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Pretty Good Horror Movies Where The Villain ISN'T REALLY DEAD! 

Eric Luis
Updated August 23, 2019 295 votes 47 voters 1.4k views 14 items

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There's something special about a horror movie with a twist ending. The villain has been dispatched and the survivor takes a sigh of relief knowing they are finally safe, only to find out they are terribly wrong. The classic horror villains who don't stay dead take their time waiting for the best moment to strike again. 

There are countless horror films where the villain comes back at the last second. In fact, this move is so popular it's become something of a trope. More often than not, horror fans can see this twist coming from a mile away. That doesn't mean it's any less satisfying than the first time we watched it happen with Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, or someone else; it just means there is more to come.

Be careful when it seems like all is well at the end of a horror movie - you never know when the villain will pop up again. 

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Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Pretty Good Horror Movies Where The Villain ISN'T REALLY DEAD!
Photo:  Paramount Pictures

The original Friday the 13th is a horror classic, largely because of the shocking twist at the end. The film follows a group of camp counselors as they are brutally dismantled by a masked slayer. We learn that the slayer is none other than Mrs. Voorhees, the mother of a young boy who drowned at the camp years earlier.

The sole surviving camp counselor manages to remove Mrs. Voorhees' head and flees the camp in a canoe. Thinking she has escaped, the audience is shocked when a decomposing Jason Voorhees erupts from the water to attack her. 

Actors: Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer, Irwin Keyes, Laurie Bartram, + more

Released: 1980

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

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Halloween is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Pretty Good Horror Movies Where The Villain ISN'T REALLY DEAD!
Photo: Compass International Pictures

Halloween (1978) follows Michael Myers as he slashes his way through the teenagers of Haddonfield, Illinois. At the end of the film, Michael is shot multiple times in the chest and falls off a second-story balcony, presumably to meet his demise. When Michael's psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, attempts to confirm that his patient has perished, he discovers that Michael is nowhere to be found.

He survives and flees to slay another day. 

Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence, Sandy Johnson, Charles Cyphers, + more

Released: 1978

Directed by: John Carpenter

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Carrie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Pretty Good Horror Movies Where The Villain ISN'T REALLY DEAD!
Photo:  United Artists

Stephen King's Carrie tells the story of Carrie White, a telekinetic teenager struggling to fit in. Her religious mother Margaret makes things a lot harder, as she views Carrie's first period as a sign that she is a deviant sinner.

When Carrie attends her high school prom, she is embarrassed in front of the whole school and uses her powers against the majority of her classmates in a fit of rage. She returns home, where her mother tries to put Carrie down. Carrie burns down the house with the two of them still inside, supposedly perishing in the process.

One surviving student has a dream where she visits the remains of Carrie's home. As she sits at her grave, Carrie's arm juts out from the rubble. 

Actors: John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, + more

Released: 1976

Directed by: Brian De Palma

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Saw is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Pretty Good Horror Movies Where The Villain ISN'T REALLY DEAD!
Photo:  Lionsgate

The first in a widely successful franchise, Saw is indie-horror with a simple yet terrifying concept. Two men, Adam and Lawrence, awaken in a strange bathroom with a lifeless man on the floor between them. Both men are chained, and a recording informs them that they are participating in a game. Lawrence is instructed to end Adam, or his entire family will perish instead.

The men work together and eventually identify the slayer as a man named Zep, and Lawrence takes off his own foot in order to escape the room. Zep enters and Lawrence manages to sedate him before dragging himself from the room. Adam is left behind, and it is revealed that Zep wasn't the slayer after all - he was just another pawn in the game. The real villain reveals himself to be the supposedly deceased man laying in the middle of the room.

Actors: Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith, Dina Meyer, Michael Emerson, + more

Released: 2004

Directed by: James Wan

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