A film’s ending can do a great deal in deciding how you feel about the movie. It’s often that a great movie has a crappy ending, it can leave a bitter taste in your mouth, much like the Invaders From Mars, and The Slumber Party Massacre, ‘it was all a dream’ style endings, to the just plain bad, ‘Head in microwave’ ending the remake of Last House On The Left gave us. Some times, a film can be redeemed from it’s ending, much like Martyrs was for me after the third act took a nose dive, and let you leave the movie feeling alright with it. But other times, you get an ending that borders on perfection, leaving you just about as satisfied as you can be. This is about those endings, in no real order. SPOILERS.
1. Funny Games (US)
Funny Games is a shot for shot remake, directed by Michael Haneke, who directed the original 1997 Austrian film of the same name. Starring Tim Roth, and Naomi Watts, as a couple who along with their son, are mentally fucked with, and forced to play sadist games, by two of cinema’s most entertaining protagonists, Funny Games is a brutal film that doesn’t let up on the tension and atmosphere.
So why’s it on the list? The fact that the good guys don’t win. The kid gets shot, the father killed, and Naomi Watts is tied and pushed off a boat in the middle of a conversation, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. To top it off, it ends where it begins, with the killers approaching a new family. Dark, unrelenting, and very nihilistic.
James Wan’s ghost story about a family who’s child is haunted, is a terrifying, and effective ghost story, that relies on equal parts atmosphere, and jump scares, that rises to the ultimate crescendo. The third act, in which the father, via asto-projection, goes into the further to bring back the soul of his son, is a chilling example of WTF-images, great jumps, and the set up to a great ending.
Upon returning from the further to the world of the living, the son and father wake up, and it seems like it’s going to be a happy ending. Until after having his picture taken, the father proceeds to wrap his hands around Lin Shaye’s throat, and choke her to death. It’s shown to us, via the camera, that the ghost who had been after him as a child, has finally gotten what it wanted. His body.
3. The Mist
The Mist is the adaptation of the Stephen King novella of the same name, with an ending that King himself said he would of used if he had thought of it. The story takes place in a supermarket, the day after a storm, as people from around the small town come in for supplies. A man comes running into the supermarket screaming about monsters in the mist, the people in the supermarket close it off, and it becomes a struggle of power, religion, and fear.
Near the end, we have the father and son who’ve we been following most the movie, the love interest, and an elderly man and women, escape from the supermarket, make it to a car, with the intention that they will just drive, and drive, as long as they can. Then they run out of gas. They’re still in the mist, they know whats out there, and they know there’s an easier way out in the gun they have. But there’s only four bullets, so it’s decided that the father will find his own way out. As the rumbling in the distance grows louder, he pulls the trigger on his friends, love interest, and his own child, leading to a break down of epic proportions, as he stumbles out of the car, crying and screaming for them to get him. But instead of the monsters, the army comes through, with the survivors from the supermarket….
Otis is an interesting film, part torture porn, part comedy, and all together a great time. The film centers the Lawson family, who’s daughter was kidnapped by Otis, the kidnapper, who just wants to take Riley Lawson to the prom. As the film builds, Riley escapes, and the family decides on their own brand of justice, by torturing Otis to death for the rape they believe, wrongfully, was inflicted on Riley.
The family tortures some one alright, but it turns out they got the innocent, yet major asshole, brother of Otis, who they put through hell, until the last breathe left his body. Upon realizing that they killed his brother, they all panic, worrying about what Otis is going to do to them in return. That is until Reed, Riley’s brother, decides to order pizza, from the company that Otis works at. Otis comes to the door, rings the bell, and without even opening the door, takes the full force of a shotgun blast to the chest. Problem solved.
5. Dead Snow
Dead Snow is the Norwegian film about a group of Med students on vacation in the snowy mountain side, who come across a box of treasure, hunted after for decades by zombie nazis. When the film starts off, it doesn’t seem it’s going to be overly great, but as it gets rolling, it’ll have you laughing, and screaming along with the characters, and cheering for your favorites.
But Dead Snow doesn’t hold back, and your favorites won’t last long. This fun, laugh filled zombie film goes against the current of most zombie comedies, and we’re left with only one survivor left at the end. He sees the zombies reach down for a piece of treasure dropped from the body of his freshly departed buddy, and books it back to the ashes of the cabin they were staying at, finds the box of treasure, gives it to the zombies, and escapes with his life down to the car. As he’s trying to find the keys, the piece of gold his girlfriend slipped into his pocket falls to the ground, and as the camera pans back up, there’s a nazi right in the window. Cut to black.
Deadgirl is the dark story of zombie rape, to put it bluntly. To explain what it is really about, will take much longer than I’ve got here. To sum it up briefly, it’s a coming of age story, a film about friendship, and the lines between fantasy and reality. Rickie and J.T are two best friends, and social outcasts from the town, and school they live, and attend. Skipping school one day to go hang out at the local closed asylum, they have some beers, break some shit, and stumble across a deadgirl chained up in the basement. What follows next blurs the lines of friendship, trust, sexually misadventure, and love.
After some twists and turns, the film gets Rickie, and the girl he’s in love with, JoAnn, J.T, and his raping buddy Wheeler, and the deadgirl together in the asylum. The deadgirl gets loose, kills Wheeler, and starts to feast on J.T. In the end, the deadgirl gets away, and J.T, while dying, managed to Stab JoAnn in the back. As she’s dying, Rickie tells her he loves her, he’ll save her, and she responds with ” Fucking grow up”, which may be my favorite line of the film. While this is going on, J.T is trying to convince Rickie to let him bite JoAnn, so he can keep her forever. The film ends with Rickie coming to see JoAnn, tied to the bed the same way the deadgirl was.
John Carpenter’s The Thing is a film that needs no introduction. The film about an alien life form in the antarctic, that can take the form of any living being, is one that breathes tension, and paranoia, straight out of the film cell. From the get go, we don’t know who’s human, who’s infected, when it got them, how, etc. All we know is that if this reaches the world, mankind as we know it, is over.
As the film reaches it’s end, the base has been blown up, with the huge alien creature inside it, we’re left with two characters, both standard outside in the freezing cold, with just their jackets to keep them warm. One asks ” What do we do now?” and the answer received is ” Why don’t we just wait here awhile…see what happens”. Us as the audience, we don’t know if either are infected, if they will live, if they will spread, we are left to wonder what happens next, in one of the most understated endings in horror history.
Inside is part of the French extreme horror wave, that has been leaving a dark crimson mark all over the horror industry. The film starts with a baby inside the womb, we hear the sound of breaks, and the baby violently smashes the camera. Cut to Christmas Eve, as Sarah, the pregnant mother is alone for the night, her husband dying in the crash, very pregnant, ready to burst at any moment. That night a person, known only as The Woman, comes to Sarah’s door and asks to use the phone, is turned away. As the film progresses The Woman breaks into the house, attacks Sarah, who holds up in the washroom, and kills everyone who enters the house, leaving the place a bloody messes that travels from the front door, to the upstairs, and every room in between.
The beauty of Inside, is it does everything you think it won’t do. Near the end, we learn that the baby we saw at the start, was really The Woman’s, who lost it in that crash, and has blamed Sarah for it ever since. Wanting one of her own, she came to the house with the purpose of using her over sized scissors to cut the baby out of Sarah to keep it for herself, and in one of the goriest climaxes to date, that’s just what happens.
9. Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway Camp came out in that hayday of slasher films, 1983, when everyone and their mother was getting some money together and finding interesting ways to kill off teens. The film follows a handful of kids off at summer camp, including Angela and her cousin Ricky, as a series of brutal murders keeps taking place around them. Sleepaway Camp would easily have been forgotten about in the mainstream view of slashers, where only the people truly in love with the sub-genre would be talking about it, if not for it’s ending, which has been said many times, to be the most shocking ending in horror film history.
So what’s the big shocker? Angela’s got a dick! That’s right, a big ol’ hairy piece of man meat. As it turns out, Angela was born a man, but when her father and brother died in an accident when she was younger, we was taken from her fathers gay lover, and forced to live with her Aunt, who always really wanted a girl, and decided she’d raise Angela to be one. Funny side note, the actor who got out there to show his slong, was nervous as hell, so in that scene, he is absolutely tanked, since as we all should know, it’s easier to remove your clothes if your drunk.
May is Lucky McKee’s first feature length film, and to this day, I will say his best, not to take away from any of the other films he has done. May is a simple, yet weird, girl played by Angela Bettis, who is a bit of an introvert. She tends to fall in love with people, based on certain parts of their body, as is the case with love interest Adam, played by Jeremy Sisto, and his hands. After attempting to date Adam, and failing terribly, May’s world begins to slowly unravel, as shown through a growing crack in the case of her best friend, a doll her mother made.
May builds and builds, and cracks, and cracks until finally , the glass breaks, and May snaps. Bringing a man home to her apartment, he looks into the freezer for some ice to put on his nipples, and finds the corpse of May’s cat, upon freaking out at her, he takes a pair of scissors through the hand, and into the head. May than continues to visit characters from through the film, killing them, and taking her favorite parts, where it is latter shown her stitching them together. She than removes her eye with a pair of scissors, so that her creation can ‘See her’. As she’s laying, arms wrapped around this monstrosity she created, the eye rolls off to the floor. The Frankenstein-esque creation than reaches over, picks it up, rubs May’s arm, and the film ends, leaving a shiver down my spine that hasn’t gone away for the last eight years.
Runners Up : The Last Horror Movie, The Signal, My Little Eye, The Descent, Dread, We Are What We Are, Anti Christ, The Strangers, The Ruins, The Cottage.
So there you have it, my ten favorite horror film endings. As I was writing this out I noticed that I tend to lean towards the darker, and more pessimistic endings, the ones were all the struggles of the characters are for naught. Does this say something about who I am, or is it just by chance?
So Bidites, you know my favorites now, so what are yous?