Film Spoilers and
|Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description|
A Soldier's Story (1984)
Hated Drill Sergeant Waters Was Killed By Black Pvt. First Class Peterson
In the conclusion of this murder mystery set at Fort Neal - a Southern military base for black platoons in 1944, hated black drill instructor Master Sergeant Vernon Waters (Adolph Caesar) was found shot to death.
During the investigation (told through flashbacks) by African-American attorney Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins) brought down from Washington, DC, it was at first thought that Waters was killed by white officers or the Ku Klux Klan.
But later it was revealed that Waters was killed by unrepentant and militant Pvt. First Class Peterson (Denzel Washington) who explained that he killed Waters in revenge for driving illiterate, guitar-strumming "Geechee" C. J. Memphis (Larry Riley) to suicide (who Waters called a "Homey kind of nigger").
Peterson had confessed: "I didn't kill much. Some things need gettin' rid of. Man like Waters never did nobody no good, Cap'n."
After Proposing, Wealthy Suitor Osgood Was Unflustered That Daphne Was a Man
Although this classic comedy lacked a typical surprise ending or ingenious plot twist, it still ended with a great closing scene that contained the greatest fade-out line in film history.
The persistently-amorous attention of rich suitor Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown) toward Daphne/Jerry (Jack Lemmon) finally revealed the obvious mismatched gender problem when he asked for Daphne's hand in marriage.
When an exasperated Daphne ripped off his wig and declared his manhood, he still failed miserably: "But you don't understand, Osgood. Uh, I'm a man" - with Osgood's undaunted and unruffled loving reply: "Well, nobody's perfect!"
Sophie's Choice (1982)
After Sophie Chose to Save Her Son During the War, She and Partner Nathan Chose to Suicidally End Their Lives
In this post war-time drama set in 1947 by writer/director Alan J. Pakula with multiple flashbacks, Polish-Catholic refugee/immigrant Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski (Oscar-winning Meryl Streep) had relocated and was living in Brooklyn, NY with frequently-drunk, mentally unstable lover Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline), who falsely claimed to be a research chemist.
In the same dingy boarding house was aspiring Southern writer-author Stingo (Peter MacNichol). He learned about his flamboyant upstairs neighbors, one of whom he discovered was a haunted, Nazi prison camp survivor. Holocaust-obsessed, Jewish Nathan had 'saved' Sophie after she had been liberated.
In her past, she had suffered tragedy in the Auschwitz concentration camp where she was interned and imprisoned. She had to make a difficult and horrible choice between her two children - which of them would be executed. In the heartbreaking scene, she begged not to choose, but was forced to make a decision - to send her daughter Eva (Jennifer Lawn) to a crematorium ("Take my little girl"), while her son Jan (Adrian Kalkika) would go to a child labor camp (she never found out about his fate).
In the film's downbeat ending, the self-loathing Sophie made love with Stingo, but then left his bed with a hand-written suicide note for him on the pillow. Tormented and guilt-ridden by her memories, she returned to Nathan, and with him suicidally took sodium cyanide.
Soul Survivors (2001)
The Car Accident Killed Everyone Except Cassie and Boyfriend Sean, Although Cassie Remained in a Coma Hovering in the World Between the Dead and Living. Sean Brought Her Back Through His Love, Although She Was Struggling to Return to Life. All of Her Experiences, Delusions Were Due to Coma Induced By Head Trauma
This poorly-executed, bland PG-13 psychological thriller, a stereotypical teen horror film from writer/director Steve Carpenter, gave away its basic plot twist in its tagline: "The World of the Dead and the World of the Living...Are About to Collide." It was an ordinary film with the cliched plot twist found in Jacob's Ladder (1990), The Sixth Sense (1999), and The Others (2001). [After its theatrical release as a PG-13 film, the DVD release was dubbed "The Killer Cut" with additional flashes of nudity, gore and obscenities.]
Without watching the film, one could speculate that the soul survivors of the film's title were the only two survivors of a deadly car accident that occurred early in the film, and the main protagonist, blonde Middleton College (in Chicago) student freshman Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) was struggling to live life afterwards. The film wanted you to believe that she was fine, but was experiencing strange and ambiguous happenings in her daily student life while hovering between 'the world of the dead and living.' The surprise ending, although predictable, was un-climactic and trite.
Two characters in the film's prologue (so to speak), long-haired and scar-faced Hideous Dancer (Ken Moreno) and Deathmask (Carl Paoli) assaulted sorority girl Kathy/Cathie? (Carrie Southworth in an uncredited role as Murdered Girl) (Cassie's alter-ego?) on 'fraternity row', slit her wrist, and drained her life's blood. Later, the two killers continued to appear as Cassie's sinister, other-worldly visitors-stalkers for the remainder of the film, with no explanation as to who they were - except maybe ghosts from the afterlife with nefarious intent.
The main turning point in the film was, obviously - the accident, involving a van carrying the stressed driver Cassie, her boyfriend Sean (Casey Affleck), her ex-boyfriend Matt (Wes Bentley) (still pining for her) and his trampy girlfriend Annabel (Eliza Dushku). [The other car's occupants were androgynous Raven (Angela Featherstone), Hideous Dancer and Deathmask.] The viewer was led to believe that everyone survived except Cassie's boyfriend Sean who had pledged his love to the reluctant Cassie just before the crash.
After recovering, Cassie was accompanied by Matt, Annabel and Raven (now lesbian lovers), who all seemed to have turned dark, goth and ghoulish. Sean also fleetingly appeared to her, telling her: "Don't let go. Come with me...Away from here. The guys are gonna keep chasing you. Cassie, I want you with me. Do you love me?... If you stay here, you're going to die." She was also counseled by the spirit of a kindly Priest named Jude (Luke Wilson) who had died in 1981, years earlier. Cassie was haunted by guilt, because she didn't reciprocate her love for her boyfriend Sean just before the crash.
As the film ended, flashbacks to the crash scene revealed that Sean and Cassie were the only survivors, but Cassie was in a coma in the hospital and struggling to come back after suffering serious head trauma. The entire film was composed of her out-of-body hallucinations, delusions, thoughts, and fears in a supernatural realm. She had misrepresented reality in her unconscious dreams. She fought off death while in these dreams, as Jude explained:
She claimed she loved Sean and asserted she wanted to come back for him: "I don't want to die...I would die for him...I don't want to die." She called out for him, and apologized: "I never told you...I-I love you" before they kissed, and she revived and came back to life.
In the final scene, she woke up from another disturbing dream, but she was alive, next to Sean in bed. She nodded when he asked: "That dream again?"
Source Code (2011)
After Successfully Thwarting the Train Disaster (and Apprehending the Terrorist) and Saving All the Passengers, Stevens Came to Life Again Within the Body of Teacher Sean Fentress in an "Alternate Reality"
Director Duncan Jones' sci-fi thriller, with hints of Groundhog Day (1993), Retroactive (1997), and Run, Lola, Run (1998), opened with 17th Airborne helicopter pilot/soldier Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) on a Chicago-bound commuter rail train, a few stops from downtown. He was disoriented as to who he was, why he was on the train, and the identity of the pretty unknown woman seated across from him, dark-haired 28 year-old Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) - and in just eight minutes time, the train and all of its approximately 100 occupants were obliterated by a massive explosion. Just before the explosion, she assured him: "Everything's gonna be okay."
After the explosion, he found himself enclosed in a small, dark geodesic-shaped, metal space capsule (part of his neural environment). He was in contact with a control center, code-named Beleaguered Castle, located at the Nellis Air Force military base near Las Vegas, Nevada. He was communicating and monitored via a video screen, with a uniformed female handler - Air Force Capt. Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). The female officer's duty was to orient him after each devastating blast (with tricks similar to the triggering device in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)), with a story containing code words, a sequence of playing cards, and a recording of a Western screech owl, followed by an exercise in pattern recall. He kept asking questions about his unit and crew, when he could call his father, and whether he had been evacuated or not, but wasn't given answers.
Goodwin was supervised by Dr. Strangelove-esque superior Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright). [He explained that the Source Code experiment regarding the train, a sophisticated time-loop software program, wasn't actually time travel: "Source Code is time re-assignment. It gives us access to a parallel reality....You cannot alter the continuum of this reality from within the Source Code."] Stevens had been paired up or implanted with the memories of one of the blast victims compatible with him - teacher Sean Fentress. He was linked up to Fentress' avatar in the last eight minutes of his life, the length of a "short-term memory track" in the brain after death, that also provided a temporary 8-minute window into the parallel universe.
[The film eventually revealed that Stevens had actually died two months earlier during his last combat mission in Afghanistan as a decorated Air Force helicopter pilot, but part of his brain's consciousness had been salvaged and he was being kept alive for this experiment with Source Code - described as "quantum mechanics, parabolic calculus." The mutilated remains of Stevens' corpse were wired up to monitoring sensors and computer read-outs at the base.]
His mission was to determine the identity of the terrorist bomber on the train, to save lives and prevent a second city-wide radioactive blast of a "dirty bomb" that threatened the entire Chicago population. Goodwin told him: "The program wasn't designed to alter the past. It was designed to affect the future" - meaning that Stevens could save future lives only, not the lives of the passengers on the ill-fated train.
During each recreated short trip on the train, played numerous times (each with crucial variations), he was instructed to learn about the various passengers ("Get to know them. Narrow the suspect pool. Look for ones who seem quiet or withdrawn. Who seem nervous"). He pursued and questioned a sickly Middle-Eastern looking man, stand-up comedian Max Denoff, a bearded software engineer with a backpack, an older woman with the tote bag from Walter Reed Military Hospital, a man who had deliberately dropped his wallet, and more.
He asked Rutledge and Goodwin to terminate his service (and life support) and let him die once and for all ("There will be no coming back") - they promised that they would once his mission was accomplished and he identified the bomber. By the end of the film, he had solved the mystery, reported disgruntled terrorist Derek Frost's (Michael Arden) rented white van license (with the dirty bomb inside), and a SWAT team had arrested him. However, the train's explosion still hadn't been averted. Stevens persuaded Goodwin to send him in one more time and give him one final chance to alter events - to avert the train disaster and save the passengers - and then die peacefully. He located the bomb planted above a vent in the train's bathroom, with two cell-phone detonators. Against all odds, Stevens was able to successfully thwart the train bombing, disarm and handcuff Derek Frost, send a cell-phone description of the terrorist, and report the location of the van carrying the bomb. Identifying himself as Sean Fentress, he also phoned his father and resolved long-standing issues.
Then, going back on his word, Rutledge ordered Stevens' memory to be erased and reinitialize Source Code - so he could be reused for future missions. In the final few seconds of the last eight-minute time frame aboard the train, Stevens and Christina kissed. The frame froze - at the same moment that Goodwin was about to turn off his life support.
To his surprise, he came to life again (in a "parallel reality") in an alternate universe ("a whole new world") within Sean Fentress' body - saved along with everyone else. He was enjoying a perfectly beautiful day in downtown Chicago with Christina. To prove that it was possible to alter reality, he had sent Goodwin an email (with some of the code-words from the familiar story he had heard earlier) that ended the film - about how Source Code had succeeded in providing him with new life:
Soylent Green (1973)
Soylent Green Artificial Food Was Made of Recycled People
This early cautionary 70s science-fiction film, set in an overpopulated and polluted world of 2022, contained a surprise ending, although it has since become common knowledge that the film contained a surprise ending regarding its title "Soylent Green" due to the film's trailer asking: "What is the Secret of Soylent Green?" In the revealing trailer, two conveyor belts were shown, one with body bags, the other with green food. The title referred to a type of artificial food substance (reportedly made from plankton) rationed out to the populace.
In the film's conclusion, New York City Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) was at the death bed of Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson in his final film role) in an assisted-suicide facility (within Madison Square Garden). He had chosen a poignant, painless and suicidal death in the euthanasia clinic's chamber. He was put to rest (to "go home") with orange-hued lighting, classical music playing (Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony No. 6, Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6, and segments of Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite") and projected video (of a peaceful and "beautiful" green Earth ages ago when animal and plant life thrived and there was no pollution). Sol died amidst the musical and visual montages with his tearful friend Thorn near him in a sealed control room. Before dying, Sol told Thorn: "I've lived too long." Thorn replied: "I love you, Sol." Thorn was astounded by the images: "How could I know? How could I, how could I ever imagine?" Then Sol revealed what he had learned about Soylent Green and its major secret, before dying:
Thorn then proved the horrifying, predictable discovery of the true composition of the Soylent Corporation's new artificial food product Soylent Green - it was composed of the recycled bodies of the deceased inhabitants of the society's euthanasia centers. He made a desperate plea to police chief Hatcher (Brock Peters) as he was dragged away after being shot in the leg:
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
Joe Was Conned by Everyone (Pat McCune, Jimmy Dell, Susan and Mr. Klein) To Steal His Valuable "Process" Invention; Joe Was Saved When US Marshals Arrested the Cons --- But Maybe Joe Was Again Being Conned When He Thought He Had Been Vindicated?
Writer-director David Mamet's suspenseful film was based on the age-old confidence trick (or con), similar to the Nigerian email scam, in which a gullible mark was convinced to turn over something valuable (usually money). In the "Spanish Prisoner" trick (described by a fake FBI agent in the film as the "oldest con in the world" that plays on "vanity and greed"), the duped individual was convinced to help release an unidentified imprisoned wealthy Spanish individual, to later be rewarded (by the prisoner's fortune and girl).
In the intriguing film set in March of 1997, naive corporate engineer Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) had developed (or invented), with co-developer and lawyer George Lang (Ricky Jay), a top-secret, unpatented program (or formula) created during a work-for-hire contract. It was dubbed "The Process," and was supposedly a proprietary means for businesses to become extremely lucrative ("to control the global market"). Select company members traveled to a corporate retreat at the Caribbean island resort of St. Estephe, popular with Japanese tourists. [Early in the film, Joe was told that security videotapes of the dock area were kept for insurance purposes.] Joe spoke about the formula (only one copy existed) to corporate executives including Joe's own boss, Mr. Klein (Ben Gazzara), who kept putting him off about special bonus compensation. Joe boasted that his invention was designed to put their company 3-5 years ahead of others, and make lots of money.
Ross quickly became acquainted with one of his own company's new secretaries during the trip, flirtatious and perky Susan Ricci (Rebecca Pidgeon) (who said she only had a "secretary mentality") and shady, wealthy, witty and polished resort guest Julian "Jimmy" W. Dell (Steve Martin), claiming to have flown in from Bermuda. He also met someone introduced to him by Susan who claimed to be an FBI agent (in the Manhattan office) - Pat McCune (Felicity Huffman). As Joe left to return to NY, Jimmy asked him to deliver a small package to his "young and pretty" sister Mrs. Emma DaSilva at the Wiltshire - it was a brown-paper wrapped book titled "Budge on Tennis."
Susan quipped tell-tale lines on the plane about trust: "Shows to go you, you never know who anybody is...Who in this world is what they seem." Jimmy encouraged Joe to socially meet his sister once they both returned to NY, claiming that Joe was "a good fellow" but various misunderstandings and issues always prevented it. During dinner, Jimmy advised Joe about trusting his boss Klein: "Always do business as if the person you're doing business with is trying to screw you, because most likely they are," but then added: "People aren't that complicated, Joe. Good people. Bad people. They generally look like what they are." He pushed for Joe to meet with a non-company lawyer to protect his interests, and asked Joe to bring his sole copy of "The Process" to a 10 am meeting with a lawyer at the carousel in the park. He first met with FBI Agent Pat McCune to set up a sting-operation, and was wired for the meeting.
Revelations in the film began to be made and unwound the various deceptions of the con game, making it look like Joe was the mark (an 'innocent' 'victim') who had sold his "Process" for a huge sum of money, and was preparing to flee to Venezuela:
Dr. Edwardes Was an Imposter named Ballantine (or "JB") - Treacherous Killer Dr. Murchison Had Framed Him For the Murder of Edwardes; Murchison Committed Suicide
Hitchcock's suspense thriller revealed that incoming handsome psychologist Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck) - selected to replace the outgoing Green Manors asylum director Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll) - was actually a paranoid, amnesia-suffering imposter named Dr. John Ballantine or "JB" (also Gregory Peck), who was suffering from neurosis and memory loss.
Ballantine frequently saw disturbing images of parallel lines in his dreams - fork grooves on a tablecloth, faint lines in a robe, and snow tracks. These lines recalled a traumatic ski accident at Gabriel Valley that he witnessed, in which his psychiatrist Dr. Edwardes fell off a steep precipice and died during a skiing vacation. When the police recovered Edwardes' corpse, they discovered a bullet wound in the body's back and suspected John Ballantine of murder.
Ballantine also experienced a dream in which he was playing blackjack (21) at a casino (with eyes on the walls) with a seven of clubs, a bearded man and a faceless proprietor, including images of a sloping roof, a man with a misshapen wheel, and pursuit by a giant pair of wings - (the sloping roof was tied to JB's memory of his brother's accidental and tragic death by impalement on a spiked fence, when he slid down the roof and accidentally knocked his brother off - killing him on the spiked railing).
In the film's ending, psychiatrist Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) revealed Murchison's treachery after he said: "I knew Edwardes only slightly. I never really liked him. But he was a good man, in a way, I suppose" -- she realized that if he had known Edwardes, he shouldn't have mistaken the imposter Ballantine for Edwardes.
In his office, Murchison then interpreted some of JB's dream for her:
Motivated by jealousy and not wanting his job stolen, Murchison had used Ballantine's disabilities to frame him for the murder of Edwardes (there was a bullet in his body, delivered from Murchison's gun in full view of Ballantine). Constance advised Murchison not to murder her ("A man with your intelligence does not commit a stupid murder") when he pulled the murder weapon from his desk and threatened her ("The punishment for two murders is the same as for one").
As she got up and left the room to phone the police, he held the murder weapon pointed at her back, as she cautioned: "If you shoot now, it is cold deliberate murder." He memorably committed suicide in the conclusion by turning the gun on himself after she left his office - in a shocking first person point-of-view shot, with a splash of red color (in the B/W film).
Imagining and Recollecting His Abusive Boyhood, Disheveled Schizophrenic Cleg (Nicknamed "Spider") Saw His Mother in Three Psychosexual Guises (Madonna-Mother, Whore-Stepmother, and As His Key-Bearing Jailer-Landlady) Before Being Reinstitionalized
David Cronenberg's disturbing, minimalist drama opened with a train's arrival, bearing the last passenger to disembark - a mentally-disturbed, thin, oddly-behaving, and disheveled Mr. Dennis Cleg (Ralph Fiennes), nicknamed Spider (learned later). After being discharged from an asylum after 20 years, he had arrived in his boyhood town (the drab East End outskirts of London) where he was admitted into a half-way flophouse run by tyrannical Mrs. Wilkinson (Lynn Redgrave). It was located in an industrial area, next to a canal across from an imposing gas tank (foreshadowing later events).
The quiet, furtive, delusional and schizophrenic individual carried a suitcase full of junk. He was often mumbling to himself, distrustful of everyone, kept illegible scribblings (hieroglyphics) in a small grimy notepad hidden under his rug, had nicotine-stained fingers from his own rolled cigarettes, unkempt hair and he wore many layers of clothing. He kept his belongings in a sock stuffed down the front of his pants.
The film was named Spider due to Cleg's creation of a ceiling 'spider-web' made of discarded string in his solitary and dingy room. Other patterns of splintering spider's webs were found in Cleg's boyhood room and the cat's cradle string he played with, in the dayroom's winged bird puzzle, and in a broken sheet of glass at the asylum where Cleg had been committed.
Gradually, it became clear through time shifts that he was experiencing participatory flashbacks to his 1950s horrific boyhood and past as a pale, pathetic, reticent and frightened child (played by Bradley Hall). [However, the time shifts were totally unreliable and convoluted memories.] He watched his own psychological torment and abuse, as he relived earlier traumatic events suffered at the hands of his brutish, working man plumber father Bill (Gabriel Byrne). He was married to a maternal, protective unnamed Mrs. Cleg (Miranda Richardson). It was a tense relationship, since Cleg spent most of his time drinking and whore-mongering at the local pub, the Dog & Beggar.
One of the aggressive, slatternly, and brassy tarts in the pub, cackling, fleshy bleached-blonde Yvonne (also Miranda Richardson) with bad teeth, enticed Bill to her residence to fix her "pipes" - and soon they had messy masturbatory sex under a tunnel. She had flashed her breast at young Cleg in the pub, causing him distress. Young 'Spider' witnessed their cavortings, and then older 'Spider' watched as his mother was violently murdered by her husband (with a shovel blow to the head) when she saw him having lap sex with trampish Yvonne in a garden shed. Her bloody, wrapped body was buried in the nearby garden.
In Spider's young mind, Yvonne took over for his mother - and by film's end, everything redoubled back upon itself. Spider attempted to purposefully gas his father and/or slutty step-mother with an elaborate set of strings to open the stove's gas valve, and it appeared that he accidentally murdered his loving mother. The older Spider entered Yvonne's (or Mrs. Wilkinson's) bedroom (while she was sleeping) - with a hammer and screwdriver to harm her. He was again driven away to be incarcerated, as he had been when he was younger.
The Male DREN Went on a Violent Rampage (Killing Clive and Raping Elsa), But Was Killed; Elsa Profited, and Was Pregnant (But Who Was the Father?)
In this very unusual and erotic sci-fi thriller (similar to various David Cronenberg films, David Lynch's Eraserhead, and the Alien and Species films), a young and rebellious, romantically-linked scientist couple, Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) were conducting genetic engineering experiments for their gene-splicing company, N.E.R.D. (Nucleic Exchange Research + Development), run by Bill Barlow (David Hewlett). [Their names paid homage to actor Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester in the classic horror film Bride of Frankenstein (1935).] The film was a hybrid of its own, mixing a semi-serious examination of the ethical and moral dimensions of genetic experimentation with a bloody B-grade horror film (in its final 15 minutes).
Because of their success in creating two wormlike creatures (Fred and Ginger) to help provide cures for livestock diseases, the hipster duo were further funded by corporate giant Newstead Pharmaceuticals, Inc., run by Joan Chorot (Simona Maicanescu). During this time when forbidden to push ethical boundaries, they neglected their medicinal protein synthesis work and began to conduct a secret, sophisticated genetic cloning 'experiment' in which they spliced together human and animal DNA, creating a hybrid creature.
Their experimental creature first resembled a hopping, skinned rabbit-like two-legged creature with a tail (named H-50). During accelerated growth into a preadolescent humanoid female (Abigail Chu) with amphibious lungs, the life-form was continually mothered and protected by the maternal Elsa. It was dressed up in a homespun blue dress, and parented like a pet or child (although Clive strongly desired to destroy it). Elsa named it DREN ("NERD" spelled backwards), the name of the couple's company. It evolved rapidly into a bald, partly-human mutant adult female (Delphine Chaneac) - a fantastical creature with striking slanted eyes, pointed tongue, a toxic tail-stinger, and bird-like, multi-hinged legs.
With her maternal instincts enlivened, Elsa seduced Clive on their couch one evening (with DREN observing from afar), and declined to have him use a condom (she remarked: "What's the worst that could happen?").
As the film progressed, the uncontrollable, 'monstrous', and troublesome female DREN was hidden at Elsa's childhood farmhouse home, where she became carnivorous, exhibited retractable wings (CGI), and killed their cat given to her as a pet. It was also revealed that Elsa had used samples of her own DNA to create DREN, causing Clive to realize that she had a "f--ked up" family history.
When DREN became more troublesome and unstable, Elsa reverted to scientifically studying the creature, and bound DREN on a table. She stripped DREN of her 'human' elements, including clothing, and surgically removed her tail-stinger. Clive was attracted to the infatuated DREN, and had unconventional sex with the creature (with hints of incest and bestiality) when she wrapped her winged-arms around him, naked - and he possibly impregnated her. During intercourse, she orgasmically expanded her wings and regenerated her stinger - just as Elsa arrived and caught them in the act.
After sex, the female creature appeared to die and was then buried, but regenerated into a male and became extremely violent (foreshadowed earlier in the film in the company shareholder's scene in which the two original hybrids, Fred and Ginger, both became hostile males and bloodily killed each other). At the farmhouse, the male DREN swooped down and killed both their boss Barlow and Clive's brother Gavin (Brandon McGibbon), raped Elsa (the creature demanded: "Inside you"), and when Clive attempted to rescue her by stabbing the creature in the back, he was stung to death in the heart with DREN's stinger, although Elsa was able to crush the creature's head with a rock and kill it.
In the final scene, Elsa was in the office of pharmaceuticals company head, learning that DREN's synthesized proteins and corpse ("a cauldron of unimaginable chemical mysteries") would save the company from bankruptcy ("We'll be filing patents for years"). Elsa would be paid well to lead the profitable company to "the next stage" if she kept silent forever about DREN. Elsa was also pregnant, repeating the line: "What's the worst that could happen?" when asked if she wanted to walk away. The question remained: was her future offspring fathered by the male DREN or Clive?
Stardust Memories (1980)
The Film Was a "Film Within A Film," Being Screened at a Film Festival in the Stardust Hotel
In writer/director Woody Allen's self-indulgent, often incoherent, impressionistic and dark semi-autobiographical comedy (viewed as a tribute to Fellini's 8 1/2), it was revealed in the ending's twist/plot device that the entire movie was a 'film-within-a-film.'
The film was being screened at a retrospective film festival/charity event at the Stardust Hotel beach resort in New Jersey for pretentious and self-absorbed comedic film-maker/director Sandy Bates (or Woody Allen?), suffering from writer's block. The respected director had been praised for his earlier comic films, but was now criticized for wanting to make more serious films.
During the gathering of fans, groupies, scriptwriters, and autograph-seekers, Bates also struggled with his own career and personal demons, aspirations, daydreams, and expectations. In particular, he faced the loves of a tangled trio of women (all the characters were actually actors or actresses in his own film that was screened):
Starship Troopers (1997)
The Film Was a Propaganda Commercial for Military Recruitment
Paul Verhoeven's military-related adventure-action film was a combination spoof of militarism, and a violent science-fiction saga set in the 23rd century.
It told about a group of fresh-faced, gung-ho college graduates who enlisted and trained in the futuristic Federal Service (military) based on Earth, but with technology were allowed to explore other regions of the universe, including Klendathu. It was the homeworld of giant, intelligent, lethal pseudo-arachnid enemy of insect-inhabitants called "Bugs".
At the end, the entire film was revealed to be the broadcast of a propaganda film (a movie within a movie) to recruit young men and women to sign up for military service. The film ended with a commercial to "JOIN Up Now!" - a recruitment ad by a futuristic totalitarian military government in a 'fascist utopia.'
The Federal Network's narrator/announcer spoke (in voice-over):
The ending also posed the question about the identity of the aggressor - it was strongly suggested that the humans were the would-be world-conquering invaders!
V'Ger Was NASA's Voyager 6 Space Probe That Had "Achieved Consciousness Itself"; Commander Decker Physically Merged With V'Ger by Uniting With Ilia
The film opened in the year 2271 with a massive bluish cloud, a vast energy-power field of some kind (an "alien object of unbelievable destructive power"), that threatened and destroyed three alien Klingon warships and the Starfleet's monitoring com station Epsilon 9. It was poised to destroy Earth itself ("the third planet of the solar system"), and revealed to have a "highly advanced mentality" that consisted of "a form of plasma energy." The powerful force was mysteriously named V'Ger, and its cryptic objective was:
Spock (Leonard Nimoy) surmised during an unauthorized jet-pack 'space-walk' that the USS Enterprise had been taken "inside a living machine...a conscious living entity." Spock described how V'Ger was lonely and "has knowledge that spans this universe and yet with all its pure logic, V'Ger is barren, cold. No mystery. No beauty." V'Ger appeared to be asking questions, such as: "Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?" V'Ger was attempting to communicate with its creator (a machine), using a simple radio wave, but the creator was not answering.
Spock explained: "V'Ger is a child...evolving, learning, searching, instinctively needing...It knows only that it needs, Commander. But like so many of us, it does not know what." The "object at the heart of that cloud" in an inner "brain" chamber - "part of the vessel's inner mechanism" - was a transmitter ("a vital link between V'Ger and its creator").
The crew discovered that V'Ger (or Voyager) was formerly the unmanned scientific space probe and data-collecting transmitter Voyager 6 that was launched by NASA from Earth in the 20th century (with a mounted plaque that read VOYAGER VI) more than 300 years earlier. After disappearing into a black hole, it crash-landed on a planet inhabited by an alien race of living machines, was rebuilt with a new surrounding vessel (the cloud) to house V'Ger, and reprogrammed to continue collecting data and returning that information to its creator NASA on Earth - "on its journey back, it amassed so much knowledge, it achieved consciousness itself. It became a living thing." To have it completely fulfill its transmission, however, V'Ger insisted that it be joined with its creator to allow V'Ger to fully evolve.
Commander Willard Decker (Stephen Collins) sacrificially offered himself up to physically merge with V'Ger (symbolized by uniting with its android probe Ilia (Persis Khambatta) - the two were former human lovers) to provide a "human quality" - to merge human and machine. The merging took place in a dazzling, explosive shower of white light, creating a new glowing alien entity or non-corporeal life form ("We witnessed a birth. Possibly a next step in our evolution") from which the USS Enterprise emerged - unscathed for its next mission.
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