Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Top 5 horror movie endings

List by Danielle

I think in the case of horror, it's a chance to confront a lot of your worse fears and those fears usually have to do, ironically, with powerlessness and isolation.
~ Adam Arkin

Horror endings can be occasions for great cheesiness. I've just finished a debut horror novel that I enjoyed - right up to the ending, which made me roll my eyes, as the seemingly-defeated Big Bad came back for one last "Boo!" in an all-too-predictable epilogue.
Think you've killed the ghost, Mr Hero? Oh no, look at the glowing eyes and sinister smirk, it has possessed the neighbour's bunny at the last moment... just in time for the sequel!

Honourable mentions:

Fallen
(Call me a hypocrite - this one ends true to the formula above, but apart from the fact that I love the movie itself, the peculiarities of the bad guy in this flick mean that the ending actually makes good internal logic. I love the cat-and-mouse game of Denzel Washington vs demon, and the bleak, dark humour of the ending perfectly fits the tone of the film.)

[.REC]
(I would have included this in the Top 5 had the dreadful trailer not ruined the ending by SHOWING the final frame and utterly removing the element of surprise. Boo. If you haven't seen the film, for the love of all that's (un)holy, don't watch the trailer first!)

Orphanage
(Not the happiest of endings. But, like the ending of Fallen, oddly fitting. From Spain, as is [REC], but completely different in atmosphere, this is a desperately sad ghost story.)

American Werewolf in London
(Another sad ending to this darkly funny classic from my childhood. A great film with fantastic make-up effects and a fabulous soundtrack.)

Let the right one in
12-year-old Oscar is a fragile and bullied boy who finds love and revenge when he meets Eli. Eli is a beautiful but peculiar girl he befriends. She has moved into his building. Oscar does not know that she and her father are vampires. When strange disappearances and murders start happening in the town, suspicions mount from her neighbours and police. Eli must move on to stay alive or stay to help Oscar the only way she knows how.

(My favourite entry in the recent wave of vampire books and movies - haunting, violent, with a quiet little ending that lingers.)

The Descent
On an annual extreme outdoor adventure, six women friends meet in a remote part of the Appalachians to explore a cave hidden deep in the woods. Far below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes when a rock fall blocks their exit and there is no way out. The women push on, praying for another exit, but there is something else lurking under the earth. The friends are now prey, forced to unleash their most primal instincts in an all-out war against an unspeakable horror that attacks without warning.

(Admittedly, I find the claustrophobic, psychological horror of the first half of the movie far more frightening than the over-the-top, bloody second half, but the ending is great, leaving you with the most terrifically desolate image.)

Paranormal Activity
Katie and Micah are a young middle class couple who are engaged to be married. After moving into a suburban 'starter' house in San Diego, California, they begin hearing noises while trying to sleep. Not knowing if the presence is demonic or not, they attempt communicating through a Ouija board, angering the spirit further. Now they may never sleep again, or they may never wake up!

(I do like low budget horror, though for me this one didn't quite live up to it's hype. Not recommended for anyone who has nightmares about waking up and finding someone standing next to their bed!)

The Blair Witch Project
Three student filmmakers set out into the forest to film a documentary on a legend known as The Blair Witch. As they become lost in the woods, an unseen evil begins to stalk and harass them. They soon realize that what they are filming is not a legend, but their own descent into a horrifying encounter with the supernatural.

(Another low budget classic that seemed to divide audiences, with many winding up either motion sick or unimpressed. I really enjoyed the pseudo-documentary style and the low-key, unspecific, back-woodsy horror of it all.)

The Ring
A mysterious video kills whomever views it, unless that viewer can solve its mystery.

(Not my favourite horror movie, but oh, the ending! I watched most of this thinking, huh, not so scary, what's the fuss about, and then got clobbered by the end. The remake with Martin Henderson's pretty good, but I recommend starting with the Japanese original.)

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