MaXXXine director says film’s ending was inspired by Pearl’s chilling credit sequence

Kayla Harrington
Mia Goth as Maxine in MaXXXine

MaXXXine director Ti West revealed the trilogy’s ending was primarily inspired by Pearl’s chilling credit sequence.

West’s trio of horror movies has reached its bloody conclusion with the Hollywood horror flick MaXXXine, the direct sequel to 2022’s X. Warning: slight spoilers below!

The final entry of the franchise also includes echoes of the 2023 prequel Pearl, especially in its ending. MaXXXine closes with a long, closeup shot of Maxine’s prosthetic decapitated head on a bed before it shows a view of Los Angeles.

West told USA Today that the moment was exactly how he wanted the series to conclude, as it was “partially a nod” to the second movie’s ending.

“There’s something about the end of Pearl, about her smiling and trying to keep smiling, that’s representative of the movie as a whole,” he explained. “And there’s something also about this severed head on the bed being photographed that’s representative of the absurdity of it all as well.”

Mia Goth in Pearl

Pearl’s final credit sequence features the titular character, also played by Mia Goth, looking directly into the camera with a painfully forced smile on her face.

It’s an incredibly haunting moment as Pearl realizes all the murders she committed throughout the movie ultimately didn’t help her achieve her dream of being a famous chorus girl, and she would be stuck on her family farm forever.

Instead of using a still image of Pearl’s terrifying smile, Goth holds the expression throughout the credits, and it’s her manic energy that really ties the moment together.

Though the sequence helped to set the prequel apart from other horror movies, Goth revealed that it was entirely made up on the spot.

“That actually wasn’t written in the script,” Goth explained to Total Film Magazine. “It was something that Ti [West] thought of on the day before we shot it. He came up to me and said, ‘Listen, I have this idea, rather than freezeframe we’ll just keep going and see what happens. And if nothing comes of it, fine, we’ll just stick with the freezeframe.'”

“That scene proved to be an incredibly cathartic experience for me. A really poignant experience. It’s like a purging.”

West’s decision to end MaXXXine with one last shot of Goth’s face encased in a hardened, plastic mold is the perfect ending to a franchise built on characters who want nothing more than fit into society’s ideal standards of fame and beauty no matter the cost.

MaXXXine is in theaters now. You can also check out other new A24 movies, the best Neon horrors to watch before Longlegs, and new movies coming out in July.

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