The Quest to Determine The Scariest Movie Ever Begins Now!

By  · Published on October 16th, 2012

If there’s one thing everyone on the internet enjoys, it’s participating in a bracket-style tournament that forces you to admit that you’ve pushed out a high-pitched screech in public, soiled yourself in front of family, or ideally both at the same time. We actually pay for this stuff, people.

That’s the raw beauty of horror movies, but they can also save your life. It’s true! According to clinical psychologist David Rudd, watching terrifying stuff helps train us for real danger. “It’s nature’s way of protecting us. Adults may well scream but quickly follow it with a laugh since they readily recognize there’s no chance for real harm.” And if we experience enough of that safe danger, we grow accustomed to phobias, giving us a chance to get over them.

So what horror film is most effective at making us laugh while cleaning the urine stains out of our pants? What horror film is theoretically best for keeping our wits sharp in a dangerous world? Which terror-filled vision is most likely to save our lives? That’s what we’re here to find out. Starting today and running through next week, we’re asking you to vote for the Scariest Movie Ever.

To get off on the right bloody stump, we’ve compiled a notable list using an insane sentient computer that spit out this bracket:

Image Design by Jenn Lindeman

Clicking on that makes it bigger.


Astute observers will note that we’ve covered 140 (and counting!) horror flicks in 5 years of “31 Days of Horror,” and while no one will be breaking down the poorly-blockaded cabin doors to insist Death Spa should be able to vie for the top spot, narrowing the field down to 32 means that there’s probably a movie you love (or can think of) that didn’t make the cut. Sorry about that. This is Chinatown.

Plus, no one wanted to run a 200-day tournament in order to ensure everything had a chance to lose in the first round. If it’s any consolation, you can go watch your favorite scary movie that didn’t make the list right now with the knowledge that we took the task seriously – arguing for 8 full days before coming to a reluctant consensus. I, for one, think we did pretty well – coming up with a blend of classics, new favorites, foreign-born flicks and homegrown terror.

The point is, Death Spa is actually pretty good, so you shouldn’t write it off.

At any rate, it’s time to get excited. Brew some coffee, give the brackets your studious attention, and go to our Facebook Page to vote in the match-ups. You (and anyone you collude with) are the only person(s) who can fight to keep your favorite in the hunt.

We’ll be doing insightful daily updates on the winners and losers of the horse race to the top, revealing the ultimate winner next Wednesday (10/24) after more than a week of aggressive competition. In the mean time, does anyone want to guess on what will take home the highest honor?

Voting starts…now.

Related Topics:

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