Alternate movie endings better than the real ones

Alternate movie endings better than the real ones

We all have times in our lives when we just can't make a decision. Tea or coffee? KitKat or Mars bar? It can be so tough sometimes.

Well, filmmakers are no different, often creating their masterpieces, but then just not being able to work out how best to finish it, so shoot two different endings, in order to put the decision off a little longer. Many variables are considered: what do the test audiences think? Will it lead onto a sequel? Do I play it safe, or go for something unusual?

Of course, a decision is always reached. But it's not always the right one. We present a list of the movies where the alternate is better than the "real thing". See if you agree, and let us know any others out there.

Beware of spoilers.

(Images: All Star)

I Am Legend (2007)



The ending we all know:

Neville, Anna and Ethan battle against the Darkseekers, before Neville blows himself up with a grenade to finish off the monsters, in order to save Anna and Ethan. They make it to the survivors' colony with the antidote, and Neville is declared a legend.

The alternate ending:

It turns out that all the monsters really wanted was Neville's "monster woman" - his test case to find an antidote to the virus. Neville realises this, wakes her up, and the big monster takes her away, leaving Neville unscathed. It dawns on him that his research methods were not fair on his victims. As visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs puts it, "at that point, Neville's — and the audience's — assumptions about the nature of these creatures are shown to be incorrect. We see that they have actually retained some of their humanity. There is a very important moment between the alpha male and Neville." This is a deeper and more meaningful ending than Neville's self-sacrifice, and would have arguably been a more interesting ending.

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story



The ending we all know:

Peter and White face off. Peter is triumphant, but has already sold his business. But wait! He bet his $100,000 on the team to win at 50-1, he's now a multimillionaire, and buys White's company, including Average Joe's gym, before firing White. The underdog triumphs. Everyone is happy. Apart from White, but we don't want him to be happy. So everyone's happy.

The alternate ending:

The ending that the writers wanted saw White triumph with the last piece of the action, with the commentators stating, "they've come all this way for nothing. Absolutely nothing!" While utterly anticlimactic, it would have been a savage piece of cinema - the "true" underdog story being the one where the underdog loses, which is what happens in real life, but never in Hollywood sports movies. It would have been strangely brilliant, and up there with Monty Python and the Holy Grail for superbly jarring endings.

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Orphan (2009)



The ending we all know:

Evil woman-child Esther/Leena reaches the end of her murdering spree; mother Kate manages to save her son Max but ends up in a duel on an icy lake with the orphan. A stray shot cracks the ice, plunging both in the water, Kate partially escapes and Esther begs to be rescued too, pleading in her 'little girl' persona. Kate doesn't take the bait, kicking her in the face, into the water, and to her death, to finally end her rampage.

The alternate ending:

In this version, the action stops after Kate's rescue of Max. Esther runs up to her room, reapplies her makeup then, when the police arrive, she appears at the top of the steps, calmly introducing herself and curtseying, before walking slowly down. This is altogether more subtle and creepy than the Hollywood-style 'bad guy finally getting their comeuppance' ending of the original, and leaves open the possibility that Esther could charm her way out of accusations and life to fight another day. Frankly, we're amazed this wasn't chosen anyway, as studios tend to be a fan of sequels, don't they?

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The Butterfly Effect (2004)



The ending we all know:

Time-travelling Evan, played by Ashton Kutcher, experiments with trying to alter events in his youth to make the present better for everyone. The movie ends with him travelling back to the first day he met Kayleigh, his neighbour and friend and intentionally upsetting her in order to drive her away from the neighbourhood, in the process saving her from the abuse that she would suffer if she remained there with her father.

The alternate ending:

A similar theme, but altogether more disturbing; Evan travels all the way back to being inside his mother's womb, and strangles himself using the umbilical cord. In addition to this being more shocking and powerful, it also makes sense of his mother's previous stillborns - it is implied that they, too, made the same selfless decision as Evan.

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Hannibal (2001)



The ending we all know:

In an epic final struggle, Starling endeavours to handcuff herself to Lecter. In order to escape, Lecter then uses a meat cleaver to cut off his hand and escape, choosing not to injure Starling but himself.

The alternate ending:

In the ending seen above, Starling doesn't handcuff Lecter, and he licks her face after they kiss in an extremely creepy manner before escaping. Starling eventually frees herself from the fridge and believes she's found him in the boat outside, but it's revealed to be empty; police then surround her. Following this, instead of cutting straight to the plane, our favourite cannibal strolls to a van and waves to some mothers and children before driving off. The plane scene is also extended, with Lecter questioning the boy about strangers some more. The alternate version does lack Lecter's remarkable act of self-sacrifice, but this perhaps leaves the relationship more ambiguous. At the end of the day, more Lecter is good, so we prefer the slightly longer alternate take.

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Little Shop of Horrors (1986)



The ending we all know:

Seymour returns to the shop in the nick of time to save Audrey from being eaten, before the plant reveals itself as an alien from outer space intent on world domination. He finally sees off the crazed plant by electrocuting him, causing the leafy monster to explode. There is still a hint of darkness as a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.

The alternate ending:

Audrey II eats Audrey, kills Seymour and then conquers America, taking out the military and grinning triumphantly from upon the Statue of Liberty. More deaths, more unexpected, a lot darker, and a whole lot more fun.

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Paranormal Activity (2007)





The ending we all know:

The demonised Katie hurls Micah's body at the camera before lunging at the camera herself.

The alternate ending:

Two exist - an alternate version from the very first version of the film, before Paramount took the rights. The first sees police enter the house before being forced to shoot a confused Katie. But the best one is the 'new' ending which wasn't used - Katie heads downstairs, screams, and Micah follows. An unseen scuffle ensues, but stops, before a bloodied Katie reappears. Finally, she approaches the camera and slashes her own throat. Slightly less jumpy, but also less 'Hollywood', and generally more unsettling - which, surely, is the entire point of movies like Paranormal Activity.

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The Descent (2005)



The alternate ending:

This time, we start with the 'alternate' ending; Sarah apparently escapes from the evil cavern and makes it to her car, before it is revealed that she is, in fact, hallucinating, and is doomed to stay trapped within its terrifying confines. A truly bleak ending, but brilliantly dramatic and haunting.

The ending we all know:

Astonishingly, for the American viewing, the film simply ended with the hallucination sequence, and thus Sarah escapes alive. It even enabled the notoriously sequel-shy people of Hollywood to come back again with The Descent Part 2, which in reality should have been as likely as Titanic 2: Jack's Back. Most fans prefer the darker, 'alternate' version, and rightly so.

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Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)



The ending we all know:

Scott, after receiving help from his first love, Knives, defeats his final opponent Gideon Graves. She then gives her blessing for him to follow his new beau Ramona, and they start their relationship afresh.

The alternate ending:

Much more fitting is the alternate version, where, although Scott has now finally achieved his goal, through the course of events, he has realised that Knives is the one meant for him - especially given her help against Graves. It's a more 'traditional' ending, with a classic 'don't know what you've got until you've gone on a journey' story arc, but sometimes they're the most appropriate. OK, you can call us softies, we can take it.

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Fatal Attraction (1987)



The ending we all know:

Glenn Close's bunny boiler par excellence stages a frenzied attack on Dan's wife Beth. After Dan appears to drown her in the bath, she comes back, whereupon Beth shoots her, finally ending her reign of terror.

The alternate ending:

Director Adrian Lyne's original ending came under some attack for the fact that it resulted in Michael Douglas' cheating character effectively escaping scot-free to play happy families again. The initial version was arguably more powerful, with Alex committing suicide and framing Dan, although Beth finds a tape which suggests his claims of innocence might be believed, though it is far from certain. This version is darker, more ambiguous, and leaves the possibility of Alex claiming the final victory; a more interesting way to tie up the film.

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28 Days Later (2002)



The ending we all know:

An angry Major West shoots Jim in the chest, but Selena performs surgery in a deserted hospital to save him. He slips into a coma, but awakes 28 days later whereupon he, Selena and Hannah unveil a huge banner saying "hello", trying to catch the attention of a passing Finnish pilot. The possibility of rescue is left open.

The alternate ending:

Director Danny Boyle originally wanted a different ending: instead of Jim being saved, he dies on the operating table. Distraught, the two have no choice but to arm themselves again and walk out through swinging hospital doors into the unknown. Boyle intended to imply the two characters' survival, but test audiences thought the opposite: that they were walking to their deaths. We agree with the latter interpretation, but view this as a good thing - like many of these alternate endings, sometimes an unexpectedly unhappy ending fits the tone of the whole film more accurately.

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Clerks (1994)



The ending we all know:

After a somewhat eventful day in the store in this cult classic film, Randal walks out of the store, before popping back in to throw Dante's sign back at him, saying "You're closed!".

The alternate ending:

Director Kevin Smith admitted he had no idea how to end the movie, and believed that films where the main character died were more likely to be remembered: thus, the original ending saw the film run on, a robber come into the shop and gun down Dante in cold blood, before emptying the cash register. After the credits roll, another customer comes in and steals some cigarettes. Fans have since mused that the original ending was a reference to the discussion about Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which Dante praised because it "ended on such a down note". Other deleted scenes also show Randal disconnecting the security cameras, which would have ensured that the killer would never be caught. While this ending is more dramatic, and nihilistic - after all, the murder is shooting is completely unprovoked and without motive - and thus fits the film well, we're glad it didn't happen, as Smith has subsequently stated on a DVD commentary that if it had, there would have likely been no further View Askewniverse films. So for the good of cinema, we'll stick with the shortened version.

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First Blood (1982)



The ending we all know:

John Rambo is finally hunted down and trapped in the police station, with only his friend Colonel Trautman for company. He rages and speaks about the horrors of war that he has endured before finally giving up the fight and handing himself in.

The alternate ending:

The theatrical ending was pretty bleak, but the original ending was darker still; a broken Rambo believing that he had nothing left to life for and imploring Trautman to kill him - he refuses, but Rambo grabs the gun and pulls the trigger himself, before dying, while Trautman looks on. More dramatic, but also more depressing - though also more powerful, this version would have also have the added bonus of saving us from the inferior sequels.

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Pineapple Express (2008)



The ending we all know:

Having survived the crazy events seen previously, Dale, Saul and Red are seen at a diner eating breakfast, discussing said events in a very 'meta' fashion and celebrating their friendship, before Saul's grandmother arrives and takes them to hospital. All is well and jovial.

The alternate ending:

Dale and Saul initially survive the shootout, brawl and bomb and look like they've made it through again. Sadly, they haven't and the pair get machine-gunned to death, before holding hands - a logical conclusion to their homoerotic relationship that develops through the film. Again, people dying at the end of films = always good.

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