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Explaining That "Weird" Cut In Poltergeist. Read The Missing Scene

Why Is There A Strange Cut In The 1982 Horror Classic, Poltergeist?

If you're a fan of the 1982 Horror classic, Poltergeist then you will be very familiar with that "weird" cut in the movie.  It's 32 minutes and 47 seconds in to the movie and the scene is where Diane is explaining the strange phenomenon that is happening in the kitchen.  First, she shows to Steve a chair scraping across the floor all on its own then she does the same with Carol Anne.  Steve leans up against the kitchen wall and is completely shocked at what just happened.  It's at this point Diane starts to explain the sensation of being pulled and then...A very abrupt cut.  One moment we are listening to Diane and suddenly it cuts to Diane and Steve at their next door neighbours door.  Why the sudden cut?  It's on the VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and even the streaming versions.  Why does this awful and weird cut exist in the movie, Poltergeist?  Watch the clip below to see the cut:


Well, the answer is to do with Pizza Hut.  You see, at the beginning of that scene mentioned above, Carol Ann appears and is promised a visit to Pizza Hut.

CAROL ANNE
Mommy didn’t cook any dinner.

DIANE
(loud)
We’ll go to Pizza Hut, all right?

Later on in the scene Steve says "I hate Pizza Hut."  Well, the fast-food company got wind of this and were not happy with MGM.  This complaint was late in the day when it came to the movie's production.  In fact it had already gone to print so a quick solution was needed, hence the very rough and crude cut you see in the movie today that has been with us since the beginning.  Some fans of the movie even remember the cut at the premiere but some movie goers and fan of the movie swear they remember the complete scene.  Here is the missing scene in script form and if you do remember it, please let us know.

DIANE
You can't believe the feeling.

STEVE
What's the gag? There a magnet back there? He looks behind the door in the dining room. Nothing. Steve just stands for a long moment in hapless silence, then...

STEVE
I hate Pizza Hut! Where's supper? I don' t understand, Diane. What the hell's going on around here?

Steve sidesteps the chalk marks, removing himself from the active area.

DIANE
I figured I'd never explain it to you. So I showed you instead, but don't ask me how or what. Just help me figure out what to do.

STEVE
You mean there's no gimmick?

DIANE
Not from inside the house. Maybe Tuthill got himself a super remote from the Radio Shack.

Carol Anne adjusts her helmet and sits inside her launch circle. Diane and Steve are having the discussion across the room and aren't aware of her.

STEVE
Maybe the shakeup and this thing...relate.

DIANE
No shit.

CAROL ANNE
Daddy, look at me!!

They turn but it's too late. Carol Anne shoots across the room faster than before, and with no one to catch her.

ANGLE-KITCHEN WALL

At a sickening speed her helmet smashes into the wall. Diane SCREAMS Steve runs over. An eight-inch hole in the wall and the cracked plastic on the helmet testify to the force of impact. Carol Anne is dazed but unhurt.

CAROL ANNE
You promised pizza.

39
THRU OMIT
41

42 EXT. BEN TUTHILL'S FRONT PORCH - LIGHT

The front door opens and Tuthill steps into the bug light. An obvious strain in this conversation.

The motives various, the feelings mutual. About a thousand mosquitoes chow down on the Freelings while they talk.

STEVE
Hi, Ben.

DIANE
Mr. Tuthill.

TUTHILL
TV's off in here. If your set's acting up again...

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Comments

  1. I DEFINITELY remember this scene being longer, and I have ALWAYS remembered, and wondered what happened. I saw it in Massachusetts the weekend it came out as a kid. I also seem to remember Diane describing the sensation in some sort of vaguely sexual way. Something like... Remember the night when you first did (fill in the blanks) to me? It felt like that. That was the reason I always remembered it, because as a kid, I thought it was very naughty. Who knows, maybe I', nuts regarding the conversation, but I totally remember the scene differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, this is the collective unconsious talking. This movie has NEVER been released with the scene you speak of. I saw the original theatrical print (more than once) and it's exactly the same as it was on video and as it is now. It is the same in 70mm and 35mm. It has never, I repeat never been released in its entirety. Not only that, this Pizza hut bullshit being the reason for the cut is nonsence. They would have cut the one line. And this is nonsense anyway as Pizza Hut would have no grounds to sue MGM for saying they hated Pizza Hut. It's called freedom of speech!!

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  2. I also remember this scene in its entirety. Although I was only 4 when it premiered, I know I've seen it because I remember thinking (after Steven says he hates Pizza Hut), "I love Pizza Hut! (I still do actually). This weird "I've seen the scene, but it doesn't exist in any buyable format. But I know I've seen it!" It's "haunted" me for years. It's like the Mandela effect at play. I believe it will always linger in the cemetery of my mind of lost thoughts with no origin point. They just wander about asking, "do you know the answer?" I'm actually watching Poltergeist while I type this, which doesn't help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No you don't!! Sorry but you don't know what you're talking about. It's highly unlikely that you would remember such a trivial scene that you saw nearly 40 years later and remember it how it was. You are experiences what hypnotists call 'the collective unconsious', which is where you hear something so many times, you actually think you saw remember watching it that way. Think that's bullshit? Trust me it isn't. I have seen 2 different 35mm prints and a 70mm print, which were the first copies they made at the time of release and guess what? Both are exactly the same as the versions I saw on Betamax, VHS and DVD. Not to mention the BD and TV screenings.

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  3. After the kitchen scene the omitted scenes are from in their bedroom - smoking pot again - and they were discussing it and were wondering if the same thing happened to the neighbors. So after they get a little high they go next door and ask the neighbor. Which explains why Steven was laughing a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember that scene and the scene after that explains the weird cut. After the kitchen scene they are in their bedroom discussing what happened in the kitchen. They are getting high again and wondered if the neighbors are having the same issues. After they get high they go next door, Steven laughs a bit which makes more sense now since they just smoked. I can only assume there may have been a bit of an uproar from viewers maybe about the amount of illegal drugs being used and they are parents. Just a guess.

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  5. I to remember that scene. I was 12 when I saw this film at least 4 times. I was interested because I lived in a haunted house, laugh if you must but it's true. Nothing like the movie, but still. I remember that whole scene and then going to the neighbor's. To bad Steven Spielberg doesn't clean up and add to like he did with ET.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Something also missing is the scene where Robbie looks under the bed and the clown and also when his braces unravel and wrap around his face and all over the bathroom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "braces" scene was from the second sequel.

      Delete
  7. I don't understand why such a chunk was taken out when only a couple of lines mentioned Pizza Hut. They could easily have edited those lines out and kept the full scene in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, that is precisely my point as to why this whole Pizza Hut bullshit explanation (which has been hanging around the internet for over 20 years now) does not explain why you would cut two scenes (kitcen and porch) together, right slam bang in the middle of two different conversations. Anyone who thinks this is the reason is a complete moron. Like you say, you would simply cut the one line, it's really not that hard. Do people really think that Speilberg and Hooper would allow such a hack cut in the middle of their film if it wasn't inentional. When I meet Speilberg this is the first thing I will ask him. Mind you it wouldn't surprise me if he started this ridiculous urban myth to begin with.

      Delete
    2. Sorry if this sounds all pervy but I recently got the Blu-Ray of Poltergeist and noticed that the ending scene where Dana shows up right before the house gets sucked into the void seems to have been censored or digitally edited? The hormonal teenager me from 1982 seems to remember a freshly hick'ed, braless Dana's shirt being more noticeably "see-thru" when she screams "whats happening !?!" . The Blu-Ray version looks digitally "fixed" or censored.
      Anyone with a VHS copy care to verify ...along with the missing pot scene mentioned above?

      Delete
  8. I grew up watching the complete movie in it’s entirety. I saw it at my house. The reason my story is different is that I watched it on a early pay satellite service called On TV. The clown scene terrified me. I couldn’t look under my bed for years. I don’t know why they were able to air the unedited version but that’s the version I grew up with.

    ReplyDelete

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