1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://horror.about.com/od/horrortoppicklists/tp/twistendings.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Spoiler Alert! The 25 Best Horror Movie Twist Endings

By

Everybody's a sucker for a good twist ending, and no genre tries harder to throw viewers for a loop than horror and suspense movies. Below are the best 25 that I can think of, ones that go beyond a mere Scooby Doo-like unmasking of the killer. It goes without saying that if you don't want to find out what the movie's twist is, don't read beyond the "Spoiler Alert!". Now that I'm legally free of liability, on with the show...

25. April Fool's Day (1986)

© Paramount
This seemingly typical '80s slasher has a twist ending that has made it more memorable than it should be -- unfortunately leading to the woeful 2008 remake.

Spoiler Alert! It's all been a big April Fool's Day joke. No one is actually dead. (Apparently, the pranksters are very good at special effects and makeup.) It's a nice idea for a twist in general, but a slasher with no one dying is pretty lame.

24. When a Stranger Calls (1979)

© Sony
This movie is best known for its "prank calls coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE" concept, but in the original film, this moment accounts for only the first 20 minutes. The rest is a dull case study of the killer, seven years later, trying to live life on the outside of the loony bin...until the ending.

Spoiler Alert! After following the killer around for an hour or so, we suddenly switch back to the babysitter from the opening scene, now grown up with kids. She receives a call from the killer reminiscent of the calls from seven years ago, and although her kids are OK, can you guess where the killer is? That's right, in the house. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I'm dead. Not only is he inside the house, though, but he's IN THE BED!

23. Identity (2003)

© Sony
Ten strangers stranded at a remote hotel in the middle of a torrential rainstorm begin dying at the hands of an unknown killer. Sounds simple enough, but the twist turns this been-there-done-that premise on its ear. It's perhaps the most divisive ending on this list, but love it or hate it, it's unique.

Spoiler Alert! The people in the motel are all personalities in the head of a killer sentenced to die. He's been given a special treatment designed to "kill" his alternate personalities, leaving a kinder, gentler killer.

22. The Descent (original ending) (2005)

© Lions Gate
A group of female spelunkers get trapped deep underground by a cave-in and discover a race of humanoid beasts looking for a spelunker meal.

Spoiler Alert! The original European ending was a much more depressing -- though probably better -- affair than the American ending. In the original version, the last surviving spelunker finally escapes the cave and drives away, only realize that her escape is a hallucination, and she's still trapped in the darkness. The end.

21. Fallen (1998)

© Warner Bros.
The soul of an executed serial killer jumps from body to body, and only Denzel Washington realizes what's going on.

Spoiler Alert! We're set up in the opening scene by Denzel's voiceover, saying that he almost died during the ordeal. What we don't realize is that Denzel is possessed by the killer while he's speaking, so in fact it's the killer who almost dies, while Denzel, sadly, bites the bullet.

20. Carnival of Souls (1962)

© Criterion
A woman is the lone survivor of a car crash but soon thereafter begins to see strange ghouls chasing her.

Spoiler Alert! This is one of the first films to use the plot twist of the protagonist being dead all along, which now has been beaten to death. Enough, people!

19. The Others (2001)

© Buena Vista
During World War II, a woman and her two children move into a mansion and begin to suspect that it might be haunted. Is it or isn't it?

Spoiler Alert! The house is indeed haunted...by them! The woman and her kids have been dead all along and have been bothering honest living people trying to make a living. The ending might've had more of an impact had it not come on the heels of The Sixth Sense.

18. Scream (1996)

© Dimension
A serial killer in a mask and robe stalks a bunch of teens. This is one of the few slashers in which the revelation of the killer is a true twist -- one almost impossible to guess precisely.

Spoiler Alert! The killer is...two killers! Neve Campbell's boyfriend and his friend team up to play "Stab the Student Body."

17. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

© Image
A man relates his tale of madman Dr. Caligari, who along with his zombie-like henchman, committed a string of murders.

Spoiler Alert! It turns out that the narrator is the real madman, and he's telling his tale in an insane asylum. Caligari is in fact his doctor in the asylum.

16. The Mist (2007)

© The Weinstein Co.
A fogbank containing bloodthirsty monsters comes rolling into a small town, trapping a few dozen people in a grocery store. The movie changes Stephen King's original ending to provide a major jolt.

Spoiler Alert! Five characters drive a truck out of town, only to see that the creature-filled mist goes on forever. They run out of gas and are so despondent that they decide to commit suicide rather than be killed by the monsters. Since they have only four bullets, David (Thomas Jane) shoots the other four people -- including his son -- and steps out of the truck to let the creatures kill him...except the Army shows up, saving the day. Whoops! While the ending doesn't fully work -- partly due to Jane's acting -- it takes guts to even attempt.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.