When it comes to endings, movie studio executives like treats more than tricks. If movie studios had been in charge of painting the Mona Lisa, she'd have a goofy grin (and probably some cleavage). Fortunately, with the advent of DVDs, filmmakers can show audiences the darker, more terrifying ways they thought about ending a film.
Here, for the 25th of our 31 Days of Halloween posts, are 12 science fiction and horror films that have much bleaker alternate endings.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Little Shop of Horrors
The Real Ending: The killer plant explodes, Seymour marries Audrey.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Originally, a grim finale featured Seymour feeding his beloved, deceased Audrey to the plant. Then the carnivorous shrub is duplicated and marketed. Eventually the monster plants take over the United States. Seriously, if you told us plants would destroy the world, we'd assume you were talking about heroin.
The Butterfly Effect
The Real Ending: Evan realizes that, to stop crushing childhood trauma, he must go back in time and avoid meeting the love of his life.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Evan goes back in time to the womb, and strangles himself in vitro.
Don't get us wrong, we could envision scenarios where this is rational. For instance, if we accidentally jumped into ourself as a sperm and had to watch our parents have sex.
The Real Ending: Plane engine crushes Donnie. Gretchen sees the wreckage and acknowleges she doesn't know Donnie
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Same as the real ending, except we are "treated" to a ridiculous shot of Darko's twitching, dying body impaled by a pole. How does this even happen, shouldn't Donnie be all ... smushed and oozing organs?
Real Ending: Main character escapes the caves of death.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Shown in theaters outside of America, the main character finds out her "escape" was just a hallucination and she is actually dying in the cave. We can't help but wonder about the humanoid cave dwellers in this film: A bunch of cute girls stumble upon their cave dwelling, but they can't be more welcoming? It must be hard enough meeting women when one lives in remote cave system.
The Real Ending: Main character escapes into his daydreams with his love.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Main character realizes his "happy ending" was just a daydream and is left to rot in his chair by the Ministry. This was another case of "the studio thought that bumming audiences out would hurt profits." We totally want to say that that's ridiculous, and that director/writer Terry Gilliam's picture should have stood as is. Still, we'd be hypocrites because we always skip over the depressing last third of Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The Real Ending: The main character kid moves into a new home with his loving family. All is well ... or is it?
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: The main character kid kills everyone. This movie had five different alternate endings. We would've preferred an alternate beginning, middle and end: In other words, a completely different movie that doesn't stink as much. We couldn't find the "alternate endings" on the Internet, so just trust us when we say you're not missing much ... a whole hour's worth of "not much."
The Real Ending: Main character escapes the hotel room of terror, reconciles with his wife.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Instead of being rescued, main character goes crazy and burns to death in the haunted hotel room. This is why haunted hotel rooms should always have fire escapes. Somebody alert a dead fire marshall.
28 Days Later
The Real Ending: The three main characters survive the infected catastrophe and are rescued.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: The main character is left to die alone in an abandoned hospital, in a similar shot to the very first scene of the film. Let this movie be a lesson if you're ever a zombie/infected: Hospitals are like barrels of fish when it comes to finding humans to hunt.
The Real Ending: Aliens are deeply moved by one man's selfless commitment.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Aliens create tidal waves to obliterate humanity. Fed up with human's selfish, destructive ways, the extraterrestrial beings selfishly decide to destroy humanity. Aliens just don't get irony.
Army of Darkness
The Real Ending: Ash takes a sleeping potion to awake in his own time.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: Ash accidentally drinks too much sleeping potion and, to his horror, awakens in a post-apocalyptic future. We like to think Jimmy Hendrix didn't die from sleeping pill overdose, but rather woke up hundreds of years in the future and is providing the soundtrack to the apocalypse.
The Real Ending: The main guy gets away, kills one of the torturers for revenge.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: The main "good guy" kidnaps said torturer's 6-year-old daughter, implying she will be tortured. Seriously, if Hostel wasn't sick enough for you without children, maybe you're not ready for movies/society.
I Drink Your Blood
The Real Ending: Police save the day right before a bunch of rabid cultists can murder the "good" characters.
The Really Depressing Alternate Ending: All of the "good" characters get slaughtered in a bloodbath. That's the problem with murderous cults: They always leave a huge mess.