I can't remember who mentioned it, and they can let us know in the comments, but someone mentioned the idea for a feature of scenes in films that really do go against the norm for Hollywood.
What they and I mean by that are when you expect one thing in a film and the exact opposite occurs, an outcome that is far from what Hollywood would normally allow from a character or film, something that really does surprise you because it's just not what was expected.
Let me give you a few examples and then we'll see how many more you can come up with.
Now there are spoilers for these films, and I would expect more to come in the comments, so please be careful if you haven't seen these films yet, then again I would expect you have already.
The first scene that came to mind is the ending of The Truman Show.
Now this is a great ending because it doesn't follow Hollywood convention by following Truman and showing you what happens to him and the other main characters. There is no neat ending and no completion of character arcs, one could argue that they are all merely beginning. This is very surprising for Hollywood but it makes for a wonderful and quite perfect ending.
Pitch Black has a big surprise near the ending of the film and really does come out of the blue.
The two main characters are getting closer, bonding, there's almost a hint of some form of emotional connection, but then the female character is suddenly killed, right out of nowhere. It happens just as she and Riddick have made a strong connection and to an extent it's almost as though she had beaten him and he had given in to his humanity. Again this goes against the norm in Hollywood for a main character, especially one so closely connected with the lead, to be killed off so suddenly.
How about something a little older? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
Although a lot of us might know what the end will bring, I still think it goes well beyond the normal Hollywood ending to find both characters leaping out at the end to a blaze of gunfire and their certain deaths, especially when you consider the actors involved are Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
I'm not entirely sure about this one, Titanic was suggested to me for its ending.
Although the ending does go against the grain of standard Hollywood fare, I don't know how unexpected it really is. What do you think when you see the two characters from different sides of the tracks, fall so in love and triumph over the great adversity of the boat sinking, only to find one of them dying to save the other? Is that such a great non-Hollywood scene?
One of the strongest ones I thought about is from Leaving Las Vegas.
Two great performances from Nicolas Cage (you'll not hear me say that often) and Elisabeth Shue (the role that really made me fall for her) who wrench you through the emotional wringer without a second thought. In the end of the film, despite the love that both characters feel for each other, it's the surprise that Cage's character still wants to go through with his own suicide by drinking.
That also makes me think of Seven Pounds (Filmstalker review).
Similarly to Leaving Las Vegas, the big shock is that despite the character falling in love he still decides to go through with his own suicide, and yet it's not really that surprising for the audience because we see his dilemna. Still I see it as a huge risk and a bold move by the writers.
So by now you should get the idea. It may not strictly be the straight twists and surprises in films, not like The Sixth Sense for example, no I mean something that goes beyond that and breaks with what you would think to be the Hollywood rules.
It's the shock that the writers and director would write something like this and get away with it. That it would make it through the script reviews, the executives, producers, and even the editor, and still stay in the film. With some of the examples above you can almost hear the executives screaming for the happy and neat ending, but thankfully the creatives stood their ground.
What do you think of that list, can you think of some that I haven't? I'm convinced there are bound to be some superbly strong scenes in horror films with deaths you just wouldn't believe would happen. Have any scenes from the films you've watched really surprised you in that non-Hollywood way?