The scariest deleted scenes from horror movies

Not every chilling horror scene makes it to the big screen. Whether for pacing reasons, keeping the MPAA rating at an accessible "R," or simply the filmmakers going in a different direction, these scenes were left on the cutting room floor—but they're no less terrifying on their own. Here are some of the scariest deleted scenes and alternate takes from your favorite horror movies. Spoilers follow.

Alien - the cocoon room

There were a lot of ideas that never came to fruition in Ridley Scott's Alien, but what we were left with was still a groundbreaking extraterrestrial thriller—often emulated, never quite matched. The plot follows a commercial space crew awoken from stasis after receiving a signal from an alien craft. They're overrun by the unknown species, with Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) emerging as the central heroine and survivor.

One of the deleted scenes from the film might've answered a few questions left about the alien—and escalated the fear factor. In this cocoon room scene, Ripley happens upon the trapped bodies of the deceased Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and the still-alive Dallas (Tom Skerritt), whose whereabouts were otherwise unknown after they ran into the creature in the original cut. Ripley having to fire-blast Dallas to death as an act of mercy is pretty raw, even for Alien.

The Fly - the baboon-cat splice scene

The Fly is a seminal piece of horror, with or without its scariest deleted scene. The sci-fi thriller followed Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) as he became a victim of his own oddball scientific experiments and slowly morphed into a fly that was desperate to save his new species by impregnating his human girlfriend.  

In this deleted scene, even though Brundle's teleportation experience has clearly altered his own DNA, he's still splicing animals together in his lab. This time, it's a baboon and a house cat, which when combined becomes a two-headed, sharp-toothed hellbeast that goes on the attack and has to be exterminated due to its obvious agony and danger to others. It might've been a bit too obvious as foreshadowing if left in, but the scene definitely doesn't offer much hope for Brundle's own future as a fellow lab mutant.

Event Horizon - the vision of Hell

Event Horizon is filled with stomach-churning imagery. The movie, which followed a space crew as they attempted to make contact with a vessel that was temporarily lost to a black hole, layered itself with disturbing visuals before jumping headlong into a nightmarish hellscape.

But as sinister as the scenes of this space inferno already are, the movie's original vision of Hell was even more disturbing. In this deleted scene, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) has been fully transformed into the slashed-faced demon that haunts the ship and its remaining crew, and Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) is chased down and treated to an extreme vision of the other side. Impaled, limb-ripped bodies are on display as the living are tied down and tortured. The plights of these human souls may differ slightly, but the suffering is universal.

Given the graphic nature of this footage, it's not hard to see why an abbreviated (but still eerie) version was ultimately chosen. Even Dante Alighieri might've shuddered at the sight of this much underworldly punishment.

The Devil's Rejects - the nurse scene

With The Devil's Rejects, writer-director Rob Zombie took a decidedly different approach to the macabre than he did with its predecessor, House of 1000 Corpses. Rather than relying on excess brutality and gruesome imagery in the loathsome lair of the Firefly family, the movie leaned harder on a slow burn of emotional torture and depravity as it followed the three lead escapees through one final round of destruction.

For that reason, this deleted scene wasn't a good fit. In the clip, we meet Dr. Satan (Walter Phelan) again. The character's twisted experimental surgeries featured prominently in 1000 Corpses, and he rivals Mad Max: Fury Road's Immortan Joe as the ugliest movie villain to ever wear a respirator. He's been captured by the authorities, injured in their raid on the house, and stripped of his favorite scalpels and drills—but he isn't done dealing death in horrible ways just yet. His unsuspecting nurse (Rosario Dawson) gets her throat ripped out after he awakens from his feigned coma, and the move is so quick that the police and medical personnel can do nothing to stop her from bleeding out on the hospital floor.

The scenes revolting visuals weren't too extreme for the director—goodness knows Zombie isn't afraid to splatter the walls in his pics. It just would've marked a severe tonal shift that wouldn't have fit with the rest of the movie.

1408 - the tilted room

The Stephen King adaptation 1408 follows skeptical haunted house story author (John Cusack) as he rents out a deadly hotel room that'd claimed the lives of dozens of occupants over the last century. What happens next is a bit formulaic, but is bolstered by sensory immersion with enough paranormal surprises and emotional scenes to stick.

In this deleted scene, Cusack's estranged wife has been summoned to the hotel by his supernatural doppelgänger, and he's powerless to stop her from trying to enter the room. As he tries to get close to prevent her from joining him, the room tilts to a degree that disables him from reaching the door. The theatrical cut is scary enough without this scene, but it's still pretty spooky, even on its own.

Paranormal Activity - the alternate endings

The theatrically released ending of Paranormal Activity was pretty upsetting. In the film, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a young couple who moved to the wrong house at the wrong time and couldn't shake the terrorizing spirits that came with it. Despite their best efforts to exorcise the abode, Katie is eventually possessed by the demon spirit, and appears to murder Micah by summoning him downstairs and then hurling his bloody body at the camera they'd been using to document their haunting. She then shuffles onscreen, looks at the camera, and offers a smile that makes it clear she's given herself over to evil. In the epilogue, Micah is said to be dead, while Katie is nowhere to be found.

Two other endings were filmed for Paranormal Activity, one dubbed "original" and the other dubbed "alternate." In the "original" ending above, Katie returns to the bedroom in what appears to be a trance and sits rocking on the floor as time passes. Eventually, the police show up, find Micah's body, and make their way upstairs to Katie. She snaps out of her trance attacks the cops, only to be shot.

In the footage of the alternate ending, Katie again calls for Micah to come downstairs. Instead of launching his body at the camera, however, we see her return to frame, covered in blood and holding her kitchen knife, which she raises to her throat and kills herself. Suicide scenes aren't altogether uncommon, especially in possession movies. But this one might've been a bit too much for the found-footage crowd to endure. Plus, both of these endings would've taken Katie out of the picture for the slew of sequels to follow.

A Cure for Wellness - drowning scene

It may be hard to believe that director Gore Verbinski left anything out of his surreal thriller A Cure for Wellness. In the film, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from a Swiss wellness center, but he quickly discovers it's hardly a therapeutic retreat once he becomes a patient. He ultimately manages to escape, but not before enduring gobs of spine-chilling body horror.

In this deleted scene, which Verbinski has revealed is actually a montage of deleted parcels of the pic cut for time, Lockhart is very weak and submits to a wellness treatment that involves him being thrust into a tank of oxygenated water and told to allow the fluid to fill his lungs, despite his natural reaction to resist it. As he does so, his mind is filled with the unsettling imagery of eels, pagan rituals, and an epiphany about certain names involved in the story. Cow fetuses and melting ballerinas aside, it's a pretty existential experience, but the pseudo-drowning is almost too unsettling to endure.

Rings - the selfie scene

By most measures, Rings was nowhere near as successful as its predecessors. But perhaps it would've been if some of the disturbing deleted scenes included in the home video version had made the original theatrical cut.

In this one, Holt (Alex Roe) consults with Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) about some terrifying visions he's been having that she can't see—but which are somehow easily captured by his camera phone because, let's face it, this is a movie about the dangers of technology, so there are no rules. When she turns the camera on him, she discovers that his face is marked with the curse that's befallen both of them…and it's not a pretty sight.

Orphan - the menace continues

In the original ending for Orphan, "Esther," a.k.a. Leena, is kicked into a watery grave to put an end to her years of pretending to be a sweet little girl and then killing the families who adopt her. But the alternate ending would've left a lot of question marks about the future fate of the Coleman family…and others. 

In this version, instead of following Kate and Max outside in an attempt to end them, Leena is shown preparing herself for the arrival of the police by covering up her scars and true age with makeup and then coming down to greet the authorities as though she isn't the serial murderer they're after. Her façade is quite literally broken, of course, by the gashes she's sustained as a result of the Colemans fighting back, but her appearance of innocence is still disarming enough that you have to believe she might just get away with it again.