Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Have you ever watched the conclusion of a horror movie and wonder, what happened next?!
Take 1980’s The Shining for example, before Doctor Sleep gave us a grown-up Danny all we saw was little Dan running through a hedge maze, tricking his crazy dad into freezing to death. Poor disposable Halloran rode in on a snowcat, so I don’t see Wendy and Danny sledding to safety through a snowstorm in an area they aren’t familiar with. And I certainly don’t see them waiting it out in the haunted hotel from hell. So how in Stephen King’s name did they survive?!
This is just one example but there are SO MANY others so with a huge HUH? Here are my Top 5 Horror Movie Endings that left us wondering WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?! And beware MAJOR spoilers for the following films:
- Evil Dead (2013)
- The Thing (1982)
- It Follows
- Ready or Not
#5 Evil Dead (2013)
I know I know, we already KNOW what happens next here because The Evil Dead has sequels and even a television show. But here’s the thing, that’s the Sam Raimi version.
In Fede Alvarez’s soft reboot our heroine Mia (Jane Levy) is the last one standing. And after gloriously bisecting demon-Mia with a chainsaw, human Mia leaves to search for help, leaving the Necronomicon and her dead pals behind. Covered in blood and missing an arm that she brutally had to tear off to get out from under the jeep that pinned her I’m left to wonder, “Did Mia make it to safety or did she bleed out halfway down the road (the alternative ending doesn’t count because, hello! it’s alternative ending)?”. And how the hell does she (a drug addict no less) explain what happened in that cabin without sounding like a maniac?! Not to mention the Naturom Demonto (that’s fancy talk for Necronomicon) is still out there which begs the question, are her friends really dead or is what’s left of them still possessed?
I need to know and maybe if we got the Ash/Mia sequel they originally planned we would know. As it is, we’re left to wonder what could’ve been.
#4 The Thing
My favourite horror movie of all time has one of the best and most discussed ambiguous endings to this day.
After the eponymous Thing is defeated by exploding their remote artic base, Childs (Keith David) and MacReady (Kurt Russell) are left freezing in the snow with nowhere to shelter and no one coming to save them. As Data would say, logic dictates they both froze to death right? Yet there’s one little touch thrown in here that left fans debating for decades, and it’s the fact no frozen air can be seen escaping from Childs’ mouth, even while he’s talking. It’s not a cinematic mistake or anything because MacReady’s breath is rightfully as cold as Iceman’s, so what the hell is going on here?
Is Childs the Thing? If he’s not, do our heroes survive? We don’t know but I’ll give the ending points for giving us a conclusion that will fuel fanboy arguments until the end of time.
#3 It Follows
One of the most interesting concepts in modern horror, It Follows tells the story of why you should always wear protection when getting busy.
Kidding aside, this supernatural horror follows Jaime (Maika Monroe) a young woman who is slowly “followed” by an invisible entity (that can also take the form of its victims) after having a sexual encounter with a guy. The movie ends when the entity is apparently defeated by her group of friends but like Death in Final Destination this entity doesn’t seem like the kind who goes down with one punch. The closing shot shows Jamie (or Jay as her friends call her) and friend-turned-boyfriend Paul holding hands walking down the street as a figure walks behind them.
So was this figure the thing/it/sex goblin or was it just an ordinary person? As the last person Jay slept with, will Paul be its next victim? In which case, is it really the smartest idea for them to stay close to each other? And what exactly WAS this thing and where did it come from?
That last one is probably the one that requires no answer as It Follows is more about symbolism than actual evil entities. But this is a horror movie and like The Creeper in Jeepers Creepers, inquiring minds want, nay NEED to know!
#2 Ready or Not
No, I’m not referring to the catchy Fugees song that’s now stuck in your head because I brought it up (you’re welcome!). The film Ready or Not came out in 2019 and follows Grace (Samara Weaving) who thinks she’s marrying the man of her dreams. That is until she meets his wealthy family who have a truly messed up wedding tradition in that they make the new family member pull a card and, depending on the card, they play what seems like a harmless child’s game, that’s as FAR from harmless as you can get.
This fun horror flick gave us an ending that answers the big question of whether or not these people are cray-cray or not for believing their wealth and success is tied to a devil’s pact their ancestor made. With an explosive (pun intended) ending that leaves only Grace standing, a burning manor and a newly minted bride covered in blood, I honestly don’t see how Grace explains ANY of this to the authorities.
The Le Domases were rich, powerful and, above all, very well known. It’s not like these were some backwoods crazy folk living in the middle of nowhere. So how does poor Grace explain why each and every one of her very rich relatives are dead, leaving her as the only one who has any legal claim on their money? Yeah, I don’t need a sequel to Ready or Not because I think it’s obvious to everyone watching—Grace’s ass is heading to prison.
Speaking of heading to prison, let’s talk about the bat s*!t insanity of an ending that’s James Wan’s Malignant.
I love James Wan but I’m still not sure whether this was a good movie or not. I like the concept but the execution leaves a lot to be desired, not to mention the conclusion, that couldn’t possibly have the seemingly happy ending he was going for.
Since this is the most recent of all the movies on this list, I’ll try to keep things as spoiler free as I can for those who haven’t seen it yet.
Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) is a pregnant woman living with her abusive husband. After an argument he attacks her and she hits her head, after which her husband is brutally killed by a seemingly super-powered or supernatural killer. Fast forward to the ending after a battle in a police station that puts the one in The Terminator to shame and Madison, her sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson) and Detective Shaw (George Young) are facing off against the killer in a hospital where he’s targeting them and his would-be final victim. And again, without giving too much away Madison defeats the killer named Gabriel and saves everyone, fade to black.
Damn not spoiling this is harder than I thought! Let’s just say without Gabriel around anymore, Maddie has no logical way of explaining she was an innocent bystander to his crimes. I don’t care if her sister, the detective, her mom, her bloody accountant backs her up here, there were WAY TOO MANY other people who saw Madison uh, “helping” Gabriel, to believe she’s going home to a happy ending.
Nope! I see a straightjacket in her, and anyone else who backs her up, futures. But like every other movie on this list Malignant most definitely leaves you wondering, what the hell happened next?!
Do you agree with the list? Any other horror movie endings that had you screaming WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! And you can check out more great horror lists and reviews below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!