Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


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

Blown Away (1992)

Double-Crossing Murderess Megan Was Shot to Death

This erotic thriller was advertised with the tagline: "She'll charm you. Seduce you. She might even kill you." The femme fatale was blonde, wild-living, pill-popping rich 17 year-old teenager Megan Bower (Nicole Eggert), who eventually romanced two brothers with long-standing sibling rivalry - and deadly consequences:

  • Rich Gardner (Corey Haim)
  • his older brother Wes (Corey Feldman)

In the film's opening scene a year earlier, her mother had been mysteriously 'blown away' by a ticking car bomb planted under her gas tank that exploded and sent her car into a gas station causing another explosive fireball. A year later, the conniving sexpot was plotting, during a torrid affair with Rich, to have him help her further her own ends - to kill her tyrannical, overprotective father Cy (Jean Le Clerc) and acquire the family's inheritance. Megan's father died when an explosive time bomb secretly planted in his motorbike's gas tank exploded near a cliffside and resulted in a fall to his death. Afterwards, she told Rich: "I think we actually got away with it..The bomb was designed to burn away. No trace...This wasn't only about the money. You knew that. I couldn't run away, it was him or me. Trust me, Rich, this will all work out just like you said it would."

Rich was skeptical and wondered whether he should turn her in to the authorities: "Sooner or later, they're gonna figure out that it wasn't an electrical problem." He was placed in jail, where Megan visited him and assured him of her love: "I want to feel you inside of me right now." She suggested that he become a fugitive and she would join him later with the money. She then provided bail money for him, gave him the keys to her pink Targa Porsche sports car (with Colorado plates: GOTCHA), and told him to meet her at her house where she had made "all the arrangements." Although he was wary of her and looked for another car bomb, he didn't find any, until his car spun out and he spotted the detonator with only 4 seconds to spare - enough to save his life.

It was then revealed that Wes was in cahoots with Megan and was also sleeping with her, sarcastically calling her "a lying, murdering bitch" - he had helped her in the double cross to kill his brother with the car bomb ("I can't believe we got away with it"). As the two made love, the camera panned to the right to disclose that Rich had silently entered the bedroom and was watching them from the side, commenting: "Wes and his amazing penis." As Wes went to pull the trigger on his brother, he was shot in the back by Megan and killed. Megan rationalized to Rich that it was all Wes' fault: "He was gonna kill you. He's the one that beat me. He killed Darla...All this was his idea. He was making me do it," but Rich knew better: "It was all you." While Megan admitted: "I really did love you," she began shooting at Rich with a gun in each hand, as state police (tipped off by Rich after the failed attempt on his life) entered her bedroom, blasted her with a shotgun, and propelled her out of the second-story window to her death on the pavement below.

As the film concluded, Rich handed back a concealed wire to the chief of police.






Blow Out (1981)

The Governor's Car Crash Was Part of a Political Conspiracy To Eliminate Him From the Election, Although The Accident Turned Deadly; The Dirty Work Was Done by an Operative/Serial Killer Named Burke (aka The Liberty Bell Strangler); Both of Jack's 'Wire' Stings Lethally Failed; After Being Strangled, Sally's Realistic Scream Was Used in a Slasher-Shower Scene

This dark and twisty Brian De Palma (writer and director) political thriller was a Hitchcockian-type film that paid homage to both Blow-Up (1966) and Coppola's The Conversation (1974). Its riveting themes were audio voyeurism, political dirty tricks, and corruption (with illusions to Watergate, the JFK Zapruder film, and the Chappaquiddick scandal).

The Reagan-esque era film opened with a 'film within a film' - the shooting of Co-ed Frenzy - a cheap exploitation film (set in a sorority house filled with scantily-clad females) where a killer (from his POV as in Halloween (1978)) stalked and slashed a nude female (Missy Cleveland, April 1979 Playboy Playmate) in a shower. [It was a scene reminiscent of the early 1980s film, when Friday the 13th (1980) and other imitation slasher films were being spawned.] The scream was rated "terrible" by Jack Terri (John Travolta), a sound F/X technician working on the low-budget exploitation film in the "Personal Effects" department, although he considered the picture their "finest film." Director Sam (Peter Boyden) berated Jack: "Look Jack, I didn't hire that girl for her scream. I hired that girl for her tits," and wanted Jack to replace the weak cry from the naked coed's lips. In fact, Jack took his sound-effects job seriously at Independence Pictures Inc. where he had worked for two years - and was interested in capturing truth and reality in his recordings (weather effects, footsteps, heartbeats, clocks, glass breaks, gunshots, a body fall, etc.).

While Jack was recording outdoor sound-effects later that night with a directional baton-like microphone (and a portable reel-to-reel device), he witnessed a fatal car crash when a car's tire popped and screeched, and the vehicle plunged off a deserted Philadelphia road into a river. Jack dived in, swam down and rescued the driver's companion, later identified as a ditzy yet good-hearted blonde named Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen, director DePalma's real-life wife), but it was fatal for the driver who had drowned. At the hospital, Jack reported to disbelieving Detective Mackey (John Aquino) that he had first heard a "bang" before the tire blow out ("the bang was before the blow out"). Then, he learned that the deceased was notable Governor George McRyan (John Hoffmeister), a hopeful presidential candidate who, the evening of his death, had announced his entrance into the primary election. Officials wanted to entirely hush the embarrassing fact that the Governor was with a female "playmate" companion, although Jack stressed that what he saw was "the truth" and he didn't want to lie about it.

But Jack went along with the deception and cover-up proposed by the governor's assistant Lawrence Henry (John McMartin) -- until he had second thoughts after listening to his recorded sounds tape, in a participatory scene. He realized that he had inadvertently recorded evidence of an assassination ("I think your tire was shot out"). Jack believed that the governor's left car tire was shot before the tire blew, causing the accident (he hypothesized there was a gunman in the bushes, where a puff of smoke was seen). He became more suspicious when a photographer named Manny Karp (Dennis Franz) sold his "exclusive" series of still pictures (taken from his motion picture camera film) of the McRyan's accident to the press - appearing in a News Today article entitled "McRyan's Tragic Blow Out."

His faith in the authenticity of his film craft was reawakened. In his past (seen through flashback), the principled Jack had helped crack down on police corruption until one of his concealed wires short-circuited and caused undercover cop/detective Freddie Corso (Luddy Tramontana) to be found out and murdered during a botched sting. The tools of his F/X trade had failed him, leading to his choice to avoid the truth and make cheap exploitation films with phony sound effects. But now that he found himself caught up in some kind of political corruption, he convinced Sally to join him to investigate the suspicious incident.

Jack synchronized Karp's series of photographs with his own audio tape to create a film of the incident. He decisively pinpointed the moment of the gunshot - seen as a flash in the bushes. He hid the incriminating film in a ceiling panel in his office, believing it was evidence of a major political conspiracy. He then reported his findings to Detective Mackey, who was mostly uninterested, reflecting the times' political apathy: "Nobody wants to know. Nobody cares."

Meanwhile, there were other interesting revelations:

  • a serial killer-stalker named Burke (John Lithgow) was terrorizing the city, dubbed "The Liberty Bell Strangler"; Burke's first unfortunate sex-crime victim at an excavation site was a 22 year old receptionist (a Sally look-alike), strangled and then stabbed (and mutilated) with an ice-pick in the pattern of a Liberty Bell; a second victim was a prostitute strangled in a women's room at the train station
  • Burke had been hired as part of a political conspiracy to effectively eliminate Governor McRyan from the upcoming election; he had changed the tire on the vehicle, to make it look like a blow out; he also infiltrated sound guy Jack's office and erased the tapes to make Jack look like a "crackpot"; he then explained to his political operative that Sally's killing would eliminate loose ends when her death was attributed to the "Strangler": "I've decided to terminate her (Sally) and make it look like one of a series of sex killings in the area. This would completely secure our operation"
  • Karp was Sally's pimp who had set her up to be with Governor McRyan the night of the 'accident' - he was paid $6,000 by one of Ryan's unidentified opponents (the original plan was to scandalize the governor by exposing him with a floozy - "he wasn't supposed to die")
  • Karp was doing "divorce work on the side," using prostitute Sally to set up and incriminate cheating husbands so they could be bribed for hush money (one of Karp's b/w photos showed an unsuspecting client caught in bed with Sally); Sally knocked Karp unconscious and stole Karp's original film reel of the car accident, to give to a TV investigative reporter named Frank Donahue (Curt May)
  • Burke was a Bell Telephone repairman, who had wire-tapped Jack's phone and was able to circumvent all of Jack's efforts to present the truth and expose the conspiracy

The film's climactic, violent pursuit scene occurred during a surreal Liberty Day Jubilee 1981 centennial celebration in Philadelphia with red-white-blue-fireworks and a parade down Market Street. Jack had 'wired' Sally to cover all the bases (he vowed to her: "Nobody's gonna f--k me this time"). She would be recorded as she met with Donahue to give him the tape and film. However, as Jack listened, he realized that Sally was speaking to Burke, who had intercepted her and was impersonating Donahue. After a car pursuit and frantic chase after Burke, across Philadelphia in his Jeep during the crowded festivities, Jack crashed and was injured. He didn't reach Sally in time before she was killed by strangulation, on the top of the Port of History building. Jack killed Burke with his ice-pick, and was stunned to realize that Sally was dead.

Ironically, her recorded scream - haunting and sad - and intensely realistic, was used for an actress' "terrible" scream for the soundtrack of a shower scene in the cheap slasher film seen in the film's opening (Sam: "Now that's a scream!"). Jack muttered to himself: "It's a good scream," but he held his ears to drown out the sound.














Blow-Up (1966, UK)

An Ambiguous Existential Mystery -- The Evidence of a Murder in the Park Became Non-Existent - All Proof of the Death Disappeared; Did the Murder Actually Take Place? Photographer Thomas Also Disappeared in the Final Shot of the Film

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language film, set in mod 60s London, was a thought-provoking, art-house masterpiece. Most of all, it was an engaging, provocative murder mystery that examined the existential nature of reality through photography. It quickly became one of the most important films of its decade. [The film in some respects resembles Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), and proved influential for other young filmmakers: i.e., Coppola's The Conversation (1974), and De Palma's Blow Out (1981).]

A desensitized-to-life, nihilistic, high-fashion London free-lance photographer Thomas (Hemmings), who lived a mid-60s life of excess (riches, fame, and women), became bored with his lucrative career of glamour photography. So he resorted to photographing, in documentary style, the seamy and sordid side of life in London, in flophouses and slums. Innocently and voyeuristically, he took candid photos in a deserted park of what he thought was a lover's tryst-rendezvous between a black kerchief-wearing, enigmatic woman (Vanessa Redgrave) and a middle-aged, gray-haired man in a light-gray suit.

She pursued him to ask for the illicit photos (she claimed he had invaded her privacy). She persistently begged for the undeveloped roll of film, first in the park. He became both intrigued and suspicious by her demands ("What's the rush?"), and when she stated: "We haven't met. You've never seen me." She ran off - and it appeared that the man she was with had disappeared. He took more photos of her standing next to a bush far in the distance [on close inspection, a body was lying there, although most viewers wouldn't notice it on first viewing].

Later at his studio after following him, she went topless and offered sexual favors. To get her to leave, he gave her a different roll of undeveloped film from his park visit. He enlarged ('blows-up') some of the pictures to poster size, and pinned the magnified photos around his studio's living room. A few of the pictures were enlarged even more - and he imagined in a suspenseful scene that he saw a man and a gun in the shadows of some bushes behind a fence. The photographs were in sequence - giving them life and activity as if they were individual frames in a motion picture. His picture-taking had possibly foiled a potential murder attempt, as the pictures were now revealing more than he originally saw in the park as just a scene of sexual intrigue: "Somebody was trying to kill somebody else. I saved his life."

As tension heightened, he then imagined a more riveting possibility - that he may have accidentally recorded and obtained visual, criminal evidence of a murder. He used a magnifying glass to look at more photo detail, revealing what could be a dead body lying prone on the ground in the far distance next to some bushes. He enlarged the photo and studied the grainy blow-up. That night, he returned to the park (he passed by a white neon sign (FOA), a symbolic foreshadowing, in the shape of a gun), to find the gray-haired man's prone corpse next to some bushes at the far end of the park. This was real proof of a murder that he had accidentally recorded as a witness.

However, when he returned to his studio, he discovered that all the blown-up pictures and negatives were stolen - except for the extreme blow-up of the body on the ground. But it was too fuzzy to serve as proof of anything. By the next morning, the corpse had disappeared. The evidence was at once more difficult to ignore and more impossible to define. Without photographic evidence produced by his camera-tool - his sole means of communicating with the world, Thomas was left with nothing.

As he wandered through the park, he came upon a group of wandering mimes in white-face, playing an invisible game of tennis (without balls or rackets). His attention was directed toward the lengthy charade, and he also suspended his belief in concrete reality to join in. He became directly involved when he tossed an invisible tennis ball back to the two players when it was imagined that the ball was hit out of the court. On the soundtrack, one could now hear the illusion in Thomas' mind - the sound of an actual tennis game. It was another indelible image emphasizing the slim line between objective reality and illusion.

The film ended with an aerial view of Thomas standing at a distance in the middle of a grassy field in the park near the tennis court, with his camera in his hand. He faded into view just before the words THE END zoomed forward.










The Blue Dahlia (1946)

House Detective "Dad" Newell Was the Killer

The who-dun-it from a Raymond Chandler novel (and screenplay) had a different conclusion than the one offered in this Alan Ladd/Veronica Lake film regarding the identity of the murderer - the murderer was changed by demands from the military to have a less politically-sensitive killer.

Returning discharged WWII veteran and naval flier Lt. Cmdr. Johnny Morrison (Ladd) found that his boozing, unfaithful estranged wife Helen (Doris Dowling) had been promiscuous with LA's The Blue Dahlia nightclub owner Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva) during his absence. When he confronted the couple kissing in his own home during a house party, he quipped to Harwood: "You've got the wrong lipstick on, Mister!" and then punched him in the chin.

Helen also laughingly confessed to Johnny that she had killed their young son Dickie in a DUI accident while she was driving, causing him to angrily walk out on her while leaving his gun in her bungalow. Johnny would soon be accused of the crime of Helen's murder, as would other suspects:

  • nightclub owner Harwood
  • Johnny's slightly crazy, medically-discharged war buddy Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix) who had amnesia and a steel plate in his head (his motive to kill was because Helen had two-timed his pal Johnny)
  • Harwood's separated, long blonde-haired wife Joyce (Lake)

Buzz was the novel's killer, but in the film, the blackmailing, disgruntled Beverly Hills bungalow motel house detective 'Dad' Newell (Will Wright) was the killer.


Body Double (1984)

Sam Bouchard was Alexander Revelle, Gloria's Husband, and Her Murderer Disguised as an "Indian"

In this Brian De Palma film (a virtual remake of Vertigo with its theme of double identity) that featured a triple-flip ending, one revelation (Rear Window-style) to claustrophobia-suffering, struggling actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) was that the auto-erotic, exhibitionist dancer-neighbor that he was ogling through a high-powered telescope night after night was not rich, tormented wife Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), but porn queen Holly Body (Melanie Griffith).

With a clue already provided in the film's title and in the film's tagline ("You can't believe everything you see"), Holly was paid by Alexander Revelle, Gloria's disgruntled, abusive husband (whose alter ego was fellow actor 'Sam Bouchard' (Gregg Henry)) to dance in the house for a few nights and impersonate his wife. Then the real Gloria was murdered by a pony-tailed 'Indian' with an erect power drill. Jake realized that he was set-up by "Sam" to be a convenient witness/alibi to her murder ("He was throwing out a net. He was sizing me up for a part that he was casting...And I fit the bill perfectly: lovesick sucker out on his ass...The part of the witness...Alexander Revelle set me up in this house to witness the murder. And he hired a porno actress to be the bait").

In the conclusion set at a nearby reservoir site, the killer-Indian had kidnapped Holly in a Ford Bronco, and was planning on burying her in a large earthen pit. When Jake interrupted and confronted him, they fought inside the burial hole. And as they struggled, the latex face makeup came off, revealing the killer-Indian to be a disguised "Sam." With Jake paralyzed by claustrophobia in the deep pit, "Sam" admitted angrily:

Look what you did. You ruined my surprise ending. I gave you your part: the witness. You were perfect. You played it to a T. But that was it. End of part. Wrap Jake Scully. Oh no, you had to play the hero. Improvise all this crap about finding a body double and unmasking the Indian. But you didn't think it through, did you, Jake? Sometimes heroes come to tragic ends. What's the matter, Jake? A little short of breath? What a terrible way to die. Especially when you're so claustrophobic. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'll give you another take, Jake. The only problem is, you've got to act. Come on, Jake. Action.

Jake imagined himself being directed in a vampire horror film role, fearfully frozen inside a coffin (the same sequence from the film's opening). However, this time he didn't want assistance ("I can help myself") - he begged for an immediate second take ("Let's do it") -- and overcame his phobia when the director warned him: "You'd better get it right this time." Back at the reservoir, he fought off "Sam" who ended up getting pushed backward (by his charging, snarling dog) to his death into the churning reservoir water below.

During the epilogue and end credits, Jake was performing as a full-time actor in cheap vampire horror films. In the filming of a Psycho-like scene, Jake was in the shower when a naked 'body double' named Mindy was substituted for the lead actress.






Body Heat (1981)

Matty Set Up Ned For Her Husband's Murder, After Swapping Identities (And Faking Her Own Death)

In the end of this Double Indemnity-like thriller, "Matty Walker" (Kathleen Turner) was killed in a booby-trapped boathouse explosion (her body was identified by dental records) and her lover/dupe Ned Racine (William Hurt) was charged with the murder and imprisoned in a Florida state penitentiary.

Believing that "Matty" was somehow still alive, Ned looked in Matty's high school yearbook. In the climactic plot twist, he found evidence there that she had swapped identities with Mary Ann Simpson (Kim Zimmer) (a look-alike seen earlier in the film).

Under her yearbook picture, her ambition was described as: "To be rich and live in an exotic land" - a wish that was fulfilled in the last image of "Matty" lying on a beach somewhere in an exotic land.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

C.W.'s Father Alerted Police, Who Ambushed Bonnie And Clyde

Although their fates were inevitable after a series of small-time stickups and murders, the shocking and tense "ballet of blood" finale of the ultra-violent deaths of the doomed lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) during a country backroads ambush by police was still a shock!

Their frenzied corpses writhed in slow-motion as they were gunned down and riddled with bullets; they were re-animated by gunfire - into involuntary dances of death.


Boogie Nights (1997)

Going Back to Work, Egotistical Porn Star Dirk Diggler Admired Himself

In the unexpected, surprise conclusion of this fact-based film about the LA adult film industry in the late 70s and early 80s, well-endowed ex-busboy and fading porn star Eddie/'Dirk Diggler' (Mark Wahlberg) was going back to work for Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). In other subplots, Little Bill (William H. Macy) shot his cheating wife and then killed himself. And Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) and Rollergirl (Heather Graham) remained in the porn business. And Buck (Don Cheadle) lucked into money in the aftermath of a bloody donut shop robbery, using the cash to open an audio store.

Dirk revealed - in an impressive full-frontal screen view - his main (and pathetic) claim to fame: his 13" penis (a prosthetic), as he repeated to himself:

I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right.



Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

(alphabetical by film title)
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