Top five movies with a truly shocking twist 8 years ago

Top five movies with a truly shocking twist

Ahead of the screening of The Usual Suspects in Cork and Galway by the Jameson Cult Film Club, here’s a few more flicks with great twists in the tale. Yep, there are spoilers but sure you have to have seen these already.

Psycho

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Alfred Hitchcock’s classic is a classic for any number of reasons. The - for the time - graphic violence, the now iconic music by Bernard Herrmann and the stark manner in which it was shot in black and white mark it out as one of the greatest films ever made.

But it also packs a serious punch with one of the great cinematic twists. Initially the Norman Bates character, played superbly by Anthony Perkins, seems troubled but harmless, while we are told it is his mother who is unwell and who seems to be killing off guests at the infamous Bates Motel.

Bates motel

However, when a cop finally comes to investigate the disappearances he instead discovers a very dead Mrs Bates and a very alive Norman, dressed as his mother, wielding a big knife.

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We haven’t been able to sit in a rocking chair since.

Planet of the Apes

While the Simpsons version remains infinitely better to the 2001 Tim Burton remake, the 1968 original is still the most impactful, because of the unexpected twist.

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Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor and his crew land on a strange planet at some time in the future. They discover the planet is run by apes, while humans are subservient to their simian masters.

After losing his voice, Taylor is put on trial to determine his origins and he attempts to prove that he is not of this world and that the planet was once a haven of advanced human society.

That he does, but the manner in which he does so, by discovering the remains of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand, proves that this Planet of the Apes is simply Earth after everything went very badly wrong. Taylor doesn’t take the news too well, while audiences at the time were stunned, perfectly illustrated in Mad Men when in an episode in the sixth series, Don’s son Bobby is shocked by the final scene.

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The Usual Suspects

If you haven't seen this yet, and are heading to the screening STOP READING NOW. For the rest of you, the performance of Kevin Spacey as 'Verbal' Kint in this film is truly astonishing, in every sense of the word.

Using flashbacks and voice overs, Kint spins a yarn to cop Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) about how a band of thieves (the eponymous 'suspects') committed a few daring heists before being blackmailed into working for an unbelievably vicious Hungarian criminal mastermind called Keyser Söze and blowing up a boat.

Kint's character, all mannerisms (a pronounced limp) and deference, appears to give the cop all the hints he needs to solve the case and capture the elusive Söze and eventually they agree that one of the other 'suspects' is Söze.

Kint is released on bail but as he looks around the office Kujan realises that all the details, all the evidence given to him by Kint was manufactured from the bits and bobs around the office. Kint was Söze. The last we see of Kint/Söze is him walking away, now limp free. "And like that, he's gone."

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A truly fantastic, and deeply satisfying twist, even though is a very bad man who walks away.

Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is not give away the twist but as the film is now – gulp – 15 years old, we think we are safe enough.

The premise, about a fed-up dude played by Ed Norton who sets up an underground fight club to give his life some purpose, is a great commentary on disaffected young men. Norton is helped in running the club by a guy called Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt.

Fight Club (1999) Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (Screengrab)

Durden is everything Norton’s character is not and when they both begin to see the same woman, Helena Bonham Carter’s Marla, things begin to unravel.

There are a few subtle clues but eventually it dawns on us, and Norton, that he and Durden are the same person, forcing Norton to take drastic actions to stop some very serious crimes Durden/Norton has already set up.

Fight Club is a cracking film but the addition of the plot twist makes it one of David Fincher’s best movies, which is high praise indeed.

The Sixth Sense

Now the words M Night Shyamalan on a movie poster will probably send you running the other direction but when The Sixth Sense came out in 1999 he was instantly the hottest film maker in Hollywood.

The film is about a kid, played by Haley Joel Osment, who can talk to and see dead people. Bruce Willis plays a psychologist (Crowe) who tries to help him through his difficulties and get to the root of the problem.

I see dead people

Troubled by a failure with a previous young patient, Crowe is determined to help the youngster cope with his ability. Eventually he does and the two part ways with Osment’s character adjusting to his strange life.

Crowe returns home to find his wife asleep and speaking in her sleep about why he left her. He then realises that he has been dead all the time he was helping Osment’s character and that by helping him, and by assuring his wife he always loved her, his spirit is free at last.

Since then Shyamalan has had a few more attempts at big twist movies (The Village being the most notable) but none has come close to the cultural impact of The Sixth Sense.

The Jameson Cult Film Club is returning to Cork on 22nd April and Galway on 29th April for explosive screenings of the 1995 crime thriller, The Usual Suspects. Following on from the successful screenings of cult classics such as Jaws, Predator and Intermission, organisers are bringing the Jameson Cult Film Club experience back on the road.

Just click on the  Jameson Cult Film Club link to register and be in with a shot of attending what is sure to be a brilliant pair of nights.

JCFC

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