Round 3 of voting for the next Death Games bracket is almost over; now is the time to make sure your favorites make it through to the end.
This October, in celebration of our five year anniversary, we’re thrilled to present Morbidly Beautiful’s first ever interactive film face-off — letting you vote for your favorite Death Game films over a series of five rounds, ultimately crowning the “King of Carnage”.
In week one, 32 contenders entered the ring. After a couple of bloody battles, 8 killer films remain. Now it’s up to you to decide which 4 films will have a chance to slay their way to the top. But you have to hurry! Voting for this round ends Saturday, October 10th, at noon Central.
MATCHUP 1: VERONICA VS BRAINSCAN
In our first of four matchups, two very different films are facing off. In one corner, we have a recent supernatural horror film out of Span, loosely based on true events involving a potentially deadly encounter with a ouija board. In the other corner is a 90s cult classic sci-fi horror film about a wicked entity that inhabits a CD-ROM computer game and makes life hell for a teen boy.
THE UNDERDOG: Veronica (2020)
Veronica is a critically-acclaimed Spanish horror film directed by Paco Plaza (REC) that made headlines for reportedly being too terrifying for many viewers to even finish watching. The film was inspired when Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro (1973 – 1991) reportedly suffered hallucinations and seizures after performing the séance at a school in Madrid to try to contact her friend’s deceased boyfriend who had died six months earlier. Her exact cause of death is a mystery, but her house allegedly became haunted after her death. The film was launched on Netflix’s platform with very little hype or fanfare. However, word of mouth quickly made it one of the streaming network’s biggest success stories, with fans falling in love with its scary story and chilling atmosphere. The fact that it was at least partially grounded in real life events made the film all the more compelling for many.
Watch before voting: Veronica is currently streaming for free on Netflix.
THE FAVORITE: BRAINSCAN (1994)
Proving that, for many horror fans, modern genre gems still can’t totally compete with the enduring classics of decades past, 1994’s Brainscan is currently winning this battle by a sizeable margin. When a lonely teenager (Edward Furlong) orders the latest interactive video game, the high-tech wizardry penetrates his subconscious, where his darkest impulses lead him through a deadly maze of murder, deception and desire. Pursued by a homicide detective (Frank Langella) and prodded by the trickster (T. Ryder Smith), he is torn between the worlds of good and evil, of reality and fantasy and, ultimately, of life and death. Though this one, unlike its competitor, was widely panned by critics (with only a 19% on Rotten Tomatoes), its beloved by fans for its endearing, quintessential 90s charm and its truly unique and memorable villain.
Watch before voting: Brainscan is not streaming for free anywhere, but you can rent it inexpensively from platforms like Amazon, Vudu, or Apple TV.
MATCHUP 2: AS THE GODS WILL VS SAW
Easily the toughest matchup of the competition, the master of mayhem, Takashi Miike, faces off against perhaps the most iconic and best known Death Games movie of all time.
THE UNDERDOG: AS THE GODS WILL (2014)
It’s no surprise that Saw is winning this matchup given its popularity, but it’s a testament to the brilliance of Miike that this matchup is still a competition. This supernatural horror film is based on the first arc of the manga series of the same name by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Akeji Fujimura. The film was released in the United States by Funimation. Shun Takahata is an ordinary high school student leading a boring life until one day he and his classmates are forced to play a game of death. With no knowledge of who’s behind the games, his only option is to continue winning to stay alive. In a way that only Miike can deliver, the film manages to be both sadistically playful and insanely gory.
Watch before voting: Watch for free with a Funimation subscription or buy on Vudu for under $10.
THE FAVORITE: SAW (2OO4)
Not much needs to be said about the the film favored to win this entire competition. The Saw films are a wildly popular horror phenomenon, as evidenced by the fact that new ones are still being not only made but clamored for nearly two decades after the first film first shocked and thrilled unsuspecting audiences. While responsible in large part for the phrase ‘torture porn’ being coined, it’s easy to dismiss Saw as nothing more than a brutal gorefest for us sickos, but it’s actually so much smarter and more substantial than that. The first film — about a terminal cancer sufferer finding people he feels undervalue the gift of life and forcing them to earn that gift in the most extreme ways possible — was made by James Wan on a budget of just over $1m. It premiered at the Sundance film festival in 2004, and festival director Geoffrey Gilmore held that the film was not only “bold, cleverly constructed and flat-out terrifying”, but also infused with “moral seriousness”.
Watch before voting: Watch for free with a Cinemax or Directv subscription. Rent on redbox for under $2, or rent/purchase from most major VOD platforms.