Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hollywood Saves Lives : 7 Horror Movies Where Characters' Lives Were Spared By Altered Endings!

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I vividly remember the first time I saw Clerks, and being totally shocked when I checked out the special features on the DVD afterwards, and saw that Kevin Smith had originally planned to have Dante get gunned down at the end of the film.  This was my very first experience with alternate endings, and I was incredibly fascinated by the fact that I had just watched a character die, who minutes prior lived to the end of the movie itself.  From that point on, alternate endings became one of my favorite DVD features, with Clerks forever putting me on the hunt for altered finales with wildly different, and far more depressing, outcomes.  What can I say, I'm a downer like that.

(That said, I'm very glad Dante lived, because I totally love Clerks 2!)

When it comes to horror movies especially, Hollywood is in love with the happy ending, where the tormented victims walk off into the sunset, and escape the grasps of their tormenters.  Because of this fascination with sunshine and happiness, Hollywood has many times throughout the years changed depressing and tragic horror movie endings, so that the films are a little more upbeat.  Here are seven films where lives were saved by altered endings! 


 
KATIE - PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

When Oren Peli independently made Paranormal Activity, the original ending saw a possessed Katie killing Micah, and then being shot dead by police, who enter their home to find her covered in blood, and wielding a knife.  When Paramount acquired the film, after deciding to not just go ahead and completely remake it like they originally planned, they shot two new endings for the film, one of which also saw Katie dying, like in Peli's original cut, only this time a result of her cutting her own throat.  This ending appears as an alternate ending on the home video releases of the film.  The other ending, which ended up as the final ending, saw Katie demonically lunging towards the camera after killing Micah, but surviving the events of the film.  Obviously, the idea behind keeping Katie alive was for the purposes of continuing the story with future sequels.  As for the lame-o demon face morph, well, that's just typical Hollywood, screwing up awesome indie films with their bullshit effects!

 
BENNY - LEATHERFACE : THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3

In the original ending of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Ken Foree's character Benny doesn't live to see the end credits roll, with Michelle being the only survivor of the hellish events.  As you can see above, Benny gets his head ground up, courtesy of Leatherface's chainsaw.  Now story goes that in test screenings of the film, the audiences took such a liking to Foree's character that they didn't want to see him die.  Catering to those desires, New Line went out and shot an entirely new ending for the film, which sees both Benny and Michelle surviving.  Now the funny thing about that is that they left in a portion of the scene where Benny's skull meets up with Leatherface's chainsaw, a maiming that it doesn't quite look like a man would be able to survive.  And yet, because audiences demanded it, Foree shows up at the end of the film, with nothing but a small wound on his head.  Now that's one badass motherfucker!! 

**FUN FACT : QUITE UNLIKE ALL THE EXAMPLES LISTED WITHIN THIS POST, AN ALTERNATE ENDING TO 2009'S ORPHAN SAW KILLER KID ESTHER SURVIVING THE EVENTS OF THE FILM, WHILE SHE DIED IN THE ACTUAL THEATRICAL ENDING.  THAT'S ONE LIFE THAT HOLLYWOOD DIDN'T CARE TO SAVE!** 


JIM - 28 DAYS LATER

There were actually three different endings to 28 Days Later that saw Jim dying, two which were filmed, and one which only made it to the storyboard stage.  The one you see above, where Jim dies on a hospital bed after being shot, was the original ending for the film, which test audiences deemed too bleak and depressing.  Director Danny Boyle considers this ending the 'true ending' to the film.  In the ending that ultimately ended up being put in the finished film, Jim survives his gunshot wound, and joins the rest of the survivors in a desperate plea for help from a passing aircraft, their fates unknown.


SARAH - THE DESCENT

Though neither end is exactly happy, the original UK ending to The Descent is a whole lot more grim than the one shown to American audiences.  In the American version, Sarah emerges from the underground cave system, and drives off to safety.  In the original UK version, Sarah emerges from the cave in a dream sequence only, and is shown in actuality to have never escaped.  In a very poignant moment, she hallucinates that she sees her dead daughter down there with her.  Though not shown, the implication is that Sarah is killed by the crawlers.  The ending was considered too dark and hopeless for American audiences, so the dream sequence became reality, and Sarah survived to see a lackluster sequel.  Go Hollywood! 

**FUN FACT : ANOTHER CHARACTER THAT HOLLYWOOD DIDN'T SAVE?  WILL SMITH'S ROBERT NEVILLE, IN 2007'S I AM LEGEND.  SMITH WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO LIVE, BUT ENDED UP BLOWING HIMSELF UP AT THE END OF THE FILM.  YAY, EXPLOSIONS!!**
 
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PETER & FRAN - DAWN OF THE DEAD

Though never actually filmed, the original script Romero wrote for Dawn ended with Peter and Fran killing themselves, Peter using a gun to get the job done and Fran brutally thrusting her head up into the blades of a helicopter.  This ending was reportedly tested for filming, with the cast of Gaylen Ross' head that was to be used for the scene becoming the head of the African American male that is exploded during the tenement scene early on in the film.  The behind the scenes shot of the dummy above is the only evidence we have that this ending was at one point set to go from script to screen.  Inevitably, we ended up with the ending we all know, where the fates of Peter & Fran are uncertain.


EVAN - THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

There were a few alternate endings to The Butterfly Effect, with the one seen above being the one most different from the final cut.  In this batshit crazy version of the ending, Evan travels back in time to when he was in his mother's womb, and strangles himself with his umbilical cord, thus eradicating himself from the planet and sparing everyone the pain and grief that came along with knowing him.  Yea.  Fucking grim.  And weird as shit.  In the much happier and less awkward ending that ended up in the film, Evan only goes back in time to prevent him and Kayleigh from ever meeting, so that the negative impact he brings upon her life never actually comes unto her.  God, that movie is weird.  

**ALMOST INCLUDED ON THIS LIST?  1408, WHERE JOHN CUSACK'S CHARACTER DIED IN THE HOTEL ROOM IN THE ORIGINAL ENDING, BUT LIVED IN THE THEATRICAL.  I DIDN'T INCLUDE THIS ONE BECAUSE THE ALTERNATE ENDING OF CUSACK DYING ACTUALLY BECAME THE OFFICIAL ENDING TO THE FILM AFTER ITS THEATRICAL RUN, SHOWING UP AS THE DEFAULT ENDING ON THE HOME VIDEO RELEASES OF THE MOVIE.  ALMOST SPARED JOHN ... ALMOST!**


AUDREY, SEYMOUR & THE REST OF THE WORLD - THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

True to the ending of the musical, the original ending of Frank Oz's Little Shop Of Horrors was a whole lot more grim than the ending that made it into the final cut.  In the 23 minute original ending, both Audrey and Seymour are eaten by Audrey 2, and Audrey 2 and its duplicates begin taking over the world, attacking big cities like New York and Cleveland.  Though both Oz and star Rick Moranis prefer this ending, it received negative reviews from test audiences, and the finale was re-written with the happy ending of Audrey & Seymour surviving, and destroying Audrey 2.  So in this case, I guess you could say Hollywood saved the entire world!

Must mention that the full original ending to Little Shop was included on the just released Director's Cut Blu-ray Digibook release of the film, which you can grab over on Amazon!

If you know of any other instances like these ones, please do leave a comment below and let me know!

5 comments:

Kevin said...

Not horror but rambo forces Col Troutmen to kill him at the end of first blood. Loved the movie thought that was a perfect ending . You can find the clip on YouTube.

Jordan said...

sometimes dark and depressing makes a damn good film ending in my eyes lol .....thats crazy about the descent because im guessing I seen the uk version because there wasnt a happy ending with butterflies and all with the version i watched and like the butterfly effect I love the alternate ending rather than the theatrical love story ending....good post btw

zombiesushi said...

Awesome article! Although I have to point out that the plant in Little Shop of Horrors is named Audrey2, not Seymore2:)

Johnny said...

zombiesushi - haha, woops, totally didn't even catch that. And I read over the post 10 times before posting. Doh. Thanks for spotting that and for letting me know!!

Moxie said...

Wow, watching that Little Shop of Horrors one was weird! I loved that movie as a kid but I don't think I would have dug that ending. Now though it was kinda awesome seeing huge Audrey 2s destroying cities.