CONTENT WARNING!

This post contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all readers. The material in question includes:

- Bad language
- Flashing imagery (for the epileptic)
- Frightening imagery
- Terrorism and anti-Semitism
- Graphic violence
- Sexual and suggestive content
- Drug references
- Disturbing true crime stories
- Mental health topics (grief, schizophrenia, etc.)
- Political topics
- Mentions of trauma

Make no mistake⏤this post will eventually be about lost media, but I’d like to take a brief moment to preface with… something completely different. See, I frequently return to the Sonic Adventure series and Sonic Heroes pages on Gamebanana to check the comments on my mod releases. One of my mods for Sonic Adventure DX is called “Non-Anime Humans”, and my intent with it is made very clear in the description: to fix the inconsistencies in the human NPC art styles throughout the games. Whereas most Sonic games, like Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog, ’06, and Dark Brotherhood don’t have anime-style humans, SADX does, so my mod fixes that inconsistency. (It’s secretly also because the anime style freaks me out, though.) Granted, knowing the internet, I figured that people would still get uptight about the anime style being altered in spite of this very clear, concise, and reasonable explanation. I guessed correctly.

Oh, how revolting of me to type such a caption!

The first major complaint was in response to the caption on the cover image, which said in quotes, “Hurray! Our faces have finally been fixed!” User AngusET called me out, claiming that treating their faces as having been “fixed” as an objective fact⏤which I was in no way doing whatsoever⏤was somehow inflammatory, meaning he or she was in no way thinking too deeply into a harmless joke.

Thanks for the unnecessary “gotcha!” comment, Angus.

The other one I noticed received numerous positive responses by those who agreed. In their words, Sonic Adventure was intended as an anime story akin to Castle in the Sky, and therefore, all subsequent Sonic games should have maintained that anime style instead of switching to another. Now, this would be hard to argue with if there were any sources to back it up, and believe me, I did some extensive research of my own and found nothing that did. In fact, Sonic Retro describes the game’s art style as having been primarily inspired by graffiti street art, and the great god Wikipedia even mentions that Sonic Team specifically rejected usual anime voice actors for its cast.

“Man! No one ever cuts us any slack!”

I tried giving a polite but oppositional response using the information I’d compiled. This included the point that, although the captions for Big the Cat’s concept art on Sonic Retro mention that it appears to have been inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s (Studio Ghibli’s) animated works, there doesn’t appear to be any direct quotes from any interviews regarding Sonic Adventure that movies like Castle in the Sky inspired any aspect of the game. Even though this reply was significantly more objective and involved far deeper research, it received zero responses or stamps whatsoever. It really goes to show that some people are willing to hear anything about anime as long as it’s positive. Kind of like anti-Semites and anything bad about the Jews.

Of course, as I mentioned in a response to a friendly comment on the same mod, this is ultimately just another case of the internet being the internet, not to mention this is the same community where my entire account was scrubbed for unknown reasons after years of popular mod submissions and positive communications with other users because it’s apparently moderated by prepubescent children. So, on that note, let’s talk about something equally as niche but significantly more popular and fascinating—the nichest of niche topics that everyone who isn’t interested refers to as niche, but in all actuality, isn’t really all that niche after all. First, however, please take the time to watch this fun and meticulously edited intro video featuring “The Seeker” by The Who.

Speaking of things you can never get away from, lost media is exactly what the name makes it sound like: basically any physical or digital material that becomes rare or unavailable for any given reason. Now, it may seem like a very niche and obscure topic on the surface, but it’s actually a constant occurrence throughout history. Even people without a focus or interest in the subject may bring it up by happenstance. YouTube channels that I watch frequently like RedLetterMedia, Defunctland, and Nick Crowley have brought up lost films, TV episodes, etc. on numerous occasions, as well as many more channels that I haven’t watched in years. In fact, aside from popular lost media enthusiast Blameitonjorge, I don’t regularly follow any channels dedicated to it.

On the Lost Media Wiki and other such communities, the phenomenon has already been categorized into five main statuses: found, partially found, partially lost, lost, and existence unconfirmed, although I don’t have a clue what distinguishes partially found from partially lost. I typically use the term partially found, so I guess that makes me an optimist. Anywho, while I always stick with these statuses, I have developed two of my own for brevity’s sake: justified and unjustified. The former refers to media that’s had good reason to go missing, whether that be due to overwhelmingly negative reviews, terrible sales, offensive content, or real-world tragedy. Two prime examples are the majority of the universally hated teen program Nick Studio 10 and some terrible Nintendo DS game adaptation of Mean Girls.

The abysmal failure that no one’s looking for…
…and the one that way too many people have looked for.

As for the “unjustified” category, lots of lost media becomes lost based on questionable business decisions, mistakes, and oversights, thus giving it a reason to be sought out. Think classic game show episodes and influential silent films, the vast majority of which are still missing to this day and will probably stay that way forever. While old game shows are hard to come by due to having been “junked” by network executives to make room for new material, many silent films have been destroyed during numerous studio fires, like the devastating one at the MGM Studios storage vaults in 1965. Go figure.

Now, without further ado, I’m going to get into all of the most fascinating pieces of lost media in my book, but before I cover some of the most famous and sought-after ones among them, there’s a particularly funny, strange, and mysterious example that’s rarely been covered or talked about and relates to my favorite internet personalities.

RedLetterMedia is one of the most successful film and television criticism organizations on the internet⏤and more specifically YouTube⏤but long before they started sitting through and trying to piece together horrid cinematic garbage while inebriated on Best of the Worst and using a VCR repair company to loiter in a confused elderly man’s house on Half in the Bag, they were low-budget filmmakers responsible for such tongue-in-cheek and juvenile dreck as Gorilla, Interrupted (2002) and Space Cop (2016). The true extent of their filmmaking experience was revealed in 2017, however, when they released a Best of the Worst spotlight episode on director Vitaliy Versace’s teen romance “”””””masterpiece””””””, The Last Vampire on Earth.

Mike reveals in the episode that, sometime in the distant past, the team created an animated short film called Hallo, Friends! It’s Sergio! about a sweet-natured European man and aspiring American filmmaker. Supposedly, Jay was responsible for drawing the characters and set pieces, and Sergio had an unnamed girlfriend and a physically abusive father. Several parts of the film were shown in the episode, and a couple included the original audio, but unlike most of their short films, this one was never made available in full. While that is disappointing, a pinned comment on that spotlight episode was able to clear the air for everyone like me who might’ve been interested.

Yep, these guys are always either brutally honest or brutally dishonest.

Due to its partially found status, it only made sense for a Lost Media Wiki page for the film to be created, and for a while, it seemed like it was destined to remain as unrecoverable as the silent film reels at MGM…

…well, that is, save for a rather interesting comment that has since been deleted, which contained a link to what appeared to be an unfinished cut of the original project on some obscure video hosting site. Since then, it’s been re-uploaded to YouTube and the Internet Archive, and the full screenplay was leaked along with it.

Aside from being based on only a small chunk of the screenplay, it couldn’t be more obvious when watching this cut (especially the latter half) that the project was never finished, with brief cameos by several otherwise unseen characters spliced in and even a shot of Sergio moving his mouth even though no words come out. As for who found and uploaded the cut, as well as how he or she did so… well, perhaps, that’s a mystery for another day.

“Clockman” is a name that most would hear and assume once belonged to some campy Silver Age comic book villain. To lost media fans, however, it sparks memories of the long, arduous five-year search for one of the most well-known pieces of lost media. The piece in question is a 2D stop-motion short that was played on the 1970s Nickelodeon series Pinwheel, and although accounts of the short’s contents varied between users, they always included the same basic premise: a young child being abducted in the dead of night by a creepy bearded man who emerges from the clock on his or her wall.

“We all float down here, Jorge!”

The first known user to describe the short was a forum user named Commander Santa, who described it as being about a young boy whose clock stops at midnight while he’s asleep. A bearded man crawls out of the clock and snatches him away, after which he takes him on “some kind of terrifying adventure and brings him back to his bed before sunrise.” ’70s Nickelodeon, ladies and gentlemen. Anywho, his fellow users were very split on whether to believe him, with the interest of some being piqued while others called it out as nothing more than a creepypasta, but that started to change upon the discovery of a post by someone named Michael W. Howe on the Animation Nation forum several years prior. He provided a description of a similar short, albeit featuring a little girl and containing a far deeper story that goes on before and after her abduction.

Thus, the five-year hunt began, and it ended when user NitrateNerd discovered a listing for a short called About Dressy Sally on a library catalog service called WorldCat, which led him or her to a Czechoslovakian cartoon that matched Howe’s description on… well… YouTube. That’s right⏤people had spent five years scouring online databases, contacting Pinwheel staff members, and following numerous false leads for a video that was lying under their noses all along. As it turned out, the sketch went missing after the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, but it was later found and licensed by a group called Coe Films to be shown on Pinwheel. After the original Czech version was discovered, the English dub produced by the Learning Company of America before it was bought out by New World Entertainment was also uploaded to YouTube.

Granted, the big question here is this: how scary is the short? The sort of lame but fairly satisfying answer is, not at all. I can see it freaking me out at age six, but because I was scared by some weird shit at age six, I doubt that means a whole lot. In the actual short, the main character Sally loses her favorite orange gloves and receives a new pair by a bearded wizard, but only as long as she tells her mother what happened. When she decides not to and goes to sleep instead, the wizard kidnaps her, but she makes up for her cowardly refusal by helping him fill the night sky with stars. She then tells her mother the truth and earns her forgiveness upon being returned home, thus learning a valuable lesson in honesty. Truly a terrifying adventure.

Commander Santa’s recreation.
When reality (and adulthood) sets in.

So, with Clockman having been described as this haunting animated short only to be rediscovered as a wholesome children’s tale decades later, you might get the automatic impression that a long-lost Sesame Street sketch from a similar era can’t be anywhere close to as scary as its viewers seem to remember. Yeah, well… don’t speak too soon, because this sketch in particular still gives me the creeps at age twenty-three, even though I honestly seem to be alone in that. For the sake of fairness, let’s look at it this way: more grown adults are inclined to be freaked out by Cracks than Clockman.

A user named Jon Armond was the first to draw widespread attention to this missing sketch, describing the events in near-perfect detail and claiming that it’s stuck with him since he saw it on TV as a child in the ’80s. Strangely, he was later sent a copy by an unknown source with an untraceable fax number, but only under the condition that he never release it to the public except for an audio documentary that he was working on at the time. Not long afterwards, Lost Media Wiki owner Dycaite⏤an active participant in the search for the sketch who was baffled by Armond’s harsh instructions⏤was sent a copy of his own, although the production card at the start of his copy implied that it came straight from the studio. Since the email it was attached to contained zero orders or restrictions, let alone any text at all, he uploaded it to the Wiki’s official YouTube channel, where it’s been available for viewing since.

While this was a major accomplishment, especially considering how difficult it is to release and archive lost Sesame Street material due to copyright, many of those interested in the topic wanted more information on the production of the sketch and who was responsible for it. Although prolific cartoonist Cosmo Anzilotti was confirmed to have not been involved with the production after much rumor of his involvement, a woman named Dorothy Moskowitz agreed to a phone interview. Funny enough, not only was she the narrator of the sketch, but she’d previously performed as the lead vocalist of the ’60s experimental rock band, The United States of America. She called Cracks the strangest recording session she ever attended, but she couldn’t offer any other information regarding the production aside from a vague description of an oddly dressed fellow attendee. To this day, the main crew behind Cracks is unknown.

The United States of America, featuring Moskowitz and… wait, is that Paul Dano to her right?!

In hindsight, most people online (save for the Huffington Post, that is) see Cracks the same way as Clockman, in that it’s surprisingly innocent and isn’t anywhere close to as frightening as it was remembered. As for me, on the other hand, I have to side with the Post and their belief that it’s “eerie” and “haunting”, and while that’s mostly a result of the score and animation, the premise alone is enough to make it so. The main character is a young dark-skinned girl sitting by herself in an empty, dreary bedroom with cracked walls. Because it’s raining outside and she can’t go out and play, she imagines the cracks on her walls transforming into a camel and coming to life. She rides off on its back and meets fellow “crack creatures” Crack Hen and Crack Monkey, and together, the group finds an angry face made up entirely of… well… cracks. The face screams its name, the Crack Master, and subsequently crumbles away, exposing the beams of wood on the other side. With the rain outside having subsided, the girl then leaves her new friends, hoping to “see the cracks again someday.” Thank the lord she never did.

On the subject of the setting, score, and visual style, that’s where Cracks really starts to freak me out. Putting aside the fact that the girl has to befriend the cracks on her walls because her home is presumably just that crappy and lifeless, the animation and character designs are incredibly stilted and off-putting. In fact, Moskowitz might as well have done the soundtrack, as it’s basically an avant-garde composition using dull wind and percussion tracks, making it more appropriate for a David Lynch film like Eraserhead than an educational series aimed at preschoolers. Speaking of Moskowitz, she’s the only saving grace of the sketch, as her soft reading of the script and soothing, melodic voice creates a pleasantly comforting atmosphere. It’s a damn shame that it’s completely at odds with everything else that makes the entire final product a dreary, experimental nightmare.

Guess it’s fuckin’ soul-eating season.

Would you believe that NASA once conceived an animated sci-fi adventure film following a successful space probe mission? That actually happened, and not only was it lost media until somewhat recently, but it’s the first example on this post that’s only as intriguing as it is because of its background information. To start, the very operation that inspired it involved the Cassini orbiter, which took a variety of stunning high-resolution photographs of the planet Saturn and its moons and, after detaching from the Huygens probe, landed on Titan, the largest moon among them all.

One of the many cosmic beauties captured by Cassini-Huygens.

With the mission declared a success, NASA teamed up with Digimax, a Taiwanese animation studio, to produce a science fiction epic that would feature a scientifically accurate depiction of our universe thanks in part to the imagery gathered by Cassini-Huygens. It was directed by a scientist and writer by the name of Harry “Doc” Kloor and shown at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville, but after that…

…poof. Gone. Like it never even happened.

That’s not to say a lot wasn’t known about it, however. It’s been known to feature an astonishing cast of Hollywood and voice acting talents, including Mark Hamill, Tom Kenny, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Jason Alexander, Chris Pine, William Shatner (yes, both Captain Kirks!), and above all else, Neil friggin’ Armstrong. This made Quantum Quest the Apollo 11 astronaut’s first and only acting credit. Multiple trailers were also made widely available, and these alone offered plenty of hints as to why the project was basically disowned and left unreleased for so long.

From watching these trailers, many would move on to make rather apt connections between this film and the notorious animated disaster Foodfight! The animation for Quantum Quest, for example… well… it’s certainly better than that of Foodfight!, but I don’t suppose that’s a very high compliment. It also seemed primarily dependent on its impressive cast, dealt with numerous production issues (the hard drives containing the original version of Foodfight! were stolen, hence the cheap and rushed final product), and was released rather quietly, having only been shown at one science center (Foodfight! was given a quiet direct-to-DVD release.)

Sometimes, you just can’t tell how bad something looks until you’re shown a comparison…

Basically, the plot can be broken down to a war taking place within our very own solar system. Black Doom… I mean, Ares… I mean, The Void (he’s the villain, so obviously Mark Hamill) and his greedy generals are being fought off by neutrino forces and the best of the “sun citizens” such as the protagonist, a photon and child of The Core (William Shatner) named David (Chris Pine). He joins a super-hip solar proton named Jammer (Hayden Christensen) and a “neutrino scout” named The Ranger (Amanda Peet) to stop The Void and, along the way, come to understand the basics of astrophysics, motion physics, and quantum science concepts. So, yeah… it was technically also an educational film. And sort of like Osmosis Jones, apparently.

Blameitonjorge assumed in his third lost media case files video that simply too much information was known about Quantum Quest for it to remain lost. I mean, sure, he said the same thing about a lost Super Smash Bros. livestream that still hasn’t been found, but he turned out to be accurate with this film, as it was just made available for viewing on digital platforms like Vudu and Apple TV last year. While this wasn’t quite as anticipated as watching Pikachu get tail-whipped by Yoshi⏤especially by me⏤it’s certainly a victory for lost media fans everywhere.

Thanks! I (probably) hate it.

Even compared to Quantum Quest, A Day With SpongeBob is particularly unique and frequently spoken about among lost media enthusiasts. It’s true that this film is only fun to discuss based on the story behind it rather than the film itself, but… this film… doesn’t actually exist. Well, once upon a time, it was supposed to, and there’s been loads of evidence for its existence over the years, but it never came to be for… well… reasons. What makes this film so conceptually alluring, though, is that it may have acted as one enormous money-laundering scheme for its production company.

Considering the stock image kid, freelance artwork, and fake quotes, I’m pretty sure none of this poster is real.

Where do you even begin with the story? Well, an Amazon page made this film available for preorder, prompting the creation of a Lost Media Wiki page for it. With some additional research, however, it was learned that (a) the production company on the poster, Inovisim Films, is a pseudonym for Reagal Films; (b) the website for Reagal is infected with a trojan virus, making it a nightmare to access; and (c) the address of their main offices leads to a shopping mall food court. When anyone associated with Reagal was contacted, they responded with either confusion or denial, sometimes even hanging up abruptly. One supposed producer named Jason Boritz even experienced a psychotic episode over the phone before the caller, a user named ObscurusDoom, could even make the purpose of the call clear. Luckily, contact was eventually made with a former producer named Lorenzo Holley—a man who was previously seen using a forum to direct an aspiring filmmaker to a sexual massage parlor (before you ask, that part is admittedly true)—which led to further contact with the “original creator” of the film, who was referred to by his nickname, “Mr. Orange”.

Former film producer. Current organic food CEO. Possible meth addict.

Mr. Orange explained his supposed John Hughes-inspired vision and the difficulties that came with bypassing the obvious copyright issues during an extensive phone interview with a YouTube channel called Ongoing Mysteries, which honestly boggles the mind with why he’d even bother making the thing without the proper licensing. Aside from the few materials in his possession, he made it clear that nothing from the film is accessible online (not including anything that might’ve been leaked, obviously), and that the first five pages of the script have been written. These pages were shown in Ongoing Mysteries’s video, and along with the plot synopsis on Amazon, it’s clear that the film was meant to tell the story of SpongeBob trying to revive his fading popularity by running a contest called “Spend a Day With SpongeBob”. A young boy named Seth wins the contest and joins the naïve fry cook on a hair-raising adventure, presumably when the contest leads to some unknown complications. Aside from the first couple scenes, none of the in-depth plot is known. Now that the search team has long since moved on and the websites for the film’s distributors and production company have been closed, the chances of A Day With SpongeBob being released or even made are near zero.

So, how many sexual massage parlors do you know, Lorenzo? I think that’s the real mystery here!

Let’s call this the “Oscar scene” of the script.

Look out, Sam Raimi! Even Japanese Spider-Man (Supaidāman) doesn’t predate this piece of lost media that could’ve been the epic debut of Marvel’s beloved web-slinger on the big screen! Then again, let’s stay true to what the film actually was, as it was only a fan film made by a college student in 1974. However, it was based loosely on a popular issue of the comic featuring the Chameleon and Kraven the Hunter, it starred fan-favorite characters like J. Jonah Jameson and Gwen Stacy, and the details of its production made it clear that it was quite an innovative project at the time.

Indeed, this sad tale was brought to a standstill when the director, Bruce Cardozo, was denied the rights to the character by Stan Lee, who offered any other Marvel character for free but wanted Spider-Man for himself⏤no doubt pissing off his pals Jack and Steve. As detailed in an issue of Marvel’s FOOM magazine, a challenge in the film’s production was capturing Spider-Man’s wall-crawling talent. Resourcefully, this ability was worked in with the use of traveling matte shots, which dazzled audiences according to Cardozo. However, the labor that went into the production and the fight for the character’s property rights became too much for him, and the film was shelved altogether. Now, while it was obviously never shown to the public again, the story still doesn’t end there. Decades later, it was mentioned in an online interview with Dan Poole, the director of a famous fan-film called The Green Goblin’s Last Stand and the… ummm… not-so-famous “superhero” film, The Photon Effect.

A traveling matte shot in action.
The only known photo of Kraven.
Peter “The Perm” Parker, in the flesh!
J.J.J. here, seen scoffing at a surgeon general’s warning.
Who knew Siegel and Shuster started off specializing in gay comics? How progressive!
“Tell the big boy I said… hello.”

…and while it still would’ve been, it could’ve ended much more positively if readers wanted it to. Surely, that says a lot about Jason’s popularity at the time, but regardless, a toll-free number was offered in the prior issues to the arc’s conclusion so readers could vote for one out of two endings: his death or survival. Presumably, an alternate ending would’ve been written and illustrated should readers have wanted him to survive, but until DC Daily’s Robin Week of 2020, it would never be shown to the public.

During the fan event, the unfinished ending would be shown briefly on video. Batman is relieved to notice Jason’s breathing and tosses him into a nearby cargo truck to be driven off. He has one last exchange with Dick Grayson (Nightwing) while the young rebel recovers in the hospital, claiming that he’d prefer to continue his career and face Joker alone from that point on. Granted, this can only be seen throughout the lone bottom row of one page, another completed page, and one last partially completed page. Only the penciling and inking are complete, as none of the pages have been colored.

The epiphany that was never meant to be.
Bruce walking into the light instead of Jason, for some reason.

Thankfully, the one completed page was released with the hardcover remaster, complete with color. The only other noticeable difference is the added narration boxes, both of which self-reference the ending’s “what if?” nature, as well as the sad reality of what happened to the promising new Boy Wonder. I suppose the one silver lining of his death is that Batman would never endanger another budding sidekick or surrogate son again… unless they’re either bisexual or artificially gestated by ancient terrorists, that is.

I guess “how is he alive?” is the real mystery here…

As a rather niche subgenre of lost media⏤a rather niche topic in and of itself, essentially making this subgenre a niche topic sandwich of sorts⏤the origins of images and videos related to creepypasta horror stories have been uncovered by those interested in recent years, now that the internet fad’s dipped so heavily in popularity. While the Backrooms, the myth that the heading image above is associated with, have an entire online mystery centered around them, I’ll be very briefly discussing three others that I remember from my creepypasta-reading days as a teenager.

I think I saw this on Adult Swim at 3 AM…

This old Bob Hope-looking weirdo used to be a common screamer image, but the only real creepypasta that it was directly associated with was called Gurgles and Bugman, a user’s account of a disturbing, snuff-like children’s show starring two clown hosts. It’s also been used by a now-banned Facebook user named Ahenobarbus Henocied, who would send graphic content and mysterious coordinates to children. Even though some people are looking even deeper, it seems to be a simple photoshop of a novelty Japanese doll.

I can’t believe Nine-Inch Nails got away with this album cover!

For the record, this is not a still from a deleted scene for Event Horizon. It was actually the ending photo for a story written about a Super Mario World ROM hack, of all things, but its actual origins prior to the story are unknown. In the creepypasta, it was created when a text file included with the hack was converted into an image file, and it appears to match a nasty crime scene description provided within the hack. Let’s hope detectives find the eyeballs someday.

Oh, no! I hate this story! Cute-ify it, internet!
Awww! Thanks! It’s adorable now!

This one needs no introduction… well, the leftmost one, anyway. Turns out, at the same time that I’m reimagining Jeff the Killer as a heroic pothead named Nelson Nash for my comic series, the widely scorned creepypasta’s already been reignited amidst a search for the original, unedited image. The tangled mess that this search became involved everything from a girl bullied on 4chan who never existed to a latex mask to a Japanese urban legend video to an early version coated in whiteout, as shown on the right.

I must say, it feels wholly appropriate that even the imagery linked to creepypastas blurs the line between what’s real and what’s just a pile of convenient bullshit.

Now, see, this is where we really get into the territory of justified lost media, the stuff that we shouldn’t even bother seeking out. Some of the most traumatizing pieces in this category are live recordings of horrific real-world incidents, such as the on-air suicide of news reporter Christine Chubbuck, the Columbine shooters’ basement tapes, and worst of all, the Hetalia: Axis Powers stage musicals. Augh…

Anywho, the two examples that I’ll be providing are instances of twisted individuals who decided that dissecting and devouring their fellow man just wasn’t enough⏤no, they had to record every unsavory second for whatever ungodly reason. These two international cannibals to record sickening pieces of currently lost media that the world should never have to see are Armin Meiwes of Germany and Issei Sagawa of Japan. I recommend listening to this apt but calming tune by Wilco to cheer you up as you read.

Brandes and Meiwes, left to right. I always wondered how Eugene Levy died…

So, Meiwes has a somewhat interesting twist to the crime he committed, which is that his victim⏤a man named Bernd Brandes⏤was actually his newfound lover with a genuine desire to be eaten. I suppose somebody on Earth was bound to have one, given all the nonsensical fetishes out there. The two of them met on a deep web site called the Cannibal Café, and they met in person to flirt and drink wine together before Brandes was killed. Thankfully, this twist clearly didn’t faze the German justice system, as Meiwes was still sentenced to life in prison, especially considering he continued to stab his victim to death when Brandes briefly reconsidered.

Hartevelt and Sagawa, left to right. You’d think the Japanese police got their act together after the Aum Shinrikyo fiasco…

Unfortunately, the same level of justice (and reason) wasn’t upheld in this case. Issei Sagawa had befriended fellow student Renée Hartevelt at a French university, and the two gathered at her apartment to “read poetry”. Instead, he shot her in the back and used an electric knife to… well, the rest of the story tells itself. It’s safe to say his defense that he was just trying to “absorb her power” didn’t hold up well in court, as he was immediately institutionalized for several years before being transferred to Japan. There, not only was he released, but he subsequently became a minor celebrity, author, and… restaurant critic. I won’t blame the Japanese justice system specifically for such a punch in the gut to Hartevelt and her family, as this kind of injustice happens everywhere. Not that my social life will see any improvements as a result of that.

Phew! Off that subject! Let’s get back to the lighter stuff. As a big-time Sonic the Hedgehog fan who only really likes a mere three games, this one canceled title has fascinated me for years, but more because of its legacy than anything else. In 1998, the SEGA Dreamcast title Sonic Adventure was responsible for completing the transition of the ’90s icon into the 3D era. I grew up playing Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut on the GameCube pretty religiously, and that makes the series-changing cancelation of Sonic X-Treme such a meaningful tale in my book. Granted, for this one, we have to go back to the previous SEGA console.

A cleaner HD update of the final box art design.

Then again, technically, X-Treme’s development spanned three systems: the 32X, the Saturn, and PC. Whereas the vision for the game was radically different in the earliest stages and worked on under the name Sonic Mars, development had to be restarted on the Saturn under the working title “Project Condor”. Numerous plot details and gameplay mechanics were introduced during this stage, and one especially noticeable graphical element was the usage of 2D sprites of 3D models, as were used for all playable and non-playable characters. Due to one of the lead programmers coming down with pneumonia, the project had to be canceled in 1996, the year of its intended release. Below is a collection of demos and promotional material for the 32X stage, Sonic Mars.

Now, the two major officially released titles afterwards were technically the result of an emerging development project called “Project Sonic”. A complex RPG was being made for the Saturn, but after the Dreamcast was unveiled, Sonic Team had to choose whether to utilize a potentially outdated system or start over on the new generation of consoles with greater technological capabilities. Although they started a new project on the Dreamcast, their Saturn prototype was released as a feature in the Sonic Jam collection called “Sonic World”. As for the new Dreamcast game, that would lead to new character designs, a revolutionary storytelling style and structure, overhauled gameplay mechanics, full 3D graphics as opposed to 2D sprites, and a more diverse and higher-quality soundtrack than ever before. Basically, if X-Treme was released back in ’96 as intended, the franchise never would’ve been taken in such a unique and innovative direction!

Even with X-Treme having been trashed in favor of a childhood favorite of mine, the impact of its legacy can still be felt today. For one, the topsy-turvy, gravity-defying gameplay structure seems to have been reintroduced in Sonic: Lost World, albeit without the nauseating fisheye lens. Additionally, the game’s varying stages of development also meant that plenty of story ideas were plotted out and reconsidered. The shattering of the Master Emerald was a plot event recycled for Sonic Adventure (which unleashed Chaos, a villain made of water so the developers could implement a character who couldn’t have been made on older systems), but originally, it was going to unleash a team of “six deadly creatures”, which could have provided the groundwork for the Deadly Six from Lost World.

Aside from several PC demos and a limited Saturn test demo, X-Treme has been brought to life by fans in the form of numerous recreations, ranging between an all-out remake called Sonic Z-Treme to be used with a physical Saturn console or virtual Saturn emulator; a long-term PC project dubbed “Project AXSX”; and a four-world demo built using the Unity game engine called Sonic X-Treme: Unity. The video embedded below consists of a PC demo compilation re-encoded using footage of Project AXSX, featuring the catchy and adventurous unused theme song for X-Treme titled “Space Queens”.

The battle with a house-sized Metal Sonic.
Is Fang about to step on Sonic like a cockroach?
Oh, god! I can’t handle all the ’90s!
Good… I was about to hurl…

For the record, I never had much against Electronic Arts’s reboot of the Star Wars: Battlefront series, especially as a PC user who can mod it as much as he likes. However, it’s fun to think about what could’ve happened if the series saw a proper continuation nearly a decade earlier, and thanks to its unfortunate fate so close to completion, Star Wars: Battlefront III is a lost media favorite of mine. This is also due in part to the wondrous and harmonious vibes that it gives off every time I perform research on it or play the enhanced pre-alpha that was leaked in recent years. Despite this strange emotional connection that I’ve developed with it (probably just another weird autism thing), the reality of its development process was… well… anything but magical.

Have you ever danced with the Nightsister in the pale city light?

Whereas the beloved first two Battlefront games were developed by the long-defunct studio Pandemic, the third installment was handed down to Free Radical Design, who quickly formed an impressively ambitious vision. Basically, with every planet and location included (Corsucant, Hoth, Endor, Cato Nemoidia, Tatooine, Bespin, Dantooine, Dathomir, Mustafar, etc.), there would be two gargantuan land and space segments that the player could use a starfighter or other spacecraft to fly between seamlessly, making for the ultimate large-scale galactic warfare experience.

Free Radical’s cooperation with LucasArts began as cordial, but the publishers began to take notice of their intolerably slow pace and inability to meet deadlines and reach important milestones. In fact, another ultimately canceled project of theirs, Haze, had been behind by more than a year, and this productivity issue led to numerous internal problems. Long after Battlefront III was junked, both sides would point fingers at each other in interviews, with a former Free Radical employee calling out LucasArts for being overly intent on cost reduction and a former LucasArts employee calling Free Radical and their overambition “akin to a Ponzi scheme”. Isn’t the corporate world magical? Remind me to never follow in my dad’s career footsteps…

X2, now a noble (and emotionless) jedi.
No resemblance to Palpatine here!
A nasty experiment? Does this mean stormtroopers are seen as… expendable?!
“Laugh it up, fleshball!”

However it all might’ve ended, no one can deny that there was a substantial amount of effort and ingenuity that went into what could’ve been just another standard sequel. One of the most disappointing realities with the game’s cancelation is the fact that Battlefront IV was already being planned out, as well, although I suppose whether that was Free Radical’s passion for creative game development or just their unrealistic level of ambition is still up for debate. Not only would it have featured a complex class customization system, but it would’ve made use of numerous “what if?” scenarios in the place of existing events throughout the main saga, with many jedi and sith switching sides and even the emergence of “Emperor Vader”, implying that Palpatine was intended to die earlier on. Surely, Free Radical has lived up to their name by falling apart with age.

The coolest redesign to ever make zero sense.
“Tell your sister… you were dead wrong.”
Breaking news! The “hairless harpy” has seen the light!
That still is NOT Sebastian Stan!

There are two last noteworthy pieces of information regarding Battlefront III… or, at least, in terms of what I’m willing to include here. First off, the PSP title Battlefront: Elite Squadron has been unofficially referred to as a barebones version of Battlefront III, as it features much of the same story and characters like Jedi General Ferroda and force-sensitive clones X1 and X2, but lacks the complex land and space gameplay structure. Second of all, a pre-alpha build has been leaked online after being discovered on an Xbox 360 development kit, and it can still be played on the 360 emulator Xenia. Mods have even been made to correct numerous bugs, graphical defects, and performance issues. A YouTuber named FuZaH has released a story mission video comparing two builds of the game being emulated back-to-back using the enhancement mods released by the Free Radical Archive team.

Paste “we have Battlefront III at home” meme here.

I might’ve played up Renée Hartevelt’s death footage, Spider-Man vs. Kraven, and Battlefront III as some of the most saddening lost media stories… and Hartevelt’s story still takes the cake, but among lost fictional works, this piece in particular is ironically and unironically the most disheartening, especially given how low the chances are of it ever seeing the light of day. This little-known unreleased game, Sadness, was developed by a studio called Nibris as a psychological horror experience for the Wii. It told the story of an aristocrat named Maria Lengyel who’s forced to protect her son Alexander after he becomes blind as a result of their train derailing in the middle of Victorian-era Russia. A tangled mystery begins to unravel around him and his strange newfound behaviors, giving off vibes of atmospheric gothic horror films like The OmenThe Babadook, and The Hole in the Ground.

Oh, no! The Bird Box challenge has been revived!

The real appeal for me aside from that plot, which itself has so much potential for intelligent, historical background-infused horror with nightmarish visuals and environments (including some decaying gothic architecture and German expressionist-style dead trees that give me nostalgic “Autumn of the Seraphs” by Pinback vibes), is the supposed abundance of mental health themes regarding debilitating illnesses like narcolepsy and paranoid schizophrenia. Hell, there may have even been a multitude of metaphors regarding grief and insanity, considering Maria loses both her husband and remaining children along the way. I sure as hell wouldn’t have played anything like it on the family-friendly Wii growing up, that’s for sure.

I always wanted to see Pinback’s “Fortress” music video in game form…

Yeah… after that dreary game and its equally dreary fate, why not liven things up again by talking about a wholesome children’s wildlife series? Now, throughout elementary school, I was fascinated by wildlife of all kinds (marine life was my jam, however), having searched for various animals in various ecosystems with my dad in the books I read. He even came up with an… interesting game called “Eat, Hug, Marry”, where we’d both have to pick out at least one animal from each page of The Great Dinosaur Search and The Great Animal Search that we’d… well… do any of the above with. Hence how “that one looks chewy” practically became a meme among my immediate family. Anywho, you can be sure that I read plenty of encyclopedias by Dorling Kindersley (DK) about the subject, and despite the many VHS releases of their educational video series, Amazing Animals, most of the show had been lost since I was very little.

Each episode would be focused on a different group of animals based on their traits, behaviors, or classification, and they were all hosted by a sass-talking low-quality CG lizard named Henry. I’ve actually seen the Lost Media Wiki page for this series many times before, but no fond memories would be sparked until I watched Blameitonjorge’s video on lost media found in 2021. Considering just the names SpongeBob and Zoboomafoo spark powerful feelings, I don’t suppose this show was ever one of my favorites, but two clips from Jorge’s video were the ones that finally brought the memories of it back to me. The first was the intro, with a magical chest cracking open and spilling out rainbow light before a variety of animals hurry into frame over a white background. The latter was from the episode “Mini-Beasts”, where Henry gets the shit scared out of him by Shelob from Lord of the Rings. I have some weird memories.

“YOU PICKED THE WRONG HOUSE, FOOL!”
Time to pop those champagne bottles open!

Don’t let the crappy Mickey Mouse costume pictured above fool you. We are getting into the darker stuff, but I’ll be sure to finish off this post with something lighthearted for number sixteen. It’s true that this mostly lost show has been viewed and recounted as unintentionally hilarious, having inspired numerous popular memes and even multiple segments of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show during the 2000s, but once you have the full context of Tomorrow’s Pioneers, it’s not all fun and games anymore. In fact, it may very well be the most disturbing children’s show ever created, and by a very wide margin.

This show started airing amidst the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine, which started when Israel attempted to reclaim Palestinian land that’s technically indebted to them under Jewish belief. However, countless Palestinian citizens were displaced and/or crammed into the Gaza Strip as a result, and one jihadist group called Hamas was especially outraged. Their trademark television station, Al-Aqsa TV⏤named after the world-famous mosque in Jerusalem⏤was known for airing plenty of violent, hate-fueled propaganda, but among the most obscure of their programming was Tomorrow’s Pioneers, which stood out as the only instance of propaganda aimed at young children. The show’s political lessons were painfully on-the-nose, and as each season transitioned into the next, the anti-Semitic and emotionally manipulative messaging got increasingly more graphic and chaotic.

The Mickey Mouse ripoff you’re seeing above, a co-host during the first season named Farfour, was not only the source of most memes related to the show⏤the show was actually sued by Disney’s legal team and even Walt Disney’s own family. In response to the legal threats, the show acted accordingly by killing off Farfour and turning him into a martyr. At the end of the first season, he was beaten to death by an Israeli official for refusing to hand over the deed to his ancestors’ land. Yes, this on-air assault was a meme in and of itself, but Farfour was far from the last costumed co-host to be killed off and consequently martyred. The next two were Nahoul the bee, who died from an illness due to a lack of medical supplies, and Assoud the rabbit, who succumbed to his injuries after the Al-Aqsa TV studio was bombed with Israeli missile strikes. Hey, try laughing as a Palestinian seven-year-old watching these deaths happen right before your eyes, you ethnocentric bastards!

Farfour faces the true extent of Jewish rage.
Thanks to Nahoul, the children of Palestine will never bee the same.
Assoud kept hoppin’ ’til he just couldn’t hop no more.

Yes, all of these can be seen as potentially memeable due to their visual and conceptual absurdity, and sure, imagining the impact that these had on the children in the area at the time may be enough to silence that laughter, but by far the most shocking part of the show will accomplish way more than that. During the fourth season with co-host Nasur the bear, the son and daughter of a then-deceased suicide bomber for Hamas were brought onto an episode. The mother, Reem Rayisha, had blown herself up along with four Israeli soldiers at a border crossing station, and the same kids who’d just lost their mother were shown a staged recreation of her death, explosion and all. Then, an actor about the age of the sister picked up a firearm, pledging to follow in Rayisha’s footsteps. The layers of trauma and manipulation behind this episode are beyond indescribable, but did it really happen? I mean, most of the show is missing, after all. Well… why don’t you watch the embedded video below and see for yourself?

By all accounts, this 1980s oddball travesty followed humanoid aliens from a distant planet called Zoran as they come (for some reason) with the express purpose of duking it out with American and Soviet pro-wrestlers. I’m sure they could arrive to help us with far greater issues at stake, like climate change and embarrassing visual novel games, but I guess I can’t blame them for getting their priorities straight. Anywho, this apparently led to all manner of blood-soaked, extraterrestrial-beheading cinematic bliss, as can be seen by watching the one source of recorded material for the whole movie: a brief string of public access-level late-night infomercials. In these infomercials, we thankfully get the true highlight of the whole experience. See, the film was produced by none other than a mail-order jewelry company called Santo Gold, which was run by a mysterious conman with Tourette’s syndrome named Santo Victor Rigatuso. He starred in the film as a vocal “”””””legend”””””” named Santo Gold and sang a jazzy promotional tune for his company, backup singers and all. Ah, how charmingly shameless!

Now, unrelated to the film, it would appear that Rigatuso and his company got into a little hot water with the law. See, not only were they illegally offering customers with low credit scores official Santo Gold “credit cards”, but their gold jewelry was basically just cheap metal with an outer layer of gold, and this outer layer was reportedly thinner than paper. Whoops. Rigatuso was eventually placed in contempt of court, forced to pay up to two million dollars in restitution, and sent to jail for ten months.

The budget of the film was about the same as the amount he was forced to pay, and suffice it to say, a pretty slim fraction of it was earned back at its few private screenings in the Baltimore area over the course of a single week. Funny enough, the Santo Gold company themselves found a perfect-quality reel of the film in their archives in 2008, but although it was auctioned off eBay three times, not even a single bid was placed on it each time. The best hope we have for its release is that, aside from its few private screenings, it has been shown at the Alamo, no doubt making it American history’s most important movie. Wait… sorry, check that. I meant the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. I guess we can always hope that the next drafthouse to screen it will be Drafthouse Films, the same fine cinephiles who remastered and re-released other such b-movie treasures as Miami Connection and Dangerous Men on Blu-Ray.

Behold, the fine art of covering your ass!

Despite the not-so-pure legacy of Rigatuso and his company, his character of Santo Gold lives on for two reasons: (a) he actually forced pop singer Santigold to change her original stage name, and (b) I’ve continued to utilize him as an inside joke time and time again. Aside from modding him into Batman: Arkham Origins as a texture edit for Ferris Boyle from the Cold, Cold Heart DLC, as well as recreating him as a custom superstar in WWE 2K22, he was also the primary inspiration for the character of Goldenroddy from Manpuncher, an in-universe TV series within my comic series ElectroNuke. It only makes sense for a flashy loser to inspire another flashy loser.

Sad thing is, even the gold on his cane is thinner than paper.
Boo! That’s not Rowdy Roddy Piper!

The TV 8 Kids’ Fun Fest, as you can see in the image above, is by no means one of the most memorable and sought-after pieces of lost media because it’s a trippy, off-putting fever dream and a half. Uploaded to YouTube as separate rips of aging VHS tapes by user Jenkem Chic under the placeholder title “Pink Morning Cartoon”, as the original title was unknown at the time, this obscure local Ohio children’s show was made and narrated by Reverend Ella Flowers and her daughters. While other episodes and/or recordings may exist, one of those that we currently have access to shows the two child protagonists, Kate and Gene, and their grandmother going into a room full of sentient hats, all of which immediately start begging to be put on with their Robot Chicken mouths. Another is a subpar musical number dubbed “Everything is Coming Up Spring”, sung by Ella Flowers herself with her… uh… let’s say, not quite professional-level singing voice. All cynicism aside, though, the enduring legacy of this cartoon has been heartwarming for Flowers’s surviving daughters after her death, so it has a sense of nostalgic purity to it that still lingers on. The CGI budget was clearly through the roof, too! Just watch those kids scurry around the yard! You really do feel like you’re right there with them!

Did you think the Jared Fogle fiasco was the Subway brand’s lowest point? Well, you know what? That’s probably still true, but at some point in the mid-’90s, they produced a slew of TV advertisements with a level of quality straight from the bowels of public access, amateur actors and all. The most well-remembered of these commercials, dubbed Perfection, had become a favorite inside joke of LEGO artist Baron Julius von Brunk, who would move on to create an impressive stop-motion recreation using the building toy he specializes in after failing to find any trace of the original ad online. It featured a bald, mustachioed goombah visiting the kingdom above to request the ultimate solution for his insatiable appetite from God himself, which is possibly the saddest example of hunger to not come as a byproduct of the Israeli-Palestinian War. Glad to see God get his priorities straight and feed this petty douchebag, of all people. While the search didn’t yield much for about two years, an Instagram user named vidiot_savant uploaded a recording in January of 2021, claiming he found it among a collection of regional tapes from Pennsylvania. Indeed, Julius confirmed it as the missing ad from his childhood, and I’m left wondering whether I should be jealous or grateful that I never got to witness it during my own Pennsylvanian childhood.

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