“It seemed like a good idea at the time…” could be the beginning of every one of the 20 stories in this list. If you think back, you can probably recall a few huge mistakes in movies, TV, advertising, music, video games, and the like, when someone’s great idea was actually executed before the target audience turned it down in spectacular fashion. And there are some that may have flown under your radar, like the time that Stephen King’s horror story Carrie was turned into a Broadway musical.
Murder stories have a pretty good track record on Broadway—Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, etc.—but the 1988 musical adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie bucked the trend. The creative team did include some musical theater heavyweights: Michael Gore, composer of 1980’s Fame, and Debbie Allen, choreographer of the Fame TV series (Allen also appeared in both the film and the show). Alas, their razzle-dazzle ’80s style clashed with all the carnage, and critics’ reviews were their own kind of bloodbath—The New York Times went so far as to compare the production to the Hindenburg disaster. Carrie closed after just five performances.
Almost thirty years after it closed on Broadway, the musical Carrie found a kind of revival in high school theater productions, where you might still be able to catch a glimpse of the carnage. Hear a song from the musical, and read 19 other stories of pop culture gone wrong at Mental Floss.
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