They were known as the master puppeteers behind the jovial and adorable Muppets characters, but Jim Henson and Frank Oz directed a nightmarish project in 1982: The Dark Crystal. The Universal Pictures feature about an elfin creature in search of a crystal shard that promises to restore balance and unity to his alien world was marketed as a family film, despite some frightening scenes that startled young viewers. The original cut of the movie was actually much darker, but it didn’t test well with early audiences. There was no narrator, the wicked Skeksis spoke their own language (with subtitles), and some of the score and actual scenes were arranged differently.
In order to maintain broad appeal, Henson and company added a voiceover to guide viewers along the Gelfling’s quest and dialogue was inserted that explained situations rather than relying on the puppets’ actions. Various portions of the original cut have made it to Blu-ray and DVD, but Dark Crystal fan Christopher Orgeron assembled a cut that offers a glimpse at Henson and Oz’s original creation.
Orgeron’s version is the closest we have to the director’s cut. He used a black-and-white VHS dub of a work print (tracked down by Demonoid user Aikousha), edited the audio and music, and pieced it all together with portions of the final film. The whole thing took Orgeron two years to complete. If Henson and Oz’s magical, surreal tale is close to your heart, make time for this fascinating version that offers a look at what might have been. Download a copy on Archive.org.
[Spotted via The Verge]
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