Villainesque Movie Endings- Evil Rant #36
In the spirit of continuing our ever growing commitment to villainesque ideals, we will now examine some of the movie industry's most valuable contributions to this idea. You will find that, regardless of the overall quality of the movie itself (whether some of these are hits or misses, by general movie standards, is certainly debatable), the endings to these films are right on the money.
In fact, the endings of these movies so generously inspire the values of the villainesque genre, that they are enough to spur any good villain into action! On a personal level, the conclusion to each of these films filled me with a kind of sinister delight that few things do and, eventually served as an indicator of my existing villainous temperament. And after all, why shouldn't evil doers be allowed to enjoy a happy ending now and then?
*Spoiler Alert* Obviously to be able to discuss movie endings effectively, I'm probably going to have to give some things
away. So if you have any doubts about wanting to know the endings to movies you might not have seen, then read the titles to
each film that I've provided in bold first; and then decide.
Silence of the Lambs (1991) Hannibal Lecter is often counted as being among the greatest movie villains of all time. How appropriate then, that his most famous screen appearance is the first on our list of villainesque endings. Although it's not the most iconic scene in the film, this ending does leave the audience on a deliciously wicked note. After calling to congratulate Clarice Starling on her success (much to her shock and surprise), we find that the good doctor (who's daring and gruesome escape was partly assisted, unwillingly, by the young FBI trainee who he just phoned) has already managed to make his way to a foreign land. But like any good villain, he's not there to hide or run; no, quite the opposite. He has some personal, unfinished business to attend to.
"I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."
The Usual Suspects (1995) The Usual Suspects, need I say more? The ending to this movie has become infamous and, in fact, I would argue that the ending is what truly makes this movie! It is also an extremely villainesque ending. A U.S. Customs Agent who claims that he is trained to spot to a murder and who is so obsessed with searching for Dean Keaton, a cop gone very bad, that he fails to realize that a much worse, legendarily ruthless criminal is in his presence. In fact, this guy is so bad that he actually used and then killed the very ex-cop that the Special Agent is looking for. From the beginning we know that Verbal Kint (played by Kevin Spacey) is a con man; but it appears that everyone, including Special Agent Dave Kujan, really underestimated him. A big mistake when dealing with a villain of the magnitude of Keyser Söze!
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, he's gone."
Interview with the Vampire (1994) Although, all and all I would not consider the greater part of this movie to be very villainesque, I do get a kick out of its ending. Proof that you can't keep a good (evil) vampire down! It's a shame that people focus so much on Brad Pitt's character in this movie because, as far as I'm concerned, Lestat (played by Tom Cruise) is by far the greatest character in this film. We find Christian Slater's character, who has just had his brush with the undead and is now making his escape while listening to the material he got and trying to calm down as he's cruising in his red convertible. Unfortunately, someone who needs no introduction is lurking in the back seat and has different plans. You didn't really think we could write off Lestat that easily, did you?
"Oh, Louis, Louis, still whining, Louis? Have you heard enough? I've had to listen to that for centuries. Don't be afraid. I'm
going to give you the choice I never had."
Fallen (1998) Much of this movie is mediocre but the ending is an extremely refreshing one. I've always believed that, if there were real demons and devils out there, we mere humans wouldn't stand a chance against them and this is one movie that accurately depicts what would really happen in such a situation. This should teach any "self-righteous cops" out there not to try to do battle with supernatural forces that they can't possibly comprehend. Detective John Hobbes (played by Denzel Washington) puts up a good fight, but ultimately the more powerful being wins; just like in real life. Take that, morality!
"I said I was going to tell you about the time I almost died."
Note that this ending, as well as the ending to Interview with the Vampire, each fades to their credits with a different rendition
of Sympathy for the Devil, which really helps to lay on the sinister affect ("Fallen" features The Rolling Stones version and
"Interview with the Vampire" plays the Guns N' Roses rendition.)
American psycho (2000) This is definitely one of my favorite movies in general, with the protagonist himself being very villain like. And, wait? You mean after committing dozens of horrific murders, blowing up a police squad car, being a generally cold, greedy, inhuman monster who is more concerned with the look of his business cards then he is with human life and confessing all of the this to his attorney; he's still just sitting around his favorite upscale bar with his friends as if nothing even happened?! Cool.
"But even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself.
No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing."
Fight Club (1996) You have just put a gun in your own mouth and shot yourself in the head, thus killing (or partially assimilating with?) you're alternate personality/ imaginary friend who is hell bent on using his growing army of disenchanted, middle class workers to overthrow society as we know it. Now you stand at a top floor window of a large abandoned building with your suicidal girlfriend, who you thought was just a casual acquaintance that you hated, and who you've been unknowingly screwing for the past few months. You stand there, hand in hand while watching the very literal collapse of our economic structure thanks to a few strategically placed vans full of nitroglycerin. Ah, now that's romance! Fight Club is such a great flick.
"You met me at a very strange time in my life."
Con Air (1997) Here we have the other film in which the ending really does make the movie (or at least the villainesque
aspect of it). Though, this film is pretty entertaining throughout. Having put an end to the antics of Cyrus the Virus, immediately
after surviving a monster plane crash on the Las Vegas strip, Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) has been reunited with his family in
an extremely sappy ending seen. Love and warm, fuzzy feelings all around. But wait, aren't we forgetting about someone? A certain
mass murderer whose deeds were described as making the Manson family look like the Partridge family? In the final seconds of
the movie we see Garland Green, aka The Marietta Mangler (Steve Buscemi), who has evidently escaped and is now at a craps table
in a nearby casino, shooting dice and sipping a beverage. Does the shooter feel lucky? "Yes, yes he does."
Payback (1999) I'm certainly no fan of Mel Gibson but this is one film that's truly fun. It even has a villainesque tag
line: "Get ready to root for the bad guy". And the bad guy does win in at end of this (of course, there aren't any real "good
guys" in this movie, which certainly helps). Although I enjoy many of the main character's monologues, it is the last line that
is definitely the best: "We made a deal: if she'd stop hooking, I'd stop shooting people. I guess we were both aiming a little
John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness (1995) Private investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) has recently had a few minor stress factors enter into his life. First, the world is about to end, the entire population is being swallowed up by insanity and demonic beings are invading our realm of existence and taking over. Secondly, it was Trent who actually helped to seal the world's fate by recovering a document written by an enigmatic but popular Lovecraftian style novelist named Sutter Cane. And finally, Trent has also discovered that he, himself is nothing more than a fictional literary character created by Sutter Cane, and really has no free will of his own. Can you really blame the guy for having a little bit of a psychological breakdown?
At the end of this film, our protagonist strolls out of his cell in a now abandoned mental institution and walks through the vacant city streets. The world as we know it has ended and the human race, for the most part, is no more. Trent walks into an empty movie theater, sits down with a box of popcorn and alone amongst the dark seats, watches the movie version of Sutter Cane's latest book; the one that just doomed mankind. And this film which he is viewing consists of clips from the movie that we, the audience, just saw. And as our friend John Trent watches himself on the big screen trying to rationalize the bizarre things taking place, as he did through the entire movie, he begins to laugh insanely at himself and the entire situation right before the film abruptly cuts to black. Who says that "god's not supposed to be a hack horror writer"?
Despite the fact that Sam Neill's character is certainly not the villain in this, I still get a sense of excitement and fulfillment
from watching this movie. First few times that I saw it I found myself laughing all long with the character at the end. The fact
that I found this seemingly bleak ending to be so exhilarating was one of my most significant indications about just how vast
the differences are in my thinking, compared with that of most other people. Sutter Cane is definitely a very villainesque character
and he (or at least the demons he represents) unquestionably wins at the end of this movie. Another reason why I like this film
so much has to do with the fact that it is entertainment media, the books and later the movie, that is responsible for unleashing
this dark power. Of course, this is obviously the director John Carpenter's satire of people's real fear of the power of violent
entertainment. And you may also be interested to know that the first and last scenes of this movie may have influenced certain
distinctive elements in the creation of this site (Twisted Jenius); can you guess how?
Well, as we conclude I hope that this rant has given you a better idea of what I mean when I say "villainesque". In most movies where there is a villainous character, there is often some sort of struggle. Anything which is extremely villain-like can be justifiably placed into this category; but it can sometimes be a simple matter of who comes out on top in the end, that determines whether something can be rightfully called villainesque. The ending of a movie can often make or break it (or at least can determine whether it is great or just mediocre). Regardless of what others may think about the films that we have just examined, I must say, they all left me with a very "good" feeling.
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