Movie Madness Intro: The Dark Horse Region

In March, ScreenAge Wasteland will have its 3rd annual Movie Madness tournament to determine the greatest superhero movie.

Similar to the NCAA March Madness tournament that starts with 64 teams and ends with one winner standing tall, SAW is going to have 64 of the best superhero movies battle it out.

The great thing is you — our beloved Screenagers — will be able to help determine the winner by voting in the matchups!

You will have to check back when voting begins on March 1, 2023, to see what the matchups are for each region. The movies were picked by an intricate scoring system in order to get the best of the best superhero films with minimal opinions or bias involved (or something like that). The top four movies to grade out the highest are your four #1 seeds in each region.

Check out the entries already announced in other regions to see possible Final Four matchups:

The Kevin Feige Region | The Stan Lee Region The DC Trinity Region

The Dark Horse Region

Flash Gordon (1980)

Director: Mike Hodges | Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr. | Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, and Topol

Star quarterback Flash Gordon and his allies Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov unite the warring factions of the planet Mongo against the oppression of Ming the Merciless, who is intent on destroying Earth.

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

Director: Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman | Writer: Joe Ritter | Stars: Mitch Cohen, Mark Torgl, Andree Maranda, and Pat Ryan Jr.

A 98-pound nerd from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster.

Darkman (1990)

Director: Sam Raimi | Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Chuck Pfarrer, Daniel Goldin, and Joshua Goldin | Stars: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, and Larry Drake

Scientist Peyton Westlake is brutally attacked, disfigured, and left for dead by ruthless mobster Robert Durant, after his girlfriend, attorney Julie Hastings, runs afoul of corrupt developer Louis Strack Jr. After a treatment to cure him of his burn injuries fails, Westlake develops super-human abilities, which also have the unintended side-effect of rendering him mentally unstable and borderline psychotic. Consumed with vengeance, he decides to hunt down those who disfigured him.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Director: Steve Barron | Writer: Todd W. Langen and Bobby Herbeck | Stars: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Brian Tochi, Robbie Rist, Corey Feldman, and Josh Pais

The Turtles go on a quest to save their master, Splinter, with their new allies, April O’Neil and Casey Jones, from the Shredder and his Foot Clan.

The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston | Writer: Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo | Stars: Billy Campbell, Alan Arkin, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Sorvino, and Timothy Dalton

In 1938, stunt pilot Cliff Secord discovers a hidden rocket pack that he thereafter uses to fly without the need for an aircraft. His heroic deeds soon attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, who are hunting for the missing rocket pack, as well as the Nazi operatives that stole it from Hughes.

Mystery Men (1999)

Director: Kinka Usher | Writer: Neil Cuthbert | Stars: Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Greg Kinnear, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Reubens, Kel Mitchell, Wes Studi, Geoffrey Rush, Lena Olin, Eddie Izzard, Claire Forlani, and Tom Waits

A team of lesser superheroes with unimpressive powers are required to save the day.

Unbreakable (2000)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Writer: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard

 David Dunn survives a train crash with no injuries, leading to the realization that he harbors superhuman abilities. As he begins to grapple with this discovery, he comes to the attention of disabled comic book store owner Elijah Price, who manipulates David to understand him.

The Incredibles (2004)

Director: Brad Bird | Writer: Brad Bird | Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Jason Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson

Bob and Helen Parr, a couple of superheroes known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, hide their powers in accordance with a government mandate and attempt to live a quiet suburban life with their three children. However, Bob’s desire to help people draws the entire family into a confrontation with a vengeful fan-turned-foe.

V for Vendetta (2005)

Director: James McTeigue | Writer: The Wachowskis | Stars: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, and John Hurt

In a future where a fascist totalitarian regime has subjugated the UK, an anarchist and masked freedom fighter known as V attempts to ignite a revolution through elaborate terrorist acts.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Writer: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Hurt

Hellboy and the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense must battle a mythical prince who plans to reclaim the world for his magical kindred.

Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn | Writer: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn | Stars: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, and Nicolas Cage

An ordinary teenager sets out to become a real-life superhero, calling himself “Kick-Ass”.

Megamind (2010)

Director: Tom McGrath | Writer: Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons | Stars: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, and Brad Pitt

After defeating his long-time nemesis Metro Man, Megamind creates a new hero to fight but must act to save the city when his “creation” becomes an even worse villain than he was.

Super (2010)

Director: James Gunn | Writer: James Gunn | Stars: Rainn Wilson, Elliot Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, and Nathan Fillion

A short-order cook becomes a superhero without having any superhuman ability, calling himself the “Crimson Bolt”. He sets out to rescue his wife Sarah from the hands of a drug dealer.

Chronicle (2012)

Director: Josh Trank | Writer: Max Landis | Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan

Three Seattle high school seniors form a bond after gaining telekinetic powers from an unknown object and using them for fun, although one begins going down a darker path.

Dredd (2012)

Director: Pete Travis | Writer: Alex Garland | Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, and Lena Headey

Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Anderson, are forced to bring order to a 200-story high-rise block of apartments and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)

Director: David Soren | Writer: Nicholas Stoller | Stars: Ed Helms, Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Schaal

Two fourth graders accidentally hypnotize their mean principal, Mr. Krupp, into thinking he is the titular “Captain Underpants”, a superhero who fights crime while wearing only underwear and a cape, thinking he has superpowers.

What do you think of the films in this region? Do you have any predictions regarding which film will make it to the Final Four?

Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"