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“Dark Blood” Finished 19 Years After River Phoenix’s Death [VIDEO]

River Phoenix passed away nearly two decades ago.  Before his untimely death, the young and talented actor had appeared in blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as well as garnering himself an Oscar nomination for Running on Empty.  However, the world came crashing down Halloween morning in 1993 when Phoneix succumbed to a drug overdose. Left unfinished, his final film, Dark Blood, has never graced the big screen – until now.

River Phoenix was in the midst of shooting Dark Blood, a tale about a widower living alone in a desert on a nuclear testing site, when a drug overdose took his life.  Halloween morning of 1993, outside of The Viper Room which was famously owned by Johnny Depp, a mix of cocaine and heroine became the cause of death.

Phoenix was immensely talented and his appearances in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,  My Own Private Idaho and Stand By Me are just a few pieces of work that display his skill. The Academy Awards even gave him a nod with an nomination for his work in Running on Empty, a film that won a Golden Globe for Best Screen Play in 1988. Dark Blood would surely have been no different, but sadly the film stood unfinished upon Phoenix’s death and it was so until just about a month ago.

George Sluizer, at 80 years old was able to finish his directing duties that he began nearly two decades ago. Using voice-overs, completion was doable – however, Sluizer didn’t have the film itself.  An insurance company held on to the footage and almost destroyed it rather than paying the cost for storage.  Sluizer also does not own it’s commercial rights so there were a bit of legal issues.  However, the director said the film is now finished and was even screened at the Netherlands Film Festival.

Nearly two decades have passed but we may see River Phoenix’s final masterpiece and given his acting history, it’s sure to be a blockbuster if the red tape is cut and the work is shown in the likes of the Capital Region. 

What is your favorite Phoenix film?  Stand By Me is without a doubt one I not only owned on VHS but one I could watch over and over.




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