Ten Deep 10.25.12: Top Ten Worst Horror Movie Endings
‘Tis the season to get scary and be scared, especially in the movie theater. Sometimes the theatrical efforts succeed, like Sinister. It had some pretty scary moments if you haven’t seen it yet. Sadly of late it seems like horror movies do less scaring and more sucking. Case in point, I saw Paranormal Activity 4 last weekend. It got me thinking about the other times in my life when I was let down by the ending of an allegedly scary flick. In researching the topic I discovered that one of my 411Mania compatriots had taken on this topic around a year and a half ago. I encourage you to check out Joseph Lee’s A Bloody Good Time take on the Worst Horror Movie Endings. Joseph put together a pretty solid list but most of the films that really raised my ire did not make his countdown. Inspired by Joseph’s efforts, I decided to revisit this topic in this week’s Ten Deep, with his permission of course. I hope you will look at both of our lists and see if you can find some common threads and also find yourself warned when it comes to selecting a rental this Halloween season!
Needless to say, but I will anyway, this list is full of SPOILERS for every film mentioned. If you don’t want to be spoiled, go Netflix the movies then come on back and read my opinions!
I am an M. Night Shyamalan fan. Unbreakable is one of my favorite movies. Heck, I even really liked The Lady in the Water and The Happening but for some reason I just cannot stand the ending of Signs. The entire film we are built up to this confrontation with the aliens. Aliens we are supposed to be afraid of but aliens who apparently cannot figure out how to open a door and are also extremely vulnerable to something that abounds in our atmosphere. Why would they even come to Earth knowing there was so much of this deadly substance around? I feel like this film built some great tension throughout its run and then just stumbled in the end.
Another film that started out great and just fizzled in the end is Insidious. But it is not exactly the very end that causes me the most angst when I think about this film. Instead it is the Darth Maul-esque looking “demon” who turns out to be the big bad in the dream world/alternate plane. Sure he is creepy looking but creepy in a “Why is that guy wearing that make up?” kind of way. I felt like the writer’s idea was probably lost in the translation. There is another film on this list that I consider the ultimate manifestation of missed translation. You’ll see soon enough.
The end of the fifth Halloween film is a chaotic mess that poses more questions than it answers and truly just sets you up for a massive WTF moment. As Michael Myers stands captured in a jail cell, a mysterious man in black appears and cuts a swath of destruction so the police station, slaughtering the officers and disappearing with Michael in tow. I know that the fifth film in a slasher series is not exactly meant to be high brow action but I at least expect the story to make some sense. The end of this film does not at all. It does pose a lot of questions that you would immediately assume would be answered in the sixth film, but as most fans know the sixth Halloween film is a mess in and of its entirety.
I went into Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare with huge expectations as a big fan of the series. I read all of the claims by the producers and I was ready for a final nightmare romp. Instead I found a film that had some potential but just felt more disjointed as it progressed. The culmination of the mess was the moment the 3D glasses claim into play. It was gimmicky and jarring, and disappointing. It seemed that the creators of the film decided to give more weight to the spectacle than to the substance.
Here’s one of the scenes that I think they actually got right in this one, Spencer’s death with Freddy’s power glove:
I am a true fan of the original I Am Legend novella and I actually tried to give this movie a chance because I thought it had potential even though it appeared to be straying from the source material. I even liked a lot of it, especially the desolation of NYC and the relationship between Will Smith’s character and his dog. I was completely on board until the ending. It felt off to me and afterwards I discovered why. Apparently Will Smith allegedly made them change the original ending filmed. The original ending touched more on the idea that Smith himself might have been one of the monsters, which I feel is closer in spirit to the novella’s message. Smith apparently wanted a more action based blaze of glory ending and that is what we got. A film that put so much thought into its moments was capped with an over the top ending that felt ham handed and out of place.
The idea of a telekinetic girl taking on Jason Voorhees with her super powers blew me away when I was younger. I loved the concept and could not wait to see it happen… and then I did. I was pretty happy with the film over all until it got to the final confrontation between Jason and Tina. I had hoped for a full on badass brawl. Instead I got Tina’s dad rising from the water somehow animated by her powers dragging Jason back to his watery grave. I wanted her ripping his arms off with her mind. I was left wanting more in the end.
Like I Am Legend, The Descent suffers because of an altered ending. It is more of an impact here though because the lead up to the ending was so fantastic. This movie was really great and was on track to becoming one of my new favorites until the very ending. In US theaters, when the main protagonist escapes the caverns in the end, that is it. We got the watered down “happy ending” here and it led to the creation of a sequel. Overseas though, the full ending was shown and it was great! Yes she escapes but soon you discover the escape was just a dream; a fun reversal of the usual “it was just a dream” moment that traditionally wipes away the bad. The full ending gives so much more strength to the close.
I mentioned in my intro that I just saw this movie and I must exclaim that yes, it was bad enough to warrant making the worst list just a week after its premiere. Seeing as this was the fourth film in the series it was apparent in advance that we would most likely be again subjected to a film that was 90% set up and 10% pay off. The problem this time around was that the pay off seemed to be exactly the same as the ending of the third film. There was really nothing new discovered as the film’s twist, ie. Just who is Hunter, was presented long before the ending. None of the questions raised already in this series were even touched on and the promise of “it all leading to this” turned out to be hollow. We were left in the end with a film that felt like a place holder for something better that will hopefully come along in the 5th film. Yes, a 5th film is already confirmed.
This one almost took the top spot on the list and I think it is tops on most people’s worst ending list when it comes to horror films. The Mist is a very bleak film that for me presented a pretty accurate view of how real people might really react in an end of the world situation. I have no problem with anything that comes in the film until we get to the final moments with the escapees in the truck. Thomas Jane’s character has just helped his son and a few others escape the supermarket zealots and the monsters. Then they run out of gas. If you had just fought for your life and then ran into another obstacle what would you do? Look for shelter? Look for another car to siphon gas out of? Not if your Jane’s character. He decides that killing his son and the others is the most “humane” solution. I am not kidding. I even defended this ending once but the more I actually thought about, the more I realized how incredibly horrible it was. So I apologize for my earlier defense. There is none.
Back at the start of this list I mentioned there was another film in this week’s Ten Deep that suffered due to a horrible translation of the ending. There is no other movie in history that highlights this better than the miniseries that adapted Stephen King’s It. Up until the final battle with Pennywise in his true form, this movie was excellent. It was a great adaptation of King’s work and was a true fright. Then we get to the final battle with the monster and we get… a giant silly looking spider puppet. It was such a letdown that it was actually silly. This was definitely a moment where less would have been so much more. There was no need to show us the monster’s visage. They could have kept it more in the shadows and sustained the horror they had crafted. Once I saw that spider the magic of the movie was broken to me and I just wanted it to end. Sad, but true.
So what do you think? Have we covered the worst horror movie endings completely enough here at 411Mania or was there still one you think should have made the list?
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