Ever have the feeling when watching a movie that they must of made up the ending of the film on the fly? You know the feeling where you just try and figure out how in the Hell point A got to point B? This happens in all genres, but sadly one of the worst hit is the horror genre where companies force happy endings, plots do not line up and at times simply comes off like the writers just went, “Fuck it, have it be a ghost or some shit.”
Extra Bit: If someone bitches about how I Am Legend completely fucked up the ending from the book in a smug manner because remakes suck; feel free to ask them how they felt about the original adaptations. In fact, have fun and ask them to name the movies. Proceed to then explain how The Last Man on Earth was the original adaption and the creator thought it so bad he did not even want to be cited on it. Remember, only you can prevent hipsters.
The catch to this is list is that these are not movies that in general had horrible endings as most horrible movies have horrible endings. This list will focus on movies that start strong, gain some momentum and then in the final act or last 20ish minutes it all just falls apart. In other words watch these flicks until you start to see a dip and turn that shit off, because you can happily make up a better ending and not be left with a bad taste. Now, in no particular order…
SPOILER WARNING: As this article is about endings there are obviously spoilers ahead. If you have not seen the movie listed and do not want it spoiled skip it or accept your fate.
5. Ghost Ship
Like, love or out right hate Ghost Ship no one can deny that this has one of the greatest opening sequences of any horror movie. Getting a body count that would make Jason jealous within the first 5 minutes of a film in a glorious gore effect scene is one Hell of a way to start, but also when you start that strong keeping up pace becomes impossible. With Ghost Ship you can actually watch the film start strong, hold for awhile and then slowly the descent begins and ends with a whimper, not a bang.
The film runs like a great haunted house story on the seas including some great visuals for the ghosts. Even the little girl was great and finding her body was emotional. Then the truth starts being revealed that there is an evil spirit bringing people to the ship to die. This is where the stupid shit hits the dumb ass fan. You find out the guy made a deal to deliver an arbitrary number of souls to get set free, it was all over gold and he brought this crew there to fix the ship cause it was going to sink. Yep the ghost brought in people to fix his floating death trap and then watched as they died and man did this fall flat and seemingly kill a great mystery and ghost story.
4. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
I gladly saw this film in theaters when it came out as a fan of the cheesy original and all the trailers made it look great. The effects were fun, the atmosphere was creepy and the characters were all overacted to the right degree. Hell, even the beginning roller coaster scene was great for me as a Florida boy as it was the Incredible Hulk ride from Islands of Adventure. I was completely into this movie and then they pulled a deus ex machina to a pretty literal degree.
When you get to end of this film it truly feels that they had no idea how to end this movie as things never previously shown just showed up and shit started happening you never saw the whole movie. The great effects used on the evil doctor apparently got thrown out for a smoke monster that would make Lost jealous that came out of hidden room you never fucking saw or had any real reasoning behind. Oh and the heroes get saved last minute by apparently a good spirit mixed in with all the evil asshole spirits of the smoke? I give credit for explaining how the survivors planned to get down, but making the survivors be adopted and faking who they were as the reason they lived meant nothing when the spirits still wanted them dead making that whole subplot also useless.
This is one somewhat hard to put on this list as I am a fan of Saw and one of the few defenders of the series (mainly cause 7 tied a lot of the bullshit up and made it make sense). However, no matter how strong the film and tension was the ending just made absolutely no sense and frankly just made you stare at the screen in confusion. Forgetting the shit beginning of, “Hey, you woke up in water and need air? Aww… too bad you then flush this key you did not know about for a game you did not know you were playing.” the film got great, was tense, had a good mystery and it was just fun to see how far they would go.
Then the ending happened. You were happy for the guy getting free and wondering if he could make out in his state and there was great tension of both release and concern. At this point the movie suddenly forgot common sense and the “dead body” got up from the floor revealing he was Jigsaw and was just playing dead… for hours… while sick… on a cold tile floor nearly naked. What the fuck? You know why he was so much sicker in the sequel? It was because he did this stupid shit. He did not fake being dead or ever had to be in the room for the other kills, so why this one? Then when he left did he just walk past the guy who got out while wearing his tightie whities? That had to be an awkward conversation, “Congratulations for surviving and while I know I did you wrong and tried to kill you… have you seen my pants?”
2. Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
We have another remake on this list and like the last remake this was a great tense and stylized film that was amazing until again we get a pretty literal deus ex machina. This film’s greatest selling point was the look and atmosphere of both the house and the ghosts. All of the ghost designs were fantastic stuff of nightmares, but they did falter on not telling more of their great origins. The house while impractical just looked amazing and I will gladly move in any time (minus the see through guests). Adding in the They style glasses allowing you to see the ghosts was the final beautiful touch.
Like all good things though; they have to come to an end. This great styled look and revolving story of who is backstabbing who comes to a horrible conclusion of the uncle is not dead and the ghosts power some kind of future sight machine? What, the guy didn’t have a quarter to drop into Zoltar Speaks? Oh and the uncle who hid the entire movie until the third act dressed like he was dead and then just reveals he isn’t. If he never did shit and no one really saw him then why was he dressed like a ghost? I would think the fact you can see him without the glasses is a pretty good giveaway he is still kicking. Now the ghosts, whom some you almost never saw, all stand in a circle holding hands like they are having a jamboree and nothing explains why they would choose to help the bad guy as nothing seemed to truly force them into this. For the biggest final kicker the entire family lives and even get a reunion with their mother. Shit, even the expendable baby sitter survives!
1. 28 Days Later
I know I started this by saying these were in no order, but this one actually is my #1 “why the fuck did you ruin it?!” movie ending. Are they zombies or not is a debate you can have as many times as you want, but the film itself is a great post apocalyptic thriller. Having to give up on friends, being cold hearted, losing kind characters and not just assholes, a bleak future and even a road trip. This film was a dark film down to the darker tint used to shoot it and was a good story in how these people tried to find happiness, but at every turn bad things kept happening. Until the ending that is…
After a dark fucked up thriller that kept you on the edge of the seat the film suddenly the director saw Sound of Music and thought that was a great idea. We go from a dark tinted film to this bright cheery mountain side where everyone is happy, they escaped all the bad things and they get rescued. I mean this was a fucked up post apocalyptic film that ends with more smiling and bouncing than an Disney Family movie! The whole atmosphere is shattered and while you want to feel happy for them you cannot help but feel this is shoehorned and lets you down.
The reason for that let down feeling is because of the fucking producers. If you get this film on DVD you can see a deleted original ending where leaving the base the two girls rush the guy to a hospital and try to save him failing to do so. The last shots are of these blood stained girls over their dead friend’s body after just surviving Hell and walking into the distance lost with little hope. Producers thought this was too bleak (have the seen the rest of the fucking film?) and felt it had to have a happy ending. Thanks assholes for ruining a perfect ending to a great movie.