For the month of October I will put out a list of Top 10’s on a number of subjects each day, this should be fun as I would enjoy feedback and discussion on my list and will welcome feedback on how to improve the list as I plan on featuring them on my website.
Top 10 Shock Endings in Horror/Thrillers (Spoilers)
Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller shocked the nation with its infamous shower scene yet many forget that the final scene was every bit as shocking. Based on the book by Robert Block and inspired by the murderous deeds of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, Psycho remains one of the best horror/thrillers ever made and the Gold standard in Shock Endings.
M Knight Shyamalan surprised audiences with this tale of a child psychologist trying to reach out to a troubled boy. The supernatural elements involved will be all the more shocking when the truth is revealed. The Sixth Sense would go to be one of the biggest hits of 1999 and remains one of the best films directed by Shyamalan.
Sleepaway Camp- Robert Hiltzik (1983)
This seemingly derivative summer camp slasher would make a huge impact on the horror movie scene when the killer is not only revealed but the audience is shown they are not even who you think they are. Forty years later and horror fans still rave about the ending and how it still packs a punch for shock value.
Diabolique- Henri-Georges Clouzot (1955)
One of the most influential horror/thrillers of its day, Diabolique pretty much set all the standards by which most modern thrillers often imitate. A tale of two women who conspire to murder the man they are both involved with only to find that someone may be aware of their deed. One of the most influential thrillers of the period, Diabolique remains a great film that would inspire so many movies and directors for years to come.
Ten people trapped in an isolated motel during a storm learn a killer may be among them with a limo driver seeking to find the identity of the killer and survive. What appears to be a simple retelling of Ten Little Indians is an intense thriller with an original yet surprising outcome.
Saw- James Wan (2004)
A troubled physician wakes up in an abandoned restroom not knowing how or why he is there. As he finds clues around him, he is confronted by his demons as well as his captor who seems to be adept at creating dangerous puzzles and challenges. James Wan would direct the first film of this intense series, and like many horror franchises, the first film is usually the best.
April Fools Day- Fred Walton (1986)
April Fools Day arrived amid the glut of teen slasher movies in the mid-1980s but stood out for the seemingly restrained violence that is more present in the standard slasher fare. The movie also features a twist that once revealed will make you appreciate the film after repeated viewing. The standout, of course, is the beautiful Deborah Foreman who was quite a star in her day and a delight to watch as the hostess who may or may not have a dark secret of her own.
The Cabin in the Woods- Drew Goddard (2012)
We have a group of teens go into the woods for a fun weekend only to find that a killer may out there, yet there is more than meets the eye. The genre-busting meta-horror film has to be watched unspoiled to appreciate how great it is at taking the usual teen horror film and twisting it like a puzzle where anything can happen.
This babysitter home alone movie has all the look of a movie made in the 1980s but that is part of the surprise as this film was made in the past 10 years. House of the Devil blends elements of 80's horror films with a few satanic elements seen in movies from the '70s. We get a slow burn thriller that offers a suspenseful conclusion that will shock you quite well.
High Tension- Alexandre Aja (2003)
A trip home for a young woman and her friend turns into a horrific journey for survival as they are stalked by a deranged serial killer who leaves a trail of bloody corpses in the French countryside. Directed by Alexandre Aja, High Tension would stand out for its extreme violence and be one of many French films featuring such intense direction.
Another Friday the 13th clone which has a group of teenagers being stalked and killed by a huge disfigured forest man. Besides the usual clichés and predictable plot, we have a film which would pass as a decent nature documentary due to its great nature shots and plenty of bugs crawling all over the place. A film which I best remember for its rather icky shock ending and complete rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Monkeys Paw.
Humanoids From the Deep- Barbara Peeters (1980)
Roger Corman secretly produced this terrifying film that combines The Creature from the Black Lagoon with Jaws. Beachgoers are finding their summer fun interrupted by mutant frogmen who slay all the males and rape the ladies. As silly as it sounds this is a terrifying film that boasts some cheap but well used special makeup effects by famed FX artist Rob Bottin who designed the monster costume. The film has a strong exploitation theme with the rapey nature of the mutants and an ending that is quite shocking.