Friday, October 30

The Greatest Horror End Credits Transitions, Pt. 1

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Isn't it funny how the greats usually have not only fantastic conclusions, but also perfect last frames and lead-ins to the credits? Almost as if after a certain point the film is so cocksure the last tiny bit breaks free from its makers hands and molds itself to ensure its future heralded status to the last credit. You know, the ones that end like heart tugging dramas; just without all the tissues, snot, and crocodile tears to save face with your girlfriend.

This isn't always the case; look no further than Hideo Nakata's Ringu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Kairo for examples of mismatched, soulless pop tunes deflating ominous final images. Even Argento, whose had a rocky relationship with wrap-ups, doesn't quite strike the right chord with Suzy's sigh of relief at the abrupt end of Suspiria. But that's another entry, here's several that are no shit obvious yet are truly untouchable.


NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
'nother one for the fire...


Ben, the only one levelheaded enough to survive the night, takes one between the eyes from a good ol' boy extermination squad upon first seeing dawn's light. The credits begin over a montage of grainy, blown-up shots of his bonfire disposal by emotionless faces welding meathooks.

If there was any doubt to what Romero was trying to say with Night--this sequence should lay it all out. It's chilling to think that probably even if they realized their mistake in their minds it was just another darkie the world wouldn't miss anyway. Or perhaps the man that called the shot knew before he even raised his finger. All the bodies wantonly piled up with the smell of gasoline, fuck it, at that point who cared who was lying inside? Who would have thought such a metaphor concerning racial segregation would rest in a low budget b/w horror flick concerning the dead feasting on the living? NOLD's closing credits cemented its place in not only the horror genre, but in all of cinema.


DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
who cares, let's go shopping!


Fran and Peter are the only ones to escape the rooftop in the trusty W-GON chopper to an ascending tone of mystery. Frumpy horn-laded muzak erupts to accompany a credits montage of zombies doing the window shop-shuffle and ice rink-amble until the last dire bell tolls.

Though less nihilistic than Night, Romero still hammers the point of how mainstream culture has fallen to hollow consumerism with this nightcap imagery of the dead. Director Romero also manages to make these credits feel like a joyous celebration of Dawn, and even if it hadn't ended this way, it's easy to imagine people years later stumbling about Monroeville Mall to the chagrin of worn out security.


HALLOWEEN (1978)
...as a matter of fact, it was.

The Shape shatters to the leafy ground below with Laurie cowering and Loomis stunned. With gunsmoke still clearing, the spot of his landing reveals just grass as Carpenter's theme commences. Loomis slowly gazes outward with the long dreaded realization his unheeded assertions were indeed true even to him. Shots of the now quiet interiors, exterior, and the boarded up Myers home with the ticking score and encumbered breathing as a warning. "HALLOWEEN"

Carpenter crafts a template that was yet to be improved. If there ever was a definitive introduction of a horror icon; Michael Myers' menacing disappearance into the hearts of horror fans has to be the criterion. Perfect from the opening credits to the last closing credit. What happened at the end of Zombie's abomination? Screaming and an immediate "Directed by Rob Zombie" notice. Nice...


THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974)
the pregnant pause heard around the world...


Sally laughs manically from the speeding pick-up as the feminine Leatherface twirls with saw buzzing in rage with the morning sun's arrival. Sudden black, no sound. Credits begin with the found art score clanking.

It's all in the silent pause. At that exquisitely timed heartbeat, you could hear Rex Reed run from the theater with a pull quote that would guarantee his place in the film's marketing, see the old guard's face redden with fury immediately realizing their style was from that point forward regulated to camp, and experience firsthand the visceral era Hooper's masterpiece ushered in.

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1 comment:

CrazySexyMetalChick! said...

Great post! I always thought the ending of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was chilling, especially the unspoken sociological implications.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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