Mystery in drama is crucial and the questions drive the narrative. Conflict then drives resolution and resolution brings satisfaction. So what about the films that do not provide all the answers?
Ambiguity poses curiosity. "You wanna know how I got these scars?" asked the Joker. No we don't. Imagine the kids in 1983, with no VCR, no internet and no more Star Wars. At the climax of The Return of the Jedi, we had all the answers we were ever going to get and a generation took what the movies had briefly touched upon and used the greatest tool available to them - their imagination.
In this list, films that posed some of the most wonderful, ambiguous mysteries have been stripped bare, the imagination made redundant as sequels, prequels and spin offs have provided explanations to the very riddles that lay at the very heart of the film's enjoyment - the question itself.
Was Deckard a replicant? Where did the Space Jockey originate from? Why was the Highlander immortal? Scary questions only provide scary answers.
10. Leatherface - The Origin Of Leatherface
Movie monsters don't come much more one dimensional than Leatherface, but is that such a bad thing? Armed with the eponymous chainsaw and a dead skin mask, there's no negotiation here. He might hang you from a meat hook in the basement first but you are going to die. There is nothing you can do about it and no amount of screaming is going to change that.
Leatherface came from the imagination of Texas Chainsaw writers Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper and was there to do one job only. The unwitting teens who find themselves on the slab are not saved knowing that the man who's about to end their lives had a rough childhood or that there were mental health issues to consider.
Leatherface was like the shark in Jaws or the truck in Duel - an unstoppable force with a Terminator-like singularity of purpose - kill, maim and kill some more.
Then directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury gave us Leatherface The Movie. This pathetic prequel-cash-grab gave us the dreaded origin story; Jedidiah Sawyer, now renamed Jackson, inmate at a mental institution and scapegoat in a series of murders committed by his family, cannot escape his destiny and stitches himself a leather face.
Great. No mystery there anymore - just a love starved little boy who was a product of a bad upbringing. There's enough of that tragedy in the real world, so why make Leatherface, of all people, sympathetic?