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SPOILER! Janet Leigh takes a shower
Worth it? Alfred Hitchcock knew plenty about twists — the final shocker in Stage Fright prefigures The Usual Suspects in its use of an unreliable narrator — and he knew that the best ones come from playing with audience expectations. He also knew that those expectations start way before anyone steps foot in the theater, and so when he killed off marquee name Janet Leigh in the film's first act, it was a masterful move of misdirection. Add to that the revelation that the killer matriarch was a bewigged Anthony Perkins, and you understand why they had to put up signs in the lobby asking patrons not to spoil the movie for others. The gambit worked: Not only was the film a box office success, Hitchcock's trick stands as one of the greatest in cinema history. —Keith Staskiewicz
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SPOILER! Accidental incest
Worth it? Sure, it can sometimes feel like this Korean thriller is contorting itself like a Cirque de Soleil acrobat playing Twister in order to make its final revelation work. But the real horrifying surprise isn't so much that our protagonist has unknowingly slept with his own daughter, but that the man who orchestrated all of it would go to such extreme lengths in order to exact vengeance for a casual slip of the tongue. Or should I say a snip of the tongue. —Keith Staskiewicz
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SPOILER! The monster looks like that ghost spider from Poltergeist
Worth it? Whatever you may think of him, J. J. Abrams is great at foreplay. His ''I've got a secret, but I can't tell you what it is'' marketing strategy for Cloverfield was brilliant in the way that it turned a basic premise into an object of indefatigable scrutiny. Do you remember when people thought this was going to be a Voltron movie? Of course, by the time it came out, everyone already knew what to expect, so the only thing that could be considered a twist was an okay creature design. But it still made for a No. 1 opening weekend and a worldwide take of $170 million. —Keith Staskiewicz
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Super 8 (2011)
SPOILER! The monster looks like Cloverfield's brother
Worth it? Dammit, Abrams, you did it again! Like Cloverfield, once you actually saw the movie, the only big surprise was how little imagination the man has when it comes to alien design. Yet it was a critical and commercial success. —Keith Staskiewicz
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SPOILER! Drew Barrymore loses movie trivia and her life
Worth It? Most big twists come at the end of the film, pulling the rug out from under you after you've grown accustomed to the pile. But Wes Craven took a page out of Hitchcock's book when he disposed of his blond star in the first scene of his meta-slasher. It was a great way to start a film with as many plot twists as knife twists, although it set viewers up for disappointment when the same thing didn't happen in subsequent Drew Barrymore movies. —Keith Staskiewicz
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The Sixth Sense (1999)
SPOILER! Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), who had been counseling Cole (Haley Joel Osment) about his ability to see dead people, is dead himself!
Worth it? Undeniably. Some ego-driven movie buffs gloated that they saw it coming, but the surprise revelation threw most audiences for a spin and remains one of cinema's best twists. The film remains among the top 50 best grossing films of all time. It also established M. Night Shyamalan as a filmmaker and gave him a few good years as Hollywood's go-to guy for corkscrew endings. —Marc Snetiker
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Planet of the Apes (1968)
SPOILER! The ruins of the Statue of Liberty reveal that the planet populated by apes is actually... Earth!
Worth it? It was quite the shocker back in 1968 (and in the original 1963 French novel) and that twist helped make it a commercial success, raking in $32 million. But the big revelation of a post-apocalyptic Earth overrun by chimps has since become a pop culture factoid that everyone seems to know. As a result, the subsequent remakes of the film were notoriously less shocking. —Marc Snetiker
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SPOILER! The 10 strangers who get killed off at a motel are the different personalities of a mental patient with dissociative identity disorder, with the homicidal maniac personality being 10-year-old Timmy!
Worth it? The twist wasn't satisfying (the mental patient thing has been done before), and almost ten years later, no one talks about it. Although it's on my personal list of lesser-known horrors, Identity just isn't jaw-dropping enough to make it to the spoiler big leagues. —Marc Snetiker
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The Usual Suspects (1995)
SPOILER! Crippled criminal Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), who testifies about clandestine Mob boss Keyser Söze, limps away from a police interrogation as multiple clues come together to reveal that he himself is criminal mastermind Söze!
Worth it? Enough to garner a second viewing, at least. Spacey's performance is the stuff of legend, as was this very un-Usual twist. The question — ''Who is Keyser Söze?'' — is a solid mainstay on the list of all-time great movie spoilers. —Marc Snetiker
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The Crying Game (1992)
SPOILER! She's a he! When a guilt-ridden IRA terrorist (Stephen Rea) falls for the girlfriend of the British soldier he feels responsible for killing, he's shocked to learn that she (Oscar-nominated Jaye Davidson) is a man, man. But as Joe E. Brown said in Some Like it Hot, ''Nobody's perfect.''
Worth it? Miramax built an entire advertising campaign around the film's secret, and the romantic thriller raked in $62.5 million and six Oscar nominations. But even if you knew what to expect, it was worth the viewing experience just to see Rea's reaction to the reveal. —Jeff Labrecque
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Fight Club (1999)
SPOILER! Brad Pitt is just a figment of Edward Norton's imagination! Norton's disturbed drone is sleep-walking through life before he meets Pitt's Tyler Durden, a hyper-sexualized anarchist who wants to create a new world order through mayhem. But in reality, Norton is carrying out all of Tyler's dirty deeds, and the two sides of his psyche battle for supremacy once their anti-social philosophy attracts fascist adherents.
Worth it? The three rules of Fight Club helped keep its crucial plot twist from ruining the experience for many viewers, but David Fincher's thriller was much more than its spoiler, judging from its transformation from box-office disappointment to home-video cult classic. —Jeff Labrecque
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The Village (2004)
SPOILER! It's the 21st century! A blind girl (Bryce Dallas Howard) from what seems to be a rural 19th-century village is sent into the dark forest to get help for her injured fiancé (Joaquin Phoenix). Wild creatures lurk in the shadows — or do they? When she reaches the outer boundary of her land, she's picked up by a... Range Rover? Her village is an academic experiment — mind blown!
Worth it? There was a fierce backlash to The Village, since director M. Night Shyamalan seemed enamored with twist endings after The Sixth Sense's success. But this particular spoiler proved critical to audience enjoyment. Once your eyes were opened, the movie was never the same. —Jeff Labrecque