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The Best Horror Movie Scenes That Didn't Make The Final Cut

When it comes to film, horror seems to be one of the hardest genres to get right. A wrong sound cue, a misread line, or a subpar visual effect can be all it takes to turn a scary movie into a laughingstock, and when it comes to turning footage into a compelling feature, good editing is all-important. 

Effective horror is all about timing and balance. So it's no surprise that in the making of a horror film, a lot of otherwise good scenes can get trimmed or lost in editing. Sometimes, this lost material may not work well in the movie, but is amazing on its own, and some reveal cut story material that can make you see a picture in a whole new light. 

Not all deleted scenes are essential, so it's always fun to find the ones that are definitely worth watching. Here are some of our favorite scenes from horror movies that were cut for time, for plot reasons, or for just being straight-up too scary.

The Devil's Rejects - Rosario Dawson gets her throat ripped out

The Devil's Rejects, the second film by director Rob Zombie, is a pseudo-sequel to his first feature House of 1000 Corpses. More grounded and less fantastical, the followup feature brings back Sid Haig, Ben Moseley, and Shari Moon Zombie's characters from the first film in slightly-altered form, starring this time as the sadistic and amoral Firefly clan. But there's one character that didn't make the jump between films—the legendarily murderous surgeon, Dr. Satan. 

In a scene that was supposed to follow the character being injured during a shootout with police, the killer lies prone and presumably harmless on a hospital bed before springing to life and gruesomely murdering a nurse played by Rosario Dawson. Dr. Satan ultimately did not appear at all in The Devil's Rejects—and the movie works better without him—but this gory, bloody throat rip is still worth a watch all on its own.

Paranormal Activity - The original, freakier endings

Oren Peli's debut blockbuster, the ultra-low-budget Paranormal Activity, toyed with a number of endings on its way from indie film to studio release. In the theatrical edit, the film ends explosively, with a demon-possessed Katie hurling her husband Micah into the camera before lunging at the lens herself, her features twisted with the help of CGI. It's an effective scare, but the other endings that were considered are arguably far creepier. 

In the original ending, Katie kills her husband offscreen before taking a seat on the floor and sitting, eerily, for days before ultimately being killed by police during a welfare check gone wrong. In another, Katie dispatches her husband, turns to the camera, and then slashes her own throat. All the endings lead to the same place, so it's fun to see how different takes on the material can alter the effect.

Alien 3 - Alternate opening and the Assembly Cut

It's fair to call the second Alien sequel a "much-maligned" movie. Even fans of the controversially dark installment typically admit it could be better. For those who wonder how the movie could be improved, there's a version that has become known as the Assembly Cut, an alternate reworking of the movie by the producer Charles de Lauzirika that was made for the Alien Quadrilogy box set. 

Beyond directing the original footage, David Fincher was not involved. But this version has still attracted supporters over the years, partly due to its extended opening sequence establishing the planet Fiorina-161. A main complaint with the film over the years has been the abrupt, cruel way it begins, killing important characters from the previous film in the first seconds of the movie before throwing Ripley on a strange new world. Those characters still die, but this beautiful, atmospheric take on the opening does wonders for softening the blow.

Saw III - Killer meets her victim

The Saw series started so simply. Two guys, leg chains, hacksaws—you remember. But for all the convoluted turns the series would eventually take, the character of Amanda stayed relatively strong up to her violent end. 

A victim of Jigsaw turned willing accomplice, she displayed a psychological depth that many other characters in the series lacked, and this deleted scene from the third entry is maybe the best example of her inner struggle. 

A flashback to before the events of the first film, it shows her meeting Adam, the photographer whom she would soon kidnap, subdue, trap, and kill, oblivious to his fate with his life in her hands. It's an effective and sad scene in a series that could've at times benefited from some more human, relatable moments like this.

Nightmare On Elm Street - "You weren't always an only child"

Like most horror series that stick around awhile, the mythology of Nightmare on Elm Street eventually grew beyond parody, with Freddy entering the "real world" in New Nightmare, and going toe to toe with Friday the 13th's own killer in the absurd mashup Freddy vs. Jason. But originally, the dream master was much more grounded, and if this deleted scene is any indication, much scarier. 

In this scene, the protagonist Nancy listens as her mother confesses that not only did she used to have a sibling, the family member she never met was murdered by Freddy Krueger himself—a horrifying revelation that adds huge personal stakes to their final showdown. It's a game-changer of a scene that expands the Freddy lore in a low-key, truly scary way.

Sinister 2 - The bird scene

After devastating Ethan Hawke's family in Scott Derrickson's well-received horror outing Sinister, the child-corrupting demon Bughuul lived to do it all again in the less-rapturously-reviewed sequel. But while the movie as a whole may not hang together in comparison to the original, certain aspects on their own are well-done and effective. 

This standalone deleted scene is as good as anything in the movie, a disturbing sequence of a child shooting at cans, then shooting a bird, and finally stomping it to death. It's a self-contained scene that might be even better, as a whole, than the film it was cut out of.

The Exorcist - Spiderwalk

This well-known shocker of a scene, in which The Exorcist's possessed girl Regan skitters inhumanly down the stairs like a spider before vomiting blood, did not appear in the film's original theatrical cut. It was added for the 2000 release of the film's "Version You've Never Seen", alongside other scares

Frankly, it works better as a deleted scene than in the movie; it's extremely disturbing, but the problem is that it just doesn't work well in the narrative, happening far too early in the film and undercutting the original version's sense of slow, growing dread.

Jacob's Ladder - Michael Newman's experiment

If you've seen Jacob's Ladder but you haven't seen this scene, you'll be shocked it didn't appear in the final cut by the time it's over. A fully-produced, horrifying sequence in which monsters come out of the walls and attack a helpless Jacob Singer after he's dosed by a former military chemist, this scene serves not just to help explain the plot, a military-experiment MKUltra parable—it metaphorically relates Jacob's fraying reality to the experience of a bad trip on LSD, an aspect of the story that was relatively muted in the final cut. It's a must-see scene for fans of the movie.

Alien - Dallas' ultimate fate

This fantastic scene cut from Alien follows Sigourney Weaver's Ripley as she descends a ladder to discover a macabre display, and the ultimate fate of the character Dallas. Dallas, presumed dead in the theatrical cut after being apprehended by the alien, is revealed in this scene to be still alive, trapped by the alien in a disgusting cocoon, begging for death. 

Ripley puts him out of his misery with her flamethrower by burning him alive, and Sigourney Weaver's conflicted performance as she conducts the brutal act of mercy is just great. There are a lot of good deleted scenes from Alien, but this one is probably the most unsettling.

The Fly - Baboon-cat splicing

This infamous, long-unseen sequence from David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly was nearly focus-grouped out of existence. The scene—which as far as special effects go, appears complete—shows Dr. Seth Brundle, midway through his transformation, desperately throwing all manner of mad science at the wall to see if a cure for his condition will stick. In a fit of desperation, he splices a cat with a baboon, hoping the unholy combination that results will solve his problems. When it doesn't, he promptly beats the resulting screeching monstrosity to death. 

Test audiences responded poorly to the perceived cruelty to animals going on in the sequence, but there's a storytelling reason the scene was removed as well. As the film's producer Stuart Cornfield noted, "If you beat an animal to death, even a monkey-cat, your audience is not gonna be interested in your problems anymore."

Halloween (1978) - Michael's escape aftermath

This short sequence would've taken place near the beginning of the movie, showing Dr. Loomis investigating Michael Myers' torn-up room in the hospital he's escaped from, before following him to Haddonfield to stop him. While Loomis has his reasons for knowing where the killer's going, this scene makes his motive much more explicit. 

Before departing, Michael carved "SISTER" into the door, foreshadowing his target as his long-lost sibling Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The fact that Michael and Laurie are related was dropped from the movie's plot, but reintroduced in Halloween II, and explored much more fully in Rob Zombie's 2007 remake. It's a little detail that refocuses the whole movie. Michael's not killing babysitters randomly; he's a madman on a mission.

IT (2017)

It was one of the most terrifying movies of 2017. But as scary as he was, chief antagonist Pennywise wasn't the only threat to the band of kids known as the Losers' Club. In the film, as in the novel, bully Henry Bowers becomes more violent and unstable as the story progresses, culminating in the gruesome murder of his own father—but this deleted scene would have made the extent of his psychotic break chillingly clear.

In it, Henry sits in a car spying on the Losers' Club—and he has company. His friends Belch and Victor are along for the ride, but they're not feeling too talkative considering what's been done to their throats. The scene wasn't featured in the novel and wouldn't have made a great deal of sense for the character, which is likely why it was cut—but it's creepy as hell.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

The ending of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is among the most spectacular in all of horror, as Corey Feldman's Tommy Jarvis saves his sister Trish from Jason, hacking the murderer to bits with his own machete. But fans have speculated for years as to the fate of Tommy and Trish's mother, who simply vanishes in the third act. It's implied that she's killed off-camera, but an alternate ending makes her fate clear—or does it?

Tommy and Trish awaken the next morning, and Trish goes upstairs to make a grisly discovery. Suddenly, it becomes clear that the threat isn't over—but in the grand Friday the 13th tradition, it was all just a dream. While it is eerie, the coda would have detracted from the punchy effectiveness of the film's end, and it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Evil Dead (2013)

Director Fede Alvarez famously claimed that in his 2013 reboot Evil Dead, 50,000 gallons of fake blood was used for the final scene alone. It's an insanely blood-soaked finale, but a few details were omitted from the final cut.

In the original ending, Steve—the brother of protagonist Mia—burns down the cabin, killing himself and their possessed friend Eric. A deleted shot shows a little more of what happens inside the cabin as it's going up in flames (hint: it's not good for Steve). Another cut scene shows exactly how Mia makes her getaway after dealing with the Abomination. Neither shot adds anything to the story, but the extended scene inside the cabin seems to have been specifically setting up a sequel (which, hopefully, we will get someday).

Don't Breathe

Alvarez returned with 2016's Don't Breathe, one of the most tense, claustrophobic thrillers ever made. A trio of friends decide to rob the house of a blind man (Stephen Lang), and it's not long before they realize they've picked the absolute wrong house. Lang's simmering, intense performance is the heart of the film—his dialogue is sparse, making it all the more terrifying when he does speak. Perhaps that's why this scene ended up cut from the finished movie—it may have given him just a little too much to say.

Holding the terrified Rocky (Jane Levy) captive in his basement, the blind man goes into explicit detail about the accident that killed his daughter. The explanation is unnecessary, and the scene would have thrown a wrench into the film's pacing—but Lang's reading of it is no less mesmerizing than the rest of his performance.

Let Me In

Let Me In delivered gory shocks while still telling the rather sweet story of a friendship between Owen, a young boy, and Abby, a young girl (who happens to be a vampire). A scene cut from the theatrical release shows just how Abby came to be what she is—but not only does it feel unnecessary, it may have caused the film serious problems with the MPAA.

The scene shows a terrified, screaming Abby being forcibly "turned" by a much older man, and its overtones of child abuse are most likely what kept it out of the finished film. Still, like the rest of the movie, it's atmospheric and scary—although it certainly would have been a bit much for some audiences.

The Butterfly Effect

The protagonist of The Butterfly Effect, Evan Treborn, can use his childhood journal (among other things) to go back in time and change the events of the past—an ability that he can't seem to stop using to screw up his own life and the lives of literally everybody he knows. The ending of the theatrical cut sees him going back to his childhood to tell the love of his life, Kayleigh, to stay away from him—sparing her a lifetime of pain. But the original ending, which is available in the Director's Cut, was much darker.

Confined to a mental asylum, Evan manages to sneak in a home movie shot the day of his birth. He uses his time travel ability to make a truly shocking choice, giving the film an ending light-years away from the upbeat denouement of the theatrical cut. It's not exactly happy, but many critics feel the Director's Cut is the superior version.

Army of Darkness

Ashley J. Williams takes a heck of a lot of abuse throughout Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, but the ending may be the ultimate insult: sucked through a time vortex, Ash finds himself (and his trusty Oldsmobile) transported back to medieval times, to an era under siege by legions of the dead—which he will now be forced to fight. Of course, the sequel Army of Darkness shows that Ash, as is his tendency, makes the best of the situation—but that film's ending almost visited the same fate on Ash as its predecessor, only in reverse.

In the original ending, Ash is given a potion that allows him to return to his time by transporting him into the future—but in an alternate ending, the potion works entirely too well. It certainly would have been interesting to see how Ash would have dealt with the situation, but the filmmakers must have figured the poor guy had simply had enough of the whole time travel thing.


Despite being savaged by critics, 1999's Stigmata was a hit with audiences and a box office success, with a committed and creepy performance by Patricia Arquette as an atheist who begins experiencing the titular phenomenon after receiving a cursed rosary. In the film's original ending, Arquette's Frankie Paige is "cured" of the affliction with the help of Father Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne)—but in the Director's Cut, her cure comes with a price. While the director's ending isn't exactly a happy one, it does seem more thematically appropriate. 


Unfriended is an underrated flick that accomplishes the difficult task of telling a terrifying story of supernatural vengeance using the protagonist's computer screen. Through social media posts and Skype calls, we come to learn of a tragic event in the recent past of a group of friends—and of the horrific consequences that await them all.

The film has shocking and inventive death scenes, and many of them have alternate versions not seen in the theatrical cut. Of these, by far the most disturbing is the alternate death of Ken. There is a creepy lead-up involving a series of impossible social media posts and a seemingly malfunctioning Skype—and then, Ken meets his demise in one of the most bizarre ways imaginable. 

Get Out

In a bumper year for horror films, Jordan Peele's Get Out was an atmospheric, creepy and funny standout. The film's second act, in which protagonist Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) must navigate an odd and unsettling party at the home of his girlfriend's parents, is broken up by a seemingly friendly encounter with blind art dealer Jim Hudson (Stephen Root)—whom we later learn intends to take over Chris' body, leaving Chris a helpless passenger in the "sunken place." 

An extended version of the scene plays out much the same as the theatrical cut, with one subtle difference: a line of dialogue from the friendly art dealer that constitutes some very grim foreshadowing. The scene was likely shortened for the sake of pacing, and perhaps to keep the film's more clever viewers from guessing exactly where its insane plot was going.


Eli Roth's Hostel helped to usher in the era of what is derisively called "torture porn," but it's an effective and nasty shocker. The film's ending, in which Paxton (Jay Hernandez) gets bloody revenge on a Dutch businessman for the torture and murder of his friends, is incredibly satisfying—but it was almost very different, and the alternate ending (which is available on the Director's Cut) would have had the effect of making this nasty film infinitely nastier.

In this version, the Dutch businessman lives—but as he exits the train station bathroom in which he met his demise in the theatrical cut, we see that he's waiting for his young daughter. He won't find her, however, because in this cut, Paxton's plan for revenge is much, much darker than simple murder.

Cabin Fever

Two brief and connected deleted scenes from Roth's 2002 film Cabin Fever have the effect of making a throwaway line near the movie's end make a little more sense. In the theatrical cut, as the police are beginning to burn all the virus-ravaged bodies, one cop says, "I think there's another one in the basement"—but it's not at all clear who he's referring to.

In an earlier, deleted scene, Paul is seen dragging the long-haired hick who had just attacked him down to the basement; an extended version of the body-burning scene then shows the police dealing with whatever the man has become while he's been down there. These scenes, along with several others, are included in the uncut Blu-ray which was released in 2016. 

The Ring

Among the scenes deleted from 2002's The Ring were an entire subplot involving an accused murderer portrayed by Chris Cooper. While these scenes were never made available to the public, a few deleted scenes from the film survived—including an incredibly creepy one in which Noah (Martin Henderson) makes a horrifying discovery at the cabin where the cursed tape was found.

After finding the distorted pictures of the kids at Rachel's apartment, Noah goes to investigate the cabin—but a small, unmoored boat floating just offshore in the lake grabs his attention. The slow buildup and jump scare are quite effective, but the scene may have had the effect of lessening similar scares at earlier and later points in the film—not to mention throwing off its pacing.

I Am Legend

Much was made of the fact that 2007's I Am Legend deviated significantly from its source material, the classic Richard Matheson novel—especially its ending, in which Will Smith's Robert Neville sacrifices himself (and blows up a rampaging horde of "Darkseekers") in order to preserve the cure for the virus. In the novel, Neville comes to the mortifying realization that the creatures he's been hard at work destroying are actually thinking, feeling beings, and that he's the monster that the creatures fear, the one who stalks and murders them in the night.

The film's alternate ending is much more faithful to the source, and while it doesn't provide much in the way of a big Hollywood conclusion—there are no explosions here—it carries much more emotional weight than the theatrical cut's ending, and the film's title would have made much more sense if the filmmakers had stuck with it.