10 Horror Movie Endings That Were Cut
10 Horror Movie Endings That Were Cut
Picking up a DVD or Blu-Ray these days will undoubtedly involve a ton of extras thrown in to justify the high price or purchase. Amongst the interviews and audio commentaries, you’ll often find extra scenes too. These are often scenes that were cut for pacing, or because they did not fit into the director’s original vision. You’ll also sometime find the jewel of extras, the alternate ending. There are many reasons for them, each with their own story about how they ended up on the cutting room floor. Here we are looking at 10 Horror Movie Endings That Were Cut and the reasons why.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
If you wanted Proof that directors don’t always get it right, look no further than little shop of horrors, which found itself forced into an ending it never intended. The film was an adaptation of the off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name, and the show had a super dark finale. It ended with Seymour and Audrey both falling foul of the alien plant, Audrey II, as it slowly takes over the world. Director Frank Oz really wanted to keep the shows disturbing ending for his movie, and he shot footage at some expense. This version tested poorly with audiences. And by “Poorly” we mean “catastrophically bad”. Test audiences walked out hating the film, particularly the dark and menacing ending, which came at the end of a lot of happy singing and dancing. Undeterred, Oz tested the film again, this time with a different audience, but they had the same reaction. Oz had only one choice, he had to cut the ending and reshoot something a little more upbeat.
“In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow—in a movie, they don’t come out for a bow, they’re dead!”
Oz released the film feeling frustrated that he just could not get the original ending to work, leaving audiences with a happy smiley ending where Seymour defeats the planet and settles down with his girl. Frankly, we loved the original ending.
I Am Legend (2007)
Sometimes, audiences don’t understand the deeper meaning behind a films story arch. Films adapted from books suffer mostly from this, where the film has little time to tell a deeper story. Such was the case with I Am Legend, that saw Will Smith’s Robert Neville facing zombie like infected in a post apocalyptic New York City. Neville hunts and experiments on the infected, only to find out that they are sentient and communal. In fact, the only reason they are attacking him is because he is experimenting on them. With the realization that HE is the monster, he lets the captured creature go and asks for forgiveness from the “zombies”. This is similar to the plot of the book, where Neville realises that he has become a Legend of the old way of life, and dies leaving the infected to their new world order.
When early test audiences did not warm to the original cut of the film, studio executives pointed towards the movies ending being the main issue. So, the plot was altered to make Neville seem less of an asshole and more heroic. Now the end would see Neville sacrificing himself to save his friends from the “nasty” creatures, completely diluting the entire point of the film and its title.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Fatal Attraction brought us that wonderful term “Bunny Boiler”, but it also brought us a much debated ending that actress Glenn Close fought hard to keep. After a casual fling with a book editor called Alex (Close), Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) finds himself stalked by his crazed ex-lover. The films ending see’s Dan shooting Alex, as she comes at him with a knife. But in the original scripted ending, Alex slits her own throat, leaving Dan to answer questions over her death.
Close felt that this reaction was more fitting to her character’s mental state, and spent some time trying to convince producers to keep it in. Sadly, the more conclusive ending was used and Alex goes out with a bang rather than slashing frantically at her own neck.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
The butterfly Effect is Widely panned as a ham-fisted, confused mess. But it seems that production was also a little confused, as the film makers shot three alternate endings for the film. The time travelling dramas original ending was absurdly dark, seeing the main Character travelling back In-time to kill himself as a baby in the womb. Producers were worried that this baby killing ending was too dark, which is why reshoots filmed a much lighter ending. The new ending had three different version, but each one stayed clear of killing infants…which is probably a good thing.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Another weird time Travelling film, Donnie Darko also decided to change its ending, but for much different reasons. The entire plot of Donnie Darko is super ambiguous, but generally centres on a young boy who escapes his own death through time travelling visions. But as much as he tries to escape his future, he eventually must face his own death (At least that’s what we got from it?!). The original ending shows Donnie’s Death in all its gory detail, and it’s quite frankly heart breaking. Thankfully, Director Richard Kelly decided to ditch the sequence in favour of Donnie’s off screen death. It was still super sad…but now it was more poignant and less disturbing.
The Descent (2005)
The Descent found itself at the end of a butcher’s knife when it went stateside in 2006. When the British made film was released in the U.S., its original ending was oddly missing, seemingly cut to create a happier ending. Neil Marshall’s original UK cut saw last survivor Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) climbing from the dark caves and driving off in a car. But wait… Sarah suddenly wakes up, and she’s still stuck in the dark underground caverns. A brief hallucination of her dead daughter shows us that she has finally accepted her fate, as the howls of the nasty flesh eating creatures approach. The Film fades to black as her torch goes out, implicating Sarah’s death in the cave. The US film simply end with Sarah driving off into the distance. By cutting a minute or so of film, the entire point of the film is ruined. Sarah went down into those caves to get over her daughters death. By facing her own morality she finally finds peace. The U.S. cut feels like a joke without the punchline.
28 Days Later… (2002)
It’s not Just US audiences that hate tragic deaths. 28 Days Later, another British made horror, also went through a process of rolling the dice on its protagonist’s fate. The film briefly pondered whether to kill off Jim (Cillian Murphy) in the films closing moments. Director Danny Boyle shot footage that shows Jim succumbing to his gunshot wounds, as selena and Hannah fight to save his life. Jim slips away, dying in hospital (and coming full circle) and the two women walk sadly away into the distance. There was also a sequence with the Hello sign, where a Selena and Hannah are joined by a Hen (in Jim’s absence). As it turned out, the film is better with a happier ending, and Jim’s a far better character than a Hen.
The remake of Carrie failed to make many impressions, even the films finale ended on a real dull note. You may remember, from the original film, that final moments closed on cinemas coolest jump-scare moment, with Carries arm smashing up through her grave. Rather than revisit this tentpole horror moment, the studio decide to go with something.. well let’s not beat around the bush… something crappier. The new ending saw Carries Tomb cracking. No arm shooting out…no terrifying scream…nothing. But then you see the DVD extras, with an alternative ending that they never used, and you have to start asking yourself who these “Studio executives“ are? Stuck with a choice of old Coke and new Coke, they went with new Coke just to be dicks.
The unused ending sees Sue having a nightmare in hospital, wherein she literally gives birth to Carrie. A bloody hand pops out of Sue’s vagina and grabs at her arm. Clearly the studio heard Vagina and said…no way! This new sequences doesn’t make the film any less terrible, but at least it would have ended on some sort of impressionable note.
Final Destination (2000)
Finale Destination almost had a much more subdued ending that saw Clear revealed to be secretly pregnant with Alex’s baby. Wait what? Yep, apparently, between all that death dodging, the unlikely couple got their nookie on producing “New Life”. Remember Tony Todd’s dire warning that “only new life can beat Death”, well that’s what it was all leading too. In a cut scenes Clear and Alex get rumpy bumpy on a beach, setting the film up for its climax.
In this original version, Alex does not survive the car fire, he saves Clear but dies a horrible burning death. Fast forward nine months and Claire pops out a little sprogg. At the end, we see survivors Claire and Carter discussing how they beat death over the grave of Alex. YAWN!
Luckily someone somewhere was smart enough to realise the films potential for a sequel, and decided to cut all that boring stuff in favour of a more open ended finale. Alex lives and they all go on a lovely holiday together… well almost!
For those who have seen the John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson thriller 1408, there’s a good chance you have seen only one of three endings. Based on a short story by the same name, 1408’s original ending was a little too dark for test audiences and director Mikael Håfström realised that he would need to shoot something different. He shot several alternative endings and three alternatives have shown up so far. Now we say, ‘shown up’ because the film’s release was not straightforward as you would expect. The films theatrical release was not just transferred onto DVD, it was released with an alternate ending, the ending in which test audiences hated. This version sees Cusack’s mike burn to death in 1408. Another ending appeared on the director’s edition box set that came out awhile later, and if you so happened to catch it on Netflix in Japan or the Netherlands, you would have seen another different ending. Basically, you’ll never know for sure which version of 1408 you’ll be watching until the film ends.
All good things come to an end!
Back Upside Down!
“Hey Horror Fans – These movies really BLEW it when it came down to the CRUNCH. The only choice was to CUT a little off the top. Still, not all changes are BAD! Some of these new endings were much BITTER! Don’t forget to DROP us a message in the comments BELOW and i’ll SCREAM you later…