Spider-Man 3 originally ended on a disturbing moment of body horror involving Venom – here’s why it was cut. The success of Spider-Man in 2002 cemented comic book adaptations as the hot new trend. Sam Raimi’s blockbuster featured both thrilling setpieces and lots of heart, meshed with the director’s trademark kinetic style. Raimi went on to helm one of the best comic book movies of all time with Spider-Man 2, which developed and deepened the themes of the franchise, and displayed why the first two movies outshined rival movies like Daredevil or Hulk. Sadly, Spider-Man 3 would buckle under the weight of expectations.
The movie was once set to be a two-part story, which may explain when Spider-Man 3 was ultimately burdened by too many characters and subplots. Raimi was never a fan of Venom, but the studio pressed for the villain’s inclusion, accounting for the character’s somewhat lackluster depiction. Spider-Man 3 was a huge success, but its tepid critical response eroded goodwill towards the series, with Raimi’s planned Spider-Man 4 eventually being canceled in favor of a reboot with 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man.
In the years since Spider-Man 3’s release, some viewers have warmed towards the sequel, though it’s undeniably the least of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Given the director’s horror background it feels he should have had more of an affinity for the villain, but despite Topher Grace’s best efforts, Venom never really registers as a grave threat. Spider-Man 3’s original finale cut a moment of Venom-inspired body horror, where Peter managed to free Eddie Brock from the symbiote – only to find a skeleton was that remained.
This revealed that Spider-Man 3’s Venom symbiote had essentially sucked Eddie dry, and the bonding process was so complete that Brock’s smoking skull even resembled Venom. This Spider-Man 3 ending was shot and test screened but was apparently removed because younger viewers found it too disturbing. Images of Eddie’s nightmarish prop skull from this deleted Spider-Man 3 finale can be found at Prop Store. What’s interesting about this more body horror-inspired Spider-Man 3 ending is the question of whether Eddie’s personality was still part of Venom, or the symbiote was just using his likeliness and rage to fuel itself during the final battle.
In Spider-Man 3’s current ending, the still living Eddie is briefly freed from the symbiote, but runs back and fuses with it just as Peter throws a pumpkin bomb. This explosion destroys both him and the symbiote (the movie also cut a Venom animatronic). It’s a shame this alternate Spider-Man 3 ending was cut, as the sequel could have played up Venom’s body horror angle even further.