Scariest Movie Ever: Two Slasher Icons Are Dead and Only Four Films Remain

By  · Published on October 22nd, 2012

And then there were four.

After the tournament’s closest battle came to an end with a come-from-behind winner, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre eked its way into The Final Four alongside The Thing, Alien and The Exorcist. Essentially we’re down to the impossible choices, but while a horror movie tournament is one thing, figuring out with of these baddies would best each other in real life is a bit easier.

Today’s match-up sees Ridley Scott’s hallway of terror go up against the devil in Ms. Blair, but if the mutli-mouthed E.T.s actually had to fight off a demon, it seems obvious that evil would prevail (unless The Queen had the courage to jump out of an airlock after getting possessed). On the same front, a family of cannibals with their own meat locker is terrifying, but they’d be quick work for the body-stealing Thing, especially since Grandpa’s offspring don’t seem all that bright. How long would it take for one of them to hit themselves with a hammer in order to stop the invasion? Over/Under is twenty minutes.

Speaking of which, someone should make a movie where horror icons fight each other. Especially if it involves Alien. How could that miss? And since both Freddy and Jason have been knocked out of the tournament, they’ll have plenty of time to collaborate on a project like that.


Round Four Results (4 Films Left)

Clicking on that makes it bigger.

So here’s what the bracket looks like now:

Clicking on that also makes it bigger.


The detail-oriented of you out there will notice that we’ve changed the dates of the tournament to allow more time to vote. The reasoning is simple. As we watched over the weekend for the first extended voting period, the totals had time to shift, and you all seemed to appreciate having more time to choose a winner and share the ballot with friends. So, we’re giving you more time.

You might also notice that the totals for the battle between Massacre and The Shining are a bit higher than the others, a natural occurrence considering there was no clear winner until Tobe Hooper’s wheelchair chase through the woods pulled away late last night. It was down by 30 or so votes leading into a big push by fans to give it the win (which may have partially been propelled by Lionsgate tweeting about the match-up and encouraging fans of the original to give it some love). It should be noted that we’re not affiliate with Lionsgate or Texas Chain Saw 3D, but we also can’t stop people with large megaphones shouting out vote requests. If only the American Society for the Appreciation of Stanley Kubrick Films had been on Twitter.

What’s maybe most interesting about where we are in the tournament is the lack of slasher icons (beyond Leatherface). Jason Vorhees (I know, I know, it was his mom in the original, just calm down) had his head held under water in the very first round (while all of you just watched!), and now Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger have been laid low.

Beyond that, we’ve ended up with a Final Four of incredibly thoughtful horror films that use fear as a gateway to start a discussion on a larger topic of social interest. Granted, there was a fairly healthy list of those types of horror movies to begin with, but maybe that says something about the kinds of horror films that endure. On that same note, with The Ring dropping out, there’s nothing younger than 30 years old in the top tier, but there’s also nothing older than 39. All four of the final films were released within a decade of one another – from The Exorcist in 1973 to Massacre in 1974 to Alien in 1979 to The Thing in 1982.

Is this the sweet spot of American horror? Or have we simply not had enough time to crown newer movies into the pantheon of the immortal?

The same question could be asked of an older generation of movies. Psycho from 1960 was taken out immediately by another 70s era film which eventually got beaten itself. Freaks and the 1931 Dracula were also cut down in the first round, so if we were going to include more antique classics, what could have possibly done better than those two and Hitchcock’s most famous film? It seems like the modern era was destined to triumph, but that nothing too new could break through.

Semi-Final Predictions

The only thing I missed this time was the surprise of Leatherface surging forward and snatching victory out of the hands of an ax-wielding Jack Nicholson. Here’s where it gets tough:

That would mean we miss out on an all-alien championship, but it would be a hell of a pairing. Let’s see how the voting shakes out, and we’ll report who heads to the final round on Wednesday.

Go Vote Now

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.