In keeping with the theme of celebrating Poltergeist‘s legacy on it’s last year before the film hits 40, I wanted to highlight a scene that although filmed, never made the cut into the final film. Poltergeist is rich in film lore history and the fascination surrounding the supposed curse, is just one piece of the horror puzzle that has captivated fans throughout it’s run in the 80s’ and beyond in the present. And if you’re a superfan like myself, you might know about this somewhat cringy bit that has since been lost to the abyss of the editing process. Let’s talk about that spider ceiling scene.
Tentacles have been an obvious theme in the first two films, albeit more pronounced in the second film, however here in what was to be an extended and more brutal scene involving Diane (JoBeth Williams) after her bath, it basically gives The Entity (released in the same year) a run for its money. The scene without the added context strongly suggests sexual assault, but the deleted scene takes it to full on rape.
Mike Wood, who served as mechanical effects supervisor for the film and Mitch Suskin, visual effects supervisor, remarked on the cut footage and what it was to entail in an old Cinefex article circa 1982:
Well, that alone would have indeed given the film a hard “R” rating and I can certainly appreciate why they made the decision they did. I for one, think it may have taken away some of the sophistication the movie has engraved in it with it already embodying plenty psychological scare tactics without all the gore, guts, and torture porn. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good gorey trash flick. But with Poltergeist, it just doesn’t fit in well with the purity and horror innocence of the film; which is what makes it so damn great. Although I admit, I don’t think I’d be able to suppress the curiosity that resides in me if this footage is ever unearthed and released.
The above images credited to the ultimate Poltergeist fan site, poltergiestiii.com, are the first to my knowledge to have been displayed on the internet. It’s also a fantastic go-to for anything on the film(s) you would ever want to know- so I highly suggest rummaging through their web pages for some fun trivia and stills on the movies.