Nowadays, horror flicks tend to use cliffhangers to hint at a possible sequel. But if you think back through the past 30 years of horror, cliffhangers weren't always used as a segueway into another film. Believe it or not, they were actually used to scare or shock the audience. And if you'll read below, you can see the best examples of how cliffhangers should really be utilized.
5. Freddy's Not Dead! ('A Nightmare On Elm Street')
I couldn't even think of leaving out this classic slasher movie cliffhanger, could I? At the end of the first A Nightmare On Elm Street movie, the survivor banishes Freddy away "forever," and even gets her mom and friends back from the dead. However, this happy ending falls completely apart once the Freddy-looking car starts driving itself and all of the survivors into the sunset, and her mother gets simultaneously pulled through a window by Mr. Krueger himself.
4. Oh My God — It's A Boy! ('Sleepaway Camp')
Saying the ending to this classic slasher isn't one of the most shocking, creepiest or strangest you've ever seen would be a lie. In fact, this ending could just be the most memorable on my list, just because of how disturbing it actually is. Now, to put it simply, the said female victim of the movie turns out to not only be the killer, but also — a boy.
Check it out. NSFW, by the way!
3. Was It The Boogeyman? ('Halloween')
One of my all-time favorite movie cliffhangers is at the end of the original Halloween. Michael Myers is shot multiple times and falls off a two-story balcony. However, once his doctor goes to look over and see if Michael Myers is still there, he realizes what he already knew was gonna be true — Myers is gone.
This ending scared audiences to death because neither good nor evil wins the final battle. The villain got up and escaped into the night, nowhere to be found. You can imagine people were terrified of hypothetically running into Michael Myers once they left the theater, and that's exactly how you're supposed to end a horror movie.
2. He's Still There! ('Friday The 13th')
This official introduction to the being we now know as Jason Voorhees is perhaps the greatest jump scare in all of horror. At the end of the original Friday The 13th film, the survivor is relieved to find out she'll finally be rescued and the nightmare will be over. Sincere music is playing, and the audience is set up to think everything will be OK. Then all of a sudden, Jason springs up and pulls the girl underwater. This scene was guaranteed to make popcorn fly back in 1980, and still holds up to this day.
1. An Evil Little Girl ('Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers')
Rivaling Sleepaway Camp in shocking horror-movie cliffhangers has to be Halloween 4. After Michael Myers is shot down by pretty much the whole town of Haddonfield, an unseen transfer of evil is passed between him and his niece when she grabs his hand. Then right before the movie ends, this innocent little girl the audience was once rooting for viciously stabs her stepmother for no apparent reason. When the audience watches the stepmother get stabbed, it's in first person, so everyone is led to believe Michael Myers was the one doing the dirty work. It wasn't until the doctor runs upstairs and sees this little girl holding the knife that we realize how messed up the situation really is!
And those are the five best horror movie cliffhangers I could think of. I personally like cliffhangers in any genre of film, but I think it works best in horror, if only for the sake of leaving the audience with a bad taste in their mouths!