Scream Vs Alien – The Greatest Horror Franchise Ever [Round 13]

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.

When we last checked in, George Romero's living dead were facing off with Jason Voorhees. But now, it's the battle of the single-word horror franchises. In one corner: the earthbound "Scream" series, which offered a postmodern spin on the slasher genre and rewrote the language of the modern horror movie. In the other corner: the sci-fi horrors of the "Alien" films, which see humanity going up against one of the most viscerally terrifying monsters in cinematic history, and doing so with style and dread.

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


In space, no one can hear you scream, but make no mistake, "Scream" deserves to win this battle. Ghostface has lived to slice another day. In fact, the slasher has survived so long in this bracket that it now has to deal with slimy creatures known as xenomorphs who are killing space truckers and colonists one-by-one. "Scream" doesn't deserve to win because Ghostface is more deadly, but because the killer is an icon of horror. As for the xenomorphs and the "Alien" franchise, that's sci-fi with horror sprinkles, my friends. "Scream" is the true horror franchise in this battle, leaning into the tropes of slashers while also turning them on their head in inventive ways.

If you need another reason for "Scream" to come on top, look no further than the Final Girl. Sure, Ellen Ripley is one of the most badass women in the history of cinema. But by the time "Alien Resurrection" rolls around, she's a damn clone of herself, and the franchise makes her play basketball. This franchise makes David Fincher look like a fool, and we can't stand for that. Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott has survived killer after killer, and she doesn't need a frickin' clone to keep fighting against whatever new killer comes along.

"Scream" already bested another franchise that had a similarly terrible "Resurrection" chapter, and it's time to blow this one out of the water too, especially with Ridley Scott taking the "Alien" franchise into philosophical android flute fingering territory with "Prometheus" and "Alien: Covenant." The latter only brought back xenomorphs to please the blockbuster blockheads out there. And again, that's just a smattering of horror among a grand sci-fi narrative and intellectual themes. "Scream" has terror in its veins, and it cuts those veins open to splatter blood all over the place, and that's what we want from a horror franchise. (Ethan Anderton)


Folks, the momentum keeps building as we reach our Final Four and it looks as if absolutely nothing will get in the way of our "Alien" train steamrolling each and every one of its opponents ... even if this next one is as near and dear to my heart as "Scream." Listen, I love the "Scream" franchise. I'll forever cherish the memories I have of marathoning all four movies at once while hungover and scarfing down Domino's with friends. That's exactly the kind of experience these movies were made for! But that's also why I can't in good conscience endorse the fleeting pleasures of "Scream" over the unstoppable might of "Alien." Yes, there's absolutely a place for low-calorie escapism for when you just don't want to think too much about the horrors of the world today. But is that really enough to claim the top prize over the "Alien" movies?

As much as Wes Craven reinvented the slasher for my generation of horror fans, really the only area the "Scream" franchise has "Alien" beat is in the area of camp. Camp is valid and far from a dirty word, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying that if this were "Alien: Resurrection" against "Scream," "Scream" wins handily. It's not, however, which means I have to respect how even the lesser "Alien" follow-ups aim bigger and miss smaller than "Scream" ever tries to. The latter is a quality, consistent franchise — that's why it's made it as far as it has, after all. But in my book, nobody gets points for "good enough." We're trying to decide the best of the best, and frankly? "Alien" simply speaks for itself at this point. (Jeremy Mathai)

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 "Scream" or "Alien"? Whoever wins will return one more time in the finals!