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 shot during the original production, then cut after the filmmakers realized that their initial, unforgiving vision was too heavy.
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 kills her. In the theatrical release, the carnage ends there, but in the alternate ending, he hangs her on a hook, similarly to a gut-wrenching moment from the original film. After that, he cuts off the bottom of her face while she's still alive. Is anyone even surprised this had to be cut?
Hostel follows Paxton (Jay Hernandez) as he and his friends vacation in Slovakia. After a night of partying, they're kidnapped and locked up in a secret prison where wealthy men get to torture them. Paxton escapes the prison (and kills a bunch of people on his way out) and encounters the man who tortured him in a train bathroom. The film ends with him slitting the man's throat.
The original ending played out similarly, except Paxton saw the man with his young daughter. Instead of killing his captor, he kidnaps the daughter, suggesting she’s going to be horribly tortured as well.
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 shot 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 strangle himself in vitro.
The Descent is one of the most brutal horror movies of the 2000s. The film is about a group of female spelunkers who get lost in a cave and have to fight for their lives against a group of blood-thirsty creatures. The baddies pick the women off one by one until only Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) escapes. She makes it to a car and drives away, traumatized by what she's just experienced.
In the international version of the film, Sarah wakes up in the cave after she seemingly makes it to the car. As the camera pulls out, it reveals that she's all alone in the cave, surrounded by crawlers.