Filmmaking is a laborious and time-consuming process. The creative team comes up with ideas which may not pan out over time. When assembling the final cut of a motion picture, the director and editor may come across a scene which proves redundant or otherwise non-essential to the enjoyment of the film. These scenes are deleted, and the final product is usually made better as a result. These are the harmless extra scenes which are obligatorily featured among the DVD extras.
Sometimes, however, a scene is deleted because it’s just too damn weird. It might be a fantastic and watchable sequence, but if it pulls the audience out of the movie due to it being just completely bonkers, then it has to go. Some of the deleted scenes in this list are awesome, and some of them are so stupid, it’s impossible to understand why they were ever even shot in the first place. Either way, they’re the 15 Weirdest Deleted Scenes In Movie History.
15. The Goonies – Octopus Fight
The Goonies is a 1985 family classic produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Chris Colombus, and directed by Richard Donner. How’s that for behind-the-scenes star power? Anyway, the story of a ragtag group of kids who go on an adventure looking for lost treasure has its wild moments, but none are more bizarre than an encounter which ultimately wound up on the cutting room floor.
At one point in the film, the kids were to go toe-to-toe with a giant octopus, defeating it by feeding a Walkman cassette player to the raging Cephalopod, causing it to retreat in pain. The legend goes that the scene was cut because it was just too silly and unbelievable, even for the generally whimsical and irreverent tone of the film. Plus, the special effect for the giant invertebrate was pretty lackluster, so it’s probably for the best that the giant octopus fight was cut from the movie.
Fun Fact: The song which was to be used in the scene, “Eight Arms to Hold You,” by the studio band, Goon Squad, was released as a single and became a pretty big hit, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart… Whatever that means.
14. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Sgt. Candy
Terminator 3 is a strange movie. From start to finish, it’s basically just a dumber and sillier remake of Terminator 2 with some added twists, and that’s fine. It’s not great, and it’s barely even good, but there are certainly worse ways to spend 109 minutes.
Still, there was one moment which the producers decided was just too weird to include in the final film. At one point, a group of characters gather round and watch a presentation on Cyber Research Systems’s upcoming product line. Among these products are a next-generation robotic infantry unit. The robot foot soldiers are based on the physical template of Chief Master Sergeant William Candy, who is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. An acceptable, if unnecessary, addition to the Terminator mythology. But then Candy opens his mouth, and his voice is revealed to be a hilariously over-the-top southern drawl.
One of the suits watching the video remarks, “I don’t know about that accent,” to which another one replies, “We can fix it,” in a voice clearly dubbed by Schwarzenegger himself. Even for a film as generally easy-going as Terminator 3 (that excellent twist ending notwithstanding), such a ridiculous diversion into zany comedy would have been a line from which the film simply would not be able to return.
13. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – Jedi Drill
The opening battle of the final entry in the much-derided Star Wars prequel trilogy is full of visual splendor and heroic theatricality, even if it runs a little too long for most viewers. However, it was almost longer, as demonstrated by a downright bizarre deleted scene which is full of terrible line-readings, an anti-climactic death scene, and the dumbest Jedi power ever seen.
While running around General Grievous’ ship, Anakin and Obi-Wan run into the villainous cyborg (one can tell he is a bad guy, because his name is Grievous) who has Jedi Master Shaak Ti hostage. In what film scholars may one day determine was supposed to be emotion, Shaak Ti says, “I’m sorry Master Kenobi. I failed.” Then, General Grievous stabs her with his lightsaber. She flings her arms up in a strangely comedic gesture, and then flops to the floor, dead.
Anakin starts, “That was a bad…” And Kenobi finishes his sentence, “Mistake.” It’s a stilted and embarrassing line reading, but the worst is yet to come. After communicating with each other via overt hand signals in what is apparently supposed to be a whimsically comical exchange (while the dead body of Shaak Ti is still pouring smoke from her gaping lightsaber wound), they decide to escape by slamming their lightsabers through the floor and then spinning around like a double-bladed Jedi drilling machine. While some of the special effects for the sequence are obviously incomplete, it’s hard to imagine such a visual being anything other than face-palmingly stupid. Thank the maker this one was cut.
12. Jaws – Piano Wire As Fishing Line/Quint Freaks Out Over A Kid Playing Music
It’s universally accepted that Jaws is one of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters of all time. Equal parts action, adventure, and pure terror, Jaws has something for everyone, and it’s one of the defining films of the 20th century. It’s a tight movie with no fat on its bones, moving from classic moment to classic moment at a breakneck pace, never slowing down, even for a moment.
There’s one brief scene in Jaws which was clearly cut with good reason, and that reason is that it’s total nonsense. Quint (Robert Shaw) goes to a music store to buy piano wire to use as fishing line. This is bad enough, as no piano wire in the world is tougher than heavy duty deep-sea fishing line, but it’s a simple mistake which shows Quint to be an outside-the-box thinker. Fine, whatever.
Where it gets totally bizarre is when Quint notices a young boy trying to play “Ode to Joy” on clarinet. He hums along, harmlessly at first, but then, as the boy begins to mess up and play incorrect notes, Quint begins to bombastically sing the melody and scare the heck out of the poor little kid. In the final film, we still get the impression that Quint is more than a bit unhinged, but this scene just makes him out to be a complete lunatic!
11. Happy Gilmore – Happy Tries to Kill Ben Stiller
As Adam Sandler comedies go, one can do a lot worse than Happy Gilmore. Sandler plays a street savvy hockey washout who discovers an innate talent for golf and decides to compete in the big leagues. It’s already a weird movie, but this deleted scene takes it over the edge into pure cartoon territory.
Throughout the film, Happy’s grandmother is in a retirement home run by an tyrannical manager, Hal, played by an uncredited Ben Stiller. At the end of the movie, Happy saves the day and wins a ton of money, but Hal never receives his full comeuppance for his villainy. Enter this deleted scene, in which Happy decides he’s had enough of Hal’s abusive antics, and throws him out of a window to the ground below. Perhaps the scene was perceived as too aggressive for the lovable Happy Gilmore character at this point in the film… And considering the legendary Bob Barker fight, that’s saying something.
10. Superman II – The Arctic Police
Over the years, much has been made of the fate of General Zod and his lieutenants in Superman II. After tricking the Kryptonian would-be despots into losing their superpowers, Zod demands that the Last Son of Krypton kneel before him. Superman then displays his magnificent power by crushing Zod’s hand and effortlessly throwing him across the room, causing him to fall into a bottomless pit to his presumed death. His two minions are then easily dispatched; Non by a failed attempt at flight, and Ursa by Lois Lane, who delivers a haymaker punch which sends her falling into the endless pit. So did the Man of Steel and even Lois Lane just straight-up murder the Kryptonian rogues?
Not if you believe this weird deleted scene in which Zod and his pals are picked up by the so-called “US Arctic Patrol” (which can’t possibly be a real thing, right?). The Kryptonians are only shown from a distance, but they are very much alive, and being escorted to a car which will then take them to… Arctic Prison, one supposes. Sure, why not?
9. Hannibal – “Romantic” Alternate Ending
The ending of Hannibal, the 1999 novel, goes way off the deep end, and the decisions made by author Thomas Harris continue to divide the fandom to this day. The sequel takes the characters of Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter into a controversial romantic happy ending of sorts. A bold move, to be sure, and one which was successful, by virtue of the fact that the fandom is still arguing about it, decades later.
Harris’s previous novel, The Silence of the Lambs, had been adapted into a feature film by Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster as Clarice and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lector. The film was a smash hit, and it was expected that the director and his stars would jump at the chance to create a sequel based on the new book. However, the legend goes that, after reading the manuscript for the novel, both Demme and Foster decided not to take part in any feature film adaptation.
Eventually, Ridley Scott was selected to direct the new film, and the Clarice Starling character was recast, with Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster in the role of the FBI profiler. The story goes that Ridley Scott only agreed to direct Hannibal if he could change the romantic ending into one where Clarice doesn’t succumb to Hannibal’s hypnotic charms and fall in love with him.
Ultimately, two endings were shot: one in which the kiss between Hannibal and Clarice is shown to be a ruse and she handcuffs herself to him, and one in which she doesn’t interrupt their kiss and Hannibal escapes with significantly more ease. While they’re both pretty gross, at least the final ending has Clarice maintaining her dignity and integrity as an FBI agent.
8. Alien – The Crab Walk Scene
Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, Alien, is seen as a masterpiece in the world of science fiction horror. The tale of the perfect alien predator hunting down the unprepared crew of the USS Nostromo became one of the seminal science fiction stories of the 1970s, the R-rated distant relative to the family-family Star Wars. One of the scariest elements of the film was its monster, designed by the H.R. Giger.
One of the best parts of the creature was that, like in Jaws before it, the monster was rarely seen in its entirety. A glimpse here, a shadowy silhouette there, but never its full, un-obscured visage. One scene, deleted from the final cut, had the Alien attack Lambert in a different manner as in the completed film, and entirely undercut the terror of the titular beast.
As is often the case for the xenomorph, the creature is hiding in plain sight, but reveals itself and then skitters towards the terrified Lambert. Like, it literally skitters. The Alien does a strangely adorable crab walk. It’s supposed to be scary, but, had the scene made the final cut, it would have been the cutest thing in the whole film. Plus, the scene is well-lit enough that, once it finally stands up, the Alien looks way too much like a man in a suit. This one was cut with good reason, and Alien managed to cement its legacy as an undisputed classic.
7. Spider-Man 2 – Spider-Jonah
Weeks before Spider-Man 3 hit theaters in 2007, Sony Pictures (or rather, Sony Pictures’ marketing department) released the terribly-titled Spider-Man 2.1, an extended cut of the previous film with additional footage and deleted scenes reintegrated into the feature. Some of these scenes are harmless, like a longer version of Spidey and Hal Sparks chatting it up in an elevator, and some of it is even pretty cool, like the extended fight scene between the friendly neighborhood web-head and Doctor Octopus on the roof of a speeding train.
One scene, cut from the theatrical release but restored in the extended cut, is either a superfluous diversion or a derailing moment in an otherwise tremendous film. At the climax of the movie, Peter Parker has given up being Spider-Man, and thrown his suit in the garbage. Eventually, the costume makes it to the Daily Bugle office of J. Jonah Jameson, and he proudly hangs it on his wall, finally claiming victory in his unjustified crusade against the wall-crawler. Jameson’s obsession takes a strange turn in the deleted scene, in which he dons Spidey’s suit himself and strikes heroic poses in the skin tight outfit. To his credit, J.K. Simmons fills out the suit quite nicely, though it’s such a bizarre scene that it’s probably for the best that it didn’t make the final cut of the theatrical release.
6. The Mist – Changes From The Novel
Frank Darabont made a name for himself by directing two of the best Stephen King adaptations of all time, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Following this, he set out to adapt one of King’s more overtly horror stories. The Mist had been Darabont’s passion project for the better part of two decades, and he forfeited his salary in order to make sure that his shocking twist ending would be allowed in the final cut.
Among the other changes to the original novella was the streamlining of the relationship between David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and Amanda Dumfries (Laurie Holden). In the original story, Drayton and Dumfries are both married and cheat on their spouses with each other during the monster invasion. Their relationship in the book adds layers to the central theme of humanity’s primitive nature revealing itself during times of great crisis, but at the expense of making the characters inherently unlikable; Screen Rant is a judgement-free zone, but nobody likes a cheater. No, it’s not murder or thieving, but it certainly paints the protagonists in a less positive light. It’s for the best, then, that Frank Darabont wisely decided that Drayton and Dumfries would lean on each other in an emotional way, and not a physical one. It becomes easier for the audience to root for them, and makes things less icky all around.
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit – Pig Head
Who Famed Roger Rabbit, Robert Zemekis’s half-cartoon, half-live action family friendly film noir, is a classic, a wild and crazy ride that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. It’s a damn near perfect film that entertains on a number of different levels. If there’s one perceived problem with the film, however, it’s that some parts can be a little intense for more sensitive children, especially the finale with a crazed Judge Doom.
One scene which may have proven too much is the notorious “Pig Head” scene, in which intrepid private eye Eddie Valiant is captured by cartoon gangsters, who then proceed to rough him up and send him to the slums of Toontown. The next morning, Eddie is literally ejected from the town with a cartoon pig’s head painted on top of his own. It’s a fantastic special effect, but more than a little unsettling. It gets worse when he returns to his apartment and washes it off in the shower, using turpentine to remove the cartoon. The look on the poor toon pig’s face as it slowly heads for a grisly fate down the drain says it all. It’s asking, “Why, Eddie? Why?”
4. Anchorman – Wake Up, Ron Burgundy
Adam McKay’s 2004 comedy opus, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, is one of the most endearing comedy classics of its era. At only 94 minutes in length, the film is a relentless gauntlet of rapid-fire jokes which hit with an awe-inspiring ferocity. The reason the film is so meticulously paced, of course, is because it was heavily edited from its original form.
The finished film focuses around pandas at the San Diego Zoo, but this wasn’t always the case. Originally, the film was to feature a gang of bank robbers who called themselves “The Alarm Clock.” Test audiences didn’t respond to this subplot, and so it was removed from the movie, and the rest is cinema history.
Almost as an afterthought, and as a testament to the tons of footage which didn’t make the final cut, much of the removed content was reassembled to form a straight-to-video feature, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy. It’s framed as a sequel to the theatrical film, and though the details don’t line up, that doesn’t really matter for what is essentially a collection of outtakes. Wake Up, Ron Burgundy isn’t nearly as funny as the film which was ultimately released in theaters, but it’s still a fun curiosity for Anchorman devotees.
3. Donnie Darko – Dying Donnie
It’s almost unfair to pick on Donnie Darko for having weird scenes. After all, it is, plain and simple, one of the weirdest movies ever made. While the Director’s Cut adds in lots of extra scenes which help to explain the science-fiction mystery behind all the strangeness, many fans prefer the enigmatic puzzle box of the theatrical version.
However, one scene isn’t present in either cut of the film, a short little clip of Donnie impaled on a spike of metal from the airplane. Of all the weirdness in the film, it is a visceral exclamation point of reality ensuing after a hypnotic fantasy of time travel and teen angst. In the final versions of the film, his death is presented as a universe-saving sacrifice, and this graphic scene of Donnie breathing his last bloody breaths would have perhaps undercut the romanticism of such a sentiment. Still, it’s a brutally sobering final moment before the epic finale, set to a fantastic cover of the Tears For Fears classic, “Mad World”.
2. Ghostbusters – Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray as Hobos
It’s no secret that Ghostbusters is one of the most beloved comedies of the 1980s. The adventures of Venkman, Stantz, Winston, and Egon are nothing short of a pop culture cornerstone, influencing pretty much every action/comedy since then. Ghostbusters is such an iconic film that the very notion of remaking it launched the internet into an insane frenzy of blind sexism and brutal hatred. It got… Pretty crazy.
Anyway, this would not have held back Ghostbusters from being the iconic film of a generation, but there is a scene which makes absolutely no sense, even with all the wacky supernatural antics that the rest of the movie features. At one point, the film segues to two homeless guys having a non-sequitur discussion before the Rick Moranis character bumps into them. The two hobos are played by, of all people, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Yes, two of the lead actors in the film, inexplicably and superfluously played dual roles. And they’re not even in the vein of Michael Myers/Eddie Murphy in Austin Powers or The Nutty Professor; they just wear a thin layer of grime and hobo clothes, and that’s it. Had this scene remained in the film, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb, so it’s certainly for the best that this useless, if mildly amusing, detour didn’t make the cut.
1.Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones – *NSYNC Cameos
One of the most infamous deleted scenes is so elusive that no footage of the cut scenes actually exists. But it did happen. Indeed, during production of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the second and most Fett-tastic of the Star Wars prequels, several members of the popular boy band *NSYNC actually filmed cameos for the film.
While Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass were too exhausted from their extensive touring schedule to participate, the rest of the band, plus Joey Fatone’s brother, Steven, all suited up in Jedi robes and shot brief roles as extras in the film. The legend goes that they approached producer Rick McCallum, who readily agreed to their participation. The boys were to be featured as extras during the Battle of Geonosis at the movie’s climax, but fan backlash against the idea of *NSYNC in Star Wars quickly led to the footage being removed from the film, even though they would have only been nigh-undetectable extras.
During the grand battle on Geonosis, there’s so much action going on, and so many extras striking poses with their lightsabers, it would surely have been nearly impossible to spot any boy band members in the dense Jedi crowds. In fact, according to this story, a Fatone may have actually made the final cut, albeit all but totally hidden behind the impenetrable spew of blue screen CGI insanity…
What do you think? What are some of the weirdest deleted scenes we might have missed? Sound off in the comments!