As a rule of thumb never watch a movie for the first time with someone who has recently read the book, especially yourself. It is an annoying experience. Every scene gets picked apart and analyzed for not living up to the sanctimonious words of its divine source material. Granted, Hollywood seems to enjoy butchering our favorite stories, but the transition from the written page to the big screen is never an easy one, just ask Peter Jackson or J.K. Rowling.
That said, there are some adaptations that definitely got it right in what they decided to leave on the cutting room floor. These are those truly dark and twisted moments that only a maniac or Eli Roth would ever want to see brought to life.
So the next time somebody criticizes a movie for not being faithful enough, let them know that it could be a whole lot worse– we could be watching Rambo kill a bunch of dogs.
Here are the 15 Scenes Left Out of Movie Adaptations Because They Were WAY Too Dark.
15. Dinosaurs Eating a Baby in Jurassic Park
Nobody likes to see horrible things done to babies. So it makes sense Hollywood has done its hardest to avoid the topic. Books on the other hand? They can’t get enough of infanticide. Take Michael Chrichton’s Jurassic Park, which contains a scene where three small dinosaurs kill a baby in a hospital.
There are a lot of crazy un-adapted moments from Jurassic Park. Such as the film’s sweet eccentric grandfatherly figure John Hammond actually being a total pyscho hellbent on greed who ends up dying a horrible death eaten alive by a pack of compys. However, the craziest moment has to be another event involving those seemingly adorable tiny dinos. At the start of the book they hitch a ride off Isla Nublar. Once on land they head over to a local hospital, because why not. A nurse walks into the nursery and…
14. Rambo Murders Dogs in First Blood
When Sylvester Stallone brought the story of Green Beret Vietnam veteran John Rambo to the big screen there was little doubt who the hero was. In First Blood he was depicted as a righteous drifter passing through town who was terrorized by police on account of his long hair and awesome biceps. However, the sides of right and wrong weren’t so clear cut in David Morrell’s 1972 original novel.
To put it simply, Rambo was way crazier. Like, waaaay crazier. The total body count in the film adaptation was one, when Rambo throws a rock at a helicopter that spins out of control and accidentally knocks a cop off a cliff. In the book the count is 14. This doesn’t include a rifle-wielding Rambo shooting a group of hunting dogs and their civilian handler. Overall the First Blood book plays out like a horror film with a merciless Rambo systematically hunting and killing all the policeman he can find, and then finally trying to suicide bomb Sheriff Will Teasle only to have his own head blown off by Colonel Trauhtman.
13. Child Abduction in Frozen
As many may know, Disney’s Frozen was based on Han Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. It was a long time coming as the company had been planning on adapting the fairy tale into a cartoon since the 1930s. However, they were never quite able to overcome its darker themes. No, we are not talking about Elsa almost killing her own sister, or the fact Kristoff might be wearing his pet reindeer’s dead mother. Those are good times compared to the bizarre plot of the original story.
The Snow Queen of Andersen’s tale is actually a villain, and a pedophile. Thanks to some trolls, a magical mirror, and the devil, she is able to kidnap a young boy who she tries to brainwash by repeatedly kissing until the boy’s girlfriend saves him and they have an impromptu dance party.
12. Featuring the KKK as Heroes in Gone With the Wind
Gone with the Wind was written in 1936. As you can imagine it wasn’t exactly the most enlightened piece of literature on race relations. What’s more, the novel’s author, Margaret Mitchell, was born in the Deep South at a time when views were even more divisive then they are today. Wisely, Victor Fleming’s famous film adaptation drastically toned down the overt racism of its source material, particularly its heralding of the KKK as heroes.
In one scene in particular from the film, Scarlett O’Hara is driving a buggy through Shantytown when she is sexually assaulted by a white vagrant and then promptly saved by her former black servant. However, in the book the assailant was black, and Scarlett is rescued by the KKK, who she recognizes as a “tragic necessity.” They are aided by another white dude, Rhett Butler, who steps in and shoots the attacker, though not before a slew of racial slurs are thrown his way.
11. Severed Tongues and Even More Male Inferiority in Fight Club
David Fincher’s Fight Club is a pretty bleak, nihilistic film. Amazingly the Chuck Palahnuik novel that it was based on is even darker. When the narrator figures out that he is actually Tyler Durden, instead of passing out as he does in the movie, he signs up for 50 consecutive Fight Club fights in a single night.
The resulting beating he endures is so brutal that all his teeth “snap off and plant their jagged roots in my tongue” until it finally severs and drops to the floor. This then sets the stage for a less than climatic finale as the narrator sinks further into his shortcomings.
The movie version of Fight Club ended on notes of hope, happiness, and hand holding to the soothing sounds of the Pixie’s “Where is My Mind”. The book was far grimmer. After failing to blow up a skyscraper in an attempted suicide bombing, the narrator shoots himself in the head only to wake up in an asylum mute and symbolically impotent.
10. Self-Mutilation in Cinderella
Cinderella is the timeless tale of how a young woman found her one true love by lying her way into his life and abusing some animals, and that’s just the Disney version. Just imagine how different the animated movie would have been had it followed the Brothers Grimm original fairy tale.
In the film, Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters don’t really suffer all that much for their evil transgressions. Not so on the written page. When Prince Charming finally visits their home to find the woman whose foot fits the glass slipper because he’s too dim to remember her face after having danced with her all night, the stepsisters take some drastic measures.
Namely, their mother cuts off their toes and heels so their big feet can fit. Amazingly this momentarily fools the Prince (like we said, he’s an idiot) until he realizes there’s blood everywhere. He then comes upon Cinderella and carries her off to a life of happily ever after as some birds swoop down from the sky and peck out the eyes of her stepmother and stepsisters for good measure.
9. Unnecessary Manslaughter and Cowardice in Die Hard
That’s right, Die Hard is based off a book. Surprisingly, the film is a closer adaptation to Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever than one would think, bare feet and all. However, there are some major differences.
John McClane is called Joe Leland. He visits the Klaxon Oil building to see his daughter Stephanie, not his wife. The villainous Hans Gruber and Co. are not evil greedy bank robbers but a group of political activists looking to expose Klaxon for illegally selling arms to Chile. Finally, Gruber falls to his death just like in the movie, but this time Stephanie goes with him, and that’s when things get yippie ki-razy.
After watching his daughter plummet to her death, Leland goes insane. He roams the building crying like a baby and shooting all of Gruber’s fellow activists, women included. His dark turn is mirrored by his friendly-do-gooder cop Al (you know, the guy played by Carl Winslow) who instead of saving the day by shooting a gun wielding bad guy like in the film, shields himself with his boss so he gets riddled with bullets instead.
8. Peter Pettigrew Killing Himself in Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows
As a wizard, Peter Pettigrew was pretty useless. Sure as one of the Marauders he killed a bunch of innocent people and directly caused the murder of Harry’s parents but he was basically just a wormy rat whose only real power was hiding from the action. He is so inconsequential that the filmmakers of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part One didn’t even bother to properly kill him off. They merely had Dobby the House Elf hit Pettigrew with a spell and we never hear from him again.
However, the true reason for Pettigrew’s paltry demise was more likely because the movie didn’t want to show how he really went out. In J.K. Rowlings’ books Peter sacrificed his hand in order to bring Voldemort back and in return ole Voldie gave him a new shiny enchanted hand.
Later on, when Pettigrew attempts to strangle Harry to death with said hand, it turns on him and wring his own neck. For a kids movie a lot of people sure do die in the Harry Potter movies, but perhaps they felt that this one was just a little too terrifying for younger audiences.
7. Torture, Cannibalism, and more in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
A lot of horrible things have been done to Disney princesses over the years, in particular Snow White. After all she did die in the end and had to endure some strange man making out with her corpse in the woods. However, the list of horrifying things she bore witness to would be a lot longer if her movie hadn’t strayed so far from its source material.
Understandably, Walt Disney wanted his first animated feature to be wholesome entertainment for all to enjoy. Which is why he probably didn’t want to freak everyone out by having Snow White be only 7 years-old as she was original depicted in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, making that weird kiss at the end even more creepy then it already was.
He also opted to not include the bit where the Evil Queen revealed that she wanted the young girl’s heart so she could eat it or the torture scene where for her aggressions against Snow White, the Evil Queen was forced to wear a pair of burning hot shoes and ordered to dance until she died.
6. George Clooney’s Character Catches a Deadly Disease in Up In The Air
Up in the Air is about frequent-flyer businessman Ryan Bingham, who leads a sad and lonely life making a living out off firing people and whose only goal in life is to fly 10 million miles. Though things aren’t all that bad. He does look like George Clooney after all. Some stuff happens, Anna Kendrick becomes a star and by the end of the movie Ryan, though still alone, realizes there is more to life than work and ruining people’s lives so he starts all over again, poised to hop on a plan to his bright future.
In Walter Kirn’s original novel, things don’t go so well for Ryan. Nope, instead of earning a new lease on life he contracts a terminal illness. In a twist ending we learn he’s been suffering all along and has been nobly planning to donate all his miles to a children hospital.
5. Roasting Dead Babies in The Road
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a bleak take on a post-apocalyptic world where a father and son travel in search of a better life. What they end up finding is the corpse of a baby being…. forget it, it’s way too gross to even explain so we’ll let the book do the talking:
“What was it? he said. What was it? The boy shook his head. ‘Oh Papa,’ he said. He turned and looked again. What the boy had seen was a charred human infant headless and gutted and blackened on a spit.”
The premise of the book basically revolves what would happen if people started eating one another, with scenes of cannibalistic acts like the one above running rampant throughout. While the Viggo Mortensen-starring movie is a fairly miserable affair, it wisely removes all depictions of skewering infants. In fact, the entire concept of chowing down on people meat is only merely hinted at in the film but never shown explicitly on screen.
4. Limb Loss and Killer Mutants in The Hunger Games
When everyone heard they were going to turn Suzanne Collin’s young adult series about children murdering one another into a PG-13 movie, no one believed it was possible. But thanks to much of that original story’s darker moments ending up on the cutting room floor, The Hunger Games was able to kill it at the box office.
These edits included everything from Katniss witnessing a random guy getting harpooned to death to Peeta having his leg cut off after being eaten alive by a mutant werewolf.
Actually, it wasn’t so much a werewolf as something called a “muttation” which resembled a bloodthirsty dog that had the hair and eyes of fallen tributes surgically grafted to it. Obviously, the type of stuff you’d rather have young children reading about then seeing in a theater. Innocence saved.
3. Having Ariel Die in The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid ends with Prince Eric and a leggy Ariel getting married and living happily ever after as Ursula’s evil corpse rots in the depths of the ocean blue. Or at least that’s how things went down in the movie. In the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen things didn’t go as smoothly.
For one, when Ariel gets her desired legs she is in so much agony it feels as if she’s being stabbed in the feet with knives. Then in a far more melancholic twist, Prince Eric ends up marrying another woman who he thinks is the Little Mermaid.
As a result of not being able to seal the deal, Ariel dies and dissolves into sea foam. As a last ditch effort she is presented with an opportunity to end her suffering and turn back into a mermaid if she kills the prince and his new bride and then lets their blood wash over her.
2. Unsolicited actions with a Minor in Trainspotting
Remember that time Obi Wan Kenobi debated whether or not he was technically doing something bad with a baby? Of course not, because luckily it never happened. But if 1996’s film adaptation of Trainspotting followed it’s source material more closely we might not have been so fortunate.
Trainspotting is the wildly frenetic story about junky Mark Renton and his junky friends shooting up in Edinburgh’s drug scene. Starring Ewan McGregor, the movie is a brutal, if not funny, look at the horrors of addiction. It ranks as one of the best British films of all-time and garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay. But would we still be praising it if director Danny Boyle had decided to leave in a scene from the book where Renton attends the funeral of his soldier brother, has sex with his bro’s pregnant wife and fantasizes about whether or not the baby inside her is joining in?
The inner dialogue here is worse then you can imagine so we’ll save you from a direct quote. But take it from us, it would have been very hard to hire McGregor as Obi Wan after witnessing a moment like this.
1. Sewer Sex in It
Plenty of disturbing and weird moments got cut from 2017’s It. Most of them involve character deaths, Native Americans, immortal turtles, or the Ritual of Chud. But one in particular was so dark and twisted that even die-hard fans are happy to see it gone. (We hope.) Of course we are referring to Stephen King’s infamous sewer sex scene.
The story’s youthful heroes at one point find themselves lost in the sewers of Derry after battling the child-eating clown monster. Beverly, the only girl in the group, decides that their only hope of finding a way out is to work as a team. Logically this means that she has to have sex with each member of the group right there and then.
Because who doesn’t think with a clearer head when in throes of underage lovemaking? Amazingly having their cherries popped does the trick, the kids find a way out, and King finds a poorly construed excuse to write about child sex. Director Andy Muschietti decided that the same effect could be achieved if they all kept their pants on and did a blood oath instead. We wholeheartedly agree.
Can you think of any other crazy dark moments that were removed from movie adaptations? Tell us in the comments.
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