Was There Originally a Giant Octopus in The Goonies?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Was there really a giant octopus in The Goonies?

The Goonies was a popular 1985 film directed by Richard Donner and written by Chris Columbus (based on a story by Steven Spielberg, who was the executive producer on the movie).

It was about a group of best friends who live in the “Goon Docks” in Oregon. Their whole neighborhood was set to be bulldozed because all of the homes were foreclosed. The “Goonies” get together for one last adventure when they discover what appears to be an old Spanish treasure map. During their search for the treasure, they run afoul of a group of criminals and hilarity and adventure ensue. SPOILERS FOR A TWENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD MOVIE! The Goonies end up with some of the treasure, allowing their parents to save their homes. At the end of the film, the kids are being interviewed by a reporter. One of the kids, Data (played by Ke Huy Quan), says to the reporter “The octopus was really scary!” There was no octopus in the film. The line seemed to presumably be an example of how kids exaggerate. You know, while in the midst of this crazy story with crooks and pirate ships, they still somehow manage to still make stuff up! However, that has led to fans of The Goonies over the years to believe that there was an actual deleted scene with an octopus that was just cut from the theatrical run of the film. Is that true? Or is it just another case like the phantom “deleted scene” from Raiders of the Lost Ark that we covered here a while back?

Read on to find out the answer!

Simply put, yes, there was an actual deleted scene that involved a giant octopus. It occurred when the Goonies have fallen from the waterfall into a cavern near the pirate ship. They are wading through the water to the ship when Stef (played by Martha Plimpton) feels something brush against her. She presumes it is Mouth (played by Corey Feldman) who is behind her. He denies it. It happens again and she smacks Mouth in the, well, mouth. While she is turned to face Mouth, he sees a giant octopus emerge from the water behind Stef.

The octopus attacks and drags Stef under the water. Mouth and Stef fight the octopus to try to free her. Data (the resident inventor of the group who uses all sorts of interesting gadgets throughout the film) saves them by taking a Walkman cassette tape player and sticking it into the octopus’s mouth and playing loudly the song “Eight Arms to Hold You” by the dance group The Goon Squad. The octopus either recoils from the loud noise or, in a more likely reading of the scene, begins to dance away. It is pretty cheesy. The scene was ultimately cut from the film, whether for time reasons or because the scene did not come out looking particularly good or whether because the whole concept of a giant octopus attacking the group was deemed to be a bit too over-the-top. Whatever the case, it did not make the movie.

The scene did not appear in either the theatrical release of the film or when the film was released on VHS. However, a funny thing happened sometime in the 1990s. The Disney Channel aired the film and since the film had more than a few references that pushed the boundaries of acceptable children’s entertainment as far as The Disney Channel went, they edited out those scenes. After the edits were made, though, they wanted to make up for the time being taken away so they added a couple of deleted scenes, including the octopus scene (another notable deleted scene has the kids encounter Troy, a jerky local jock, at a convenience store. In the scene, the treasure map that the kids have gets burned a bit by Troy, which explains why the map is singed in later scenes in the film). So now suddenly you had a certain group of people who were talking about an octopus scene that no one else had ever seen. Many folks presumed that it was yet another phantom deleted scene, a fake memory based on Data’s line later in the film. It happens a lot. However, this time it was for real.

In 2001, the deleted scenes were included on the DVD release of The Goonies.

An interesting thing about the deleted scene is the song used in the scene. Producer Arthur Baker put together a band to make that song and the group was called The Goon Squad to further tie into the movie. The song’s title is a reference to the working title for The Beatles’ album Help!. The soundtrack producers were so sure that the song would be a hit after its use in the movie that they decided to release the song as a single off of the film’s soundtrack. Despite the deletion of the scene, the song remained on the soundtrack and when it came out it actually hit the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts!

The Goon Squad actually released another single (“Powerdrill”) that hit the top forty of the dance charts but that was it for the group.

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

6 Responses to “Was There Originally a Giant Octopus in The Goonies?”

  1. Huh, a story with pirate ships and a giant tentacled monster… I think Alan Moore made an onset visit and included some things in something HE wrote! ;)

  2. The Octopus scene being cut always got tome because, as a 6 year old, I had collected the movie cards for The Goonies and the scene was included!

  3. Both the octopus scene and the convenience store scene are also included in the novelization. You can also catch a glimpse of the octopus in the second half of Cyndi Lauper’s “Goonies R Good Enough” video, and it’s also in the (amazingly great) computer game on level 7.

  4. It seems to me that it’s highly likely that the octopus scene was, in fact, originally shown during the theatrical release, regardless of whatever is being currently accepted as the proper version of Goonies history. :P

    Looking at the facts:
    1: As a kid, I vaguely remember missing something during the initial home showings on TV and VHS, and then telling people “SEE!” as a confirmation of my account when Data mentioned the octopus and later being saddened when people didn’t believe me, telling me that it was only an example of a kid stretching the truth. It was so frustrating.

    2: The creature is included in the trading card set.

    3: The Disney Channel airing was probably an original uncut version, i.e., all one had to do was cut out except for the cuts made to conform to an ultra “G” rating of course.

    4: The octopus is even featured prominently in the Cyndi Lauper MTV video(in part 2) and she is shown fighting it.

    5: The song and the single which definitely rings a bell. It’s hard to believe that its impetus would have been retroactively excised from the film and making it illogical.

    So, with all that in mind, I submit that the evidence points to a near definite guarantee that the giant octopus scene truly appeared when first released in theaters, then was cut from subsequent releases.

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