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What’s a good horror ending? It’s scary, sure, but it can also be funny,
emotionally wrought, and so mysterious that it raises more questions than it answers. Put simply, the best horror film endings are
the ones that stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. So much of Rosemary’s Baby takes the form
of a paranoia-driven thriller that, from a certain perspective, you could almost frame
it as the story of a pregnant woman who has a strange dream one night and then grows increasingly
terrified of the people around her. It could be that they’re only trying to help,
as some kind of hormonal imbalance or mental health issue drives her to think they’re all
out to get her. That’s how much of the film plays, and it’s
easy to see how other filmmakers might have leaned into that even more. But Roman Polanski’s film all builds to that
ending, in which Rosemary discovers that all of her paranoia has been engineered by a coven
of Satanists, who arranged for the Devil himself to impregnate her, and that she has given
birth to the Antichrist. The coven’s calm celebration as they stand
around the bassinet — not to mention the film’s refusal to actually show us a clear
shot of the child — only adds to the dread, which culminates in Rosemary accepting that
she could indeed perhaps be a mother to this child. “What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes?” “He has his father’s eyes.” The Wicker Man is one of the strangest horror
movies in the history of the genre. “Oh, no, not the bees! NOT THE BEES — AHHHHH. AHH, THEY’RE IN MY EYES. MY EYES!” No, not THAT Wicker Man… we’re talking,
of course, about the original 1973 film upon which the Nicolas Cage-led remake was based. The original Wicker Man is a film that plays
out in many ways like some kind of dream, because most of its characters seem to be
living in an entirely different reality than the protagonist, Sgt. Howie. They dance and smile and walk dreamily through
life as though nothing is wrong, despite the fact that Howie has come to investigate the
alleged disappearance of one of their own children. As the film moves forward, we get the impression
that he’s about to shatter all of their illusions. Then, in the film’s final minutes, they instead
shatter his. The ending of this film is easily and instantly
compelling, thanks in part to the striking visual of the titular wicker man burning against
the setting sun. It’s a haunting image, one that works in the
film’s favor even now. What really makes the ending work, though,
is Howie screaming out Bible verses as he’s burning alive while the cultists around him
sing their own song of Pagan celebration. It’s not the ending you predict as Howie seems
to get closer and closer to the truth. Even though he’s a bit of a stick in the mud,
you’re still rooting for him to thwart the human sacrifices happening on the island. Then, as the wicker man burns, you’re left
feeling both horrified and spellbound. 1974’s Black Christmas is one of the most
important precursors to the modern slasher film genre for a number of reasons. It’s got the point-of-view cinematography,
the slow ratcheting up of the body count, the holiday setting, the sorority house, and
it even has the final girl in the form of Olivia Hussey’s Jess. Where the film departs from many other final
girl narratives is in its haunting and horrifying closing scene, in which Jess is left alone
to rest in her bedroom while police officers guard the house from outside. The camera then reveals that no one has bothered
to check the attic, where two bodies and the real killer are still waiting for their moment,
ensuring that Jess is still in terrible danger. The cheerful Christmas lights and snowy landscape
juxtaposed with that persistent ringing phone as the credits begin to roll are among the
most chill-inducing things in the history of slasher cinema. It’s common practice in horror cinema to lull
the viewer into a false sense of finality before unleashing an ending that suddenly
and terrifyingly swerves for one last jump scare. It was done famously in Friday the 13th and
A Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as countless other films of the 1980s. But even before those films established that
One Last Scare philosophy, there was Brian De Palma’s Carrie, and its final freaky moments. When Sue Snell visits the site of Carrie White’s
burned-down home, we are immediately aware that something is off thanks to De Palma’s
dreamlike construction of the scene. Still, everything seems peaceful, concluded,
and calm. Then, well…. This crap goes down: [Screaming] Yikes. Even though the film makes it clear that we
are indeed watching a nightmare, the fear is still real. It’s real because of the masterful way the
sequence is directed, but also because after all we’ve seen Carrie do, coming back from
the dead doesn’t exactly seem so far-fetched. [Tires squealing] [Explosion] The Shining is a film so pregnant with symbolism,
mystique, and meaning for fans nearly four decades after its release that entire documentaries
have been devoted to decoding its many supposed hidden messages. It’s so dense with possible interpretations,
and nowhere is that clearer than its ending. When all the chaos at the Overlook Hotel has
died down, the camera zooms in on a 60-year-old photo to reveal the smiling face of Jack Torrance,
and everyone leaves the theater or turns off the TV scratching their heads. Is Jack a reincarnation of another man who
came to the Overlook decades ago? Is he simply another version of the same spirit
who keeps returning to this ground? Is the Overlook perpetuating a cycle of violence
to sustain itself? Never has being so uncertain about a horror
film’s ending been quite so intellectually satisfying, and we’ve got nearly 40 years
of theories, essays, and films to prove it. “They’re here!” Poltergeist is one of those films that could
have easily front-loaded all of its good ideas into the meaty scares for the first and second
acts of the story, leaving the finale a little too predictable and a little too stiff. After all, the scene of young Carol Ann ominously
announcing the arrival of spectral visitors through the TV is iconic in itself, and many
ghost movies might have just coasted on that one striking image. Thankfully for all of us, that’s not what
Poltergeist does. We can talk about the clown doll, the pool
full of bodies, the creatures from beyond, and everything else that comes up during the
final confrontation in the film, but what really makes it all work is the house’s eventual
collapse into an extradimensional ball of debris. In that moment, Poltergeist goes from instant
classic to eternal classic, the kind of film we’ll talk about forever. Then, to add even more brilliance to the crazy
finale, we get that TV getting pushed out to the hotel patio. Some horror films leave you with one last
scare, but this film leaves you with one last laugh as the whole audience nods in agreement. Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Dracula
was an attempt to bring Bram Stoker’s original novel to the screen in a way that both utilized
lush practical effects in a memorable way and also paid tribute to the book’s themes
and operatic sense of storytelling. The result is one of the most vivid horror
films of the 1990s, and its ending is nothing short of beautiful. After finally reclaiming his reincarnated
bride in the form of Mina, Dracula attempts to take her back home to Transylvania, only
to ultimately be defeated. Instead of simply dispatching the monster,
though, Coppola’s film lingers on the love story, allowing things to culminate in a heartbreaking
moment in which Mina sees the tragedy of Dracula as an eternal man longing for a reunion with
the love of his life. Its final moments offer some consolation,
as we see that Dracula and his bride seem to have finally reconnected in the afterlife
after centuries apart. Also Dracula’s head gets cut off, which is
pretty rad. Yeah, sure, The Cabin in the Woods might be
all about spoofing horror movie tropes, but its commentary doesn’t land unless the film
is also able to deliver on the horror goods. You can’t make a convincing meta-satire unless
you’ve also got the real elements on which the satire is based, and it’s there that The
Cabin in the Woods really starts to excel. “They made us choose… they made us choose
how we die.” This is particularly true of the film’s climax,
in which all of the horrors of the underground facility are unleashed at once. It’s a wonderfully wicked way to both show
us something scary and also make fun of horror movie expectations, but then the film goes
a step further with the revelation that this is all a ritual designed to preserve humanity. The film’s final moment, in which the surviving
heroes decide to let the human race be destroyed, is both a subversion of what we expect to
happen and a beautifully engineered final jolt of horror. For much of its runtime, The Witch seems to
be the story of a devout religious family who begins to see hexes and demonic influences
all around them when their baby is taken by a wolf. The isolation the Puritan family faces, plus
their sense that everything they do is either God’s will or the result of unclean behaviors,
could naturally produce such a paranoid reaction to a tragedy. The Witch could have played the whole film
that way, with no explicitly supernatural elements, and it still would have worked. Instead, the film builds and builds to a climax
in which Thomasin finally gives in to her curiosity and asks if Black Phillip, the goat,
is really something more. What follows is a full-on Satanic embrace,
complete with a witches’ sabbath in the woods, and Thomasin’s ecstatic rise as a young woman
who’s able to finally, fully be herself. It’s a horror film ending that’s both legitimately
frightening and genuinely celebratory. Night of the Living Dead remains revolutionary
for a number of reasons. Director George A. Romero’s 1968 film created
the modern zombie genre as we now know it, reshaped our expectations for horror cinema,
and added a layer of social commentary that was helped along by the presence of Duane
Jones, a black leading actor at a time when that was nearly unheard of, as Ben. Ben spends much of the film arguing with other
white characters about the best course of action to take, and then manages to emerge
as the sole survivor of the battle at the farmhouse overnight. With the sun rising at last, he hears an approaching
rescue crew and stumbles to the window to catch their attention… only for, well…
this to happen: “Alright, hit him in the head – right between
the eyes.” “Good shot.” Yup – he’s immediately shot in the head and
thrown onto a pile of burning corpses like just another ghoul. It’s a shocking twist in the midst of what’s
supposed to be a calm resolution – something many brilliant horror films would take a cue
from in the decades that followed. It’s also a bold statement on the cultural
climate. For all his will and for all his survival
instincts, Ben was dismissed by people who were supposed to be his saviors, and became
another casualty of a society eating its own. The closing credits featuring the body disposal
only make everything that much more stomach-turning. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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62 thoughts on “The Greatest Horror Movie Endings Of All Time

  1. Nicolas cage version of wicker man was better, dam straight i said it. Ive been around hippies my whole life and nothing pisses me off more than crazy hippie lore

  2. The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, Saw, Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Black Christmas, Sleepaway Camp, and The Ring are my top favorite horror endings.

  3. Come on guys you're just copy pasting shit on HORROR MOVIE LIST'S . Just make some videos on KOREAN and JAPANESE HORROR MOVIES LISTS.

  4. I'm shocked you didn't include Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). That ending was phenomenal, creepy and really memorable. Personally I love the one from Alien (1979) – no twists but still so sad and touching.
    House of 9, The Belko Experiment, Banshee Chapter, Reeker, REC, The Descent had amazing endings as well.

  5. Happy to see Black Christmas & Carrie here. Both are my faves. I think the 70's were the most revolutionary era for the Horror and Sci-Fi genres

  6. Did not like Rosemarys baby. Or the wicker man. Black Christmas was ok. The remake was disgusting annnnd its being remade again. Carrie & The Shining are 2 of my fav SK adaptations. The Shining is a masterpiece. Dracula is one of my all time fav films. Cabin in the Woods is a classic. The Witch has to be the most overrated filn ever. It was so BORING. Night of the Living Dead was awesome. I remember being so pissed at Duane's death at the end of the film. Cabin Fever borrowed their ending from this film

  7. I'll go back even further for one of my favorites with a great ending – THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943), directed by Mark Robson and produced by Val Lewton. A bit of a precursor to ROSEMARY'S BABY, with a coven of Satanists operating in contemporary Greenwich Village. As beautifully atmospheric as the original CAT PEOPLE (1942, directed by Jacques Tourneur) and just as chilling.

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    ูˆุจู€ู€ุตู€ู€ุฏู‚ ุงุณู€ุชู€ุนู€ู…ู€ู„ู€ุชู€ูˆ ูƒู€ู€ู… ุฃุณู€ู€ุจู€ู€ูˆุน ูˆุตู€ู€ุงุฑ ู„ู€ูŠ ู‚ู€ู€ุถู€ู€ูŠู€ู€ุจ ุฑู‡ู€ูŠู€ุจ ุชู€ู€ุชู€ู€ู…ู€ู€ู†ู€ู€ุงู‡ ุฃูŠ ุฒูˆุฌู€ู€ุฉ๐Ÿ˜
    ู‡ู€ู€ุฐุง ุฑู‚ู€ู… ุงู„ู€ุฏูƒู€ุชู€ูˆุฑ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš•๏ธ ุนู€ู€ู„ู€ู€ู‰ ุงู„ู€ู€ูˆุงุชู€ู€ุณ 00212.645.760.441

  9. When a film is based off of a novel, and the author of that novel wishes he had ended his story the way the film did, well…

    The Mist is one such film.
    Stephen King wrote the novel. Frank Darabont wrote and directed the film. Chilling and utterly & completely unexpected.

  10. Carrie is one of my favorite horror movie the Telekinesis is the best part where Carrie gets revenge on her teachers her classmates and her mom

  11. How bout this for a double standard: when a teenage boy can move things with his mind, itโ€™s a space saga but when itโ€™s a teenage girl, itโ€™s a horror movie.

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