If you hate having movies spoiled, click away now. That said, chances are good you know every single one of the twists because people have done such a horrible job not giving them away. Let’s take a look at my top ten worst-kept movie spoilers and see just why people can’t keep secrets.
10. Fight Club
Okay, so Brad Pitt is actually a figment of Ed Norton’s imagination, or his alternate identity, or some such. Interesting twist that no one saw coming, right? Not if you were paying attention to the movie. As the Honest Trailer for Fight Club points out, the movie goes out of its way to let you know, dropping hints so obvious a blind killer okapi couldn’t miss them. Maybe it’s just hindsight, but when beating yourself up reminds you “for some reason” of your fight with another character, you might have a split personality.
9. The Matrix
The marketing for this film was brilliant. It asked the question “What is the Matrix?” and it dropped tiny hints along the way, but it never answered the question. Thus, audiences were blown away when they realized that Neo’s world was a computer simulation. These days, that fact is common knowledge, so much so that Discover Magazine thought nothing of calling the Matrix a “giant computer simulation” in the subheading of their article “Do We Live in the Matrix?” So much for that huge reveal.
8. Planet of the Apes
After being enslaved by apes, Charlton Heston just wants to go back to Earth. The problem? He’s already there, as a half-buried Statue of Liberty reveals. It’s a clever twist that shocked everyone when the movie first came out. Today, don’t count on it. The most recent movie poster features that very Statue of Liberty front and center. It’s no secret where they really are.
7. Soylent Green
Chances are good you’ve heard the phrase “Soylent Green is people!” Countless parodies and memes have spread the saying, so even if you know nothing about the movie or even what Soylent Green is, you know it’s people. You can even get Soylent Green Crackers from Amazon, complete with the label “People Food.” Don’t even get me started on the product reviews.
6. Star Trek Into Darkness
Everyone was so careful with this one. Even the cast was forced to flat out lie. “No, Benedict Cumberbatch is playing a totally new character. He’s not Khan, the most iconic villain of the original Star Trek movies.” And they would have gotten away with it, too … if it weren’t for IMDb. The cast list on the movie’s page named Cumberbatch’s character as Khan. Next time you want to keep a spoiler from the Internet, keep it out of the credits.
5. Captain America: Winter Soldier
It’s the twist that tears Cap apart. His best friend, long thought dead, is the assassin tasked with killing him. It’s not the movie’s biggest secret, but it should have been gut-wrenching for the audience as well. The problem was that the marketers were so confident you wouldn’t recognize Bucky from the first movie, they put him on the poster unmasked and in full Winter Soldier gear. Gee, I wonder who that is?
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Snape kills Dumbledore. It’s a twist that’s infuriating when first experienced and heartbreaking in hindsight. It’s also a favorite spoiler among fans of the book. Looking up images for this one gave me three or four “Snape kills Dumbledore” memes without having to scroll down. Every single one of them involved one person starting the Harry Potter series and another blurting out the classic line. These days, the whole Internet knows Snape’s dirty little secret.
This movie shocked audiences on many levels, but most of all when they discovered the killer was mild-mannered Norman Bates. Today, it’s no shock at all, as the secret is widely known. Television series Bates Motel is focusing on Norman? He wouldn’t happen to be the killer, would he? Worse yet, parody band Moosebutter treated it like a well known fact in their song “Psycho: The Musical,” outing him as the killer.
2. The Sixth Sense
Admit it; you’ve called this film “the movie where Bruce Willis is a ghost.” It’s the only way I’ve ever heard it described in conversation. No one calls it the movie where Haley Joel Osment sees dead people or the movie where the child psychiatrist helps a kid deal with his ghostly visions. It’s the movie with ghost Bruce Willis. End of story. Knowing the twist doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch, but if you know of the movie, you know the twist.
1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
This one’s so iconic, it’s barely a spoiler anymore. Back in the day, it was so secret and so shocking, even Vader-voice James Earl Jones was shocked. These days, between the prequels, countless parodies, and the Internet spouting it everywhere, every ten-year-old knows Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Once world-shattering, this secret is now common, and now the full experience of that twist is forever lost on future generations. That horrible fall from grace makes this the worst-kept spoiler of all time.
What movies were spoiled for you before you saw them? Do you hate me now for ruining one or more of these films for you? Let me know in the comments below, and please don’t hunt me down with torches and pitchforks. My neighbors complain about me enough already.