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Horror Films with Completely Disturbing Endings

Horror films are supposed to scare us, except some leave us with an absurd demise just as the credits begin to fall. With no apprehension of the scene we have just witnessed, we find the memory lingering in our subconscious, you revisit it for days and can’t completely get over the fear, you remember the face of his final victim, or how the darkened part of your bedroom looks very similar to where the monster was last seen. Let’s revisit the the most completely disturbing endings. Don’t read the endings to films you haven’t seen. The list is completely random and includes some new horror as well as some classics.

Summer of 84

The film follows the popular nostalgic theme, with the success of It and Stranger Things, comes this exceptional VHS thriller. Following a group of five 15 years olds who believe their neighbour to be a serial killer. While certain parts can be seen as mundane the unconventional ending shines new light on the 80s theme and could introduce a new franchise. After completing it’s rounds at festivals this summer its audience: myself and others found themselves in awe of its brave, unexpected ending. The obscure dynamics of the final paper round scene, produce a delightfully real and raw conclusion to a familiar style.

Sleepaway Camp

The once self aware, humourous B movie turns damn right freaky when revealing the camps killer, the killer causes havoc at summer camp: Sleepaway Camp. Revenging those who harm Angela, our antagonist who lost her family after a boating accident, quiet and isolated she only communicates with a spare few. After the murder of favoured camp counsellor Meg, remaining counselors patrol the camp to find their remaining campers, discovering a now naked Angela holding the severed head of her crush. This scene was completely unexpected due to the film characterising itself as a generic b-movie, the scenes frightful twist has disturbed horror fans for years, finding its way onto a list of cult classics. Reliant on it’s obscure ending accompanied by Angela’s unnaturally open jaw, full frontal nudity exposing Angela’s penis, strange hissing noise accompanied by the head of crush in her hand. The resolution explains Angela is not a little girl, but in fact a boy who was manipulated by Ricky’s strange Mother.

Ghost Stories

Dark, disturbing and surprisingly funny screenplay from Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s sell out play of the same name. It’s does exactly what it says on the tin; we follow 3 seperate tales that may prove the supernatural actually exists. Following investigator and TV host of ‘Psychic Cheats’ Phillip Goodman, we search for the things that go bump in the night but conjure more than a couple of bumps in the night, exploring the depths of our own fears and guilt. The ending has always been a well kept secret with scarce spoilers being shared online, after thoroughly enjoying the climax, I remain sacred to such decision. I will say, the horrifying conclusion secludes Goodman to life in solitude, the ghouls from each story represent his own anxieties from a regretful mistake he made in his teens. Guilt sentences Goodman to a punishment worse than death.

Lake Mungo

Horror themed documentary reliant on suspense opposed to visual horror, the after effects of Lake Mungo remain stagnant in your mind for a long time after viewing. If not reliant on the harrowing phone recording or subservient to disturbing twists surrounding a sex tape including their underage, now dead daughter. The movie focuses on unsettling reveals with an constant feeling of dread, it demonstrates the lack of connection a family had with their daughter in life and now death. Her ghostly presence is prominent throughout, the vision of her dead-self is presented as a Omen to her impending doom, a premonition manifested through her nightmares. While the mobile footage is terrifying, the family subsequently forget about Alice and leave her isolated within the house, thinking they have successfully made their daughter pass on. The final scene jumps between Alice’s final interview and her Mother, the contrasting stories alongside Alice’s ghostly figure in the window of the final image suggests Alice is now left alone in the house, while her family move away and forget about her. “Sometimes I even forget she’s dead.”
Tremendous cliffhanger, the harrowing conclusion leaves more than a few loose ends but a feeling that lingers for days.

The Mist

Possibly the most famous selection from this list, approved by Stephen King: A depressing and painful death with provoking music makes for a disturbing ending. Father and son take refuge in a mall after monsters invade their small town following a storm. After successfully saving his son and himself from monsters and a group of culty christians who want to sacrifice him, they flee the safehaven store. David Drayton makes a horrific mistake when deciding to assist in the survivors suicides, with only three bullets remaining, Drayton is left alive. Drayton tries to gain attention from the monsters outside but instead finds the army, realising they were seconds from being saved, he must suffer the consequences of his decision.

Night of the Living Dead

George A Romeo’s most famous work, that unfortunately saw the least amount of profit from his career. Whilst introducing the familiar portrayal of zombies, it concentrates on decisions of characters when deciding on their fate. Which makes for a very human ending, the film moves from heroic when the few remaining characters are all killed off. When casting the character as a black actor many people deemed the ending to be racially charged, except he was chosen due to him being the best actor Romero could find, and the ending is reliant on Bens decision to move upstairs opposed to the basement. Subsequently, he finds refuge in the basement until morning, by this point there are planes and signs of rescue – giving Ben a false sense of security, resulting in him being mistaken for a zombie and shot. A very sad but realistic end to a zombie outbreak. An honorable mention to accompany this film is Charlie Brooker’s Big Brother Zombie series, Dead Set; it was highly influenced by George A Romero’s work and even ends in a similar fashion, the music mixed with our now zombie protagonist staring into the Big Brother camera is harrowing and stayed on my mind for days, very similar to this one. Both are definitely worth a watch.

Rosemary’s Baby

After the success of Hereditary, the ending is definitely inspired by the frightful, yet surprising conclusion of Rosemary’s Baby. This memorable classic, follows a satanic ritual to birth the son of Satan. After the success of the birth we see the mother’s shock when welcoming her new born, “ what have you done to him?” It was a new story and at the time very frightening, probably aged the best as people still enjoy the ending to this day.

Honourable mentions:
Halloween: The introduction of the boogeyman,
Friday the 13th: One of the best jump scares, the scenes perfect juxtaposing music and cinematography, you’re pulled into more than just a false security
Nightmare on elm street: While this final shot hasn’t aged too well effects wise, it’s still a great start to a memorable franchise.
IT comes at night: It was all a facade.
A serbian Film: We all know the one.
Martys: Is there a god?


  1. I’s say that Society deserves a spot on this list.

  2. The last lines of Session 9 will haunt my dreams forever.


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