Spider-Man versus Kraven the Hunter (lost short fan film; 1974)

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Kraven the Hunter in Ultimate Spiderman

Status: Lost

[1] Spider-Man versus Kraven the Hunter is a 1974 student film produced at New York University. Directed by Bruce Cardozo, it was adapted from The Amazing Spider-Man #15 comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The project was not an officially licensed production by Marvel as they had outstanding licensing agreements at the time, but it did however recieve the approval of Stan Lee before starting production as well as his and other Marvel staff's high regards upon viewing the film.

Background

Bruce Cardozo proposed the project for his experimental film class as a 16mm, full-color, 30 minute semi-professional and comic book accurate Spider-Man movie which many of his classmates felt at the time couldn't be done, but his instructor agreed to let Cardozo proceed. Cardozo strived for perfection with his vision for the film as he wanted audiences to feel as though they were looking at the comic book characters come to life. Costumes were created by Daphne Stevens and Marilyn Hecht. Spider-Man's costume is heavily inspired by the work of Steve Ditko.

There were graphics designed by Richard Eberhardt such as Spider-Man's spider signal, which the character wears in the comics under his costume on a belt where he stores his web cartridges. The film reportedly used unusual lighting effects consistently throughout created by Art Schweitzer, and implemented many travelling matte shots of New York elements like a neon-lit Times Square to simulate the effect of Spider-Man swinging through the city instead of using static backdrops. There were large building sections built and laid horizontal to simulate Spider-Man climbing on buildings as well.

Synopsis

Joe Ellison played Peter Parker out of costume, but Richard Eberhardt played Spider-Man in-costume. Andrew Pastorio played J. Jonah Jameson. It is unknown who played Kraven the Hunter and Gwen Stacy, or any other characters. Despite mostly following the story of The Amazing Spider-Man #15, the film adds Gwen Stacy, who was not present yet in the comic story.

The plot centers around Spider-Man defeating a gang of thugs, but one escapes and calls on Kraven the Hunter to come to New York to defeat Spider-Man. It culminates in a final battle where Spider-Man, having discovered Kraven's secret is he drugs his opponents, must fight Kraven as he unleashes lions on Spider-Man. In the comic book story, the thug that escapes and calls Kraven the Hunter turns out to be fellow Spider-Man villain Chameleon- who is half-brothers with Kraven. It's unknown if the film includes this detail with the character being the Chameleon.

Availability

Cardozo was hoping to distribute the film in some way but at some point abandoned this idea, instead opting to show screenings of the film occasionally at comic book conventions (such as Marvel Con 76) over the years. The last known screening of the film was at the Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles in 2005.

In 2004, Bruce Cardozo had an email exchange with Dan Poole, director of another fan-made Spider-Man project from 1992 titled The Green Goblin's Last Stand, with Poole asking Cardozo if he could send the film via email for him to see. Cardozo refused to show it to anyone over the internet, but said he would happily screen it personally at his home in California if anyone desired. Poole noted he heard the actors in the film had prominent New York accents- it would not be until later official live-action portrayals of Spider-Man by Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland where the actor's portraying the character would incorporate some levels of a New York accent.

Cardozo would work in the film industry as a visual effects artist from 1980 until his passing in 2015, some of his work includes films such as The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and uncredited work on Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

With Cardozo's passing and his close-guarding of this project it remains to be seen if it will ever be released for the public. Unlike many other fan-productions, this film never surfaced in bootleg fashion at comic book conventions or online ever in any capacity which lends to its enigmatic status.

References

[1] [2] [3]

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