I've got a secret!

In the 1950s & '60s, one of the most popular game shows on TV was "I've Got a Secret."  Ordinary people would come on the show and try to stump a celebrity panel who tried to guess the person's secret. Aside from the moderator, Garry Moore and the host, the inimitable Steve Allen, and the cleverness of the panelists. I think this show owed its long-running success (1952-1967) to the facts that 1) people love to have secrets, and 2) people love to guess other people's secrets.

In dystopian novels, often the antagonist (be it person or government or whatever entity) has a secret they (or it) are trying to keep from the general populous. And, the protagonist suspects there is a secret (or knows there is one) and sets out to discover it or make it known to everyone. This is - of course - not only true in dystopia, but in many, many novels & genres, i.e. there's always a secret to be discovered. As many authors have stated "all novels are mysteries." (google that quote & there are a ton!) There is always something hidden that needs to be revealed.

So, along these lines, I got to thinking about those "Oh, Wow!" moments in novels and movies, that point where the secret (one you were, hopefully, not expecting) is revealed. My examples below are not all dystopia, or novels, but they were certainly "Oh, Wow!" moments for me...

1. "No, I am your father." (Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker) Were you expecting it? I know I wasn't! Neither did I expect Princess Leia to be Luke's sister!

2. "It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people." Detective Thorn's reveal in the movie, Soylent Green, based on Harry Harrison's novel, Make Room! Make Room!

3. When Anne drops Malcom's ring at the end of "The Sixth Sense." Well... I'd suspended enough disbelief and I was totally taken by surprise that Malcom was dead.

4. The reveal of the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes, also based on a French novel of the same name. Totally surprised me that they were on earth!

5. And, the end of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Masterful! Brilliant! And, I did not see it coming at all.

What are your favorite (and most shocking/startling) reveals?

And - continuing this month's Scavenger Hunt!!!  If you'd like your next clue, to reveal what is hidden... go HERE!  After you've figured out the title of the book, go HERE to enter!


Anonymous said...

I love secrets not only in the stories that I read but the ones that I write.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oooh, one that really got me was the movie 'The Uninvited'. I was totally surprised when it turned out she was the killer. Also- there's a gameshow in france called 'secret story'. It's kind of like 'big brother' except eveyrone has a secret and in order to win another contestant's money, you've got to figure out what it is and call them on it. Great show:)

Mandy P.S. said...

I have to say - the end of The Planet of the Apes novel was more of a "woah!" moment for me than the movie - maybe because Pierre Broulle gives you two surprises in a row. I highly recommend the book.

Brandon Sanderson completely fooled me in his Mistborn trilogy. When I got to the end, it wasn't just "woah!" or "aha!" it was "OMG!". He basically turned everything I ever knew about the fantasy genre on its head, and it was fantastic. (Won't say anything more except you should go read it!)

Anonymous said...

OH yeah. when Anne drops the ring in The Sixth Sense...I was, like, "Huh?"

That was awesome. Nicely done. That'd be my fave for sure.

Angie said...

It's a toss up between the end of the Usual Suspects or Memento.

Erinn said...

It's not a movie, but the Doctor Who episode called "Blink." has possibly the best endings ever. I was freaked out for years after that. I won't go anywhere near a statue. Creepy Evil Angel Statues.

It's also possibly the best example of storytelling I've seen in a long time.

Angie said...

Erinn, I loved "Blink." Have you seen the return of the Weeping Angels in the new Doctor Who season? Even creepier, tho, I'm not crazy about the new Doctor.

T.J. said...

Thank you for saying "No, I am your father." Far too many people misquote that line from Empire Strikes Back. It really frustrates me.

Oh, my favorite "Oh wow" moments? Um...the end of the first episode of Sliders when they think they're back in their reality but Quinn's dead dad walks in and they learn that they're not. That was one of my favorites. I mean, yeah, it was kinda expected, but at the same time, it wasn't.
The end of Jim C. Hines "Goblin Quest" novel was awesome. I had never been more surprised by that.
And if you've never read Ten Little Indians aka And Then There Were None... by Agatha Christie, it's a mind blowing mystery and it's not that long of a book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone! I'm adding some reading/movies to my ever-growing list!

TJ - Ten Little Indians is awesome! So is her play, The Mousetrap! I love Agatha Christie!

Erinn said...

Angie- My opinion of the New Doctor changes depending on who writes the episode.

The new Weeping angel episode was AMAZING-- I loved the scene with Amy sitting in the forest with her eyes shut.

But the vampire one, the Dalek episode and even Amy's Choice were kinda weak.

David Tennent was the perfect Doctor, and I think Matt Smith is trying to be David a little too much.

I will say, I fell in love with him in the first 10 minutes of the first episode. By the time he was eating the Fish Custard, I was hooked. (Ugh really bad pun)

But then it started to get a little weak and I'm falling out of love with him.

Najela said...

I liked the ending of Shutter Island. I kind of expected it (because the promos tell you to look out for it. *Sigh*), but it was masterfully done.

Jemi Fraser said...

I agree with TJ and Julia - And Then there Were None is awesome! And I think the Planet of the Apes ending is such a kick in the gut. The first time I watched it, I just gaped :)

Angie said...

Erinn - I'm totally with you about the new Doctor. Weeping Angels was wonderful, mostly because of River and Amy. But, I'm missing David Tennant more and more.

Julia said...

Don't hurt me Erinn & Angie - I was never a huge Dr. Who fan - except for at the very beginning (like a million years ago!)

Yes, Jemi - I felt that same way re: Planet of the Apes.

Najela - I'll have to watch Shutter Island now!

Angela Ackerman said...

I loved the movie Soilent Green. I even reference it in my YA novel.

THAT could be our future. You know, if we don't all become zombies. It's like the processed food version of the zombie apocalypse.

Has anyone told you you're awesome today? Cause you. Awesome.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Julia said...

Ah, zombies! I hope they're tasty! lol!

Always love to hear that I'm awesome! :^)

Anonymous said...

Oldboy, It's a South Korean movie and I couldn't believe what just happened at the end.


@Najela I hadn't seen any of the promos or trailers for shutter island and I worked out the entire movie within the first few minutes... I was disappointed :(