Texas Chainsaw Massacre Vs Hellraiser – The Greatest Horror Franchise Ever [Round 6]

Welcome to the Tournament of Terrors, a /Film bracket where we argue about the greatest horror franchise of all time, and you, the readers, get to decide the winners. The rules are simple: two iconic horror movie series enter the ring, each represented by a /Film writer ready to champion them. And you — yes, you, the person reading this right now — will vote on which one gets to move forward.

You can find all the details, including a schedule for all the showdowns, right here. And here is the complete bracket, so you know where things stand.

The last time we saw you, we were arguing about "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Saw." Now, we're ready to argue about two very unique families, each of which has a nasty obsession with playing with your flesh. In one corner: the cannibalistic Leatherface and his cadre of unique BBQ enthusiasts from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." In the other: the demonic cenobites who exist only to explore the boundaries of carnal desire (i.e., tearing your soul/body apart) in realms beyond our own, as seen in the "Hellraiser" movies. Imagine these two groups trying to hang out and share some human brisket! You can't, though. They're both too busy trying to win this bracket.

Which one wins? That's up to you. First, the arguments. And then, you vote!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Out the gate, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" served as one of the most effective horror films ever made, directly influencing today's genre giants like Alexandre Aja and Rob Zombie. Going beyond the original 1974 film's shock value, each subsequent sequel dances from tone to tone as wildly as Leatherface twirling his saw before the setting sun — Hooper himself leaned more into the dark comedy in his own sequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2." The next movie: Ken Foree tears up the scenery. The next one: Matthew McConaughey loses his mind. The next one after that is the balls-to-the-wall Platinum Dunes remake in '03! 

Each entry in this franchise has something wonderful to deliver on top of the buckets of blood — I'm not sure the same could be said for the "Hellraiser" franchise, wherein even the average horror fan hasn't bothered with much beyond the second (admittedly rad) sequel. Even its star player, Doug Bradley, bailed on the films in the 2010s, leaving others to play the Priest (aka Pinhead). Perhaps the problem is the sheer macro magnitude of the realms covered in "Hellraiser," spanning dimensions while "Chain Saw" sticks with the micro and lets the horror erupt from home. Whether through its eight films, several comics (which are way gorier without that pesky MPAA intrusion), or its Atari 2600 video game, the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" franchise always delivers on Texas, chainsaws, and massacres, and you'll learn what it really means to be "family." (Anya Stanley)


There's no getting around it, and there's no reason to ignore it: there are more bad "Hellraiser" movies than there are good ones. But man, have you seen the good "Hellraiser" movies? They're not just good. They're great! And they measure up to and even surpass most of the best movies in most of the famous horror franchises. The first few films in particular are like being given your own private tour of Hell — sick and imaginative and utterly unlike anything else. They're outstanding exercises in the grotesque and the macabre, a shock to the system courtesy of Clive Barker's twisted imagination. And it's on this platform that even the worst "Hellraiser" sequels operate. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is too extreme, too weird, too unsettling. No genre is left unbent. Police procedural? Science fiction movie? "Hellraiser" did it, baby.

I'd put the first two "Hellraiser" movies on par with the first two "Texas Chainsaw" movies (masterpieces, the lot of them). But if you asked me to choose between a bad "Chainsaw" movie and a bad "Hellraiser" movie, I'd go "Hellraiser" every time. Director Tobe Hooper said and did everything he could with his first movies in the "Chainsaw" series, and rightfully fled to other things, letting the series grow worse with age (every attempted reboot manages to find a new low!). Even the worst "Hellraiser" movies, and they can get really bad, are inherently more interesting, more ambitious, and have more to deliver on a pure aesthetic level. I'll admit this is a close race. I'll admit both of these franchises peaked early with a few genuine classics. I'll also admit that "bad, but interesting" sums up the worst of the "Hellraiser" franchise, and that gives it the edge here. (Jacob Hall)

And Now It's Time to Vote

So there you have it. The arguments have been made. The defenses have been mounted. The attacks have concluded. The ball is now in your court, folks. Using the Twitter poll below (which will close 12 hours after publication of this article), vote for which movie franchise you want to see advance. Will it be "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Hellraiser"? Whoever wins will return for the quarterfinals next week, facing off against the winner of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Saw" showdown.