absurdity.
9. Cronos (Guillermo del Toro) – 8 Years
Despite being one of those directors obsessed with details, del Toro’s Cronos production was extended to 8 years for a slightly alternative budget reason.
By alternative, the implication is that unlike in many other cases, there was definitely enough money to start with; but as the shooting and production progressed the amount turned out insufficient as he began to drift onto the wrong side of the budget. This forced the extended production period as the director was forced to take out ridiculous loans to continue shooting, which made it a shame that the movie didn’t succeed in the financial sphere despite its clear-cut cult status.
Cronos tactfully tackles the theme of immortality, with the legend of an alchemist creating a device – the Cronos Device, that attaches itself to the human in charge, injecting the gift (or curse) of the envious immortal life. Now in the hands of an old antique dealer, the device turns under threat as a dying man (Claudio Brooke) upon reading about its magical effects desperately hires his nephew (Ron Perlman) to find this life saving machine, beginning a dangerous chase.
The story deeply reflects the battle of good and evil, as well as putting its take on the debate of the questionable choice of wanting to live forever and the price one pays for eternal life.
8. Avatar (James Cameron) – 10 Years
After finishing his work on the Titanic, Cameron was immediately ready to be plunged into the world on Pandora and its blue inhabitants. After second thoughts, however, he decided that the technology of the late 90s was not sufficiently advanced enough in order to create masterfully crafted CGI environment of the setting.
Therefore, the production was postponed for 10 years – but that doesn’t mean that the movie was simply put aside into the ‘waiting’ box. I fact, all of the time was much needed as it allowed focus on the screenplay development as well as the vital element of the Na’vi language that was built and developed by linguists from scratch.
Set over 100 years into the future, Avatar follows a team of scientists on a mission to understand the atmosphere of Pandora, since the energy resources on Earth have been exhausted. The beautiful planet is inhabited by equally beautiful three-metre-tall, blue creatures that live peacefully in nature. As Pandora’s atmosphere is toxic to humans, an Avatar program was launched, allowing well trained professionals to mentally take control of a man-made Na’vi creature model.
One of such operators is Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who is sent on the mission. As the story progresses, betrayal threatens the whole operation, while Sully’s developed closeness to the creatures becomes both a threat and an advantage. One thing is for sure, Cameron was right to wait for technology, as Avatar would not be the same without the captivating and mesmerising graphics.
7. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick) – 10 Years
If anyone loves attention to detail, it’s Terrence Malick, and by detail it is all of the little plants, leaves and insects that potentially enter the frame of his carefully planned and constructed shot. This is why the unusual war drama adapted from a novel of the same name, The Thin Red Line took a whole decade to finally finish.
After baffling his producers due to his most unusual requests of research material including various information books on wildlife and insects while filming a movie about war, it is only when the shooting began that it became obvious as to why Malick had some strange requests. Every other shot slowly manoeuvres its way from the war action to a piece of grass, or a small creature on the ground emphasising the connection of nature to humans, a theme quite common in the Malick genre.
The movie follows the Guadalcanal battle during the second World War. After the retreat of the exhausted Marines, a group of soldiers is brought in to defend and take the island from the Japanese forces.
The experience turns out to be horrendous and only highlights the uselessness of war. The only positive element to come out of the battle is the strong bond between the small group of soldiers that are faced not only with the weapons of their rivals but with the more simple difficulty of basic survival.
6. Vegas in Space (Philip R. Ford) – 10 Years
Doris Fish was one of the most widely known Drag Queens of San Francisco who left behind not only a huge legacy, but also an unforgettable and wild movie directed by Philip R. Ford. The reason for the decade of waiting is of course due to the fact that Fish and Ford spent 8 years simply trying to raise enough funds. This is no wonder considering the movie revolves around a planet called “Clitoris” and sex change.
The comedic science fiction film follows three male captains who travel from Earth to planet Clitoris, a land of pleasure, gambling and of course shopping, to investigate the theft of “Girlinium” – rare gems that in fact help the planet to stick to its orbit around the sun. Hired by the Empress the detectives are forced to go under cover as female lounge singers as not to arise suspicion, considering the planet has entrance-to-females-only regulation.
Disguised as lounge singers for the Empress, the travellers from Earth embark on their secret and dangerous mission to return the Girlinium stones back to their rightful owner and save the Planet from being destroyed by an earthquake due to its instability.