Where did Scott go?!
One of the (many) bizarre things about "Poltergeist III" is the fact that Scott (Kipley Wentz), Donna's (Lara Flynn Boyle) boyfriend, never came back from the "Other Side" at the end of the film. Early on, he was taken away into the puddle along with Donna and Carol Anne. Later, he appears to come back after being shot up from the frozen pool (above). However, it turns out that this Scott is the "evil one"-a possessed mirror reflection who later takes the elevator upstairs to the 70th floor to meet the "evil Donna" (pic below). He then rips her face open, and his fingers crack as well, revealing the undead beneath.
However, at the end of the film, in the re-shot ending, when Bruce, Donna, and Carol Anne come back, Scott is nowhere to be seen! What's going on? Was Scott left on the Other Side? There have been numerous explanations given for this. In the original ending, Scott did come back.
1. Director Gary Sherman claims actor Kipley Wentz was "on the east coast" and was not available for shooting when they filmed the new ending after Heather died.
2. Kipley disputes this, saying he was in LA going to USC. The re-shoot took place in the same city-at the MGM Studios. He says no one ever called him about being in the re-shoot.
3. Producer Barry Bernardi told Kip jokingly at the film's premiere in Chicago that Scott was being left "out there" for "Poltergeist IV." When pressed, Barry said things "had been really crazy, and they were just trying to deal with it as quickly as possible." A source (likely Bernardi) later told "Gorezone" magazine that Kip's absence from the new ending was an "oversight" stemming from the emotional and logistical turmoil after Heather's death, and that since the budget had run out at that point, "Scott" was not deemed essential enough to the movie for the studio to go through the expense and complication of arranging another re-shoot with Kip present.
The most likely explanation in my view is that the execs decided it might confuse the audience if they saw Scott coming up from the pool and then saw him again at the end coming back with the family. They may have decided to make the Scott who emerges from the pool the "real one" and the one who walks out of the elevator the "fake one." This could have worked, since you don't see Scott actually leaving his apartment to get into the elevator. However, it becomes obvious there is something not quite right with this Scott when he's being hypnotized by Dr. Seaton. He sees Tangina and freaks out, saying "Keep her away from me!!"
Kipley Wentz actually planned on doing a one man show at one point called "Saving Scott." Here's what he posted on his old web site Actor's Life, circa 2004:
So I'm wavering a bit on my choice of one-man shows to develop. The idea I proposed for the workshop I'm beginning on Monday is called (working title) "Saving Scott". Many of you probably have heard this story before, but when I was 18, I got a lead role in Poltergeist III. I played Lara Flynn Boyle's boyfriend, "Scott", and the two of us were sucked to "the other side" trying to save Carol Anne and were replaced by our evil twin reflections. Seriously.
Anyway, between the time the movie was wrapped and it's release date, the star, Heather O'Rourke tragically died at age 11. That's a long story that we don't need to cover here.
So, long story short... in the original script our evil twins were running around Chicago wreaking havoc and killing people. At the climax of the movie, there is an epic battle and of course, we're all saved and it's a happy ending.
HOWEVER... due to Heather's death, the ending of the movie was reshot and... lo and behold... nobody bothered to call ol' Scotty Boy. So I'm sitting there at the premiere and there's the big climactic battle and everybody is saved, the ENTIRE CAST is there at the end... except me. Scott was nowhere to be seen. They just left him out there on "the other side".
The credits rolled, I scratched my head, and someone behind me whispered, "Wait... what happened to that dude?"
Enter: the internet, and a whole new generation of Poltergeist III fans. Seriously.
And the question has grown into a full-blown conspiracy: What the heck happened to Scott?!
Several years ago, the director gave an interview in which he said that I had been "on the East Coast at school" and was "unavailable for shooting". This is a total fabrication. I was in LA, attending USC. I had just seen everyone at Heather's funeral weeks before. I was a pall bearer.
But, people with way too much time on their hands have run with this, making me the scapegoat for this weird, lame ending. I was unaware of these internet chats happening until a couple years ago, at which point I started logging on to chat rooms and trying to set the record straight. I was there, I was available, I was never called.
This of course has only fueled the "controversy" and whipped 12 year old girls and boys into a conspiracy frenzy. The chat rooms are abuzz with points and counter points, quotes from articles, photos, transcripts of television reports, and more. I have been accused more than once of participating in some shady sort of coverup. What I'm covering up and for whose benefit hasn't yet been explained, but I must be up to SOMETHING explains LizzyGrrl98476.
In any event, what nobody else but me seems to consider is the fact that poor Scott has been stuck out there on "the other side" for the last 16 years. Meanwhile ttocS has been running free in our world, no doubt campaigning for George Bush.
As for me, I've suffered the results of my own evil impulses and also felt as though some of my most endearing qualities disappeared into the ether with what was, in all seriousness, a tragic and horrible experience that has had an enormous impact on my adult life. In essence, my "good" qualities were stolen to "the other side" and have been frozen in hellish limbo for almost 20 years.
Imagine poor, puffy-haired Scott over there on "the other side", stuck in his stupid 1987 horror-movie fashion. Imagine evil Scott running amok in our world. And there I am, stuck in the middle.
It's time to Save Scott.
Here's various compliled comments Kipley has made to the "Poltergeist III" Message Board on the IMDB:
Thanks, guys... glad to hear not everyone hates the movie. I'll admit, it's not on my top ten list. I'm not sure it's on my top 100 list, and I'm in it. When Gary Sherman spoke at a NY screening of "Raw Meat" (aka Death Line) a year ago last fall, he admitted that Poltergeist III is not a subject he enjoys talking about.
It was only recently that I started digging around for discussions about the movie, when I accidently came across a "quote" from me that I never said. I was really suprised to discover that people are still talking about this movie. Overall, I think most folks agree it's a pretty bad film. This confusion over what happened to the original ending I suppose is intriguing as a sort of "film lore" mystery, but it's really quite simple.
The experience of making that movie had a tragic ending for everyone involved. Heather was a lovely little girl... she was kind and sweet, funny, professional, and utterly charming. Her death was a total shock, and understandably, nobody who knew her cared the slightest bit about "fixing" the ending of her last movie. It's my understanding that nobody involved even wanted the movie released. It was just a horrible shock for everyone, and I can imagine that when forced to reshoot the ending, they just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible and forget about it. Everything was a reminder of Heather, and I think everyone felt uncomfortable proceeding with the movie as if nothing had happened.
Anyway, I suppose there's not much else to say on the subject. For those who enjoyed the movie... I thank you for your kind words here. For those who think the movie stinks, well... yeah. There are some better films in the world.
It's been a looooong time since I saw Poltergeist 2, but I had a kind of funny experience with that movie. I went to see that with a friend and as we walked out of the theater, I remember saying, "Well that should just about do it for the Poltergeist series." A year later I was on the set acting in Poltergeist 3. A strange coincidence.
So, yeah, I think it's been about 18 years since I watched the second movie, but I don't remember liking it much. Of course, I had never made a movie at that point and, being 17 years old, naturally I assumed I knew everything. I was pretty snobby about movies back then and might have written a review like some of the more scathing ones here.
I did rent the original Poltergeist about a year and a half ago and it's still a fabulous movie in my opinion. That clown doll... boy that freaks me out. A lot of scary stuff in that movie. Very creepy moments, very fun to watch.
As for Richard Fire as Dr. Seaton... I have to tell you guys honestly, I think he's totally hilarious. He played the chump to the hilt and I think he's great. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but if you knew the guy and knew that he was absolutely nothing like the character he portrays, you might look at the performance differently. He has some of my favorite moments of the movie... when that mirror shatters and he offers the lamest excuse in the world as to what happened and that woman looks at him like he's nuts... that totally cracks me up. And when he tastes the dinner his wife is making and says, "Needs cilantro" or "too much cilantro"... whatever he says... it's just hilarious. I know people who are like Dr. Seaton... I can't stand people like that. I've heard a lot of criticism of Richard's performance and sometimes I think people are reacting to the character more than the actor. Richard Fire is not like that character at all... he's not a bad actor who couldn't create a character. He's a good actor who created an infuriating character. Just my opinion.
As for Nathan Davis... well, he was given a pretty huge challenge. Aside from filling in for Julian Beck and having to wear all those prosthetics, it wasn't even his voice that was used. So he gave his performance knowing that all those lines were going to be dubbed. I don't know... it's hard. He wasn't given much to work with, really. I haven't given much thought to that performance, I think because the character is so weak. I mean, he just kind of wanders around going, "Carol Anne, Carol Anne!!" And it's not even his voice you hear.
But Richard I will defend wholeheartedly! He's not a good friend of mine or anything... I think we just had one or two days of shooting together. But he totally cracks me up. I think he did a great job of playing the buffoon.
But this goes to a very interesting subject, really... the most fascinating thing about movies is that you cannot please everyone, and every person is seeing the movie differently. Some people are listening to the dialogue and they think the movie stinks. Some people are watching what Gary did with live special effects and the camera, and they appreciate how incredibly unique Poltergeist III is in that respect. Some people are great fans of Heather's, and they react differently to the movie than say, a hard core horror junkie. Everybody reacts differently and that's totally amazing to me. Tell me what your least favorite movie of all time is, and I guarantee there's someone out there who thinks it's the greatest movie ever made.
Anyway... anyone can please feel free to post links to this discussion because this is my final word on the subject. I'm not interested in fueling any controversy, I just wanted to tell my side of the story.
Keep in mind that in all likelihood, Gary doesn't have any control over footage that may or may not still exist. MGM/UA controls the footage, and while there is obviously a very devoted following, Poltergeist 3 is hardly the crown jewel in the MGM library. While the fans are very personally invested in Heather's legacy, ultimately it is a business and I suspect there was a meeting wherein numbers were looked at and they decided that the added value of a P3 special edition would not outweigh the costs of producing it. That's just my guess. It's also possible that that original footage just doesn't exist any more. There's a lot of movies produced every year and they can't save ALL that footage.
In any event, I would like to thank you all who have participated in this discussion. I've always felt I was a bit of a scapegoat for the weird/lame ending of P3 and it's a bit of a relief to be able to share my side of the story. A friend has put forth what is probably the most likely scenario: that while the movie officially "wrapped", perhaps there were certain special effects sequences that hadn't been completed. It is possible that Heather's death came before those sequences were shot, which would prompt a rewrite and reshoot if an acceptable ending could not be fashioned from existing footage. Why my character was written out, however, I have no explanation!
Ah well. All a part of life's rich pageant.
(For anyone curious about what I've been up the past few years, check out www.downstagewest.com or read an interview at
Hi, Conner. Thanks for your kind words about the movie and my performance. I sincerely appreciate it. I think a lot of people can identify with your feeling of sadness about Heather's death. It's a testament to her talent and presence that she continues to win new fans even today.
To be completely honest, I never really connected with Lara on a personal level. She was well on her way to being an established pro by the time we made that movie, and frankly I think she had little patience for someone like me with absolutely no experience. That is to say, we never really became friends through the shooting process. I generally hung out with the stand-ins when I wasn't in a scene, and Lara had a different agenda.
To her credit, she has managed to remain successful for more than twenty years, infinitely longer than the average Hollywood career. She's tough, and it seems that she knows what she wants in life and goes out and gets it.
So... I hope that answers your question. We got along fine, but I've never spoken with her nor seen her in person since the premiere of P3 back in 1988. I'm relatively certain she wouldn't remember me if I did.