10 Bleakest Endings In Horror Movies

Horror films deal with depressing fare as it is, but these particular films push the limit on bleak.

Shivers Lynn Lowry

Horror movies have been around practically as long as film has existed as a medium. Something about exploring the morbid side of the world appeals to a dark and primal part of our psyche. Perhaps it is all due to catharsis; horror movies are like thrill rides at the funfair. They give you the illusion of danger, provoke your fear response but you know you remain safe at the end.

Whilst it is true that lots of horror movies have a happy ending - the final girl triumphing over the deranged killer who has plagued her for the run time - there are some horror movies that really double down on their bleak worldview, presenting an ending that leaves the viewer feeling down, upset or even angry at how unfair the climax of the piece was.

These endings tend to stick with us for a long time, keeping us thinking about the film long after the credits roll. In this article we’ve gathered ten of the bleakest horror movie endings ever put on film.

Warning: There will of course be spoilers for the movies in this article!

10. Night Of The Living Dead

Shivers Lynn Lowry
Continental Distributing

There’s a lot of racial commentary that comes with the ending of George A. Romero’s original zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, in which protagonist Ben - a black man, manages to navigate hostilities inside the farmhouse with the likes of Cooper and avoid becoming chow for the ever-growing number of zombies outside only to be taken out by a group of trigger-happy rednecks in the films closing credits.

Director George A. Romero always maintained that none of this commentary was meant to be in the film, as the character was not intended to be any particular race, with actor Duane Jones winning the part purely on the strength of his audition.

Night of the Living Dead is already a pretty bleak movie; effectively notching up the sense of hopelessness continuously throughout its runtime. Whether the powerful tone of the ending was intentional or not, the reading of the film is clearly there and provides a painfully bleak ending to a masterpiece movie that leaves the audience with a clear message; even in the face of great terror – humanity is the truest evil of them all.

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I'm Jamie, I am a writer and filmmaker based in Essex, UK. My key interests are in film and TV, particularly horror and comedy. I've published several short stories and hoping to publish a novel soon. Specialist subjects include Resident Evil, horror movies and Doctor Who.