‘A Classic Horror Story’ follows the gruesome tale of four travelers that get stranded in a clearing surrounded by a nameless forest and must then survive the ominous masked murderers that begin to torture and kill them. Contrary to its name and despite following many of the tropes common to the horror genre, the movie takes an interesting twist in the end that features one of the characters in the movie watching the very same movie that they are in. The film’s gruesome climax is a mix of retribution, social commentary, and fourth-wall-breaking antics that could have you wondering just what the filmmakers were trying to get across. Let’s take a closer look at the ending of ‘A Classic Horror Story’ and see if we can untangle it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
A Classic Horror Story Plot Synopsis
The film opens with a young girl chained to a wooden table, about to be struck by a sledgehammer by a faceless villain. With the tone firmly set, we are then taken to a diner where Elisa is waiting for her carpool. Through a conversation she has with her mother on the phone, we find out that she is preparing to have an abortion, though she doesn’t appear too convinced about undergoing the procedure. Her ride arrives, and she is soon on her way, sharing the camper van with a young couple (Sofia and Mark) and a slightly grumpy doctor named Riccardo, who seems visibly upset. Their driver is the talkative Fabrizio, who claims to make travel videos and insists on interviewing his fellow passengers before they set off.
Whilst driving through the night, Mark crashes the van when he fails to notice a goat in the middle of the road. When the passengers wake up the next morning, they find themselves parked in a forest clearing with no sign of the road nearby. A strange house with old photos of people dressed in goat masks prompts Fabrizio to explain to the others the legend of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso, which ends with the residents of a village turning into a mindless “flock.” A shriek from the house’s attic leads to the discovery of a young girl named Chiara, who seems to have had her tongue ritualistically cut out.
After the brutal torture and murder of Mark at the hands of masked people that mysteriously appear, the rest of the group, along with Chiara, attempts to escape. They soon discover another clearing littered with abandoned cars, obviously belonging to the many victims who have suffered before them. Worse still, they seem to be going in circles and find themselves back at the house.
A siren in the background signals that their tormenters are ready to murder again, and soon Elisa and Fabrizio witness the brutal murder of Sofia and Riccardo. However, Elisa now realizes that it was their driver Fabrizio who had drugged them on both occasions, leading to their capture, and discovers that his hearing aid is actually a radio with which he is communicating with the murderers.
A Classic Horror Story Ending: Is Elisa Dead or Alive?
Fabrizio is frustrated that his plan is discovered, and Elisa then witnesses a bizarre meal where all her tormentors dine together under the watchful eyes of a woman who is part of the local mafia. Fabrizio then explains to Elisa that he is making a movie and that gruesome violence is the most popular genre of content that people want to watch. However, as he prepares to film his final scenes, Elisa escapes and shoots him and Chiara, who she finds out is his accomplice. Elisa also films herself murdering Fabrizio, claiming that the film now has a fitting ending.
She then manages to find her way out of the forest and finds herself on a crowded beach. As the sunbathers gawk at her bloody appearance, she walks into the sea, bleeding profusely. The film then turns the perspective on itself, and we see a man sitting in the dark watching the very same movie we have just watched on a website called Bloodflix. He gives the film an unfavorable rating and logs out of the website.
The film’s uncanny ending leaves us wondering just who it was watching the film and whether we, as the audience, are as much a part of the film’s characters as we are its viewers. However, let’s first check in on the fate of our leading lady Elisa. We last see her bleeding profusely in the water. However, the fact that she hugs her belly gives us a significant clue as to her fate. Throughout the film, she is conflicted about her impending abortion, which seems to be more of her mother’s idea than hers. It looks like in the end, she has decided to keep the child as she affectionately caresses her womb. Her bleeding stems from the holes made in her hands to nail her to a chair, which, though painful, is likely not going to be fatal for the heroine.
Additionally, the fact that a huge crowd of beachgoers has just witnessed a young injured girl walk into the sea means that someone is going to pull her out sooner or later to make sure that she is alright. The fate of Elisa’s character at the end, having overcome bizarre and gruesome odds, is one of endurance, and hence we can say with near certainty that she survives. The fate of her baby, due to the injuries and trauma she sustains, is more uncertain.
What is the Legend of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso?
The legend of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso, as recounted by Fabrizio, follows the tale of 3 otherworldly creatures who saved a village from famine. However, they then asked for something in return, to which the villagers responded with brutal sacrifices involving the cutting out of tongues, ears, and eyes of the person getting sacrificed. The horrific sacrifices resulted in the village getting cursed and its residents turning into a mindless mass of people. The 3 disturbing saviors, in keeping with the legend, also each have their tongue, eyes, and ears missing.
Fabrizio, as he explains his plot to Elisa, claims to be a genius for marrying the ancient lore to the present-day crimes of the mafia, which is, in fact, what we witness in the movie. The brutal ritualistic murders are all being filmed for paying clients by the mafia, with Fabrizio essentially directing the films and the murderous villagers “acting” in them.
The nameless mafia boss hints at the same when she tells Elisa that the mafia needs to survive somehow in this day and age, and we later hear Chiara and Fabrizio discussing how the client wants Elisa to be conscious when she is murdered. This would also explain the mafia boss’ unsettling departure in a police car that politely comes to pick her up despite a tortured Elisa sitting in plain view.
There are multiple layers to this aspect of the film. Elisa makes fun of Fabrizio’s idea of translating modern-day mafia crimes into old lore to make his snuff films more interesting and says that people will not fall for it. However, this is exactly what happens to us as viewers as we are led to believe that the murders are part of a cult’s rituals until we learn the truth.
The underlying plot point of the mafia running an illegal snuff film industry, though not openly stated, is made apparent. The fact that even the police are cooperating with something so heinous means that the operation is quite large and lucrative. There even seems to be an online streaming platform specifically for the genre, with its own list of titles and discussion communities.
Lastly, the legend of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso is, in fact, tied to the real Italian mafia and is sometimes recounted as part of their origin story. Reportedly, the three are fabled to be Spanish knights that were responsible for founding the societies that eventually became the present-day Italian mafia. Of course, with this being a legend, multiple different versions of the story exist.
What is Bloodflix? Who is Watching the “Film” in the End?
Bloodflix is a fictional streaming platform that we see at the end of the movie. ‘A Classic Horror Story’ is listed as one of the new releases on the platform, meaning that the film, including Elisa’s “surprise” ending where she shoots the director (Fabrizio), actually got released! The late Fabrizio’s ominous forecast that gruesome violence is becoming the most popular form of content is also echoed as we realize that the person watching the snuff film on Bloodflix is a regular person and a father (his young daughter can be heard in the background calling him for dinner).
The grisly streaming platform Bloodflix is, in fact, a play on Netflix, which is the platform that ‘A Classic Horror Story’ actually released on. The interesting fourth-wall-break wherein the film essentially acknowledges its own existence as a film on a streaming platform makes for a darkly amusing ending, and in some way, reminds us, the audience, of our fixation with blood and gore. The self-aware ending throws in one last laugh when the Bloodflix viewer in the film actually gives ‘A Classic Horror Story’ a “thumbs down” after only watching a few scenes of the movie.
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