If you’re a storyteller looking for a dramatic gut-punch of an ending, with the potential to thrill and shock your audience in equal measure, you can do worse than having your villain triumph.
Stories where the heroes strive against the odds, get knocked about a bit around the narrative’s two-thirds mark, and ultimately pull off a last-minute victory are ten-a-penny. Stories where the capable, resourceful villain actually gets rewarded for his efforts and isn’t cut down by some arbitrary deus ex machina tend to stick in the memory.
Of course, these can also be some of the bleakest tales imaginable, and skill is required to ensure that the audience is left feeling haunted and depressed in all the right ways, rather than merely cheated. If a film or TV show’s natural ending is one where evil throws itself a parade, then go for it, and draw the required lessons from these spoiler-heavy examples…
This article was first posted on October 10, 2012