Graveyard Shift

Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings 

Jacob Shelton
Updated January 30, 2020 21.4k votes 3.9k voters 263.1k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the alternate endings that would have made the films unbelievably terrifying.

Horror movies aren’t known for having happy endings. They’re meant to be unsettling, and to leave viewers rattled long after they step out of the darkness of the theater. However, there are a handful of horror films that almost had darker endings than what made the final cut.

Alternate endings in horror films usually come about when an audience finds the original ending to be too bleak, or when an ending is so shocking that it has to dialed back in order to leave viewers with some semblance of sanity. Many horror movie alternate endings are either reshot in response to a super depressed test audience, or are filmed during the original production, then cut after the filmmakers realized that their initial, unforgiving vision was too heavy. 

Leatherface is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings
Photo: Lionsgate

In the end of the 2017 prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface (Sam Strike) finally makes his first mask. He catches a woman named Elizabeth (Vanessa Grasse) and slays her. In the theatrical release, it ends there, but in the alternate ending, he puts her on a hook, similarly to a gut-wrenching moment from the original film.

After that, he slices off the bottom of her face while she's still alive. Is anyone even surprised this had to be cut? 

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Video: YouTube

Hostel follows Paxton (Jay Hernandez) as he and his friends vacation in Slovakia. After a night of partying, they're snatched and locked up in a secret prison where wealthy men get to torment them. Paxton escapes the prison (and offs a bunch of people on his way out) and encounters the man responsible for his pain in a train bathroom. The film ends with him ending the man.

The original ending plays out similarly, except Paxton sees the man with his young daughter. He takes the daughter, suggesting she’s going to suffer an awful fate as well.

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The Butterfly Effect is a trippy enough movie with the various realities it presents as Evan (Ashton Kutcher) rewrites his history over and over. There were a total of four endings created for the film, and this one that got cut is definitely the darkest. Released as the director's cut, this ending shows Evan going back to the womb to end himself in vitro. 

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Alien is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings
Photo:  20th Century Fox

Ellen Ripley is a fan favorite of the Alien saga, but the heroine of the franchise was almost offed in the first installment. There were hiccups surrounding the character of Ripley throughout development and production. Initially, Ripley was supposed to be a man, but producers Walter Hill and David Giler rewrote the role for a woman.

The script warped and changed, and at one point, director Ridley Scott asked for more money to shoot what he called his "fourth act," which was Ripley's demise at the mouth of the terrifying extra terrestrial. The alien was then going to record a last entry in Ripley's log by parroting her voice as the film faded to black.  

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