14 Sci-Fi And Fantasy Movies That Never Happened

A follow-up to our dream sequence feature , here’s a selection of films that never happened because they were all a dream (allegedly) or just someone’s flight of fancy…

Invaders From Mars (1953)

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The “plot”: Young boy in a small US town sees a spaceship crash land, and then witnesses everyone he knows being taken over by aliens.

The plot device: Classic “and it was all a dream” stuff. Just as all Hell breaks loose, with the army shooting missiles as the aliens, we never find out if humanity wins this war of the worlds, because young David wakes up. Swizz!

Cheese before bed? Almost certainly, if the Martian leader is anything to go by – a large, silent, disembodied head with blank, rolling eyes and tentacles emerging from each side.

Any hints it’s more than just a flight of fancy? You bet. After David’s parents calm him down, he goes back to his bedroom and watches through the window as the same spaceship crash lands again. Is that what they call a recurring nightmare?

Here we go again: The 1986 Tobe Hooper-directed remake dispensed with this whole dream shtick.



Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

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The “plot”: US soldier Jacob Singer (apparently) survives being gutted by a bayonet during the Vietnam War, but then, years later, when he’s back in New York, he starts having hallucinations about his dead son and being chased by demons.

The plot device: Of course he didn’t survive the gutting. He’s been dead all along and in some kind of limbo/purgatory induced by an experimental drug being used by the military.

Cheese before bed? Absolutely. Although Jacob’s hallucination starts off mundane enough, things soon escalate into true nightmare territory, with blurry-headed people, gruesome, malformed creatures and hospitals in desperate need of a deep clean, where they don’t use anesthetic when operating.

Any hints it’s more than just a flight of fancy? No. Unless you think purgatory really is like this.



Labyrinth (1986)

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The “plot”: Teenager Sarah turns out to be the worst babysitter in the world when she lets the Goblin King kidnap her baby brother and torture him by singing really bad David Bowie songs to him. She has to enter the Muppet-infested Labyrinth to get him back.

The plot device: Sarah wakes up in a room full of her toys, which are strangely reminiscent of the creatures she’s encountered in the Labyrinth.

Cheese before bed? Oh yes. A pit full of “helping” hands that form into faces that can talk; trolls; talking dogs; talking door knockers; fire sprites that can detach bits of their body; castle interior design by M Escher, to name but a few… Oh, and an overriding implication that the whole thing is some metaphor for Sarah’s interior struggle between her blossoming womanhood and her reluctance to leave childish things behind. Yeah, you thought it was just a kids’ film, but it’s actually Muppet soft porn.

Any hints it’s more than just a flight of fancy? Absolutely. After Sarah wakes up thinking it’s all been a dream, all her Muppet mates suddenly appear in her room and they have a big knees up. Or maybe it’s just another metaphor – sod leaving childish things behind and PARTY!



The Princess Bride (1987)

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The “plot”: The beautiful Buttercup is kidnapped and held against her will by the evil Prince Humperdinck who intends to marry her. Her childhood sweetheart, Westley, who’s now the Dread Pirate Roberts, sets out to save her.

The plot device: It’s a fairy story being read by a grandfather to his (initially bored) grandson.

Cheese before bed? Well, that’s what the grandson thinks he’s getting, in the form of some cheesy, romantic nonsense his grandadad insists on reading him. Pretty soon, though, he’s rapt with this tale of derring-do, fire-swamps and rodents of unusual size.

Any hints it’s more than just a flight of fancy? Nah. But it’s still great.



Alice In Wonderland (1951)

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The “plot”: Girl falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy land where things get curiouser and curiouser.

The plot device: Alice wakes up at the end of the film, and it was all a dream. This device, however, was not used in Lewis Carroll’s original book, where Alice was clearly simply out of her skull on absinthe. Curiously, it’s hard to determine at the start of the Disney film when Alice actually falls asleep. The best bet is when lays down in a patch of daisies, but she’s slap bang in the middle of a singing a song at that point, so that would be some feat.

Cheese before bed? Cheddar of the highest quality: Mad Hatters; walking, talking playing cards; teleporting cats; growing and shrinking potions; and Bill the Lizard chimney sweep.

Any hints it’s more than just a flight of fancy? Nope.


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