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Inescapable Horror

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After an hour or so of creepy, creepy, statues and shop mannequins that come to life and murder your face off, nothing in the world could be more relaxing than a little footage showing that these things are absolutely everywhere you look. Have fun sleeping tonight!

Usually takes the form of a single lingering shot or a montage at the end of a film or episode and is a common way of ending a horror film on a creepy note. It is often accompanied by spooky music and may include a Jump Scare. This trope is (almost exclusively) used as a way to wrap up a film or episode in a way that is scary.

Generally their intention is to show that the monster, disease, etc is:

  • Entirely ubiquitous, everywhere, surrounding us and closing in, or being sold in large numbers to an unsuspecting public (such as a voodoo doll), etc.
  • Somehow survived and is biding its time.
  • Or, worse, multiplied. (Can include diseases being transmitted.)

Though the thing itself doesn't even have to be related to the Big Bad in any way and may be stepping in to take its place, or was the real danger all along.

Is a form of very intentional Paranoia Fuel, can be Sequel Bait, and is (generally) intended to invoke The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You. A particular form of The End... Or Is It?. Not to be confused with The Stinger, which generally happens during or after the credits and generally isn't intended to frighten. Compare with Neverending Terror.


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  • Banshee Chapter is a film about an entity that relentleslly pursues its victims, and no one knows how to get away from it for good.
  • Godzilla (1998) ends with eggs hatching.
  • Cabin Fever: at the end of the film we see children playing in the water downstream from a dead body of one of the infected, this changes to a shot of people drinking the contaminated water and a tanker of it heading off into the distance to be sold as spring-water all over the country.
    • The ending of Cabin Fever 2 more explicitly showed the spread of the disease through an animated montage.
  • At the end of The Film Of The Musical Of The Film Little Shop of Horrors we see a little Audrey II growing in the ground.
    • The original filmed but unused ending took it further, with Seymour and Audrey being eaten, and Audrey II sprouts ending up sold en masse. It doesn't turn out well.
  • Species. At the very end, after the Sil monster is destroyed we see a rat chewing on a piece of her body. The rat mutates, indicating that it will become another Sil.
  • Night of the Creeps has an odd variant. The final shot is a graveyard, which implies the space leeches are burrowing down to incubate in the brains of the dead... but there's a spaceship hovering over the graveyard, which implies that the aliens are here to clean up the space leeches — possibly at the expense of the human race.
  • At the end of the American version of The Ring, the heroine and her son have learned that the only way to keep the curse from killing them is to copy the tape and show it to someone else. This means that, barring a rather horrifying Heroic Sacrifice, the thing will just keep spreading.
  • The Return of the Living Dead ends with a replay of the sequence in which the zombie-creating 245-Trioxin vapors rise into the clouds, get dispersed in the rain, and sink into the graveyard. Considering how much of the chemical must've been converted to toxic smoke by the nuclear weapon, it's implied that a lot of the Midwest will soon be getting soaked with radioactive Zombie Rain.
  • The Babadook is a case of this. In his book, it is stated "If it's in a word or it's in a look...You can't get rid of the Babadook" and both Protagonist Amelia as well as her son Samuel are very aware that they can't fight him or even get help. By the end of the movie, Amelia and Samuel survive by scaring the creature through screaming, but the ending shows that the Babadook lives in their basement now, feeding on the worms he gets from Amelia and that he tries to re-possess her every single time she comes down the staircase. Subtextually, The Babadook is a manifestation of Amelia's ugly feelings like grief, anger, and resentment over being widowed with a difficult-to-raise child; she can learn to control and live with it, but it'll never truly go away.
  • In Ju-on: The Curse 2, Noboyuki is one of the few that survive up to the end. He is cleaning up school, stuck with an emotionless face before he suddenly gets hunted by Kayako again. He escapes her multiple times, but there are multiple Kayakos and they corner him. By the end of the scene, they are all banging against the windows and seen standing on the schoolyard.
    • In the third movie, the curse has spread across the entire city of Tokyo and it is left unknown, if all of Japan or possibly the entire world might have fallen victim to it as well...
  • It Follows has this as the whole premise, as "It" will always, always find its way to you if you're Its current target. The Ambiguous Ending hints that It may still be alive and stalking the protagonists, as an out-of-focus figure in the background seems to be walking slowly but surely towards them...

  • An in-universe example appears in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, when Greg and Rowley watch a movie about a muddy hand that goes around killing people. The last person who sees the hand is always the next victim. At the end of the movie, the hand crawls straight towards the screen, implying that Greg and Rowley are the next victims. This kept them nervous and paranoid for the rest of the book.
  • In the novel The Ring, Sadako is explicitly using the cursed videotape to spread her influence, but then she spreads to a report on the tape, a novelization of her story, the movie adaptation of the novel...

    Live-Action TV 
  • The ending of the Doctor Who episode "Blink", with a montage of statues.
    The Doctor: (following gargoyle close-up) Don't blink. (cut to shots of three successive human statues) Blink and you're dead. (cut to several more statues) Don't turn your back, (cut to two more statues) don't look away, (cut to several more statues) and don't blink. (several statues in quick succession) Good luck. (cut to close-up on the Doctor's eyes — he blinks)
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?:
    • In "The Dangerous Soup", the heroes think they have conquered the demon and their fears once and for all, but then Dr. Vink locks them both in the freezer to face further unseen (by the audience) horrors, saying that he is "going to be in business for a long time".
    • In "The Curious Camera", after the titular camera is finally destroyed, the Gremlin possessing it jumps to a video camera. Then after THAT is taken out, it possesses a computer.
    • At the end of "The Hatching", one of the reptile eggs is still intact, and begins to hatch.

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate, after Sarevok is defeated, we get a shot of his statue crumbling to dust. Then the camera moves away, showing an underground temple of Bhaal, filled with rows upon rows of statues.
  • At the end of the Dragon Age: Origins DLC "The Golems of Amgarrak", the last shot is of the Warden leaving the ruins after putting an end to the Harvester that massacred the dwarves there ...shortly followed by dozens more Harvesters scuttling after.
  • The bad endings to the second Clock Tower, where the search for the statue needed to break the Barrows curse comes to a dead end. Jennifer even notes in her journal that "there is no way for us to escape from Scissorman"... and then the scene cuts to black just as the sound of clanking scissors is heard outside the window.
    • In Helen's version of the ending, she finds Jennifer dead at her desk, with a pair of scissors in her back and doesn't notice Scissorman is hiding right behind the door.