Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Five Great Final Shots In Horror Films

See the excellent Fletch Talks post for his original article which inspired your friendly neighbourhood Ocelot to compose this personal rundown of memorable horror film endings.

They may not be great movies or even good horror flicks, but by Hitchcock the last scenes stayed with me.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Fuck that shit.
So everyone's been replaced by pod people, dissolving away as sinister marrows grow into vege-humans as soon as their victims go to sleep. You snooze, you lose. Except for Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright, who've learned how to fake the emotionless demeanour of the body snatchers. She sees him on the street and calls over to him. And then, and then, he points at her, opens his mouth wide and with a terrifying stare, emits a piercing inhuman shriek.

Seriously, sod that for a game of soldiers. No 12-year old child should have been allowed up late to watch that ending on telly. I blame the parents.

See also: The Night My Parents Came To Kill Me

The Fly (1958)

"heeelp meee,"
I knew the ending to the film long, long before I actually saw it with my own eyes, thanks to my dad and his best friend Dave, who would regularly entertain us kids on holiday with dramatic retellings of horror films they'd seen. Things like Psycho, Death Ship and the Arch Oboler audio classic The Dark (or as Dad and Dave usefully retitled it, Organs Hanging).

The ending to The Fly is this: the horrific, tragic scientist-with-the-head-of-a-fly is dead, released from its suffering by a hydraulic press and a concerned wife. Hey, we've all been there. But in the epilogue, Vincent Price and some other dude go outside and discover, trapped in an ordinary garden spider's web, a teeny tiny fly with the head of a man, trapped in silk with a dirty great spider bearing down on him.

"heeelp meee," it cries, in a tiny high pitched wail, "heeeelllppppmeeeee!"

Skip to 1:26:36 for the full horror

Unnamed movie from the 70s where the puppy has glowing eyes

Grrr. I want Schmackos. Grrr.
It's not Devil Dog: Hound of Hell (1978), it's not The Pack (1977), it's not Zoltan: Hound of Dracula (1978), or Dogs (1976) or Dogs of Hell / Rottweiler (1982). Christ, there were a lot of 'evil dog' movies back then. Hell, I don't know what it was called, but I do remember that all the dogs were under the control of a central hound of sinister intent. I think it was a doberman (then very much in vogue as the devil dog of choice) and that it had scary red eyes. In the final scene, the humans have triumphed - yay! - but then the camera zooms in on a lickle ickle doberman puppy WITH GLOWING EYES. The horror continues!

Actually come to think of it, it probably was Zoltan: Hound of Dracula.

See also Rosemary's Baby and the final shot of Michael Jackson's Thriller. It's all about the evil eyes.

The Creeping Flesh (1973)

Pete gives him the finger
So Professor Cushing finishes telling his tale of an evil prehistoric giant skeleton that regenerates when it gets wet, and how it menaced him and his daughter. Then the barred door to his 'lab' slams shut and we get the shock reveal that the prof is in a mad house run by Christopher Lee, his brother! Or is he his brother? And the prof's supposed daughter is just some crazy woman in another cell and it was all the ravings of a madman. Or was it? What about the prof's missing finger? The one that he claims the giant regenerating skeleton monster took to replace its own foul, amputated digit? Who knows?

I'm confused and scared all at the same time. Aaaah!

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Another giant spider menace. There may be a theme here.
I was going to go with the ending to The Awakening (1980), the remake of Blood From The Mummy's Tomb with Remington Steele's Stephanie Zimbalist where she gets taken over by the evil Egyptian queen and gets a hot makeover with Bo-Derek-in-10 hair, but I went with this one instead. Yes, it's more of a sci-fi like Body Snatchers and Fly in its mechanics I guess, but the feeling of sheer horror it gave the young me at the end is still palpable all these years later.

Having defeated his nemesis, a spider in the basement, poor inch-high hero Scott continues to get smaller, realising that he will keep on shrinking forever. Jeez. Apparently, thanks to the closing voiceover, Scott's cool with that, but I bloody wasn't. I was so traumatised by this downer ending that for years I was convinced that it actually finished with him starting to get bigger again. I must've rewritten the ending - with a more heroic Hank Pym resolution - in my head afterward.