A fan has restored and released a new cut of the The Dark Crystal that closely resembles its makers' original vision. If you haven't seen it, the movie is a delightfully dark '80s fantasy created by master puppeteers Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The original cut was apparently far darker than the movie that was released in theaters, but after testing poorly, it was recut to be more family friendly. In an interview with Mental Floss, Christopher Orgeron explains how he pieced together early cuts and final footage to recreate the closest possible thing to a "director's cut" of the movie.

Orgeron started with a low-quality VHS work print, piecing in footage from the final movie wherever possible. He also processed all of the audio from the work print and added music from the final score. The result is a patchy movie that, while hardly acting as a replacement for your Blu-ray, provides insight into Henson and Oz's vision for The Dark Crystal. If you're a fan of the movie, it's well worth 96 minutes of your time.

The recut movie is currently hosted on YouTube and can also be downloaded from The Internet Movie Archive, the latter of which also has more details on the cut. How long these copies will be available isn't clear. The original movie is available from Sony Pictures on Blu-ray and DVD, and the studio could likely have Orgeron's cut taken offline if they decided to pursue the matter. Given the sketchy quality and archival nature of Orgeron's work, there's at least some hope that Sony will understand the "director's cut" is a labor of love, rather than an attempt to profit from copyrighted material.