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Gainax Ending / Film

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The weirdest endings in Film.

  • Of the Mind Screw subtype of Gainax Ending, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman approaches the monolith in orbit around Jupiter, there's a 10-minute light show, he appears in a strange hotel room and grows incredibly old in a few moments, only for the monolith to reappear while he's on his death bed and turn him into a baby-thing that looks down at the Earth with a cryptic expression. Essays have been written. The book's ending was clearer, though it should be noted that it is not in fact based on the movie but a separate work written by Arthur C. Clarke during development, so the two's connection is uncertain.
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  • In Adrift, the main character is finally able to get on the boat to safety! Only to find out that the other guy has decided to swim away to drown himself? And then she jumps back into the ocean to save him in slow motion. And then several flashbacks of her as a child go by. And then a blinding white light. And then it shows a boat passing by the ship and it's completely empty. And then it shows the main character standing on the ship with the other guy lying on the ground, only the boat passing by them is not there. Then it goes to the credits. Wat.
  • Not quite as big an offender, but still quite confusing, the ending of Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Out of nowhere, after the climatic battle, the Baron dies. Except… suddenly we cut back to the theater of the beginning, where the Baron has apparently been telling the whole story (from which point exactly it was the Baron's narration is unclear, since the theater crew was featured in the story, somehow). That would be pretty confusing on its own, but afterwards, when the crowd opens the gates of the city, they find the remains of the battle that was allegedly only a fiction of the Baron at this point. Except... since the theater crew was involved in the story and yet doesn't seem to remember it since they don't believe the Baron until he shows them what lies outside the gate, it can't just be that the story was entirely true all along. To boot, the baron then rides off into the distance, bows and, uh... disappears... Don't ask.
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  • The South African comedy Alles Sal Regkom, starring Al Debbo and Frederik Burgers (SA's most popular comedy duo during the 1950's) ends with a spectacular example, albeit one Played for Laughs. The movie is about a town, Spoggenpoelville, run by a Mister Spog (Frederik Burgers) and Mister Poel (Al Debbo). Spog en Poel also double as fire brigade, bankers, insurance salesmen, realtors and maintenance crew for the town with the usual results. Their forefathers founded Spoggenpoelville and left it all as a trust with them in charge, but two greedy mining magnates challenge them to an election in order to get the rights to build a mine. The mining magnates call in their Femme Fatale secretary to help charm the hapless Poel into bankrupting himself while also hiring an escaped criminal to rob the bank. Few of these plot threads are resolved in any meaningful way as the narrative jettisons everything it set up. During the movie, at random intervals, a man with crazy hair would pop out of nowhere and ask Poel if he wants to buy a mine. After winning the election Poel and Spog take him up on his offer. He shows them the mine, then grabs the money and starts tearing it up while they give chase. After a chase through the mine and into the tunnels, the crazy man lights a candle, only to discover it is a stick of dynamite, which explodes. Poel then gets blown to Hawaii (seriously!) where he finds that Spog has been there for some time. The movie ends with them opening a shop while Poel does a hula dance.
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  • The climactic battle in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues goes into this territory. While Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are known for their absurd movies, the film's final climax jumps from absurd to completely and utterly ludicrous involving a Minotaur, John C. Reilly as the ghost of Confederate Civil War General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson who has soul sucking powers, Brick somehow gets a gun from the future, Veronica's boyfriend really does have psychic powers. And Harrison Ford turns into a were-hyena.
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans ends with McDonagh and the guy he saved in the film's beginning hanging out in an aquarium, with McDonagh high as a kite and wondering if fish have dreams. The scene before it establishes that the guy is going to help McDonaugh with his addiction so it's not completely oblique, but the aquarium thing still comes out of nowhere.
  • Being There ends when the main character is taking a stroll by himself after losing interest in Ben's funeral, and somehow walking onto the surface of a lake. And, just so there's no confusion, when he realizes where he is, he fully submerges his umbrella before accepting the situation and continuing his stroll. This ending was not the scripted one, but one the director conceived because he figured the movie was so believably acted — given its plot — that audiences would not find it unbelievable that the protagonist could do this. Note that there is a phrase uttered right before the credits; if you listen to it and compare it with the final shot, you will see it is a clear statement on the film's Aesop: "Life is a state of mind."
  • Big Man Japan is a mockumentary about a guy who has a crappy personal life who happens to be able to grow giant from electricity and fight kaiju. At the end the title character is getting the crap beat out of him by a monster, then it suddenly switches to a Stylistic Suck toku style, some Ultraman-esque American characters show up and brutally kill the monster without much effort. Roll credits over the main character having dinner with the American Ultraman family. It's supposed to symbolize the decline of Japan's place in the world or something but... What?.
  • The ending of The Black Hole. The crew go into the black hole and then... they're in Hell? And then they're in space? Wha? At least they did foreshadow the idea of the black hole being a gateway to Hell in dialogue. The villain and his (robotic soldier) Dragon end up merged and in Hell, the surviving heroes pass through Hell, somewhere else implied to be Heaven, and out into an entirely new universe. The comic adaptation helps.
  • Crossed with Surprisingly Happy Ending for Blood Moon with The Reveal at the end of the film that the bomb our hero's family was tied to was just a harmless confetti cannon, and that the supposed child killer never killed any children at all.
  • Blow-up, Michaelangelo Antonioni’s most successful film, widely regarded as his best. It centres on a fashion photographer in swinging London, who blows up a photo and finds that he has apparently captured the scene of a murder. The perpetrators might be after him, too. He does find the body back at the murder scene, but fails to do anything sensible about it and largely carries on with his life, visits a few happening places around London, and later finds that the photo has been stolen and the body has gone. Shortly after this last discovery, he stops to watch two mimes pretending to play tennis, and throws their "ball" back to them when "it" goes out. Watching play resume, he slowly fades from view and disappears, leaving an empty lawn. The end. Does this "mean" that the killers "rubbed him out"? You guess – there are no other clues.
  • The executive-butchered theatrical cut of Brazil, which, in an amusing flip from the norm, achieves this trope by not having a Cruel Twist Ending. It edits the final dream sequence to suddenly turn a dystopian, Black Comedy sci-fi epic into a cutesy, cuddly romance story with a Tastes Like Diabetes ending where the rebels magically rescue Sam and he gets to live happily ever after with his love interest who is supposed to be dead. In the original cut, it is revealed that the whole Deus ex Machina was just Sam's hallucinations as he descends into insanity, giving context to all the bizarre imagery and Ass Pulls.
  • The Burning: A mild example compared to others. Did the events really happen or was it all just a campfire story? It's also possible that time has passed in the final scene, so it's also possible that it did happen and has become so legendary that the story is swapped around the fire by other camps.
  • Casino Royale (1967), starring David Niven and Peter Sellers. While there had been some pretty weird parts earlier in the film, the ending takes the cake during the final showdown at the Big Bad's hideout, culminating with an all-out brawl featuring stereotypical Cowboys and Indians, the French Legion, seals, a chimp and a bubble machine, which ends with the casino blowing up, cutting to six James Bonds going to Heaven and a seventh going to Hell, all capped off with one of the most ridiculous closing themes ever to grace a movie. We now know that film had production troubles, which resulted in everyone throwing up their hands and saying, essentially, "Fuck it."
  • Casshern is confusing to say the least, but the ending is entirely made of pure whatthefuck. The rundown: Casshern/Tetsuya's father kills Casshern's fiance to show him the pain of losing the one you love. Casshern murders his father in vengeance. Fiancee comes back to life because her blood came into contact with that of the film's dead antagonist (It Makes Sense in Context, sort of) Fiancee says to leave her because the villain's blood has infected her with his hatred. Casshern says they'll be together always as souls rise up from the corpses littering the battlefield below them and join together in the sky. Then Casshern and fiancee FUCKING EXPLODE, sending a beam of light into the sky. Then we see them riding a bike in a field. Said beam travels through space as grainy flashbacks are interspersed, until it reaches a green planet, touching down in a bolt of metal lightning like the ones from earlier in the film. We then see Tetsuya's mother's greenhouse, and the movie ends on a shot of a boy and a girl as the film degrades. Ya got all that?
  • The ending of Cemetery Man is completely comprehensible, if you catch on to the incredibly subtle hints throughout that Francesco might not be real. Otherwise, it sort of comes out of nowhere and hits you over the head with a club made of both confusion and the laughter someone is bellowing at you somewhere in the universe. It's existential, is what we're saying.
  • Another, admittedly less extreme Takashi Miike example is Chakushin Ari. The Ringu-esque horror flick ends with the female lead (or is it the ghost impersonating the female lead?) stabbing the male lead, sending him to a hospital where he wakes up alone with her. She has a big 'ol knife behind her back and gives him the same candy the ghost gave all her victims... but then she just smiles happily like she's laughing at something while he eats it, we cut away to a blue sky, and the credits begin to roll over a J-Pop love ballad.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The ending credits start rolling as the two main characters fly off in the car, despite the fact that the car only had the ability to fly in the context of the nested story Potts had been telling Truly and the kids at the beach. Bonus points for irony since the car lifts off just as Potts is assuring Truly (somewhat OOC) that a man has to grow up and keep his feet firmly planted on the ground. He can't go through life with his head in the clouds, dreaming impossible dreams and losing touch with reality...
  • Christmas Evil: The film ends with Harry driving his car off a bridge. We than see his car flying off into the sky. Many viewers were confused by this. The writers eventually confirmed that this was actually his Dying Dream, and that he really just drove off the bridge and killed himself, but without this Word of God, you would have no idea.
  • The Laurel and Hardy short "Come Clean" is fairly standard comedy involving the eponymous duo hiding a strange woman from their wives while trying to get rid of her. The short ends when the police arrest the woman for an unnamed crime and ask who brought her to the apartment. Oliver claims that Stan is responsible, and the policeman says he'll receive a $1000 reward. Ollie then pulls the plug on the bath that Stan is sitting in, causing him to be sucked down the drain. When his wife asks where he's gone, Ollie answers "To the beach."
  • Cuties ends with Amy, her relationship with her family and the cuties both severely damaged, playing jump rope with some girls. The camera pans up with Amy continuing to jump. She manages to continuously jump higher and higher (eventually higher than humanly possible). The scene evokes a kind of spiritual ascension.
  • Not that The Day Time Ended (a movie featured in Season 12 of Mystery Science Theater 3000) made a whole lot of sense to begin with, but the ending of the movie is just the icing on the cake: After a serious Mind Screw sequence involving the ranch house and Grant ending up in all manner of strange landscapes, Grant and the house seemingly end up back where they started except only seconds after he had left his son in the barn, and yet it's somehow daylight outside when it had been night before. The two of them and Grant's wife wander around for a while in search of Jenny and her mother (who had gone missing in the fracas) or any sort of help before the mother suddenly teleports in right front of them. She tells them that everything is all right and that they were never in any danger, and they are soon joined by Jenny and her dad (the latter of whom ending up with them with little explanation). They go over a hill to find what appears to be a domed utopian alien city, and the movie ends with the family excitedly running down to it. Beyond a tacked-on explanation of a time-space anomaly being behind it, there's no explanation for how or when the family got to said city, where it is, why they were brought to live there or what any of the things that happened before had to do with it.
  • Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive ends this way. With Jojima pulling out an RPG from absolutely nowhere and Ryuuichi pulling out some sort of energy ball-thingy and them shooting at the same time, rocket and ball hitting eachother and blowing up Japan. Up until that point it had been a pretty realistic yakuza movie.
  • Dr. T & the Women ends with the eponymous gynecologist ending up in Mexico and being enlisted by a group of children to deliver a baby.
  • The Element of Crime is entirely a hypnosis induced flashback, with voice-over dialogue between the protagonist and his therapist. The story is sometimes confusing but overall makes sense. But then it ends with a black screen, and the protagonist's voice repeating "Doctor? I want to wake up now", and the voice of the therapist laughing slowly in the distance. Right before that, the protagonist randomly looks into a deep hole in the ground and sees a sloth. The hole was never given any attention before this, and there's been no mention of sloths.
  • Enemy, a paranoid thriller revolving around two men who are exact doubles, slowly builds up to end with... Adam staring resignedly at a giant spider?!
  • Feast III ends with two of the three surviving characters being crushed to death by a giant robot that comes out of nowhere, followed by a mariachi player showing up to sing a recap of the trilogy.
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan ends with Jason being caught in a flood of toxic waste in the New York sewers (happens every night apparently) causing him to, for some reason, become a completely normal-looking little boy in swimming trunks. The sequels never address this, probably because the sequels after that were produced by a new studio after Paramount dropped the series. The unused ending was even weirder, involving a tiny, normal-looking child version of Jason trying to crawl out of Jason's mouth right before the tidal wave of sludge. Presumably he was restored to the state he was in before he drowned in Crystal Lake (which, of course, would effectively end the series). How toxic waste would accomplish this, who the hell knows.
  • At the end of Grease, the car takes off and flies away. Probably intended as more of a fantasy/dream sequence, but still rather jarring. This scene is a direct nod to the original stage production, where the car exits center stage as the curtain falls with a big light behind it. And foreshadowed by Mrs. Murdock's line, "If this car were in any better shape, she'd fly."
  • The Great Yokai War has a very bizarre one that combines this trope with Deus ex Machina and Chekhov's Gun. Kato jumps into a glowing pit to go One-Winged Angel, when the guy from the movie's subplot falls onto a seesaw that throws the bean-counting yokai into the air. This causes him to drop his basket of beans, one of which falls into the pit. Then a song about beans being good for you plays for a few seconds, and after that, THE ENTIRE CITY EXPLODES. But that's okay, because none of the yokai were hurt. The yokai then say some cryptic stuff, conclude that festivals make them hungry (don't ask) and go wander off. Yeah.
  • The ending of Heart of Darkness (1958) takes enormous liberties with time and space. After the attack on Kurtz's jungle camp, Marlow walks away from Kurtz's body, declaring himself to be reborn. He calls out to Maria — who is six thousand miles away in England. She answers him and tells him the current date. Marlow walks out of the jungle and directly into the glass hothouse where he had an earlier scene with Maria.note  She is waiting there for him, seeming a lot more mentally stable than she did when they last saw each other. Marlow declares his intention to kiss her. There is a cut as he goes in for the kiss, and in the cut his rags change to new clothes. Finally, without any apparent passage of time, the background changes to a street scene and the episode ends with the couple walking together. So was the bulk of the story All Just a Dream? Is the ending itself a Dying Dream? Or is this just a decorative time-compression of Marlow's perfectly mundane return home?
  • Hellraiser ends with Kristy, after having banished the Cenobites, throwing the puzzle box in a fire to destroy it for good. Suddenly a creepy hobo walks into the fire and turns himself into a skeletal dragon that flies away with the box, which is later seen in the same shop it was at the beginning of the story.
  • From the Hong Kong film, Himalaya Singh. Most of the movie is a screwball comedy about a trio of tourists in India who somehow ends up getting involved with being betrothed to an Indian princess. But in the final scene, the main characer inexplicably meets Brahma, the India god of creation, discovers that reality of the entire universe is merely a dream by Brahman, and unintentionally wakes up the god... causing the entire world to be reset in the last minute of the film. The movie ends with the main characters as cavemen and the world starting anew.
  • Inverted in Jacob's Ladder: the entire film is a Mind Screw; the ending is perfectly normal Jacob was Dead All Along; the events in the movie were his dying delirium
  • Near the end of Kazaam, the main character is presumably killed after being pushed down an elevator shaft by the Big Bad, which allows him to control Kazaam. However, after Kazaam beats up all the villain's Mooks, he refuses to grant the villain's wish, instead squishes him into a ball, and makes a slam dunk. Then the craziness really begins: the building lights on fire, and Kazaam rushes down to the body of the shaft and picks up the body of Max. After much angst, he somehow glows and brings Max back to life, but then he becomes an ephemeral giant, and tells Max some platitudes before fading away into a sun. Cut to Max being rescued by a fireman, and Kazaam walking away with a minor character, apparently back to normal. Even for a movie about genies, this comes out of left field.
  • Knowing: The world will end in a super flare from our sun unless something is done at the location of the very first Creepy Child's new home. What happens there? Some alien/angel/demon/somethings that have been following the main kids around for the whole movie take said kids into some spaceship. The main protagonist goes back to be with his family. The sun asplodes. Cut to a shot of the two main kids being dropped off in some sort of meadow centered around the tree; presumably the kids are to Adam/Eve the human race again on some other planet, maybe it's Earth after destruction, and why are there other similar spaceship things in the background? After an entire movie trying to stay somewhat scientific and avoiding the mystical, they end it like this? The multiple spaceships imply that other pairs of children have been saved from the doomed Earth, foreshadowed by a line a little earlier when the aliens tell the children that "only the chosen" may come with them.
  • Labyrinth is already a pretty odd film, but the oddness culminates when Sarah enters the castle of Jareth the Goblin King and pursues her baby brother Toby through an M. C. Escher maze while Jareth sings a final Villain Song. The world then crumbles and Jareth gives a We Can Rule Together speech as Sarah recites lines from the play she's trapped inside. After she recites the final line — "You have no power over me!" — Jareth is forced to return Sarah and Toby home. Sarah heads upstairs to her room, where all the goblins inexplicably appear for a final celebration — except Jareth, who flies away from Sarah's window in the form of an owl.
  • Lawn Dogs is a fairly realistic and depressing movie about the friendship between a 10-year-old girl, Devon, and a 21-year-old lower-class outsider, Trent. You know it's going to end badly, when after Devon shoots the man who is beating up Trent and helps him to his car, she gives Trent a comb and a mirror and asks him to throw them out the window as he drives away, to cover his tracks. When he later does so, a river rises up underneath him, and a forest sprouts up behind him. This actually makes some sense metaphorically and was slightly set up, but still seems to come completely out of nowhere.
  • Lifeforce makes it patently unclear just what happens to Space Girl and Carlson after he stabs her and himself at the end. The novel the movie was based off was named "The Space Vampires" and, as Carlson was designated to be her new lifeforce gatherer as the prettyboy vamps had been; essentially their replacement, he wasn't taking the chance of ending up alone and drinking lives, possibly for eternity.
  • Local Hero, for the most part a charming, low-key dramedy about a Texas oil man being sent to buy up a small Scottish village, gets a little weird in its last half hour. It's hinted but never confirmed that the old man who's blocking the purchase is descended from the oil company's original owners, and that a major character's love interest is a mermaid. Then the oil man is sent back home, where he piles some shells he collected from the village beach on his counter, tacks up some pictures he took, and goes onto his balcony to watch the sunrise. Cut back to the village and its one phone ringing with no one answering.
  • Magnolia: The rain of frogs. Foreshadowed by the opening narration, which suggests God is real, and is a fan of irony.
  • The Wachowskis refuse to explain exactly what's going on with Neo and Smith, the Source, flaming truth vision, etc. etc. in the sequels to The Matrix. The fan theories are a bit odd, but that's inescapable given what they've got to work with.
  • The DVD for Men in Black II has a deleted alternate ending that is like this. J is given a vacation on a distant planet. His ship flies off into space, but when he gets out of his ship he is surrounded human-sized versions of the aliens from inside the locker earlier in the movie. He turns around and sees that he really is inside the locker when K slams the door of the locker, and J screams. The ending of the first Men in Black film is also a milder form of this. The camera zooms out from our galaxy and shows that it too is contained inside a small sphere, which a giant alien is playing marbles with.
  • Monster a-Go Go: at the end, the monster suddenly never existed, and the astronaut who everyone thought had turned into said monster turns up alive in the North Atlantic. It leaves a number of questions unanswered, starting with "then why did you have footage of the monster wandering around killing people?", moving through "why did we get to see, in graphic detail, every preparation the military made to hunt this monster that doesn't exist?", and finish up somewhere around "what the flying rat heck?!?"
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail builds up to what seems to be an epic battle on the horizon, with King Arthur raising an army out of seemingly nowhere to besiege the Castle Arrgh and wrest the Holy Grail from the clutches of the French. He sounds the charge, the English army lets out a war cry, and then....the cops show up and arrest everyone. One of the cops chides the cameraman and puts his hand over the camera lens, and the movie cuts to black. The end. Nope, no credits. Probably because the staff in charge of the credits were sacked at the beginning of the film.
  • The ending of Mulholland Dr. leaves you flabbergasted.
  • Played for Laughs in Murder by Death. The ending has the party of detectives escape various death traps and confront the butler, who they assumed was killed earlier in the movie. After presenting theory after theory, the butler pulls off a mask to reveal himself to be Lionel Twain, the guy who invited them over in the first place, and proceeds to mock the various Deus Ex Machinas in the story. After the puzzled detectives leave, Twain pulls off another mask to reveal himself to be the cook. Who was apparently faking being a deaf mute.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
    • The original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Was the whole movie a dream? Did Nancy ever escape into the real world? Was that part a dream? Is her mother dreaming?

      Since Nancy shows up in Nightmare 3, and specifically says something about her friends being killed, this should technically resolve the situation. Should. Watch the ending of the original Nightmare while knowing that Nancy survives, and it's still a WTF-y Gainax Ending.
    • The remake ends on one as well.
  • It's hard to tell what's real and what's not in Oldboy after Woo-jin completes his revenge on Dae-su and kills himself. Dae-su is left so utterly broken afterwards that any of the disconnected events in the last few minutes could be all in his head.
  • Performance has a notorious example, in which one protagonist kills the other for ambiguous reasons before consciously embracing his own death, and in the last split second of the film apparently turns into the other guy.
  • Places in the Heart has a fairly mild example. The film was one of several entries into the 1980's "farm movie" genre about families working to save their farms. Set in the 1930's in a small Texas town, it follows a fairly standard narrative for much of its runtime, dealing with the social and racial tensions in the town. After a climactic showdown with local Klan members, which sees the main black character run out of town, the final scene takes place in a church service. At first it seems like a normal service, grounded in realism like the rest of the film, but as communion is passed around, nearly every character previously seen in the film—friend and foe, good and bad, living and dead—is seen taking part in the communion. The final shot is completely startling and unexpected, but it forces the viewer to rethink everything we've seen before, and the way that it suggests grace and reconciliation qualifies as a genuine tear jerker.
  • The ending to Planet of the Apes (2001). Marky Mark hops in his spacepod, flies back through the timewarp, and... suddenly he's on Earth (or what we assume is Earth), and apes have replaced humans. Did he just bump his head getting into the pod, and is hallucinating? Yeah, that's gotta be it. According to Tim Burton, that was supposed to be a cliffhanger if a sequel was made. The sequel wasn't made, so now it's just weird. This is actually the same twist ending that was used in the original novel, although the film is lacking in setup. The basic premise is that the Apes taking over is the inevitable future for mankind. When the protagonist goes back through the time vortex to Earth he doesn't end up at the time he left, but instead a point after the Apes had taken over. According to Helena Bonham-Carter, it was originally supposed to be a Twist Ending where he would learn that General Thade had beaten him back to the past and taken over the world...Somehow. Hence the reason that the Lincoln Memorial has been replaced by a statue of Thade. Tim Burton later admitted that this was an attempt to tie the franchise into knots just so that he wouldn't have to come back to it.
  • In Psycho Beach Party, the ending kicks the dog: rather than let Chicklet be happy, they use an All Just a Dream ending revealing Chicklet to be in an insane asylum having imagined the whole thing. It then switches to a drive-in movie theater, presenting it as a movie, and two minor characters complain about the lameness of the ending. They are then stabbed by Chicklet's alternate personality. For added gainaxing, Chicklet's split personality was a red herring — she wasn't the killer. Considering it is a satirical parody of slasher movies, the Gainax Ending is itself a bit of brilliance as a mashup of several different slasher movie Gainax Endings.
  • The Quiet Earth: A climactic sequence in which a guilty Zac attempts to reverse the "effect"note  ends, after lots of trippy special effects, with Zac waking up on a beach under the beautiful Alien Sky shown on the film's poster (and at the trope page). He gets up and walks away purposefully, as if he understands what this means. But no viewer ever has.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: It's an understatement to say the film is weird from the start, but around the Floor Show things go straight to Eleven, as a completely out-of-nowhere (even for Rocky Horror) burlesque cross-dressing number descends into random swimming, and then it's revealed Frank-n-Furter, Riff-Raff, and Magenta are all aliens from Planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. Riff-Raff and Magenta then kill Frank-n-Furter and leave Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott in the dust as the mansion takes off into space. The Criminologist reaffirms that we're just insects adrift in a meaningless void of time and space, and the movie ends.
    • The sequel, Shock Treatment is slightly better. Brad, Janet, Betty and Oliver happily sing and dance away, stealing the convertible. All of the citizens of Denton are committed to a mental institution, but they seem happy about it.
  • Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny Ends with the Ice Cream Bunny rescuing Santa in a firetruck, with the implication he drove Santa back to the North Pole (apparently the firetruck can fly?). The last shot is of his sleigh (which has been stuck on the beach) suddenly teleporting back to the North Pole as well (despite Santa saying earlier he had no way to take the sleigh with him) and the words "Merry Christmas" appearing on the screen.
  • The somewhat obscure Monte Hellman western The Shooting, from 1966, has an ending that raises a lot more questions than it answers.
  • The ending of Silent Hill was quite opaque. One possible interpretation of the ending is that, once you stumble into Silent Hill, you can't escape. The sequel's answers were... disappointing. At the end of the first film, Rose was still trapped in the Fog World dimension with a fully reincarnated young Alessa after Dark Alessa merged with Sharon, her good half and Rose's daughter. They had seemingly killed off all the remaining members of the town's cult and were destined to live together alone. In the sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, much of that is haphazardly thrown out the window as we're told Rose found half of the Seal of Metatron (how or where is never mentioned) which she used to send Sharon back into the real world, and no mention whatsoever is ever made of Sharon having been merged with Dark Alessa. Later dialogue from Dark Alessa also seems to contradict their merging at the end of the first movie. There's ALSO a whole new population of cult members from nowhere, somehow.
  • After the heroine of Slumber Party Massacre II vanquishes the supernatural Driller Killer, she wakes up next to her boyfriend, suggesting that all the preceding was All Just a Dream. Then the killer appears in the place of her boyfriend and she is suddenly in a mental institute, screaming as the killer's drill pierces the floor.
  • The ending of Snuff Movie makes it impossible to tell if anything we've just seen was real. Boris is alive, and still married to Mary, who was never murdered. Wendy doesn't exist, but is the role Mary is going to be playing in a movie. Andy doesn't exist, but is an actor named Peter who is going to play the role of Andy, but Peter bears the injuries Andy sustained. The rabbit hole goes on and on.
  • Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker has one of these. In the last scene, we see the title character's daughter, who is apparently mute and is said to have suffered from birth defects related to her father's work, all by herself in the family kitchen, seemingly using psychokinetic powers to idly push three glasses off a table as a train roars past outside with enough force to shake the structure. While this seems to have very little connection to any of the events of the film, its possible interpretation has been subject to as much discussion as 2001's ending.
  • Most films by David Lynch, excluding the aptly-named The Straight Story.
  • Here is how Charlie Chaplin film Sunnyside ends: Charlie, grief-stricken after his girl rejects him, commits suicide by stepping in front of a speeding car. This is revealed to be a dream when Charlie wakes up in the hotel, and instead we get a Happy Ending in which Charlie embraces his girl and sends the city chap packing. However, there is nothing intrinsic to the narrative saying which part of the film is the dream. It is equally possible to assume that Charlie did get hit by the car and the last part, with Charlie winning his girl and the city chap leaving, is his Dying Dream. Critics have been arguing about how to interpret the end to this movie ever since.
  • The Sword of Doom ends with the remorseless samurai Ryunosuke Tsukue, who has spent the whole film killing nearly everyone he meets and making new enemies, going into a haunted geisha house, meeting the granddaughter of a man he killed in the opening scene, and then going completely insane without any explanation. He starts slashing at the ghosts of everyone he's killed and tearing through a trembling, geometrically impossible maze of paper walls, then engages in a sword fight with what appears to be hundreds of assassins from his gang, even though there should be about a dozen of them at most. The assassins start throwing pillows at him instead of using their swords, then the movie abruptly ends with a shot of Ryunosuke lunging at the camera, leaving all of the subplots unresolved.
  • The Arthurian fantasy film Sword of the Valiant: After Sir Gawain has defeated the Green Knight, he reunites with his love interest Linet, who promptly explains that she, like him, has "lived a borrowed year" and tells him to touch her cheek. He does and she suddenly turns into a bird and flies away, the movie closing on a frozen shot of a puzzled Gawain. Interestingly, this contrasts with a previous film version the same director made about eleven years prior using largely the same script, titled Gawain and the Green Knight, which had a perfectly conventional Happy Ending with Gawain and Linet Riding into the Sunset.
  • A Syfy Original Movie about a mission to Mars is notable for being shown mostly from camera angles. The crew has to undergo several hardships, including sabotage efforts by a Corrupt Corporate Executive but manage to successfully land on the red planet. Since the captain is suffering from a nanite infection (which is killing his nerve cells), his Number One makes the historic first step on another planet. All the world is watching as the camera she set up is zoomed on her face. She starts giving a speech, only to suddenly look somewhere off to the side and say "oh my God!" with an astonished face, before the feed suddenly cuts out. The news anchors reporting on the mission say that a satellite in orbit is being repositioned to take a look at the landing site. The movie ends with a fly-by of the Martian landscape and a Cliffhanger.
  • While Luis Buñuel's last movie That Obscure Object of Desire still classifies as a surrealist work, the surreal elements are notably toned down in comparison to his earlier films (maybe apart from the female lead character being portrayed by two different actresses whose approaches to the role are also vastly different). The movie's plot develops in a pretty straightforward manner and surrealist elements are strewn throughout the movie almost unnoticeably -– sometimes purely for comedic effect, as it seems... that is until the very last scene when the two main characters who seem to have (more or less) come to terms with each other are unexpectedly blown up by a bomb. And that's it.
  • The 2011 Terrence Malick film The Tree of Life. Is the beach a metaphor for heaven? Or a dream? Or some sort of confluence of memory? Who knows?
  • Uncut Gems looks like it's about to have a happy ending, with Howard's bet coming through and earning him more than enough money to pay off the Loan Shark that's been hounding him all movie...and then the guy decides to pull a Diabolus ex Machina and shoots Howard and one of his own henchmen as he robs the jewelry store. The only apparent "threat" from the previous ten minutes turns out to be harmless, and the movie ends with a zoom into the bullet wound in Howard's face, eventually possibly turning into the inside of the titular gem (which makes it Book-Ends with the beginning of the movie where it zoomed into the gems in the prologue and came out as Howard's colonoscopy), but it's tough to tell because it never pans back outward this time.
  • The Hume Lake film We Like Sheep is an adaptation of the Parable of the Lost Sheep from The Bible (with a bit of The Prodigal Son mixed in), and ends with the rebellious sheep Davey accepting his place, receiving his Shepherd's forgiveness, and returning to the flock for their Show Within a Show. However, the DVD contains three parody endings, including: 1. Davey accidentally killing the Shepherd a quarter of the way through the plot, 2. A parody of Left Behind where the sheep are raptured and the Shepherd isn't but starts a rebellion group against the Antichrist, and 3. the Shepherd turning out to be Evil All Along, murdering all his sheep with a horde of killer robots, then climbing atop their bodies and exclaiming "I'm the king of the world! Someone bring me a pecan pie!"
  • Zardoz: After most of the Eternals are killed, Consuella abruptly pairs up with Zed and gives birth to their son. He is shown growing up as they age, then leaves as they fade into nothing, leaving only skeletons beside Zed's rusted revolver, with handprints on the wall. All of this is accompanied by Beethoven's Seventh Symphony without any dialogue-bits of it had been heard throughout the film prior to this. You could kind of see it as a contrast with the Eternals' immortality, as a cycle of life image, but... what?


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