Isn’t it frustrating when you’re watching a film that seems so thoroughly fantastic, but it can’t quick stick the landing, and we’re stuck with a dissatisfying ending? It’s all the worse when you can tell the ending has been tacked on after a disastrous studio test screening, in which audiences didn’t think the ending was happy enough. As a result, a lot of the endings featured in this list are resolutely downbeat, but they’re also more in tune with the tone of the film prior to its climax, and in one instance, the ending was so strong that it was reconstituted into the film for home video releases.
Here are 10 alternate endings that actually improve movies.
10. Clerks – Dante Is Murdered
Granted, with this ending, we would never have had the surprisingly excellent Clerks 2 to marvel over, but this alternate ending to Kevin Smith’s breakthrough indie is nevertheless a tragically ironic way to end Dante’s day, in line with the “two middle fingers to the audience” endings that European cinema is better known for. Smith did admit that he wrote this ending originally because he couldn’t think of another way to end it impactfully, though a few key remnants remain in the film that would have made the ending even more thematically resonant. Not only does this ending remind us of Dante’s assertion that Empire is the best Star Wars film because of its downbeat ending, but the fact that Randall unplugs the security camera earlier on in the film means that, on the most devastating note of all, the killer will probably get away with it, too.
Still, changing the ending meant that we got a hilarious, resonant sequel, so we’re not to be too hard on Smith for it, and when you’re trying to crack the film business, why wouldn’t you give the studio a happy ending?
This article was first posted on November 19, 2012