Check Out This Fan Re-Edit of the Lost Ending to Poltergeist III
There’s something that will always be tantalizing about so-called “lost” movie scenes, major sequences that were cut before release and generally remain unseen to this day.
For example, there’s the legendary “spider pit” scene from 1933’s King Kong, which followed the grisly fate of the sailors Kong knocked off the log. Originally they fell into a chasm filled with stop-motion spiders and other creatures and were consumed one by one. Apparently the scene was so unpleasant for test audiences the director snipped it out, and despite years of searches and speculation it’s unlikely to be found, with only a couple of surviving stills to prove it existed.
Other famous examples include the decapitation ending to Friday the 13th Part III and the lost epilogue to The Shining, which actually played in cinemas before Kubrick ordered it cut from every print and destroyed. With the advent of DVD and Blu-ray, long-lost deleted scenes finally started to resurface, but in some cases finally watching them could result in immense disappointment, since they were often cut with good reason. The fans who spent thirty years waiting for the “surgeon scene” from Hellbound: Hellraiser II to show up know this feeling well.
Still, this risk won’t stop fans seeking these scenes out, and the case of Poltergeist III’s original ending is a very interesting one indeed. The fantastic fansite PoltergeistIII.com – run by uber fan David Furtney – is a treasure trove of information on the film, breaking down just about every part of the production. Furtney’s dedication is all the more admirable considering Poltergeist III is hardly a great piece of cinema and is easily considered the worst of the series.
There remains something unique about it, though, be it the in-camera effects or certain creepy moments. The film is sadly also notable for young star Heather O’Rourke passing away shortly before release, and the abrupt ending – where her character Carol Anne’s face isn’t even shown – indicates she didn’t complete filming on the original ending. However, various stills and other evidence appeared over the years indicating this ending was actually filmed, but ultimately scrapped.
Furtney himself investigated the existence of this ending for years, and to cut a very long, dramatic story short (read all about it here), it was confirmed it was shot after all. The good folks at Scream Factory uncovered the footage of this long missing ending and included it on their recent Blu-ray, which is presented without audio. While the scene isn’t a classic, it’s still fascinating to finally see it emerge after so many years of discussion.
Now another Poltergeist III fan has craftily cut together a vision of this original ending, combining it with footage and audio from the reshot ending in an effort to make it as complete as possible. It’s not seamless, but it gives a good impression of what this ending would have looked like if it had been finished properly.
This climax also gives poor Scott a happy ending, after Poltergeist III’s theatrical version left him stranded on the other side. If you want to check out the unaltered original ending, be sure to pick up the Blu-ray, which also comes with a commentary from director Gary Sherman and one from David Furtney himself.