Horror Movies with Dark F*ucking Endings!!

What separates a good horror movie from a great one is the ending. Some horror films just don’t know when or how to end. But when a horror flick gets the ending right, then you have something really special. And by “right,” I mean dark and/or disturbing. But be warned: this article is one big spoiler!! Sorry, but how else am I supposed to explain why these films are on this list without discussing the ending?? Be warned, there’s a spoiler in every entry below.

Bethany (2017; my review)

Bethany is the newest film on this list, and this is the only film’s ending which I won’t spoil. Let’s just say that after the end credits roll, this film will haunt your dreams for weeks. Chilling performances and a fantastic script make this one dark fucking ending!!

Don’t Look Now (1973)

We all know how this one ends, and even knowing it is coming does nothing to lessen it. Laura and John (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland) are mourning the recent death of their young child. John keeps seeing a strange figure that is wearing the same coat his little girl wore when she died. In the end, he finally catches up with the figure to discover it is nothing more than a mutant-looking freak that stabs him to death. That’ll teach ya from having hope!!

Inside (2007)

This is a total sucker punch of an ending that goes against everything Hollywood stands for. After enduring hours and hours of torture at the hands of La Femme (Béatrice Dalle), pregnant Sarah (Alysson Paradis) finally goes into labor (after having had her pregnant belly mistakenly beaten by a police officer–it totally makes sense if you watch it). After seeing Sarah in labor, La Femme sees that the baby is stuck, so she uses her scissors to perform a on-the-fly C-section on Sarah, which kills her. The film ends with La Femme cradling the baby in her arms next to Sarah’s lifeless body. After everything Sarah went through you really wanted to see her get the best of La Femme (i.e., killing her). But nope. No chance.

Martyrs (2008; my review)

This film has a double whammy of a dark, nihilistic ending. After Anna (Morjana Alaoui) has been grotesquely disfigured by her captors (yeah, she was skinned alive and lives!!), the Mademoiselle (Catherine Bégin) carefully listens to what she has to relay. After many have gathered to listen to the message, the Mademoiselle’s assistant asks what Anna saw. Once she removes her make-up, she asks her assistant if he regularly thinks of an afterlife. Although he says he has, the Mademoiselle grabs a gun out of her purse, says “keep doubting,” and shoots herself. Another nihilistic ending that conveys the meaninglessness and hopelessness of existence.

Joshua (2006)

This is a deliciously dark and twisted story and really fucked me up when I first watched it. It suffers, at times, from the pitfalls of an indie film, but looking beyond these elements, Joshua has an incredibly strong story that is expertly told. The ending is one you won’t soon forget. Kelby comes home to the town where he grew up to bury his father. Once there, his dark past starts to catch up with him. Kelby and his friends, when just young kids themselves, found a baby abandoned in a dumpster. Instead of taking the baby to the police, the kids hide the baby and decide to raise it themselves. Only problem is that their idea of “raising” the baby is torturing, tormenting, and disfiguring it. Goddamn this is one fucked up movie with a horribly dark ending.

The Thing (1982; Deggsy’s review)

John Carpenter’s classic film about paranoia has the perfect ending. After fighting off a transforming alien monster in the Arctic, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) is exhausted and pretty much has accepted that he’s going to die from exposure (he had to torch the entire camp to make sure the body-jumping alien was dead). Just when he’s accepted his fate, Childs (Keith David) emerges out of the darkness. The two men are completely untrusting of each other and both think the other is really the alien. But due to lack of resources and a complete lack of energy, the two men sit down and begrudgingly accept that whatever happens, happens. The camera fades and the viewer is left not knowing if one of the men was actually the alien. Well played, Carpenter. Well played.

Broken (2006; my review)

This film, more than any other film on this list, is so devoid of hope that you’ll want to open up an artery or two in a warm bathtub after seeing it. The story is about a woman whose name is, get this … Hope. She goes out with a man and has a great time, then before you can say, “Look out behind you,” Hope and her young daughter are kidnapped by a maniac and taken to the woods. The psycho separates Hope and her daughter and Hope doesn’t even know if her little girl is alive. He then puts Hope through weeks and weeks of torture and degrading “training” in order to break her. What keeps Hope’s hope alive? Thinking about her daughter.

As the film comes down to the last act, Hope has fought the psycho and got away. She finds that her daughter is safe (relatively) in a shack in the woods. She yells out to her daughter and opens to door to the shack only to find out too late that the psycho boobytrapped the shack. An explosion goes off and blinds Hope what do writer-directors Simon Boyes and Adam Mason do? 

The Mist (2007)

You knew this film was going to be on this list!! After a strange mist brings horrible, carnivorous creatures into our world, David (Thomas Jane) finally makes a break for it. Unfortunately, he finds that there is no out running the mist or its deadly creatures. So instead of letting his child be torn apart by the deadly things, he shoots his kid in the head … only to be rescued moments later by the military!! What a Debbie-downer.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994; my review)

This film is as Lovecraftian as you can get, and it gets better each time you watch it. This is by no means a perfect film (too many cheap jump scares for my taste), but you have to love what Carpenter does here. Turning Lovecraft’s cosmic horror into a cohesive film is no easy feat. Nothing embodies the spirit of Lovecraft more than the ending. John Trent (Sam Neill) leaves the asylum after the monsters have taken over the world and goes to see the film In the Mouth of Madness. He realizes he has been a character in Stephen King-like author Sutter Cane’s story all along. Trent starts laughing maniacally and then crying hysterically at this revelation. The ending is void of all hope, as the world is consumed by madness and senseless killing. I do love me some nihilism.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

For a film made in the late 60’s, Night of the Living Dead has one depressing ending. George Romero broke a lot of molds and Hollywood norms with this one. First and foremost, he cast Duane Jones, a black man, as the lead, Ben. Then to further disrupt the fabric, he puts Ben through his paces or being attacked by both the living dead and the ignorant alive. It is not too difficult to watch this movie as an allegory of how tough it is to be a black man in America. To put an exclamation point on his message, Romero does the unthinkable in the final shot of the film. After somehow beating the odds and surviving the night, Ben emerges from the old cottage house only to be shot by a search and rescue researcher who mistakes Ben as one of the living dead, and his body is just thrown on top of a pile of dead zombies to be burned. An unremarkable death for a remarkable man. If that ain’t an allegory and a depressing ending, I don’t know what is!!

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Poor David. It takes him a while to accept that he has become cursed and becomes a werewolf during the full moon. But once he finally accepts it, he tries to fight it, but to no avail. He struggles and suffers the entire movie. Luckily, a gypsy woman finds him and lifts the curse of lycanthropy from his shoulders and he and the nurse live happily ever after. Of course, I’m lying through my teeth, After one last killing spree, David is finally killed, but when the cops find the body, instead of a vicious killing machine-werewolf, they find a naked David with what appears to be a half smile. What a brilliant film!!

Them (aka, Ils) (2006)

Them is essentially a precursor to Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers, in that it follows a young couple that suffer a rather terrifying home invasion. Both films also share rather depressing endings. Yes, both Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michaël Cohen) are murdered by the time the credits roll, but the culprits are revealed to be children in their early teens (as in 12 or 13 years old). The last shot of Them shows the children walking to the school bus after having just murdered Clémentine, ready for another day at school.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): This whole film is dark with a brooding atmosphere, and by the end of the film, not one of the main characters manages to retain their humanity. Not one!! In the final scenes, one of the characters, who somehow managed to survive through the night and avoid being replaced by an alien, finds Matthew (Donald Sutherland). As she approaches him with a big smile on her face thinking that he too survived, Matthew points to her and lets out a god-awful scream that’ll make your ears bleed, thus signaling to the other aliens that a human was found to be replaced. There’s no saving the human race in this one. We were doomed!! 

Kill List (2011)

Barely having one foot in the horror genre, Kill List nonetheless deserves a spot on this list due to its ending. The first three-quarters of the film is more of a crime-thriller, but the ending slips into a surreal fever-dream. Having had to mercy kill his hitman partner, Jay (Neil Maskell) has briefly escaped the clutches of a group of cultists out to capture him. Jay is knocked unconcious after he reaches his family cottage where his wife and son are hiding. He wakes up in a field surrounded by the cultists who force him to fight a blanketed hunchback figure trying to kill him. Jay kills the hunchback only to quickly discover that under the blanket is his wife and son, who took the brunt of Jay’s stabbing. More disturbing than this is his bloodied wife’s cackling, and Jay’s dead, stoic expression as the cultists crown him. A truly disturbing ending to a damn good film (and let’s not leave out the fact that this ending is very reminiscent of 2010’s, A Serbian Film).

What films have I left off this list that you find dark and completely void of hope and meaning? Sound off in the comments section below.

Stay Bloody!!!

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