Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's one thing for someone to make a bad horror movie, it's another thing for them to completely insult the intelligence of the audience member and wait to suck until the final moments.  Bad endings are the equivalent to being left at the alter, or only having nine chicken nuggets in the box.  I understand that some films are screwed at the end due to time restraints or what have you...but bad endings are just the WORST.  If a film is bad from the get go, it's easy to just write the film off as a bad film and call it a day.  It seems that nothing strikes more anger into the hearts of film goers everywhere than when they've wasted the last two hours of their life only to be completely let down.  I hate to admit it, but I was one of those individuals who were recently struck by the tragic abduction by an overly hyped exorcism movie.  After being proverbially robbed by The Devil Inside, it has gotten me thinking of other times when horror films had me excited only to slap me across the face, knock the wind out of me, and steal my lunch money.  Surprisingly enough, there are a lot more than there should have been.


Stephen King, the master of horror, has developed characters and stories that have haunted our dreams (as well as realities) for decades.  One of his most famous creature features, is the infamous Pennywise the Clown from IT.  This character is arguably what triggered the "clown phobia" epidemic that seems to have stricken people everywhere, and he gave children something far worse than possible molestation to fear when it comes to face painted creepy men at birthday parties twisting inflatable phalli.  The four hour long mini-series kept audiences compelled and horrified until...he turned into a giant five dollar puppet spider with a kryptonite of an earring in a slingshot and the clown's downfall is the smoke from a rescue inhaler.  Yes. The kid with ASTHMA saves the day.  Oh, and don't forget. If your wife is catatonic, pedal your bike REALLY fast. She'll come back. Promise.

The sequel to the highly regarded film, The Descent, held a lot of promise.  While the initial storyline of how they got the main character back into the cave was a little wonky, the action really picked up and the twist in the middle was unexpected but very welcomed.  It was the ending, however that forced me to locate a spatula to flip my angered jaw off of the floor.  The bumblefucking redneck that took our protagonist to the hospital in the beginning of the film has suddenly made a drastic character change and is now bludgeoning our sole survivor and throwing her back down the cave to be eaten by the dwellers within.  Wow. Unless he was some psychic who knew they were going to send her back into the cave with a new crew, he should have just thrown the bloody blonde back in and saved us the two hour disappointment.

Tobe should have known better. This film is such a mess to begin with.  Miscast actors, poor performances, lackluster plot points, and a terrible ending almost destroyed Tobe Hooper for me.  You'd think that the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was more than a one trick pony, but hot damn...this film was a nightmare.  I'm just going to spoil the hell out of it. IT WAS ALL A DREAM. Yep. You just sat through a child's fucking dream. You're welcome. I just saved you a few hours of an illegal download (since you schmucks don't pay for your movies anymore).
I am probably going to have to turn in my fangirl card when I admit that this is one of my favorite sequels.  I'm not a huge fan of the hockey clad killer to begin with, but this film just makes me giggle.  There are fewer things in this world that bring me greater joy than watching Kane Hodder tear apart the Big Apple.  Sue me.  However. Comma. The toxic sewer sludge of NYC has the power to turn adult Jason into drowned child Jason? Give me a break. What are you going to tell me next, he goes to space? Yeah right. Oh wait...
I fully endorse people to remake films that were problematic.  It's remaking classics that I have an issue with.  Wes Craven may be a household name in the horror world, but I'll be honest when I say that the original Last House On The Left wasn't really that great.  I appreciate the film for what it is and what it stands for, but if upon's just a little hokey.  The music playing for the "bad guys" when they aren't doing bad things sounds like something out of a Three Stooges episode and I never really see the villains as a threat until they're actually killin' and rapin'.  I digress. I really, really enjoyed the remake. I found it to be a solid film and the story progressed quite nicely.  The last minute though...what the fuck? I mean. what the actual fuck was that? When they start driving off in the boat, TURN THE MOVIE OFF. You'll thank me later.

M. Night Shyamalan made his money off of twist endings and desperately tried to milk that cash cow dry with the rest of his films. Too bad he couldn't ever recapture the magic he did with The Sixth Sense.  His obsession with Ron Howard's babygirl and his desire to "shock" audiences did nothing more than force audiences to try to figure out the big "twist".  Unfortunately for him, they figured them all out...about twenty minutes into the films.

From Dusk Til Dawn
High Tension

13 comment(s):

Brett G. said...

Agree half-heartedly about the Last House stuff; the remake missed the point of the nihilistic destructiveness of Craven's and traded it in for vigilante-revenge hysterics, and nothing summarizes it better than the goddamn microwaved head.

But I do think the original really is grim, albeit roughshod. It's problematic in terms of style (the discordant music is weird but strangely effective and offsetting), but it's also really sad and brutal. I do see how it plays campy though.

Jaakko said...

The redneck of Descent 2 was clearly a racist, that's the only explanation I could come up with o_O

Elwood Jones said...

wow can't belive that you choose "Invaders from Mars" over "Robot Monster" which was the first film to try and make that "ohh it was all a dream" ending fly, only to like Invaders spectacularly fail.

Kudos on bashing M. Night Shyamalan, who for some reason like his fellow Director of cinematic train wrecks Noel Clarke, keeps getting more money to churn out the same predictable rubbish, yet Richard Kelly can't seemingly get another movie funded??

Can't say that I felt that cheated by the ending for "From Dusk Till Dawn" of "High Tension" though.

DrunkethWizerd said...

High Tension shouldn't be in that special mentions though. The "twist" ending to that film simply made it a beautiful masterpiece.

Strange Kid said...

Invaders from Mars was the biggest letdown to me. Of course, I discovered like most after watching Hooper's other films like Funhouse and TCM... way to pull a Dallas, Hooper. ;)

Anonymous said...

I gotta take issue, BJ-C. Not with your choices (I do agree with all of them), but rather with the special mentions! I can understand all of them, but From Dusk Till Dawn? What's wrong with the ending to that one? Now, that's tied with JAWS as my favorite film of all time (I've got weird taste, what can I say?), so I'm probably biased. But you can't just honorably mention it and not give a reason. You, like Lucy, got some 'splainin' to do. :)


teddy crescendo said...

The greatest ending in the history
of horror movies:

"EVIL DEAD II" (1987).

The greatest ending in the entire
123 year history of the medium of
the moving image since its
invention circa 1889:


steve prefontaine said...

The last 10 seconds of a movie should always be the strongest and most profound 10 seconds in the movie, film-makers who dont realise this are piss-artists and tossers.

Anonymous said...

The A Nightmare on Elm Street remake gave me a case of tourettes throughout. But I was spewing more than profanities (read: my lunch) at the stupid ending.

Glad no one is saying The Last Exorcism. I'll fight people!

Unknown said...

What about The Haunting in Conneticut when our protagonist's cancer magically disappears?

Great list though

vampy said...

It's funny reading about IT and its lackluster ending, made me realize that Phantasm is basically the same story as IT but better done.

Of course, Phantasm has a fantastic ending, one of the best in a horror film.

Mike Watt said...

The ending of INVADERS FROM MARS is identical to its original ending. Neither of which are particularly satisfying, however. Even with the punchline of everything starting all over again.

Utterly disagree with the ending of HAUTE TENSION making it into a "beautiful masterpiece". It's utterly illogical and ill-conceived. Thematically and from a narrative standpoint, it just doesn't work.

Still, for me, the worst, most-cowardly ending is in FALLING DOWN. The premise set up is that an ordinary man snaps from the pressures of everyday life. The movie didn't test well enough for the studios so the ending was rewritten so that Douglas' D-FENS was disturbed before his snapping. Audiences couldn't face the idea that they were just as vulnerable as the anti-hero. And the studio couldn't face the idea of making audiences think.

Ricky Sprague said...

I disagree with putting "The Village" on this list. That ending makes a fairly profound statement about the fetishization of "nostalgia" and fear of progress and technology. These are serious issues that we as a species face on a daily basis.

"Haute Tension," on the other hand, is a tasteless, puerile, phoneybaloney "shocker" that makes no sense whatsoever. I'd have given that film the spot taken on the list by "The Village."

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