Horror Films & Their Alternative Endings

Alternative endings have always intrigued me.

It’s the knowledge that they had other ideas on how to end a film but went with something else, also it raises other questions such as why they went with the ending they did. Here we have a list of films and their alternative endings, just a warning though before you read on, as this deals with film endings there lies potential spoilers ahead.

A Nightmare On Elm Street

I’ve always said that this films downfall was its ending and it wasn’t until years later that I found out why the ending we have was the finished product. The ending was a mesh of all the ideas everyone had put together to make the studio happy, if Craven had his way the film would have ended with Nancy discovering it was all just a dream.

The Descent

This one all depends on whether you watched the US version or the UK version, in the US version cuts to the credits after ‘Sarah’ spots a ghost in her car. In the UK version the sight of the ghost causes ‘Sarah’ to wake up for real at the bottom of the cave, revealing her escape to be just a dream and we discover she is surrounded by the creatures and then it ends. The reason for the difference is the UK version was considered too dark for US audiences.

The Fly

This film messed me up as a child, when I heard there was an alternative ending my curiosity was well and truly peaked. Apparently Cronenberg originally had an epilogue set several months later that sees ‘Veronica’ and ‘Stathis’ now a couple, after having aborted ‘Brundlefly’s baby and now pregnant again by Stathis. We then see ‘Veronica’ dreaming of her unborn child as a fetus with butterfly wings. You can see it HERE.

The Blair Witch Project

Whilst we all know the now somewhat iconic ending of the film apparently Artisan weren’t happy with it. So alternate endings were filmed, such as having ‘Mike’  hanging from a noose, crucifying him on one of the film’s signature stick men, just having a bloodied chest and staring at the camera surrounded by the stick men. You can actually see them all HERE.

Dawn Of The Dead

Romero’s original vision for this film had the feature conclude with a scene in which ‘Peter’ ends up shooting himself in the head and ‘Fran’ also commits suicide by running headfirst into a rotating helicopter blade. Apparently, Romero decided this was a little too depressing so changed it.

The Thing

I’ve always loved the ending to this film and for those like me who are old enough to remember there was a comic series that carried the story on. But the film alternate ending sees ‘MacReady’ being rescued and takes a blood test that proves he is in fact still human. You can see it HERE.


The alternate ending for “Alien”  saw the Xenomorph get the better of ‘Ripley’ and proceed to rip her head off before assuming her voice and leaving the same log with the intention of tricking anyone who should find the shuttle into thinking it contains the precious cargo that is ‘Ripley’ rather than an alien about to destroy all of humanity. How different things would’ve been…

Get Out

The alternate ending for this film would’ve changed the entire tone of the feature we ultimately saw. We have two police officers emerging from the car and arresting ‘Chris’, we then see ‘Chris’ in a prison jumpsuit doing time for the murder of the ‘Armitage’ family. His friend ‘Rod’ then visits him to try and find out what went down with ‘Chris’ simply replying “I’m good. I stopped it”, you can see it HERE.

You’re Next
This films original ending is only a slight change from what we saw but it makes a big difference. Instead of surviving her ordeal the original ending sees ‘Erin’ get shot in the head by the cop who finds her.
The original ending for “1408” had ‘Mike’ dying from his fire injuries, but happy to see the room destroyed. During ‘Mike’s funeral, ‘Olin’ approaches ‘Lily’ and ‘Mike’s publisher ‘Sam Farrell’. He unsuccessfully attempts to give her a box of ‘Mike’s possessions, including the tape recorder. ‘Olin’ claims that the room was successfully destroyed and that it will no longer hurt anyone else. He later listens to the recording in his car, and becomes upset when he hears ‘Katie’s voice on the tape. He sees a little girl walking on the cemetery grass behind the car, in a dress, calling out as if she is lost. He then sees ‘Mike’s burnt corpse in the backseat. Then he sees the same girl holding hands with her father as they walk away. ‘Olin’ places the tape recorder back in the box and drives off.

The final scene is of the gutted room, where an apparition of ‘Mike’ looks out the window while smoking a cigarette. He hears his daughter calling his name, and disappears as he walks toward her. A door is heard closing and the scene fades. This ending is actually used on some releases as the official ending on the Blu-ray release and two-disc collector’s edition and Canadian networks Space and The Movie Network, and U.S. network FX broadcast this version of the film. This ending is also used on the U.K. and Australian DVDs, and the U.S. iTunes, Netflix and Amazon Prime versions of the film, it’s known as the ‘Directors Cut Ending’. In another ending ‘Mike’ dies from his fire injuries. Afterwards, ‘Olin’ remarks “Well done, Enslin. Well done.” Instead of the funeral scene, the sounds of a funeral are dubbed over shots of Los Angeles. ‘Lily’ and ‘Sam’ sort through ‘Mike’s effects. ‘Sam’ returns to his New York office and discovers the manuscript that ‘Mike’ wrote about Room 1408. As ‘Sam’ reads the story, audio from ‘Mike’s experiences in the room is heard.

In a final scene, ‘Sam’s office doors slam shut and ‘Mike’s father’s voice says, “As I was, you are. As I am, you will be.” In this ending, ‘Mike’ survives and ‘Lily’ moves to Los Angeles with him. When he plays the tape of ‘Katie’s voice from 1408, ‘Lily’ hears it and looks shocked. Mike stares at ‘Lily’ strangely, again this version is used as it’s official ending in countries such as Australia, Japan and the Netherlands.

Army Of Darkness
Here’s a film that I know word for word but for years I had no idea there were two different endings released depending on whether you watched the UK or the US version. The UK version has ‘Ash’ drinking a secret potion that would make him sleep one century for each drop of the potion he drinks. He then goes to a cave to sleep. However, he drank one drop too many and wakes up to find a barren post-apocalyptic landscape. The final shot is ‘Ash’ screaming in rage at a red sky, you can see it HERE. The US version shows ‘Ash’ back at the S-Mart store, telling a co-worker all about his adventure back in time, and how he could have been king. After this, a deadite starts wreaking havoc on the store, and Ash defeats it. The film ends with Ash saying, “Hail to the king, baby”, and kissing his fellow Sales Lady, you can see it HERE.
Paranormal Activity

This one had three endings, one was the original ending where ‘Katie’ returns to the bedroom and sits down against the bed with the knife in her hand, rocking back and forth, for almost two days straight. Her friend ‘Amber’ calls and leaves a message, saying that she is concerned because she hasn’t heard from ‘Katie’ or ‘Micah’. ‘Amber’ eventually comes looking for her, but when she enters the house, she is heard screaming after seeing ‘Micah’s body. The creature possessing ‘Katie’ leaves her body, scaring ‘Amber’ out of the house before returning to ‘Katie’, who resumes rocking back and forth. Police officers arrive at the house about a half hour later and discover ‘Micah’s body as well. They call to ‘Katie’, who wakes from her catatonic state and seems confused. ‘Katie’ comes out of the bedroom with the knife still in her hand. The police officers ask her to drop the knife. Following a heated confrontation, a door behind one of the police officers slams shut, startling one of the officers, which causes him to shoot ‘Katie’, killing her.

The film ends with the police investigating the area and finding nothing but the camera, still running. This ending was scrapped by the studio and they instead went for ‘Katie’ returning to the bedroom after the screaming and noise of her and ‘Micah’ struggling downstairs. She is holding a knife and covered in blood. She closes and locks the bedroom door. ‘Katie’ walks over and smiles at the camera before cutting her own throat. The screen then fades to black. This ending is available as on the DVD release. There was also an un-filmed ending in which a possessed ‘Katie’ would corner ‘Micah’ and bludgeon him to death with his camera, while viewers watch from the camera’s point of view. This version was deemed too complicated and too brutal to shoot.


This remake also attempted an alternative ending which 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. As we now know that wasn’t our ending but you can actually see it HERE.


The films original ending was that ‘Paxton’ doesn’t kill the Dutch Businessman, instead opting to kidnap the man’s young daughter. After finding her teddy bear in the restroom she was supposed to be in, the Dutch Businessman searches for his missing daughter, unaware that ‘Paxton’s train has just left. It’s left ambiguous as to what ‘Paxton’ plans to do with her. Test audiences didn’t like it so it was changed to the one we have now but you can see it HERE.

Little Shop Of Horrors

The alternative ending for this film is actually the original stage ending where we see ‘Seymour’ feeding ‘Audrey’ to the hungry plant which then gets duplicated and spreads across the world. You can see it HERE.

This feature has four different endings. One ending pretty much follows the theatrical ending except that it is ‘Richard Wells’ who shows up at the shack and stops ‘Adam’ from hatcheting ‘Jessie’, after which ‘Adam’ calls him “Daddy.” ‘Paul’ dies in the fire, and ‘Wells’ donates the money to rebuild the church. In the final scene, ‘Wells’, ‘Jessie’, and ‘Adam’ enter the church together. The second alternate ending also follows the theatrical ending with an additional scene at the end showing ‘Wells’ approaching a grieving couple as they leave a funeral home. He presents them with the same spiel he used on the ‘Duncans’.

The third alternate ending shows ‘Adam’ locking ‘Jessie’ in the darkroom and takes off the nozzle from a gas heater, allowing gas fumes to spill into the room. When ‘Wells’ tries to unlock the door, ‘Adam’ injects him with poison from his own medical bag. ‘Wells’ dies. ‘Adam’ runs off to the shack, and ‘Jessie’ follows him, as in the theatrical ending. After ‘Paul’ stops ‘Adam’ from hatcheting ‘Jessie’, he sends ‘Jessie’ outside and attempts to strangle ‘Adam’. ‘Jessie’ stops him. In the final scene, ‘Paul’ and ‘Jessie’ lay roses on the grave of ‘Adam Neal Duncan’. As the camera pans around, ‘Adam2’ can be seen behind the gravestones tossing stones. The three of them then leave the graveyard and drive off in their car. The fourth alternate ending follows the script for ending 3 up until the scene where ‘Paul’ stops ‘Adam’ from hatcheting ‘Jessie’. The final scene shows ‘Adam’ celebrating his ninth birthday.

The Butterfly Effect

Here’s a film that has had many people talking about the alternative ending over the years. One ending was only a slight change from the original, in this one it has ‘Evan’ turn and follows ‘Kayleigh’ instead of just walking away, another one was the same but instead this time we see ‘Evan’ and ‘Kayleigh’ stop and talk to each other. The highly talked about alternate ending shows us that ‘Evan’ has barricaded himself in the office, he starts playing a home movie his father made just as his mother was giving birth to him. ‘Evan’ travels back into his mother’s womb and strangles himself with the umbilical cord. This was set to be the original ending but once again test audiences deamed it too bleak. You can see them HERE.

28 Days Later
Here we have another film that had multiple endings, the original ending was that after ‘Jim’ is shot, ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’ still rush him to the deserted hospital, but the scene is extended. ‘Selena’, with ‘Hannah’s assistance, attempts to perform life-saving procedures but cannot revive ‘Jim’. ‘Selena’ is heartbroken, and ‘Hannah’, distraught, looks to her for guidance. ‘Selena’ tells ‘Hannah’ that they will go on; they pick up their guns and walk away from ‘Jim’s lifeless body. ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’, fully armed, walk through the operating room doors, which gradually stop swinging. This was deemed too bleak by test audiences. Boyle and Garland explain that the final exit from the hospital was intended to imply ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’s survival, whereas test audiences felt that the women were marching off to certain death. Boyle and Garland have stated their preference for this alternate ending, calling it the “true ending”. They comment that this ending brought ‘Jim’ full circle, as he starts and finishes the story in bed in a deserted hospital. Another ending is an alternate version of the potential rescue sequence shown at the very end of the released film. Here, the scenes are identical, except that this ending was intended to be placed after the first alternative ending where ‘Jim’ dies, so he is absent. When ‘Selena’ is sewing one of the banner letters in the cottage, she is seen jokingly talking to a chicken instead of ‘Jim’. Only ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’ are seen waving to the jet flying overhead in the final shots. Another ending known as the “Radical Alternative Ending” was not filmed but is presented on the DVD as a series of illustrated storyboard. This ending would have taken the story in a radically different direction from the film’s midpoint. When ‘Frank’ is infected at the military blockade near Manchester, the soldiers do not enter the story. Instead, ‘Jim’, ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’ are somehow able to restrain the infected ‘Frank’, hoping they will find a cure for the virus nearby as suggested in the radio broadcast. They soon discover that the blockade had protected a large medical research complex, the same one featured in the first scene of the film where the virus was developed.
Inside, the party is relieved to find a scientist self-barricaded inside a room with food and water. He won’t open the door because he fears they will take his food, although he does admit that the “answer to infection is here.” Unfortunately, he refuses to talk further because he does not want to make an emotional attachment to people who will soon be dead. After hours of failed attempts to break through the door or coax the man out, ‘Jim’ eventually brings Hannah to the door and explains ‘Frank’s situation. The scientist reluctantly tells them that ‘Frank’ can only be cured with a complete blood transfusion, and supplies them with the necessary equipment. After learning that he is the only match with ‘Frank’s blood type, ‘Jim’ nobly sacrifices himself so that ‘Frank’ can survive with his daughter. Just as his journey began, ‘Jim’ is left alone in the abandoned medical facility, and ‘Selena’, ‘Hannah’ and ‘Frank’ move into the room with the scientist as a horde of the infected breach the complex. Strapped to the same table as the chimp had been in the opening scene, the computer monitors showing death and destruction come to life around a thrashing, infected ‘Jim’.
Garland and Boyle explain that they conceived this ending to see what the film would be like if they did not expand the focus beyond the core four survivors. They decided against it because the idea of a total blood replacement as a cure was not credible. Boyle stated that it “didn’t make much sense” since the film had already established that one drop of blood can infect a person. “What would we do? Drain him of blood and scrub his veins with bleach?”
Another ending known as the “Hospital Dream” ending is an extended version of the theatrical alternate ending where ‘Jim’ dies at the hospital. It is revealed by the director during the optional commentary that this was the full version of the original ending. ‘Jim’ dreams while unconscious and remembers the final moments on his bicycle before the crash. The footage cuts back and forth between the scene with ‘Selena’ and ‘Hannah’ trying to save his life and the dream sequence. As he gets hit by a car in his flashback, he simultaneously dies on the operating table. Some of these endings can be seen HERE.
The Shining

The ending that we know now is actually the alternate ending, The original ending was had the ending we have now as the penultimate scene which was then followed by another that showed ‘Wendy’ and ‘Danny’ safely recovering in a hospital and being visited by the Overlook Hotel’s manager ‘Stuart Ullman’ who informs ‘Wendy’ that J’ack’s body hasn’t been located before giving ‘Danny’ a yellow tennis ball just liked the one that lured him into Room 237. Stanley Kubrick wasn’t happy with the ending so had the scene removed a week after the films release.
Are there any alternative endings you’d have preferred? Which was your favourite? let me know in the comments below.

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