Haunt Ending Explained- Theories About The Masked Men And Harper’s Past?
Haunt, newly available on Hulu, explores the extreme haunt fad and what happens when extreme cinema becomes very real. Bryan Woods and Scott Beck’s surprise fan favorite is better than you expect it to be. The kills are grisly, and the masked men are even scarier once their masks come off. Anyone who has ever been to a haunted attraction has thought that the scare actors could be real killers who took a job at the attraction to kill people. Of course, that’s part of the fun of the Halloween mainstay. The more real things seem, the scarier they are. It is hard to be frightened if we don’t ever feel like we are in any real danger. Haunt captures that sense of dread with a band of vicious, relentless masked men, a nasty maze-like house, and more tricks than treats.
As is usually the case with these sorts of movies, a group of friends, including a reluctant, shy girl with a dark past, find a flyer for a haunted house on Halloween house and drive to the middle of nowhere. Things go south almost immediately, and very few people escape. Harper, the reluctant girl, has an abusive boyfriend she is avoiding and agrees to go with trepidation. Joining her are a gaggle of old and new friends who willingly sign a waiver alerting them to the dangers of the house.
Once inside, they witness a murder right before their eyes and soon realize they are not in a typical haunted house but in a trap designed to amuse the masked men who enjoy scaring and killing their prey. As the group gets picked off one by one, Harper and Nathan are left to defend themselves and turn the tables on the killers.
The film comments on our obsession with fear and trauma. In an era where grief porn has become a booming subgenre with films like Men, Babadook, and Smile, Haunt deceptively fits in. When simple costumes and props aren’t enough, extreme haunts fill the void. But how far is too far to go for a scare? The Rainey Manshion Extreme Haunt is perhaps the most well-known but certainly not the only extreme attraction you can enjoy(if enjoy is the right word). All the characters in Haunt sign away their lives without a thought to a sketchy group of masked people outside an even sketchier-looking structure. They do it because we are ignorant and brave when we are young, and traditional haunted houses aren’t getting it down anymore.
Who are the masked men in Haunt?
The masked people slowly begin revealing their faces, and each one is more terrifying than the one before. Before Harper kills them, they start revealing they are part of a cult of horror seekers who mutilate their faces to look as scary as the masks they wear. Each mask and each mutilation is different. One is heavily tattooed and pierced, and another has had plastic surgery to resemble a monster. No taboo is ignored, and every idea of terror is allowed.
Their purpose is to become beasts while ripping off the regular human faces of all their victims. What that is supposed to do for them is pretty vague, but whatever. This cult that thinks it’s a great idea to destroy your face so you can rip others’ faces off in a hillbilly haunted house is not playing with a full deck. There have been far more intelligent movies about cults like Martha Marcy May Marlene or The Empty Man, but in terms of unique killers, Haunt has the market cornered.
By keeping the cult members deliberately vague, we can fill in the details ourselves. Our imagination is always scarier than anything anyone can put on screen, so when our minds run wild, the fear sticks with us. The cult members could be anyone, anywhere, waiting for a chance to take advantage of vulnerable people looking for an adrenaline rush.
The ending of Haunt explained
At the end of Haunt, Harper and Nathan narrowly escape, which triggers the complex to burn down. Almost all of the masked killers die except for the clown, who is the leader. Remembering that they wrote down their addresses and names and handed over their cell phones before entry, Harper realizes that she is not safe even after she returns home. So she sets traps similar to the ones that hurt her in the haunted house at her house and waits.
When the clown comes thinking she will be easy prey, he is glued to the floor, impaled with knives, and shot with a shotgun. He dies, but what is unclear is how far this cult has spread. Are these the only members, or are others waiting to pick up the mantle? An interesting angle for a sequel could be every extreme haunt owner is part of this web of cult members waiting to be activated.
What does Harper’s childhood have to do with anything?
Throughout Haunt, Harper has memories of a traumatic childhood event. At first, we are led to believe a home intruder or possibly even the masked killers broke into her house and possibly killed her parents while she hid under the bed. In reality, Harper’s father was abusive, and she probably witnessed several violent events. The fact that she is now dating an abusive boyfriend further entrenches the idea that she can’t break the cycle of violence.
However, her experience in the haunted house changed that, and she is no longer willing to let others hurt her. She is fighting back. I would love to see Harper take the fight to the cult. A sequel could explore what type of people are drawn to the cult. Are they disenfranchised abusers who literally become the monsters they have always been? Could the cult have been around long enough that her father was a member? That would be a very Scream franchise angle and entertaining as hell.
Haunt is a ton of fun and features some great practical effects guaranteed to make you squirm. It will also make you think twice about going to haunted houses this fall because you never know who hides behind their mask.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.