Fans of 2009’s The Collector and its 2012 sequel The Collection rejoiced at the news of a third installment. Like the first two installments, it was set to be directed by Marcus Dunstan, who also co-wrote each film with Patrick Melton. Unfortunately for the fans, production on The Collected shut down back in 2019, leaving fans to wonder whether or not they’ll ever get to see the movie.
The Collector, not to be confused with the John Fowles novel of the same name and its film adaption, began life under the title of The Midnight Man. It was going to be a Saw prequel at one point but eventually became its own entity. Dunstan and Melton were the primary writers of the Saw franchise from IV to 3D.
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The first film was about an ex-con named Arkin O’Brien (Josh Stewart) who plans on robbing a house to pay off his wife’s debts to loan sharks. Except after he finds the home already broken into by the Collector, a masked psychopath who has filled the house with elaborate and deadly death traps. Captured at the end of the film, Arkin escapes at the beginning of The Collection, only to be roped into rescuing Elena Peters (Emma Fitzpatrick), the daughter of a rich man, from the Collector’s base.
Both Stewart and Fitzpatrick were set to reprise their roles for the third installment. They were also to be joined by genre icon Tom Atkins, known for, among other things, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch and Night of the Creeps, who would have played Arkin’s father. From the start, production had been a bumpy road.
The original studio, LD Entertainment, ordered the film two years after The Collection, only for it to die in 2018. Production picked up a year later, only to shut down within eight days of filming, props from the threequel were stolen, and the producers eventually stopped contacting Dunstan. However, recently, during an interview with ScreenRant, Dunstand offered an update.
“You know, I wouldn’t waste anyone’s hopes, especially my own, and we’ve got hope. Here’s what’s great, there are folks working on getting that back, and it’s just taken a long time. It’s been slow, and I think there’s a lot of things to untangle, but we’re going to use our time to hope that it all works out because we got a chance. The coolest thing is you don’t know all the time if, when you get out, this lofty goal will work. So it’s like, there’s no reason to do another one unless it can be the best one. Then, man, we get this tease back after going like, ‘Holy cow!’ We never stopped talking and thinking in this universe, and it was like, ‘Okay, there’s something here that I would fall on the sword for every day, and I love that. That felt right. So that also keeps my hopes way high. I’m dreaming for it. I want to do that. I think that would be great.”
Dunstan’s comment contrasted last year when he expressed doubts over production picking up again due to disinterest from the producers. Good news for the fans, bad news for the critics who gave the first two films generally negative reviews. We’ll all just have to wait and see whether The Collected ever sees the light of day.