Film Spoilers and
|Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description|
They All Did It, According to Undercover FBI Agent Mr. Green
There were many other films with the simple premise of a killer murdering people one-by-one in an isolated or confined setting - for example, The Bat Whispers (1930), The Old Dark House (1932), One Frightened Night (1935), The Cat and the Canary (1939), Hold That Ghost (1941), And Then There Were None (1945), Ten Little Indians (1965), and Murder by Death (1976).
This triple-ended murder-mystery spoof set in the mid-1950s in a remote New England mansion was a comic adaptation of the popular Parker Bros. board game. It was revealed in the third ending ("This is what really happened"), the most complex and believable of the multiple endings to the film, that:
In summary, everyone except surprise FBI plant Mr. Green (Michael McKean), actually posing as a homosexual State Department employee, had murdered someone that night. But then he exclaimed when the film was concluding that he had also killed master blackmailer Mr. Boddy, in the Hall with a Revolver:
He then ordered the Chief of Police to take all the murderers away: "Okay, Chief, take them away. I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife."
Recapping the murders:
Mr. Boddy (Tim Curry)
Mr. Green Shooting Mr. Boddy in Hall With Revolver
Death of Mr. Boddy
Mr. Green Revealing His True Identity
"They ALL did it!"
Color of Night (1994)
'Richie' Was Actually Rose, and Rose's Brother Dale Was the Killer
This psychological thriller by director Richard Rush began with the suicidal death of disturbed, self-hating patient Michelle (Kathleen Wilhoite) while being counseled by NYC psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) in his high-rise Manhattan office. Distraught at the site of her dead body in a bright green dress lying on the concrete in a pool of blood after she jumped ("It was the reddest blood I ever saw, pooled around her green dress"), he began to suffer from psychosomatic, stress-induced color blindness - and couldn't see the color red. The divorced doctor was told by his therapist Larry Ashland (Jeff Corey): "To deny red is to deny emotion."
He quit his practice and traveled to LA to stay with therapist/author friend Dr. Robert Moore (Scott Bakula) and figure out if he was going "crazy." Bill said he felt a "distinct absence of pain" and admitted he was troubled and felt sexually-dead. When Bob - who was receiving death threats possibly from a patient - was violently stabbed to death by an unidentified black-clad assailant in his office after-hours, Bill took over Bob's ultra-modern home and his Monday group therapy sessions, and was quickly considered a suspect by case investigator Lt. Hector Martinez (Ruben Blades).
Bill soon became involved with a torrid, provocative, sexually-advancing young female named Rose (Jane March) who invited herself to a dinner date, made out with him as they called for a taxi, and then arrived unexpectedly at his home and made passionate love to him in the pool and bedroom.
As he researched his five patients, he zeroed in on the background of 16 year-old, bespectacled drug user Richie Dexter (Jane March), a volatile "genuine nut case" who had gender-identity problems, a social phobia, and spoke with a stutter. Richie's older over-protective legal guardian brother Dale (Andrew Lowery), a welder in an ironworks-furniture shop, vainly pleaded with Dr. Capa to release Richie from court-mandated therapy. Capa found out that all of the Dexter children, who had suffered from abuse and abandonment, had been assigned six years earlier to child psychiatrist Dr. Niedelmeyer in Pasadena, but Niedelmeyer couldn't be questioned - he had died within the last year.
During therapy, Dr. Capa learned that all of his patients (except Richie) had recently taken on relationships, like he had with Rose:
Dr. Capa experienced an attempt on his life on the freeway by a driver in a red car, and painter Casey was gagged, strangled and had his throat slashed by someone who had cut out and burned the faces from his paintings.
Then, a discrepancy regarding the number of books on Dr. Moore's office shelf over a few weeks revealed that Sondra had temporarily borrowed a Van Gogh book and then returned it, without looking at it. The book inside the Van Gogh jacket cover was actually Dr. Moore's hand-written diary (he had deliberately hidden his diary there) - with a single photograph of a half-naked Rose tucked inside. On the back was a description of Rose modeling for Dr. Moore:
The individual in the photograph was recognized as Sondra's, Buck's, and Clark's "Bonnie" - and Capa's and Bob Moore's "Rose" - obviously a sociopathic female with a multiple personality disorder, who appeared to be the main suspect in the two murders!
The film's twist was that the main killer was "Richie's" deranged brother Dale, who had forced his pretty sister Rose to play-act the role of their deceased brother "Richie."
When Capa went to confront Dale, he found "Richie," who removed her wig disguise, emerged as Rose, and rescued her from her torturing brother Dale, who suddenly attacked with a nail-gun. Lt. Martinez (who appeared out of nowhere) was pinned to a wall, while Dale captured Capa with a belt around his throat and threatened to kill him with a mechanical blade.
Dale explained his motive - he was increasingly disturbed that Rose (with her secondary personality of "Bonnie") was overtaking the "Richie" side of her personality, and he feared that "Bonnie's" modeling for Dr. Moore might cause him to link "Bonnie" to "Richie" and destroy Rose's masquerade.
To protect Capa from dying, Rose killed her brother with a nail-gun shot to the forehead, ran to the top of the factory tower during a raging storm and was saved by Capa from jumping and committing suicide when he grabbed her hand during a leap - he simultaneously recovered from being color-blind.
Richie Dexter (Jane March)
Rose (also Jane March)
Bonnie/Rose (also Jane March)
The Killer: 'Richie's' Deranged Brother Dale (Andrew Lowery)
The Bugged Couple Were Not Victims - They Were Conspiring to Commit Murder
In this brilliant crime story, professional wire-tapper Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) spied (and listened) to the conversations of a young couple (Ann (Cindy Williams) and Mark (Frederic Forrest)) during clandestine meetings, especially in the opening sequence set in San Francisco's Union Square. He thought they were potential victims because of her marital infidelity, because they kept referring to a rendezvous at a hotel room in a few days.
There was a murder committed in Room 773 of San Francisco's Jack Tar Hotel at the agreed-upon time heard in the conversation. However, the couple weren't the victims! They were actually cold-blooded murderers of "the Director" (Robert Duvall) of a secretive company - the man who had commissioned Caul to do surveillance on the couple.
Ann was "the Director's" wife - a femme fatale who orchestrated the homicide (with Mark's hard-to-decipher sentence: "He'd kill us if he got the chance") by luring her husband to the hotel room, where Mark murdered him. It was frightening for Caul, who was listening to the commotion (he had rented the room next door), and then the next day picked Room 773's lock and discovered evidence of the murder. After flushing the toilet, it backed up with bloody water. Ann later made the bloody murder look like an accidental automobile crash to inherit her husband's fortune.
The film ended with the revelation that a frightened, neurotic and paranoid Harry was also under surveillance the entire time:
He frantically tore up his entire apartment to vainly attempt to find a bugging device - the final scene found Harry playing his tenor saxophone alone in his destroyed home.
Crimes of Passion (1984)
Joanna Stabbed the Threatening Reverend To Death With His Own Dildo; Grady Ended Up With Joanna
British director Ken Russell's neon-lit, dark, "guilty pleasure" cult tale and erotic thriller opened with a marital therapy session, in which new attendee -- part-time private investigator, home electronics store owner and security expert Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) asserted that he had no marriage-related problems ("What the hell am I doing here?") in his 12-year marriage, although this would be refuted shortly.
The film told about a moonlighting, kinky LA street-walking, pill-popping prostitute named China Blue (Kathleen Turner) who wore a platinum wig but by day worked as a prim but workaholic fashion designer named Joanna Crane. In a grungy downtown area filled with XXX adult stores, bars, live nude and peep shows, she wore a platinum wig and light blue silky dress and frequented the Paradise Isle Hotel for tricks.
She was repeatedly accosted and stalked by a deranged, perversely psychotic, amyl nitrate-sniffing, self-proclaimed preacher named Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) calling himself a "messenger of God" - who carried a razor-tipped chrome-steel vibrating dildo - one of his sex toys - in his doctor's bag (China Blue asked prophetically: "What are you gonna do? F--k someone to death? You'd like to, wouldn't you?"). While investigating whether China Blue was selling patented design secrets, Grady escaped from his own dull marriage to frigid Amy (Annie Potts) (with faked orgasms) into an obsessive, sexual relationship with China Blue.
In the startling conclusion, the Reverend preacher assaulted Joanna in her own apartment:
He proposed a game of "exorcising the demons" --
The violent altercation was predicated on the Reverend's desire to save her, as he played demented songs on a piano to her as she was tied down to her drafting table. It appeared that China Blue would be the victim. Then, they reversed roles and she approached him with the dildo as he pleaded to be killed:
But then the roles switched again, when he said: "Too late!" He forced her to strip ("Strip, bitch!"), at the moment that Grady arrived and burst through the door. In another role-reversal twist, the character wearing China Blue's dress was stabbed in the back by the razor-tipped dildo/vibrator - presumably Joanna. However, the Reverend was wearing the China Blue dress and a wig, while she was wearing the Reverend's outfit - a costume twist. She stabbed him as he threatened to assault Grady (who had arrived to save Joanna) with a pair of scissors. The scene ended with the Reverend's death (his parting words were: "Goodbye, China Blue").
The film ended with Grady attending a therapy group where he admitted, smiling, that he was in a new relationship with Joanna:
China Blue (Kathleen Turner) and the Reverend (Anthony Perkins)
The Chrome Dildo
The Reverend's Death
Bobby Grady (John Laughlin)
The Crying Game (1992, UK)
Dil Was Actually a Male Transvestite
Neil Jordan's taut political thriller film has become legendary and famous for its shocking twist. Guilt-ridden, reformed Irish Republican Army volunteer terrorist Fergus (Stephen Rea) journeyed to London to befriend the lover of British hostage/soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker) who had been accidentally killed after being taken prisoner. Jody, who was trying to escape from captivity, was hit and run over by a convoy of British army soldiers in Northern Ireland.
Fergus shockingly discovered that the dead man's lover turned out to be a beautiful cabaret lip-synch singer/hairdresser named Dil (Best Supporting Actor!-nominated Jaye Davidson).
As the camera slowly panned down Dil's naked body after he dropped his red kimono robe, there was a sexually-disorienting view of Dil's penis -- his maleness was shown in this surprising full-frontal unveiling, causing Fergus to wonder about his attraction to Dil. Dil asked: "You did know, didn't you?" and then realized that Fergus hadn't known.
Cube (1997, Can.)
Only the Autistic Kazan Survived From the Cube
Screenwriter/director Vincenzo Natali's debut feature film was this low-budget, psychological sci-fi horror-thriller. The sleeper film opened inside an immense, b/w cube-shaped room, with vault-like doors situated in the center of its six square surfaces. Each door led to another similar interlocking cubed room, although in different colors (blue, red, amber, green, etc.). Some of the maze-connected rooms were booby-trapped with motion-detectors and destructive devices (a sharp metal grating, flame-thrower, acid-spray, rotating razor wires, sound-activated spikes, etc.). Each of the cube-shaped rooms was one of many rooms in a Rubik's Cube of sorts (it functioned like "a giant combination lock" moving through a cycle over a period of days).
By film's end, the dwindling group of survivors were seeking a "bridge" or exit room that only appeared momentarily - the only means of escape to the outer shell. Safe, untrapped rooms on the cube's outer edge where escape was possible were ultimately discovered to be marked with prime power numbers.
After the prologue, the six characters or "inmates" in the cubes [each clad in prison-style uniforms, and each with names of various prisons] were introduced. They were mysteriously placed there and did not know each other, although each had a purpose or "gift" in solving their predicament and attempting to escape from the labyrinthine trap (in order of deaths):
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Benjamin Was Caroline's Biological Father
The plot-line was told in flashback. A dying woman in her 80s, Daisy (Cate Blanchett) engaged in a deathbed conversation with her 40-ish daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond). As her mother was weakening and dying, the daughter read outloud the diary of Daisy's love of her life Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), born old and growing younger as he aged in reverse.
Until the end of the film, although fairly obvious to viewers, Caroline was revealed to be Daisy's daughter by Benjamin, born out of wedlock (at the birth of the healthy baby girl, and recorded in Benjamin's diary):
Daisy had remarried and the daughter, Caroline, had grown up thinking that her stepfather Robert was her birth father. She was visibly upset by the revelation. As a pre-teen at age 12, Caroline (Joeanna Sayler) was introduced by 60-ish Daisy (who had been remarried to husband Robert) to twenty-ish Benjamin ("You knew him when you were just a baby") but not told that he was her biological father.
At film's end, Daisy uttered her last words: "Good night, Benjamin" - with a symbolic hummingbird at her window. As she died, Hurricane Katrina struck the hospital and flooded the city of New Orleans, including a warehouse where a reverse-running clock built for the train station (at the time of Benjamin's birth) had been stored and was still functioning.
Cutter's Way (1981)
Bone Shot and Killed Crazed Murderer Cord With Cutter's Weapon
In the stunning concluding scene of this R-rated crime thriller by Czech-born director Ivan Passer, embittered, self-righteous, drunken, one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged, crazed Vietnam vet Alexander Cutter (John Heard) obsessively believed two things about elite and menacing oil businessmen J. J. Cord (Stephen Elliott), in the city of Santa Barbara, CA:
Cutter rode heroically (and tragically) on a white stallion within Cord's guarded residential mansion during a large garden party - and lethally crashed into Cord's study window.
There, his laconic, laid-back, aging gigolo/beach-boy friend Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) had just learned that Cord was the female's killer. This inspired the usually-uncommitted and reluctant Bone to take up the fight and shoot Cord dead with the weapon in Cutter's dead hand.
The gun blast abruptly ended the film.
Cypher (2002) (aka Brainstorm)
In Actuality, Morgan Sullivan Was Sebastian Rooks - He Had Schemed to Enter Into Sunways As a Espionage Agent To Steal and Destroy a Blue Disc That Had Marked Co-Conspirator/Lover Rita Foster For Termination
The overwhelming and perplexing plot of director Vincenzo Natali's futuristic, science-fiction spy thriller was only comprehensible when it was explained in a few sentences at its conclusion. The stylized film's themes were brainwashing, the manipulation of identity, paranoia, and corporate espionate, conducted between two rival and faceless computer conglomerates: Digicorp Technologies and Sunways Systems. There was something to be learned from the meaning of the title word cipher -- a number with no value (such as zero), a non-influential person, or the key to a code.
The corporate spy assuming a different name was a non-entity geek/pawn named Morgan Sullivan (Jeremy Northam), to "spy on other corporations, inform us of their business plans, research programs, and counter-intelligence operations." He took the name Jack Thursby, living a suburban life in San Jose, when he was hired at Digicorp to infiltrate Sunways.
He was instructed by Digicorp's Head of Security, Ed Finster (Nigel Bennett) to attend various business conventions, and secretly record them with a pen. He was also told to create his own personality: "He's whoever you want him to be." Then, about halfway through the film, he switched sides and Thursby was recruited to work as a counter-intelligence double-agent for Sunways, and was briefed by its Head of Security Frank Callaway (Timothy Webber). Sunways' goal was to have Thursby feed Digicorp false and corrupted data to sabotage their operations. In both cases, he had a newly-acquired taste for scotch on the rocks, golf, and smoking cigarettes, and fantasized about sailing in the South Pacific islands. And both companies were ruthless and would eliminate him after he completed his espionage operation.
As Thursby, he met a mysterious, cool and aloof femme fatale Asian woman - a guardian angel of sorts named Rita Foster (Lucy Liu) during his cross-country travel experiences (which included painful, recurring brain flashes, headaches and neck aches). When he became increasingly confused about his own identity, she told him that he was being conditioned and brainwashed by Digicorp (by drinking mineral water at the conventions, which she said were "charades"). She warned that he could be eliminated. She offered pills to help him get rid of his nightmares, and then an injection to 'undrug him' - to "block out the Digicorp narcotic" and keep him from being brainwashed and programmed with a new identity.
(During the next boring seminar lecture, sinister technicians placed VR helmets on hypnotized, drugged out conference participants - all spies with phony assignments and identities.) Later, Callaway told Thursby when he was hired at Sunways that Rita was working for an unseen, enigmatic boss - a deep-cover mole in cyberspace named Sebastian Rooks ("a freelance operative who we hired to find out how Digicorp was getting their agents past our neurograph"). Rooks was considered "very dangerous and very ruthless," but Rita promised he would protect Thursby.
In the derivative film's conclusion, it appeared that double-agent Morgan Sullivan was in the reprogramming grip of three different entities, serving as a data courier. Rita helped him escape from Sunways' underground metal vault (their secured data warehouse) in Wichita, Kansas after he penetrated the vault's secure network and stole a blue computer disc containing a vital downloaded data file. She then delivered him to meet Sebastian Rooks in a downtown penthouse suite. But feeling "used" and lied to from the very start, Sullivan shot Rita in the shoulder and threatened to destroy the disk.
Then, in an adjoining room, he noticed three objects he loved (whiskey, golf clubs, and cigarettes) and a picture of himself and Rita, his lover. He was Sebastian Rooks. The wounded Rita then explained everything:
But she didn't know what was on the blue computer disc. They were interrupted by assault teams from both companies seeking Sebastian. To fly away in an escape helicopter that Sebastian had designed, Rita prompted him to remember his past self as Sebastian to pilot it. Both heads of security were astonished to recognize Sullivan as Sebastian ("Jesus, he's Rooks!"). He successfully prevented the two of them from being captured by exploding the skyscraper's roof.
The final scene was on Rooks' sailing boat in the South Pacific, where Sebastian and Rita looked at the contents of the blue Sunways disc. The file displayed Rita's picture - she had been marked for death by Callaway with the words: "TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE."
As Sebastian tossed the disc (the only one of its kind, "the file in the vault was erased and this is the only copy") into the ocean to save his lover, he noted: "Now there's no copy at all."
Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
(alphabetical by film title)
Intro | A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | C1 | C2 | C3 | D1 | D2 | D3 | E1 | E2 | F1 | F2 | G | H1 | H2 | H3 | I | J-K | L1 | L2
M1 | M2 | M3 | M4 | M5 | N | O | P1 | P2 | Q-R1 | R2 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | T1 | T2 | T3 | U-V | W1 | W2 | W3 | X-Z