Movies

A Classic Horror Story

Netflix’s A Classic Horror Story Ending Explained- Meta Nonsense And The Legend Of The 3 Knights

Netflix’s A Classic Horror Story premiering today is an overstuffed mix of familiar tropes and gore but with one killer twist and a clever social commentary.

In A Classic Horror Story, the less is more approach is employed to gather every horror standby you can think of in one place. A group of twenty-somethings and one surly doctor are ride-sharing in an RV owned by Fabrizio, an overly animated social media whore hell-bent on annoying everyone. Elisa is headed home to have an abortion at her mother’s request, while the others are headed for vacations and responsibilities. After driving several hours, the group wrecks their RV trying to avoid a goat in the road. They find themselves stuck in a mysterious woods with a church-like structure. Strange religious iconography is everywhere, and most alarming, they can not find their way back to the road and instead appear to go in circles. One by one, the strange cult who worship at the church kill off our group in increasingly gruesome detail. That is until the curtain is pulled back to reveal Fabrizio has been orchestrating the entire thing, and they are starring in his sick snuff film.

True horror fans will likely enjoy A Classic Horror Story and forgive some of its clunkier components. The kitchen sink approach to genre film-making shoehorns so many references from classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Cabin In the Woods, and even Silent Hill it may feel a little ridiculous. That is until the bigger picture is revealed and the imaginative secondary twist is unveiled. Like a Magic Eye painting, the details are not nearly as important as the big picture. Fabrizio’s manufactured demonic cult wasn’t the most exciting turn. The film Elisa has been an unwitting actor in has already been uploaded to Bloodflix, a nasty little lovechild of Shudder and Netflix where subscribers can watch any horror film they want.

The ending of A Classic Horror Story

Presumably, the father who has logged onto Bloodflix doesn’t know he is watching a snuff film. If he does know, and this is some dark web version of snuff Hostel where sickos can indulge their every depraved whim and desire, we’ve got even bigger problems. In all likelihood, though, snuff films masquerading as basic horror are all that is needed. The hilarious thumbs-down rating following the absurd comments is a clear statement on our inability to be patient but make snap judgments and then vomit them out for all to see.

Our narcissistic tendencies to bend others to our viewpoint extend well beyond basic ratings on streamers and into often toxic Reddit subs, Discord groups, and Facebook pages. Twitter is a breeding ground for angry people arguing about everything all the time. A Classic Horror Story smartly forces us to look at the inner demon in us all and confront our part in the machine. There is nothing wrong with horror films, but this could be an eventual conclusion when increasing violence is needed to sell. Fabrizio is an idiot, but it doesn’t mean he is wrong. Sex sells, and blood leads. His family also has an OnlyFans site, I’m sure.

What was Fabrizio doing?

Fabrizio acting on orders from Mama, who briefly visited the family dinner, Elisa was forced to attend by nailing her to a chair, needs money. The family business has expanded to snuff films and potentially an entire streamer. He is the writer/director of said films and considers himself quite the auteur. While his flair for the dramatic is commendable, his penchant for committing the horror villain sin of talking way too much gets him killed. With his young accomplice also gunned down by Elisa, Mama will have to find another aspiring filmmaker to take their place. The size of the production, including craft services, prosthetics, and set design, lend credence to the theory that he is not the only filmmaker, though.

Did Elisa live?

This is never definitively answered, but the fact that her film was uploaded doesn’t look good for her. She did manage to escape from the faux-military site where the filming was taking place onto a public beach, but in order for her film to be released, she was either paid off or killed. It’s possible she was paid to go away quietly, but since she killed two family members, she is most likely dead. In the Mafia, honor is everything, and when she killed two of them, she dishonored the family. That can not go unpunished. Mama’s retreat to a police car during the family dinner leaves little doubt this family is connected with a capital C and Elisa has little chance of survival unless she goes completely off the grid. The final embrace of her stomach shows she wants to live with her baby but whether that is possible is another issue.

The Legend of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso is a real story.

The myth was first generated in 1412. The three men in question were all members of the Guarduga a military organization in Toledo, Spain. The organization was extremely powerful and could influence Spanish laws and politics. The group obeyed all laws until a family member was slain and they avenged her death by killing the person responsible. The three men were convicted and imprisoned for nearly thirty years. The three knights emerged from the experience as new men.

The legend has it; the men came out with incredible knowledge regarding a new code of ethics dependent on honor and silence. After their release, the three men separated, with Osso staying in Sicily, where he started the Cosa Nostra organization. Mastrosso crossed the Straights of Messina to found ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, and Carcagnosso went to Campania Felix to found Camorra. This is the supposed genesis of the three Mafia families today. The groups are steeped in tradition, ritual, and symbology to the point of mystery. Similar to the Masons, the secretive practices made for fantastical speculation. Whether the Three Spanish Knights were actually the founders of an immense criminal organization remains to be seen but this real legend is melded with horror storytelling to create the series of films Fabrizio is making for his family.

For the purposes of his film, the three knights are demons who convince a town to make a sacrifice for them in exchange for more fruitful lands. Unfortunately, every time you pray to a demon, things go poorly. The demons turn the entire town to a devoted flock that continues to make sacrifices by cutting out the tongue of one person, removing the eyes of another, and the ears of a third. These sacrifices in the film continue to the present, where are unsuspecting Carpool riders find themselves. As we later find out, this is, of course, contrived revisionist history.

The story laid out for the victims in A Classic Horror Story is also reminiscent of the proverb of the Three Wise Monkeys which is sometimes given the addition of a fourth and fifth wise being. The proverb hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil is widely thought of as a basic morality rule. Turn away from wrongdoing and stay on the righteous path. The fourth and fifth monkeys are do no evil and eat and drink no evil(or not too much). Considering the group is drugged by Fabrizio after drinking, it is interesting. Like many slashers that find hapless teenagers in danger after sex or drugs and alcohol this dovetails neatly with the meta quality of the film within a film.

The Italian meta thriller is an example of a clever idea that may have crammed too much into the mix. Ambitious and wild the sum is better than its way too many parts. As fun as it was, it did leave me wanting a few less horror nods and sly winks. While not perfect, the final Netflix riff was funny and, as an avid watcher, felt more familiar than I was comfortable witBut. If surprising fun is what you are after, A Classic Horror Story won’t disappoint. Thumbs up. Find all our Explained pieces here.

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