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7 Classic Movies That Almost Had Absurdly Dark Endings

#3. Hancock -- Hancock Tries to Rape Mary, Murders a Bunch of Cops, and Tries to Kill Himself

Columbia Pictures

The Will Smith action comedy Hancock is about an alcoholic superhero who causes considerable property damage every time he fights crime, because flinging yourself headlong through the air at 70 miles an hour like a drunken indestructible torpedo will occasionally break a few fences. Hancock saves the life of a public relations specialist, Ray Embrey, who makes it his mission to improve Hancock's public image. Ray's wife, Mary, is secretly a superbeing, too, and she and Hancock can't be in close proximity to each other or else their powers begin to deteriorate, because if you rewrite a script enough times, it just becomes unintelligible nonsense.

After Ray rescues both Hancock and Mary from a bank robber, who somehow managed to get the drop on them despite possessing the traditional bank robber allotment of zero superhuman abilities, Hancock agrees to live on the opposite side of the country. He then draws a heart on the moon to commemorate his friendship with Ray, a gesture that apparently made it unscathed through enough test screenings to justify its inclusion in the final release.

Columbia Pictures
"And then Hancock writes their bromance across the sky! That's cool, right? We can end on that?"

The Original Ending

Hancock becomes obsessed with Mary, but there isn't some barely plausible twist where she also turns out to be a superhero. She's just a regular person, and Hancock exploits this weakness by kidnapping her for an evening of terrifying super-rape:

Columbia Pictures

Hancock manages to stop himself before he harms Mary, but he vents his anger by heroically murdering an entire street full of police officers who were coming to her rescue:

Columbia Pictures

After nearly getting Mary killed, Hancock decides to relieve himself of the burden of being an invincible asshole and tries to shoot himself in the head, because apparently he had been paying even less attention to the movie than the rest of us:

Columbia Pictures

The ending leaves it ambiguous about what ultimately happens to Hancock, but since he can't die, we assume he's doomed to spend the rest of eternity wallowing in miserable self-loathing.

Needless to say, this is hardly the way to end a Hollywood blockbuster. Once the script was bought, it spent 12 years bouncing from director to director and going through countless rewrites until it became the instantly forgettable trivia question that is a Will Smith summer movie.

#2. Little Shop of Horrors -- Audrey II Kills the Main Characters and Takes Over the World

Warner Bros.

Little Shop of Horrors is a musical version of a 1960 horror film about a plant named Audrey II that came from outer space to eat human flesh. Seymour, a nerdy clerk at a flower shop, feeds disreputable people to the killer plant until it grows out of control and tries to eat his girlfriend, Audrey. Rightly sensing that this is a stroke of ungrateful bullshit, Seymour electrocutes the plant until it explodes, and he and Audrey move to the suburbs and live happily ever after.

Warner Bros.
"If she'd just agreed to the three-way, this all would have worked out fine!"

The Original Ending

In the film's original ending (and in the stage musical on which the film is based), both Seymour and Audrey are killed by the hulking space plant, who then goes on a rampage with an army of his murderous offspring:

Warner Bros.
So Cloverfield got its story from an ending too absurd for a musical comedy starring a man-eating Venus' flytrap?

That sequence alone cost millions of dollars to produce, but was entirely scrapped after two test screenings of the film received the kind of intensely negative reception normally reserved for televised weddings. According to director Frank Oz, the preview screenings were going very well and the audiences were loving the film right up until Audrey and Seymour get eaten, at which point the theaters turned into vacuums of confused rage.

The film's release was immediately delayed, and a new ending was hastily re-shot to allow people to leave showings of the comic rock opera without feeling crushed by bewildering depression.

Warner Bros.
Because scenes like this weren't pitiable enough to begin with.

#1. The Butterfly Effect -- Evan's Fetus Intentionally Strangles Itself With Its Own Umbilical Cord

New Line Cinema

In The Butterfly Effect, Ashton Kutcher plays a man named Evan who discovers that he has the ability to travel back in time and inhabit the body of his former self, allowing him to make different choices that will alter his destiny. He tries to go back and save himself from several horrific childhood traumas, but everything he changes in the past has disastrous effects on the future. Even when his intentions are good, terrible things happen to both him and the people he cares about as a result.

New Line Cinema
"I saw Demi Moore and Two and a Half Men and wanted to scream into the pitiless abyss of time itself."

Things become so catastrophic that the only way to save the life of his childhood sweetheart, Kayleigh, is for Evan to stay out of her life forever. He travels back to the day he met Kayleigh and prevents them from ever becoming friends. Back in the future, Evan passes Kayleigh on the street and sees that things have turned out well for her, even though he knows nothing about her new life and is seemingly basing this conclusion on the fact that she's wearing a white suit.

New Line Cinema
"That outfit looks expensive. Her life must be full of victory."

The Original Ending

The alternate ending of The Butterfly Effect is easily the most noteworthy thing about an otherwise completely forgettable film, because it is quite possibly the darkest conclusion in motion picture history. Ultimately realizing that the only way to undo all the damage he has caused with his time-traveling tomfoolery is to prevent himself from ever existing, Evan teleports back to the inside of his mother's womb and strangles himself to death with his umbilical cord:

In the words of the filmmakers, an unborn fetus murdering itself in utero "wasn't going to sell popcorn," even though that's the ending they had always wanted. So they decided to shoot another ending for the film's theatrical release, which isn't necessarily a "happy" ending, but in a movie that's already full of molestation and child pornography, it's about as sunny a denouement as the audience has any right to expect. And if they paid money to see an Ashton Kutcher movie, they deserve to leave the theater feeling more than a little depleted.

New Line Cinema
Just maybe not "infant suicide" depleted.



Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row.



For more movies that were almost completely different, check out 5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes and 5 Classic Movies That Almost Had Terrible Endings.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 4 Best Moments from the Fastest Career Meltdown Ever.

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