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Super Mario Bros. film director calls experience 'harrowing' and hellish

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23 years later, the director reflects

To say that the Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993 wasn't well-received is an understatement. Now, reflecting back on it 23 years later, director Rocky Morton says the experience was pure hell, calling it absolutely "harrowing."

Morton sat down with SciFi Now to discuss the movie and said that the idea they went in with to make it was essentially scrapped from the get-go by the studio. Instead, they were handed a script they hated, actors who were difficult to work with and an incredibly low budget.

"Tough? That's a very mild word," Morton said when asked about production. "It was a harrowing experience. It was hell."

One of the worst experiences Morton recalled was working with Dennis Hopper, who played King Koopa. Morton said he was "extremely difficult to work with" and made every day on set a nightmare. He added that he doubted Hopper had a clue what was going on the entire time they were in production, making even the smallest changes seem paramount to the actor. Having to walk Hopper through each scene time and time again ended up eating away at their day, Morton said, which was already cut short by the studio.

Despite the hardships, Morton said he's proud of what he created. While he would have changed many aspects of the film, starting from the script to the way entire scenes were shot, he felt like he invented the characters for an entirely new audience.

"You know, we created all those characters — I mean, obviously the characters were created for the video game, but we brought all those to life and we created that world," Morton said. "So I'm proud of that, and I think it was an achievement, but it's a messy film."