Newly unearthed footage confirms that international prints of the cult classic Mac and Me include a shocking ending where the film’s young protagonist is shot on-camera by a cop. A blatant ripoff of E.T., Mac and Me was released in 1988 to almost universal derision and proved a flop at the box office with only $6.4 million in grosses against a budget of $12 million. In the years since the movie’s release, it has attained cult status as one of the most entertaining bad movies of all time.
The plot of Mac and Me follows an alien named Mac (an acronym for “Mysterious Alien Creature”) who escapes from NASA and befriends a wheelchair-ridden boy. Though the premise recalls E.T., the execution couldn’t be farther from Steven Spielberg’s beloved classic. With its bizarre story, unconvincing aliens and ridiculously prevalent product placement (the movie was reportedly partially financed by McDonald’s), Mac and Me instantly earned critical hatred and holds a 0 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie’s status as a cult classic has of course been aided thanks to the running joke on Conan O’Brien in which Paul Rudd, instead of showing a clip for the movie he’s promoting, runs the same Mac and Me scene of the wheelchair-bound lead character flying off a cliff.
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As bad as Mac and Me may be, it could actually have been worse. Footage unearthed by Fantastic Fest curator Peter Kuplowski reveals an alternate ending for the film that shows the movie’s wheelchair-bound protagonist Eric (Jade Calegory) being shot by a police officer as he attempts to chase after Mac and his alien family as they’re slowly fleeing. This disturbing footage was cut from the U.S. release after test audiences found it too extreme, but amazingly is still included on some international prints of the film. See the scene below:
In the U.S. version of the film, the editing makes it more ambiguous as to whether Eric actually gets shot once police officers begin opening fire. An explosion then occurs which consumes an entire nearby gas station while Eric sits slumped over in his wheelchair in the middle of the parking lot. Thankfully for Eric, Mac is an alien and therefore has the power to bring him back to life. The movie ends on a cheerful note as Mac and his alien family become American citizens and drive off in a car.
Though Mac and Me generally shows little evidence that its makers possessed much in the way of solid filmmaking instincts, at least they had enough sense to re-cut the ending to remove the shot of Eric clearly and disturbingly taking a bullet from a police officer’s revolver. Why the shot remained in the international cut is anyone’s guess. But now that the footage has been revealed, perhaps Rudd can update his O'Brien joke, which has been going on since 2004.
Source: Peter Kuplowsky/Twitter