Horror Movies That Have Dark Alternate Endings

Horror movies are pretty dark and twisted, so it can be hard to wrap them up with a solid ending. Most movies in America tend to have happy endings so many horror films end the same way no matter how unlikely it would be. But that doesn’t mean movie creators haven’t tried to be realistic in their final scenes.

There are many movies that started out with very dark and probably more realistic endings. However, many of those endings have been pushed aside due to test audience reactions and are replaced with endings that are less crazy and depressing. So which of your favorite horror films could have had a much darker fate? Here are 10 movie endings that could have changed many franchises.

1. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity | Paramount

Here is one ending that was changed for the worse in order to potentially create sequels. Also, there happens to be three alternate endings rather than the usual two. “There were a lot of different endings that were shot,” said Micah Sloat, who stars in the film as Micah, Katie Featherston’s boyfriend. He told Entertainment Weekly. “We could probably do a choose-your-own adventure DVD of the entire movie, we have so many separate story threads [that] didn’t make the final cut of the movie for whatever reason.”

In the original ending, a possessed Katie gets shot down by police after she murders Micah. When Paramount took on the project they changed the ending so the possessed villain could live to see another day. That ending had Katie kill Micah before revealing a demon face.

The third ending was probably the most disturbing. It had Katie come up from downstairs and into the bedroom. She then grins at the camera before slitting her own throat and falling to the floor. There is a fourth ending that was considered, but never actually shot. That one shows a possessed Katie hitting Micah with one of his cameras until he is dead.

2. Carrie

Carrie | MGM

The remake wasn’t really a hit, but one thing that probably would have made it more interesting is the alternate ending. The ending that actually made the final cut is a close up of Carrie’s tombstone as it cracks. The alternate ending shows Sue dreaming about having a baby in a hospital. But instead of giving birth to a cute little baby, she sees Carrie’s blood-covered arm reaching out from between her legs. That is definitely more haunting than a tombstone! You can watch the alternate ending on YouTube.

3. Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead | Strike Entertainment

This crazy original ending never made it past the testing stage, but it is still insane enough to mention. The ending that made it to film was Peter and Fran escaping by flying off the roof in a helicopter. However, in the script it had a much darker ending. The two end up choosing to end their lives. Peter shoots himself in the head, while Fran decapitates herself with the blades of the helicopter. Usually test audiences are the ones who keep bleak endings from going into the final cut. In this case, director George Romero was the one who ultimately changed his mind.

4. Alien

Sigourney Weaver in Alien
Sigourney Weaver in Alien | Fox

We’re definitely not complaining, but this is another movie that had an ending changed in order to get more sequels. Originally, Ripley was going to meet her demise by having her head ripped off by the titular creature. According to Blastr, the alien would then communicate with Earth by copying Ripley’s voice. Although that would have been interesting to see, the producers never shot it and allowed their heroine to live in the hopes of making more sequels.

5. Hostel

Hostel | Lions Gate Films

People tend to want their heroes to be heroic. Bringing in kids for payback doesn’t exactly fit the description so that’s why this director’s cut ending didn’t make the final cut of the movie. Instead of murdering the businessman himself, like he does in the final cut, Paxton snatches up his daughter to really hit the businessman where it hurts. Of course, audiences weren’t a fan of this ending at all so it was ditched. But you can still find this darker ending on YouTube.

6. Little Shop of Horrors

Rick Moranis in Little Shop of Horrors
Rick Moranis in Little Shop of Horrors | Warner Bros.

This alternate ending may not be as surprising if you’re familiar with the play. But like most adaptations, things are changed in order to create a happy ending for moviegoers. In the movie, you saw the plant explode leaving Seymour and Audrey free to experience wedded bliss. But the real ending involves Seymour feeding Audrey to the hungry plant! As if that’s not enough, the plant also gets duplicated and spreads across the world. The apocalypse is essentially caused by these monstrous plants.

7. The Descent

The Descent
The Descent | Lions Gate Films

In America, this movie’s ending shows Sarah escaping from the creepy cave. International audiences saw Sarah escape, only to wake up and find that it was all a hallucination. Yup, she stays in the cave and dies, an ending that was apparently too depressing for the U.S. market. “It’s a visceral ride, and by the time you get to the ending you’re drained,” said Lionsgate chief brand officer, Tim Palen, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Marshall had a number of endings in mind when he shot the film, so he was open [to making a switch].”

8. 28 Days Later

28 Days Later
28 Days Later | Fox Searchlight

The movie follows the survivors four weeks after an incurable disease spreads. The original ending has Jim slipping into a coma from his gunshot wound. But he later wakes up to be with Hannah and Selena. They leave out a banner that reads “Hello” and there is a helicopter that flies overhead. But the alternate ending doesn’t leave the audience with much hope. Instead, Jim dies on the table in the hospital so Hannah and Selena have to leave without him.

9. The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect | BenderSpink

This crazy movie shows Evan recovering memories he lost during his blackouts. He then is able to alter his life by reading his journal and tries to change his terrible childhood. The original ending shows Evan going back in time to change the fact that he met the woman he loved. That’s pretty sad, but the alternate ending is really dark! In that version, Evan goes back into the womb and strangles himself in vitro. It’s easy to imagine why this might not have gone over well with a lot of people.

10. Godsend

Godsend | Lions Gate Films

A couple has their dead son cloned, then a lot of scary things start happening when the clone is born. The movie ends with the kid being sent off to a new home and family. There we are left wondering what will happen next. This is unlike the ending they could have gone with. The alternate ending shows him killing everyone, which is definitely disturbing but has a finality to it.

Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.

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