The internet loves to hate on George Lucas for continually picking at his movies like a gross scab that won't heal, but he's far from the only director who won't leave well enough alone. We've been so distracted yelling at him for changing the order of two tiny lasers by a few milliseconds, that we've let other filmmakers get away with making even bigger (or at least more embarrassing) changes to their movies.
In fact, some of you probably never realized that some of the following scenes didn't always look like this ...
There have been a lot of wild rumors about sexual content snuck into Disney films over the years, from Aladdin seemingly commanding Jasmine to take off her clothes, to Jessica Rabbit flashing the world's children, but maybe the most famous was the surprising amount of dong-related imagery in The Little Mermaid. Specifically the film's poster, which portrays Ariel's undersea kingdom as a utopia of golden dildos with sparkling tips.
Walt Disney Studios
The eruption of water certainly isn't helping.
And while that was allegedly a total accident on the part of the illustrator who simply had dicks on the brain for some inexplicable reason, that isn't the only connection behind the classic family film and unwanted boners. The officiant in the almost wedding between Prince Eric and Ursula appeared to be popping an animated pants tent.
Walt Disney Studios
Eric is awkwardly trying not to stare, but Ursula seems totally into it.
Even though the animators insisted this was simply the priest's knee -- and looking at the scene from any other angle confirms that -- someone at Disney either didn't buy that explanation or was tired of hearing about it, because they eventually deboned the poor old man for the film's DVD release.
Walt Disney Studios
Look at him. He had so little.
So keep that it in mind if you pursue a career at Disney -- not every animator gets to work on the new Avengers movie. Some have to make do using computer technology to ensure that a cartoon priest's genitals are 100 percent flaccid.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is the sci-fi masterpiece that took the act of abandoning your family and turned it into a fun adventure for the whole family ... who you hopefully didn't abandon. Apparently, Spielberg wasn't happy with the version that was first released, claiming it was "pushed" into theaters by the studio, who were "facing bankruptcy." After the movie became a hit, Spielberg got permission to re-cut a "special edition" of Close Encounters ... with one big string attached.
In exchange for ponying up the dough for the new version, the studio demanded that Spielberg include scenes showing the inside of the spaceship at the very end. Up to that point, all the audience got to see was a glowing light, alien silhouettes, and some arena rock dry ice wafting toward the mothership.
It was the '70s, after all ...
The studio's only caveat to funding a special edition was that Spielberg crap all over that ambiguous ending, which is like adding a scene to the end of Blade Runner wherein someone spills iced tea on Harrison Ford and causes him to short circuit. For some reason, Spielberg went along with it, showing that the inside of the ship looks like a cross between a Borg cube and a suburban laser tag joint.
It now being the '80s, the "smoke" was actually cocaine particles.
They didn't waste any time completely spoiling Spielberg's new ending, eradicating any lingering hint of mystery by proudly advertising it with a tagline that could technically be used by any indoor structure.
"Come see it and get out of the rain!"
Spielberg eventually released a "director's cut" in the '90s that was basically the special edition with all of the unnecessary bullshit spaceship scenes he was forced to include removed. Fellow blockbuster machine James Cameron cited Close Encounters as the best example of how a special edition could totally screw up your movie. Then again, his idea of a worthy special edition is ...
Even if you don't buy the saccharine love story or the fact that the old lady casually tosses a priceless diamond into the ocean like it's a murder weapon (instead of, say, donating it to a worthy charity or selling it and living like an elderly queen), you have to admire the work that went into Titanic. The filmmakers painstakingly recreated the actual ship, its passengers, and even found a song that was able to communicate the abject horror experienced by those poor souls aboard.
But even with that level of attention to detail, a few cock-ups slipped through the cracks. Which is surprising considering James Cameron has never been accused of being a chill dude immune to obsession. When Titanic was re-released Cameron seized upon the opportunity to digitally fix those minor mistakes. Such as digitally removing some film lighting equipment, thus obliterating all of those fan theories about amateur porn shoots on the Titanic.
Now it makes more sense that they didn't see the iceberg coming.
Oh, and the night sky itself was redone. Why? Because astrophysicist/professional movie ruiner Neil deGrasse Tyson called it out for inaccuracy. According to Cameron, Tyson "sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen." Rather than paying some Teamsters from the set of one of his previous films to go shatter Tyson's kneecaps with pipe wrenches for being an irritating know-it-all, Cameron used computer wizardry to correct this grievous error. So, among other shots, this:
Yes, this definitely enhances our enjoyment of the film.
Perfectionism aside, it's delightful that James Cameron changed his movie so that Neil deGrasse Tyson would never be able to make fun of him about it ever again.
Halloween II had one of the balls-out craziest twists of any sequel, revealing that babysitter Laurie Strode from the first film was actually the long-lost sister of Michael Myers, the Shatner-faced maniac who loves murder almost as much as he loves mall walking. It's like if Aliens tried to up the stakes by revealing that Ripley's childhood pen pal was catfishing Facehugger.
If you ever wondered what he looks like under that mask, just picture Curtis with short hair and a mustache.
Director John Carpenter himself stated that the twist only came from drinking "a lot of beer sitting in front of a typewriter saying, 'What the fuck am I doing?'" The writing of Halloween II employed the same rigorous process most people use to drunkenly Facebook message their ex. He even added that Laurie and Michael's familial link "makes no sense" ... which is probably why he retroactively added scenes to the first Halloween to try and force it to not be nonsense.
The TV version of Halloween that aired shortly before the sequel came out, features a brand new scene that attempts to justify the sequel's twist ending with all the subtlety of a plane crash. After Myers escapes from the sanitarium, we see that his room is trashed and the word "sister" has been scrawled on the wall. The subtle implication, if you missed it, is that he only took off because he learned about Laurie. That, or he was a huge fan of Whoopi Goldberg's film career, and had to flee before he could add the second critical word to his graffiti.
"Looks like Michael's back in the habit."
Bear in mind, this was back before the internet or the prevalence of home video. So it's hard to say if this was presented as a fun bonus for fans, or if the filmmakers were literally trying to gaslight moviegoers into thinking that the mythology of Halloween was carefully planned and not the product of guzzling a six-pack and seeing what happens.
One of the most criticized changes in the Star Wars special editions is the replacement of the older Anakin Skywalker ghost with the updated, leering-creep-in-the-bushes performance by Hayden Christensen at the end of Return Of The Jedi. It's not that we irrationally hate Christensen for ruining a beloved character from a classic film series, it's that it makes no sense that his ghost would be a young man and we would like to be able to watch the primary trilogy without being reminded that the prequels exist.
And yet, the same thing happened in one of the most beloved TV shows of all time and no one gave a crap. As much as we'd love to tell you that Ross on F.R.I.E.N.D.S was originally played by an upturned mop in a turtleneck, we're actually referring to Seinfeld.
Sony Pictures Television
Best known to our younger readers as "Julia Louis-Dreyfus and some other people."
At first, George Costanza's dad was played by legendary actor John Randolph. There are varying reports about why he didn't come back for the next season. According to Larry David, he may have been busy. And according to Jason Alexander, "He didn't look like me and he didn't look like a Costanza" (to his credit). Either way, after recasting the role with Jerry Stiller, David decided to "prevail" upon the network and reshoot the previous episode with the new actor to preserve the otherwise airtight continuity of the Seinfeld saga.
Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Television
His suggestion to have Randolph step into a teleporter with Ben Stiller was shot down.
Similarly, Jerry's neighbor, Newman, started as an unseen character voiced by David. So when Wayne Knight took over the role they redubbed those scenes for syndication. After these reshoots, David went mad with power and wanted to do the same with Jerry's dad, who had also been recast after the first season. But since the actors had all aged several years, that move really would have necessitated contacting some kind of ILM-like visual effects company and spending an amount of money that at best could be described as "irresponsible." It would have also sent David spiraling down a rabbit hole of madness that, to be fair, would make a pretty funny Curb Your Enthusiasm storyline.
While he never released a version of The Godfather loaded with random old man nudity (that only happened behind the scenes), Francis Ford Coppola did "update" another of his classic movies with a slew of equally baffling changes. You might have heard of Coppola's Apocalypse Now Redux, the re-release of the classic Vietnam War movie starring future president Martin Sheen. The biggest change was the addition of a sequence wherein Sheen and his company of soldiers pause their harrowing trip through the horrors of war to fart around a fancy French plantation for 20 minutes of screen time.
Sheen still has flashbacks about that delicious mousse.
After a dinnertime chat about the history of Vietnam, Sheen heads up to his room and promptly gets high on opium and has sex with one of his hosts. He is a Sheen, after all.
We're still waiting for the inevitable Platoon remaster where Charlie Sheen bones everyone on the continent shrouded in a fine mist of cocaine.
Here's the weirdest thing, though: At the point in the Vietnam War during which the film takes place, there shouldn't be any French plantations of this sort. Those people would have long fucked off back to Europe by then. So did Coppola merely get his history wrong? Well ... sort of. Coppola explained the scene as a kind of ghost/time travel thing. Because when you're making a three and a half hour version of Apocalypse Now, you might as well throw some fucking ghosts into it.
Today, zombies are as prevalent on TV as the nightly news (and frankly, less disturbing), but there was a time when that wasn't the case. The modern iteration of the zombie as we know it originated with George Romero's 1968 flick Night Of The Living Dead. Unfortunately for Romero, after changing the title at the last minute, some genius forgot to include the copyright information on the new credits. Meaning any old dope could sequelize, remake, or distribute the classic movie.
We could embed the whole movie here instead of this screenshot if we wanted to. That isn't a joke.
In the late '90s, co-writer John A. Russo took advantage of the film's role as the punching bag of intellectual property to release his own 30th anniversary version with a bunch of scenes added. And no, we don't mean deleted footage from the '60s. Like Counting Crows and scrunchies, these additional scenes came straight from the '90s.
If you ever wondered why more classic movies don't add more footage decades later with actors seemingly culled from community theater, bear witness to these craptacular additions. The movie's new opening gives a completely pointless backstory to the original zombie: He was a rapist being buried by two jerks and a conspicuously goateed priest. Mystery solved.
The priest took time off his busy schedule of fighting for ethics in video game journalism.
Then, in the middle of the flick, there's some new shots of more killer zombies. That, or guests filing out of a costume party.
Later, the initial zombie returns to the cemetery and the completely believable priest from earlier just sorta lets him eat his face.
And finally, instead of the original film's classic ending, this 30th anniversary version ends with the (rather lazily) quarantined priest flipping out on a reporter while clutching a small dog. It's explained that, should he turn into a zombie, he'd eat the puppy and ignore any humans around. Frankly, the Walking Dead characters are goddamn morons for never thinking of this.
To shoot this scene, they obviously borrowed a DMV office during lunch hour.
If you're a fan of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and are irritated and/or physically disgusted by these additions, fear not. The DVD of this "special edition" straight-up looked like a new edition of the original movie with absolutely no indication that it contained newly filmed material to make the movie both longer and worse!
It's Spring Break! You know what that means: hot coeds getting loose on the beaches of Cancun and becoming imperiled in all classic beach slasher ways: man-eating shark, school of piranhas, James Franco with dreadlocks. There are so many films about vacations gone wrong, it's a chore to wonder if there's even such a thing as a movie vacation gone right. Amity Island and Camp Crystal Lake are out. So what does that leave? The ship from Wall-E? Hawaii with the Brady Bunch? A road trip with famous curmudgeon Chevy Chase? On this month's live podcast Jack O'Brien and the Cracked staff are joined by some special guest comedians to figure out what would be the best vacation to take in a fictional universe. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
Follow us on Facebook, and we'll follow you everywhere.