Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

The Killer Was In Jill's Own Bed, and Was Shot Dead By Police

The horror-thriller opened with the scene of teenaged baby-sitter Jill Johnson's (Carol Kane) fearful torment as she received anonymous phone calls from an unknown, lunatic assailant ("Why haven't you checked the children?"), and the police's classic warning: "We've traced the's coming from inside the house!" The Mandrakis' two children were cold-bloodedly murdered and the serial killer Curt Duncan (Tony Beckley), an English merchant seaman, was sent to an asylum.

By film's end seven years later, Jill was now married with two children of her own. While out to dinner with her husband Stephen Lockhart (Steven Anderson), a baby-sitter named Sharon (Lenora May) was tending to her children. Jill received another chilling phone call at the restaurant: "Have you checked the children...?" - she screamed: "Curt Duncan. He's back. He has my babies!" [Duncan had escaped from the asylum.]

That night, Jill discovered the returning escaped killer was in her own bed! - fortunately, police detective/PI John Clifford (Charles Durning) was on the case and shot the killer dead (with two shots) as he was assaulting her in her bedroom. Stephen was found alive but unconscious in the closet.

[Note: The film returned as a big-budget remake by Simon West, titled similarly, When A Stranger Calls (2006). It followed fairly closely to the original 1979 film, with the additional murders of Jill's (Camilla Belle) best friend Tiffany (Katie Cassidy) and the maid Rosa. Also, the mostly-unseen Stranger (voice of Lance Henriksen) was not killed, but apprehended and taken away by police. While hospitalized, Jill continued to have insane delusions about the stalker attacking her.]

Where the Truth Lies (2005)

Maureen O'Flaherty Was Killed After Witnessing a Potentially-Embarrassing Fact (Vince's Closeted Bi-Sexuality); She Was Murdered by Lanny's Bodyguard Reuben; Vince Committed Suicide In the Same Room Where Maureen Had Died

This controversial, tangled and convoluted film-noirish feature film from Canadian director Atom Egoyan was a lurid and sexy backstage crime/murder mystery based upon Rupert Holmes' 2003 novel. It was set in two time periods, and also was often communicated as a flashback based upon three chapters of Lanny's written autobiographical memoirs. It told about an amoral and pill-popping comedy duo funny-man team in 1957 resembling Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis:

  • Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon), an American
  • Vince Collins (Colin Firth), a Britisher

The two broke up their act after red-headed college coed Maureen O'Flaherty (Rachel Blanchard), who was the room service waitress (and adoring fan) from the hotel they had just vacated in Miami, Florida after a record-breaking polio telethon, was found naked and dead in their New Jersey Palace Del Sol Hotel suite. Her body was encased in a ice-filled crate of lobsters when they first arrived (although the official story was that she was found in the bathtub). The cause of death was from supposed drowning combined with a drug overdose (although her corpse had been flown from Miami, Florida to Newark, NJ and planted there).

Later, it was revealed that she was killed because she witnessed Vince's closeted bisexuality-homosexuality during an attempted threesome sex scene in their Miami hotel room the night before the telethon (Lanny: "You got the endzone there, Vince...Get the f--k off me. We don't f--k, Vince ! We're buddies, we're pals, we're partners, we're a duo. We love each other, but we don't f--k!"). Afterwards, when she asked for a bribe to keep her quiet ("Who's gonna pay me?...I'm not looking for a tip...") after the night of a recorded interview (when she kept her recorder on) and subsequent sex, Lanny went to bed, and discovered the next morning that she was dead.

Her killing was a psychosexually-related crime committed by Lanny's bodyguard and valet Reuben (David Hayman) who had smothered her with a pillow in order to silence her and protect his employers from blackmail and ruin.

15 years later in 1972, worldly, award-winning aspiring young journalist Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman), who was once a polio-cured "miracle" guest on their final telethon show before the murder, pursued the two.

(Note: Karen was dressed like Alice in Wonderland on the show - coincidentally, Wonderland was also the name of a polio clinic, supported by Vince, that treated children with physical handicaps)

Her job was to write a provocative article/book to find "where the truth lies" in the circumstances surrounding the duo's split and the girl's death. She made love to Lanny during a one-night stand, while impersonating her best friend elementary school teacher Bonnie Trout.

In the film's conclusion, Vince committed suicide in the Miami hotel where Maureen had died by a sleeping pill/champagne alcohol overdose in an ice-filled bathtub. And in the last few minutes, Reuben revealed that he had the incriminating tape that was recorded the night of the murder after Maureen's interview of the duo - and with a second attempt at blackmail, tried to blackmail Karen into having her publishing firm purchase it for a million dollars (Reuben had first blackmailed Vince over the tape for a million dollars -- the reason that Vince had agreed to do a book deal for a million dollars).

Karen explained in voice-over how Reuben was forced to wait until the duo's supportive mob boss Sally Sanmarco (Maury Chaykin) died before proposing blackmail:

For 15 years, he tormented Vince and Lanny. He could never blackmail Vince while Sally Sanmarco was alive so he waited until Sally died to activate his retirement plan: a million dollars from Vince. A million dollars for the same tape he offered to me. He would never get his money, and I would never see him again. He had taken her life and with it her mother's heart and her father's mind. And now, all that remained of Maureen O'Flaherty was a tree in her mother's garden.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

The Killer Was Judge Doom, An Evil Toon, Who Wanted to Demolish Toon Town and Profit From Building a Freeway; He Ended Up Dead By Being "Dipped"; The Toons Inherited Toon Town (Marvin Acme's Will Was Hidden in Roger Rabbit's Love Letter to Jessica Rabbit)

In the conclusion of this inventive, animated and live-action film, revelations were made about Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) of the Toon Town District Superior Court:

  • Doom was behind the murders of studio boss R. K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) and Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye) (the owner of the Acme Novelty Company and of Toon Town)
  • Doom's plan was to destroy public transportation and demolish Toon Town in the name of building a freeway
  • Doom was a Toon (an animated character) masquerading as a human, revealed when he was flattened by a steamroller and used an air tank to reinflate himself, and then when he dissolved in Dip spray projected at him from a Dipmobile
  • Doom also confessed that he was the one who had killed washed up private investigator Eddie Valiant's (Bob Hoskins) brother Teddy ("Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked just like this")

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

The Son of George and Martha Was Fictional, Conceived To Keep Their Troubled Marriage Together

In the conclusion of this shocking black comedy/drama, based on Edward Albee's scandalous play, came the revelation that ineffectual professor George (Richard Burton) and his complaining, shrew-like wife Martha's (Elizabeth Taylor) much talked-about son was fictional.

The idea of having a son was a decades-old illusion and fabrication they'd conjured up to keep their marriage together, but which ultimately devitalized it.

George purged, exorcised and demystified the illusion of a son to cleanse Martha's internal demon spirits, unconscious fears and attachments which blocked her from accepting the death of their son.

Callow young biology professor Nick (George Segal) reacted with the repeated insightful realization: "Oh, my God. I think I understand this..."

The Wicker Man (1973, UK)

The Villagers Sacrificed the Virginal Policeman Howie in the Burning 'Wicker Man'; The 'Missing' Girl Was the Bait to Lure Him There

In this suspenseful and erotic horror-occult film, sexually-repressed and devoutly religious Scottish policeman Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) searched for a missing young schoolgirl named Rowan Morrison (Geraldine Cowper) from an anonymous tip in a letter. He believed that she was to be a potential virgin sacrifice (the May Queen) on May Day by openly-sexual pagan worshippers and inhabitants of the remote Scottish island of Summerisle, who worshipped the pagan teachings of leader Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee).

In the chilling finale of the cult classic, Howie learned that he was the one to be sacrificed. He was lured there to the island to be their good Christian sacrifice, to appease the gods and to bring a plentiful harvest. The 'missing' girl was never really missing.

He was burned alive ("Oh, my God!") as the perfect virginal sacrifice inside the massive hollow 'wicker man' statue (created of wicker materials designed to be used for fire sacrifices) at sunset.

[Note: The film was reimagined by writer/director Neil Labute as the psychological thriller The Wicker Man (2006), with Nicolas Cage portraying CHP motorcycle policeman Edward Malus. He was the former fiancee of Sister Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan) who had a missing daughter named Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), living on an island off the Pacific Northwest coast of the state of Washington. He flew to the island (where modern pagan villagers in a matriarchal society were led by Sister SummersIsle (Ellen Burstyn)), to conduct a frantic search for the girl - whom he learned was his daughter. As in the original film, the girl was a trap, to lead him to the island so that he could become the festival's "Wicker Man" sacrifice (because of his blood connection to Rowan). Six months later, two male police officers in a bar (James Franco and Jason Ritter) were revealed to be the next policemen to be groomed for sacrifice. Seductive Sister Willow and Sister Honey (Leelee Sobieski) would produce children with them that would live in Summersisle (and lure them back), continuing the next sacrificial cycle.]

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

(alphabetical by film title)
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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

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