Actor John Cusack has proposed an alternate ending for the psychological horror film 1408. The 2007 movie is based on the eponymous Stephen King short story, and starred Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson as Mike Enslin and Gerald Olin, respectively.
1408 centers around Mike Enslin's experience in the titular room, which is located in New York City's posh Dolphin Hotel. Enslin is introduced as a cynical author and paranormal investigator who learns of the mysterious and supposedly haunted room 1408. Although hotel manager Gerald Olin warns him against checking in, but Enslin decides to do so anyway. What follows is a horrifying, psychologically draining experience for Enslin, although the film does end with the author resisting the room's urges of suicide and managing to burn down 1408.
In an interview with Collider, Cusack proposes another way that the film could have ended instead. When asked about any particularly memorable characters that he's played, Cusack mentions Mike Enslin. More specifically, he says he always felt an alternative way to close out Enslin's story would have been for him to "wake up back in the room and continue on." You can check out the full quote from Cusack below:
"I haven’t really done sequels as much. I did a couple of loose sequels, where I felt like I had something else to say with the character but you can’t get the rights, so you just do another version of it. I did that a couple of times. I always thought there was another version of 1408, where he could wake up back in the room and continue on. That’s just getting into that Stephen King headspace. He’s such a terrific writer, and I do love like that Rod Serling psychological horror and not as much the gore."
Although Cusack's proposed ending is certainly dark, it's no less ominous than how the director's cut ended. In the latter, Mike destroys the room but is killed during the process. While the ending implies that Mike and his daughter Katie find each other in the afterlife, Mike's wife is left traumatized and Gerald Olin is plagued by disturbing visions. Yet despite director Mikael Håfström's original vision, this ending was later changed when test audiences found it to be too depressing. That being said, Cusack's proposed ending would have likely met the same fate; after the events of 1408, it's easy to see why viewers would want Mike to receive something close to a happy ending.
While 1408 came out over a decade ago, it is still remembered today as a haunting, twisted film that terrified audience members. Above all, though, the brilliance of 1408 is that it managed to frighten viewers with very little gore or mutilation—instead, the movie relied on Cusack's exquisite acting and the undeniable sense of fear and despair. As such, it's easy to see why Cusack still looks back on his time in 1408 fondly. However, with everything that Mike went through in the movie, perhaps it's for the best that Cusack's alternate ending never saw the light of day.