As movie fans, we love to imagine what our favorite films would be like if scenes that were cut out had remained intact. We all want to see the gore returned to the early Friday the 13th entries. I’ve seen so many alternate endings that are so much better than the original endings, I can’t begin to fathom why one was chosen over the other. At this point, I’m not even sure I could live without the director’s cuts for Aliens or even Alien 3.
And yet, despite that, most scenes that are left on the cutting room floor are left there for a reason. Some scenes just don’t work. Other times, the scenes themselves are really well crafted on their own but there’s no real place for them within the overall film. Pacing is one of the most important parts of any feature and it’s a very delicate balance to maintain. It really doesn’t take a whole lot to throw the whole picture off.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some scenes that remind us why we should be grateful that not everything that gets shot makes it into the final product.
The Crab Walking Creature in Alien
Less is more is a classic, wise rule for horror movies, especially creature features. When there’s a monster involved, you never want to show too much of it or you could ruin it for the viewer’s imagination. A perfect example of this is a cut scene from Alien which showed the xenomorph in full view—something we never really get in the movie—crab walking.
Deacon Frost’s sendup in the completed movie is disturbing and gross and definitely shows the special effects limitations of the time, but it’s also extremely memorable. I’m not sure this originally intended ending would have worked. It’s anticlimactic and just shows Frost melting down into weirdly thick, reddish-purple jelly, then turning into a swirling blood mist until he absorbs the antidote.
Deleted Footage From the End of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
The original ending of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is really powerful on its own. It’s genuinely scary. In fact, I actually think it’s too scary. I know that sounds ridiculous for a horror movie, but the Friday movies are built on thrill-ride, fun house scares and the main character discovering her dead mother in the bathtub just before she herself is slain might actually be a bit too much. That, and it certainly doesn’t make it feel like much of a final chapter.
Dr. Satan’s Return in The Devil’s Rejects
I know a lot of people were wondering where the hell Dr. Satan went after House of 1,000 Corpses and why he was never really mentioned again, despite being the driving plot point of the original. But this cut scene from Devil’s Rejects really emphasizes the point that he doesn’t belong there. The first and second movie are so different that a character like Dr. Satan feels totally out of place in Devil’s Rejects, even for a single scene. The deleted scene at least gets points for featuring Rosario Dawson, though.
The Original Ending to Army of Darkness
For some people, this was the first version of Army of Darkness they ever saw. Maybe I’m partial to the theatrical cut, but I always preferred the “Hail to the King” ending by a wide, wide margin. It’s so bleak to have Ash go on this hero’s journey just to wind up in an apocalyptic, hopeless future. Even though it’s probably the more likely scenario given his character’s nature.
The Monkey-Cat in The Fly
Much of the criticism for The Fly II comes down to the fact that the effects seem almost mean spirited and the movie is just gross for the sake of being gross. People always like to cite the dog scene, which is pretty grueling to watch. The original, on the other hand, may have been slimy and gross, but it had a ton of heart. Except for in this weird monkey/cat hybrid scene, which would feel completely at home in the sequel.
The Freddy/Nurse Transformation in Nightmare on Elm Street 3
Some things are better left to the imagination. Or better left not being imagined at all. The less we see or think about this one, the better. In the movie, we see the nurse, we turn the camera to Joey and then we see Freddy standing in front of the bed. We don’t need any other details other than that. But the film, originally, was desperate to give us some. They shot the nurse’s full transformation back into Freddy. We can’t see the whole scene, but the behind-the-scenes photos are scary enough.
The Surgeon Scene in Hellraiser II
This is one of the most infamous deleted scenes in history. A shot of it appeared on the back of the VHS for Hellraiser II and that made everyone want to know more. Even though Doug Bradley would always be quick to tell fans that the scene didn’t work out and was cut for a reason, people still desperately wanted to see it. Now, thanks to Arrow Video’s deluxe Scarlet Box, the scene has resurfaced. Of course, Doug Bradley was right and it’s just a jumbled mess of a scene that sticks out like a sore thumb.