If there were a Mount Rushmore of horror directors, Sam Raimi would be on it, as he's directed some of the most iconic horror movies, and he recently announced that he wants to direct a Stephen King movie. The filmmaker became a household name thanks to the Evil Dead series, and he became known for his shocking cliffhanger twists in the movies' final moments.
That trademark bled into his non-horror movies too, whether it's a Western or a superhero movie. Raimi didn't invent the shock twist ending that follows a calming moment, but he arguably perfected it, and his endings make for some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
10 A Simple Plan (1998)
The mid-to-late 1990s saw Raimi exploring other genres outside of horror, and between westerns and sports movies, the era certified him as a go-to genre director. One movie that was completely outside of Raimi's wheelhouse was A Simple Plan, a neo-noir crime flick more in line with the films of his friends, the Coen brothers. But Raimi beat the Coens at their own game, as the movie is a grueling story of desperation, and things go from bad to worse after two opportunistic brothers try to hide $4.4 million of stolen cash.
RELATED: The 10 Best Movies Directed By Sam Raimi, According To Ranker
The movie mortifyingly ends with one of the brothers forcing the other to kill him, and the remaining brother burns all of the cash. While it isn't the typical Raimi jaw-dropping twist but a natural conclusion to the story, it's still shocking and surprisingly emotional for the director.
9 Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Sam Raimi spearheaded the original Spider-Man trilogy, and while Spider-Man 3 doesn't stick the perfect superhero landing, it has an interesting ending. Like A Simple Plan, there's no Evil Dead-like exciting twist that happens in the final 10 seconds before the credits roll, but the 2007 movie does some surprising stuff in the final five minutes.
Harry Osborn is shockingly killed even though it was looking like he was going to be completely redeemed and live on, but he suffers a similar fate as his father in the very first 2002 movie. Then, even though the movie ends with them slow dancing, it's hinted at that Peter and MJ don't actually end up together. And with Tobey Maguire's Peter appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the character's explanation about what happened in his life was still extremely vague.
8 The Quick And The Dead (1995)
The Quick and the Dead was Raimi's first major movie that was a real departure from horror, but his frenetic energy and the way he uses the camera and the western genre makes for a perfect coupling. The snap zooms, dolly shots, and comic violence breathe fresh life into the typically slow-paced genre. And along with those signature moves, Raimi didn't forget an ending full of shock value either.
In the last couple of minutes, it flashes back to a young Ellen who is trying to shoot the rope before her father is hung, but shoots him in the head. Then, she kills Herrod in a stand-off, shooting him in the eye and blowing his head off, right before she casually rides into the sunset.
7 Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man had the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time when it was first released in 2002. The web-slinging, the comic book characters come to life, and the irresistible soundtrack turned it into an event movie unlike any other. But more impressively than anything else, Sony actually allowed a major blockbuster movie to be full of Raimi's exquisite but niche trademarks, and the ending is no exception.
RELATED: 10 Trends In Superhero Movies That Spider-Man (2002) Started
The ending to 2002's Spider-Man isn't shocking because of how mortifying it is or because of its violence, but because of how it subverts expectations. After spending the whole movie pining over Mary Jane, when she finally admits that she loves Peter, he rejects her, dedicates his whole life to Spider-Man, and then heroically swings through New York.
6 The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead established Sam Raimi's style. So much creative filming and comedy violence are thrown into the movie, but it also features the first of many of Raimi's shock twists where the movie ends on a huge cliffhanger.
While everything goes wrong in The Evil Dead, Ash finally takes down all of the Deadites, survives the night, and escapes the cabin. Everything seems calm, but in literally the last 10 seconds, an unseen demon attacks Ash from behind before cutting to black. Raimi has continued to outdo himself with terrifying twist endings in each of his movies, but the one found in The Evil Dead is the most inventive. According to Looper, Raimi shot the sequence by sprinting through the woods and cabin holding the camera.
5 Army Of Darkness (1992)
Army of Darkness is the third movie in the Evil Dead series, and it's set in medieval times after Ash is teleported there at the end of Evil Dead II. At the end of the 1992 movie, thinking that he's returning back to the present day, it's miscalculated and Ash wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future.
The film's twist has that typical heart-sinking feeling, but it isn't quite as great as Evil Dead II's ending despite having a higher production value. While it still takes viewers by surprise, it's still repeating the second movie's twist, only it's teleporting to the future instead of the past. But it does still leave the door open for Evil Dead 4, and who doesn't want to see Ash fight Deadites in a Mad Max-like world.
4 Darkman (1990)
According to CBR, Darkman is a result of Raimi not getting the keys to Batman, as he created his very own gritty superhero movie about a masked vigilante in response. The movie follows a doctor who seeks revenge for a lab explosion that permanently disfigured him. A lot like the first Spider-Man movie, the end of Darkman sees the hero giving up his life and fully embracing his new alter ego, only Darkman is much darker, more depressing, and a lot like a Greek tragedy.
RELATED: The 10 Best Standalone Superhero Movies, According To Reddit
After realizing that he and Julie can't lead a normal life after becoming disfigured, Peyton runs away from her, puts on a realistic mask, and blends into a crowd so that she can't find him. But what's more shocking and ridiculous is that Peyton's mask looks a lot like Bruce Campbell, Raimi's longtime friend and collaborator who plays Ash in the Evil Dead series. Campbell cameos in almost every Raimi movie, but this is by far the most creative. And it was a great excuse to make sequels starring Campbell, but that unfortunately never happened.
3 Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Drag Me to Hell is a criminally underrated movie in Raimi's filmography, and while the Evil Dead movies get all the attention, the 2009 popcorn flick is scarier and funnier than the beloved comedy-horror series. And while some might think that the ending is derivative of some of Raimi's other films, Drag Me to Hell was written in the 90s, when the filmmaker was in his element.
The movie's ending delivers on its title, as Christine is literally dragged to hell by demons on a train track. It's especially shocking given that not only did both she and the audience think the Gypsy curse was lifted, but Clay was about to propose to her too.
2 Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022)
The final few seconds in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is by-the-numbers Raimi, but it's undeniably so much fun. Just after the hero has saved the day and all is well with the world and the multiverse, Stephen Strange drops to the floor in agony, and the third eye opens on his forehead.
The scene doesn't miss a beat, as it's soundtracked by layered, disturbing string arrangements from Danny Elfman too. It plays out a lot like the end of Drag Me To Hell, as Strange falls to his knees unable to fight against a supernatural power. But it's the perfect final touch to an MCU movie that was surprisingly terrifying and full of Raimi's trademark shots.
1 Evil Dead II (1987)
Evil Dead II is one of the most iconic horror movies ever and though the first movie is great, it looks so amateur compared to its sequel. The movie sees Ash become a true hero, he embraces the signature shotgun that he calls his "boomstick," and the biggest villain is Ash's own demonic severed hand. But what elevates it from being a great horror movie to an unforgettable classic is the shocking ending.
Ash is teleported to the Middle Ages, but before he knows what has happened, he slays a winged Deadite with his boomstick. Knights then chant "Hail!" as Ash realizes what has happened and looks on in fear. Of all of Raimi's shocking endings, Evil Dead II has the biggest gut-punch ever.
NEXT: Top 10 Ash Williams Quotes From The Evil Dead MoviesShareTweetEmail Next Batman: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up The Christopher Nolan Movies Related Topics
- evil dead
Currently residing in Madrid, Stephen Barker has been a staff writer at Screen Rant since 2020. Since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor's degree in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies in 2014, he has written for numerous movie and music websites. Stephen has been obsessed with movies since he first watched Jurassic Park on VHS, and with a deep interest in screenwriting, he loves 70s character-driven movies. But he's just as much of a defender of Batman & Robin, The Fast and the Furious, and Small Soldiers.Visit Stephen’s personal blog, Quaranste, where he writes about guilty pleasure movies, his latest musical discoveries, and how he stays creative during global pandemics, or contact him directly: Quaranstine@gmail.com.More From Stephen Barker