*WARNING: Spoilers Ahead*
Horror movies -- well, movies in general -- make us feel and that’s why we like them.
I know, you’re saying: Thanks for explaining something obvious, Captain Idiot Assface, and, you know, you’re welcome.
Movies that last with us the longest are based on our own personal experiences, shaped by the winding contours of our so very different experiences and lives.
What sticks with me may not stick with you, and what sticks with you may not stick with your child’s 3rd grade teacher, etc. etc.
A good way to extrude a little lasting power no matter what is to give the audience something to remember you by, whether it shocks us or culminates the long journey we have just taken. Sometimes, it’s just a subtle noise cue that makes you piss a little and then you have to explain to everyone it’s just Icee on your pants and that no you aren’t currently passing a kidney stone. Hypothetically.
In any case, there have been many final frames in horror movies -- hell, I’d say all of them probably -- and today I’m going to take you through the 5 absolute best final frames in scary movies. These are just my opinions but my opinion is correct.
This Swedish-set Florence Pugh masterclass is terrifying on a few levels. Whether you are afraid of bear suits, skin suits or getting your head smashed with a mallet after a failed suicide attempt, there is something here for everyone.
What makes this movie so special is the final frame.
Dani, watching on as the Harga empath orgy around her while her (ex)boyfriend is sacrificed (ie: burned alive in a hollowed out bear), is stoic, and then breaks into a smile.
And this isn’t a normal smile: it’s something that can and has been interpreted many ways. Personally, I believe it’s the final crack in her sanity after suffering through the murder-suicide of her parents committed by her sister, and having to deal with Christian just being the absolute fucking worst.
This final frame sums up Dani’s journey and leaves the audience haunted as they leave the theater.
I really, really wanted to put Hereditary here because it’s my favorite movie, but I feel like too much Ari Aster can make me that one guy from the house party meme, standing in the corner muttering about the Facebook profile of the girl Peter is into, but I digress.
Saw, spawned a bazillion torture porn movies and a franchise that eventually, in my opinion, led to Chris Rock getting bitch slapped at the Oscars, and the final scene completely turned the audience’s view of the movie on its head.
The audacity of this dead body rising from the ground and hitting you with GAME OVER! is truly staggering. After being shot too. Rough night for Adam.
While this twist ending definitely set up the franchise to fail by trying to one up itself by twisting more and more each entry, the original is a classic.
3. The Blair Witch Project
One of the greatest fears we puny skin sacks have is the fear of being ignored.
Imagine you’re out here trying to talk politics with your pal and he’s put himself into the timeout triangle.. oh also there’s a witch behind you. You’re fucked!
This movie shot found footage into the stratosphere – both a blessing and a curse.
The camera drop that spawned a thousand more, Mike standing in the corner looking like the world's creepiest version of a toddler in timeout, and an ambiguous ending that leaves the audience uneasy.. go see it on a date with your youth group.
2. Saint Maud
If you saw this movie (the reason for this article), you should have known this was coming. This is not #1 just because of my reverence for the genre classics.
The absolute truth of Maud’s reality reveals itself at the end and the hard cut to it floored me. Everything in the film prior leads to this moment, and the imagery is burned into the audience's mind as they leave the theater or sit on their couch in shock.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
I mean… I’m cheating a little because I want to include more of the last scene than just the final frame, but this is an absolute classic.
As Sally gets the last laugh, Leatherface initiates a beautiful, rage filled ballet in the middle of the Texas heat. You know that mask has gotta stink out there and spinning around like that is just gonna make my man sweatier, but spin he does, right into the most classic final frame of horror ever.