Some play tennis, some memorize baseball stats, some decorate toilet seat lids. Point is, everyone’s got a hobby, but Christopher Orgeron spent his past two years of free time on a genuinely unusual project: restoring The Dark Crystal to its original, darker version. Wait, you’re thinking. I didn’t know there was an original, darker version of that, especially since the version they released was such hardcore nightmare fuel if you were a small child in the early ‘80s (OK, now I’m just projecting). Well, if you do enough poking around in Hollywood history, you’ll find there was an original, darker version of a whole lot of movies, which studio execs and other muckety-mucks demanded filmmakers brighten up before they saw the light of a projector.
The Dark Crystal
For audiences expecting the kind of cheery, song-filled fun typical of The Muppet Show and its follow-up movies, Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal was a shock, a serious-minded puppet sci-fi/fantasy picture. The original version was even darker and weirder, but after test audiences reacted poorly, Henson and Oz were forced to cut scenes and modify much of what remained with voice-over (much like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, released the same year). Superfan Orgeron told Mental Floss that he started hearing about a VHS dub of the original cut on fan forums, and when he finally got his hands on it, he was fascinated — but the audio and video quality rendered it all but unwatchable. So he painstakingly matched up the rough cut’s video with what remained in the final version, cleaned up the audio, and created the new version above, to the delight of Dark Crystal fans around the world.