A few months back I wrote a piece that highlighted 5 horror films and the horrible endings that the filmmakers chose for them. But now it’s October and I’m in the mood for love, especially when it comes to my favorite genre, so it’s time to turn the tables and talk about the films that really hit it out of the park with their endings.
When it comes to endings, sometimes you’ve got to take the advice of Jesus (as played by Jerry Cantrell in Jerry Maguire) and hang your balls out there to be great. So while all of these endings are awesome, most of them aren’t exactly happy. It’s not that I’m against happy endings, but often they clash so harshly with the film’s overall tone and theme that you just know they’re tacked on compromises.
Head inside to check it out. And let me know YOUR favorite horror endings in the comments!
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
You’ll notice that I talk about this film a lot. It’s one of my all time favorite movies (out of any genre) and I never run out of love for it and its adventurousness. Not only did it break all of the rules at the time, it turned out brilliantly. Entertaining, gory, funny, scary, erotic and tragic. The film ends with Jenny Agutter professing her love to David Naughton, whom is currently in werewolf form. You get a slight glimpse of recognition in the beast’s eyes before he lunges at her and is gunned down by the London police. Dead, his corpse reverts back to his human form. Then the film slams into Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Moon” for the end credits. It’s one of the most satisfyingly jarring tonal shifts in horror’s history, one that immediately cements itself in your brain.
By the time The Thing is winding down we’ve been through so much that we’re almost as exhausted as Keith David’s Childs and Kurt Russell’s MacReady when they settle into the impending storm. Ennio Morricone’s relentless score and the film’s preceding events have planted the inevitable so firmly in our heads that there’s not even a kernel of hope left. Childs asks MacReady, “what do we do now?” And MacReady replies, “Why don’t we just wait here for a little while… see what happens.” But they both know they’re done. And so do we. Regardless of whether or not one of them is infected.
Let it be known that Sleepaway Camp predates The Crying Game by nine years or so. If it had been released in 1992 instead of 1983, it too might have been nominated for 6 Academy Awards.
You knew this was going to be on here. It deserves it. You can’t have your main protagonist kill his own son mere seconds before salvation arrives and escape placement on lists like these. Some of the film’s less than stellar CGI work (which blends much better in the Black & White version) is the result of director Frank Darabont’s refusal to compromise on this front. He had the chance to make the film at around twice the budget on the condition that he changed the ending. He refused and thus remains a hero to this day.
Another Carpenter. Predictable, I know. But when Dr. Loomis looks down at the lawn below to see that Michael Myers has disappeared, it cements Myers as unstoppable evil incarnate in a simple, elegant and terrifying manner. Even more impressive? It tees up the sequel in a way that’s organic. It doesn’t feel like a cheat, it’s just a chillingly effective promise of “more”. Too bad no subsequent film (or remake) in the franchise came close to matching moments like these.
What are some of your favorite endings?