Thursday, April 28, 2011

Horror Movie Alternate Endings You May Have Missed

The alternate ending. It's sometimes comes out actually better than the original ending. Most of the time, it's actually a piece of shit. I'm a proponent of downer endings, one where our hero or heroine doesn't survive because it just sometimes feels more real than your standard packaged survival ending.

But Hollywood and supposed "test audiences" never like downer endings. They hate when the killer lives or wins. They love open endedness-ish stuff and they also like when everybody lives happily ever after. They LOVE fuckin happy endings! :-)

I'm pretty sure you've seen these alternate endings before but if you haven't, their all pretty interesting to watch. 5 of em are complete downers. I especially liked Orphan and Paranormal Activity's alternate endings.

How do you feel about alternate endings? What are your favorite ones and what are ones you hated? Do you have a few that I can add to the list below? Share your thoughts.

Spoil yourself below. Obvious spoilers below.

28 Days Later

Army of Darkness


Freddy vs Jason


Paranormal Activity

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  1. Iiiiinteresting endings! I like the way Orphan ended originally, just because it was so damn satisfying, but cinematically...that ending is freaking horrifying. Excellent post!

  2. Not that other possiblities shouldn't be explored (working on the third draft of a script for a class), but I'm certainly on the "up note" ending side. The masses may be asses, but they don't see the film medium through rose tinted glasses. It's entertainment.

    I've never understood why a film would choose to end on a down note without reason and most cheap horror films feel (often devoid of even a basic cautionary message) just do leave you unsatisfied and uninterested in recommending the movie to friends.

    A semi-recent example for me was The New Daughter with Kevin Costner. Hey, I like Costner, but this movie is soooooo empty the script must have had completely blank pages at times. And then they end it on a SERIOUS down beat. Why?

  3. I like downer endings too, but only if they're "earned," so to speak. I think the ending, down or up, has to make sense in the context of the movie before it, and should somehow be of a piece with the larger world of the flick. A downer ending just for its own sake is as bad as the unearned happy ending, imo.

    And maybe it's just because I'm getting older, but I find myself softening toward happier endings these days. Not "and everything was all right from then on, b/c evil had been totally vanquished etc. etc." stuff, but I don't mind a little bit of hope among the bleak aftermath of all the horror. After all, if the filmmaker's made you care about what happens to the characters, got you invested in their struggles, cheering for their ingenuity and bravery, right there with them through every gut-wrenching sacrifice, killing them off at the end seems kind of mean. Of course sometimes that's the point--that the universe is uncaring and no matter how much you struggle, in the end it's all for nothing. A valid point philosophically, perhaps, but I can see why some would rather have something left to hold onto. :P

    IMO the best happy endings are those where the protagonists come through all the horror and emerge changed/better at the end of it--acknowledging the terror they've been through, but rewarding their efforts with survival. And the best downer endings are those that feel like it couldn't have happened any other way; even then, if the director manages to make you feel the characters' struggle was brave and noble, even (or perhaps because) it was futile in the end--well, then you've got something!

    Of course I can name very many movies that pull off either of those effectively. But that's the nature of the beast--great movies are rare, in any genre.

  4. I agree with the Vicar. The downer ending has to be earned. Like Inside.

    I really think the alternate ending to PA is the best. Watching the film now in my home theater, the CGI'd ending of the 'updated' version looks cheesy as all hell.

  5. Yeah I'm leaning towards your POV to. It definitely needs to earned to have a downer ending or it needs to be set up that way from the outset.