As avid horror aficionados, we have been taught that dying is to be equated with losing. The ultimate testament to one’s will and strength is to survive the entire horror flick. Audiences typically spend the duration of the picture watching the protagonist go to extreme lengths to ensure survival and defy death. But in these horror flicks, dying would actually be a much better fate than these torturous alternatives. Spoiler ahead.
Baskin is a 2015 Turkish horror gem in which five police officers unknowingly wander into Hell after receiving a call for backup. They venture to Inceagac, a mysterious location with a dark reputation. A bloodied man runs in front of the van, causing it to crash and swerve off into a stream, leaving the officers with no working cellphones, in a strange town of demonic residents. Their first inclination is to report to the abandoned police station (Hell). What ensues is a perfectly grotesque nightmare trapped in a fate that makes death look like child’s play by comparison: The policemen are doomed to re-live their first day in this hellish netherworld over and over again for the rest of eternity. Dying would have clearly been a much less torturous fate.
In a final attempt to save his best friend from the perils of drug addiction, Michael leaves his family for a week and visits his friend at his run-down home in the middle of nowhere. The desolate home is situated in a strange universe governed by an unidentified entity (the same universe as The Endless). During their ordeal, the pair encounter drug dealers, a tribal Indian Chief, a UFO Religious sect, and a man in a trailer that reveals some vague insight about the dimension in which they are trapped.
Chris and Mike receive several strange revelations into possible outcomes for how they are doomed to die. Mike cannot simply run away, for fear the entity will follow him home and harm his family. The pair decide to take control of their fate. This would mean a happy ending for viewers in which Chris gets sober and Mike can go home to his wife, leaving the abandoned house behind, they could return to their lives with a newfound gratitude.
Much like the universe in which the house exists, Resolution refuses to show its full hand and holds on tightly to the origins of the entity. Also like the universe in which it is set, this horror gem refuses to play by the rules.
Resolution offers viewers everything but a clean resolution. Its name is the exact antithesis of its essence. It’s located in a world where your fate is beyond your comprehension or control and all attempts to game the system are futile, making the problems in both the men’s lives sound like bliss compared to their fate. Hell, death would be far better than the mess they find themselves in.
He Never Died (2015)
He Never Died is a Canadian horror comedy starring Black Flag’s Henry Rollins. Rollins plays Jack, an inexpressive man cursed with cannibalistic desires that keep him in a perpetual state of disconnect from society. Jack’s few relationships include his estranged wife, Cara, the waitress at the diner he frequents and his adult daughter Andrea, whom he fears getting close to because he may be tempted to eat her.
This life restricts Jack to an empty and miserable existence in which he is only able to satiate his craving for human blood by buying donated blood from a hospital intern.
Jack soon finds himself embroiled in dispute with mobsters that kidnap Andrea. He is then able to indulge his cannibalistic desires by eating the people that stand between him and his beloved offspring.
[Spoilers Ahead] Cara the waitress discovers Jack is actually Cain reincarnated; doomed to live as an immortal cannibal, an eternal punishment for having killed Abel. An especially cruel and unusual punishment as Jack is forced to live forever without being able to get close to anyone. Death seems like a pleasant alternative by comparison. [End Spoilers]
This American Psychological thriller follows Kaylie, a young woman who is certain a haunted, antique mirror is responsible for the murder of her parents. Kaylie’s brother Tim, was blamed for the deaths and was sent to a psychiatric ward where he remained for eleven years. Upon his release, Tim is determined to move on with his life but Kaylie has other ideas. Kaylie wants to prove her younger brother’s innocence for once and for all. As an employee in an auction house, Kaylie obtains the object and plants it in her family’s home. Several cameras are aimed at the mirror and a kill switch is installed with the capability of destroying it on command.
[Spoilers Ahead] Tim inadvertently kills Kaylie in the process of attempting to destroy the mirror. The ending depicts a horrified, distraught Tim being dragged away to be locked up in an insane asylum for the rest of his days for a crime he did not intend to commit.
To no avail, Tim attempts to, once again, accuse a mirror of murder, further convincing everyone that he is an insane, deranged killer that obliterated all his loved ones. Death would have been a much kinder fate for Tim. [End Spoilers]
Quaid is a psychopathic college student fascinated by the topic of fear. It has been an obsession for him ever since his parents were murdered by an axe-wielding maniac. Quaid befriends a fellow student, Stephen, and the pair team up to study what frightens their peers. This exercise is meant to be cathartic for Quaid, as he struggles to master his own sense of dread.
Stephen confides that his greatest fear would be the sensation of being deaf, after a car accident left him temporarily hard of hearing. Cheryl, another student used in the project, admits her greatest fear is personified in meat, as her father worked in a meat-packing plant and often smelled like meat as he molested her as a child. Ever since the molestation, Cheryl associates meat with a sense of dread.
[Spoilers Ahead] What follows is a nightmarish fever in which Quaid is determined to force all of his friends to live out their biggest fears in an attempt to soothe his own. Quaid keeps Cheryl as a prisoner and starves her, feeding her only rotten meat as food. The last scene shows a horrified Cheryl as Quaid offers her Stephen’s corpse and a knife, telling her, “Let’s see how hungry you have to get before you’ll eat that.” The film ends showing Cheryl in a predicament far worse than death, as she is forced to live out her worst nightmare. [End Spoilers]