Greatest Film Plot Twists
Film Spoilers and
Surprise Endings


Written by Tim Dirks

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Plot Twist-Spoiler-Surprise Ending Description

Blown Away (1993)

Double-Crossing Murderess Megan Was Shot to Death

This erotic thriller and dramatic action-romance was advertised with the tagline: "She'll charm you. Seduce you. She might even kill you."

The femme fatale was blonde, wild-living, pill-popping rich 17 year-old teenager Megan Bower (Nicole Eggert), who eventually romanced two brothers with long-standing sibling rivalry - and deadly consequences:

  • Rich Gardner (Corey Haim)
  • Wes (Corey Feldman), Rich's older brother

In the film's opening scene a year earlier, Megan's mother had been mysteriously 'blown away' by a ticking car bomb planted under her gas tank that exploded and sent her car into a gas station causing another explosive fireball. A year later, the conniving sexpot was plotting, during a torrid affair with Rich, to have him help her further her own ends - to kill her tyrannical, overprotective father Cy (Jean Le Clerc) and acquire the family's inheritance.

Megan's father died when an explosive time bomb secretly planted in his motorbike's gas tank exploded near a cliffside and resulted in a fall to his death. Afterwards, she told Rich:

"I think we actually got away with it..The bomb was designed to burn away. No trace...This wasn't only about the money. You knew that. I couldn't run away, it was him or me. Trust me, Rich, this will all work out just like you said it would."

Rich was skeptical and wondered whether he should turn her in to the authorities: "Sooner or later, they're gonna figure out that it wasn't an electrical problem." He was placed in jail, where Megan visited him and assured him of her love: "I want to feel you inside of me right now." She suggested that he become a fugitive and she would join him later with the money. She then provided bail money for him, gave him the keys to her pink Targa Porsche sports car (with Colorado plates: GOTCHA), and told him to meet her at her house where she had made "all the arrangements." Although he was wary of her and looked for another car bomb, he didn't find any, until his car spun out and he spotted the detonator with only 4 seconds to spare - enough to save his life.

It was then revealed that Wes was in cahoots with Megan and was also sleeping with her, sarcastically calling her "a lying, murdering bitch" - he had helped her in the double cross to kill his brother with the car bomb ("I can't believe we got away with it").

As Wes and Megan made love, the camera panned to the right to disclose that Rich had silently entered the bedroom and was watching them from the side, commenting: "Wes and his amazing penis."

The Two Brothers Confronting Each Other in the Bedroom
With Megan Watching

When Wes stood up and went to pull the trigger on his brother Rich (telling him: "You will never know how much I hate you"), he was shot in the back by Megan and killed.

Megan rationalized to Rich that it was all Wes' fault: "Rich, he was gonna kill you. Rich, he's the one that beat me. He killed Darla...All this was his idea. He was making me do it. Do you still love me?...Come on, Rich, we can still do this. I mean, we could have everything." But Rich knew better about her true nature: "It was all you." When Megan admitted: "I really did love you," she began shooting at Rich with a gun in each hand.

A number of state police (tipped off by Rich after the failed attempt on his life) entered her bedroom, blasted her with a shotgun and other weapons, and propelled her out of the second-story window to her death on the pavement below.

As the film concluded, Rich handed back a concealed wire to the chief of police ("Here's your f--kin' wire").

Outside next to a police car, Rich thought about Megan and grieved over the loss of life.

Rich's Thoughts About Megan

Grieving Over Loss of Life

Death of Megan's Father

Megan's Torrid Affair With Rich (Corey Haim)

Wes Shot in the Back by Megan

Megan Killed by Shotgun and Other Blasts

Megan's Body on Pavement

Rich Returning His Concealed Wire

Blow Out (1981)

The Governor's Car Crash Was Part of a Political Conspiracy To Eliminate Him From the Election, Although The Accident Turned Deadly; The Dirty Work Was Done by an Operative/Serial Killer Named Burke (aka The Liberty Bell Strangler); Both of Jack's 'Wire' Stings Lethally Failed; After Being Strangled, Sally's Realistic Scream Was Used in a Slasher-Shower Scene

This dark and twisty Brian De Palma (writer and director) political thriller was a Hitchcockian-type film that paid homage to both Blow-Up (1966) and Coppola's The Conversation (1974). Its riveting themes were audio voyeurism, political dirty tricks, and corruption (with illusions to Watergate, the JFK Zapruder film, and the Chappaquiddick scandal).

The Reagan-esque era film opened with a 'film within a film' - the shooting of Co-ed Frenzy - a cheap exploitation film (set in a sorority house filled with scantily-clad females) where a killer (from his POV as in Halloween (1978)) stalked and slashed a nude female (Missy Cleveland, April 1979 Playboy Playmate) in a shower.

[It was a scene reminiscent of the early 1980s film, when Friday the 13th (1980) and other imitation slasher films were being spawned.]

The scream was rated "terrible" by Jack Terri (John Travolta), a sound F/X technician working on the low-budget exploitation film in the "Personal Effects" department, although he considered the picture their "finest film." Director Sam (Peter Boyden) berated Jack: "Look Jack, I didn't hire that girl for her scream. I hired that girl for her tits," and wanted Jack to replace the weak cry from the naked coed's lips. In fact, Jack took his sound-effects job seriously at Independence Pictures Inc. where he had worked for two years - and was interested in capturing truth and reality in his recordings (weather effects, footsteps, heartbeats, clocks, glass breaks, gunshots, a body fall, etc.).

While Jack was recording outdoor sound-effects later that night with a directional baton-like microphone (and a portable reel-to-reel device), he witnessed a fatal car crash when a car's tire popped and screeched, and the vehicle plunged off a deserted Philadelphia road into a river. Jack dived in, swam down and rescued the driver's companion, later identified as a ditzy yet good-hearted blonde named Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen, director DePalma's real-life wife), but it was fatal for the driver who had drowned.

At the hospital, Jack reported to disbelieving Detective Mackey (John Aquino) that he had first heard a "bang" before the tire blow out ("the bang was before the blow out"). Then, he learned that the deceased was notable Governor George McRyan (John Hoffmeister), a hopeful presidential candidate who, the evening of his death, had announced his entrance into the primary election. Officials wanted to entirely hush the embarrassing fact that the Governor was with a female "playmate" companion, although Jack stressed that what he saw was "the truth" and he didn't want to lie about it.

But Jack went along with the deception and cover-up proposed by the governor's assistant Lawrence Henry (John McMartin) -- until he had second thoughts after listening to his recorded sounds tape, in a participatory scene. He realized that he had inadvertently recorded evidence of an assassination ("I think your tire was shot out"). Jack believed that the governor's left car tire was shot before the tire blew, causing the accident (he hypothesized there was a gunman in the bushes, where a puff of smoke was seen). He became more suspicious when a photographer named Manny Karp (Dennis Franz) sold his "exclusive" series of still pictures (taken from his motion picture camera film) of the McRyan's accident to the press - appearing in a News Today article entitled "McRyan's Tragic Blow Out."

His faith in the authenticity of his film craft was reawakened. In his past (seen through flashback), the principled Jack had helped crack down on police corruption until one of his concealed wires short-circuited and caused undercover cop/detective Freddie Corso (Luddy Tramontana) to be found out and murdered during a botched sting. The tools of his F/X trade had failed him, leading to his choice to avoid the truth and make cheap exploitation films with phony sound effects. But now that he found himself caught up in some kind of political corruption, he convinced Sally to join him to investigate the suspicious incident.

Jack synchronized Karp's series of photographs with his own audio tape to create a film of the incident. He decisively pinpointed the moment of the gunshot - seen as a flash in the bushes. He hid the incriminating film in a ceiling panel in his office, believing it was evidence of a major political conspiracy. He then reported his findings to Detective Mackey, who was mostly uninterested, reflecting the times' political apathy: "Nobody wants to know. Nobody cares."

Meanwhile, there were other interesting revelations:

  • A serial killer-stalker named Burke (John Lithgow) was terrorizing the city, dubbed "The Liberty Bell Strangler"; Burke's first unfortunate sex-crime victim at an excavation site was a 22 year old receptionist (a Sally look-alike), strangled and then stabbed (and mutilated) with an ice-pick in the pattern of a Liberty Bell; a second victim was a prostitute strangled in a women's room at the train station
  • Burke had been hired as part of a political conspiracy to effectively eliminate Governor McRyan from the upcoming election; he had changed the tire on the vehicle, to make it look like a blow out; he also infiltrated sound guy Jack's office and erased the tapes to make Jack look like a "crackpot"; he then explained to his political operative that Sally's killing would eliminate loose ends when her death was attributed to the "Strangler": "I've decided to terminate her (Sally) and make it look like one of a series of sex killings in the area. This would completely secure our operation"
  • Karp was Sally's pimp who had set her up to be with Governor McRyan the night of the 'accident' - he was paid $6,000 by one of Ryan's unidentified opponents (the original plan was to scandalize the governor by exposing him with a floozy - "he wasn't supposed to die")
  • Karp was doing "divorce work on the side," using prostitute Sally to set up and incriminate cheating husbands so they could be bribed for hush money (one of Karp's b/w photos showed an unsuspecting client caught in bed with Sally); Sally knocked Karp unconscious and stole Karp's original film reel of the car accident, to give to a TV investigative reporter named Frank Donahue (Curt May)
  • Burke was a Bell Telephone repairman, who had wire-tapped Jack's phone and was able to circumvent all of Jack's efforts to present the truth and expose the conspiracy

The film's climactic, violent pursuit scene occurred during a surreal Liberty Day Jubilee 1981 centennial celebration in Philadelphia with red-white-blue-fireworks and a parade down Market Street. Jack had 'wired' Sally to cover all the bases (he vowed to her: "Nobody's gonna f--k me this time"). She would be recorded as she met with Donahue to give him the tape and film. However, as Jack listened, he realized that Sally was speaking to Burke, who had intercepted her and was impersonating Donahue. After a car pursuit and frantic chase after Burke, across Philadelphia in his Jeep during the crowded festivities, Jack crashed and was injured. He didn't reach Sally in time before she was killed by strangulation, on the top of the Port of History building. Jack killed Burke with his ice-pick, and was stunned to realize that Sally was dead.

Ironically, her recorded scream - haunting and sad - and intensely realistic, was used for an actress' "terrible" scream for the soundtrack of a shower scene in the cheap slasher film seen in the film's opening (Sam: "Now that's a scream!"). Jack muttered to himself: "It's a good scream," but he held his ears to drown out the sound.

Co-ed Frenzy

Sound Effects Technician Jack Terri (John Travolta)

Governor's Fatal Car Crash

Jack Listening to Tire Shooting and Blow-Out

Gunman in Bushes

Sally (Nancy Allen) Used for Incriminating Photos by Karp

Burke: The Liberty Bell Strangler

Murder of Sally by "Strangler"

Sally's Death Scream Used on Soundtrack

Drowning Out Sound of Authentic Scream

Blow-Up (1966, UK)

An Ambiguous Existential Mystery -- The Evidence of a Murder in the Park Became Non-Existent - All Proof of the Death Disappeared; Did the Murder Actually Take Place? Photographer Thomas Also Disappeared in the Final Shot of the Film

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language film, set in mod 60s London, was a thought-provoking, art-house masterpiece. Most of all, it was an engaging, provocative murder mystery that examined the existential nature of reality through photography. It quickly became one of the most important films of its decade.

[The film in some respects resembles Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), and proved influential for other young filmmakers: i.e., Coppola's The Conversation (1974), and De Palma's Blow Out (1981).]

A desensitized-to-life, nihilistic, high-fashion London free-lance photographer Thomas (David Hemmings), who lived a mid-60s life of excess (riches, fame, and women), became bored with his lucrative career of glamour photography. So he resorted to photographing, in documentary style, the seamy and sordid side of life in London, in flophouses and slums. Innocently and voyeuristically, he took candid photos in a deserted park of what he thought was a lover's tryst-rendezvous between a black kerchief-wearing, enigmatic woman (Vanessa Redgrave) and a middle-aged, gray-haired man in a light-gray suit.

She pursued him to ask for the illicit photos (she claimed he had invaded her privacy). She persistently begged for the undeveloped roll of film, first in the park. He became both intrigued and suspicious by her demands ("What's the rush?"), and when she stated: "We haven't met. You've never seen me." She ran off - and it appeared that the man she was with had disappeared. He took more photos of her standing next to a bush far in the distance [on close inspection, a body was lying there, although most viewers wouldn't notice it on first viewing].

Later at his studio after following him, she went topless and offered sexual favors. To get her to leave, he gave her a different roll of undeveloped film from his park visit. He enlarged ('blows-up') some of the pictures to poster size, and pinned the magnified photos around his studio's living room. A few of the pictures were enlarged even more - and he imagined in a suspenseful scene that he saw a man and a gun in the shadows of some bushes behind a fence. The photographs were in sequence - giving them life and activity as if they were individual frames in a motion picture. His picture-taking had possibly foiled a potential murder attempt, as the pictures were now revealing more than he originally saw in the park as just a scene of sexual intrigue:

"Somebody was trying to kill somebody else. I saved his life."

As tension heightened, he then imagined a more riveting possibility - that he may have accidentally recorded and obtained visual, criminal evidence of a murder. He used a magnifying glass to look at more photo detail, revealing what could be a dead body lying prone on the ground in the far distance next to some bushes. He enlarged the photo and studied the grainy blow-up. That night, he returned to the park (he passed by a white neon sign (FOA), a symbolic foreshadowing, in the shape of a gun), to find the gray-haired man's prone corpse next to some bushes at the far end of the park. This was real proof of a murder that he had accidentally recorded as a witness.

However, when he returned to his studio, he discovered that all the blown-up pictures and negatives were stolen - except for the extreme blow-up of the body on the ground. But it was too fuzzy to serve as proof of anything. By the next morning, the corpse had disappeared. The evidence was at once more difficult to ignore and more impossible to define. Without photographic evidence produced by his camera-tool - his sole means of communicating with the world, Thomas was left with nothing.

As he wandered through the park, he came upon a group of wandering mimes in white-face, playing an invisible game of tennis (without balls or rackets). His attention was directed toward the lengthy charade, and he also suspended his belief in concrete reality to join in. He became directly involved when he tossed an invisible tennis ball back to the two players when it was imagined that the ball was hit out of the court. On the soundtrack, one could now hear the illusion in Thomas' mind - the sound of an actual tennis game. It was another indelible image emphasizing the slim line between objective reality and illusion.

The film ended with an aerial view of Thomas standing at a distance in the middle of a grassy field in the park near the tennis court, with his camera in his hand. He faded from view just before the words THE END zoomed forward.

The Park Rendezvous Tryst

The Woman (Vanessa Redgrave) With Thomas (David Hemmings)

Photos Revealing a Murder

The Dead Body

The Invisible Tennis Game

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

House Detective "Dad" Newell Was the Killer

The who-dun-it from a Raymond Chandler screenplay had a different conclusion than the one offered in this hard-boiled Alan Ladd/Veronica Lake noirish crime film regarding the identity of the murderer - the murderer was changed by demands from the military - from a soldier returning from service who was suffering from blackouts, to a less politically-sensitive killer.

It was the third of four screen pairings between Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. Director George Marshall combined various elements to produce a well-made noir, about a hard-nosed GI soldier returning from service who became entangled with a mysterious blonde when they were both faced with unraveling a murder. Its tagline was: "Tamed by a brunette - framed by a blonde - blamed by the cops!"

Returning 28 year-old WWII veteran and naval flier Lt. Cmdr. Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) was one of three soldiers discharged from service and in Southern California. His buddies included Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix) (with a serious mental health disability) and George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont). Johnny soon discovered that his boozing, unfaithful estranged wife Helen (Doris Dowling) had been promiscuous with LA's The Blue Dahlia nightclub owner Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva) during his absence.

Trampish Helen was surprised by Johnny's unannounced return to her Wilshire Boulevard Cavendish Court Hotel and Bungalow (# 93), in the midst of a wild house party. When he confronted the couple kissing as Eddie was leaving by the front door, he quipped to Harwood before punching him in the chin:

"You've got the wrong lipstick on, Mister!"

Helen Morrison with Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva)
Johnny Confronting Them Kissing at Front Door
Drunken and Angry Helen

Clad in a slinky trouser suit and drunk, she seemed unapologetic to Johnny, mentioning to the other guests as she dismissed them: "He probably wants to beat me up." Helen asserted her promiscuous independence from him: ("Don't start preaching. I take all the drinks I like, any time, any place. I go where I want to with anybody I want. I just happen to be that kind of a girl"), and then hinted that Johnny might now be violent after serving in the military when he tried to get her to stop drinking:

"Take your paws off me! Maybe you've learned to like hurting people?"

She then laughingly admitted to him that their young son Dickie had been killed in a DUI car-crash accident while she was driving - drunk. He had earlier been led to believe that Dickie had died of diptheria: ("I was drunk. I was in a car smash. Dickey was killed. I wrote you he died of diphtheria because I was afraid to tell you the truth"). The news caused him to angrily pull out his gun on her (he hinted: "That's what I oughta do, but you're not worth it"), but then he walked out on her while throwing his gun into an armchair before leaving the bungalow.

In the Blue Dahlia club, Harwood was informed that his wife had just separated from him for a few days, presumably because of his on-going affair with Helen (Harwood: "If you think my wife left me because of another woman, it was something else entirely"), and also because of his criminal ties and past. [Note: Much later, Harwood was revealed to be using a fake name. His real name was Bauer - and he was a wanted fugitive-murderer in Passaic, New Jersey fifteen years earlier for killing a bank messenger.] Feeling miffed and rejected, Helen called Harwood and used pressure and blackmail to prevent him from ending their affair: "Supposing I don't want to call it a day? Two walkouts in one evening would be just a little too much for me, Eddie. Ever think of that? And if I don't want to call it a day, I'm quite sure you won't for a very good reason."

Meanwhile, Johnny was hitchhiking with his suitcase and picked up in the rain by Harwood's wife, long blonde-haired wife Joyce (Veronica Lake). He hesitated at first but was convinced by her good humor: "Well, you could get wetter if you lay down in the gutter." Remaining anonymous to each other but realizing they were both running away from something, the two strangers shared a drive up the coast to Malibu and beyond, and after parting were not aware until the next morning that they both spent the night at the same beachfront motel, the Royal Beach Inn (in separate rooms).

The next morning, a maid found Helen murdered on the sofa in her bungalow, with Johnny's gun on the floor. There came news on the radio in the motel lobby that Helen had been murdered (it wasn't ruled a suicide after autopsy tests), and that Johnny was a prime suspect. He returned by bus back to Los Angeles, took an assumed name (Jimmy Moore) and rented a cheap hotel, while trying to clear his name (with some assistance from Joyce).

Meddlesome bungalow motel house detective "Dad" Newell (Will Wright) was questioned by police and testified that he had heard Johnny fighting with Helen, and that he had witnessed Harwood enter her bungalow.

Johnny was accused of the crime of Helen's murder, along with other suspects:

  • Eddie Harwood
    MOTIVE: he had been in an affair with Helen, and when he ended it after Johnny returned, Helen blackmailed him to continue - threatening to expose information regarding Harwood's previous criminal past years earlier; the proof regarding Harwood's past was found by Johnny after Helen's death on the back of Johnny's military photo: "Johnny: If anything happens to me, Eddie Harwood's name used to be Bauer. The New Jersey State Police would like to know. The charge is murder. Helen"
  • Joyce Harwood
    MOTIVE: she was suspected of retaliating against Helen for stealing her husband; however, she felt that after meeting Johnny, she should help him clear his name because she felt he was innocent: ("I know you didn't kill your wife, Johnny....Just from knowing you")
  • Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix), Johnny's slightly crazy, medically-discharged war buddy who had amnesia and a steel plate in his head
    MOTIVE: he might have killed Helen because she had two-timed his pal Johnny, and he confessed: "The things she said. What she was. What she did to Johnny. She didn't even care"; however, he recalled that the night he was invited back to her place from the bar, he decided to leave instead: "Who says I killed her? You can't hand me that stuff....I just had to get out of there. I couldn't take it anymore. She called me back, but I just kept right on going"
    [Note: Buzz was the screenplay's killer.]

In the conclusion, most of the suspects were assembled in the Blue Dahlia nightclub as the police authorities pressured Buzz to confess. But as it turned out, all of the suspects were eliminated one-by-one.

The surprise killer was revealed to be disgruntled house detective 'Dad' Newell. He had attempted to blackmail Helen about her affair with Eddie, but when she refused to comply, he killed her. Captain Hendrickson (Tom Powers) questioned him to the breaking point:

Hendrickson: "How much did you up the ante on her when her husband came home? What did she threaten to do, get you fired? Or was she going to have Harwood's friends give you the treatment? Maybe she was going to blow a hole in you herself, only she wouldn't know how to handle that kind of a gun. All you had to do was grab it out of her hand. I guess even a very cheap blackmailer could do that."
Newell: "Cheap, huh? Sure, a cigar and a drink and a couple of dirty bucks. That's all it costs to buy me. That's what she thought. Found out a little different, didn't she? Maybe I could get tired of being pushed around by cops and hotel managers and ritzy dames in bungalows. Maybe I could cause a little something just for once. And if I do end up in the slab..." (gunfire)

When Newell pulled out a gun after incriminating himself, he was startled when a door opened behind him, and he was shot by Hendrickson. The film concluded as Johnny suggested continuing his relationship with Joyce, even though he neglected to tell her that her husband was dead or critically wounded:

Johnny: "Last night when I made myself walk out on you, remember? I said every guy had seen you before. Somewhere."
Joyce: "I remember."
Johnny: "But the trick was to find you."
Joyce: "I remember that, too. Do you think I'd ever forget it?"

Returning Veterans (l to r): Buzz, George, Johnny

Johnny's Arrival in His Home to Greet His Wife Helen
(Doris Dowling)

Johnny Threatening Helen with a Gun ("You're not worth it!")

Joyce Harwood (Veronica Lake) - Picking up Hitchhiker Johnny in Rain

Helen - Found Murdered in Bungalow, with Johnny's Gun on Floor

Joyce With Estranged Husband Eddie Harwood

Joyce - She Aided Johnny and Believed He Was Innocent - Before Revealing She Was Eddie's Wife

Incriminating Clue About Harwood's Criminal Past, Written by Helen

Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix) - Remembering the Night With Helen When He Ran Off

The Killer: House Detective 'Dad' Newell (Will Wright) - Confessing His Guilt

Johnny and Joyce Finding Each Other

Body Double (1984)

"Sam Bouchard" was Alexander Revelle, Gloria's Abusive and Separated Husband; He Disguised Himself as a Disfigured "Indian" With a Giant Drill to Kill Her, Setting up Claustrophobic Jake as His Alibi

This Brian De Palma film (a virtual remake of Vertigo with its theme of double identity and with a debilitating condition - not dizziness but claustrophobia) featured a triple-flip ending and one Rear Window-styled revelation. Clues were provided in the film's title and in the film's taglines:

"You can't believe everything you see."
"A Seduction, A Mystery, A Murder."

Struggling B-movie actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) was having trouble in acting roles in vampire horror films when incapacitated by claustrophobia. Fortuitously, he was 'hired' to house-sit in a Hollywood Hills mansion, arranged by fellow actor 'Sam Bouchard' (Gregg Henry). As the current house-sitter, 'Sam' had been looking after the place of his friend Alan (who spent a lot of time in Europe), but needed Jake to take the job for 5 weeks while he was performing in a gig out-of-town. 'Sam' showed off "one very special feature" of the house-sitting job - the auto-erotic, exhibitionist, brunette dancer-neighbor who night-after-night stripped within easy view. Jake became an obsessed 'peeping tom' as he ogled her from the apartment across the way through a high-powered telescope.

Then, one night as he was leering, he saw the sexy neighbor murdered by a pony-tailed, disfigured-faced 'Indian' with an erect power drill. Although he raced to save her, he was powerless to stop the killing. The victim was rich, tormented wife Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), who had separated from her abusive husband Alexander. Then, as Scully began an investigation of his own, he became suspicious while watching a porn video on TV, when he noticed that porn queen Holly Body (Melanie Griffith in a breakthrough role) was dancing in the same provocative manner as the murdered neighbor.

When he became acquainted with Holly Body, she revealed that she had been paid by Alexander Revelle, Gloria's rich, disgruntled, abusive husband, to dance in his house for a few nights and impersonate his wife Gloria. Jake was able to have Gloria confirm that "Sam's" voice during a phone conversation was the same as the man who had hired her to perform for two nights. She helped Jake to unravel the conspiracy underlying the murder - learning that it was more than "a little practical joke" but a case of murder instead.

Alexander's alter-ego or alias was 'Sam Bouchard' - who knew that Jake would be watching the sexy neighbor - and ultimately witness Gloria's murder. Jake realized that he had been set-up by "Sam" to be a convenient witness/alibi to her murder:

"He was throwing out a net. He was sizing me up for a part that he was casting...And I fit the bill perfectly: lovesick sucker out on his ass...The part of the witness...Alexander Revelle set me up in this house to witness the murder. And he hired a porno actress to be the bait."

In the conclusion set at a nearby reservoir site, the killer-Indian ("Sam") had kidnapped Holly in a Ford Bronco, and was planning on burying her in a large earthen pit. When Jake interrupted and confronted him, they fought inside the burial hole. And as they struggled, the latex face makeup came off, revealing the killer-Indian to be a disguised "Sam." With Jake paralyzed by claustrophobia in the deep pit when "Sam" threw dirt onto him, "Sam" admitted angrily:

"Look what you did. You ruined my surprise ending. I gave you your part: the witness. You were perfect. You played it to a T. But that was it. End of part. Wrap Jake Scully. Oh no, you had to play the hero. Improvise all this crap about finding a body double and unmasking the Indian. But you didn't think it through, did you, Jake? Sometimes heroes come to tragic ends. What's the matter, Jake? A little short of breath? What a terrible way to die. Especially when you're so claustrophobic. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'll give you another take, Jake. The only problem is, you've got to act. Come on, Jake. Action."

To save himself, Jake visualized himself being directed in a vampire horror film role, and fearfully frozen inside a coffin (the same sequence from the film's opening). However, this time he didn't want assistance ("I can help myself"). He begged for an immediate second take ("Let's do it") and overcame his phobia when the director warned him: "You'd better get it right this time."

Returning to his predicament at the reservoir, Jake screamed, fought off "Sam" who ended up getting pushed backward (by his charging, snarling dog) to his death into the churning reservoir water below.

During the epilogue and end credits, Jake was recast as a full-time actor performing again in a cheap vampire horror film. In the filming of a Psycho-like scene, with Holly watching from the side, Jake was in the shower with the lead movie actress (Denise Loveday) when a 'body double' (for the nudity) named Mindy was substituted for the lead actress.

With a heavy accent and while chewing gum, Mindy asked Jake to be careful because her breasts were very tender ("I've got my period"). After fondling her, Jake bit into her neck, causing a cascade of blood down her naked chest. Holly advised the robed actress watching her nude double - "You know what? You're gonna get a lot of dates when this comes out."

"Sam Bouchard" (Gregg Henry)

Exhibitionist Neighbor

Murder of Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton) by Killer Indian

Unmasking a "Disguised" Sam (alias Alexander Revelle)

"Sam" Speaking to Jake Paralyzed in Deep Earthen Pit

Jake in Shower Scene with Film Actress (Denise Loveday)

Jake in Same Shower Scene with "Body Double" Mindy

Holly to Actress: "You're gonna get a lot of dates..."

Body Heat (1981)

Matty Set Up Ned For Her Husband's Murder, After Swapping Identities (And Faking Her Own Death)

The tagline of this Double Indemnity-like (and Out of the Past (1947)) , neo-noir thriller by director Lawrence Kasdan (his directorial debut film) described the basic setup:

She taught him everything she knew - about passion and murder.

A more detailed tagline outlined the plot:

It's a hot summer. Ned Racine is waiting for something special to happen. And when it does... He won't be ready for the consequences...As the temperature rises, the suspense begins.

Seedy, dense-minded, small-town, Miranda Beach, Florida lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) was enticed to began a passionate affair, during a sweltering summer, with a married woman. Her name was "Matty Walker" (Kathleen Turner in her film debut) - the unhappy wife of wealthy businessman Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna), who lived in the exclusive Pinehaven area, and was engaged with shady dealings (real estate investments, venture capital). With a pre-nuptial agreement, she was discouraged from seeking a divorce. Edmund's will left everything to his young niece, Heather Kraft (Carola McGuinness), and indirectly to Heather's mother Roz (Lanna Saunders) - Edmund's sister.

Although they attempted to keep their affair private, Ned made two crucial mistakes:

  • On one occasion at Pinehaven, noticed a white-dressed figure by the outdoor gazebo. He approached and offered: "Hey, lady, ya wanna f--k?" Surprised, she turned slowly - revealing herself to be "Matty's" look-alike high school friend Mary Ann Simpson (Kim Zimmer), and responded: "Gee, I don't know. Maybe. This sure is a friendly town." Ned quickly apologized - and she was slightly hurt: "You mean the offer's no good?" Then she added, "You must be looking for the lady of the house" - as "Matty" walked up to them (and handed Mary Ann an envelope - a payoff?). After Mary Ann left, "Matty" explained that Mary Ann was "an old friend, she's like a sister to me. She wants me to be happy."
  • While Heather was staying at her Aunt Matty's home for a few days, she caught Matty giving Ned fellatio on the porch.
Heather (Carola McGuinness)
Mary Ann Simpson (Kim Zimmer)

"Matty" proposed to Ned that her husband be eliminated, and that Edmund's will could be rewritten ("Every little change would mean a lot for us, Ned. And you're a lawyer. You know how to write it. It wouldn't seem so odd"), but he was reluctant and worried ("We'll get burned").

The night of the planned murder of Edmund, Ned drove to the Walker estate, engaged in a struggle with him, and beat him to death over the head with a wooden plank. He placed the corpse (wrapped in plastic) in his car's trunk, drove to the abandoned Breakers hotel near the beach (one of Edmund's properties), stashed the body there, and detonated a timer-explosive (pre-set by Ned's client Teddy Lewis (Mickey Rourke)) to make it look like a botched arson job that would provide Edmund with insurance money.

After the murder, Ned received a call from Edmund's concerned Miami lawyer Miles Hardin (Michael Ryan), explaining that there were problems with Edmund's revised will, submitted (to his surprise) by Ned!:

"Mrs. Walker has submitted the new will you wrote up there...And frankly, Mr. Racine, I think we may have a problem."

The revised will equally divided the estate's proceeds between Heather and Mrs. Walker. The document was witnessed by Mary Ann Simpson, the life-long friend of Matty's living in Europe who was visiting when she signed the document, and was now unavailable. The lawyer explained that the poorly-prepared will was written wrongly, violated the rule against perpetuities ("it forbids an inheritance to be passed down indefinitely for generations"), and was therefore invalid. He concluded: "Edmund Walker died intestate, as though there were no will at all." Racine then explained the consequences - that Matty would inherit the entire estate:

"In the state of Florida, when a person dies without a will, and there are no children or surviving parents, then the spouse inherits everything."

Afterwards, "Matty" admitted to Ned that she had stolen some of Ned's stationary, and forged Edmund's revised will - without Ned's knowledge. She told Ned about her past legal experience while working in a lawyer's office in Illinois when she was at a low point in her life: "I learned a lot there. That's where I picked up the business about making a will invalid." "Matty" also claimed she rewrote the will to help both of them, although she had used him: "I'm greedy, like you said. I wanted us to have it all." Ned was forced to falsely admit that he had been involved in rewriting the will with Edmund and Matty, and that Mary Ann had signed it as a witness.

During the investigation into Edmund's death by Ned's friends: prosecutor Peter Lowenstein (Ted Danson) and police detective Oscar Grace (J. A. Preston), they were suspicious about a number of things, including:

  • Edmund's steel-rimmed glasses that were not found at the site of his death
  • The fact that Mary Ann Simpson was missing, and there was no record that she went to Europe

And then "Matty" called Ned to tell him that Edmund's glasses were in the boathouse on the Walker estate. Her crafty deviousness and evil were revealed when Ned entered the boathouse - he realized she had booby-trapped it (with help from Lewis) to kill him. As she left him to enter the boathouse to look for Edmund's glasses (that she knew were not there!), she vowed her loyalty: "Ned, no matter what you think, I do love you."

At the last second, Ned began running toward the boathouse - "No, Matty!" But then an explosive blast detonated. It killed "Matty" Walker (her body was identified by dental records). The duped lover Ned was charged with the murder of "Matty" and imprisoned in a Florida state penitentiary. One night, he awoke with a start, believing that "Matty" was somehow still alive: "She's alive!"

Ned suspected that "Matty" had eliminated Mary Ann Simpson, but he had no proof. Ned speculated that there had been a concerted effort to hide "Matty's" identity. And he suspected that she had planted Mary Ann's body in the boathouse before the explosion, and escaped with her own life:

Maybe she was using this other girl's name. Since she first met Walker three years ago, since she first spotted him and decided to take him, one way or another. Maybe, Walker -- or any of us -- never knew her real name.... Maybe because there was something in her past, something so bad that she thought it would queer out Walker if he found out -- that he'd never marry her. Let's say that she's living as this other girl, this person from her past. And there's only one person in the whole world who knows who she really is. And then just when she's got me on the line, she's finally going to collect, that person shows up. That girl finds her and threatens to expose her, so Matty starts paying her off. Maybe she even promised to cut her in on Edmund's money. Now she's gotta share it with two people. But then Matty sees a way to get rid of both of us at once, at the boathouse. A way to solve all her problems and get clear with no one looking for her...Matty killed this other girl and put her body in the boathouse. It was so perfect, so clean. You find two bodies, me and this girl. Two killers dead. Case closed.

He summarized "Matty's" determined nature: "That was her special gift. She was relentless. Matty was the kind of person who could do what was necessary. Whatever was necessary."

Ned sent for "Matty's" Wheaton High School 1968 yearbook in Illinois. In the climactic plot twist, he found conclusive evidence inside that 'Matty' Tyler had swapped identities with Mary Ann Simpson.

Swapped Yearbook Identities

Under Mary Ann Simpson's yearbook picture (with 'Matty's' picture), her ambition was described as: "To be rich and live in an exotic land" - a wish that was fulfilled in the last image of "Matty" lying on a beach somewhere in an exotic land.

The Torrid Affair Between Ned and "Matty"

"Matty" With Husband Edmund (Richard Crenna)

Bomb-Maker Teddy Lewis (Mickey Rourke)

Edmund's Body in Plastic Bag

The Breakers' Explosion With Edmund's Body Inside

The Boathouse Explosion, Killing "Matty"

Ned in Jail: "She's Alive!" - Explaining the Deception

"Matty" On an Exotic Beach

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

C.W. Moss's Traitorous Father Malcolm Alerted Police, Who Ambushed Bonnie And Clyde

In the Depression-era Midwest, a small-town girl and a petty bank robber met:

  • Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway)
  • Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty)

The tagline described their escapades as infamous criminals:

They're young, they're in love, AND THEY KILL PEOPLE.

The two became lovers (although Clyde had homosexual tendencies and insecurities), and went on a cross-country spree of violent, small-time stickups and murders. After many crimes and exploits throughout the Southwest, they were chased from state to state by law enforcement officers, and earned the status of romanticized, celebrity folk heroes. They were determinedly followed and stalked by mustachioed Texas Ranger Capt. Frank Hamer (Denver Pyle) - their major nemesis for much of the film.

The pair joined up with a dim-witted, back-country, grinning attendant/mechanic named C. W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), and then were aided by Clyde's older, All-American, hearty, loud-mouthed, ex-con brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and his reluctant, but excitable, hysteria-prone, and flighty wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons).

Although their doomed fates were inevitable, it was still a climactic shock when they were both gunned down. They were betrayed by C. W.'s father Ivan (or Malcolm) Moss (Dub Taylor), who alerted police to their whereabouts in order to plan an ambush. Knowing that the couple would be driving by, Moss' father flagged down their car for help while faking a flat tire on his truck by the side of the road. He spoke the last lines of the film: "I've got a flat tire, and I ain't got no spare."

The finale was a brutal and tense "ballet of blood" showcasing the ultra-violent deaths of the doomed lovers during a country backroads assault by police. In their final freeze-frame of life, with a silent glance at each other, Bonnie and Clyde revealed both panic and love in their faces.

Their frenzied corpses writhed in slow-motion as they were gunned down and riddled with bullets; they were re-animated by gunfire - into involuntary dances of death. They died cinematically-beautiful, abstracted deaths to accentuate the romance of the myths and the larger-than-life legends that surrounded them. Their corpses twitched to life and were re-animated by gunfire - involuntary dances of death. Their last moment of 'life' occurred when Clyde rolled over gently in slow-motion and Bonnie's arm dangled unnaturally and then stopped moving. Bonnie's flowing blonde hair, streaked in sunlight and gently blowing in the breeze, cascaded down in many arcs as she hung out of the car.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Going Back to Work for Adult Film Director Jack Horner, Egotistical Well-Endowed Porn Star Dirk Diggler Admired Himself as He Practiced Lines of Dialogue

Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's fact-based film was about the LA adult film industry in the San Fernando Valley in the late 70s and early 80s. The ensemble film told about the lives of a number of misfits - mostly damaged and lost individuals.

The main star was a high-school drop-out, a bus-boy/dishwasher, who was transformed into a popular porn star:

  • Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg)

After meeting adult film director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), the well-endowed Eddie was renamed "Dirk Diggler." There were other subplots about a wide range of characters including:

  • Little Bill Thompson (William H. Macy) - Jack's assistant porn director, who shot his cheating and unfaithful porn star wife and then killed himself
  • "Amber Waves" or Maggie (Julianne Moore), Dirk's cocaine-abusing, maternal co-star, who was refused custody of her child due to her profession
  • "Rollergirl" or Brandi (Heather Graham), a high-school dropout and porn starlet ("I don't take my skates off"), who was resuming her high school studies
  • Buck Swope (Don Cheadle) - in the aftermath of a bloody donut shop robbery, he used the retrieved cash to open an audio-stereo equipment store after being refused a traditional bank loan

In the unexpected, surprise conclusion, Dirk (who had resorted to gay hustling and dangerous drug-dealing) was again reconciled with Jack Horner, and going back to work for him after splitting from him following a violent argument over a competitive successor.

Sitting in front of a mirror, Dirk repeated lines of dialogue to himself (a scene playing homage to Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980)):

I've been around this block twice lookin' for something, a clue. I've been lookin' for clues and something led me back here, yep, so here I am. Coulda been me who was at Ringo's place when the shit went down. Hey, I know how it is 'cause I been there. We've all done bad things. We all have those guilty feelings in our heart. You wanna take your brain out of your head and wash it and scrub it and make it clean. Well, no. But I'm gonna help you settle this. First, we're gonna check for holes, see what we can find, then we're gonna get nice and wet, so you're gonna spread your legs. Oh, that's good, so you know me, you know my reputation. Thirteen inches is a tough load, I don't treat you gently. That's right: I'm Brock Landers. So I'm gonna be nice, so I'm gonna be nice, so I'm gonna be nice, and I'm gonna ask you one more time. Where the f--k is Ringo?

Then he stood up and unzipped his pants. He revealed - in an impressive full-frontal screen view - his main (and pathetic) claim to fame: his 13" penis (a prosthetic), as he boasted:

I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. (He tucked himself back in and zipped up his pants.) That's right.

Rollergirl (Heather Graham)

Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) with Star Amber Waves (Julianne Moore)

Amber Waves Performing with Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg)

Dirk Accepting Adult Film Award

Dirk Diggler: "I am a Star"

Greatest Movie Plot Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings

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