9. That Brutal Ending - Witchfinder General
This cult English Civil War folk horror is best remembered for its shockingly abrupt, brutal ending. The scene, in which Ian Ogilvy's Roundhead soldier savagely hacks the evil witchfinder to pieces in a fit of vengeful madness, has been seen as emblematic of the movie's cynical, nihilistic worldview.
As originally scripted, however, the film would have had a more conventional ending reflecting that of the source novel. Vincent Price's witchfinder would have been dealt the same cruel fate he gave to others and be executed in a moment of karmic justice.
The planned sequence, which involved a whole gypsy camp full of extras, was deemed far too costly by producer Tony Tenser. With Price due to start his run on Broadway musical Darling Of The Day, a new ending had to be pulled together on the spot.
This led director Michael Reeves to the far smaller and more downbeat ending with which we're now familiar.
With soldiers rushing in at the last minute to put the axe-damaged witchfinder out of his misery with a gunshot, Ogilvy had one more moment of improvisation. He let out an agonised howl at being robbed of taking personal vengeance. It is this ad-libbed primal scream at a world gone mad that is the final lingering sense the movie leaves you with.