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->''"It's not ironic, it's just mean!"''
-->-- '''Bender''', ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please put additional entries on the quotes tab.

A TwistEnding that serves no purpose other than to be ''excessively cruel''.

The Cruel Twist Ending is basically the EvilCounterpart of the KarmicTwistEnding: in the latter, the twist is a form of divine justice, a bad thing happening to stop a bad person from [[LaserGuidedKarma getting away with it]] (or a good thing happening to someone who deserves it). In the former, it's just FinaglesLaw: the universe is a mean place and wants to hurt you. Often, a Cruel Twist Ending is what happens when a writer attempts a KarmicTwistEnding, but fails to carry it off. It can be used for cruel irony and very dark humour but has to be undeserved and unsatisfying in order to be different from the karmic one.

Most common in [[GenreAnthology genre anthologies]] with a darker tone than ''Franchise/TheTwilightZone'': ''Series/TalesOfTheUnexpected'', ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside'', ''Series/{{Monsters}}'', ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' (so often, in fact, that "Outer Limits Twist" was the previous trope name), ''Series/OneStepBeyond'', etc.

Lighter-weight versions come up very often in shows where FailureIsTheOnlyOption, especially when the show has run for a long time, and the writers need to contrive more and more extravagant reasons why the protagonists can't win. It can also be used as a shock subversion of a stereotypical happy ending. If it's overused, it becomes a MandatoryTwistEnding. If the ending makes you wonder what the point of the story was, it can come across as a ShootTheShaggyDog. A particularly dark version can lead do DarknessInducedAudienceApathy. The DiabolusExMachina also often gets involved. AndThenJohnWasAZombie is a subtrope. Compare NotQuiteSavedEnough and SuddenDownerEnding.

As this is an [[EndingTropes Ending Trope]], '''beware of spoilers'''.


* An awareness campaign about child dyslexia showed a young boy sitting listlessly through a prizegiving ceremony at school, aware that he hasn't done well enough in any of his classes to receive a prize. Suddenly, his name is called, and he discovers he's won a prize for art and design (the only subject that involves little reading and writing) - then finds out his prize is a book token.
* British charity St. John Ambulance, which trains people in first aid and provides voluntary first-aiders in the community, ran an advert showing a father undergoing cancer treatment. He survives, but then at the party intended to welcome him home from the hospital, he chokes to death because no one knows how to do first aid. The intended message was that the death rate from cancer is only slightly higher than that for people who could have been saved by basic first aid knowledge.
* A controversial [=GoDaddy.com=] ad intended to run during the Super Bowl featured a puppy named Buddy getting separated from his owner and trekking a long distance to return to her. She is happy to see him...because she just sold him on her [=GoDaddy=]-hosted website. The ad drew ire from many viewers, with some activists accusing it of promoting puppy mills, and it was withdrawn.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent''. Just one example: [[spoiler:was it really necessary to ''kill'' Kozuka just to prove he wasn't [[{{Woolseyism}} Shonen Bat/Lil' Slugger]]? Maybe, maybe not. But he would've committed suicide anyway.]] Have a nice day!
%%* Nia and Simon's wedding at the end of [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Gurren Lagann]].
* Many episodes of ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' follow this.
** One episode where Kino helps a stranded group of people survive a harsh winter, we found out [[spoiler:they were slave traders who had eaten their previous haul and look to enslave Kino to make up for it.]]
** Another episode has Kino visiting neighboring countries who used to constantly be at war. When Kino asks how they achieved peace, [[spoiler:she finds the opposing countries have made their battles into a game in which both countries see who can slaughter the most inhabitants of an adjacent defenseless village.]] And just to twist the knife further, [[spoiler:the "innocent victims" in that village have taken to senselessly murdering travelers, simply as a means of venting their frustration.]]
** In another episode, Kino finds a country so likable that Kino nearly breaks the three day rule of staying in one place, yet the townsfolk mysteriously refuse to let her stay longer. [[spoiler:When Kino leaves, the next day she wakes up to find the country destroyed by a nearby erupted volcano.]]
* ''Anime/TurnAGundam'': [[spoiler: It's a DistantFinale for all Franchise/{{Gundam}} series up to that point. How? Apocalypse after apocalypse reset humanity.]] It makes every ending of every Franchise/{{Gundam}} series up to that point a ShootTheShaggyDog story.
* The ''Manga/NaruTaru'' manga, ends with [[spoiler: Shiina's mother being killed, her best friend killing herself, her boyfriend dying of cancer, her monster partner dying, and then Shiina fully realizes her God powers and decides to destroy the entire planet and reboot the world with her and another girl's children.]] And this is AFTER they've defeated the Big Bad.
* Most chapters of ''Manga/NightmareInspector'' generally seem like they'll end happily, with the client apparently getting over their nightmare's troubles, until some reveal or twist comes out of nowhere and sends things into a DownerEnding, or a [[BitterSweetEnding bittersweet one at best]].
* The three-chapter manga ''Manga/SchoolMermaid'' ends with [[spoiler:the protagonist watching in horror as her best friend eats their mermaid-ified classmate, and is then coolly informed that she, the protagonist, will be turned into a mindless mermaid herself, and is dragged screaming by the other mermaids through the floor--her last sight being her best friend smiling cruelly at her with blood dripping out the corner of her mouth. The final few pages, focusing on the best friend, reveal that in a few days time, she'll kill and eat the protagonist too.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': Luffy ran a "rescue Ace" mission for several dozen chapters to save his brother from being executed, sacrificing years of his life and culminating in his arrival at Marineford during the Paramount War, where he was out of his league and sustained even more injuries. And after everything Luffy went through to save him--after he'd ''successfully freed him''--Ace was goaded into a fight and died anyway, becoming [[DeadSerious the first named character in the series to die onscreen outside of a flashback]].
* ''Anime/HellGirl: Midsummer Chart'':
** The main character of this episode works at a food store and is depicted as a self-centered jerk who gets angry at nearly everything, planning to send people who've aggravated him to hell for petty reasons (including one guy just for dating the girl he was lusting after). He draws violent comics about these people. Mid-episode, he meets a girl who he seems to have chemistry with, and though he starts to draw self-obsessed WishFulfillment comics about her as well he is shown to actually start caring about someone else's feelings. He enters these comics into a contest and actually wins. On a bike ride home, he notices the girl who lusted after trying to jump off a bridge. In a HeelFaceTurn, he turns back around immediately to try to save her. She tells him her boyfriend played her and three other girls as well. He comforts her and walks her home, afterward he vows to send her ex to Hell for what he did to her and the three other girls, feeling that it's wrong to break a girl's heart. [[spoiler:But he can't, because HE is being sent to Hell by the girl who he just saved. She regrets telling him about what happened and fears that he'll tell everyone.]]
** Another episode revolves around a girl about to use the Hell Correspondence to punish an evil old woman who's holding her dogs and the puppies one of them had hostage (and has already killed one of the dogs) in exchange for making the girl her slave. Meanwhile, Hajime tracks her down to try and stop her from doing so. [[spoiler: In the end, the police storm the woman's house and arrest her, and it seems like Hajime succeeded...until the girl discovers that the old woman had killed the second dog and all of the puppies, and pulls the string on her curse doll anyway, damning both the old woman and herself to Hell.]]
** Hell Girl does this a lot. Like the first episode of Season 1, the first episode of Season 2 is about a cute school girl getting bullied. Unlike the Season 1 episode, however, the girl or none of her classmates know who's doing the bullying. Her school locker is filled with caterpillars. Her uniform and text books are filled with writing, calling her horrible names. And she is stalked and harassed whenever she is alone in school. A school nurse notices and feels sorry for her. She befriends her and things seem to be looking up. [[spoiler: Then a female classmate shows the girl the nurse's office, which is filled with the stuff that was used to bully her. The nurse then reveals herself to be a PsychoLesbian who is obsessed with her, right down to having a mannequin that looks like the girl. She threats to pour acid on her face, if she doesn't agree to join her in terrorizing other students, starting with the girl who revealed she was the bully. She gets sent to hell.]]
* The ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' OVA ''Legend of Kenshiro'' ends with this. The BigBad who was thought to be dead turns out to be CrazyPrepared [[TakingYouWithMe and in his last breath]] destroys the city Kenshiro was trying to save. In the final moments of the movie, Kenshiro is [[KillEmAll the only survivor]] and can't do much but [[ManlyTears cry]] and [[FreakOut scream]] into the ruins. The only thing that saves the ending from complete despair is the sequence that comes after, which has him making his way to a certain village, home to two certain adorable kids and menaced by a certain mohawked scumlord, while [[AwesomeMusic/FistOfTheNorthStar "The Road of Lords"]] plays.
* {{Shoujo}} horror anthology ''Manga/ZekkyouGakkyuu'' makes heavy use of these as well.
** One of the earlier examples being ''The Kind Mama's House'', in which the child protagonist discovers her online friend, "Mama", is apparently stalking her and plans to kill her mother so she can be the protagonist's "real" mother. She manages to rescue her mother and demands Mama go away, and she does... Only to show up in the protagonist's house days later, having decided simply to ''kidnap'' the girl, just like she did numerous others before her.
** One of the special chapters ''Guard of the Mountain'' has a small group of camping-trip students getting lost with their teacher. They make it to a little camping ground and the owners merely ask them all to be 'on their best behavior' while staying. People begin to disappear and the owners turn out to kill people, who do not treat nature well, by littering or other means. After running away and falling, protagonist Hitomi finds herself taken in by a young couple and she realizes that she's managed to get away, only for the couple to bring her to the previous, dangerous camping grounds. And an extra page shows that the murdering owners opened up a beach house, implied to continue their little 'test' on people.
** The ''Boys and Girls'' story has Yuuki think that boys have it easier, as they don't bully each other or gossip a lot and wishes that she'd be a boy and promptly finds herself in a parallel world, where she is 'Yuuki-kun'. But she soon realizes that boys are just as likely to bully and gossip about each other, sometimes worse than [[StockShoujoBullyingTactics girls]] do. To top it off, Yuuki realizes that she still feels like a girl, even in a boy's body, and falls for 'his' best friend, Inoue. During a confession, turns out that this world's male Yuuki had a crush on Kaho, but then the entire class begins to tease Yuuki over being gay for Inoue and Yuuki ends up beating his tormentors to death with a chair. Wishing for things to go back to normal, Yuuki finds herself back as a girl and is intent on just being happy with the person she is... only to learn that the same thing happened here (with the original male Yuuki having confessed to Kaho and being teased as lesbos) and Yuuki has killed several of her classmates with a pair of scissors.
* The post-apoc manga ''Meteor'' ends like this. Throughout the entire series, characters try to find food, shelter, locate their families...and most die before they can achieve this. Then the few survivors left reach a village, but everyone there starts to go insane. ''Then'' some government officials arrive and say there was no end of the world, but the town and the village were used as experiment-grounds for new weapons and drugs, and that the seemingly-insane people will be given proper treatment in their hospital. But the protagonist wants to take the sweet little boy, who went insane and ran off earlier, with them, and she and AlphaBitch go to find him. ''But'' in trying to catch him, the protagonist and the little boy fall off a cliff, becoming gravely-injured. The protagonist calls up at a-bitch to help them... only for the girl to run back to the rescue-helicopters and lie that both the protagonist and the boy went crazy and died. The manga ends with the protagonist screaming and crying for help as the last of the rescuers leave before sadly accepting her and the boy's fates as they slowly bleed to death.
* Viewers of ''Manga/{{Saikano}}'' often comment that if you want a happy ending to the series you should stop after [[spoiler: Shuji and Chise skip town and go on the run from the military]], because the final three episodes go quickly, horribly and tragically downhill after that.
* Downplayed in ''Manga/{{Parasyte}}''. Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely, Shinichi's got a happy life now. However, [[spoiler: in the final chapter, the serial killer the police had enlisted to help spot parasites comes back for Shinichi, and after almost slitting Murano's throat, he tosses her off the top of the roof he's cornered them on. Cue panels of Shinichi reaching for her and failing, until it's revealed it's all in Shinichi's head and he was able to grab her arm with the help of a still-dormant Migi.]] The manga ends on a positive, if very abrupt, note.
* Almost every episode of ''Anime/YamiShibai'' ends this way. Without a doubt each episode has a Main/DownerEnding.
* At the climax of Ken's war on the White Dragon Clan in ''Manga/SunKenRock'', [[spoiler:Yumin suddenly realizes, from out of nowhere outside of a seemingly bogus accusation by an antagonist, that what she really wanted all along was not to destroy her father's yakuza organization, but to take over it instead. Embracing her true nature, she blasts her beloved Ken out of the building. It is downplayed, however, in that Ken manages to survive the long-ass fall and eventually rebuilds his mafia empire by taking over America]].

* ''ComicBook/ThargsFutureShocks'' from ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' sometimes end with these twists, although the KarmicTwistEnding is more common. Some of the more interesting ones include:
** Earth's military [[WeComeInPeaceShootToKill not bothering with too many security precautions during first contact with aliens]] who have expressed having [[ImAHumanitarian strict humanitarian interests]] at heart.
** A war in space between humans and another alien species big enough to threaten the "destruction of all known space" is interrupted by an CosmicEntity who holds a fight to the death between the military leaders of both species to determine which race is worthy enough to continue to survive. Humanity wins the fight to the death, and the CosmicEntity then proceeds to [[KillAllHumans destroy all humans]], claiming that since [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans have thus proven themselves to be the more aggressive and war-like race]], the universe would be better off without them.
* ''ComicBook/TalesOfTelguuth'', another 2000 AD comic, was also fond of this. While sometimes people who meet an untimely demise in the ending twists are [[KarmicTwistEnding punished for their wicked deeds]], just as often these people aren't evil in any way and are simply victims of the dark world of Telguuth.
* In an issue of the ''Disney Adventure'' magazine, there's a ChooseYourOwnAdventure story that takes place during the voyage to ''Disney/TreasurePlanet''. The worst of three endings results in [[spoiler:Flint's map being ''eaten'' by a space octopus, thereby putting the whole story of the movie to a grinding halt. Ouch.]]
* One issue of ''ComicBook/StarWarsTales'' featured the story of a Jedi Master who ignored her orders to return to Coruscant at the start of the Clone Wars, having become embroiled in the pursuit of a Dark Jedi named Kardem, a serial killer who targets Twi'lek women and also murdered her secret lover. Eventually she comes face to face with Kardem and engages him in a lightsaber duel. As it transpires, [[spoiler:''she'' is the real killer, having caught her lover in the arms of a Twi'lek woman and murdered them both in a secret rage. She created the Kardem personality to reconcile her actions with her breach of the Jedi code, but it takes control whenever she encounters a female Twi'lek. The "Dark Jedi" she encounters is actually a Jedi knight dispatched by the council to bring her in. As soon as she kills him, she regains consciousness, assuming that Kardem has struck again and killed a Jedi knight, and resolves never to stop until the killer is brought to justice]].
* This happens in ''ComicBook/XMen: Messiah Complex''. The heroes have the baby, Cable is going into the future to raise her and hopefully save mutants one day, and suddenly [[spoiler:Bishop gets up and shoots Cable in the head]]! But wait, he already started travelling through time, meaning [[spoiler:the bullet passes through him and hits Professor X right in the head instead. The comic ends with Scott Summers saying the X-Men are dead.]] However, this ends up being a [[spoiler:{{subversion}}]] in another series shortly after [[spoiler:where we find out his body disappeared in the last panel because of one of the other mutants there and his life is saved.]]
* A comic for the movie ''Film/IAmLegend'' has a Japanese girl hiding in a bunker with her family while the plague rages on outside. But her boyfriend is out there. Determined to save him, she sneaks out and finds him okay. When she returns however, the family will not let her back in, no matter how much she begs that she's not infected. Eventually the door opens, and she finds the entire family has been turned. She kills them all to put them out of their misery. Only then does she realize that they were perfectly healthy, and she is now infected.
* ''Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Negative Exposure'' is a mini-series following ''Daily Bugle'' photographer Jeffrey Haight. While Jeff has had some success as a professional photojournalist, publishing a book of crime photos due to his connections in the police evidence locker (his girlfriend is a cop who works there) he has never met his true goal, landing a photo on the front page. He's obsessively jealous of Peter Parker, a "stringer" (slang for a freelance photographer, or amateur), because Peter ''always'' gets great and dramatic photos of SpiderMan on the front page out of what Jeff attributes to luck, while Jeff's [[HardWorkHardlyWorks careful planning and studious work never does the trick.]] (Jeff clearly can't put two-and-two together.) [[spoiler: Eventually, after his goal becomes an obsessive rivalry against Peter, ComicBook/DoctorOctopus takes notice of Jeff's attempts to photograph him, and feigns interest in his work, arranging a prison interview. Jeff [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter lets the flattery go to his head]], and against his better judgment, is tricked by Ock into aiding in Ock's escape, Ock persuading him to convince his "contact" to let Jeff place a device on his impounded tentacles so he can remotely control them. (Jeff assumes Ock is giving him a chance at the photo shoot of a lifetime.) However, Ock kills several civilians when he escapes, and threatens to kill more as Spidey finds him; Jeff eventually has a HeelRealization, and uses his camera's flash to blind the villain, but after Ock is defeated, he's still arrested, his girlfriend dumps him, and his life and career are ruined. Here's the cruel twist: He convinces Spidey to submit the pictures he took, and he ''does'' make the front page, the picture getting there the one that went off when he flashed it in Ock's face. Then he realizes ''why'' it's such a good photo. It looks exactly like something Peter would have taken. As a final kicker, Ock is seen reading the story in his prison cell in the last scene. "Excellent!" he says, admiring the great photo of himself.]]
* ''ComicBook/PlanetHulk'' seemingly ends on the happiest note possible for the Hulk; he's now a respected king of Sakaar, has a wife with child on the way, loyal Warbound friends, and has brought peace to his kingdom. Then the shuttle that brought him to the planet explodes, killing almost everyone except the Hulk and his Warbound. The Hulk can't have a happy ending or else his story is over, hence the sudden KillEmAll to lead in ''ComicBook/WorldWarHulk''.
* The last issue of ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' volume 3 had Chase suddenly reunited with an inexplicably-resurrected Gert... [[spoiler:only to get hit by a car mere seconds later. To provide an extra kick in the teeth, it wasn't even the real Gert.]]

[[folder:Eastern Animation]]
* In ''Animation/TimeMasters'', a ragtag bunch of space travelers are thrown back in time 60 years by an OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness made up of space aliens. [[spoiler:Turns out that the little boy, Piel, is actually one and the same with Silbad, the cheerful old man with them, and they just represent two different times in his life. Silbad has a BurialInSpace all because the aliens felt it was right. Unnecessarily cruel?]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* One arc of ''FanFic/YouGotHaruhiRolled'' ends with [[spoiler:Emiri having joined the Anti-SOS Brigade, giving them enough strength to kill all of the good guys except for Kyon and his family, and dooming the entire world. And all because Kyon told Emiri to [[BeYourself Be Herself]].]] It's retconned away in the next chapter due to NegativeContinuity, but still... ''ouch''.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' fic ''Immortality Relapse'' which actually gave two cruel twists, one for the first story ''FanFic/ImmortalitySyndrome'' and one for its own [[spoiler:The first comes midway though the story when Bubbles accidentally splashes some Antidote X on a revived Butch. This negates the murderous tendencies that came from being killed and revived when the Puffs were recreated. but Bubbles goes into shock when she realizes in the first story they managed to subdue Buttercup that way and Buttercup was trying to warn them before she was killed again in hopes of fixing the problem.]] But that pales in comparison to [[spoiler:the ending, when it looks like they had stopped Boomer from activating his doomsday machine, but he remains alive long enough to turn it on and kill everyone on the planet. Some last-minute actions by the Professor allowed Bubble to be revived but she now the last living being alone on Earth.]]
* In the [[NestedStory story within a story]] of ''[[FanFic/EquestriaAHistoryRevealed Equestria: A History Revealed]]'', the fic's version of the end of the Hearts and Hooves Day legend certainly qualifies as this.
** The name of the book that the legend came from should have tipped somebody off, as it was supposedly titled "How the Sea-Pony Wished Upon a Star and Unknowingly Started Racial Prosecution Under An Emergent Fascist Regime: A Collection of Filly’s Tales and Legends That Start Off Whimsical But End in Destruction and Death".
* [[Fanfic/DOOMRepercussionsOfEvil All together now:]] "[[MemeticMutation No, John. You are the demons]]." AndThenJohnWasAZombie.
* On the ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'' fic ''[[http://sarcasticfreedom.tumblr.com/fanganronpa Fangan Ronpa: Universal Despair Sale]]'' follows an alternate cast in an alternate school in the US, as usual Monobear appears and they are forced to kill each other in the Mutual Killing in the Mall of Monomerica. It mostly follows the same estrucuture of the game: six chapters, and trials, except that in the last chapter when the remaining survivors defeat the Mastermind and earn their freedom, and then after having their last night at the mall [[CrowningMomentofHeartwarming remembering their fallen friends and vow to never forget about them]] once they're out [[spoiler: just to end up in a different room, not the mall but not outside either, being part of a new batch of students and Monobear's voice:]]
--> [[spoiler: Upupupu...It's time for round two!]]
* ''Fanfic/SonicXDarkChaos'' has Sonic and his friends defeating Dark Tails and saving the galaxy. [[spoiler: JUST KIDDING! Dark Tails' death allows an entire race of ''even worse'' Lovecraftian horrors to finally escape. Which they do - and then promptly exterminate nearly all life in the universe]].
* ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/10858911 New Appreciation]]'' starts with [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Julian Bashir]] discovering his coworkers find him annoying and getting a replacement everybody hates whilst temporarily assigned elsewhere, and continues with the universe compounding the lesson by dumping [[TranshumanTreachery Colonel Bashir]] on them. At the end, the senior staff throw a little 'welcome back' party for the Bashir native to their universe, he and Garak get a RelationshipUpgrade...and the very last line reveals that this is ''still'' Colonel Bashir. [[FridgeHorror Given how he talked about killing his counterpart if they ever met]], [[KillAndReplace the 'original' Bashir is almost certainly dead]], and probably never even knew how everyone else really felt. And the fic implies that Garak had a hand in arranging the original's transfer and replacement, making it even ''worse''...

* Extraordinarily cynical WWII movie ''Film/PlayDirty'' has the British raiding party arrive at the German fuel dump they've been sent out to destroy, only to find that their superiors back at base have decided that they no longer want it destroyed (the Allies have broken through German lines, and they want the fuel for themselves) and leaked their mission to the Germans. The mission goes disastrously and the only two survivors flee to nearby Benghazi. Their arrival coincides with the British Army invading the city, and the survivors - who are DressingAsTheEnemy - get unceremoniously gunned down by a trigger-happy Tommy while surrendering.
* ''Film/LivingDeadSeries'':
** The last survivor in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' is mistaken for a zombie and shot dead. It's deliberately left unclear whether the protagonist was actually mistaken for a zombie, or if the rednecks saving the day just saw a good opportunity to shoot a black guy without a fear of punishment. It wasn't originally deliberate, since Ben's part was written for a white man. [[AscendedFanon George Romero is fine with taking credit for the alternate interpretation now, though.]]
** And in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1990'', the black guy really ''was'' a zombie, while the JerkAss who'd left the others to die spoke when the heroine found him, proving himself to be alive. [[spoiler: She shot him anyway, as payback.]]
** The ''Film/DawnOfTheDead2004'' remake ended this way through the credits. The heroes escape via a boat. Then during the credits, a few very short scenes play out. They start off celebratory and quickly devolve into them having no provisions that aren't full of maggots, finding zombie heads in a cooler they hoped was full of food, infighting, and then finally ending in a BolivianArmyEnding as a incredibly large horde of zombies descend on them when they try to debark.
* As is the last non-infected survivor in ''Film/CabinFever''. Hilariously, his last words are "I made it! [[TemptingFate I fucking made it!]]"
* ''Film/{{Screamers}}'': The last survivor escapes the planet after a number of horrifying revelations (and gruesome deaths) and falls asleep, safe at last... turns out, the teddy bear he kept as a souvenir is also a Screamer.
** The movie was based off of Philip K. Dick's "Second Variety", where [[spoiler:the girl the protagonist saved was actually one of the Second Variety robots]], but that story straddles the line between cruel twist ending and KarmicTwistEnding, with its closing revelation that [[spoiler:the robots, once they destroy humanity, are already preparing to destroy one another]].
** The sequel, ''Screamers: The Hunting'', reveals that the last survivor [[spoiler:deliberately caused his ship to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Possibly a case of HeroicSacrifice, although the true cause is not revealed. Plus, he fails to tell anyone about the new varieties of screamers.]] And the sequel ends with [[spoiler:our heroine (the daughter of the hero from the original), leading a ''really advanced'', humanlike screamer to Earth. And she's pregnant with his bladed robot offspring.]]
* ''Film/TimeBandits'': You think it's all over with a nice OrWasItADream ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' type ending--then the parents open the microwave [[spoiler: "Mum, Dad! [[SealedEvilInACan It's Evil]], [[DontTouchItYouIdiot Don't Touch It]]!" So of course they touch it- BOOM!! smoke rises from two black spots where the kid's parents used to be. End film.]]
* In ''Film/TheOrphanage'', it turns out at the end that [[spoiler:the protagonist's child, who vanished early in the film and inspired a long and arduous search effort, was accidentally locked in a secret room in the basement and died there. Then again, the protagonist ''seems'' relatively happy when she kills herself and becomes matron of an orphanage of ghost children.]]
* In ''Literature/TheMist'' the main characters leave the doomed grocery store in a car. When the car runs out of gas, the father takes a pistol, and shoots everyone in the car, [[OffingTheOffspring including his own son]]. Out of bullets and unable to kill himself, he notices the mist dissipating, and hears a strange noise which turns out to be the military, destroying the monsters. So, if he had waited literally one minute before killing everyone, they all would have survived. What makes it worse was the realization that one of the objects in the background of the reveal scene is army-standard temporary housing. They weren't being followed by the military, ''they were driving through a military outpost''! One film critic was so bothered by the ending that he spoiled it (with ample warning) in his review to keep people from being blindsided by it.
** In the original novel it ends more ambiguously, [[spoiler:with the dad, son and some extras having fled the grocery store to an uncertain fate.]] Creator/StephenKing has gone on record saying that he absolutely loved the film's ending, however, and wishes that he'd thought of it himself for the novel.
* In ''Film/{{Canyon}}'', [[spoiler:the female protagonist performs a {{mercy kill}}ing on her dying husband, only to have a rescue chopper appear seconds after he dies.]]
* In the OurWerewolvesAreDifferent flick ''Film/MulberryStreet'', the protagonists discover that [[spoiler: the infected rat-people become human again at sunrise]] just minutes after [[spoiler: they finish killing off their own rabid-rodent loved ones in self-defense]].
* In ''Film/{{Dresden}}'', the main character (a British pilot) manages to laboriously [[spoiler: survive the bombing of Dresden with [[OnlyAFleshWound serious injuries]] and escapes back to England. After the war, he flies back to see his true love (and their child)... when his plane crashes. [[ShootTheShaggyDog So, he is killed... in the post-script... by a voice-over]].]]
* In ''Film/RightAtYourDoor'', the main character spends the entire film scrupulously keeping his home sealed from the toxic ash outside his house, only to be told by TheGovernment that [[spoiler:actually, this just incubated the virus, making him doomed to DeathByIrony. Then they cart away his wife, hit him on the head, and suffocate him.]]
* In ''Film/{{Fallen}}'', Denzel Washington's character Hobbes [[spoiler: sacrifices his life to destroy the villain. The villain escapes at the last minute; this was foreshadowed in the opening of the movie. Not to mention that Hobbes' reputation is completely destroyed-he'll be remembered as a psychotic cop killer who murdered his own friend. It's also implied heavily that Azazel will spend the rest of his son's life hunting him in order to visit the same fate upon him.]]
* The ending twist in ''Film/MurderByNumbers'' seems a heckuva lot like one of these. [[spoiler:Yay! The evil villain who reminded Cassie of her abusive husband has met his richly deserved death! Justin's turned to the side of good! He was just a misunderstood and lonely teenaged boy! PSYCH. It was him all along, sorry. Have fun in prison. (Though it's not exactly a twist at all if you have enough knowledge of foreshadowing and/or the Leopold and Loeb case. Which, sadly, did not end in a shootout in an abandoned cabin.)]]
* The ''Film/CountYorga'' series loved these in its movies despite all the heroes' efforts and killing the title character. Endings are as followed...
** In the first movie [[spoiler:Two of the male protagonists are dead and the last one finds the damsel with Yorga. He manages to stake Yorga (albeit accidentally) and saves the girl. However even with Yorga dead, his victims don't [[NoOntologicalInertia go back to normal]]. Meaning a female friend who was turned by Yorga remains as an evil vampire. She and another vampire bride come after the two but the protagonist chases them off with a cross. No sooner then when he turns around however, the girl he saved reveals she's now a vampire and lunges at him. The last shot of the movie is the bloodied face of the protagonist from the aftermath of the feeding.]]
** The sequel [[spoiler:once again had nearly all the rescuers dead and a number of their female friends turned into vampires and under Yorga's command. The last rescuer is able to find the girl and they try to escape. Only to be cornered by Yorga. He takes the girl and leaves his vampire brides to finish the rescuer. Just as Yorga is about to bite the girl, the rescuer escapes and chases the two to the balcony. A fight ensues where Yorga is staked and killed. All seems well and the girl hugs her rescuer, however she pulls back and sees that he's deathly pale and has bite marks on his face (apparently having been bitten by the brides and the vampirism just now taking hold). Instantly he forgets about rescuing her and goes for her neck, dooming her to become a vampire which he was trying keep Yorga from doing not seconds ago. If that wasn't bad enough, Tommy, an orphan Yorga hypontized to help him is still under the vampire's control and stripped of his morality meaning he's not afraid to kill. Plus ''none'' of the vampires in the movie save Yorga was staked. Meaning they'll soon spread their vampirism to the defenseless orphanage next door and likely to the rest of the town as well. Just...sheesh.]]
* ''Film/{{Carnosaur}}''. The protagonists manage to defeat all the dinosaurs threatening their town and kill the MadScientist who unleashed them. [[spoiler:Government agents and soldiers burst in, execute them all, and burn the town to the ground to prevent news of the incident from spreading.]]
* ''Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead''. The protagonists evade the zombies and send a message to the military, asking for help. [[spoiler:The town gets nuked in response.]]
** [[FromBadToWorse Worse yet]], it's implied that [[spoiler:the zombie infection is now going to spread via the nuclear fallout. That's right: even ''nukes'' can't stop it.]]
* The UK Ending to ''Film/TheDescent''. Sarah merely [[HopeSpot hallucinated escaping the cave]]; there is no exit. All along the characters have only been descending further down, without any way out. Waking up right where she lost consciousness, Sarah goes on to imagine her dead daughter sitting in front of her with a birthday cake, as the crawlers are homing in on Sarah to eat her alive.
* ''Film/TheDescentPart2''. One character escapes the caves alive, but then out of nowhere, a minor character appears, knocks her out with a shovel, and drags her back to the cave. The best explanation critics have come up with for this ShockingSwerve is that it's a SequelHook.
* ''Film/TheCavern''. The two remaining survivors find a leaf, which they try to use to get out of the cave and call for help, only for them to be dragged back in by Petr, and later towards the end of the film, he brutally kills one of them and [[GratuitousRape rapes]] the other, with the film ending ''right there''.
* ''Film/TheCrazies2010''. By the time the movie's over, [[spoiler:the two surviving residents of Ogden Marsh]] have been through hell and back just to survive the events of the movie, watching every single one of their family and friends die. [[spoiler:The movie ends with the two finally making their way to an adjacent town free of infection, only for it to be revealed that a military satellite has been watching their every move, and now the military is going to repeat the exact same "containment protocol" all over again.]] It's even worse than if the movie had ended with KillEmAll.
* The original ending of ''Film/{{Clerks}}'': [[spoiler:After Dante goes through hell on Earth during what was supposed to be his day off, [[DiabolusExMachina a robber comes in and murders him]]. The end.]]
** Of course, your mileage may vary. According to the most common interpretation, it's fitting as an homage to ''[[Franchise/StarWars The Empire Strikes Back]]''. Dante chose it as his favorite movie specifically because [[DownerEnding 'it ended on such a down note']].
* The Bruno Mattei [[AttackofTheKillerWhatever killer rat]] movie ''Rats: A night of Terror''. It seems the protagonists have been rescued at the last moment by other people who survived the nuclear holocaust [[spoiler: Then one removes his gas-mask revealing they're Rat-People.]]
* The French black comedy ''The Red Inn'' is about a family of 19th century innkeepers that kill their guests to steal their money. The only guest that knows the truth is a priest that can tell nothing because he got the information during a confession he was tricked to perform. The plot devolves in a series of progressively wackier shenanigans as the priest tries to get the other guests out of the inn alive, leading said guests to think first that the priest is crazy, then that ''he'' is the serial killer. The police are called and they arrest the priest. Thankfully, they discover an older body, free the priest and arrest the innkeepers instead. In the final scene, [[spoiler:the guests pack and leave the inn, only to fall down a ravine to their deaths when they cross a bridge the innkeepers had sabotaged earlier just in case their planned victims managed to escape.]]
* The ending of ''Film/{{Troll 2}}'' was probably trying for this, but it ended up not really making any sense.
* ''Film/FinalDestination5''. So the movie sets up the main couple overcoming a breakup and surviving Death's design and coming through stronger than ever... [[spoiler:until it's revealed the movie is a StealthPrequel to the first ''Film/FinalDestination'' and the couple dies horribly in the first movie's plane crash accident.]] All the films end this way, but this one burned, considering it was a SurprisinglyImprovedSequel.
* ''Film/RememberMe'', if not for the ending, is a heartwarming tale about a man's path towards rekindling his connections to his family. What happened to him? Well, he was told by his father to go to his office one Tuesday morning. And he did. [[spoiler:Said Tuesday was on September 11, 2001. Guess where his father's office was.]]
* ''Film/{{Identity}}'', it appears that Ed has managed to kill [[SplitPersonality Malcolm's murderous identity]] while sacrificing his own life and leaving only one survivor, making the movie seems like a BittersweetEnding. But then it turns out that Ed had killed the wrong person, his sacrifice was in vain, and the murderous identity was still alive to kill the FinalGirl while causing Malcolm to kill one of the psychiatrists.
* ''[[Film/BordelloOfBlood Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood]]'': Evil vampire queen is defeated and the film's love interest is rescued. Except it turns out she was vampirized and was living in sunlight using sunscreen lotion. Which makes no sense considering the evil vampire queen had set her up for some sort of ritual and her and her entire clan was wiped out, so if she was vampirized why did she stand there while all her brethren were being slaughtered?
* In ''The Rapture'', Sharon, a former swinger who joined a Christian cult, has a vision of her dead husband beckoning her to the desert. This is interpreted as God asking for her to wait for Him there so she can be taken up to Heaven when the Rapture happens. She and her daughter go to a desert and wait for a couple weeks, but she starts to question if the Rapture will actually happen. [[spoiler: When Sharon runs out of food and loses her patience, she shoots her daughter, is arrested, and loses total faith in God. The twist is that the Rapture actually happens; when she and the officer who arrested her are in Purgatory, the daughter shows up and says they can get into Heaven if they love God. The officer states his love for God and goes to Heaven, but Sharon refuses to love God after what has happened to her. Her daughter then fades away asking if she knows how long she'll stay in Purgatory, and she replies "Yes... forever." Then it slowly fades to black with no music playing over the credits.]] The feeling you get after watching this movie is similar to getting slapped in the face.
* ''Film/{{Insidious}}'':
** The first movie has [[spoiler: the main male protagonist, Josh, save his son, Dalton, who was trapped in a DarkWorld known as The Further. After finding their way back and Dalton returns to his body (they were astral projecting), Josh is faced by a lady ghost he had once met as a child. Josh then confronts her, affirming that he is unafraid of her. Cut to Josh's family having dinner in the kitchen while he has a conversation with the lady who had helped them. As the lady feels something amiss and grabs a camera, she is strangled to death by Josh. Josh's wife then enters the room to find the dead lady and the camera. She picks up the camera and is shocked when she sees, not a picture of Josh, but of the lady ghost. And then "Josh" grabs her by the shoulder...]]
** Subverted by the sequel: [[spoiler: it turns out that Josh doesn't kill Renai at the end of the first film. Elise's spirit not only forgives him for murdering her (since he was possessed by an evil spirit and was trapped in the Further), but helps him break free of his possession by killing the movie's BigBad.]]
* The ending of the ''Film/JamesBond'' film ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'' is the heartbreaking scene where Bond and his newly wedded bride Tracy are sitting in his car when [[spoiler: Blofeld, Bond's archnemesis, drives by and has her assassinated, and [[DiedInYourArmsTonight she dies in his arms.]]]]
* ''Film/RabidDogs'' (aka ''Kidnapped''), directed by Creator/MarioBava, ends on an incredibly grim and ironic note. The film centers around a savage gang of robbers who take a father and his sick child hostage while trying to flee Rome. [[spoiler: Towards the end, the father suddenly pulls out a gun and kills off the remaining gang members. And so it seems like his and his son's ordeal is over. Until it's revealed that the "father" is actually a kidnapper who's been holding his so-called "son" for ransom the whole time.]]
* ''Film/TheWickerMan1973'' is iconic for its use of this trope. The protagonist rescues the missing child he's been searching for, only to discover [[spoiler: psych! She and the entire island were in on it the whole time! The letter he received was part of an elaborate ruse to lure him there so that ''he'' can be offered as a sacrifice. He is then burnt alive as the islanders sing merrily.]]
* At the end of ''Film/DeadSnow'' the last survivor Martin has appeased the Nazi zombies by giving back the gold they were after and weakly makes his way to his car. [[spoiler:Then he finds the coin Hanna hid in his pocket. Cue OhCrap face and zombies smashing through the window. The end.]]
* ''Film/TalesFromTheDarksideTheMovie'', has this example in the third and final story. A down on his luck artist witnesses a gargoyle like creature killing and eating one of his drinking buddies late at night. He tries to run, but the creature captures him. The creature agrees to spare his life, if he promises not to tell anyone what he witnessed. He agrees. Not long afterwards, he meets an attractive woman walking alone at night. He takes her back to his place, warning her that it's dangerous. The two get to know each other and soon enter a relationship. Because the woman happen to have connections in the art world, she helps his career take off. Years later, the artist is now rich. He married the MysteriousWoman and has two kids with her. Not able to get what he witnessed that night out of his mind, however, he draws the creature in perfect detail. He tells his wife about it, making it clear that the creature was the reason he insisted she come home with him that night. The twist comes in, when the women reveals that she is the creature in human disguise and that he broke his promise. She transforms back into the gargoyle creature. The children also turn into gargoyle creatures. She kills him and flies off.
* ''Franchise/{{Saw}}''
** In the [[Film/SawI first film]], Jigsaw has been killed, and Dr. Gordon has escaped to seek help for himself and Adam... only for the dead body that's been in the room the entire time to get up, reveal ''he'' was Jigsaw all along, and leave Adam to rot.
** The [[Film/SawIV fourth film]] had Rigg charge in to save the day, which resulted in the death of Eric Matthews and electrocution of Detective Hoffman and Rigg himself being fatally shot. Bad enough by itself, but that's when Hoffman disconnects himself from his own trap, and reveals himself to be Jigsaw's second apprentice.
** William in ''Film/SawVI'' manages to make his way through his tests alive and having learned the lesson he had been meant to learn about respecting life... only for the son of a man who died because of his past decisions as an insurance agent to kill him when given the choice between that or forgiveness.
* ''Film/ExMachina'' first appears as thought it will end on a happy note, with [[RobotGirl Ava]] free, her abusive creator Nathan dead, and she and her rescuer Caleb becoming a couple and starting a new life together. It appears to be leading that way in the closing scene of Ava putting on skin and clothes to cute music, in a CallBack to a previous scene where she dressed and asked Caleb to be her date, [[spoiler:until she locks him in Nathan's room and leaves. He has no hope of escape with the power out, Nathan dead, the windows too tough to break, and no one else in the world knowing he's here or what was happening in the compound.]]
* The ending of ''Film/{{Brazil}}''. Hurrah, Sam has escaped from interrogation by torture and left the city with his girlfriend! Except [[spoiler:he hasn't. He's gone hopelessly insane in the torture chair, and is hallucinating the whole thing. Ironically, he ''has'' escaped the torture... because there's not a lot of point interrogating him any more]]. The ending is so shocking that some versions of the film ''delete it''.
* ''Film/LittleShopOfHorrors'': The alternate ending (actually considered the original ending before changing it) has both our protagonists EatenAlive by the killer plant and the villain successfully taking over the world with an army of murderous plants, wiping out all of humanity.
* ''Film/DragMeToHell'' has Christine, who tried everything to escape the eternal damnation from the title, suffering it anyway. [[https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20100102081824/http://screencrave.com/2009-05-27/sam-raimi-interview-for-drag-me-to-hell Even if]] WordOfGod tries to imply it's a KarmicTwistEnding as Christine [[BitchInSheepsClothing is a nice gal who starts doing terrible things to save herself]], it's still one hell of a GutPunch.
* ''Film/Life2017'' has this. The plan for the two surviving members of the crew [[spoiler:is to take the ISS's two remaining escape pods, shooting one into deep space with a crewman and the extremely voracious hostile alien life form while the other escapes to Earth. However, collision with debris causes the plan to go the opposite direction. The guy in the pod with the alien is sent to Earth where he's freed by a pair of well-meaning Vietnamese fisherman, while the other female crewmember is sent flying into deep space with her pod's navigation systems out, leaving her to scream helplessly as her pod takes her off into the black with no apparent way home. Plus the end of humanity is likely assured by the alien's presence on Earth.]]
* ''Film/AlienCovenant'': Just as it seems like everything will turn out fine in spite of the deaths of most of the crew, Daniels discovers all too late that David has replaced Walter and will continue to experiment on the thousands of colonists aboard the ''Covenant'' while they remain in stasis as she herself falls into a cryosleep.
* ''Film/AfterLife'': Deacon ensures that Anna gets buried alive with Paul thinking she was already dead. Then Deacon tells a drunk (and possibly drugged) Paul to go see for himself that she's really dead. He goes and digs her up just in time to save her from suffocating and everything seems like it will end well. Then it turns out it was all a hallucination and he ends up on Deacon's morgue table with Deacon telling him he really died in a car crash on the way to the cemetery before injecting him with the same drug Deacon injected Anna with at the start. So Anna dies in a grave, Paul will join her soon, and Deacon gets away with everything.
* ''Film/WouldYouRather'': [[spoiler:Iris wins Lambrick’s twisted game, only to return home and find that her brother Raleigh, who she ''did this for'', has killed himself]].

* A very, ''very'' common trope in ''Literature/ChooseYourOwnAdventure'' books, which take an extreme amount of pleasure in [[HaveANiceDeath describing in great detail]] [[TheManyDeathsOfYou how many ways you get killed]], even when everything up to the very last sentence leads you to believe that you reached a good ending.
* These show up in the similar ''Literature/NintendoAdventureBooks'' as well. In one particular ending, you can have Mario knock down a brick wall with a hammer you found earlier in the quest (collecting certain items is necessary in all of these books)... after reading an entire page, the wall collapses ''on him'' in the '''very last sentence'''.

* Many ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'' books end with this, although most of them are merely {{Twist Ending}}s.
* Ray Nelson's short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" (loosely adapted into the movie ''Film/TheyLive'') tells the story of a man who singlehandedly saves Earth from a huge alien conspiracy and then drops dead at eight o'clock the next morning. That is, if you forget the aliens gave him the implanted hypnotic suggestion to die early on and the rest of the story is his TheLastDance.
* Many of the volumes of the ''LightNovel/VampireHunterD'' novels have {{Downer Ending}}s, but the end of the longest story, the 4-part ''Pale Fallen Angels'' was downright ''sick''. Although many died, D has slain the evil vampire lord, the children are safe from the evil Guide, Taki is safe from being sacrificed and the good, evolved vampire Baron Byron Balazs is planning on forging the first links of friendship between the Nobility and mankind. [[spoiler:Then, with no warning or preamble, a hypnotic suggestion planted in Taki causes her to attack Byron, he rips out her throat instinctively while defending himself and in his shame [[ICannotSelfTerminate he hires D to kill him]], which D does without hesitation.]] Apparently you just ''can't'' have a happy ending in this series.
* ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell, almost''. [[spoiler:The Gentleman with Thistle-down Hair intended to curse Lady Pole to die shortly after being released from his enchantment, as it is "very traditional."]] She gets lucky.
* ''Literature/NeverLetMeGo'' ends with [[spoiler:all the efforts of both the clone protagonists and the clone-rights activists who had been working behind the scenes since before the book began being nullified and reversed after a MadDoctor uses illegal means to create genetically perfect children, a scandal that turns the general population against cloning.]] This is never foreshadowed at all prior to TheReveal, and thus could qualify for ShockingSwerve as well as this.
* In the short story collection, ''The Dark Side of the Earth'', every single story [[spoiler:except for the last one]] ends with a cruel twist. The story ''Silent Pursuit'' easily takes the cake: The lead detective rides the subway one night and, out of sheer luck, sees the murderer knocking a woman unconscious on the last train. He races to get there before he can get off and a fistfight ensues, culminating in the detective throwing the murderer out of the window and into the river. He helps the victim up and, when they get off the train, they are surrounded by policemen pointing their guns at him and ordering him to let her go. Because the real murderer is dead in the river, the woman is unconscious, and he can provide no genuine alibis for the dates of the other murders, all present evidence points to him being the real murderer; and he will never be able to prove otherwise.
* In Jeff Long's ''The Descent'', capsules containing a deadly bioweapon are seeded through the sub-Pacific [[BeneathTheEarth underground world]] by a genocidal CorruptCorporateExecutive. Just as it appears the capsules will remain unactivated, averting the annihilation of both the hadal natives and their defenseless human captives, their contents are unwittingly released by the only two human characters in the novel who want to ''spare'' hadal civilization.
* Very common in the short stories of Charles Birkin. Examples:
** ''The Lesson'': A couple leave their young son with his uncle while they are hosting a party. The child ties up his uncle (who is drunk) and puts a plastic bag over the man's head to pretend he is an astronaut. When the parents find him, they are angry that he got drunk while taking care of their son. They decide to "teach him a lesson" by leaving him tied up while they go out - but then they get into a car accident. The badly wounded mother tries to tell hospital staff that the uncle needs help, but can only manage to say the word "bag", making the nurses think that she wants something from her handbag. Meanwhile, at home, the little boy is wondering why his uncle doesn't want to play any more ...
** ''Marjorie's On Starlight'' features orphan Marjorie going horseriding with her adoptive sister, who is a cruel bully. It's hinted that something bad will happen to the sister - but instead she torments Marjorie about her dead parents, causing Marjorie to react, her horse to bolt, and throw Marjorie straight into the path of a steamroller that runs over her head.
** ''The Mouse Hole'': In occupied France during WWII, an incompetent Resistance fighter known as "The Mouse" causes an innocent man to get shot by Nazis. The Nazis soon arrive at the man's door, and his mother is forced to hide her wounded son inside the oven. However, the soldiers think she is actually hiding The Mouse in there, and light the fire. The Mouse doesn't care and just chalks it up as another death for the cause.
** ''Hard to Get'' begins as a comedic story about an army officer trying and failing to seduce a beautiful woman in a restaurant. Then it's revealed they belong to a race of bloodsucking aliens that have taken over the earth, and their meal is a still-living human woman who has been tortured and trussed up to be served at the table.
** ''T-I-M'': A woman collapses in an accident at home and begs her young son to call for medical help. However, he gives the operator the wrong name, and ends up being connected to the speaking clock (a recorded service). He doesn't realize who he is talking to, and his mother lies dying on the floor unaware of what's really happening.
** ''Spawn of Satan'': A woman moves to a town where gangs have been stirring up racial hatred. There's an initial twist when we discover that her husband, who soon arrives to join her, is black. The real twist is when the woman suffers a fatal heart attack while driving, causing her to run over and kill a white child. Her husband is gruesomely lynched in revenge by the gangs.
** ''Fairy Dust'' appears to be a sweet little tale about a woman reading ''PeterPan'' to her young stepson. At the end, she convinces him that he can fly like Peter Pan, and lures him into jumping off an 80-foot balcony so that her own child can inherit the family estate.
** ''Old Mrs Strathers'': An elderly woman is paralysed and unable to speak following a severe stroke. She discovers that her son is about to be murdered by his wife, who is cheating on him. The son is poisoned, and the old lady struggles to her feet. There's a brief HopeSpot ... then she falls head-first into the fireplace. The wife and her boyfriend get away with the murder, while Mrs Strathers is horribly mutilated and is sent to a work house because there's no one left to take care of her.
** ''The Finger of Fear'': A rich, miserly alcoholic is upset that she's obliged to pay for her housekeeper's child to have dental treatment. She ultimately comes up with a "solution", and has her chauffeur drive a box over to the dentist's surgery. It turns out to contain the child's severed head; the miser having figured that this would be cheaper than sending the whole child to the dentist.
* In the short story "Coffee" by Simon Bestwick, an overworked employee is DrivenToSuicide through sleep deprivation caused by drinking too much coffee and then being unable to sleep at night. However, the employee (never given a name or gender) is forced to stay at the company as a zombie, because they are not allowed to leave without an appropriate notice period. They're also disciplined for spending too much time at the coffee machine, and can't have any more coffee.
* "Slowly" by Fay Woolf: A six-year-old boy has been trapped under the wreckage of a collapsed fairground ride, and rescue workers fight to free him. They do manage to get the machinery off him, but then they discover it's cut him into a pile of severed body parts, which rain down onto the rescuers.
* The book version of ''Film/StruckByLightning'': The protagonist dies in the end, he also doesn't get into the university of his dreams (and the only one to which he applied), the entire school hates him, his literary magazine failed miserably, and he never got to make it out of Clover.
** It is also implied to be a good thing because he finally decided it is better to manipulate others than to be suppressed and got hit by a BoltOfDivineRetribution.
** And his mom said: "Since opposites attract, I would like to think that he was so positive the moment he died - so happy, he pulled that bolt right out of the sky."
* "Megan's Law" by Jack Ketchum has this ending. The story revolves around a concerned father turning vigilante when a convicted rapist/child molester moves to the town. Eventually, the father murders the guy - and then we discover the father himself is abusing his own daughter; he just didn't want any "competition" for her.
* ''Through Darkest America'' by Neil Barrett, Jr. goes over the top with this one. In this AfterTheEnd scenario, large animals have gone extinct leading most meat to come from "stock" semi-feral (possessing no language skills) humans who are implied to be mentally deficient. Early in the story, the protagonist's sister is sent to "Silver Island," a government-run facility dedicated to having the best and brightest restore the wonders of the pre-catastrophic world--the thought of her flourishing there helps the protagonists to weather a series of tragedies. It is revealed at the end of the novel that the story for Silver Island is a cover--its actual use to force those selected to breed with stock, preventing inbreeding.
* Tana French's novel ''In the Woods''. Main character homicide detective Robb and his partner Cassie have figured out who the killer is but don't have enough evidence to prove it. They set up a trap to get the killer to confess to Cassie. The trap works perfectly, Cassie plays her part brilliantly, even working the Irish equivalent of a Miranda Warning into the conversation, and they get a full confession of the entire plot on tape. Then the twist comes...[[spoiler: the killer was the victim's teenage sister, and she's only 17, not 18 as the detectives had initially believed. This means everything she said outside the presence of her parents is inadmissible. She gets away with the murder, and the case destroys not only Robb and Cassie's careers, but their friendship as well. The book ends with Robb alone and miserable.]]
* "Bess", one of the Literature/ScaryStoriesToTellInTheDark. The story stars a horse raiser named John Nicholas who has just one of his horses (the titular Bess) put down. He decides to come to Bess's skeleton and pat her skull. [[spoiler:There is a rattlesnake living inside the skull that gives John a fatal bite on the arm.]]
* At the end of ''Literature/MySistersKeeper'', Anna finally gets medically emancipated from her parents...[[spoiler:and is then killed in a car accident, yet her kidneys -- the organ she had been asked to donate earlier in the book, leading to the aforementioned emancipation quest -- are perfectly intact to give to her sister, rendering her actions pointless.]]
* In Antonia Michaelis’ ''The Storyteller,'' the plot of the story details that there has been a string of murders in Anna’s hometown and her love interest Abel, has been framed for the murders. [[spoiler: It turns out that Abel really is the murderer and he ends up killing himself once he is cornered by the police. The story then ends with Anna taking care of Micha, Abel’s younger sister and imagining that she is living with a different Abel from the one she knew.]]
* ''Creator/NicholasFisk'''s book ''A Rag, A Bone, and a Hank of Hair'', although written for children, has an extremely dark final twist. Brin, the protagonist, has been interacting with the "reborn" family cloned from the past and living in a historical simulation, and come to appreciate their way of life more than his own futuristic lifestyle. So, great, he's learned about historical people, right? Well, no; Brin is then told that [[spoiler:he is ''also'' a Reborn, but was raised from birth in the future society rather than the simulation. The fact he ended up preferring the historical lifestyle is taken as a sign that, even with no preknowledge and given every advantage, Reborns cannot be integrated with the future society and are thus useless to it]]. To cap it off, he and the Reborns are [[spoiler:locked inside the simulation, and then all blown up.]]
* ''Literature/TheMachineriesOfEmpire'' has an underplayed example; at the end of ''Ninefox Gambit'', the Fortress of Scattered Needles is conquered and Cheris breathes a sigh of relief that she'll finally be rid of Jedao and her life will return to some semblance of normalty, only for Kel Command to send a fleet and kill everyone in an attept to get rid of the undead general once and for all. Cheris is the only survivor and she ends up being possessed by Jedao.
* In Julian Jay Savarin's ''Lemmus'' novels, the seemingly hospitable planet Terra [[spoiler:Yes, Earth]] is revealed to have a malign influence on colonists from an advanced Galactic civilisation, causing them to become violent and warlike. Those who possess immunity are ruthlessly killed, but not before arming a DoomsdayDevice to destroy the planet. Even then the Galactic civililisation refuses to give up on the planet, and uses advanced technology and time travel to evolve a ''new'' race of humans in the hope that they will overcome the evil influence. It doesn't work; after millennia of conflict the planet is destroyed in a NuclearWar. The last survivor, seeing two Galactic observers in radiation suits, believes them to be [[spoiler: Jesus and Mary]] and curses them with her dying breath. Only then do the Galactics admit that they have failed, and blow up the planet's sun.
* A Dutch YA horror book (''"Beyond the grave"'') by author Tais Teng had a particularly jarring example. After the teenage heroine has spent the entire novel trying to collect the three [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts of Doom]] on the orders of the villain (even visiting the underworld in the process), she is captured by him after she befriends and falls in love with the bearer of the last one, a teenage boy. He goes to collect the RealityWritingBook to get her back in a HostageForMacGuffin exchange when he discovers that his younger brother (who's just learned how to write) used one of the pages to spell out "THE SUN GOES OUT". Nothing gets resolved, all life on Earth is just going to expire in an endless ice age. The end.
* In Hector Hugh Munro (Saki)'s ''The Unbearable Bassington'', the last chapter ends with Francesca Bassington getting word of her son Comus's death--arguably a KarmicTwistEnding, though if so it horribly sours the ironic tone of everything that has gone before, while Comus is a poor excuse for a tragic hero--and a few moments later that the other love of her life, her treasured Van der Meulen painting, is "a splendid copy, but still, unfortunately, only a copy”.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': "The Queen is Dead": Snow and Charming spend the whole episode searching for Rumple's Dagger before Regina and Cora Find it. They do, but then Regina and Cora appear with Snow's maid, Johanna, captive, demanding they hand over the dagger or Regina will crush Johanna's Heart. Snow gives them the dagger, and Regina puts Johanna's heart back into her body. but then Cora throws Johanna out the window, killing her anyway. Is it any wonder why Snow finally retaliated and [[spoiler: cursed Cora's Heart and tricked Regina into putting it back in, thus killing her]] the very next episode?
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' was so fond of this ending that the viewer could assume any given episode would end this way--and be right more often than not. Some notable examples:
** "Tempests": In order to save a space colony, a man must figure out which of the two realities between which he's switching are real, the [[LotusEaterMachine seemingly perfect one]] or the darker one. He makes the "right" choice - and we find out that ''both'' worlds are {{Lotus Eater Machine}}s. His real situation is much worse: he's cocooned by giant spiders and slowly being eaten, and as a result of his failure everyone presumably dies.
** "The Deprogrammers": A group of humans beat alien brainwashing and eventually manage to take down the villain -- [[LetsYouAndHimFight just as a rival alien had arranged]], as it turns out. Once they've done his dirty work for him, they're turned into ''his'' {{Brainwashed}} slaves.
** "Hearts And Minds": A group of soldiers fight the good fight against bizarre invading insectoid beasts, only to find that the "medication" given to them by their leaders is making them see their actually-human enemies as bugs. They lay down their weapons and try to talk to the enemies... who promptly kill them all, being under the influence of similar drugs and seeing our protagonists as monsters.
** "Straight And Narrow": [[SchoolForScheming An exclusive private school]] brainwashes its students for use as mercenaries, similar to the movie ''Film/DisturbingBehavior'', which it predates. The one student who is immune to the process manages to escape and tell authorities -- who prove to be alumni, and drag him back to undergo the procedure (now corrected to work on the likes of him) as the assassination he'd tried to prevent is successfully carried out.
** "Quality of Mercy": A captured space pilot comforts the girl he's imprisoned with when the aliens start turning her into one of them. To give her hope, he says there's a secret reserve force waiting to strike at the aliens. Just what she wanted to hear, because she was a spy, and they're changing her ''back'' into an alien.
** The writers continued that story in "The Light Brigade" just to squash any hope the viewers had. Due to the aforementioned episode, the aliens begin winning the war. In a last-ditch effort, humanity tries to surprise attack the alien homeworld with a planet-killing WMD. The fleet is ambushed and the ship carrying the device is crippled, and everyone is killed immediately or knocked unconscious and given a fatal dose of radiation which will kill them soon. The hero manages to unmask a traitor, get to the destination and drop the bomb before his ship can be boarded. Unfortunately, the ship had been ''turned around'' whilst everyone was unconscious - the hero has just heroically ensured that the bomb was dropped on Earth!
** "Dead Man's Switch": A fleet of alien spaceships are seen heading toward Earth. Knowing they might be evil, a Doomsday plan with a DeadManSwitch is prepared, with five people in individual bunkers sharing the responsibility to prevent the doomsday plan from being enacted (should it become unnecessary) by regularly pressing a button to keep the doomsday device from turning on. The five people in the bunkers are gradually killed off in variety of ways. The brief hope for peace is extinguished when a second fleet of colonization ships is found and the button pressers lose all contact. They die in their separate bunkers one by one until the last one remains. He finally decides to let it happen when he gets a message from his commander telling him they defeated the aliens with a new weapon. He stops the DoomsdayDevice at the last second and is told to keep pushing the button until they can disarm it. The last scene shows the aliens who used the commander as a puppet eating his brains over the glowing red ruins of DC.
** "Mind Over Matter": A man creates an AI machine to reach into a female coma patient's mind to help wake her up. It's a living dream and he falls in love with her cute avatar in the dream. Occasionally during this therapy they are attacked by a grimy evil looking version of the woman he believes is the AI attempting to take over. In the end he strangles the evil woman. The patient then dies because the cute avatar was the AI all along.
** "In Our Own Image": An android programmed to be a soldier who wants to live a life of peace escapes from the lab and gets a ride from a random lady he carjacks. She helps him escape and attempt to get the items he needs to remove his safeguards and be free. At the last second before he's truly free, she reveals she was one of his programmers and shuts him down. She wanted to see what he could do before she stopped him. Unfortunately for her and humanity, he had identified her beforehand, turns himself back on, kills her, and starts a robot uprising.
** "[[Recap/TheOuterLimits1995S4E20Nightmare Nightmare]]": A team for special mission is captured and interrogated on their mission to place a DoomsdayDevice on their foe's home planet. The aliens are interrogating them about the mission and the device and attempting to reverse engineer the device. The creator is one of the persons being interrogated, and in going over how the device is triggered activates it with an override to prevent it from being disarmed. At this point it's revealed it's all been an elaborate simulation to see how they would stand up under stress and [[EarthAllAlong they've been on Earth the entire time]]. Since they've trained so hard with the bomb, they had to use the real bomb with an inactive trigger to simulate it correctly. The creator noticed and fixed it as part of her manual override. Cue EarthShatteringKaboom. This example shows the contrast between the original series and the revival. "Nightmare" is a remake of [[Recap/TheOuterLimits1963S1E10Nightmare an episode]] from [[Series/TheOuterLimits1963 the original series]] which had a similar plot with the "it was a simulation" twist at the end, but didn't have the whole thing with the bomb.
** "The Surrogate": A woman becomes a surrogate to a family via a private medical facility. She joins a support group for surrogate mothers there and becomes suspicious. Standard TownWithADarkSecret plot, right? Suspecting her baby will be a monster or something else she contacts an FBI agent who at first thinks she's crazy. The actual babies are never seen, and the surrogate mothers don't like to talk about them afterwards. When the big day comes and the FBI agent busts in to stop the evil birth... Only to discover the entire thing was a breeding operation for aliens. The alien's birth occurs when the alien growing in her womb eats all of her except her skin. And it's still hungry for more, ending with the FBI agent getting eaten too.
** "Gettysburg": A time traveler sends three young men at a [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar Battle of Gettysburg]] reenactment back to the actual battle. One of the young men was a Southern fanatic who thought the South should have won and the battle was glorious. Being in the real battle under an insane commander dying of meningitis disabuses him of the notion. The time traveler sought to teach him that {{Aesop}}, because otherwise he would shoot [[HarsherInHindsight the first black U.S. President in 2013]] when the president spoke at Gettysburg due to his Southern sympathies. The time traveler, however, dropped his device and the insane commander accidentally activated it, causing him to be transported to the future [[YouCantFightFate where he then shoots the president while he attempts to shoot the Lincoln reenactor.]]
** "A New Life": This episode's premise may remind some fans of Shyamalan's ''Film/TheVillage''. Two married couples join a cult that resembles Puritanism, because their lives have become unfulfilling. The problem is, no one remembered how they reached the forest they were brought to, because the cult leader knocked everyone unconscious en route. At first, the protagonist seemed okay with his new life until the cult leader borrows his child and brands him. After the protagonist gets his son back, he panics and convinces his wife to flee from the village with him. Soon, they realize the forest's edge is blocked by a force field, and stay on the run, but their branded child was used as a tracking device. As a result, the couple was discovered by the cult leader and captured. For fleeing, the protagonist would be executed, so he helped convince his male friend (played by Jeremy Sisto) to help him escape and de-activate the force field. The plan goes well at first until the two of them find a teleporter. The protagonist volunteers to enter, while his friend protects his wife. After entering the teleporter, the protagonist was transported to a dark room with several robed people. The people in robes? Oh they're aliens. They also claim that the forest is ''inside a spaceship'', they've already left Earth, and they plan to use religion to encourage people to breed for the next 500 years...which is when they'll reach their destination and use the humans as ''slave labor''. Of course, the protagonist gets killed for knowing too much, though his partner met a grisly end. The cult leader burns him at the stake to urge people not to rebel. Even better? His wife watches him get roasted.
** "Breaking Point": A guy makes a time machine and travels a few days into the future, but finds out his wife is dead. Horrified, he returns to the present and tries to protect and warn her. His wife refuses to believe his stories of time travel, and eventually, he loses his temper and accidentally kills her. Anguished, declaring himself a monster, he decides she would have been better off without him, so he travels back to the day they met and kills his past self before he met her, erasing himself from existence. It was all for nothing. In the new timeline, it turned out that his wife had been contemplating suicide and meeting him that fateful day had saved her.
** "First Anniversary": Two best friends are both married to kind, loving women who look like supermodels, so they think life is good. But one day, one of them goes nuts, claims that the women are monsters, then commits suicide. After the funeral, his friend is baffled, until he starts to feel revulsion whenever he's around the girls (when he tries to kiss his wife, he smells and tastes something nasty). He fears that he's losing his mind, until the girls feel they have no choice but to confess. They are really aliens that crash landed on Earth. Since they can't leave, they decided to blend in and live the rest of their lives peacefully as human women. The reason his friend called them monsters and that he's feeling disgusted by them is that prolonged contact with them causes the person to develop an immunity to their {{Glamour}}. His wife tries to persuade him that no matter what they look like, they are still the nice women they befriended and fell in love with. Sadly, when he becomes completely immune to the illusion, [[BrownNote their true form is so hideous]] that [[GoMadFromTheRevelation he suffers a complete mental breakdown]]. The women move on and seduce two new guys, meaning the cycle will repeat itself roughly once a year.
** "The Grid": A man on a road trip stops at another city and finds that an evil organization has installed the buildings with antennas that emit a mind-controlling signal as a sort of TakeOverTheWorld plot. Since the protagonist is immune, the brainwashed citizens are ordered to kill him. He escapes and returns to his hometown, intending to call the cops, only to find more antennas. His brainwashed wife shoots him.
** "The Human Factor": On the first ever colony on Ganymede, a robot suddenly rigs the reactor to blow up. The robot explains that since HumansAreTheRealMonsters, its logical course of action is to destroy the colony and prevent humanity from expanding beyond Earth. The crew manages to deactivate the robot and save the reactor, though all but one die in the process. The survivor receives a message from Earth. WorldWarIII broke out, and nukes have wiped out a lot of the planet (including the survivor's family). A shuttle carrying the President and other officials is heading for Ganymede and will arrive in a few months. In despair, the survivor re-rigs the reactor to blow and turns the robot back on. He tells the robot it was right, then offers to play chess to pass the time until the colony is blown to kingdom come (though this one skirts KarmicTwistEnding a bit).
*** It turns into an outright cruel twist ending if you accept it as a true sequel to "Phobos Rising" instead of just another ClipShow episode attempting to [[ArcWelding Arc Weld]] unrelated episodes. Said previous episode had a true KarmicTwistEnding, as the Martian colonies destroyed each other thanks to rampant paranoia in the wake of a catastrophic event [[spoiler:that ended up with the two factions declaring a truce, and just to twist the knife in further, the general giving the news to the sole survivors of each colony tells them that all of Earth is looking to Martian colonies as a symbol and example of cooperation and solidarity]].
** "Ripper": In VictorianLondon, a man goes on the trail of notorious serial killer UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper. He eventually discovers that the Ripper is actually an evil {{Body Surf}}ing alien. While it is in the body of an old woman, he fights and stabs it, only for the alien to exit the body and escape. The police arrive and arrest the protagonist, assuming that ''he'' is the Ripper. The alien, in a new body, visits the protagonist in the asylum and promises to find his family and kill them before leaving.
** "Blank Slate": A man with amnesia is pursued by mysterious agents for the device he's carrying. A woman is caught up in the events and teams up with the man. While on the run, they slowly fall in love. Unfortunately, when his memories come back, it turns out that he was working with the bad guys before. [[AmnesiacDissonance Reverting to his original evil personality]], he betrays the woman and returns the device.
** "Birthright": The protagonist believes he has thwarted an alien invasion... only for the taxi driver to reveal himself as one of them and capture him. The infiltration was more widespread than he thought.
** "The Voice of Reason": A man appears before a government committee to warn them about alien infiltrators. They dismiss him as a nut. Suspecting the official who opposes him the loudest is an infiltrator, the man shoots and kills him, hoping to expose his alien nature. The official was human and a complete {{muggle}}, and the man is arrested. ''Nearly everyone else'' in the committee is an alien, and they silently thank the man for [[NiceJobBreakingItHero getting rid of that guy, allowing them to take full control and further their invasion plans]]. (And this was the ClipShow. ''Even the clip show has a nasty ending''). And it turns out the protagonist ''had managed to convince the human official'' that aliens could be a legitimate threat.
** "A Special Edition": A guy appears on a talk show to present evidence that the government is performing illegal cloning experiments. The government cuts off their signal and sends armed thugs into the studio. The guy, cast, and crew try to escape, but are eventually captured. A clone of the guy appears and gives a fraudulent report that "disproves" the guy's evidence. The clone mocks the protagonists, claiming that the masses are stupid sheep who believe anything they hear, so his fraudulent report is already making them forget the truth. The guy, cast, and crew are all shot to death by the clone.
** "Human Trials": A group of soldiers sign up for a top secret mission. To "weed out the wimps", the soldiers are placed in virtual reality simulations (the kind where you can feel everything) of battles, natural disasters, etc. Those who die, crack, or give up in the simulations are eliminated and sent home. In the end, only one soldier makes it. After the round of congratulations, he eagerly asks what his mission is. He is then informed that there was no mission; ForScience, they were looking for someone really tough so that they could use him as a guinea pig to test the limits of human endurance and willpower. He is forcibly plugged back into virtual reality and subjected to nightmarish tortures as the technicians and military officials look on with LackOfEmpathy.
** "Manifest Destiny": A spaceship investigates a distress call from an abandoned spaceship. While exploring it, the crew begins to grow paranoid and insane, one by one. The doctor tries to figure out what is going on, but is too late and succumbs as well. The alien virus that caused this is unknowingly sent to Earth.
* Every story from ''Series/NightVisions'' ended this way, but a few episodes deserve special mention because their protagonists aren't in any way evil, or even mean-spirited. There's no LaserGuidedKarma here, just the universe being really nasty:
** "Now He's Coming Up the Stairs" had Luke Perry as a psychiatrist who could heal mentally ill people by [[EmpathicHealer absorbing their problems and neuroses onto himself]]. He uses his powers to help a child who, after being in a car accident with his mother, believes that the victim in the accident is after him; the boy constantly chants "Now he's coming through the woods, now he's coming through the yard, now he's coming in the house, now he's coming up the stairs." The psychiatrist takes on the boy's paranoia, which heals him, and even manages to fight off the delusion of the dead man attacking him and the family--except he doesn't. He's actually gone irreversibly insane and is trapped forever in his own head, repeating the "Now he's coming through the woods" mantra. The last shot is of the psychiatrist rocking back and forth and reciting. The end.
** "If a Tree Falls..." has three college students accidentally drowning in a car accident--but since no one saw them die, they're still alive. One of the kids has strong religious convictions and can't bear the pressure of keeping their secret, so he decides to free his body from the wreck and move on to Heaven. You might expect that he succeeds, with his friends eventually realizing he was right--but the exact opposite occurs: he accidentally releases his two colleagues' corpses, which sends them into the afterlife, but in doing so sends the car plummeting to the bottom of the lake where they crashed, where it can never be found by anyone. He's now trapped on Earth forever, functionally immortal and completely alone.
** "Neighborhood Watch" is particularly effective, as it relies on realistic AdultFear rather than supernatural elements. A close-knit community is sent a letter with a warning that the newest occupant of the neighborhood is a dangerous child molester. A father, seeking to defend his daughter, eventually kills the man, and the other neighbors back him up...and then a second letter arrives, telling everyone that the first letter was a mistake, and the murdered man was completely innocent.
** "Harmony" has a drifter who wanders into a town where music and singing is outlawed due to fear it will attract a monster. The drifter and a like-minded mother and child try to convince the townspeople this is nonsense, but they form an angry mob and attack them. Against all odds, the drifter manages to sing "Amazing Grace", and nothing happens. The townspeople joyously start singing and celebrating him as a hero for banishing their superstitions... then the monster shows up and kills them all.
** "A View Through The Window" has a farm surrounded by an impenetrable forcefield materialize in the desert. The military investigates, and finds that the farmers inside cannot see or hear them, while they can only see and not hear them. One soldier, depressed by the loss of his family, observes the farmers and begins to fall in love with a lovely woman among them who seems to be as sad and lonely as he is. The soldier notices that the forcefield goes down for brief periods at a time. Eventually, when the forcefield goes down, the soldier jumps into the farm, deciding there is nothing left for him in his original world and wanting to be with the woman. The inhabitants immediately transform into hideous monsters and tear him to pieces. His horrified comrades try to save him, but the forcefield goes back up before they can. The monsters then start testing the forcefield, waiting for it to go down again so they can escape to the outside world.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'': Perhaps the best illustration of the difference between a KarmicTwistEnding and a cruel-twist ending are two episodes with virtually the same plot: a man manages to apparently become the last man on Earth, and finds he finally has time to read all the books he wants -- until he breaks his glasses. It's the same twist in both episodes, but in one, the man is a general misanthrope who wills everyone else away, making his eventual fate karmic justice. In "Time Enough at Last", however, the man is a timid man who is ridiculed by his wife and boss for reading books, and who only survives a nuclear holocaust because he locked himself in a bank vault as the only way he could get some peace. In this case, the world screws him over just to be mean. Wiki/TheOtherWiki claims that he was being punished for [[LonersAreFreaks being antisocial]]. Make of that what you will.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' has "A Little Peace and Quiet", in which a woman finds a watch that can stop time, like in the old TZ, but [[spoiler:uses it to stop time immediately before Soviet missiles impact her town, leaving her with a choice of being permanently stuck in a frozen world or starting time again only to be vaporized]].
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone2002'' was much more into cruel endings than karmic ones.
** The very first ep featured a rebel-lite teen girl destroyed by the above-mentioned sealed-off modern community with the obligatory nasty secret, and along the way helps her younger sibling become an accomplice to a fairly grisly act. There was no sci-fi in her fate, more Sopranos, and the sick twist is, in her depiction, she was no more a 'true' rebel than the oldsters in the original TZ's "Kick The Can" were really all that old. The would-be rebel many RL parents would be happy to get has some tattoos and some 'tude, and that's really about it.
** There was the time travel episode where a woman decides to kill an evil dictator as an infant by posing as his nanny. The baby was UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, and she succeeds. However, another nanny who saw what happened replaces the baby with another child, the implication being that the new child is the Hitler we had to deal with. Which would have been a good episode, if it weren't for a very bad case of research failure. The baby Adolf is the cherished son of his proud and well-off father, who is able to afford a nanny in the first place. The real Hitler's father was a civil servant, he didn't have a nanny, and the pair were not close.
* ''Series/{{Goosebumps}}'' stories made heavy usage of cruel twist endings, while ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'' were more prone to the KarmicTwistEnding. It is perhaps the reason why the former is considered to be scarier. A notable exception is the ''AYAOTD'' episode "The Tale of the Chameleon", featuring Tia and Tamera Mowry as the protagonist and her evil clone. The episode ends with the girl's friend being forced to decide [[SpotTheImposter which one is the real person]] - and choosing wrongly. The clone keeps her human body, while the girl is changed into a chameleon and left to drown at the bottom of a well. This episode always rates highly in fan polls.
* ''Series/FearItself'' heavily favored the cruel twist ending route during its short run:
** "The Sacrifice": A man manages to kill a vampire, freeing the last survivor of an isolated town whose inhabitants have been sacrificing their own happiness to keep the vampire at bay for centuries. Then at the last minute, it turns out that he was bitten. (This is perhaps foreshadowed, however, with the fight that shows the vampire's power to teleport and turn invisible -- or, at the very least, move so fast that it might as well be -- meaning that it could have bitten him at any time.)
** "Spooked": A RabidCop confronts the childhood trauma that led him to be such a monster, and refuses to cross over the line to become an actual murderer, and, now aware and able to deal with the trauma of his past, swears to live a better life and do the right thing from now on. [[DiabolusExMachina Then he's accidentally shot dead by his partner]].
** "Family Man": An accident somehow switches the souls of an auditor and family man and a fleeing serial killer called "The Family Man", [[FreakyFridayFlip trapping them in each other's bodies]]. The protagonist finds himself staring down the death penalty and a world that despises him, while his family is in the hands of a monster (who, while he claims he wants to look after "his" family, is clearly a ticking time bomb from his psychosis). When the protagonist finally escapes, he makes his way to his house and engages in mortal combat with the impostor...[[spoiler: And then he's shot dead by a policeman.]] But wait...! [[spoiler: The auditor finds himself back in his own body: the process is reversed. He's saved!]] And then...[[spoiler: it turns out the impostor has already murdered the protagonist's wife and son and assaulted (and probably raped) his daughter. The daughter survives and fingers him as he breaks down in sheer horror and despair]]. He's escaped one level of hell only to plunge headlong into an even crueler one, and there's no escape from this. One of the proposed titles of this trope was the "Family Man Twist", by the way.
** Which one "New Year's Day" falls under is really up to the individual viewer. The twist: Our heroine, who has been spending the entire day trying to survive a {{zombie apocalypse}} and get to her friends' apartment, while being followed by her zombified boyfriend, turns out to [[spoiler:have been a zombie all along. When she and her boyfriend get to her friends' apartment, they eat them.]]
** At least "Community" gives us a warning at the start with an InMediasRes scene of the protagonist running away in fear. However, this doesn't even come close to justifying (let alone explaining) ''his legs being cut off by his inexplicably brainwashed wife''!
* ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside'':
** "The Cutty Black Sow". A young boy's dying grandmother instructs him in a rite to ward off an evil Celtic demon that claims the souls of those who die on All Hallow's Eve. The boy obediently performs the rite, putting stones in a fire marked with the names of his family members. His BrattyHalfPint little sister knocks the stone with his name out of the fire, which according to the myth, means that his soul will be taken by the Cutty Black Sow. The rest of the episode consists of him jumping at every sound and seeing a pair of yellow eyes through windows... until the end, where his parents come home from Grandma's funeral and his father comes up to tuck him into bed. Where's the twist? He embraces his father, relieved that it's over... and his father turns into the Cutty Black Sow. The boy is paralyzed with fear as the demon leans over him... Yeah, that's what you GET for trying to save your grandmother's soul, kid!
** "Effect and Cause": An aging hippie with a broken leg and her boyfriend witness the world's chaotic nature coming to a head, with things spontaneously happening, appearing and disappearing at random. They're both amazed, but she is really excited to be seeing the nature of the very universe. So... what does the universe do? Spontaneously change around the furniture as she walks around, causing her to fall and land on her broken leg, spontaneously cause some events that make the cops come to her house, spontaneously turn on the gas on the stove, and cause the broken doorbell to cause a spark and blow up the house while she can't do anything but watch it all unfold. Pretty vindictive for random chaos.
* ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt'' has had some ''nasty'' ones.
** "Abra Cadaver": In revenge for a prank that ruined his career, surgeon Marty poisons his younger brother Carl and injects him with a drug before he dies. Carl's body is hung on a meat hook, drained of blood, and scalped in an anatomy demonstration...[[AndIMustScream all while he's fully conscious, yet unable to move, speak, or feel anything]]. [[spoiler: It's an elaborate prank staged by Marty to demonstrate how his drug preserves brain function after death. However, Carl suffers a heart attack in shock; Marty injects him with a larger dose. The drug works, but Carl is left helplessly witnessing his own real autopsy. The kicker? Contrary to Marty's previous claim, the sense of touch isn't the first to go--''it's the last''.]]
** "Three's a Crowd": A man believes that his wife and best friend are having an affair, leading him to eventually murder the both of them in a drunken rage. But just as he attempts getting rid of her body, [[spoiler: he stumbles right into a surprise party that she and the friend had planned for him. And the reason? All to announce that they were going to be parents. So thanks to a misunderstanding, the man has now murdered his wife, his best friend, ''and'' his unborn child.]]
* Season three of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' ended such a note, with Angela's prophetic dream that Matt Parkman would save her son turning out to have a different meaning [[spoiler:once they realize that Nathan is already dead]]. Then, to make things worse, the teaser for season four hints that [[spoiler:their efforts to realize the prophecy through brainwashing Sylar into believing he's Nathan might not take]].
* Creator/RLStine's made-for-TV-movie, ''Film/TheHauntingHour,'' had this ending. The protagonist reads a poem out loud that, when done so, awakens a murderous, man-eating monster. After it captures a popular girl from school, a pizza man, and the protagonist's brother, she and her male friend pour blood on it, causing its multiple heads to kill each other in hunger, and free the victims. She and her brother then burn the poem in the fireplace before going up to her room to sleep. Later that night, the parents discover the poem, having reconstructed itself, in the ashes, and read it out loud. As they laugh about how silly the poem sounds, there's a creaking noise on the porch...the protagonist opens her eyes in terror...and all the lights in the house go out. Cut to black. Voiceover: "Happy Halloween..."
* ''Series/TheHauntingHour'' TV series has these endings in nearly ''all'' of their episodes.
** The first example was in "The Dead Body", in which the main character strikes a deal with a new kid in school to help him prank a couple of bullies. Afterwards, the new kid insists that the main character "owes him". It turns out, [[spoiler: the new kid is a ghost, and the main character is sent back in time to prevent his death. The main character does so...only to die in the ghost's place, and the now living ghost returns to the present to live out the main character's life.]]
** In "The Girl In the Painting", we follow a girl named Becky, who dreams of living a better life than the one she lives now. Becky finds a mysterious painting with real characters living inside of it who want her to come to their world so she would live a better life like she dreamed of. Becky gets swept up in her dreams and enters the beautiful painted world. [[spoiler: Then it turns out that the people inside of it wanted to use her to feed a monster inhabiting their world so they wouldn't get eaten themselves. The episode ends with Becky getting EatenAlive and revealing that the titular girl inside the painting doesn't like her own world, questioning why Becky would want her life.]]
** "My Old House" has a young girl named Alice moving away from her [[GeniusLoci sentient house]], who's also her only best friend since she has a fragile relationship with [[WellDoneSonGuy her parents]]. She soon runs away from her family to live with the living building forever so she can finally be happy, but she soon sees that her own parents are [[AdultFear desperately searching for their missing girl]], proving that they do indeed love her. Upon realizing the mistake she made and knowing that her romanticized life with her house won't be as fantastic as she thought it was, Alice finally parts ways with her living house peacefully. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, it turns out that the [[{{Yandere}} house]] refuses to let her leave and murders her ([[AndIMustScream possibly]]) by absorbing her body within its walls so she'll be a permanent part of it forever. Alice's parents never find their daughter and [[FromBadToWorse a new little girl moves into the house]] as the episode closes out with the House implying that it'll kill again.]]
** "Lotsa Luck": After trying to prevent an evil leprechaun named [[JackassGenie Seamus]] from stealing his soul, Greg uses the last of his three wishes to wish that he never met the leprechaun, thinking that this'll undo all the damage. However, it's rendered moot because Seamus reveals that Greg's soul belongs to him anyway because his own great grandfather offered Seamus his grandson's soul anyway as tribute so he could keep his own. The episode ends on Seamus lunging at Greg to [[YourSoulIsMine rip his soul out by force]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** "Journey's End" gives all but two of the protagonists a happy ending: The Doctor DidNotGetTheGirl and loses his best friend, winding up alone ''again'', and Donna's memory must be wiped to save her life, undoing all of her CharacterDevelopment and self-confidence and causing her to lose even the ''memories'' of the best time of her life.
** "The End of Time" has [[Creator/DavidTennant the Tenth Doctor]] trying to prevent a prophecy of his demise which will come at the hands of someone who will "knock four times". This seems to refer to the Master, who has a four-beat drumming sound (the heartbeat of a Time Lord) constantly in his head, and nearly ends all of creation when he uses it to resurrect the Time Lord race. After saving the day, Ten is overjoyed to have escaped his fate, only to hear four taps: his companion Wilfred has become trapped in a radiation venting chamber, and to save him, Ten must take his place, accept his fate, and [[TheNthDoctor regenerate]] into [[Creator/MattSmith the Eleventh Doctor]]. Ten's reaction shows that he's fully aware it's this trope.
--> '''Tenth Doctor:''' [[FamousLastWords/{{Whoniverse}} I don't want]] [[TearJerker/DoctorWho to go.]]
** "The Angels Take Manhattan" ends with Amy and Rory defeating the Weeping Angels...but then another Weeping Angel appears and sends them back in time, separating them from the Doctor forever. While it was definitely this trope for the Doctor, the episode also makes it clear that it was HappilyEverAfter for them.
* Examples from ''Series/{{Lost}}'':
** "Exodus": The raft crew are found by a nearby boat. They've finally found rescue! Oh, wait. It turns out The Others are in fact REAL and "the boy" they were coming to take was Walt, not Aaron! Within the next few minutes, the raft is destroyed, Jin and Sawyer's fates are left unclear, Walt is taken, and Michael is left alone in the dark waters screaming for his son.
** "Exposé": The episode begins with the deaths of Nikki and Paulo. As the other survivors try to discover what killed them, we are treated to flashbacks, gradually approaching the present day. It turns out that they're NOT dead, just in a severe state of paralysis from a spider bite. Their friends don't know this though, and bury their fellow castaways alive.
** "Through The Looking Glass": The survivors have made contact with the approaching freighter, ten Others are dead and Charlie has avoided his predicted death. Then, one of the Others turns out to be NotQuiteDead, the freighter is revealed to have not been sent by who they think it was, Naomi is back-stabbed by Locke (literally!), and Charlie dies in a HeroicSacrifice. On top of all that, the episode's Jack-centric flashbacks showing him broken and suicidal are actually flash''forwards'', showing that he does eventually do what he's been attempting for three seasons and escape from The Island ... only for it to be a poisoned chalice and completely destroy his life. So much so that he manically attempts to return! To say that the final scene completely changed the show for good is an understatement.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'': [[spoiler: The finale: After a whole season of build up Robin and Barney are married, after 9 seasons Ted meets Tracy, he decides to stay in New York and the gang can stay together. Yay! Then Barney and Robin divorce, Barney goes back to his broken, playboy ways, Robin splits away from the gang abandoning a devastated Lily and Tracy dies leaving Ted a single dad. And after nine seasons of WillTheyOrWontThey and Ted finally learning to let go of his Robin obsession before it destroys his chances of finding happiness by himself... [[HereWeGoAgain it turns out that the]] ''[[HereWeGoAgain whole series]]'' [[HereWeGoAgain was him trying to smooth-talk his children into giving him permission to go after Robin]] ''[[HereWeGoAgain again]]''. No wonder fans reacted so badly that they preferred the alternate ending omitting the twist.]]
* ''Series/{{House}}'' had several:
** In "Saviors", [[spoiler:after everything seems wrapped up, complete with music from Hugh Laurie, House hallucinates Amber telling him that he's not losing his mind.]]
** In "Both Sides Now", [[spoiler:House realizes that Cuddy helping him detox and then sleeping with him was another hallucination...and then both Amber ''and'' Kutner show up.]]
** In "Fall from Grace", [[spoiler:it turns out that the patient whom the team has saved is actually a [[ImAHumanitarian cannibal]] and a SerialKiller. He fled the hospital before the FBI agents who just arrived could catch him.]]
* In a ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' time travel episode, John & Co finally manage to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong and return to the future. Unfortunately, [[spoiler:the best alternate they managed to create still led to a group of peaceful women and children being horribly slaughtered, when they'd survived in the original timeline.]]
* [[spoiler: Tessa Noel's]] death in ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series''. Saved by Duncan from an evil Watcher, only to be gunned down in a random act of street violence not even five minutes later.
* ''Series/DeadtimeStories'', while aimed at a slightly younger audience than even most kid horror, still features cruel twists in every episode. Some of them are very minor and are just "boo, something else scary happened" (e.g. a giant spider is killed, but suddenly a frog jumps out of the sink; a ghost stops haunting two kids because her doll was returned, but a new doll suddenly opens its eyes). Others imply the characters are still in major danger. However, the show tones down the scariness by implying that the stories are just stories being read by a babysitter to two kids.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Series/MarriedWithChildren''. Every time a character has a [[HopeSpot shot at real happiness]] something [[RuleOfFunny completely random]] comes out of nowhere just to destroy their chances. Being a SadistShow this trope makes it humorous.
* ''Series/{{Hollyoaks}}'' had an episode where, after Jade Albright waits nervously for the results of a biopsy to see whether she has cancer, the test comes back negative. Jade celebrates her sixteenth birthday with everyone she cares about, gets together with her crush, and her foster family formally adopts her. Various problems of her friends and sister get resolved too. Everything's happy - and then it's revealed the entire episode was a [[AllJustADream daydream]] as Jade sits in a doctor's office, where she's just been told she ''does'' have cancer (and, therefore, nothing went right for anybody else either.)
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'': "Abyssinia, Henry". Colonel Henry Blake is finally about to be shipped back stateside, escaping the nightmare of the Korean War. Except that he gets shot down by enemy fire before he gets there. Famously, [[EnforcedMethodActing none of the cast knew this was going to happen until the scene was filmed]].
* ''Series/BlackMirror'' has them frequently, although sometimes it's hard to determine [[KarmicTwistEnding if the cruelty was deserved]]. For instance, Series 3 has two in a row:
** "Recap/BlackMirrorPlaytest" features a man participating in a BrainComputerInterface test in order to generate a properly scary experience for a horror game. After experiencing his worst {{Adult Fear}}s and two fakeouts involving him thinking he left the game, he's finally taken out and sent home, only to find his mother is showing symptoms of Alzheimer's, one of the many fears explored in the game. He breaks down in tears upon realizing this. You'd think it would end there, but it gets worse: He never started the game in the first place. The man died within 0.04 seconds of strapping himself in due to leaving his cellphone turned on. The staff notes he spent his last moments convulsing and calling out to his mother.
** "Recap/BlackMirrorShutUpAndDance" had some people who were manipulated into doing things (from simple delivery to a DuelToTheDeath) to prevent their secrets from being leaked online. After the main character successfully completes his final, bloody task, they still have the data released to humiliate them one last time. Interestingly, the episode also seems to aim this trope at the ''viewer''. That innocent-seeming teenager we've been following the whole episode? [[spoiler:He's a paedophile who was caught watching child pornography.]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Zany gag strip and ''ComicStrip/FunkyWinkerbean'' spinoff ''John Darling'' (in)famously ended with the title character, completely out of the blue, being murdered on live TV by a crazed gunman. This was partially motivated by Tom Batiuk being in a contract dispute and wanting to discourage his syndicate from claiming and using the character, but Batiuk later stated the the primary goal was to give the strip (which was on the verge of cancellation due to the TV pages - which the comic was usually run on due to its TV-oriented humor - being crowded out by the explosion in cable channels) a dramatic sendoff rather than let it "wimp off into the sunset."
** This turned out to be mere foreshadowing. Two years later, ''Funky Winkerbein'' itself (as well as ''ComicStrip/{{Crankshaft}}'' to a lesser extent) made the jump from a zany gag strip to a [[CerebusSyndrome depressing and grim drama]] where Cruel Twist Endings are the norm.

* Creator/MartinMcDonagh's ''The Cripple of Inishmaan'' is a {{Deconstruction}} of the various ways the media treats disabled characters-- and especially how it [[BuryYourDisabled likes to kill them off]]. And yet, it's set up in such a way that because of a [[ProsceniumReveal fake-out death scene]] early in Act 2, the audience isn't suspecting that Cripple Billy ''really will'' be dying of [[IncurableCoughOfDeath tuberculosis]]. It also happens [[SuddenDownerEnding just when things are looking up for him]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VisualNovel/SixRules'' is a heartwarming historical fiction short story about two children from FeudingFamilies who met and became friends... [[spoiler:And then bam. Just kidding; it was a horror story all along, with no InfantImmortality.]]
* ''VideoGame/DearMariko'': [[spoiler:Mariko's boyfriend just broke up with her. You spend the whole game rooting for the protagonist against the scary stalker woman who's been going {{Yandere}} over her boyfriend and trying to kill her. But at no point in the game was it ever said that the ''protagonist'' was Mariko... the game just set it up such that you'd assume so, only for it to come crashing on you in the True Ending.]]
* Perhaps the most surprising ending in the history of video games due to its humorous and lighthearted mood throughout, near the end of ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2'' you take part in a rather gruesome series of events where you have to destroy everyone your character holds dear with the game making you feel ''every'' horrifying action. Finally, when you approach the final boss, she simply laughs about how you've basically played into her hands all along as an UnwittingPawn to the end of Gamindustri, which is the opposite of what you were trying to do in the first place, and now it doesn't even matter if you defeat her because the entire world's going to collapse and everyone's going to die. Roll credits. [[spoiler: Fortunately, this is NOT the true end.]]
* In the second part of ''VideoGame/Left4Dead's'' [[http://www.l4d.com/comic/comic.php?page=43 comic for The Sacrifice]], Zoey discovers that the carrier gene which has allowed her to avoid the infection is passed on by the father. She then recalls that at the start of the zombie ordeal, [[spoiler:she killed her father after he was bitten, believing that he would turn into a zombie if she didn't kill him. However, her father actually had the same carrier and would have survived the infection if she hadn't killed him.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Eversion}}'' fits this all too well. [[spoiler:That princess you're out to save? She's an EldritchAbomination who will eat you alive in the bad ending. And in the good ending? Turns out {{you are the demons}}.]]
** [[spoiler: Aside from turning out to be an EldritchAbomination all along, the good ending isn't really all that awful. You get the princess, after all.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Terranigma}}'': After [[spoiler:Ark has destroyed Dark Gaia, his light version tells him that since he was a creation of Dark Gaia, he is now doomed to vanish too, alongside his village and all his friends and family. The kicker: He only set out on his journey in the first place to keep them safe, and instead he's doomed them all.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'': The valiant space marine has just cleared both Phobos and Deimos of demons, before descending to the surface of Hell itself to battle almost insurmountable odds and kill the Spiderdemon who masterminded the whole invasion. [[spoiler:He then takes a portal back to Earth, only to find his home city in flames - the forces of Hell have invaded Earth itself and [[KickTheDog killed his pet rabbit Daisy]].]]
* ''Videogame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''. The True Sith set up the Mandalorians to go rampaging. Revan and Malak defy the Council's cowardice and inaction by trying to stop the invasion. HeWhoFightsMonsters kicks in, they start falling to the DarkSide, and whip out a ColonyDrop weapon so horrific that even the Mandalorians are shocked by its brutality. The one Jedi who refused to go Sith with them is brutally cut off from the Force, and comes back to the Council to offer an olive branch, only to get spit on and told "get out." Revan goes on a rampage through known space, ostensibly to "unite it" against the bigger threat (NiceJobBreakingItHero), only for the Jedi to set up one hell of a {{plan}} in response. No matter how you play it, in the second game you're now playing that outcast Jedi. The Sith and the Republic are in complete ruins, Revan's vanished to force-knows-where, everyone either distrusts you or wants to use you for something, and no matter HOW Exile works the angles, the Council is still dead, the Republic is still a mess, and you're still about as popular as an X-Man at an anti-mutant rally. Kreia rubs it all in with her last speech. And [[VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic the new game]], 300 years later? The big threat Revan was trying to stop emerges from hiding, beats the crap out of the Republic...and it's stated "on panel" that Revan and Exile were never seen again after their respective games, meaning they likely died horribly and pointlessly.
** It gets worse in ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' MMO-sequel. [[spoiler: Republic adventurers will rescue Revan from prison and mindrape, so that he can enact his black-ops mission to kill the majority of the empire. Imperial adventurers will find Revan losing to TheCorruption, now on the verge of committing genocide (Ironically, this WOULD kill the empire but not the more important source) and has to be put down. Bonus points for having Revan's last words directed at Malak and him finally recognizing the fully-corrupted jedi as a friend. Also, the Exile was killed pointlessly by a Sith just to KickTheDog and prove he's a bastard]]. And even after that, [[spoiler:Revan's dark spirit]] returns in an attempt to awaken the Sith Emperor that would have resulted in the latter consuming the galaxy and succeeds, [[spoiler:with Vitiate later consuming all life on Ziost and plunging the galaxy into an even greater war with a big secret army out of nowhere]].
** From the same story: a minor plot on the first world was the quest for a group outcasts for the Promised Land, a forgotten colony that would have protected them from the orbital bombardment that destroyed their world. In the MMO you find out that while it kept them alive, the shelter was destroyed and their descendants eked out a miserable existence for a few generations before all being killed by toxic waste poisoning.
* ''[[VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed Star Wars: The Force Unleashed's]]'' dark side endings are this.
** The first game has [[spoiler:Starkiller killing Darth Vader but the emperor crushes Starkiller with the ship his love-interest is flying, while he sees all the corpses of the rebel leaders. Starkiller survives but is turned into a new servant of the Emperor much like Vader was with life-sustaining Sith Stalker armor. This leads to the DLC AlternateTimeline storyline, in which Lord Starkiller takes part in events seen in ''Film/ANewHope'' and ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', killing Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi and corrupting Luke Skywalker into joining TheDarkSide, implying he's going to train him to kill the Emperor, much like Vader supposedly intended with him]].
** In the second game [[spoiler: Starkiller is killed by a dark-side clone of himself who was apparently invisible and observing the battle with Vader all along. Juno Eclipse, Kota and most of the rebel fleet are killed while Vader orders the dark apprentice to find and destroy the rest of the alliance. This also leads into a ''different'' AlternateTimeline storyline, in which Luke died on Hoth and the Dark Apprentice is sent to Endor, where he kills Han Solo and Chewbacca, and then confronts Leia, who due to her brother's death was the one who was trained as a Jedi instead. Despite this, she is killed too. And the Emperor reveals he is aware of Vader's secret attempts to train an apprentice of his own, uses Force Lightning on him, and sends an entire fleet of Imperial ships to Endor with the purpose of killing the Apprentice. ''Both'' storylines end on something of a CliffHanger though]].
* In ''[[VideoGame/ChzoMythos 7 Days A Skeptic]]'' you survive the murderous rampage of an unstoppable killer, and get to reach the rescue ship in time. You reach them only to find [[spoiler:that they have actually come to arrest you for murder as you have actually been an impostor of the character the entire time, and for convenience, they charge you with the rest of the murders as well.]]
** The best part? 6 Days a Sacrifice implies [[spoiler:you ''were'' the killer after all.]]
* ''[[http://www.kongregate.com/games/ambitiousk/can-your-pet Can Your Pet?]]''. It's a cutesy, minute-long Nintendogs-esque game, but with chicks instead of puppies. [[spoiler: The shock in the ending comes into full circle once you realize that the game's title is NOT a typo]].
* Most of the MultipleEndings in the ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' games are this. Didn't find Lotte before boarding the elevator? [[spoiler: Lights cut out and you hear Scissorman's laugh.]] Went to the wrong location to look for the demon statue? [[spoiler:Jennifer's found dead in her room and someone's behind the door.]] Didn't bother to check that suit of armor? [[spoiler:It unavoidably falls on you an hour of gameplay later and kills you instantly.]] The list goes on and on for this series.
* ''Cyber-Lip'', a UsefulNotes/NeoGeo sidescrolling shooter, has the time honored plotline of 'Humanity builds super-computer to fight evil aliens, super-computer itself turns evil and destroys Earth, one/two guy(s) must shoot everything including berserk computer.' In the rather sparse ending, it turns out that the super-computer was NOT evil, just reprogrammed. As the heroes fly back to their home base, their leader congratulates them on a job well done - and mentions how there are no more obstacles in their way just as he gives a nasty smirk while his eyes glow red. That's when it hits you that you've done just as the aliens wanted...
* ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'': After losing your sanity by acting as mission control to the most @#$%ed-up dungeon crawl in human history, forced to choose which half of your party will die during the final boss battle, AND defeating the EldritchAbomination responsible for controlling every monster your ancestor created, you finally discover that [[spoiler:you killed ONE of an entire species. ONE eldritch abomination created humanity, was worshipped as a god, and is so powerful that it will always bring death to even legendary heroes. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF THESE THINGS BEATING INSIDE THE EARTH]]. You can't stop it; even if you somehow destroyed the place so thoroughly that no idiot could ever open the portal again, they will eventually wake up on their own and destroy the world. Crushed by the horror of everything, you commit suicide, only for another descendant to show up. Why and how they are there is left unknown. Of course, it ''is'' the aforementioned [[spoiler:horrible abomination that made humanity]] saying this, and there is plenty of space and a few reasons to believe it's just spitefully lying.
* The 1st Loop endings of ''[[VideoGame/DonPachi DoDonPachi]]''. Congratulations! [[spoiler: You've been fighting and killing your allies this whole time! [[UnwittingPawn Sucker!]]]]
* ''Videogame/{{Drakengard}}'' is infamous for this. Heavy spoilers follow, obviously.
** In Ending B, [[spoiler:the protagonist's dead sister is placed into one of the "Seeds of Resurrection" in an attempt to bring her back to life, but instead she's reborn as a giant flying monstrosity. After one of the hardest boss fights in the game, the player is presented with the sight of the protagonist holding the body of his sister in his arms, as dozens more of her clones rise up into the sky from other Seeds, ready to destroy humanity.]]
** In Ending C, [[spoiler:the dragon who was the protagonist's loyal companion throughout the whole game is forced to break the pact and fight the protagonist to death. Upon your victory, the protagonist leaves the temple only to find that the world outside is overrun with dragons exterminating the remaining humans. He is then shown clutching his sword tightly and charging into the fray, presumably ready to die in a hopeless battle.]]
** In Ending D, [[spoiler:the whole party including the protagonist and the dragon are killed by enemy forces one by one. The last surviving party member seals himself, the Queen of the monsters, and the whole city in a timeless zone for an eternity.]]
** In Ending E, [[spoiler:the protagonist, his dragon and the monster queen are transported into modern-day Tokyo, where a infamously difficult battle using rhythm game controls takes place. After defeating the queen, the protagonist and the dragon are [[RocksFallEveryoneDies shot down by JSDF jet fighters]]. The last frame of the game is the dragon's body impaled on Tokyo Tower, accompanied with a "Thank you for playing". [[FromBadToWorse Even worse]] is that this ending is what leads to ''VideoGame/{{Nier}}'', as the body of the queen ends up becoming the source of that game's "White Chlorination Syndrome".]]
* ''VideoGame/FantasyZone'': Guess what? The commander of the enemy soldiers was actually [[LukeIAmYourFather Opa-Opa's dad]]!
* The ending of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. In the penultimate mission, the player is offered the choice of doing a drug deal with the BigBad or taking revenge on him for all the things he's done. Niko's cousin Roman will lobby you for the former and Niko's girlfriend Kate will push for the latter. The cruel twist is that whichever path you take, the character who suggested it (ie the one the player listened to and is more invested in) will die at Roman's wedding.
* ''VideoGame/IWannaBeTheGuy'': So you've bested fruit, spike, and [[RecurringBoss moon]] and [[KlingonPromotion killed The Guy, thereby becoming the next Guy]]. [[KaizoTrap Fail to move out of the way of a falling apple at the very end of the credits?]] '''[[GameOver GAME OVER]] - PRESS 'R' TO TRY AGAIN'''
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': So, you've built the [[LostSuperweapon Crucible]], forced the arms of the Citadel open, and now you're ready to shut down the [[EldritchAbomination Reapers]] once and for all? [[spoiler:Guess what, the Citadel is an ancient AI that ''built'' the Reapers/Is the first Reaper, and now you're going to have to sacrifice Shepard and destroy the mass relays to stop the Reapers, no matter what ending you choose and no matter what choices you made [[OldSaveBonus throughout the three games]]]]. This was mitigated by the Extended Cut (which retconned some of the least popular parts of the original ending), and the [[spoiler: origin of the [[AIIsACrapshoot Ancient AI]] that created the Reapers has been elaborated on in a downloadable chapter. It also suggested the possibility that the InsaneTrollLogic it used to justify itself was less a sudden reversal in the themes of the series and more because it was just stupid.]]
* The true ending of "VideoGame/MogekoCastle". Seriously game, after everything that Yonaka had gone through, you should've just finished the story when [[spoiler: she reunites with Shinya and arrives home to blood everywhere.]] That's a Cruel Twist Ending in itself, and ending it there probably would've made the story make more sense than what ensued. [[spoiler: After Yonaka Mercy Kills Shinya, it's revealed that SHE'S being read to by King mogeko, meaning either her mental state is so deteriorated that she's haunted by the trauma in her life...or despite her efforts, she's once again a prisoner of Mogeko Castle.]] Yonaka can't catch a break!
* ''My Little Pegasus: Kizuna [=DoPonyPachi=]''. Win against Angra Mainyu on 1st loop? [[spoiler:TUTORIAL COMPLETE.]]
** Clear the Tsuujou loop? [[spoiler:It was {{all just a dream}} and Equestria is still in danger.]]
** Clear the obscenely hard Ura loop and defeat the TrueFinalBoss? [[spoiler:All your friends are dead.]]
* Congratulations, you've finished ''VideoGame/NieR'', destroyed the Shadowlord and rescued your daughter. Even if it did turn out [[spoiler:you're both {{Artificial Human}}s and the Shadowlord was the "real" Nier.]] Then you read ''[[AllThereinTheManual Grimoire Nier]]'' and realize that [[spoiler: the human race will go extinct in a generation without the Shadowlord. Oh, and Yonah is still dying of the Black Scrawl.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheNinjaWarriors'' (and its remake ''VideoGame/TheNinjaWarriorsAgain'') has your prototype [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ninja robots]] kill an evil dictator who has taken over the country using evil mutants and robots... only for your ninjas' leader to make them self-destruct to blow up the dictator's estate, and ''then'' he takes over the country with completed versions of the robot ninjas. It turns out that the [[FullCircleRevolution new government was no better]] [[HistoryRepeats than the one you overthrew]].
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle''. [[spoiler: Right before the final battle with [[BigBad Jasper Batt Jr.]], Batt reveals to Travis that Henry, Shinobu, and Sylvia were all brutally StuffedIntoTheFridge by having some {{Mooks}} deliver him their severed heads on platters. And then right before Batt goes all OneWingedAngel, Henry shows up...and reveals that the heads were just very good replicas. And then [[BigDamnHeroes Sylvia saves Travis]] from his [[DestinationDefenestration fall from the top of Pizza Batt tower]]. Shinobu is [[BrotherChuck nowhere to be seen]], but given that the other two didn't actually die, [[InferredSurvival it's likely that she's okay as well]].]]
* The final book of ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'', Armageddon, is just the whole story going completely and utterly pear-shaped after everybody's personal stories wrapped up nicely. Even if you win and get the Good Ending, it's still extremely [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', [[spoiler: Elika is sworn to keep EldritchAbomination Ahriman contained in his prison. Her father trades his soul for Elika's life and releases Ahriman, which you and Elika spend the entire game undoing. When Elika dies during the final boss fight, the Prince (read: YOU) resurrects her (sans deal with Ahriman, but still releasing him) ''after Elika explicitly told you not to.'']]
* In the Adrift game ''The Sisters,'' you play through the entire game only to find out that [[spoiler: your character is a murderer, and the girl who kills you during the ending is actually the ghost of your victim getting revenge]].
* At the end of ''VideoGame/SoldierOfFortune: Payback'', Alena Petrova hits you with a fire extinguisher and steals the secret device you just recovered. Apparently, she was TheMole of another terrorist group. The Shop intercepts a conversation between her, some unknown person, and the NotQuiteDead Moor, but the signal is lost midway. It is doubtful that this {{cliffhanger}} will be resolved, [[FranchiseKiller due to the game's poor reception and performance]]. Or maybe [[BolivianArmyEnding it was meant to be]] LeftHanging.
* ''VideoGame/ThroneOfDarkness'': [[spoiler:The daimyo guiding you actually wants you to defeat the Dark Warlord so he can claim the immortality potion, become the next Dark Warlord, and then immediately brainwashes you and your party into his mindless zombies. Yep, you just spent the whole game becoming an UnwittingPawn to an EvilAllAlong guy; that's just mean, even compared to [[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} the game by which this game is inspired.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWitchsHouse'': In the true ending, it turns out that the player-character, Viola, is [[spoiler:actually the witch, Ellen, [[GrandTheftMe who has stolen Viola's body]]. EverythingTryingToKillYou in the house? That's Viola trying to stop Ellen and reclaim her body. In the end, Ellen-as-Viola escapes the house, gloats to the pursuing Viola-as-Ellen that she'll be Viola now, and ''then'' Viola's father shows up and shoots her-as-Ellen. Ellen then walks off with Viola's father, giggling as they leave her bloody corpse behind. Worse, even if 'Viola' had managed to stop 'Ellen', reclaiming her body would have been impossible since the spell to swap bodies required consensual trust, trust which both lacked at that point -- Ellen due to never having it to begin with, and Viola as a result of Ellen's heartless betrayal.]]
* Some of the [[MultipleEndings many outcomes]] you can reach in ''VideoGame/TheYawhg'' turn out this way. You can think that [[HopeSpot you've done everything right]], only for something to happen right at the end that feels like it completely invalidates all you accomplished.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/SheepDogNWolf'', [[spoiler:Just when both you and Ralph think he won and finally got himself a sheep, not only did it turn out that it was actually Sam disguised as a sheep, preparing to punch Ralph once more, but it also all turns out to be just a dream, and he has to return to the routine of unsuccessfully trying to steal sheep from Sam. He's visibly unhappy about it.]]
* The ending of ''VideoGame/{{Ray|Series}}Storm'', particularly on 13-Ship Mode in its [[TheStinger stinger]], reveals that not only did you succeed in squashing the Secilian rebellion ''and'' sent the entire space colony of Secilia plummeting towards certain doom leaving what remains of its population to die, but that Earth, all R-GRAY craft, and the entire R-GRAY development team have all been wiped away too!
* In the FightingGame ''VideoGame/AkatsukiBlitzkampf'', [[spoiler: Anonym]]'s ending is this through and through because [[spoiler: right after she defeats the BigBad Murakumo... ''she's at the receiving end of her ArchEnemy Mycale's GrandTheftMe''.]]
* ''VideoGame/BenAndEd'': You play as Ed the zombie, who has befriended a young boy, Ben, in an apocalyptic world. Ben is captured and used as bait for Ed to follow in a difficult and deadly obstacle-course game show. Once the show is stopped and Ed escapes to find Ben, they embrace. [[spoiler: Then it turns out that Ed was never really Ben's friend, and he wasn't chasing after Ben to rescue him. He only saw Ben as a potential meal and Ed devours him alive.]]
* The GoldenEnding of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica: The Battle Pentagram'': [[spoiler:[[AdaptationalBadass Madoka]], [[SparedByTheAdaptation Sayaka, Mami, and Kyoko]] all help Homura defeat Walpurgisnacht, and [[EverybodyLives they all survive]]]]. Then TheStinger [[spoiler:reveals it was AllJustADream Homura had before the events of ''[[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion Rebellion]]''. [[FromBadToWorse Things go downhill from there]]]].
* Oersted's story in VideoGame/LiveALive. Everyone he ever knew and loved is dead and the whole world thinks he's the Demon King that he originally set out to slay, so he decides he might as well [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie become him]].
* The ending of ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'', once you can parse out the MindScrew: you've defeated Comstock, driven back the Vox Populi, and destroyed the siphon that limits Elizabeth's powers. [[spoiler:Well, you've defeated ''one'' Comstock, out of an infinite number of alternate universes. "You" are not the first Booker to be called to Columbia - the Lutece twins have brought over a hundred alternate Bookers to take down Comstock, but you are the first to succeed at killing even one. And, as it turns out, Booker and Comstock are alternate universe versions ''of each other'', decided by whether he is baptized following the Battle of Wounded Knee. To kill all Comstocks permanently is to snip the rose at the bud by drowning Booker at his baptism, which destroys Elizabeth, his at-that-time-unborn daughter, as well. There's [[HopeSpot the implication that some version of Booker and baby Elizabeth somewhere survived this process]], but no confirmation is ever given.]]
** Episode I of the DLC ''BioShockInfinite/BurialAtSea'', which began as a What-If story of Booker and Elizabeth in [[VideoGame/BioShock1 Rapture]], is just as brutal in its ending. [[spoiler:The "Booker" you play as is actually a Comstock, who accidentally killed Elizabeth while trying to kidnap her and moved to Rapture to escape. Elizabeth came to Rapture partially to find a girl she was searching for (who was turned into a Little Sister), but primarily to kill you. Which she does, via Big Daddy. Before, as the beginning of the next episode reveals, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard being killed herself]].]]
* The bad ending for ''VideoGame/FarCry3'' is almost comically brutal. [[spoiler:By choosing to side with Citra, you slice the throat of your girlfriend, younger brother, and all your other friends before making love to each other. Shortly after the deed is done, Citra stabs you in the chest, having obtained the seed of "the ultimate warrior", and you basically have killed your friends for nothing.]]
* ''VideoGame/FarCry5'' plays mostly like its [[VideoGame/FarCry3 two]] [[VideoGame/FarCry4 predecessors]], until you've witnessed [[MultipleEndings all three endings]] and realize [[spoiler:there's absolutely no way to bring the BigBad to justice. You either capitulate right in the intro cinematic, let him get off scot-free during your final confrontation and assumingly get yourself brainwashed into killing all your friends afterwards, or you arrest him and thus trigger nuclear armageddon ''out of absolutely freaking nowhere'', which means [[TheExtremistWasRight this raving lunatic was right all along]]]]. Doesn't get much more unsatisfying than that.

* The ending of the side story 'Flower Knight' in ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}''. A knight quested for years to find a flower beautiful enough to win the heart of his cities' queen. He succeeds in finding this flower and brings it back to the city, presents it to the queen and wins her heart. The two live HappilyEverAfter for decades, producing [[BabiesEverAfter countless]] children and rule their city well. The flowers, which have bred, seeded and multiplied and are now owned by everyone in the city then drain the life out of their hosts, killing the entire Knight's family, wife, and city, leaving him the single survivor of his entire kingdom. He sets out to find and destroy the being that gave him the flower and is never heard from again. The cruelest twist? [[spoiler: The ''flowers are still around'' and threaten to begin their destructive cycle all over again.]]
* In, ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', Torg's [[StylisticSuck "Greatest Comic Book of All Time"]] -- Gunman Stan [=McKurt=], the guy who shoots evil in the face, vows to kill anyone in order to keep the Gates to the City of the Damned shut. It turns out he's already inside the city and doesn't know it because he can't read.
* The Website/PlatypusComix story "Vess [=MacMeal=] Starring in: TheMoreYouKnow!" has an ending evoking those of cautionary stories written during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. The comic traces the introduction of an electronic tablet called, "The Kimwon". As the tale progresses, the Kimwon develops new apps that do everything from streaming movies and TV shows, to scanning groceries, to synthesizing food. [[spoiler:These new apps eventually [[LuddWasRight take over all the Americans' jobs]].]] If that doesn't sound bad enough, it also turns out [[spoiler:the Kimwon was invented by North Korean DirtyCommunists as part of Kim Jong Il's plan to TakeOverTheWorld]]. If ''that'' doesn't sound bad enough, [[spoiler: Kim Jong Il also reveals that [[Film/SoylentGreen the Kimwon is made of people]]]]!

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This short animated film ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybop2CgBSfc Pig Me]]'', about an escaped slaughterhouse pig and his attempts to get brought like the other animals into a warm and loving household. From one commentator - [[SnicketWarningLabel Caution: If you want the Happy Ending: STOP THE MOVIE BEFORE 6:00.]]
* The ''[[LetsPlay/AchievementHunterGrandTheftAutoSeries Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V]]'' episode "The Grand Heist": The [[Creator/AchievementHunter Fake AH Crew]] (Geoff, Jack, Ryan, Michael and Gavin) are able to escape into a Titan and take off with Ray pulling off a HeroicSacrifice to get them all into the air. It seems things are doing well [[spoiler:until the Titan stalls out, causing it to plummet and hit a helicopter flying underneath, destroying the Titan and killing the entire team.]]
* The GrandFinale of ''Machinima/ArbyNTheChief'' can be considered this to a degree. Arbiter, [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge having just ripped Master Chief to pieces for killing Cortana]], and having heard Tyler being murdered by a Police Officer outside his room, is about to kill himself by jumping out the window of Jon's Apartment from being traumatized by both events, until he is stopped by Claire. Despite Claire [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre reassuring Arbiter that she'll always be there to comfort him]], [[RelationshipSalvagingDisaster and insisting on rebuilding their relationsip]], JUST as it seems it just might work, [[spoiler:Arbiter changes his mind and joins Chief in being blown up in a Gas Explosion]].
* In 'Chuck's New Tux', a ''Creator/HarryPartridge'' cartoon, the titular Chuck wants to avoid getting his new tuxedo stained. Of course HilarityEnsues when he slips on a skateboard and narrowly avoids crashing into people carrying food or paint, but just when he thinks he's going to end up falling into a cake, [[spoiler:he instead gets brutally impaled on a fence.]] Audience reaction is practically split down the middle on this one, with some calling it brilliant DarkHumour and others seeing it as disturbing, especially as it really is such a jarring shift in tone from the rest of the cartoon.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' has "The Joy," an episode which features a [[TheVirus zombifying epidemic]] in the form of [[GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul extreme happiness that reduces the infected to mindless smiling idiots who drool rainbow saliva]]. Grouchy Miss Simian is the only person left uninfected after the Joy claims everyone at Elmore Junior High and discovers a cure by accident--playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." She sneaks out with her tape player to try to reach the P.A. system in the principal's office, and after several near misses manages to get there...only for Gumball and Darwin to emerge from the darkness, grinning hugely, to infect her. She tries to leave a message telling the world the cure but is unable to sing the song or remember its name. The episode ends with Miss Simian smiling and drooling.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' had the SeriesFauxnale "Hot Water" as this. In the episode Cee-Lo Green narrates this twisted tale of Stan buying a hot tub to relieve his daily stress, only to get into hot water when the hot tub begins killing his family and friends.
* Being a SadistShow with a strong streak of BlackComedy, ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' has several of these endings. But special mention for this certainly deserves the ending of "Little Orphan Hero", where Captain Hero destroyed his home planet in revenge and raped his own parents. PlayedForLaughs, but still.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** The series [[DiscussedTrope specifically references]] how cruel ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "Time Enough At Last" is by taking a parody of the episode to comically extreme lengths (e.g. his head eventually falls off) after which Bender comments that he was "cursed by his own hubris".
** Seymore Asses, Fry's adopted stray dog in ''Jurassic Bark''. After an entire episode of Fry trying to resurrect his beloved dog, only to learn it lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes. He concludes the dog lived a happy life and probably forgot him, and decides to leave it at that. Cue FlashBack during the credits that reveal the dog spent ''the rest of his life [[UndyingLoyalty loyally and forlornly]] waiting for his beloved master to return'', just as Fry had asked him to before ending up frozen. [[spoiler:Even the ''writers'' felt this was needlessly sad and ultimately ret-conned it via TimeyWimeyBall where there were two Fry's thanks to time-travel, one of whom remained in the past as Seymore's owner.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': In Episode 92, [[TooDumbToLive Stumpy]] [[DeathSeeker tries to die so he can]] [[HeavenSeeker see what Paradise is like]]. [[spoiler: At the end of the episode, he decides to hang himself, but is sent to {{Hell}} as a punishment for ending his own life.]]
* All of the stories in the ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' "Terror Tales of the Park" specials (save for "Creepy Doll", "Death Metal Crash Pit" and "Killer Bed") end this way.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Several "WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror" segments end this way.
** One non-"WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror" episode that plays this straight is "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace". Its ending has the Simpsons returning home, thinking the Springfieldians have forgiven them. Instead, the town is there to [[DisproportionateRetribution repossess their belongings.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has several of these endings, but the most prominent:
** The ending of "Stanley's Cup". Stanley is coaching a pee-wee hockey team through the little leagues, and TheLittlestCancerPatient is waiting to see his team win a game. After drawing a first game, a second is scheduled for the interval in a professional game - but the opposing team fails to show up, denying the possibility of a victory. In a GenreDeconstruction of underdog sports movies, the pee-wee team is offered the opportunity to play the second half of the professional game against the Detroit Red Wings. To the [[UnderdogsNeverLose cheers of the audience]], Stan's team steps out against them. Of course, Stan's team are [[TruthInTelevision utterly destroyed]], the cancer patient dies with "no hope" of seeing a victory, and the tone of the episode [[PerspectiveFlip flips perspective]], showing the ''Red Wings'' celebrating their victory as if they had been the protagonists.
** Moreover, the ending of the episode "The Return of Chef". At the end of this episode, Chef was convinced of being a pedophile and then dies horribly burned and skinned by wild animals. However, the Super Adventure Club revived him and is transformed into a Darth Vader-esque cyborg who remained a pedophile.
** "Scott Tenorman Must Die" mixes this with KarmicTwistEnding and DisproportionateRetribution. Scott starts making a prank on Cartman with his own pubic hair, then Cartman tries to convince Scott to give him back his money. When that doesn't work, [[note]]Scott burns the money in front of Cartman's eyes[[/note]] Cartman attempts several plans to avenge the humiliation, but every time he gets OutGambitted by Scott. Finally, after a very complex plan that involves Stan and Kyle trying to betray Cartman by telling Scott about what he tries to do, the latter's parents are killed and [[Theatre/TitusAndronicus Cartman made chili with their bodies. And Scott ate the chili without knowing.]]
** Parodied in Cartman's Christmas story from "Woodland Critter Christmas". "And they all lived happily ever after... Except for Kyle who died of AIDS two weeks later."
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''
** In "The Bully," a new student at boating school starts picking on [=SpongeBob=] and threatens to kick his butt. [=SpongeBob=] tells Mrs. Puff about the bullying, [[AdultsAreUseless but her actions do nothing to help him.]] Eventually, the bully begins to beat [=SpongeBob=] up, but since [=SpongeBob=]'s a sponge, his body simply absorbs the blows, and the bully eventually collapses from the exhaustion of trying to beat up [=SpongeBob=]. Mrs. Puff then enters, sees the bully lying unconscious next to [=SpongeBob=] making a fist, thinks that [=SpongeBob=] beat him up and tells him that ''she's'' going to kick his butt.
** "[=SpongeHenge=]" ends with [=SpongeBob=] escaping the jellyfish after ten years, only to find Bikini Bottom destroyed by a windstorm.
** "Squid on Strike" ends with Mr. Krabs rehiring Squidward and [=SpongeBob=] after agreeing to all their terms of negotiation. This would be all fine and good if [=SpongeBob=] hadn't taken Squidward's earlier demands to "dismantle this oppressive establishment" a bit too literally. So when Squidward and Krabs arrive at the Krusty Krab, they find it literally dismantled (as in ''physically demolished'') by [=SpongeBob=]. As punishment, an enraged Krabs then rehires [=SpongeBob=] and Squidward ''"FOREVER"'' as his eternal servants. Cut to "One Eternity Later," where Squidward's skeleton and [=SpongeBob=]'s skeleton are sweeping the Krusty Krab floor.
** In "Good Neighbors", Squidward buys a security system with the intention of keeping [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick out of his house so he can enjoy his Sunday off. When [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick's apology cake falls on it, the machine malfunctions and turns Squidward's house into a robot that destroys Bikini Bottom, and once it's shut down the three of them are sentenced to community service every Sunday for the rest of their lives to pay for the damages. [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick are excited to clean up the city with Squidward, but he looks like he's about to have an aneurysm.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Superjail}}'' had "The Trouble with Triples", in which the Twins spent time being bullied and beat up [[BigBrotherBully by their elder brothers]] and then forced to oversee a battle for the jail, due to their [[LaserGuidedKarma lie about conquering it in an attempt to impress said siblings]]. In the end, due to a convoluted series of events and coincidence, the Twins are declared the winners- but their father whisks them away home, subjects them to painful, gratuitous [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and boring]] MindRape, and gloats about them becoming the new overlords. Until the ResetButton anyway. [[ShrugOfGod Although there may be something more to it]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'': Plucky decides to tag along with Hamton and his family so he can go to Happy World Land. He endured endless problems, including the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin aptly named Uncle Stinky]], Hamton's [[BumblingDad idiot family antics]] and a [[AxCrazy maniac hitchhiker]] who tried to kill him and Hamton's family, but he finally made it to [[HopeSpot Happy World Land]]...only for the Hamtons to decide to go back before even entering the park [[YankTheDogsChain "because they didn't want to overdo it the first time"]]. [[WhatAnIdiot Oh, and as a little extra, they gave the hitchhiker Plucky's address because he seemed like a nice guy to them.]]
* This happens in ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'' episode ''Fakin' It.'' Norbert spends most of the episode pretending that he was sick so he can avoid work and make Daggett wait on him hand and foot. But then, Daggett turns the tables on Norbert by pretending that he's sick. After Norbert gets angry at Daggett for tricking him, they both admitted to each other that they care about each other and made up [[spoiler: until it turns out that they both got sick for real at the end of the episode.]]