It’s hard to imagine how the literally heart-wrenching human sacrifice scene from Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom could be more unpleasant, but actor Nizwar Karanj explained how it almost was. Considering Raiders Of The Lost Ark was itself inspired by old movie serials, it was only natural Indiana Jones would return for a sequel. While Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom has a lot of fans today, it was highly criticized upon release for how dark and violent it is. It features human sacrifice, torture, and people being eaten by crocodiles, and in response to complaints from parents, the movie was a catalyst for the creation of the PG-13 rating, with Red Dawn being the first movie to carry the rating.
Steven Spielberg himself isn’t a fan of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom either, feeling it was too horrific and intense. While the director has technically never made a straightforward horror movie, he’s got a real talent for it, as evidenced by Jaws, Temple Of Doom, Jurassic Park and several others. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial also famously started life as a horror movie dubbed Night Skies, before the concept was reworked to become something more family-friendly.
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom is easily the darkest entry of the series, and if there’s one moment viewers will remember it’s the human sacrifice scene. In this sequence, the aptly named “Sacrifice Victim” – played by Nizwar Karanj – has his heart ripped out before being lowered in a pit of lava and burned alive. It’s a scene that rivals the face-melting climax of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but Nizwar Karanj once revealed in a Yahoo interview that it was almost even more nightmarish.
What was originally supposed to happen is when Nizwar Karanji’s character is lowered into the lava, his body was supposed to disintegrate, leaving only his hollowed-out face floating on the surface. Given the general intensity of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, and especially the human sacrifice sequence, this feels like a wise cut. Sadly, no footage of this uncut scene has emerged in the years since the film was released, and at this stage, the full sequence is unlikely to surface.
While later Indiana Jones movies would feature violent scenes, such as Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull featuring a man being eaten alive by ants, they never reached the level of darkness found in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. The bleak fate of Nizwar Karanji’s “Sacrifice Victim” still haunts some viewers years later – but at least they can take assurance in the fact it could have been even worse.
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