The Hulk is an unreleased movie that was completed in 1993, and starred Morton Downey Jr. as Bruce Banner. The film is notable for going against the established storyline in the comics in favor of a completely different plot. It was intended to be a star vehicle for Downey and was set to be released in the summer of 1994, but it ultimately never saw the light of day, until a copy of the film was discovered and spread online. The film has gained a cult following.
Bruce Banner (Morton Downey Jr.) works as an accountant for Vialcorp., a company that specializes in medical treatment. He is treated poorly by his boss Jack Harmon (Julius Harris), but he doesn't let it bother him (he has been holding his anger in for many years). As he prepares to go home for the night, he goes back to his cubicle, realizing that he forgot the keys to his car. Upon getting them, he overhears his boss discussing the effects of their products on consumers, citing various mutations that were inflicted upon them. Harmon brings up his plan to harvest the mutants to prevent them from potentially ruining the company. Bruce accidentally makes his presence known and he is chased by the guards. Bruce runs into one of the labs, and he gets into a fight with one of the guards, getting thrown into a vat of chemicals in the process. Bruce gets out and he barricades himself in a bathroom. The stress of getting killed gets to Bruce, and it puts him through a startling metamorphosis.
The transformation leaves Bruce as a giant hulking green monster. Bruce attempts to figure out what happened to him, but the guards eventually break into the bathroom. Realizing that they're going to kill him, Bruce attacks and ultimately kills the guards, and he escapes through the window. The next morning, Bruce awakens in his backyard, back to normal, with no memory of what happened the proceeding night. He enters his house and his wife (Melissa Gilbert) questions why he's half naked. Before Bruce could explain, a news report plays, regarding the attack at Vialcorp. The details regarding the attack are unclear, but Bruce gets the idea he might've been involved since his memory of the previous night goes as far back as him returning to his cubicle.
Bruce switches to a new set of clothes and he goes for a walk. He is soon taken by a group of thugs and put into their van. They plan on keeping him with them so that he could no longer be a threat to the company. Bruce then remembers the meeting he eavesdropped on, and he struggles to escape the thugs, triggering his transformation in the process. Upon escaping, he goes on a rampage across town which soon gets the attention of the army. Bruce manages to outmatch the army and he gets back home. His finds that his wife is in bed, and intoxicated. Bruce's primal instincts lead him to having sex with his wife, and he soon returns to normal after using up his energy.
His wife is unaware of what happened last night, but Bruce realizes what he has become, and he decides to use his power to put an end to Vialcorp. He manages to get control of the beast within him and he transforms a final time, storming off to the company. Bruce is put up against the guards and the mutants they've captured, and he manages to beat them all, but he soon faces his boss in a robotic suit. The two fight for a while, but Bruce overpowers Jack's suit and he imprisons him in a series of metallic bars. Bruce runs off before the police could arrive. Bruce is shown to be venturing in the shadows of the night. He considers using his powers for good, and he takes on the name The Hulk. He leaps off, looking for his next opportunity.
A post credit sequence reveals that Bruce's wife is pregnant, and she has given birth to a baby girl, who has green skin, implying that Bruce's DNA has altered her.
The film was a co-production between Check Studios and Vision PDG, and was set to be distributed by Triumph Releasing Corporation. Oliver Stone was tied as the director while Elliot Strange (then going by his real name Eli Corning) worked as a writer and supervising producer. Before the film could be revised before getting released, Stone dropped out of the project to direct Natural Born Killers. Due to him making up a grand bulk of the project, the production team lost all confidence in the final product, rendering the film un-fit for a theatrical release. Strange took offense to this and in his later film Belbury, he made a subtle diss toward Stone where he killed off the main characters from Natural Born Killers in a brief cameo. Downey also dropped out of the film because he felt that it would complicate his television career. Strange shared his sentiments and dropped the film entirely. Since then, Strange adopted his current pen name and works under it to this day.
In spite of never distributing the film, the Triumph logo is still present at the beginning. This was because the distributor was under the impression that the film would be released and that the company logos were the first to be edited into the film.
Availability and Rediscovery Edit
The film remained in obscurity for years. People were aware of it through television ads and a trailer for it on most VHS releases, but were never able to find the film in full. It was shown once at an undisclosed film festival, but was never seen again afterwards.
The film received mixed reviews. Criticism went towards the often corny dialogue and non-innovative plot line, but the film was praised for its special effects and casting choices. The film has often been compared to The Fantastic Four, another unreleased superhero movie centered around a Marvel superhero that was completed in the same year. Strange has since disowned this film.
It currently has a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading "It's another camp filled Marvel movie, but its charm goes beyond a faux talk show host wandering around shirtless and mugging at the camera, for the most part."